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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Statement by Cynthia McKinney, Power to the People Candidate for U.S. President, on the nomination of Barack Obama as the Democratic Party's President

(statement issued June 9, 2008)

On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Hillary Clinton announced that her 2008 presidential bid is over, making Barack Obama the first-ever Black presidential nominee of a major party in the history of the United States.

Congratulations to Senator Obama for achieving such a feat!

When I was growing up in the U.S. South in the racially turbulent 1960s, it would have been impossible for a Black politician to become a viable Presidential contender. Nothing a Black candidate could have done or said would have prevented him (or her) from being excluded on the basis of skin color alone. Many of us never thought we would see in our lifetime a Black person with a real possibility of becoming President of the United States.

The fact that this is now possible is a sign of some racial progress in this country, more than 40 years after the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. But it is also a sign of the deep discontent among the American people, and particularly among African Americans, with the corporate-dominated, business-as-usual politics that has prevailed in Washington for too many years.

Coming from Barack Obama, the word "change" did not appear as just another empty campaign slogan. It galvanized millions of people --mostly young people--to register to vote and to get active in the political system. The U.S. political system needs the energy and vision of all is citizens participating in the political process. Citizen participation is always the answer.

Senator Obama called for healing the wounds inflicted on working people and the poor in our country after eights years of a corrupt and criminal Bush-Cheney Administration. Just as in November 2006, people full of an expectation for change, including those the system has purposefully left out and left behind, flocked to the polls to vote for Senator Obama. Across a broad swath of the people of this country, and from those who are impacted by U.S. foreign policy, there is a real expectation, a real desire, for change.

While congratulating Senator Obama for a feat well done, I would also like to bring home the very real need for change and a few of the issues that must be addressed for the change needed in this country to be real. First of all, a few of the more obvious facts:

United for a Fair Economy (UFE) produces studies each year on the anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled, State of the Dream reports. UFE has found that on some indices the racial disparities that exist today are worse than at the time of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For example, infant mortality, where the overall U.S. world ranking falls below Cuba, Israel, and Canada. They also have found that, without a public policy intervention, it would take over 5,000 years to close the home ownership gap between blacks and whites in this country, especially exacerbated because of the foreclosure crisis disproportionately facing Blacks and Latinos today. They have found that it would take 581 years, without a public policy intervention, to close the racial gap in income in this country. UFE has found unacceptable racial disparities extant on economic, justice, and security issues. After analyzing the impact of the Democratic Party's "First 100 Hours" agenda upon taking the Congressional majority, UFE concluded in its 2007 report that Blacks vote in the Blue (meaning, they support Democrats in the voting booth), but live in the Red (they do not get the public policy results that those votes merit). And UFE noted that Hurricane Katrina was not even mentioned at all in the Congressional Democratic majority's 2007 First 100 hours agenda.

United for a Fair Economy is not the only organization to find such dismal statistics, reflecting life for far too many in this country. In a study not too long ago, Dr. David Satcher found that over 83,000 blacks died unnecessarily, due to racial disparities in access to health care and because of the disparate treatment blacks receive after access. A Hull House study found that the racial disparity in the quality of life of black Chicagoans and white Chicagoans would take 200 years to be eliminated without a public policy intervention. The National Urban League in its annual "State of Black America" publication basically concludes that the United States has not done enough to close long-existing and unacceptable racial disparities. The United Nations Rapporteur for Special Forms of Racism, Mr. Doudou Diene of Senegal, just left this country in an unprecedented fact-finding mission to monitor human rights violations in the United States. Dr. Jared Ball submitted to Diene on my behalf, my statement after the Sean Bell police verdict. The United Nations has already cited its concern for the treatment of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita survivors and the extrajudicial killings taking place across our country, that especially target Black and Latino males, and especially at the hands of law enforcement authorities.

I hope it is clear that the desire for change is so deeply felt because it is deeply needed. Politics, through public policy, can address all these issues and more in the favor of the people. We do not have to accept or tolerate such glaring disparities in our society. We do not have to accept or tolerate bloated Pentagon spending, unfair tax cuts, attacks on our civil liberties, and on workers' rights to unionize. We don't have to accept or tolerate our children dropping out of high school, college education unreachable because tuition is so high, or our country steeped in debt.

The 21st Century statistics for our country reflect a country that can still be characterized as Dr. King did so many years ago: the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet.

It doesn't have to be that way. And the people know it.

I have accepted as the platform of the Power to the People Campaign, the 10-Point Draft Manifesto of the Reconstruction Movement, a grouping of Black activists who came together in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to advocate for public policy initiatives that address the plight of Blacks and other oppressed peoples in this country.

Among its many specific public policy planks, the Draft Manifesto calls for:

* election integrity, if our vote is to mean anything at all, all political parties must defend the integrity of the votes cast by the American people, something neither of the major parties has done effectively in the past two Presidential elections;

* funding a massive infrastructure improvement program that is also a jobs program that greens our economy and puts people to work, and especially in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Hurricane survivors, treated as internally displaced persons whose right to vote and right of return are protected, play a meaningful role in the rebuilding of their communities;

* recognizing affordable housing as a fundamental human right, and putting a halt to the senseless destruction of public housing in New Orleans;

* enacting Reparations for African Americans, so that the enduring racial disparities which reflect the U.S. government's failure to address the reality and the vestiges of slavery and unjust laws enacted can be ended and recognition of the plight of Black Farmers whose issues are still not being adequately addressed by USDA and court-appointed mediators despite a US government admission of guilt for systematic discrimination;

* acknowledging COINTELPRO and other government spying and destabilization programs from the 1960s to today and disclosing the role of the US government in the harassment and false imprisonment of political activists in this country, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, the San Francisco 8, Leonard Peltier, including restitution to victims of government abuse and their families for the suffering they have long endured;

