Wednesday, August 09, 2006

"It is important to tell voters the Green Party is the only anti-war political party. The Green Party is the only peace party."

GPMI Chair Sylvia Inwood's Address to the State Nominating Convention in Shaftsburg MI on 8/5/06

4th Key Value of the Green Party of the United States

It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize, and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. Gandhi

My personal introduction to the creed of nonviolence came from two people in the late 1960’s. One was 20-year old woman who gave me a calendar from the War Resisters’ League. The other was my boyfriend who had just burned his draft card. He gave me a biography of Mohandas K. Gandhi. In 1969 I became one of three founders of the Detroit chapter of the WRL. (I was 15 and the
other two people were quite old, a Quaker couple in their early 30’s.) There were sit-ins at the draft board downtown. Someone mailed a dead fish to the draft board where all correspondence pertaining to the individual had to be kept on file. That November, I went to my first anti-war demonstration, riding to Washington DC with some Friends with a capital F, Quakers, that is. We marched on the Pentagon, got sprayed with tear-gas, heard Arlo Guthrie and others sing and speak, and crashed in somebody’s townhouse but committed no acts of violence. Six months later I joined a commune where we tried to follow the teachings of Gandhi. Gandhi became a great influence on my thinking.

When examined within the context of human history, non-violence is a truly radical idea. The history of human beings is a litany of bloody battles fought over religion, over land and other resources. It is a history of creatures murdering and oppressing their own kind and destroying their only home, the planet earth. Violence begets only violence. War begets more war.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy? Gandhi

While there are specific local issues for each candidate to address, I believe it is important, in this election cycle, to see the big picture, to keep making the connection between the wars being waged here at home and those waged abroad. While our government ignores or punishes the working poor, the unemployed, women, children, the elderly and the dispossessed, Bush and his cronies are waging corporate imperialist wars throughout the planet. State and city funds are tithed yearly to the federal government. These are funds urgently needed in our state and in our cities and rural areas to repair school buildings, to provide textbooks, for healthcare, for transportation, to create jobs, to feed and house people. Instead our money is going to Washington to fund Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; to provide military aid to Israel so they can murder Lebanese civilians; and to pay for all the other dirty little wars and dirty big wars this government has its blood-stained hands in.

It is important to tell voters the Green Party is the only anti-war political party. The Green Party is the only peace party.

I would also like to welcome those new members who are here to join in a coalition effort between the Green Party and other activists and groups. Some of these individuals are here seeking our nomination to un as anti-war candidates on the GPMI ballot-line this November. Others are here as supporters. They join the ranks of long-time GP members who also come from many different ideological directions.

I’d like to share a little family anecdote here. A few of you know that, despite my involvement in Green electoral politics, I am also a 4th-generation Italian anarchist. My grandpa the anarchist used to play cards regularly with some of my grandma’s brothers. One of these brothers was also an anarchist; the other was a socialist. At the last of these card games, my grandpa and the socialist brother-in-law got in a heated argument over the game and one accused the other of cheating. My grandpa stormed out. When he got home, he ranted at my grandma about her brother ending with, “Well, what can you expect from a Socialist?!” This happened around the late 1930’s. My grandfather never spoke to that brother-in-law again. So, sectarianism is nothing new to the Left. Though we have all arrived here today by traveling on many different paths, I believe we can work together to create positive social change. One way to work toward social change is to elect individuals to public office who truly speak for the people and who are committed to Green values. I urge all delegates here today to listen carefully to all those seeking nomination. Hear what they have to say, read their statements, consider their presence and choose the ones you think will best represent Green values and who will best be able to reach out beyond this small group assembled here to the great number of disaffected voters. We need to let Americans know they don’t have to vote for the lesser of two evils. There is an alternative.

It’s called the Green Party.

No comments: