When Eugene Debs ran for the country’s highest office in 1912 as a Socialist Party candidate, he considered the election to be of the “profoundest interest to the working class and the country” but lamented the fact that in the campaign there were “but two parties and but one issue.”
“There is no longer even the pretense of difference between the so-called Republican and Democratic parties. They are substantially one in what they stand for,” Debs declared. “They are opposed to each other on no question of principle but purely in a contest for the spoils of office.”
The words and wisdom of Debs could not be more appropriate, when assessing the 2012 Election. There are often surreal moments in the election where President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney argue over how they are different from one another or argue over whether they have similar policies or views. It conveniently allows the candidates to not discuss substantive issues that, despite the delusions promoted by mass media, boy wonder Romney’s veep Paul Ryan is not going to raise. In fact, CBS reports Americans are not likely to hear any “bold pronouncements” at the parties’ upcoming lavish political conventions.
Firedoglake has been spotlighting third party politics over the past couple days and will continue to do so because the two major parties have proven themselves to be complicit enablers of systemic corruption. The lack of a multi-party system contributes to this corruption by giving Democratic or Republican administrations the cover to erode the rule of law, violate civil liberties, look the other way when massive fraud is committed on Wall Street, abuse secrecy powers by punishing whistleblowers as it simultaneously releases its most endearing national security secrets of the day, advance construction of an unpopular pipeline project behind the scenes despite risks to the environment or stand idly by as climate change becomes more dangerous to the planet, etc.
There are other candidates besides the two major party candidates, who are running, and they deserve more attention, especially for the bold challenge to the rigged system of electoral politics that they have mounted.
Part 1 of an interview with Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate, was published yesterday. Now, here is Part 2 of that interview. We discuss what has been most striking about the erosion of civil liberties in this period of history and what her relationship to grassroots activism would be if she were to be elected president.
KEVIN GOSZTOLA, The Dissenter: You’ve been part of it as an activist and probably been subjected to it, but what would you say has struck you about the erosion, assault or the forced sacrifice of civil liberties that has gone on in the past decade?
JILL STEIN, Green Party Presidential Candidate: Anyone who’s not concerned and up in hiding, I think doesn’t understand and hasn’t seen what’s going on. There’s reasons for all of us to be standing up and fighting to restore our civil liberties, now fighting for all they’re worth, because they continue to be stolen out from under us in a way which is extremely dangerous and does not bode well for the future. It is very important that we use the remaining civil liberties while we have them to oppose—I wouldn’t say drift toward a police state—I’d say a surge toward a police state. [cont’d.]