Greens Work with Grassroots

We all know that the Democratic party is moving to the right. Is the solution to remain loyal to the Democrats, or to create an alternative party that can challenge them from the outside? Patrisia Gonzales and Roberto Rodriguez' column ["Black Eye for Green Party," 10/99 PP], and the statement made [in that column] by the National Monument Protection Coalition regarding the Green Party, show that this debate is alive and well among progressives.

The Greens feel that the loyalist strategy has been tried, and has failed. Our friends in the Democratic party have seen their candidates lose primaries and their leaders charge to the right. Clinton and Gore have passed versions of NAFTA and Welfare Reform identical to the Republicans'. In New Mexico, the Democratic leadership has propped up crony monopolies in energy and telecommunications.

Much of the Coalition's anger at the Greens stems from the refusal of Bob Anderson, our Congressional candidate in the first district, to drop out after the Democrat, Phil Maloof, agreed to oppose the road through the Petroglyphs. What no one's saying is that Maloof supported this road 100% as a state legislator, and Anderson and the Greens helped the Coalition years before Maloof changed his mind. Everyone involved is happy to admit, privately, that Maloof would never have flip-flopped if there hadn't been a Green in the race -- but to say so publicly would be embarrassing to the Democrat the Coalition endorsed.

American history shows that third parties are essential to revitalizing the political system. This country's voting system makes voters face hard choices, and the question of whether to support third parties is not a simple one. By working on reforms like Instant Runoff Voting -- where a voter could vote Green first and Democrat second, and have their vote transferred to the Democrat if the Green doesn't have enough votes to win -- we hope to make these choices easier.

But in the meantime, we intend to keep working at the grassroots. In the past seven years, the New Mexico Greens have helped Somos un Pueblo Unido, a local immigrants' rights group, to pass a policy barring Santa Fe city police and staff from demanding proof of citizenship. We have lobbied for property tax relief for long-term Hispanic families. We have turned people out to rallies for Local 1199 on health care and labor issues, and helped pass a strong collective bargaining ordinance. We have helped keep bus systems from being cut. Our candidates for Congress, Carol Miller and Bob Anderson, have run on issues like universal health care and social security, and gained between 11% and 17% at the polls. At the local level, we have elected four people to office, including two City Councilors, a school board member, and a Municipal Judge -- Fran Gallegos -- who has been a leader in establishing alternative sentencing and bilingual programs for the court.

We are not as diverse as we need to be, and there is no question that we must do better. But we are working on the right issues, and we have the right platform. In time, we hope that our work on social justice and economic issues will earn us the kind of membership we need, and this is beginning to happen.

The Democrats are no longer serving the needs of progressives, people of color, or low-income people. New Mexico, and the United States, needs an alternative. The Greens have strengths and weaknesses, and we hope to be part of the solution. We intend to work with the Coalition and our other allies to build a third party that can help create real political change.

Green Party member
City Councilor, District 2
Santa Fe, N.M.

Corporate Criminality is a Farce

Consider a flawed concept which makes dupes of us: that a business criminal activity can be performed somehow without the existence of a PERSON in an organization called a "corporation." That this legal fiction is somehow created into a real, responsible "PERSON".

By definition a PERSON is an individual entity, a human being, usually, with intellect and free will. He/she will have an individual's name. An 'activity' is not a person.

To pretend otherwise is illogical, and changes reality into play-acting, and in this case, a tragic farce.

Please name the real person's name, who made the basic criminal decision, by virtue of his/her willful choice, in stating or otherwise communicating that he chose this criminal act to be done. The major or controlling stockholder, or fronting director, basically.

To talk about "corporate persons" is the same as talking about actors by their character names. Children do this when gossiping about soap-opera characters, as though they were real persons.

Are we not able to name the individual person or persons who were responsible actors ownership-wise, director-wise, or at the very least administrator-wise, criminally, when they acted in the employ of this legal entity "corporation"?

Just because law-makers and lawyers and judges choose to play-act about real, responsible crimes, does not mean that we have to honor that lugubrious farce. Does it?

Carlyle, Ill

Farm Medicine

The farm crisis is finally beginning to get media attention, but the solutions that are being offered are too little and too late. The Congress and the State Governments are locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen. After the ranks of the farmer have been reduced from 6.5 million in 1930 to less than 2 million today, the politicians are finally taking notice of the dimensions of the disaster.

The aid that they offer, however, is inadequate and unsuitable for the size and scope of the disaster that has wrecked the farm economy. A solution more commensurate with the magnitude and the nature of the disease would be a forgiveness of the farm debt. The farm debt is currently pegged at about $172 billion nationwide. At a 10 per cent interest rate this amounts of $17.2 billion each year in interest charges alone. Some economists indicate that net farm income for 1999 may be as low as $40 billion. This means that the interest bill paid by farmers of $17.2 billion will be equal to 42 per cent of net farm income.

This interest bill is too big a burden for our farmers to bear. They will never to able to repay the $172 billion debt plus the $17.2 billion per year in interest payments. Therefore, the farm debt should be forgiven. Farmers are suffering from the global economy, low commodity prices, high debt load and natural disasters. Their ranks are being decimated, yet nobody even asks that their debts be forgiven.

The last time I heard, the farmers are the ones who produce the food and fiber for the nation. Bankers do not produce food and fiber. Bankers do not suffer from heavy debt load, low commodity prices or natural disaster. Neither is the prosperity of the banking class being reduced. The banks are doing fine, thank you. So why cannot the banks and the government forgive the farm debt and help our farmers in their time of trial?

The answer to this question speaks volumes as to which class controls our government and our economy. The forgiveness of the farm debt would help the farmers and hurt bankers and creditors. The bankers and the creditors must always remain whole, as the lawyers are fond of saying. The banks and the creditors cannot ever lose a penny interest or a penny of principal. Yet the farmers are losing members from their class, their land, and their livelihoods. Farmers, though, are not permitted to receive any real financial relief, like the forgiveness of the farm debt because farmers do not control the economy and the government. The bankers and the creditors are firmly in control.

Therefore, farmers will continue to be sacrificed, their debts will not be forgiven, more and more capital will come out to the farms, farms will balloon in size, and the creditors and the bankers will then be in charge of food and fiber production in our great country. Does anyone seriously think that bankers can perform the farmerís function? Will the banker class be able to feed our people? I, myself, would not bet too much money on the success of the banker-farmer.

Washington, Penn.

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