GPUS 2012 Presidential Convention Re-Cap
(Crossposted on oldelmtree.com)
The convention is in my neck of the woods this year, so I went.
I doubt it’s going to get much coverage, so I thought some Firedogs here would be interested on the goings on. The only outlets that were providing quarter-way decent coverage were Indecision2012 (which scares me, honestly), and C-Span. Today was the big formal day of the convention where everyone nominated our candidates. A lot happened, so I’ll do what I can to break it down…
They had some awesome speakers! I don’t have photos or videos from the actual event, but I’ll link to ones from other events, so you know what their style is like. They might be on livestream or CSPAN.
The MC was David Cobb, who’s recently come into his own as a speaker, from what I understand. He’s a loud, compassionate, funny, angry Texan (he clearly takes pride in the word “y’all”) who is a great host. He’s also one of the minds behind Move To Amend.
The opening speaker was Colin Beavan, who is running for Edolphus Towns’s old seat in Brooklyn. (At one of the after parties, I told him I joined the Greens about two years ago. He told me I was a veteran, b/c he joined about 4 months ago!) He’s a really cool, bright, sophisticated guy; he’s really the future of the party; they’re really excited about him.
He was on The Colbert Report a few years ago: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/252016/october-08-2009/colin-beavan
After that was George Paz Martin, an incredible activist & former Black Panther from Wisconsin (Wisconsin Greens are the shit, BTW. They do not fuck around)
He had one of the most rousing speeches (Jill’s was amazing too, more on that later) of the event. The video above doesn’t do him justice at all. The 1st thing he had us do was yell the chant “NO MORE WAR! NO MORE WAR!” He was really inspiring…. His message was about peace, justice, and organizing.
After that we approved the party platform for 2012, which has a minor revision about achieving alternative voting systems.
Following that was another great speaker, Rev. Ed Pinkney. You know Benton Harbor, MI? That’s where he’s from, and that’s where he lives. He is also a Green, and a leading organizer to get rid of their emergency manager. He got put on house arrest by them simply for registering people to vote….
His big message was that what is happening to Benton Harbor now, is going to happen all over the country. This was just a testing ground to see how far they could go, and how much they could get away with. His message also was that the Greens are the only ones who truly believe in democracy, which is why they are so important.
After lunch, the Gar Alperovitz (yes, the guy from Univ. of MD who frequently posts on myFDL) gave an empowering & cerebral keynote address about how critical and indispensable Greens are, and more important, how important they will be.
It was about concentrations of wealth, economics, and poverty. 400 people own more than 185,000,000 people. He said this current period is the most important in US history; more important than WWII, the Civil War, and even the American Revolution. The system is running out of options, and it can’t be managed the old way. The kinds of questions people are openly asking today are unusual moments in history, and often result in revolution. He says that Greens are laying a groundwork; that they are creating a pre-history for what is next. The situation we face is so grave he takes Greens very seriously; so seriously he believes he takes them more seriously than Greens take themselves. His big takeaway was that he hopes the party will take themselves as seriously as he himself does. Greens are one of the few entities that gives him “hope.”
Then there was a great speech from Leland Pan, a college Green from Wisconsin (WISCONSIN!!) who got elected to a local office (he’s only 19). He was one of the many Green student organizers who led the occupation at the state capitol in WI. He spoke about the struggles of youth and student debt, as well as the lack of opportunity today.
Margaret Flowers also had a great speech on single payer & health care in general. Her take on the Supreme Court decision was that it was the worst of both worlds: a mandate for insurance that does not work, and an opt-out of expansion through Medicaid.
Then we voted on the presidential candidate. To no one’s surprise, Jill won!
The fun part was that every state delegation got to do a short talk on their pride as Greens, and their history of progressivism, or their history of fighting conservatism. It was pretty exciting to cheer each other on & support each other; this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often!
Following that, the VP candidate was officially presented and accepted. Cheri gave a speech on her story of homelessness and foreclosure that was pretty inspiring. She is an incredibly strong, resilient spirit who has gone through things that would completely break most people…
After that, was Jill Stein’s appearance. It was probably the best political/policy speech I have ever heard. Ever.
I’ve heard Jill talk before, but never like that…. Very articulate, factual, spirited, savvy, logical… She addressed everything: the economy, the environment, racism, sexism, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, the Green New Deal, etc. I’ve never heard any politician run through not only the problems we face, but a solution that can actually work. It was so well done, the media is going to have a pretty hard time making her look like a kook, but lord knows they’ll try. They can’t refute anything she said; they can only invent things she never said, or ignore it entirely. You should check it out, hopefully it’ll be on C-SPAN somewhere.