Dennis Spisak is co-editor of GreenBeat and Green Party Watch’s newest writer.
GreenBeat April 25, 2009
In this Issue …
Americans Overwhelmingly Support Clean Energy Economy – Dennis Spisak
Bad Dreams and Earth Day – Anita Rios
National call for “FIRST FRIDAY Actions to demand good jobs for all NOW!” – Logan Martinez
Ohio Green Party Co-Convener Elected Chairperson of Toledo NOW – Anita Rios
Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Support Clean Energy Economy
by Dennis Spisak
In the just-released Progressive Studies Program survey on the State of American Political Ideology, 76 percent of respondents agreed that “America’s economic future requires a transformation away from oil, gas, and coal to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar,” compared to 11 percent who disagreed (12 percent were neutral). This was the highest level of agreement recorded among the ten progressive and conservative economic statements tested by the survey. In another reflection of these sentiments, Gallup recently found overwhelming (77 percent) support for increasing financial backing for producing energy from alternative sources like wind and solar. This compares to just 39 percent who wanted to see support increased for producing energy from traditional sources like oil and gas. The public also favors setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions and making companies pay for their emissions, even if that raises energy prices. In an early March Pew poll, 59 percent said they’d support such limits, while only 33 percent said they would not. Clean energy is fast becoming a consensual goal among the American public—one of the defining features of our new progressive America. Policymakers should adopt this priority as well, or they risk being seriously out of step with today’s public. This material was published by the Center for American Progress. For Green Party members, this poll indicates Americans agree with us for our call for safe and clean alternative energy and conservation to stop global warming from harming future generations. We are on the right track and America is slowly getting the message and hitching a ride to our train.
Bad Dreams and Earth Day by Anita Rios
This past Sunday I had a dream that I was in Texas,(don’t know why it was Texas?) and the food system there was failing because the food was contaminated by pollution and of very low quality. When I woke up I remembered that this is the week that we celebrate Earth Day. While I consider myself an environmental activist I have never placed too much emphasis on Earth Day because I feel it is too easy to co-opt. The corporations generate publicity by wearing green-washed sleeves, the TV networks do investigative reports to show how smart and on the ball they are and everyone can be an environmentalist for a day. I am glad when corporations try to be “greener” in how they do business and in the products they produce but I suspect it is hard for corporate types to really understand the concept of Mother Earth. Yes they probably know that the laissez-faire days of dumping whatever they want into the water and the air are over, but their bottom line is still about making lots and lots of “stuff” to generate lots and lots of profit. It seems quite implausible that the so called “masters of the universe” would understand that despite all our clever tricks and our technological brilliance the bottom line of the environmental crisis that we face is that human beings must stop using so much of the earth’s resources and turning those resources into garbage, much of which is toxic. So maybe some of the petroleum by-products have been removed from some cleaning products and replaced by plant based surfactants but they still come to you in a plastic bottle. Please don’t get me wrong, I do not want to be negative about any efforts to decrease the very large foot print that human beings leave on our Mother Earth but the risk of Earth Day is that through our short term efforts on this one day or this one week we will gain a false sense of accomplishment, and even provide PR cover for corporations who’s practices are anything but GREEN. So after having my dream in which all the food was tainted I enjoyed a very good very strong cup of coffee while watching what I refer to as the “stupid news”, which is any of the network morning news programs but in this case ABC’s Good Morning America Weekend. This morning as part of a series of earth day pieces there was a report on the water crisis. The story opened with a report on the water shortage that California is facing then segued into the push for alternative energy…but then went on to state that “alternative energy is so thirsty” and that some forms of alternative energy are water guzzlers. On their web site the headline, which is juxtaposed over a picture of a dried up lake, is “Alternative energy sources could use too much of the earth’s most precious resource.” The so called alternative energy sources that they cite in the report are NUCLEAR POWER and CORN ETHANOL! I don’t know any environmentalists who consider either of those viable forms of alternative energy. On the contrary most environmentalists that I know of are opposed to the use of nuclear power and corn ethanol. ( I know, some prominent environmentalists have embraced nuclear as a solution to global warming but I do believe that is a typical position among environmentalists.) While water use and conservation is a worthy and important subject to address the report that was presented by Good Morning America left me wondering what alternative universe these folks occupy. But more importantly I wonder what about the hidden agenda behind such a twisted piece of journalism. Not that the TV networks don’t get things wrong all the time but when they fail to understand the meaning of Earth Day they simply misinform and distort the very crucial issue of how we take care of our Mother Earth. I’m not sure what my dream of tainted food in Texas has to do with Earth Day but it is probably a symptom of my deep angst about the state of the environment…and about the State of Texas. Happy Earth Day!
