There seems to be this misconception being forwarded by a few folks that this party is a far left party and that anyone who dares to breath a word about building coalitions with conservatives on any topic or in sharing any idea that might also be shared by conservatives is wrong. They also tend to imply that this is some sort of new thing, or that it is just a few fringe people. In fact it has been an ongoing principle, and is rooted in the idea of building consensus and consistent with the occupy movement, which this party was at one point close with. If you look at this thread http://justiceparty.websitetoolbox.com/post?id=5732761 from february of last year, you will see that these ideas are nothing new, and were coming from a member of the steering committee. Many of the people advocating the left turn are newer to the party, or have specifically decided to sit it out while the heavy lifting was being done, so are perhaps not as familiar with the JP culture that has been growing as we have been developing these ideas as some of us with varying degrees of left or rightness have found common ground, and learned a new respect for one another, and a new willingness to work together, or to at least put our differences aside to reach common goals. That is the lasting thing that this party offers that no other party does.
The people that promulgate these ideas tend to make personal comments or attacks on a person's "progressiveness" or attack a person's idea because of where it comes from, instead of debating the relevant points; and use inflammatory language based not on the merits or lack thereof, but by insinuating or directly accusing folks of being anti Semitic, t-partiers, conservatives, wrong thinkers, redneck, hick, etc etc etc. This is "right baiting". It is a form of 'red baiting' but red state red as opposed to red commie red, and is equally dastardly and underhanded. Interestingly, these same people tend to take any criticism of their policies as 'red baiting". Baiting of any sort needs to end. It is disrespectful, immature, and toxic to building a vibrant and successful party.
If you take a hard line and cannot debate the ideology, but instead resort to attacking the messenger, that is polemics. It is unhealthy, and there is NO PLACE for it in a free society. There is plenty of room for civilized debate of the issues, but when it devolves into personal attacks, it goes too far. When it comes from members of the party leadership it sends the wrong message, and it encourages an increasingly polemic and ineffectual discourse overall. It will break this party.
This party is a party that has deliberately eschewed labeling ourselves. We have set forth a very progressive set of ideals, vision, and goals, which by and large are progressive and or libertarian, but rather than label ourselves as such, and thus risk alienating vast numbers of people that are more interested in labels than substance. Here is a list that was posted by Walter Mason, again, almost a year ago:
Social and Civic Justice:
Notice there is not a reference to socialism or communism. In fact, there are several decidedly capitalistic goals listed. Progressive capitalism, to be sure, but capitalist none the less. this was an idea championed by Henry Wallace, who was one of the architects of the new deal. He was FDR's sec of Agriculture, VT, and Commerce Secretary, and it was clear that FDR hoped he would be his successor.. Dem party bosses installed Truman at the 44 convention, and in 48 Wallace ran for president as a Progressive Party candidate. Here is a link to an excellent biography and list and transcript of a few of the various speeches and talks he gave. http://newdeal.feri.org/wallace/index.htm The progressive movement in America was founded by a broad base of people. Teddy Roosevelt was a former Republican, but ran on a platform of women's suffrage, racial harmony, and federal programs to help the needy, the handicapped, the elderly... "Fighting Bob" La Follette was a prominent republican/Progressive from wisconsin that formed a progressive caucus as legislator, which included folks from the Dem/Repub/ and Progressive parties. He won the state in the 24 presidential election. Henry Wallace was a republican, then a dem, then a progressive. He was FDR's sec of agriculture, his VP, and Commerce Secretary, and FDR's political heir apparent. He advocated for making peace with the soviets, and left the Dems to run as a progressive presidential candidate in 1944. Fellow new dealer Fiorello Laguardia was a republican, who was also nominated by the Labor party, and was elected mayor of NYC by a coalition of democrats, republicans and labor and his legacy is one of the most progressive of any politician of his day. The New Deal Coalition was a coalition of folks from many different parties and ideologies, that realized we need to work together. To tose that say they find coalitions unworkable, that is obviously hogwash. Bernie Sanders, who is an Independent candidate, a former socialist, one of the early Liberty Union party candidates, one of the founders of the Progressive Coalition (which became the Vermont Progressive Party) could easily win as a Progressive, and is nominated by both Progressive and Democrats each year but refuses the nomination, because he knows the polarizing effect either label will have on his ability to pursue progressive ideals in the senate. He caucuses with democrats, but worked with republican/libertarian Ron Paul to get the Fed audited. He is perhaps the most progressive person in elected federal office at the moment, and one of the most popular senators. He is the only "socialist" to be elected to the senate in over 60 years. America does not want socialism. We want some of the socialist programs, like universal health, but we don't elect socialists. It's hard enough to elect independents or 3rd partiers-- He was the first independent in 40 years..
