Thursday, August 21, 2014

GP RELEASE Green Party: Demilitarize the police, end racism in the criminal justice system

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, August 21, 2014
This release is online at http://www.gp.org/newsroom/press-releases/details/4/730

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org


Green Party: Demilitarize the police, end racial disparities and bring justice to the criminal justice system

• Greens speak out in the wake of the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., warn about the emergence of a police state

• Green Party Speakers Bureau: Green leaders available to speak on the criminal justice system: http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-criminal.php



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders and candidates are calling for the demilitarization of civilian U.S. police departments, asserting that military police tactics have created an "occupation mentality" in many communities.

Greens said that abuses of police power and disregard for the lives of young black people were on display in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer, threats against reporters, and a display of force that turned peaceful protest into a violent confrontation in Ferguson, Missouri. Greens expressed support for the protesters.

"The murder of Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson must be investigated and prosecuted aggressively, but the crisis won't end with the punishment of an individual police officer," said Howie Hawkins, Green candidate for governor of New York (http://www.howiehawkins.org). "Out-of-control police who respond to minor violations with overwhelming force, toleration of racist cops, siege-like conditions in some cities and city neighborhoods, and record-high incarceration -- all of these are evidence of a growing police state." (See Mr. Hawkins' statement: "Ferguson, Militarization, Federal Jurisdiction in Police Brutality," August 20, http://www.howiehawkins.org/ferguson_militarization_police_brutality)

Greens said that the shooting and subsequent behavior of police in Ferguson exposed an occupation mentality in which a mostly-white police force (only three black officers out of 53) and municipal government (white mayor, white police chief, one black city council member out of six) dominate a population that's 67 percent black.

Rosa Clemente, the Green Party's 2008 vice-presidential nominee, has published an on-the-scene report from the protests: see "Police Draw Guns on Rosa Clemente, Talib & Others in Ferguson" (August 20, http://www.gp.org/police-draw-guns-on-rosa-clemente-talib-others-in-ferguson).

See also "America: Young Black Men Have No Right to Life" by Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report, August 13, http://blackagendareport.com/content/america-young-black-men-have-no-right-life) and "Asking the Hard Questions About Ferguson" by John Halle, former Green member of the New Haven, Connecticut, Board of Alderman (CounterPunch, August 15-17, http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/08/15/asking-the-hard-questions-about-ferguson/).

"One sign of a police state is the use of police and prosecutors to solve everyday problems that a sane society would resolve in other ways," said Eugene Puryear, D.C. Statehood Green Party candidate for At-Large Member of D.C. Council (http://www.EugenePuryear.com). "When jaywalking provokes a violent police response, when SWAT teams are deployed against people suspected of possessing small amounts of marijuana, then 'law and order' becomes a sham."

"Democratic and Republican elected officials wanting to appear 'tough on crime' must be held accountable for laws and policies that have resulted in the country's incarceration rate -- per capita the highest in the world. This has been further aggravated by the Pentagon's generous shipments of armed vehicles, military ordnance, body armor, and other wartime equipment to police departments that don't need these things for police work," added Mr. Puryear.

Greens listed steps that must be taken to correct police-state conditions and bring justice to the U.S. criminal justice system:

• End mass incarceration and abolish the prison-industrial complex, in which private prison firms and contractors boost profits by filling up more cells, creating an economic incentive for draconian laws and criminal justice policies. (Democratic and Republican politicians accept generous contributions from the private-prison industry; Greens accept no corporate money and support an end to corporate contributions for candidates and parties.)

• End racial disparities in arrests and sentencing (including the death penalty); end the school-to-prison pipeline for black, brown, and poor young people -- both men and women; abolish racial profiling, "stop and frisk" policing, and harassment without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity (criminalization of "Walking While Black").

• Place restraints on police and prosecutorial power by abolishing zero tolerance, interference in judicial discretion (e.g., mandatory sentencing and "three strikes"), disproportionate police responses and charges for low-level offenses, prosecution of children as adults, and impunity for police and prosecutors who abuse their power; place police abuse cases under federal jurisdiction to eliminate conflicts of interest when local district attorneys investigate such cases.

• End the militarization of police, including training in military tactics and possession of military ammunition and vehicles even in small-town police departments; outlaw overwhelming force using combat equipment in response to minor offenses and nonviolent protest.

• Cancel the failed and wasteful war on drugs; end policies that treat drug abuse as a criminal instead of medical or social problem; require federal agencies to respect decriminalization statutes passed in some states and cities.

• End the criminalization and harassment of immigrants (documented as well as undocumented) and transformation of border areas into military zones -- most recently evident in proposals that would deny asylum to young children fleeing violence and extreme poverty in Central America.

• Restore privacy and constitutional protections from government power: end the NSA's mass surveillance dragnet; end the criminalization of whistleblowers and investigative journalists (conducted with unprecedented intensity by the Obama Administration); outlaw harassment, infiltration, and provocation directed against organizations and individuals who express dissent.

