Sorry, no umlauts.If you're bored by politics, this entry will have a lot that doesn'tinterest you. As those of you who read my BLOG regularly are aware,I'm registered to vote for the first time in my life in the upcomingpresidential election, and as a Democrat. While I preferred Howard Dean,and for the first time felt really enthused about voting because of Dean,it looks like I'll instead be voting for John Kerry, as Dean kind-ofwithdrew. I do feel a lot of affection for groups like Earth First,Greenpeace, and Sierra Club, however, and it might be asked why I'm nota green. Partly, in this case, it's ignorance, and partly it's becauseI think it's more important to get BushJr out than it is to vote for someoneI'd particularly want in. So, let's read a bit more about the greens, andbecause I'm not a nationalist, I'll focus on the international green party.According to the best site on the internet, international greenparties hold to 4 Pillars. Ecology .. yes, I'm all about it. Social Justice ..I don't know what they mean -- sounds like a loaded term. Grassroots Democracy..I have a vague idea what they mean, and I'm not sure what I think of it, andnon-violence, which I'm generally for, but think there are some cases whereintervention is worthwhile (none of them came up in the last 4 years). Rather than dig up what they mean, let's look at the 10 key values of theAmerican/Canadian Green parties..1. Community-based economics, e.g. LETS, local purchasing, co-housing This is interesting -- many of the things sound like good ideas in theory, especially co-housing, if it can result in less waste of resources through common facilities. I might even think that small tax breaks might be worthwhile to promote this (e.g. buy a washer/drier, and place it in a 'common facility' at the end of the street, or maybe every few homes, and get a tax break). I've come to dislike big chains in the general case, and encouraging small business seems like generaelly a good idea. I'm not sure how best to do it though..
2. Decentralisation, e.g. via Bioregional democracy, sustainable agriculture The first isn't really decentralization so much as it's a way to reduce harmful competition on shared resources. It does seem generally a good idea, so long as it's supplemented by vigilantism when business interests take too strong a grasp. Sustainable agriculture is a great idea -- too often, ubercapitalism is far too destructive, and I fear that the kind of 'bottom-line' oriented thinking that's taught in business schools is increasing this trend.3. Ecological Wisdom, e.g. ending human-caused extinction, promoting ecological health Yes. I wholeheartedly agree. That's why I fund eco-groups.4. Feminism, e.g. Health security especially for mothers and children, and thus a focus on environmental health I'm a feminist, and while I don't know exactly what health security means, I do care about gender issues, and environmental health, as described by Wikipedia, sounds like a good cause.5. Grassroots democracy, e.g. via electoral reform to improve deliberative democracy This sounds generally good and interesting, but I guess I'd advocate a different path from both the masses and the businessmen -- the world belongs to the academes and the best educated, with special effort to chop out business interests. Philosophers and the otherwise best educated are those that should be in charge, mainly. However, that's not going to happen, so might as well hand it to the people, and give them the best democracy money can't buy. 6. Non-violence, e.g. via de-escalation, peace processes I am generally a dove when it comes to international affairs. So long as it's left open as an option when needed, an emphasis on nonviolence and eliminating sources of conflict (so often things about cultures that are backwards) would do the world good.7. Personal and global responsibility, e.g. moral purchasing, voluntary simplicity Good.8. Respect for diversity, e.g. via fair trade, bioregional democracy So long as the diversity doesn't need governmental support to continue, this sounds good. Fair Trade is a terrific idea, tying trade ties to important values beyond the economic.9. Social justice, e.g. harm reduction rather than zero tolerance While I like some of the examples wikipedia provides, I don't see any coherency to the term as a whole.10. Future Focus/Sustainability, e.g. measuring well-being effect over seven generations, leading to what is called seven-generation sustainability Good.So, overall, a lot of what the greens say make sense to me. To touch backearlier on this entry, what the greens say is agreeable to me, when I thinkit's not fluff. Here's a link to a more throughexploration of these issues, that I haven't read yet. One area where I mightdisagree with them though (not sure yet) is the localization of government --I prefer a completely centralized government.
I also read about the additional member system, a form of elective system that grantsadditional seats in parliament (or moral equivalent) based on partyrepresentation. This is very interesting. The American system appears to be acomprimise between states rights (senate) and people's rights (house), butthe house still ends up granularizing by a number of state reps, so smallparties still end up being screwed. Another way to do things, different fromeach, would be to have a third part of parliament based on party-proportionalrepresentation. It's all so interesting..
I almost fell apart this weekend. I hope the things that spilt will form abeautiful tree.