American politics may have taken a shift to the right, but Americans, by and large have not. But Americans also haven't had an interest in socialism since before WWII. As the Republican party has gone to the right off the cliff, and the Dems have followed them, to take their place to the right of center, there is a HUGE vacuum left where the Democratic party used to be. That is the place the JP needs to fill. Progressive capitalism, with a dash of libertarian on civil liberties and freedoms issues, a clear peace agenda, a clear environmental agenda, and a strengthening of the social safety net including universal health care. Equality, justice, dignity... We do not need to meet the governments jump to the right with our own step to the left... We just need to deliver on the ideals that the Dems used to, and the republicans before them. We need to return to the ideals of the new deal, and institute a millenium of the common citizen. I hope this post will be taken as the constructive post it was meant as. Many folks, myself included, have put alot of time and resources that we cannot afford to waste into building this party because America needs it, and I sincerely hope we do not throw that investment away on an ideology that slips further and further to the left until it is safely irrelevant to the corporate hegemony. We need a broad base of support or we waste our time and efforts. Our party was founded on the ideals of building a broad based coalition, and all voices are welcome and should be encouraged to speak, but we need to retain the focus that has brought us where we are today, and will bring us to ever bigger things as we continue to grow, but we must stick to our core principles, and not let bullies on either side cause us to give up on any of our ideals as a party. There is room in a party for folks of widely disparate ideas. We need to honor and encourage their open andrespectful discussion. That does not mean that as a party we need to, or even should adopt them. Thank You. Respectfully, in solidarity,~Ben Eastwood, VT SPP
I think the issue isn't no growth, it is sustainable growth. We can put mechanisms in place to make sure that growth doesn't become a cancer. I believe that with new technologies, coupled with a careful stewardship of our environment, we can sustain a level of growth globally, and that should be reflected in our party and our culture. I think rampant consumerism is a tumor that needs to be biopsied, and we need to look at how we can achieve sustainable growth on a global scale. I think that could be a growth industry in and of itself: Humanitarian technologies designed to raise the standard of living throughout the developing world, and to helping communities become food and energy self reliant, and connected to the global community, if they want it.
E. O. Wilson, Professor of biology at Harvard University; author of Sociobiology, The Ants, The Diversity of Life, Consilience, and many other books; winner of the U.S. National Medal of Science; Pulitzer Prize winner; Crafoord Prize winner; member of the National Academy of Sciences.
Jane Goodall, World-renowned primatologist; United Nations Messenger of Peace; Commander of the Order of the British Empire; recipient of the Medal of Tanzania; member of the advisory board of BBC Wildlife magazine.
Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians; co-founder of the Blue Planet Project; councilor on the World Future Council; winner of the Right Livelihood Award; former Senior Advisor on Water to the United Nations; author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water, as well as numerous other books.
Chris Matthews, Host of Hardball with Chris Matthews (MSNBC) and The Chris Matthews Show (NBC News); author of several best-sellers; regular commentator on NBC’s Today Show.
Herman Daly, Professor of ecological economics at the University of Maryland; cofounder of the International Society for Ecological Economics; author of Beyond Growth and Steady-State Economics; coauthor of For the Common Good; recipient of the Right Livelihood Award.
David Suzuki, Cofounder of the David Suzuki Foundation; host of television program The Nature of Things; author of The Sacred Balance; Companion of the Order of Canada.
Bill McKibben, Global warming activist; author of The End of Nature, Deep Economy, and Eaarth (among other books); founder of stepitup07.org.
Caroline Lucas, Member of British Parliament; former member of European Parliament; leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.
Vandana Shiva, Director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology, and Ecology; author of Water Wars: Pollution, Profits, and Privatization and Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge; recipient of the Right Livelihood Award.
Wendell Berry, Farmer; author of more than forty books; past fellow of both the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.Here is their position statement:
1) Economic growth, as defined in standard economics textbooks, is an increase in the production and consumption of goods and services, and;
2) Economic growth occurs when there is an increase in the multiplied product of population and per capita consumption, and;
3) The global economy grows as an integrated whole consisting of agricultural, extractive, manufacturing, and services sectors that require physical inputs and produce wastes, and;
4) Economic growth is often and generally indicated by increasing real gross domestic product (GDP) or real gross national product (GNP), and;
5) Economic growth has been a primary, perennial goal of many societies and most governments, and;
6) Based upon established principles of physics and ecology, there is a limit to economic growth, and;
7) There is increasing evidence that global economic growth is having negative effects on long-term ecological and economic welfare…
1) There is a fundamental conflict between economic growth and environmental protection (for example, biodiversity conservation, clean air and water, atmospheric stability), and;
2) There is a fundamental conflict between economic growth and the ecological services underpinning the human economy (for example, pollination, decomposition, climate regulation), and;
3) Technological progress has had many positive and negative ecological and economic effects and may not be depended on to reconcile the conflict between economic growth and long-term ecological and economic welfare, and;
4) Economic growth, as gauged by increasing GDP, is an increasingly dangerous and anachronistic goal, especially in wealthy nations with widespread affluence, and;
5) A steady state economy (that is, an economy with a relatively stable, mildly fluctuating product of population and per capita consumption) is a viable alternative to a growing economy and has become a more appropriate goal in large, wealthy economies, and;
6) The long-run sustainability of a steady state economy requires its establishment at a size small enough to avoid the breaching of reduced ecological and economic capacity during expected or unexpected supply shocks such as droughts and energy shortages, and;
7) A steady state economy does not preclude economic development, a dynamic, qualitative process in which different technologies may be employed and the relative prominence of economic sectors may evolve, and;
8) Upon establishing a steady state economy, it would be advisable for wealthy nations to assist other nations in moving from the goal of economic growth to the goal of a steady state economy, beginning with those nations currently enjoying high levels of per capita consumption, and;
9) For many nations with widespread poverty, increasing per capita consumption (or, alternatively, more equitable distributions of wealth) remains an appropriate goal.
