On Grassroots Democracy
by E. J. Sieyes Le Tiers Etat, 1789, posed the question “What is a nation?” stating that its essence was a single, collective body of people, living under a single common law, and represented by one legislature. This writing advanced the thoughts of Voltaire and the principles of democratic government so recently obtained in North America. In the monarchical, feudal government that was France at that time, there was the nobility, a privileged class that set itself apart from the great mass of the citizenry. The nobility isolated themselves from the people by their wealth, manipulating the government to their own ends, enacting provisions for their own benefit, and exempting themselves from those laws regulating the lives of the citizen. The wealthy, privileged nobility we called the Second Estate, owned the government and corrupted its processes to amass even greater wealth at the expense of the citizenry. Continue reading
A NEW YORK FOR THE 99%
A voter appeal for Howie Hawkins for Governor. As we enter the last few days of this election season, I believe that it is vitally important to remind everyone of the political dynamics behind the Howie Hawkins for Governor campaign. Now more than ever, we need people like Howie Hawkins to really represent the 99% of New York and make this a state that works for all of its residents. Our current political and economic situation is one where Wall Street, oil companies, and the big banks control not only our state legislature but the Governor’s office as well. Andrew Cuomo is just as much a servant to the 1% as any Republican found in the state, thus starkly demonstrating that there is no real substantial difference between the two major parties. In fact, our current Governor is most likely to allow the dangerous practice of fracking in New York after this election if he wins another term. Therefore, there needs to be an alternative to the status quo. An alternative that bans fracking, fully funds public education, and makes sure that New Yorkers are able to earn a living wage. We are at a tipping point, and that is why we need Howie Hawkins, the Green Party, and the Green New Deal platform now more than ever. Continue reading
ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY IN FOUR DIMENSIONS
Draft of a potential TEDx talk. In order to succeed, economic democracy has to be more than worker owned businesses. It must be comprehensive and include the four factors of labor, money, resources, and technology because those factors are vital for a functioning economy. And all of these factors must be considered in order to put forward an alternative. Economic democracy is the combination of these parts in a positive synergy. When these factors work together, solutions to immediate problems are met. A working model of a new type of economy is created. There is the tools necessary for the expression of the individual and collective desires of a society. Most importantly, economic democracy is the ability to practice real autonomy and self-determination to its fullest extent. The result is both inclusion and independence, which is the heart of democratic action. Continue reading
Rampant Political Corruption
by E. J. Sieyes Governor Cuomo and his administration present a marvelous media image about attacking political corruption in New York. Yet on probing more deeply we see little real impact and are compelled to raise the question as to whether this is a sincere effort or only a political maneuver to remove obstacles to the partisan apparatus of a Cuomo political machine. Continue reading
Da State Of Dis-Union
by E. J. Sieyes This week those in the movement fifty years ago have suffered a loss, a prophet of the 60’s, the closest person we had to a patron saint of the Hudson Valley, and a true spokes-person for the interests of all the people. It is so ironic that coincident with Seeger’s death we also saw a State Of The Union address by someone who many of us hoped and believed would be the one president most likely to turn Seeger’s vision into reality. Yet now we see a president who most Americans believe to be the worst since Herbert Hoover. When we see what this president has and has not done, is there any wonder approval ratings are abysmal. No matter what someone felt about Harry Truman, people all admired his principle that he alone was accountable. Instead, today, we have a president who, rather than unite the people, ran the most divisive political campaign since Lyndon. No “Buck Stops Here” plaque on his desk – instead we see “Blame Congress” and “He Did It Too” excuses. Continue reading
Invasive Species And Legislative Responsibility
by E. J. Sieyes Over the past fifty years a number of green organizations have become increasingly aware of and taken proactive measures to combat invasive foreign species. The progression of African bees and Fire Ants occasionally receives media attention. Bamboo is now widely visible along the commuter train right of way outside Washington, D.C., and this weed is beginning to invade old growth forests in central and western Maryland and Virginia. The Asian Clam began appearing in Florida waters over fifty years ago, and the proliferation of exotic tropical reptiles like the Burmese Python receives occasional press notice. Other invasive species can be found all over the nation. The US Department of Agriculture maintains an information resource describing invasive species and control measures of the states and federal government. Continue reading
