Sarah Lai Stirland blogged that “Illinois Democrat Barack Obama and Arkansas Republican Mike Huckabee surged to victory in the Iowa caucuses Thursday evening, buoyed by popular support that was bolstered by Internet activism and organization. . . . Obama’s senior campaign manager David Axelrod credited the youth vote Thursday evening for his candidate’s success.” What does this mean for the Green Party? Common sense would suggest that a party supporting a peaceful, sustainable future would be a natural choice for young voters who have the most to lose from a planet threatened by war and global warming. However, the Green Party has yet to see the type of breakthrough that Obama experienced in Iowa against Clinton whose self identification as the frontrunner was largely accepted without question by the media. One of the challenges the Green Party faces in getting a critical mass of votes in New York has to do with our poor position on the ballot. The Syracuse Post-Standardstated in an editorial that Syracuse Common Council candidate Howie Hawkins’ name on the ballot was in “Antarctica under a swath of white space, on Row H.” Poor coverage by the media is also an obstacle for the Green Party. Malachy McCourt, the 2006 Green Party candidate for Governor, and the other statewide candidates were not invited to the televised debates despite the fact that several fulfilled the criteria for inclusion, and many NY newspapers had no articles on their campaigns. Some Green Party candidates break through despite the media blackout. Dave Lussiergot 49.5% in his campaign for an Albany County legislature seat last fall, barely losing to a well-known candidate. As many as seven candidates are seeking the Green Party presidential nomination this year. What will the Green Party candidate’s chances be against Iowa primary winners Obama and Huckabee if they go on to win the nomination? I welcome your comments below . . .
Much can be said about the American dream, especially in its relationship to the growth and prosperity of the middle class. The various benefits of the American dream appear to be characteristics of life within the middle class. This includes such things as the owning of one’s own home, paid vacation time, the ability to provide a college education for one’s children, and a secure health coverage and retirement. The strengthening of the middle class also has another side to these benefits, such as a bland generic culture and a disassociation from issues of social and economic justice for marginalized people. However, an underlying theme can be ascertained in the relationship between the middle class and the American dream that is not connected to the negative aspects of bourgeois life. Under all the benefits is a common trait of the ability to step outside of the economic structure and achieve a certain level of autonomy regardless of the exploitation or manipulation of global capitalism. In other words, the American dream can be independent from a strict middle class definition by being a general independence from various systems of power. Continue reading
In his essay Eco-Junk George Monbiot writes about the current fad to embrace everything “green” without addressing the problem of overconsumption: “The middle classes rebrand their lives, congratulate themselves on going green, and carry on buying and flying as much as ever before. It is easy to picture a situation in which the whole world religiously buys green products, and its carbon emissions continue to soar.” The constant desire for new possessions is a persistent feature in our society. In the cartoon movie “Spirited Away,” a character named “No Face” engorges himself with everything and everyone but never seems happy. Advertising is geared toward making us feel that something is missing and a product will fulfill it. By promoting “green” consumption, advertisers assure a continuing market for goods and services. One of the key values of the Green Party is “Future Focus and Sustainability.” How can this be achieved in a culture where buying “green” means depleting resources, generating emissions, and creating waste? I welcome your comments below . . .
In the aftermath of September 11th, one can see a great amount of restriction as well as uncertainty in the United States and the world in general. Citizens are subjected to a lack of freedom while at the same time they do not know what will occur in terms of their own safety or fate, in a way lost in the expanse of chaos. This paradox of both restriction and uncertainty is made possible by the phenomenon of the event. The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11th can be seen as the epitome of the event in that it was an incident that was also a disruption of the normal flow of history and society. Once any event occurs, everything that was considered part of the everyday is pushed to the foreground of consciousness. No assumptions can be made, things are no longer predictable, and the structures that shape relationships of power, meaning, and production no longer work. The shock of the event leaves a void that demands reactions that are formed afterwards. Continue reading