National call for “FIRST FRIDAY” Actions to demand good jobs for all NOW! by Logan Martinez–Mahoning Valley Green Party
The March unemployment data was dismal The U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS place the officially unemployed at 13.2 million (8.5%) with hidden unemployment at 14.8 million for a total of 28.0 million workers or a whopping 17.5% of the labor force. Many of those lucky enough to receive benefits are running out of their unemployment. The National Employment Law Project predicts more than 1.3 million people will run out of unemployment benefits during the first half of the year.
The next First Friday Action day will be May208th. The first Friday in May is May 1st. but the Labor Dept. will not release the unemployment numbers until the second Friday. Local organizers are free to choose what day to do an action. June 5th. will be the next First Friday Action day. Coalition building will be key. Asking organizations to send representatives to the action or news conference will help build attendance and solidarity. The unemployed are up a creek and they need our help. Please let me know if you can pull some thing together for your community.
For Jobs & Peace. Logan Martinez Outreach Coordinator
National Jobs For All Coalition
937-275-7259 / cell 937-609-3701
NATIONAL CALL FOR “FIRST FRIDAY” ACTIONS
TO DEMAND GOOD JOBS FOR ALL NOW!!
Organize Local Press Conferences and Demonstrations to Protest Growing Unemployment, and Devastating Impacts on Workers and Communities
We, the undersigned, call for regular local press conferences and demonstrations on the First Friday of each month, to 1) demand decent, living wage jobs for everyone who wants to work; 2) ensure there is adequate income and support for all unemployed, underemployed and underpaid workers; and 3) call attention to priority public needs that can be addressed through new programs of public and private job creation.
Across the U.S., unemployment and underemployment are rising at a dramatic rate. In March 663,000 more jobs were lost, bringing the official national unemployment rate to 8.5%.
13.2 million people are now officially unemployed, and an additional 14.8 are classified as the “hidden unemployed,” either because they can’t find full-time work, or have given up looking because they are too discouraged.
Many employed workers do not even earn a living wage. In 2007, 17.6 million workers – 16.2% of the fulltime workforce, worked full-time, year-round, yet earned less than the official poverty level for a family of four.
Behind these statistics lies a grim, lethal reality. Unemployment, underemployment and inadequate wages devastate the people who are denied adequate work and a decent living, and disrupts family and community life. The chronic shortage of decent jobs contributes directly to increased marital and family breakup, increased evictions and homelessness, rising crime and community abandonment.
Rising unemployment not only causes hardships for job losers but reduces tax revenues by billions of dollars—dollars that could finance vital social programs and create more jobs. Unemployment literally throws away billions of dollars of potential national output—schools and housing not built, child and elder care not provided.
As the economy continues in free fall, workers and representatives of community, labor and religious organizations must organize and speak out, and call attention to the growing unemployment crisis.
Why the First Friday? On the first Friday of each month the Labor Dept. releases the previous month’s unemployment numbers, and the issue of unemployment and joblessnes s gets regular attention from the news media. This is an excellent time to call attention to rising job loss and its devastating human and financial consequences.
The National Jobs for All Coalition urges activist groups and unemployed workers to hold news conferences, vigils, pickets at unemployment offices, and to take other creative action to demand jobs and an effective safety net to protect the unemployed and others hurt by this economic crisis.
