Sunday, December 09, 2007

Elaine Brown Campaign Statement




As a former leader of the Black Panther
Party, a Green Party candidate for mayor of
Brunswick, Georgia (2005), an author and college
lecturer, a community organizer—as co-founder of
Mothers Advocating Juvenile Justice and the
National Alliance for Radical Prison Reform, and
a local leader of the “No on One” campaign
(advocating same gender partnership rights)
(Atlanta, 1997-2004)—and as executive director of
the Michael Lewis (“Little B”) Legal Defense
Committee, an activist in the campaigns to free
political prisoners Imam Jamil Al-Amin, Chip
Fitzgerald and Siddique Hasan, and simply as a
black woman from the ghetto (Philadelphia), I
have a long history and significant credentials
in the struggle for social, political and
economic justice in the United States.

In the absence of a national progressive
movement toward the institution of fundamental
change in the United States, I believe a ballot
cast for a Green Party candidate or issue
represents the most significant instrument for
change available for the Marginalized
Millions—black people, brown people, other people
of color, poor working people, those languishing
in prison, those without decent housing or health
care and all the other oppressed people trying to
survive at the bottom of life in the most
powerful nation in the world. That is, change
will not be e-mailed, rapped in a CD or YouTubed.
To paraphrase Malcolm X, for the masses of
disenfranchised and disaffected millions in
America, the ballot is the bullet!

It is my intention to use my presidential
campaign to galvanize the non-voting Marginalized
Millions to seize the ballot of the Green Party
toward their self-empowerment. The Green Party,
too, must seize this moment of national malaise
and disillusion to come out of the morass of
being a repository for disgruntled Democrats and
open the Party’s doors to the non-voting millions
so as to actively and powerfully challenge the
status quo and become an effective force in the
national political arena. I believe I am a
catalyst the Green Party can use for this
necessary transition.

Beyond a call for the immediate,
unconditional and complete withdrawal of U.S.
troops and war machinery from Iraq and
Afghanistan, my platform focuses on the repeal of
the “three-strikes” crime laws across the nation.
No other domestic issue is more urgent for black
people, brown people, poor people. This
Clinton-promulgated law (1994) and its progeny
caused the doubling of America’s prison
population in the ten years since passage. The
result is, over two million people are presently
incarcerated in America, with five million more
on parole or probation, with families
representing millions more affected by their
incarceration, and millions of formerly
incarcerated people. In general, this mass
incarceration—distinguishing the U.S. as the
country with the highest incarceration rate in
the world!—has devastated black, brown and poor
communities, further impoverishing them and
destroying familial foundations. In addition, the
“three-strikes” crime laws overturned the
100-year-old juvenile justice system, allowing
for the inhumane housing of children in adult
prisons, in violation of the U.N. Convention on
the Rights of the Child. Finally, it has
generated a nefarious economic scheme of
financial gain for private prison profiteers.—For
blacks, this has been particularly oppressive,
given that 50% of prisoners are black, as
compared to 13% of the population, reflecting the
ongoing, institutionalization of racism in
America.—This criminalization and mass
incarceration of the poor, when compared to the
glorification of mass murder in Iraq and
elsewhere, demonstrates that in the United
States, crime is a political question. This law,
as it exists around the nation, particularly in
California where prison overcrowding has rendered
the state facilities gulags, must be repealed!

My platform, then, is one that urges
humanizing this society, as follows, a program
that can be easily supported by the immediate
transfer of the billions of dollars spent on
war—one trillion dollars last year alone:

1. Repeal of the “three-strikes” crime laws,
restoring a juvenile justice system, funding
programs of education and rehabilitation for
those incarcerated and transitional housing and
employment for those released, and restoring
voting and other civil rights to prisoners and
former prisoners.

2. Full and free health care for everyone, as
exists in most civilized countries.

3. Complete and free primary, secondary and
higher education for everyone, eliminating the
exclusion of the children of poor and working
families from obtaining a college education.

4. Complete opening of the borders of the United
States accompanied by the institution of a
guaranteed minimum living wage of $25/hour for
all workers, so as to elucidate the so-called
immigration question now confounded by racist
assaults on Mexicans and Central Americans coming
into the U.S. to work and to provide all people
working in the United States with a decent
standard of living.

5. Creation of a base of free or low-cost, decent
housing, so as to eliminate homelessness and
provide every human being the fundamental right
to a decent place to live.

6. The repeal of all laws that discriminate
against or dehumanize people on account of
ethnicity, gender, nationality, sexuality,
religion, age, or disability, and the creation of
laws that guarantee non-discrimination and human
rights to all.

7. Institution of laws and policies that promote
purification and cleansing of the air, water and
land and that outlaw polluting, contaminating or
adulterating them, toward reversal of the
pollution of nature itself, particularly as this
pollution seeps into and devastates the lives of
black and brown and other poor people trying to
breathe and live in the ghettos, barrios and
hollers of this nation.

8. The payment of reparations by the United State
government to native peoples for the theft of
land and to Gullah/Geechee and other African
slave descendants for slave labor.

9. Total dismantling of nuclear and other weapons
of mass destruction by the United States, and
recognition of and adherence to all international
agreements as to war, crime and human rights.

10. Imposition of wealth taxes and reduction of
taxes for poor and working people, toward a
complete and fair redistribution of the wealth of
the nation.

I have embraced and worked for the ideals
and issues set forth here, reflected in the Green
Party’s Ten Key Values, for most of my life. It
is my hope to seize the opportunity of being the
Green Party presidential nominee to widely
advocate for and promulgate this platform among
the Marginalized Millions to bring about the
concretization of it through election of Green
Party candidates in every city and state as well
as nationally.

Elaine Brown Online

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