The People’s Tribune interviewed Ben Manski, Campaign Manager for the Jill Stein-Cheri Honkala presidential campaign.
People’s Tribune: What are the main lessons of the Green Party presidential campaign?
Ben Manski: It’s clear coming out of this election that the Green Party is the electoral voice for the people’s movement in the US. Second, that a serious, well-organized effort will find a receptive audience. People want Green politics. They want a radical break from what this system has been giving us. A half million people voted for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala and that represents a big step forward.
PT: Internationally known conservative scientists are speaking out about global warming. Is this a significant development?
Ben: I think the ruling class is done pretending that climate change is a question mark. The only question is what will be done in response to climate disaster? Who will pay? Who will suffer? Who will be protected? Our campaign made climate change the main issue just days ahead of Hurricane Sandy. We were already saying that we needed to move to a new economy that is built around the realities that Mother Nature has given us. Hurricane Sandy hit and re-informed that message. Now we see this report from the International Energy Association (IEA) that says what all of us have already known—that climate change is serious. The Green New Deal is about climate and austerity. Dr. Stein and Cheri Honkala understand that our economic system is the source of poverty, mass unemployment and climate change, and unless we change our economic system, our problems will just get worse.
PT: Speak about the Green Party program on poverty.
Ben: The Green Party New Deal calls for an end to poverty in America. It includes an end to home foreclosure, and an end to unemployment through the creation of 25 million jobs; 16 million would be government jobs. The Green New Deal also calls for a local democratic socialized system of providing energy, telephone and other services to everyone. It would provide food programs on a much larger level through the local and federal government. These are the needs of the country, not only in terms of ending poverty, but to move to a new sustainable economy.
PT: What will be the Green Party activities for the coming year?
Ben: We are working to make sure that the new energy that was attracted to Jill and Cheri’s campaign becomes part of the Green Party for the long haul. We are holding organizing campaign schools around the country to teach the skills involved for running for office and for running election campaigns. Our first campaign school is planned for Minnesota and Chicago in January. We are also very focused on continuing the role that Dr. Stein and Cheri Honkala played in the larger movement in the course of the campaign. That is, taking on Wall Street, fighting for a Green New Deal and supporting movements against climate change. Carrying forward campaigns for human rights in the cities and dealing with the issues of poverty and workers rights are in our plans.
For more information about the Green Party, visit jillstein.org.