Friday, May 16, 2014

We need revolutionary thought to save the planet.

Guest: Brian Jones, long time educator, activist and parent in New York City, talks about seeking the Green Party's nomination for the office of Lieutenant Governor of the State of New York.

We have had Green Party candidates before, but I have to say that each one has brought something new to the debate about restoring our democracy. Brian, an elementary teacher in NYC, directed our attention to charter schools, the pet project of the nation's billionaires. Why do people like the Walton heirs, the richest family in the world, want to destroy public education? 

I suggested that much of the energy behind the charter school movement comes from the very richest of Americans trying to get rid of the nation's last unions. Our twenty first century robber barons want all workers on Walmart wages.

Brian thought that it was more complex than that. The austerity craze that has been sweeping the country has our government cutting services to the poor and middle classes to the bone, in order to fight wars of aggression abroad and to make the richest of Americans even richer. The public doesn't want more austerity, but since there is no real democracy left, it doesn't matter. 

Polls do show that over 90% of Americans favor higher taxes on the very rich, but it as long as the 1% control both parties, it just isn't going to happen. Obama has done his best to cut Social Security and Medicare too. And to pass the worst trade treaty in US history, the TPP, that would send tens of thousands of jobs to Asia. In fact, the country would have been better off with Dick Nixon than Barack Obama. There is nothing like a phony progressive to really gut the interests of working people.  

We closed with a discussion of what it means to be a socialist (Brian makes no apologies for being one). I asked him how his ideology fit with the Green Party, and he replied that big changes have to come if the planet is to survive. The Green Party's agenda is in the right direction, even though he doubts whether our current political system is capable of the changes needed. We need revolutionary thought to save the planet.

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