* ending prisons for profit and the "war on drugs," which fuels the criminalization of Black and Latino youth at home and provides cover for U.S. military intervention in foreign countries, particularly to our south, which is used to put down all social protest movements in countries like Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and elsewhere;

* creating a universal access, single-payer, health care system and enacting a livable wage, equal pay for equal work, repealing the Bush tax cuts, and making corporations and the rich pay their fair share of taxes;

* establishing public funding for higher education--no student should graduate from college or university tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt;

* ensuring workers' rights by 1) repealing Taft-Hartley to stop the unjust firing of union organizers, ban scabbing, and enable workers to exercise their voices at work and 2) enacting laws for U.S. corporations that keep labor standards high at home and raise them abroad, which would require the repeal of NAFTA, CAFTA, the Caribbean FTA, and the U.S.-Peru FTA;

* justice for immigrant workers, including real immigration reform that provides amnesty for all undocumented immigrants;

* creating a Department of Peace that would put forward projects for peace all over the world, deploying our diplomats to help resolve conflicts through peaceful means and overseeing the orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from the more than 100 countries around the world where they are stationed, and an immediate end to all wars and occupations by U.S. forces, beginning in Iraq and Afghanistan, and slashing the budget for the Pentagon.

The Power to the People Campaign has visited 24 states and I believe there is already broad support across our country for these policy positions. The people deserve an open and honest debate on these issues and more. I encourage the Democratic Party and its new presumptive nominee, Senator Obama, to embrace these important suggestions for policy initiatives.

--
"And advanced forms of biological warfare that can 'target' specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool."
PNAC, Rebuilding America's Defenses, p. 60

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.
-- Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time




Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention

Register Today!



As you all know, the 2008 Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention is coming to Chicago, July 10-13. This year's event is shaping up to be one of the best events of the year. Please visit http://www.greenparty2008.org/ for all of the information related to the convention, including registration and the link to reserve your room at the headquarter hotel, the Palmer House Hilton. Staying at the Palmer House is a very important aspect of this convention, as the party needs to fill its allocated rooms to get the best rates onspace, and most of the convention activities across the weekend will be at the hotel.

The nomination vote will take place on Saturday, July 12 at the Symphony Center. As part of the Nominating Convention day, the Green Party will host keynote speeches from Malik Rahim, Kathy Kelly, and Cliff Thornton.

Malik Rahim is a long-time community activist from New Orleans, a former Black Panther, and in the last election was the Green Party candidate for Mayor of New Orleans. Malik co-founded the Common Ground Collective/Relief, an organization that provides short term relief to victims of hurricane disasters in the Gulf region. Please visit http://www.commongroundrelief.org/ for more information.

Kathy Kelly Is a familiar name to many Greens. Kathy co-founded Voices in the Wilderness in 1996, an organization that worked to end the sanctions on Iraq. She has visited Iraq and other locations in the Middle East on several occasions. Voices in the Wilderness has since become Voices for Creative Non-Violence, and you can read more about Kathy's recent work at http://www.vcnv.org/.

Cliff Thornton Jr. is a long-time social justice activist who has done much work on drug policy reform, recently receiving the Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action from the Drug Policy Alliance. Cliff was the Green Party's candidate for Governor of Connecticut in 2006, and is currently co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. Read more about Cliff's organization Efficacy, Inc. at http://www.efficacy-online.org/.

Numerous workshops will be held across the days of the convention, with expert activists from across the country discussing an array of issues, including foreign policy (especially Iran and the Middle East), immigrant rights, GLBTIQ rights, campaign school workshops, and much more. Attendees will have the ability for much education and continued learning.

The national Green Party's Annual National Meeting Committee and the Illinois Green Party's convention host committee urge you to register as soon as you can and to reserve your room at the Palmer House Hilton. It is most financially helpful to the party to have the attendees staying at the Palmer House, our headquarter hotel. Downtown Chicago is an epicenter of activity, especially in the summer months. With Grant Park and the magnificent Lake Michigan only a couple of blocks away the location is awesome. Attendees are encouraged to come early or stay longer to see the attractions that Chicago has to offer, and to visit the neighborhoods where Green Party activity has been steadily increasing for years.

More speakers, workshops, and events will be announced in upcoming weeks. Also visit http://www.greenparty2008.org/ for new information as it becomes available, as well as for registration, room reservation, and other general questions.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you in July.

Green Party of the United States Annual National Meeting Committee
Illinois Green Party Convention Host Committee



Email: office@gp.org
Office: PO Box 57065 Washington, D.C. 20037 202-319-7191 or toll-free (US): 866-41GREEN

12 min video featuring Asa Gordon on MAP Civil Action "Democratizing the Electoral College"

Political Prisoners

August 2, 2007--Imam Jamil Al-Amin has been moved to federal custody!

Correspondence with the commissioner should be put on hold for now, updates will be announced as they occur

Please keep the Imam and his family in your thoughts and prayers


Read the details on his transfer

INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE TO SUPPORT IMAM JAMIL AL-AMIN
(the former H. Rap Brown)
547 West End Pl. SW
ATLANTA, GA. 30310


Real killer confesses--again--to the killing of Kinchen--Atlanta deputy sheriff for whose shooting death Imam Jamil was convicted and sentenced to life in prison! The State refuses to consider his confession, while continuing to keep Imam Jamil wrongfully imprisoned and isolated.


SEE FOR YOURSELF--PHOTOCOPY OF RECENT, FEBRUARY 2007 HANDWRITTEN CONFESSION OF OTIS JACKSON

NEW INFORMATION PROVING INNOCENCE OF JAMIL AL-AMIN!


OnTheWilderSide

OnTheWilderSide
Supporters of progressive activism, Green Party politics, and noncorporate cultural workers.

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