See also:

"Is Michigan one bullet away from repeating the mistakes of Ferguson, MO?"
Paul Homeniuk, Green candidate for Governor or Michigan, August 15, 2014
http://www.paulhomeniuk.org/michigan-today/is-michigan-one-bullet-away-from-repeating-the-mistakes-of-ferguson-mo

Hart Calls for End to Militarizing Civilian Police Departments
Bob Hart, Green candidate for the U.S. House in Ohio, August 15, 2014
http://www.hartforcongress.com/hart-calls-for-end-to-militarizing-civilian-police-departments1033-program/

Iraq, Ferguson Are Two Sides of the Same Coin: Shoot First, Ask Questions Maybe
Ian Schlakman, Green candidate for the U.S House in Maryland, August 20, 2014
http://www.ian42.com/iraq_ferguson_are_two_sides_of_the_same_coin

The ACLU Released A Terrifying Report On All The Military Weapons US Cops Have
By Erin Fuchs, Business Insider, August 13, 2014
http://www.businessinsider.com/aclu-report-on-police-militarization-2014-8

The Over-Policing of America: Police Overkill Has Entered the DNA of Social Policy
By Chase Madar, Introduction by Tom Engelhardt, Moyers & Company, December 9, 2013
http://billmoyers.com/2013/12/09/the-criminalization-of-everyday-life/

Exactly How Often Do Police Shoot Unarmed Black Men?
By Jaeah Lee, August 15, 2014
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/police-shootings-michael-brown-ferguson-black-men

Race is still America's struggle
By Len Levitt, AM New York, August 18, 2014
http://www.amny.com/opinion/columnists/leonard-levitt/race-is-still-america-s-struggle-len-levitt-1.9087643

Green Party Black Caucus
www.gp.org/black-caucus

Green Party Latino Caucus
http://www.gp.org/caucuses/latino/index.php


MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191
• Green candidate database and campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml
• News Center http://www.gp.org/newscenter.shtml
• Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
• Ballot Access Page http://www.gp.org/2012/ballot-access.html
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Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States
http://gp.org/greenpages-blog

Green Shadow Cabinet http://greenshadowcabinet.us


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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

GP RELEASE Green Party: Hobby Lobby ruling should spur demand for single-payer health care, abolition of corporate personhood‏

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org


Green Party: Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling should boost the movements for single-payer national health care and abolition of corporate personhood

• Greens condemn the ruling, which holds that "corporate rights supersede the rights of women"

• Green Party Speakers Bureau: Green leaders available to speak on health care, women's rights, and corporate power

• Green Party 2014 Annual National Meeting in St. Paul, Minn., July 24-27
"Back to Our Roots: People. Planet. Principles."


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders and candidates strongly condemned the Supreme Court's Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores ruling, and said that the decision should motivate more people to demand single-payer national health care and abolition of corporate "personhood."

"The Supreme Court's ruling lays bare the need to separate health insurance from employment status and exposes the absurdity of affording corporations the same constitutional rights as natural persons," said Isa Infante, Green candidate for Governor of Tennessee (http://www.isainfante.org).

"The ruling grants business corporations the 'religious freedom' to impose the beliefs of owners on the lives of employees and tamper with their medical care on the basis of the owners' beliefs. We hope that the anger provoked by the ruling leads people to join the Green Party's call for Medicare For All and a constitutional amendment affirming that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights," said Ms. Infante.

The Green Party of the United States supports making replacing the current for-profit health insurance system (maintained under the Affordable Care Act) and employer-based coverage with a single-payer program that establishes quality health care as a basic human right.

Greens called single-payer more urgently needed in the wake of the ACA's failure to contain medical costs, projected to rise 6.8% in 2015 ("well in excess of the rate of inflation"; see http://pnhp.org/blog/2014/06/25/disturbing-pwc-report-on-employer-medical-cost-trends), and a Commonwealth Fund report published June 16 on the high cost and low quality of U.S. health care (http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/us-healthcare-most-expensive-and-worst-performing/372828/).

The Green Party also supports passage of an amendment rescinding the legal status of corporations as persons that possess the same rights and protections under the U.S. Constitution that humans enjoy (https://movetoamend.org).

Greens agreed with the widespread criticisms of the 5-4 Hobby Lobby ruling handed down on Monday, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's sharply worded dissenting opinion. The ruling denies women who don't share their employers' religious beliefs access to coverage under their health plan for contraception, interfering with the right of women to make medical decisions for themselves in consultation with their physicians and placing a financial hardship on many women.

The ruling also applies the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom to for-profit corporations that exist for nonreligious purposes and that employ and sell its wares to people regardless of their beliefs.

"Five men on the Supreme Court decided that, not only do corporations have constitutional rights, but corporate rights supersede the rights of women," said Amy Balderrama, Green candidate for Tennessee State Senate, 23rd District (http://balderramaforsenate.org). "Furthermore, Hobby Lobby has profited from investments in companies that manufacture the same abortion and contraception products that Hobby Lobby denies women employees for religious reasons -- a gross hypocrisy the five justices chose to overlook."

(See "Hobby Lobby's Hypocrisy: The Company's Retirement Plan Invests in Contraception Manufacturers" by Molly Redden, Mother Jones, April 1, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/hobby-lobby-retirement-plan-invested-emergency-contraception-and-abortion-drug-makers)

Although the ruling's scope is limited, it establishes a dangerous precedent: as Justice Ginsburg noted in her dissent, it may allow corporations to evade nearly any law that they claim to be "incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs... Would the exemption… extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]… Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today's decision." (http://www2.bloomberglaw.com/public/desktop/document/Burwell_v_Hobby_Lobby_Stores_Inc_No_13354_and_13356_US_June_30_20#id1169492760194)

See also:

Text of the Supreme Court's Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores ruling, June 30, 2014

National Women's Caucus of the Green Party


MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191
• Green candidate database and campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml
• Speakers Bureau http://www.gp.org/speakers
• Green Papers http://www.greenpapers.net/
• Facebook page http://www.gp.org/facebook

Green Party 2014 Annual National Meeting in St. Paul, Minn., July 24-27
"Back to Our Roots: People. Planet. Principles."

Green Pages: The official publication of record of the Green Party of the United States

Green Shadow Cabinet http://greenshadowcabinet.us


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