If you are like me, you were raised believing that the Green Party was a party of Socialists and Communists, and if you were taught in school like I was taught in school, then you were taught to believe that if the Green Party was a party of Socialists and Communists, then by default they were a party of Fascists and Dictators. I have just finished doing extensive research on them (including reading their entire sixty-five page platform) and I can assure you that you probably aren't getting the full Green Party story.
Started in New Zealand and brought to prominence in Europe, The Green Party came to the United States in the 1980s. Then it was known as The Green Committees of Correspondence, a decentralized network of green organizations formed by members of the 'North American Bioregional Congress.' In 1984, the electoral branch of the Green Party was founded by 60 people at the Macalaster College in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1991 the name Greens/Green Party USA was adopted as the electoral and non-electoral wings of the organizations merged. In American electoral politics, The Green Party gained prominence in 1996 and 2000 when they ran Ralph Nader for President. As of 2005 The Green Party had 305,000 registered members in states allowing party registration, and tens of thousands of members and contributors in the rest of the country. Currently there are 133 elected Greens across the United States and in the 2008 Presidential election they were on 31 state ballots, plus the District of Columbia, which translates to 70% of voters and 68% of Electoral College votes.
"Community-based economics constitutes an alternative to both corporate capitalism and state socialism" seems to be the best and easiest way to summarize The Green Party platform, and is a direct quote from the previously mentioned platform.
The Green Party does not take, accept or use any corporate money and opposes the bail-out of corporations, big banks and the automobile industry. They believe in increasing taxes on the corporations and the super-rich, including taxing pollution. They want to end tax incentives to send jobs overseas. They also want to enact a wealth tax of 0.5% per year on an individuals assets over $5 million.
Low, Middle and Working Class
Conversely the Green Party wants to exempt people earning less than $25,000 per year and families earning less than $50,000 per year from federal and state income taxes. They also believe that food clothing, prescription medications, other necessities and second-hand goods should be exempt from sales taxes. Along with affirming the importance of access to a livable income, the Green Party also stresses the importance of a universal basic income (also known as a guaranteed income) regardless of health, employment, or marital status, saying, "The amount should be sufficient so that anyone who is unemployed can afford basic food and shelter."
Decentralization of Government
But also, the Green Party is not for a centralized government, but instead they are for more individual participation and communal coalescing. They believe that everything, schooling, health care, agriculture, energy and business should all be handled at the most local level possible. They also believe that students, children, the homeless, prisoners, felons, patients, small farmers and business owners should all have a seat at the table and a part in the discussion.
They also oppose organizations such as NAFTA, CAFTA, IMF and the World Bank, calling them out for being detrimental to the individual, the community and the planet.
And the Green Party, of course, has a very environmental platform. They are against nuclear energy, as it is expensive and hazardous. Instead of pursuing the traditional routes of coal, oil and natural gas, the Green Party would like to see us pursue energy systems based on solar, wind, geothermal, marine and other clean renewable energy sources. Often times it is complained that these sorts of things are costly, and the Green Party has considered that, which is why they suggest, "State-level financing policies can help homeowners install expensive renewable energy where the county pays the up-front cost and the system is paid for via the homeowners' property taxes."
When it comes to Immigration, the Green Party doesn't believe in a fence, a border, a national ID system, nor do they support the E-verify system, the use of the National Guard as border patrol, or the focus of police as immigration control, saying, "We must resist proposals that use illegal immigration as an excuse to put us all under further government monitoring and control by means of a national ID card or other identification and tracking systems."
They believe that the wait lists need to be reduced and that the system needs to be made more efficient. Current numeric caps on immigrant visas must be increased, they believe. Also, pre-1996 screening criteria for legal permanent residency and citizenship applications should be restored.
As always, it can be difficult to write a concise piece on a political party, The Green Party supports a universal, single-payer healthcare system and the repeal of No-Child Left Behind, they support the legalization of cannabis/marijuana, but want to put extra taxes on soda. I encourage you, if you are interested in The Green Party, to do some more research of your own, and you can find links to do that provided below.
"If history is violence and sex, I'd rather not pay my respects. If I've caused offense, I'm just trying to talk sense. Forgive me if I'm too direct or politically incorrect." Jon Foreman