Here is the speech that I gave at the University of Maryland College Park Green Party Rally on November 6, 2016. Other speakers included Kamesha Clark, candidate for CD04, Nancy Wallace, candidate for CD08, Alli McCracken of CODEPINK, Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, candidates for president and vice president.
Thank you. Thank you for being here today. How’s everyone feeling? Are you excited about this election?
I am because we are living in an historic era.
We live in a time of unprecedented crisis and opportunity. We face a growing wealth divide and debt, the climate crisis, escalation of military conflicts and a dysfunctional government unable to respond to the people’s needs.
But out of these crises, the seeds of resistance are growing and blossoming. You are living in a time of great transformation. From crisis comes the opportunity to think boldly about the future we want to create.
Decades of lesser evil voting have brought us the two most disliked major party presidential candidates in history. This is what lesser evil voting does – it drives a race to the bottom, it empowers the oligarchs to be even more brazen in their power grabs and corruption. But the tools that have been used so skillfully in the past to manipulate nominations and to convince voters to support evil are failing.
When Bernie Sanders ran for President, the Democratic Party political machine did all that it could to stop him from succeeding. Wikileaks revealed and continues to reveal the corruption of the DNC, the Democratic National Committee. It was the people, including many of you and people who became politically engaged for the first time, who fought back and lifted Bernie up through small donations, volunteering and all types of creative tactics. And now that your eyes are open, you cannot close them. You are awake even though the system wants you to sleep.
While the commercial media distracts people with scandals to avoid discussing the pressing crises we face, the people’s media is present to expose police violence against black and brown people, to show militarized attacks against water protectors at Standing Rock in North Dakota and to bring us the voices of the people’s candidates like Dr. Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. When they were excluded from the debates by the phony Commission on Presidential Debates, which is really a private corporation run by the Republicans and Democrats, Jill and Ajamu reached tens of millions of people with their truth and their message of transformational change using Twitter and Facebook.
I face similar obstacles in my campaign for US Senate for Maryland. My competitor Chris Van Hollen said publicly that he would debate me on TV, but when I joined the only televised debate in Maryland, he stood by as police forcefully removed me from the stage. He turned down offers from other TV outlets to hold debates, including at least one outlet willing to host a three-way debate. Why? Because he doesn’t want you to know that he has raised record amounts of money from the gas industry, health insurers and weapons makers. He doesn’t want you to know that he supports fracking while I have been doing all that I can to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. He wants to leave solving the climate crisis up to the market while I say that it’s too late for that. We need a major mobilization now with a clear plan to create to a clean energy economy and 100% renewable energy by 2030. He doesn’t want you to know that he supports bail outs for the health insurance industry while I have been fighting for a national Medicare for all health system so that every person has access to the same high quality comprehensive care without fear of financial ruin because of an accident or illness. He doesn’t want you to know that he will support Clinton’s dangerous plans for a no-fly zone over Syria which would heighten the risk of a nuclear war with Russia while we support respect for international law and resolving tensions in the Middle East through peaceful means.
For every crisis that we face, there are solutions. But these solutions will not come from the parties of oligarchs. They must come from the people, from us.
History teaches us what we must do to achieve great transformation. It takes a broad and diverse social movement working in solidarity. And it takes a political party that represents the values and platform of that movement.
It’s happening. We are living in a transformational era. We see it through our organization, Popular Resistance.org, where we cover movements in the US and around the world that are uniting to stop violence against and exploitation of people and the Earth for profit. A great coming together is happening. For the first time ever, hundreds of tribes have joined forces to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. And thousands of organizations representing a range of issues are working to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPP, from being ratified this fall. The social movement is growing.
And the political party we need is also growing. That is the Green Party founded on the four pillars of peace, social justice, sustainability and grassroots democracy. The Green Party is young in the US but despite the obstacles put in our way by the oligarch parties, we are persevering and we will continue to persevere because we must. We must build a party of, by and for the people.
This is the moment. This is where you come in. We have arrived at this moment because of the groundwork laid down by many generations before you. Thousands of people, tens of thousands of people, most without recognition, have risen up and fought for their rights to vote, for an education, health care, jobs with living wages, peace and a livable future. And there have been some victories along the way.
And now we are reaching a tipping point. If we continue to build and grow, we will win. Your generation has the potential to be the generation that makes our dreams a reality. Ask yourself right now what you will do to be part of this great wave of justice rising.
One opportunity is coming immediately after the election. It is the lame duck uprising to stop the TPP. If you sign up at my website, Flowers for Senate, we will send you information about it.
Are you ready to rise up? Are you ready to fight back? Are you ready to win? Vote Green in 2016!