Feb. 14. Some observations about Jill Stein’s talk yesterday in CT. The crowd of about 30-40 was about 1/3 people in their twenties, almost no minorities, no “Middle Eastern” people that I noticed. She said the Democratic Party officials would deny the nomination to Sanders and hoped this would lead to a lot of interest in the Green Party.
She spent a lot of time on “student debt”, calling for the debt to be forgiven. Very good. Also a lot of time on the Saudis which was excellent, except she seemed to go overboard. She says “We know who funded 9/11, that was coming from the Saudis”. This sounds like she’s saying the Saudi government financed the attack. No proof of this astounding charge. Very discrediting. Though she talked generally about Saudi mischief making she didn’t talk about their attack on Yemen. She didn’t talk about Palestine/Israel until I brought it up in the questions.
She used the “Green New Deal” a couple of times. That might have been refreshing in 2012, but not today. Bernie talks about “socialism” and “revolution”. I know it’s mostly empty rhetoric on his part, but “Green New Deal” was tried and it’s time to move on. As she says we’re living through a global “emergency”. We don’t need just a different “deal”. Suggest “Ecosocialism” or “Eco-revolution”.
I raised a number of points in my questions. 1) that Senator Murphy had called for halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of Yemen and that the Green Party should help lead the anti-war fight there. 2) I mentioned the court case in CA that was expected to be found against public employee unions and called for the Green Party to lead the charge against it (the meeting was held before news of the death of Justice Scalia. That may change things.) 3) that the CT AFL-CIO passed a resolution calling for BDS against Israel and asking what she thought of that 4) that I was disturbed with her position on Russia calling for “collaborative dialogue” with Putin’s government.
I explained I had been an anti-war activist since Vietnam, but in Syria realized the biggest killers there were not the U.S. or the Saudis, but Assad-Russia-Iran. I said the Green Party should lead a picket of the Russian embassy.
She agreed on Yemen and the need to fight the California court case. She hadn’t heard about the CT AFL-CIO vote on Palestine, but said it was “wonderful and was great and that her campaign supports that”. On Russia her answer was vague, unsatisfactory, following the line that the Syrian calamity was all the fault of the U.S. government, talking about “collaborating with the Russians on an arms embargo”, talking about the U.S. provoking Russia in Europe (which is true, but not relevant here). I think her position on Russia is disastrous, falling for the naïve idea that only the U.S., the “West” and its clients are a problem and that if the U.S. government were interested it could just negotiate settlements everywhere. She said the model is Iran where talking “worked rather well”. It worked there because all the hostility was coming from the U.S.-Israeli side.
She said she wants “to push the peace offensive in Syria and it starts with the weapons embargo and above it that means the Saudis”. No mention of Russian weapons which dwarf anything the Gulf tyrannies gave Syrians in quantity and firepower. No response to my call for protests of Russian or Iranian outrages. Not a word about the sieges by Assad-Hezbollah forces that are starving people to death.
The latest report is that 470,000 have been killed in Syria. That’s overwhelmingly from attacks of Assad-Russia-Iran etc. Only they have airforces that can cause this immense scale of destruction. See this heartbreaking video Nothing gory, just an older man talking to you from his heart.
On ISIL her position was inadequate. It was: Stop dropping bombs and make the Saudis cut off funding to all Islamic extremists. I don’t believe the Saudis (that is the Saudi government) send money to ISIL. I have seen no proof of that. Furthermore ISIL is now pretty much self-financing from internal taxation and black market oil sales. It’s cruel and grotesque, Saudi Wahhabism in the extreme, but why does it and al-Qaeda and other cruel Islamist groups have so much support? The answer is that Syrians think Assad forces are so much worse. Take a look at the (Russian) video of Homs. It looks just like film of German cities after World War II. This is mostly the work of Assad and Russia.
The Green Party and every part of the Left should picket Russia and Iranian embassies and lead a fight for BDS against the leaders of those countries. No waiting for a Russian endlessly delaying “peace process” while all of Syria burns to a cinder.
I hope Jill Stein can totally reevaluate her position on Russia and Syria. She is certainly right about Bernie Sanders and the Democrats and so much more.
Finally I didn’t get a chance to say it, but Jill Stein needs a well-known vice-presidential candidate from minority community who is credible on #BlackLivesMatter. How about Michelle Alexander? In “The Nation” this week Alexander not only denounced the Clintons for their participation in the mass incarceration project, but also denounced the Democratic Party and doubted it could be fixed.