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


Since 2008 is an election year, many in the nation are more aware of voting than in non-election years. But voting is vital not only in the strict confines of a democracy, but as part of a larger political movement such as that embodied in the Green Party. There are many issues related to voting that are vital, such as how votes are counted and verified. But in order to recognize voting as a component of a movement, one must see voting as more than just a confirmation or rejection of particular candidates while the government structure continues unabated. Instead of looking at the symptom of the modern nation-state, political representation, one must use voting as a tactic that fulfills a larger strategy for progressive change. In that respect an alternative such as the Green Party can reevaluate what political organization can mean. Continue reading

Obama’s Not So Much Mandate?

Well run political campaigns are often like well crafted movies. The best ones have exceptional script writers, who dutifully supply the actors with the words the talented thespians wouldn’t otherwise mouth. The much praised “race” speech Obama gave on Tuesday, 03/18, was evidence of the presence of masterful spinmeisters, that are diligently working behind his stage’s curtain, providing soothing phrases not always consistent with his actions. Obama has been displaying a pattern of ideological unreliability, and a quickness to discard inconvenient friends… a profile in cowardice. Continue reading


During the early part of the primary season, as Republican candidates had one of their debates, a small piece of legislation was in Congress that would establish a Woodstock museum. Supposedly the museum would begin being built during the 40th anniversary year of the music festival that ended the 1960’s. Of course Republicans took great pleasure in ridiculing this bill, especially John McCain who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam at the time. Setting aside the fact that his remarks could have illuminated the inherent baselessness of that past war, the general attitude of many Republicans and conservatives toward that era show that the basis of their ideology today is to refute the many movements and ideas of the 1960’s. The revolutions and dramatic change of that time are minimized in conservative rhetoric as part of a counter-revolution and restoration of the old order. These movements and ideas forty years ago were summed up by the counterculture, and what was missing in the ridicule is the fact that a counterculture always attempts to create a new society. The counterculture of the 1960’s in particular may not have completely succeeded, but it offered a template for future attempts and illustrates the need for a recurring counterculture as a phenomenon in the United States and the world. Continue reading


It is assumed that democracy is a good thing, based on the premise that it is the best way to prevent dictatorships. However, as recent history has shown, there have been cases where a government elected through a democratic process assumed absolute power, usually through the catalyst of a supposed state of emergency. There is the democracy of small groups and there is the democracy of the nation-state, both seeming to arise from the historical period of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment also was the introduction of reason as the main organizing principle of human action, and there is an implied connection between the exercise of reason and the best possible application of democracy. The positive perspective on reason and democracy that began with the Enlightenment has shaped the current discussion of how to have a just government and society, going to democracy as the default method. But it has ignored the inherent structural characteristics that is needed in order to have any exercise of power, any meaning in reality, or any functioning economic system. It is in fact these structural characteristics that has demonstrated that the Enlightenment was not necessarily a complete reform of the human condition, and that the movement toward transcendence that occurs in structures has at times moved reason and democracy toward a negative and destructive direction against human needs or wishes. Continue reading

Nader Shows Up a Spoiled System, Helps McKinney

by Rachel Treichler: Ralph Nader entered the 2008 presidential campaign this week asking tough questions that none of the major party candidates have taken up. No wonder they denounce him as a spoiler. Nader, McKinney and the other third party candidates do spoil the insider game that seeks to limit American voters to the two choices of the two corporate parties. All voters benefit from Nader’s and McKinney’s efforts. Continue reading

Why has the American peace movement been so ineffective in opposing the War in Iraq?

