Interview With Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein: Governing as an Organizer-in-Chief

2012 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein

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.]

Interview with Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein: Governing as an Organizer-in-Chief

2012 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein

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.

It’s really critical that we stand up now to take back our civil liberties, including just across the board our right to First Amendment, to free speech, to protest, to petition government for redress of grievances. What we’ve seen happening to the Occupy movements over the course of the past year is a case in point where actually the White House appears to be orchestrating Homeland Security and the FBI together with local, militarized police forces, who show up in riot gear with even helicopters overhead, and have brutally attacked one Occupy site after another, all with the same playbook, the same talking point. This is clearly a coordinated effort, which makes it all the scarier, and was a flagrant attack on our civil liberties to where peaceful protesters were not only denied their right to peaceful protest but were also viciously attacked for it and beat up and put into jail and threatened with jail sentences. In terms of First Amendment, this is an endangerment.

Add to that the HR 347, the criminalization of protest, which basically gives the federal government to declare any site of protest a national special security event and make it a felony to be there. If you were protesting in a completely legal and peaceful manner, you’re still suddenly at risk for felony charges and a ten-year prison sentence, even if you’re not aware that the status of the ground you stand on has been changed.

Add to that the president has claimed and codified the rights of indefinite detention for him and the country’s executive and this gives him the right to lock any of us and throw away the key, if he so desires, or send us off on rendition if he so desires without having to accuse us of a crime or bring us before a jury. It’s absolutely staggering. And due process guarantees—from eight hundred years ago, the Magna Carta—has been essentially thrown out. The president now has codified his right even to assassinate his enemies. This is someone who went into office saying he was going to close Guantanamo. Well, it appears to avoid the controversies of Guantanamo he has simply adopted a take no prisoners policy and is simply doing away with them out in the field and far beyond those who might be truly justified as enemies of the state. This is president has a policy of murder first and asking questions and establishing identity later, maybe.

This is not a policy that is consistent with American liberty and it’s certainly not consistent with a foreign policy that can win the hearts and minds being courted by our sworn enemies. This is our wonderful recruiting policy for them. It makes clear that our civil liberties are in great jeopardy.
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