A Green State of Mind is presented by the Green Party of New York State to inform debate and spark discussion. The views and opinions expressed are strictly those of the authors


A process toward democracy is also a process toward sustainability, and the two approaches support each other through an emphasis on immanent structures. Democracy and sustainability have been two important elements within various leftist movements for at least the past twenty years. They have been addressed separately involving very vital issues of the environment and empowerment of the people, but there is also a deep connection between the two that may not be obvious at first. Some have argued that true sustainability is possible only through a unilateral top-down type of public management, but the goals that can be achieved through sustainability are most compatible with a democratic society. It is important to describe the characteristics of democracy and sustainability in order to see how they can converge and complement each other in such a way as to realize justice and the survival of ecosystems in tandem. Continue reading


The ideal of the free market obscures the reality of an economic system that perpetuates a strict division between worker and owner that also perpetuates systemic inequality. The nature of capitalism may have the appearance of an economic system used to express the freedom of the individual, but it is also a system that strives to reproduce itself across space and time. Capitalism has a general characteristic and a particular characteristic. In general, the freedom of choice that might be perceived is in fact a local pocket of no restriction that is always embedded in a global restructuring of an ideology that presents capitalism as the only choice. On the other hand, capitalism in particular is an immanent structure created by humans like any economic system that eventually becomes a transcendent structure. It moves from being a specific tool to a universal law. When capitalism becomes this universal law, there is an inverting of the relationship between the social and the economic. The economic is expanded from its original use as a subset of a society to a containment of all social relationships. Capitalism therefore establishes a procedure of social control in the economic sphere as it grows and becomes a transcendent system. Continue reading


The Bill Of Rights, especially the first amendment, requires interpretation and analysis not in order to create new legal meaning but to discover the original meaning of the text in synchronization with a changing world. It can be argued that the first amendment of the Bill Of Rights is the most important amendment. Certainly, it is one of the most argued over in all periods of American history. This continuing debate itself is a sign of good health in a democracy. In putting into practice the right to free speech, right to assemble peacefully, freedom from and for religion, and to petition the government one finds that courts have tried to look into original intent. This means finding the mentality of the founders, which requires inspection of the actual wording of the amendment. As text, it is a trace that presents the absence of speech first and foremost. This absence points to the use of text to convey meaning beyond long distances and spans of time. But the text, as being the final word of authority, is actually a continual recitation of a limited meaning since there can not be elaboration from the isolated inscribed words. More can not be said by looking at the finite words as they are detached from the original utterance. Continue reading


The constant incorporation of reality into the creation of political structures that are employed as an alternative to the status quo can be one of the most important actions in regards to real political change, more revolutionary than traditional types of revolution. The main hope for a real political alternative lies in the ability to both understand how the current structures of power work, as well as the formation of tools for empowerment. The political is always embedded within both the social field and reality in itself, and makes use of reality in order make new configurations within the social field. These structures of power can be transcendent and lay beyond the ability of the populace to control it, taking on the appearance of being both natural and eternal. However, these structures of power can also be immanent and within the control of the people who are engaged within it to solve problems within social relationships. The factors that determine whether political structures are transcendent or immanent is whether or not prehension and prefiguration are employed to allow a true and direct democratic process. Democracy used to widen empowerment will use prehension and prefiguration to accomplish specific goals while also generally offering a real alternative to business as usual. Continue reading

How Property Tax Has Shaped Our Local Economy (and look at the shape we’re in)

By Susan Donderewicz: This is our third annual public meeting on the economy. If ever there was a subject that lent itself to varied and often inconsistent viewpoints, it is the economy. Tonight, we’ll focus on the policy of collecting taxes based on property. It has occurred to me as I planned for this program that most people, the sane ones, would rather have knee surgery than sit through a meeting about tax policy. So thank you so much for being here. I’m going to try to make this as listener-friendly as possible. We’ll look at some different taxes and see what kind of footprint each leaves. Continue reading


