Facing a crossroads


Woody Allen once said that “more than any time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

Our reliance upon fossil fuels has allowed human impact to overshoot the long-term carrying capacity of our environment. Recent studies by NASA and MIT show we are rapidly approaching a perfect storm of converging ecological catastrophes.

Climate change is happening now as a result of human industrial activity. Petrochemical agriculture threatens our health, food security and the environment. The livestock industry contributes to global warming, land degradation and air and water pollution. Hydraulic fracturing presents a critical threat to our water supply. The Earth is now experiencing the Sixth Mass Extinction of animal species due to habitat destruction caused by human overpopulation and over-consumption. The worldwide population of vertebrate species has declined by 52 percent since 1970.

This includes mammals, birds, reptiles and fish.

Meanwhile, the Earth’s human population has grown from one billion in 1804 to two billion in 1927, three billion in 1960 and more than seven billion today.

Overpopulation is a product of the number of people multiplied by their per capita consumption and waste production.

The World Wildlife Foundation’s “Living Planet Report” estimates that human ecological impact now exceeds the Earth’s carrying capacity by 50 percent. If the average person on Earth consumed as much as the average American, the Earth could not support more than one and a half billion people. A recent study by MIT on the limits of growth concluded that if we continue on the path of business as usual, that the global economy will collapse and the Earth’s human population will start to die off by 2030. The two major parties represent business as usual.

The Democrats and Republicans are partners in genocide. Together, they wage a never-ending war against humanity. Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has launched illegal military attacks against at least 69 foreign countries, murdering millions of people. These undeclared wars of aggression are always sold to the public on a foundation of lies. Since the U.S. government murdered 3,000 of its own people in 2001, the big lie of 9/11 has been used as a false justification for a fake “war on terror.”

Fortunately, the Green Party has an excellent 1,000-point platform for peace, justice, environmental sustainability and democratic reform.

If we could fully implement our excellent platform by, let’s say, 1970, we just might be able to save the world. And the good news is that at our current rate of development, the Greens are well on our way to becoming the dominant political party in the United States sometime within the next two or three million years.

The Green Party has been running candidates for public offices in the United States since 1985 and in Colorado since 1994. But we still haven’t elected a single Green Party member to Congress.

The Green Party has run candidates in at least 96 different countries. The Global Greens website reported that as of December of 2013, Green Party members held 314 seats in national parliaments in 30 countries around the world and 46 seats in the European Parliament. More than 95 percent of these members of parliament were elected by proportional representation, mostly under party list election systems. Proportional representation refers to voting systems used throughout Europe and Latin America under which representation in the legislature is determined according to the proportion of the vote cast for each party. For example, if 5 percent of the voters vote for the Green Party, then the Green Party wins 5 percent of the seats in the legislature.

Proportional representation is a separate issue from the parliamentary system, which refers to the practice of having the chief executive appointed by the legislature rather than being elected by the voters. There is no necessary connection between proportional representation and parliamentary government.

The United States will never have meaningful elections with fair representation in government unless and until we elect Congress and our state legislatures by a party list system of proportional representation. When Harry Hempy (the Green Party candidate for Governor of Colorado) speaks about multiple choice voting systems, he has good intentions, but he is totally missing the point. Multiple choice voting can be a fun gimmick and a minor reform, but it is proportional representation that establishes fair representation in government. In most countries, this is done by casting a simple vote for your favorite political party and its list of candidates.

Australia, however, uses a peculiar variety of voting methods. In elections for Australia’s Senate, voters can cast either a simple vote for their favorite party, or a multiple choice vote ranking individual candidates in their order of preference. Guess what? When given the choice, more than 95 percent of voters reject multiple choice voting. They simply vote for their favorite party.

Green Party members hold 11.8 percent of the seats in Australia’s Senate under their proportional representation voting system. However, the Green Party has less than 1 percent of the seats in Australia’s lower house, which is elected by instant runoff voting, a greatly inferior form of winner-take-all, multiple choice voting.

There is a growing and misguided movement to implement instant runoff voting in the United States. This system is only used to elect national legislators in Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and Australia’s lower house. What we need here is the party list system used by most of the world’s democratic republics.

In the absence of proportional representation, the reality is that the Green Party in the United States is largely a protest vote. By voting Green, you reject the genocide, the fascism and the suicidally destructive economic policies of the two major parties. The Green Party only has candidates on the ballot in Colorado this year for three elections: Harry Hempy for Governor, Martin Wirth for State Senate District 2, and I’m on the ballot for Congress: Gary Swing for U.S. Representative in the Sixth Congressional District. But the Green Party has ballot status in Colorado. We could nominate dozens of candidates in 2016 if people would step forward as candidates to take a stand for what they believe in.

The Democrats and Republicans design the election system to keep themselves in power and shut out any meaningful opposition from start to finish.

Nevertheless, radical activists can still use electoral politics as one of their platforms for opposing politics as usual and presenting alternatives. You can take a stand by running as a candidate in the party of your choice, or as an independent. Just don’t get drawn into the trap of supporting establishment politicians who represent the politics of death and destruction.

Gary Swing is the Green Party candidate for U.S. Representative in the Sixth Congressional District. His campaign website is www.newmenu.org/swingvoter.

Respond: [email protected] This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly and BW does not believe the goernment was involved in 9/11.


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