by David C. Schwab: First of all, it has failed to capitalize on widespread anti-war sentiment in America. In part, this is because the stubborn refusal by Washington politicians to change course perpetuates the illusion that this war still enjoys popular support in our country. A February 2008 CNN poll reveals the reality of the situation: 64% of Americans now claim to oppose the war, as compared to only 34% who support it. In an election, numbers like that would mean a landslide for the peace movement – but the federal government has continued to resist the will of the people. Moreover, a January 2008 Bloomberg poll showed that 20% of Americans support immediate withdrawal and another 43% want to be out within a year. Interestingly, a poll taken one year earlier in January 2007 showed a nearly identical result: 19% of Americans favored immediate withdrawal, with another 46% supporting withdrawal within one year. After the vaunted Democratic takeover of Congress, troop levels in Iraq, rather than going down, increased significantly. This shows a surprising level of disregard for the 65% of voters who said, in January 2007, that they wanted the war to be over by now. Continue reading


Desire is a human trait, and has a deep and lasting impression on political activity in general. Whether it is restricted or liberated, desire as inherently human plays a crucial part in how individuals and collectives express themselves through various political institutions. The understanding of desire and how it is structured can aid in the way one understands how to create a new political alternative. Unfortunately desire has previously been limited to a psychological discussion, and usually depicted as a wild and violent side to human nature that must be repressed or reconditioned. What is vital is to demonstrate how desire can be the basis of real and at times revolutionary political action, exemplified in the current context with the Green Party and its presentation of itself as a real choice beyond the two-party system. Continue reading


There is a tight intertwining of the phenomenon of the soldier with that of war. Currently, those who oppose the war have been accused of not supporting the troops, with an emphasis on the human life of these soldiers. However, as those who understand the lack of necessity of the Iraq war in particular and all war in general, there is a recognition that those who use the human life of the soldier in their pro-war argument do not see or refuse to see that war in itself is the closest threat to the lives of soldiers. The following can be considered as a polemic in order to break apart this close connection that obscures the real value of life and the destructive nature of war. It emphasizes that the main difference that is between the identity of the human and that of the soldier is the military structure. What follows will hopefully illuminate that the inherent threat to democracy that lies with militarism allows the tipping point where a beloved fellow human can turn into an instrument of destruction, a part of the mass of the military, and yet one can still see the human in the structuring of brutality through an argument for peace. Continue reading

Will Buying Stuff Help the Economy?

President Bush and the Democratic-controlled House approved a deal last week that will provide $150 billion in tax rebates as an economic stimulus, essentially saying a recession can be avoided if people go out and buy something. Is that a good idea? In a recent Internet video The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard examines the cycle of buying through extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal, and the negative effects on people and the environment. The results?— environmental degradation and substandard work and living conditions in producing countries— 4 billion pounds of toxic materials released by US factories each year— 4½ lbs of garbage a day per person produced in the US— only 1% of goods purchased are used 6 months after purchase Leonard recommends a sustainable and equitable solution, using green chemistry, zero waste, closed-loop production, renewable energy, local living economies and democratic decision making to counteract the negative effects of consumption. So if encouraging people to go out and buy more stuff isn’t the right step to avoid a recession, what is? The Green Party platform promotes “community-based economics” that “value diversity and decentralization.” What would the Green Party do to fix the economy? I welcome your comments below . . .


In the rhetoric of the war in Iraq and the War On Terror, one can see George W. Bush constantly address the issues of freedom and democracy. The truth of this rhetoric is that the president talks about promoting freedom in the abstract sense while ignoring or attempting to subvert freedom in the concrete sense. The result is a war based on lies that obviously has the goal of spreading U.S. hegemony alongside the postponing and limiting of civil liberties at home with the Patriot Act and other legislation. The repetition of the administration’s rhetoric inscribes itself into the surface of the harsh reality of an unjust war by mediating the meaning of this raw perception and reaction to the violence of war. National identity and patriotism are elevated as transcendent categories that appear as absolute truth, while the liberating potential of democracy is inverted into a method of containment exemplified by the two-party system. The Green Party, as a disruption of this static containment in the electoral arena, must also draw attention to the abstract nature of the rhetoric of freedom by clearly defining freedom as it actually exists. This means that in the public dialogue that the Greens must engage in, there must be a recognition of freedom that is always already surrounded by various structures of power, meaning, and production. Continue reading