In the election of 2008 Barack Obama became a commodity sold to voters as an agent of change, regardless of his status quo platform, that spoke volumes about the mediation of human desire into instruments of control. It can not be denied that on the election night of 2008 there literally was dancing in the streets. This phenomenon illuminated the fact that the past eight years was in many ways a time of immense darkness. In possibly no other time in the history of the United States was the country so close to an actual dictatorship as it was during the George W. Bush administration. There were concrete cases of a centralization of power within the executive branch, and especially within the office of the president and vice president. The Patriot Act, sanctioning of torture, increased internal surveillance, and the detaining of suspects without filing of charges all eroded the protections found in the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights. These decisions all did lasting damage to the idea of the United States as a representative democracy. Unfortunately, this centralization of power was the culmination of other actions taken by previous presidents during times of war. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War, Wilson enacted the Alien and Sedition Act with the Palmer Raids during WWI, Roosevelt interned Japanese-Americans during WWII, and Nixon used COINTELPRO and an enemies list during the war in Vietnam. All of these men were gravely wrong, but what distinguished the Bush administration was the creation of an artificial state of emergency after Sept. 11th, 2001 that lead to a fabricated war for hegemony in the Middle East. Therefore, there were reasons to celebrate the election of a new president, one who was considered a real agent of change. Continue reading


The following is my presentation at the 2009 Green Fest. We are gathered together, both here and within the Green Party overall, because we want to engage in the great political work of the day. It is a day that is truly benighted where peace, civil liberties, communities, and our own environment is threatened by a comprehensive system of power. If we are to fight this power then there is the necessity to understand its operation, how it functions and consolidates its influence to such a degree that at first blush it seems impossible to oppose it. This is where theory comes in as a supplement to political action. I will give some examples of what theory can do to enrich our work, and illustrate that theory is not only an embellishment or flavoring to action, but a vital binding agent that makes our actions sensible. Continue reading


The following is part three of a series that explores various current economic aspects in a way that illustrates the possibility for new alternatives rather than mapping out detailed new plans. The cooperative is the epitome of economic democracy, as well as the direct alternative to the corporation. The corporate model has existed for so long, since the creation of the British East India Company in 1600, that it has firmly entrenched itself into the unconscious of humans living within capitalism. Corporations have subsumed attempts to fight it throughout history and has incorporated a false language of freedom without any structural background behind it. The cooperative, in contrast, may at first appear utopian or idealistic. But the cooperative, as the expression of economic democracy, is a working assemblage of a principle that empowers humans much more than being mediated by undemocratic corporations and a commodified culture. To understand the importance of a particular cooperative in a community, it is vital to understand the relationship of economic democracy to the idea of democracy in general. Continue reading


2010 is fast approaching. For the Green Party of New York State that means a chance to regain ballot status. We need to find a slate of candidates who will best represent our core values and also excite the people of NY. We are hoping to announce our candidates by February 2010, which means we need to start thinking about the selection process now.Our candidate for Governor is the key to future ballot access. If s/he receives at least 50,000 votes then all GP candidates for all offices in NY State will have ballot status in subsequent elections, at least until the next race for Governor, without the onerous petitioning requirements we have now. (Ballot-status parties have dramatically reduced petitioning requirements.) Ballot status also gives us more standing politically when we ask to be included in debates, seek coverage in the news media, etc. Continue reading


The use of civil unions instead of same-sex marriage does not adequately address the reality of love or the unique nature of each human. In the aftermath of the passing of Proposition 8 in California, there has been much debate about whether or not gay marriage is an issue that most of America is willing to support. This debate has illuminated a comparison between same-sex marriages and civil unions, with many arguing that civil unions allow legal rights without extremely changing the definition of marriage. Though there is a kernel of truth in this argument, if one is only looking at legal rights, there is also the need to address the fact that civil unions and same-sex marriage exist independently of each other and describe an overall different social reality. Though the current trend is toward equal legal rights regardless of gender in the relationships, the linguistic and meaningful difference between marriage and civil unions reveals much more than the fight for legal rights. Continue reading