The National Jobs For All Coalition is calling for Drive for Decent Work — a package of additional federal bills to improve our society and create millions of needed jobs. The federal economic stimulus bill is a good start, but much more needs to be done to stem the employment crisis.
The U.S. has a huge backlog of needs for fixing our physical infrastructure and increasing public services such as education, health care, and child care. We propose to link the movement for good jobs for all to grassroots movements to meet unmet needs for clean energy, better schools and housing, mass transportation, education and other public services.
The Drive for Decent Work is our blueprint for job creation, but we welcome your ideas and suggestions. Please check our web site www.njfac.org for the most current update.
We are also asking groups to consider organizing town meetings or forums on the economic crisis and its impact in their communities. The country needs a lively public debate on the directions we might take to deal with the recession/depression. We face both a difficult time and a time of great opportunity to build a grassroots movement for change.
These actions, modest though they may be at the outset, will require work to coordinate and then build upon. We believe that these actions — and the community dialogue and activism they generate – can become a driving force for a much more powerful movement for jobs and economic justice.
Through the First Friday movement, we will work to build up a national network of community, labor, religious and civic organizations concerned about rising unemployment and lasting solutions to the economic crisis. We will also work to gather organizational endorsements and target key cities and towns for endorsing resolutions supporting the Drive for Decent Work, and calling for passage of additional job creation and economic stimulus measures.
For Jobs & Peace.
Logan Martinez, Outreach Coordinator
937-275-7259 / cell 937-609-3701
YES! I want to endorse the National Call for First Friday Actions to Demand Good Jobs for All Now!
Affiliation, if any:_____________________________
__ This is an organizational endorsement
__ This is a personal endorsement (organization listed for affiliation only.
National Jobs for All Coalition (NJFAC) c/o Council on International and Public Affairs
777 United Nations Plaza, Suite 3C, NY, NY 10017 • Tel: 212-972-9877. Fax. 212-972-9878
Website: www.NJFAC.org Blog: www.DriveForDecentWork.org • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Jobs for All Coalition is a project of the Council on International and Public Affairs
Ohio Green Party Co-Convener Elected Chairperson of Toledo NOW by Anita Rios
On Wed. April 15 at the monthly meeting of the Toledo chapter of NOW( National Org. of Women) the ballots were counted for the election of officers. Michele Finley was elected secretary, Sharon Barnes was elected treasurer, and Anita Rios (me)was elected chairperson. I feel honored to serve along with Michele and Sharon and know that if we do our jobs well this next year we will be taking on many challenges.
I am a feminist to my core and believe that I have been one from the time I first realized that there were males and females. Being a Latina and raised in a very macho culture I learned at a very early age that I would have to speak very loudly to be heard over male voices. Over time I have20come to know that feminism is but one of the tools that will create equity among all human beings, and that as we free ourselves from the arbitrary constraints of a “woman’s place” in society we also free our brothers. From that point of view of knowing that feminism is a vital part of a renewed civil rights/human rights movement it is my hope that we will turn the hardships that we face into an opportunity of to do some good in this world. In our discussions over the past few meetings Toledo NOW has decided to prioritize domestic violence and reproductive rights in the coming year.
In these times of increased hardships for everyone there is no doubt that women will face additional hardships. Almost every day we hear of another woman who is, often times along with her children, murdered by the man who was supposed to love her. As jobs are lost and the grossly inadequate support system falls short women will be struggling not just to feed their families but to keep them safe.
Reproductive and family planning options have become increasingly important in these difficult times and it is essential that we assure that the option of having a safe and legal abortion remains a woman’s choice. Over the years access to safe and legal abortions has been eroded by condescending laws that require waiting periods and layers of counseling and consent prior to having an abortion. Not only do these laws waste a woman’s time they add to the cost for both the woman seeking an abortion,20for transportation & child care, and the clinics that provide abortions for increased staffing. Sixteen and seventeen year olds are frequently treated as adults in the criminal justice system yet a woman of that age must obtain parental consent or go through a judicial bypass to get an abortion in Ohio. There is no reason that the age of consent for sex should be different from the age of consent for an abortion.