First of all, our hearts go out to the millions around the world who are sick and dying, whose lives are being dismantled, as even the simplest things like going to the supermarket, or picking up one’s prescriptions, or visiting friends and family, require calculating the risk while bank accounts are vanishing. A chorus of politicians and corporate moguls is insisting that on the big scorecard of points on the Dow Jones versus the body count of dead Americans, Dow Jones must be the winner.
We are facing a Perfect Storm of a crisis. There is the deadly pandemic itself, of course. Meanwhile the economy collapses. And the world is wracked by war, with flashpoints all around the globe.
Robin Harris, Co-Chair, Green Party of Florida, states:
“The COVID-19 Pandemic has revealed the ineptness of Amerikkka and the weakness of the duopoly. Moreover, it has shown this nation’s deficient concern for its Black and Brown communities. However, this inevitable plummeting event also presents the Green Party with an opportunity to present a National Black Agenda, with policies of self-determination and liberation. This crisis can in fact lead us to a powerful political beginning.”
Politicians ask, “How could we have known?” as though everything is the fault of Covid-19. But this has been coming for decades, environmentally, economically, and in the dismantling of our social infrastructure. What has become obvious is that our entire social and economic system is broken. Now, millions wonder, “Will I die because the health of the stock market is more important, to those who hold the levers of power, than the millions of human lives.
Republicans know it. Democrats know it. Independents know it. The politicians are desperately playing by the rules of yesterday, in a game that is over, scrambling to get us through the moment (and the next election). The breakdown is immediate, as even simple things like building hospital space or even buying ventilators, or ordering face masks are not getting done.
Long-term solutions? Nobody in high places has anything to say about that. The only ray of hope is that people are starting to take matters into their own hands, but what might that look like?
The Green Party is among the very few who are seriously talking about what could have been done to avert the current crisis, and what can be done to prevent the next one.
Right now …
Immediate measures to be taken. The Federal government must guarantee full paid sick leave for not only the sick, but for those who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19, and for those who dare not go to their jobs (if they still exist) because their workplaces have become deadly.
The government (Federal, State and Local) must mobilize every possible resource to build beds, ventilators, protective gear, and hospital facilities. The homeless must be safely housed. We must empty the jails and prisons of all kept there for non-violent crimes. They must be fed. Nurse practitioners and medical students must be brought into the front lines of the fight.
There must be a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. There must be outright cancellation of student debt, medical debt, and bank loans. Small businesses which could be damaged by these measures must be protected and made whole by the wealth of the Federal government and Wall Street. We must recognize that any crisis falls most heavily on our Black and Brown communities, and we need to direct emergency resources to those communities.
The people must have choices in how they are governed. Automatic ballot access must be granted to any constituted party, as the current lockdown makes current options such as door-knocking and petitioning too dangerous for all.
The principles of the Green New Deal, embodied in its Economic Bill of Rights, must be made the law of the land, including among other things:
right to adequate income
right to affordable shelter
right to food, income, and utilities
right to prompt and effective healthcare
right to education
Long term …
Long-term structural changes are required. In particular, that would include the nationalization of major sectors of the economy:
major industry, both service and manufacturing
regional and national power grids
energy industries, with conversion to Green energy such as solar, wind, etc.
These measures would admittedly create dislocations and disruptions. Government (OUR government) would have to take responsibility for any such dislocations as they arise (e.g., replacing our poisonous highway system would require massive changes in housing and services, etc.).
We do this in the shadow of a militarized society that engulfs us in endless brushfire wars, and raises the spectre of nuclear holocaust. The money spent on this insanity could finance the Green New Deal many times over.
The U.S. has levied sanctions against some 30 countries, deliberately threatening their people with starvation even amidst the current pandemic. The U.S. has stationed over a million active duty troops in 150 countries in 800 bases around the world.
We need to end all sanctions now, and we must bring the troops home, where they could be engaged in rebuilding what needs to be rebuilt in our stricken society.
LeBeau Kpadenou, Co-Chair of the Green Party of Florida:
“The New Deal — the covenant between the governed and the government — has been broken. We have stood by and watched as the two major parties have denounced, defunded and dismantled the Social Safety Net, while continuing to serve the wealthy and the powerful. Now congress squabbles about whether it needs to serve the people at all through this crisis. Lifelines to the ‘ Market’ are immediate and automatic to the tune of trillions of dollars. Trillions have already been dished out to the already rich.
“Worst of all, this crisis may be merely a dress rehearsal for the climate catastrophe looming over us. It’s time we all learn our lines, and join the fight. The fight against the current Pandemic must be merged into our fight for the Green New Deal. Handling both is going to require our society’s full resources.”