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


The call for unity, especially within the nation-state, has the appearance of benefiting all those involved. But any type of unity can very easily be a movement toward transcendence that creates absolute terms. These absolute terms can be in direct conflict with the objective reality and can be a form of oppression and exclusion. However, this objective reality can only be known by humans through sensory experience and the mediation of structures of meaning. The philosophical genre called poststructuralism has devoted its efforts toward analyzing how structures operate, to such an extent that it may appear that structures actually create reality. On the other hand, there is the rising work of speculative realism that work towards an examination of reality as it exists in itself outside of experience and structures. The examination of reality in itself, in tandem with poststructuralism, can show that reality is much more varied and strange than what humans are able to know. Alongside an understanding of the functions of structures, it is possible to reveal that any call for unity has its origins from a specific political and social agenda and not from a stable basis in reality or truth. In fact, in most cases, a claim on truth can go against how reality and structures actually operate. Continue reading


by Susan Donderewicz: The following is a transcript of a presentation made during a meeting on community economics in Steuben County in May of 2008: I’ve been given just fifteen minutes, so I’ve narrowed my topic to the history of civilization. With a special emphasis on the future, since this is part of the progression, it just hasn’t happened yet. When I envision an economy of a particular time and place, I picture a machine, and the first place to look is how the machine is powered, what makes this economy go. The ancient Egyptians had an economy that created the pyramids, the Sphinx, all those ancient works of art. I refer to that bulwark of historical accuracy, Hollywood, for a glimpse of how that system worked. The “Ten Commandments” showed scene after scene of the masses of people working hard from dawn to dusk, their lives were nothing but endless work. I thought as I was growing up that this was because they used primitive methods to provide for their basic needs. However, during my Hippie experience, I lived off a garden using a pickaxe, cutting wood with a bow saw. It took about half a day, on the average, to fill my needs. The rest of my day was free for courses at the community college, visiting friends, etc. So why were the Egyptian masses working so hard? Where was all that effort going? The Egyptian economy was a machine shaped like a giant pyramid, with the huge majority at the bottom, a lesser number of immediate supervisors just above them, on up to a very small group at the top: a hierarchy. The people at the bottom powered the machine with that labor beyond which they performed for their own benefit, this excess they unwillingly contributed upwards through the machine to the controllers at the top. The huge amount of wealth and power wielded by the people at the top originated from the workers at the bottom. Very little benefit came back down to the workers—supervision, for sure, and police presence, quite probably. The Egyptian economy was powered by the exploitation of the masses. Continue reading


Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, in their two volumes of “Capitalism And Schizophrenia”, brought up a very important issue or question. That is, why do people desire their own repression, and how does that allow the formation of fascism. Even in democratic societies this question needs to be answered and analyzed in order to prepare humans to exist with and use free agency in opposition to the nature of structures that develop hierarchy and domination. A full understanding of how fascism occurs on the micro-level can result in a more fleshed out critique of the larger structures of power that grow from this foundation. This understanding begins with the definition of general fascism as the intersection of corporate power, militarism, and religious fundamentalism which in turn is taken apart to look at the conundrum of humans dealing with absolute determination and absolute freedom. Continue reading


When discussing sustainability, one usually thinks in terms of the environment and especially climate change and pollution. However, the principles of sustainability can be applied to economics as well. When the Green Party states that it supports community economics as part of its 10 Key Values, I propose that this is another way of describing economic sustainability. Like ecological sustainability, economic sustainability is both the decentralization of structures of control as well as an understanding that various components interact to achieve a type of dynamic equilibrium. For a community economy, this means a local democratic decision-making process and the interdependence of residents in the roles of workers, consumers, and taxpayers. The corporate model does not achieve this sustainability for the obvious reasons that corporations do not run on democratic principles either internally or externally, and that the benefits to corporations requires the disruption of the community equilibrium that results in profits taken away from the community. Community economics as economic sustainability can best be demonstrated by the existence of cooperatives, both historically and in the present situation. In fact, cooperatives can be seen as the authentic alternative to the corporate model through its democratic empowerment that was lacking in much of the Cold War debate between capitalism and communism in the last century. In other words, it can be said that cooperatives offer a real and practical solution to the question of how workers can control the means of production as an end to exploitation. I will begin with a short history of cooperatives and their principles, continue through how to grow and develop cooperatives in this county and the nation, and finish with the best way to transition existing business forms into a cooperative model. Continue reading