People are entitled to their own opinions. I think unchecked growth is bad, but I think it is possible to grow without increasing the drain on resources, through increased efficiencies, and through more dispersed and local initiatives. I think new technologies, like 3d printing, will change manufacturing and the way we consume things. Imagine, I could build a printer that can make plastic gadgets, and then the used plastic bits could be directly recycled. the technology is here now, and being developed outside of the big industries in open source projects like rip-rap. These technologies could enable an artist in point a to create a piece of art, and post it on the internet, and sell copies of his sculpture, that people could buy copies of in points b,c and d, and print themselves at home, with no need for the artist to even have any means of production. This could be just about anything you can make from plastic, at home printers pretty much just use plastic right now, but there are printers that use metal, and some use food, and it wont be long before we see micro factories where communities can set up a printer and a cnc machine and build anything, even a car. You could order your blender from company a, and it could be built right down the block from you, no matter where you live... this levels the playing field, and in fact, may give the advantage to the little guy that can be flexible...
My point is, I don't think we can look at the world through old rules, and I feel that if we look at other priorities besides profit, we can still find room for profit, and not wreck the planet, or promote disparity. I think America's growth and consumerism are too high, but I think the world in aggregate can support growth, as long as it is controlled growth, and that, just as technology has provided growth in the past, it can in the future. The issue is to balance it, to make sure that our processes and habits are actually sustainable.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that an estimated 60 per cent of the ecosystems that support life on Earth--fresh water, fisheries and the atmosphere--are quickly being degraded and depleted. They are not expected to last past 2050.
"While technology can change rapidly, political and social institutions generally change very slowly. Furthermore, they almost never change in anticipation of a social need, but only in response to one.Most delays, physical or social, reduce the stability of the world system and increase the likelihood of the overshoot mode."If there was any time to talk about the limits of growth it is now. Several studies have found that it will be impossible to successfully limit global warming if economic growth continues, if fact, negative growth, i.e., economic contraction, might be needed. There seems to be growing consensus that we are headed for 4C which it is believed will end civilization as we know it. I would say it is totally irresponsible not to at least talk about limits to growth in the middle of this climate crisis. Perhaps economic growth can continue without causing overshoot and collapse but more dialog is needed on this matter. The signs are everywhere that we have exceeded the Earth's capacity to sustain billions of humans living in an increasingly industrialized world. It is unlikely that the Republicans or Democrats can discuss it because they are consumed with winning elections. It is also unlikely that the mainstream media can discuss it because they are concerned about advertising revenues. Who then can discuss it in a political context? If anybody it would be the left wing media and left wing political parties. The former exist without advertising and the latter have little hope of winning elections regardless. The quote above from the Limits of Growth should be taken very seriously.
"While technology can change rapidly, political and social institutions generally change very slowly. Furthermore, they almost never change in anticipation of a social need, but only in response to one.
Most delays, physical or social, reduce the stability of the world system and increase the likelihood of the overshoot mode."If there was any time to talk about the limits of growth it is now. Several studies have found that it will be impossible to successfully limit global warming if economic growth continues, if fact, negative growth, i.e., economic contraction, might be needed. There seems to be growing consensus that we are headed for 4C which it is believed will end civilization as we know it. I would say it is totally irresponsible not to at least talk about limits to growth in the middle of this climate crisis. Perhaps economic growth can continue without causing overshoot and collapse but more dialog is needed on this matter. The signs are everywhere that we have exceeded the Earth's capacity to sustain billions of humans living in an increasingly industrialized world. It is unlikely that the Republicans or Democrats can discuss it because they are consumed with winning elections. It is also unlikely that the mainstream media can discuss it because they are concerned about advertising revenues. Who then can discuss it in a political context? If anybody it would be the left wing media and left wing political parties. The former exist without advertising and the latter have little hope of winning elections regardless. The quote above from the Limits of Growth should be taken very seriously.
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