Green presidential candidate seeks to energize the disenfranchised

Dr. Jill Stein is the likely Green Party presidential nominee.
Steven T. Jones

After participating in last weekend's Green Party presidential debate against Roseanne Barr in San Francisco, which we cover in this week's paper, frontrunner candidate Jill Stein stopped by the Bay Guardian office to chat about her hopes for progressive change in this tumultuous political year.

“The political-corporate establishment should not be given a pass in the voting booth,” the Massachusetts physician told us. “Four more years of Wall Street rule is what we get if you give them your vote.”

She ticked off a litany of bipartisan failures from the Democratic and Republican parties, from reforming Wall Street and narrowing the wealth gap to seriously addressing climate change and this country's wasteful wars, and said people are fed up and want fundamental reforms.

“The rebellion is in full swing, you just don't hear about it from the press,” she said. “With the exception of the Bay Guardian, we don't have a press. We have an o-press and a re-press.”

This is Stein's first run for national office, but she already faced off against presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the 2002 Massachusetts governor's race, garnering just 3.5 percent of the vote but winning praise in the Boston Globe for her debate performance. She thinks both Romney and Obama are vulnerable this year, although she said, “I'm not holding my breath that we're going to win, but I'm not running to lose.”

Her plan is to wage an aggressive grassroots and social media campaign to capitalize on the discontent most Americans feel with both major political parties, and to hopefully catch enough fire to reach 15 percent support in national polls, the threshold for getting into the presidential debates. “If we can get into the debates, we can really change things.”

To get there, Stein plans to reach out to a wide variety of groups on the left and across the spectrum, including supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which she toured last year, visiting 25 encampments across the country, most of them populated by people wary of modern electoral politics.

“When I go to Occupy, I go to support them and not ask for their support,” Stein said, saying that she understood their belief that the electoral system is broken, but that it's important to participate in it as part of a multi-pronged movement for social change that includes presidential politics. “Can we beat back the predator without have an organization? No, we need a party.”

She thinks the Green Party best represents the values of disenfranchised Americans and has the best vision for where this county needs to go, and she said, “We're finding all kinds of networks are really getting energized and promoting us.”


If progressive liberals don't come out big for Greens in 2012, then they might as well never complain about Democrats again. There are more reasons than ever to vote Green. They're the only party to not take corporate and lobbyist money, they're the only ones pushing single-payer healthcare, they have always been against the state of constant war that both major parties always seem keen on continuing (Iran's next, right?).

Basically they've been the home to pure progressivism since they were founded, and haven ever wavered from that. Meanwhile, Democrats only took up the Occupy cause once Occupiers started making noise. If Occupy never started, do you really think Democrats would be talking about the 1% vs the 99%?

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

and those that remain - even the smart ones - just aren't electable.

The party also needs to get over it's "effete white liberal" stigmata.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 11:48 am

The question unasked and unanswered at the forum was how to assess how the Democrats crushed the Green Party in the last half of the last decade. The Green Party was framed as having spoiled Gore with Nader and ushering in the horrors of Bush II.

Well, it turns out that on all of the big ticket items, economy, war, corporate dominance, Obama is worse than Bush II. There is a straight unbroken line between Carter and Obama on that score.

But the fact remains that local progressives were complicit in the crushing of the SF Greens and now that the local prog dems have no boogie person out there to present themselves as a safer alternative to, corporate power has crushed the local progressive Democrats.

Between the communists who came into the GP in the mid 2000s claiming to "run all out against the Democrats," (run out of what was our question) and the Democrat hacks that proved their mettle by encouraging the sandbagging of the Greens, we never had a chance.

Now that we've got a Democrat Party that is Reagan era GOP circa 1988, I hope they're happy and local politics is all but indistinguishable from any corrupt big city, I hope they're happy reaping what they've sowed.

Posted by marcos on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

That was the tired old line that all the white, middle-aged, over-weight former hippies in the SFGP used to trot out a few years ago.


Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

The Dems abandoned their base which is why they lost the House in 2010 and are poised to lose the WH and Senate this year. Good work, Dems!

Posted by marcos on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

and 2010 by moving to the center.

It's a fairly simple choice for the Dem's. Becomes more moderate and occasionally get power. Or stick to hopelessly liberal ideals and stay forever in the wilderness.

The SFGP appears to prefer the wilderness, so good luck to them.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

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