by E. J. Sieyes During the past year 60 Minutes aired several program segments dealing with political abuse and corruption. Most recently on October 20th they revealed the open secret about the abuse of campaign funds by both Republican and Democrat elected officials. Why are we surprised? More so, why do we accept such behavior? After all are our elected officials, our Senators and Congressmen, supposed to be virtuous and set examples for the rest of us? Instead they exploit their election to office for political greed and personal financial gain. Continue reading
Election Day Thoughts
By E. J. Sieyes Compared to last year, this election season has been relatively quiet. Campaign rhetoric has been tame and a recent campaign ad, “restore trust and integrity in your government – vote Democratic”, brought howls of laughter when aired in public. The only Green candidate on the local ballot was a machine Democrat. We need a more broadly-based and intensive outreach effort to field more real Green candidates. Grass roots democracy fails if our message doesn’t find a home. Continue reading
Are You A Quiche-eater?
by E. J. Sieyes There was a time when we trusted both our government and the press. A time when everyone liked Ike, and we believed Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow. A time when over half the nation’s population was under 21 and in the innocence of youth many of us saw where change was needed. We lived it. We were the catalyst for change. We ended a war. We drove off a corrupt president. We began the march for social equity and sexual freedom. But not everyone was a do-er. We had dead weight, straphangers, the poser who would go to an action only for the chance to smoke some dope and get laid. Their contribution to the mass was hardly worth the drag they placed on the movement. Continue reading
Our Economy Or The Environment?
Contemplations By E. J. Sieyes #1. Our Economy or the Environment? A criticism raised by industrialists and labor is that our environmental initiatives constrain the economy and as a result cost American jobs. In some ways this is a legitimate complaint. Many of our past initiatives do have an adverse impact on the economy, costing jobs and raising the prices of American-made products. Yet a choice between jobs and the environment is not our only option – we can have both. In fact our efforts to protect the environment can strengthen American industry, add jobs, and bolster our economy. For this to happen we must recognize that we live in a world where the environment is global while our economy is local. Wind and water have no national boundaries. What affects the environment in one nation eventually impacts all nations world-wide. Satellite images show a huge cloud of air pollution over Asia, pollution that did not exist just a few decades ago. Samples of ocean fish taken close to the estuaries of major Asian rivers are starting to show measurable amounts of organic toxins and heavy metals, again to the extent not seen decades ago. This pollution would not exist if measures well-known at the time were taken to prevent pollution as we grew Asian industry. Industrialists argue against the environment based on cost of pollution abatement. Yet the cost of such measures as would effectively reduce or eliminate this added burden of World pollution would have been economical to incorporate at the time of creating this Asian industrial capacity. Why did industrialists and business magnates not accept their responsibility to the larger World civilization? Did they fear it would cut into profits and the amount of wealth they could amass? Do they intend to pass on this burden to their descendents while reaping immediate profits exploiting nations unable or unwilling to protect their environment? Consider the impact on the environment if the cost of environmental protection was mandatory in the total economic analysis for producing products and delivering services. We can compel this total cost of production by one simple national measure: prohibit the import of all goods produced in-whole or in-part in nations that do not enforce environmental protection provisions equivalent to or better than those in the United States. Consider the benefit to the environment as nations build-in environmental protection as they industrialize. Consider how manufacturing jobs will be brought back to the United States as companies find it is more economical to produce goods where environmental protection already exists. Are our major political parties considering such measures? Despite all their claims, all their posturing, all their platform statements, the answer is a resounding NO! Big money control of both major parties will continue to exploit the environment in the quest for ever greater wealth at the expense of the have-nots of the World and our future generations.