The philosophy of Alain Badiou is vital to the political work of the Green Party in that he describes the possibility of political action in regards to the event. And it can be easily said that September 11th is an example of the event in present time. People living after this event are in a new form of reality, and must be able to understand what kind of options are possible and what can occur when there is a disruption of predictable history and meaning. In fact, a new arena of the political emerges where previous assumptions disappear and there is a need to engage in this arena to reclaim freedom and a sense of purpose. The possibility of action and control are in fact more fully displayed after the event, and to an extent everything becomes politically important. Continue reading


by Terry Gerych: Below are some 20 premises of the writer Derrick Jensen, some of whose books I’ve read. I happen to agree pretty much with them. Which brings up the topic line listed as the subject of this post: did we sign up for this? I could make it into a long discussion, but I won’t right now. Right now, it’ll suffice to point out one of Derrick Jensen’s premises listed below, taken from his writing: “our culture, and most people, are insane”. Insane, or maybe just plain stupid, or depraved. The point to be made, if one accepts this premise as I do, is that this can’t be a ‘free’ choice. No one would ‘freely’ choose to be insane, stupid, or depraved. No one chooses to have cancer, to die suddenly, unexpectedly, violently. No one sets out to break another’s heart, or to have their own heart broken. Yet these things happen all the time, to us, and to others. If they haven’t happened to you yet, give it time. Your turn is coming. Continue reading


Local businesses are vital in that they create tight interconnections between workers, owners, consumers, taxpayers, and voters. People have a greater ability to control their own economic destiny when working with their neighbors. They can see the cause and effect of economic actions and are able to hold people responsible for their actions. Continue reading


In the various movements for ecological, social, and economic justice there is a recurring question as to how participants conduct themselves in order to get the best results for their cause. For protecting the environment there is the issue of reducing material pleasure in order to consume and pollute less. For social justice there is the issue of preserving equality while recognizing difference. For economic justice there is the issue of allowing people to be able to make a living but not to engage in gross conspicuous consumption that is also exploitation. All of these discussions revolve around how to be serious in the movement, and the need to sacrifice for the purported goals. But this debate appears to cover over the possibility of desire to be expressed as a political act, which would in turn rearrange the whole process of being in a movement and the criteria for meeting long-term and short-term goals. Acknowledging desire as pivotal to a new type of political practice, especially a practice outside of the confines of the nation-state and capitalism, requires an introduction of enjoyment as a pleasure in creativity. In other words there must be a politics of joy in order to make the movements have a strong foundation that spans beyond generations. But it must be an enjoyment and joy that is always escaping the limits of simple and safe pleasure. Continue reading


Every night on CNN, Lou Dobbs continually returns to the issue of illegal immigration. In his enveloping rhetoric, he proposes that corporations and what he terms “socio-ethnocentric special interests” serve to weaken American borders and threaten American jobs. These two sides supposedly are in a secret partnership for their own interest. However, what he fails to reveal is that the corporations that thrive on the global form of late capitalism actually want his rhetoric that prevents looking at illegal immigration in the context of human rights, and instead villifies any advocacy organization that tries to do so. These immigrants are considered either as a productive resource or as an absolute threat to national sovereignty, but hardly ever as human citizens of the world. The content of humans crossing the border at great peril is actually contained and pacified by the global form of late capitalism, forever defined outside of the context of a free society. The inherent competitive nature of capitalism pits American workers against foreign-born workers even though both are exploited by the overall system. Workers and immigrants should be natural allies, but any possible solidarity against capitalism is thus thwarted and all people in the country are used for mass production or passive consumption regardless of being native or immigrant. Dobbs ignores this aspect by taking a position that looks like it is outside of political ideology, but is in fact the complete success of an ideology that classifies any attempt at human rights as a willing partner with corporate power. The immigration issue is a microcosm of a larger issue of multiculturalism and how it can present diversity only to be subsumed under global capitalism. Continue reading

Gas or Electric – What’s Your Preference?

I visited the New York Auto Show last Sunday and was curious to see if the rising cost of gas had increased people’s interest in hybrids or all-electric cars. Apparently not, since the biggest crowds were gathered around the Porsches and Lamborghinis. As gas prices go up it will be interesting to see if more people start buying hybrids. This has been the case in Europe where hybrids are more popular than here. Continue reading