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Green Party US endorses October 2011 protest against Afghanistan and Iraq wars and 2012 austerity budget

Green party anti-war poster

Image via Wikipedia

• Greens call for an end to the Bush-Obama post-9/11 decade of wars without end, bloated military budgets, skyrocketing hate crimes against Muslims in the US, torture and other abuses of power

The Green Party of the United States has endorsed the “October 2011” protests and other events marking the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget.

On October 6, 2011, thousands will gather on Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC to “occupy the plaza and hold a People’s Assembly where we come up with just and sustainable solutions to the crises we face and demand that these solutions be presented and that the people’s needs be addressed.  We  demand that our inherent rights and freedoms be protected, and that our children have a chance to live in peace, to breathe clean air, and to grow edible natural food,” according to the October 2011 web site (http://october2011.org).

Participants hope that the event will spark a US equivalent to the pro-democracy ‘Arab Spring’ of early 2011.  Green leaders said that, after the changes in the Middle East, the demise of Osama bin Laden, and the severe damage to the nation’s economy and rule of law that resulted from the wars, it’s time to restore peace and sanity in America. 

In making this endorsement, we’re challenging the dangerous political direction of the US.  We also challenge others who support ‘October 2011’ to recognize the Green Party’s leadership on the issues these events will address, such as endless wars, the demand for Medicare For All universal health care and millions of new jobs, and the need to end the control of top corporations over our political system.

If participants in the next month’s events mute their criticism of President Obama and affirm their intention to vote Democrat, despite the numerous retreats and betrayals of the Democratic Party during the past decade, they will undermine the whole point of October 2011.  The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, bloated military spending, economic meltdown and Wall Street bailouts, failure to help people facing home foreclosures and unemployment, attacks on Social Security and Medicare, and abuses of power and violations of the US Constitution — on all of these, the Democrats and Republicans have converged.  Without a strong protest against both ruling parties, there is no chance of change.

Green Party leaders hope that ‘October 2011’ would shine a light on the following:

• The cost of the wars has reached $3.7 trillion during the past decade and has contributed to the domestic economic crisis.  A report from the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan notes that “spending on contracts and grants to support US operations [is] expected to exceed $206 billion by the end of the 2011 budget year” and revealed “[w]idespread waste and fraud discovered in wartime spending” (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2011-08-31/Panel-Widespread-waste-and-fraud-in-war-spending/50200868/1).  The ‘War on Terrorism’ after 9/11, with its own high costs, is now the longest war in US history.

The Green Party has opposed the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since President Bush ordered the invasions, and has called for a sharp reduction of military funding, with funds redirected towards job creation and other human needs (See “Green Party, responding to President Obama’s Sept. 8 address, calls ‘Green New Deal’ the key to job creation,” Green Party press release, September 9, 2011, http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=446).

• Hate crimes targeting people who are or perceived to be Muslim, South Asian, and Arab in the US have risen 1700% since 9/11 (http://www.hrw.org/legacy/reports/2002/usahate/usa1102-04.htm).  Thousands more have suffered months of detention without charges on suspicion of involvement with or sympathy for terrorism, apparently because of their ethnicity or religion and despite lack of evidence.

• Since 9/11, Americans have seen widespread abuses of power and violations of the US Constitution and international law to which the US is signatory, such as indefinite detention and denial of habeas corpus, torture and extraordinary rendition, maintenance of ‘black sites’ outside of legal scrutiny, warrantless surveillance of US citizens, and harassment of whistleblowers.

The Obama Administration has maintained most of these policies and shielded Bush Administration officials who violated the law, while more vigorously targeting whistleblowers and even authorizing extra-judicial killing of suspects who are US citizens.  As Scott Horton noted in a recent Harper’s article (http://www.harpers.org/archive/2011/09/hbc-90008242), in the wake of 9/11 many US military functions have been privatized and removed from government and public oversight, the CIA has changed from an intelligence agency into a military force, the National Security Agency has migrated from foreign intelligence to domestic surveillance, and the Justice Department has become more and more a tool for political purposes.

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