Green Party of Mississippi

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Platform of the Green Party of Mississippi

Adopted June 2004, Revised May 2012

Preamble

I. Democracy

II. Social Justice and Equal Opportunity

III. Environmental Sustainability

Preamble

We, the members of the Green Party of Mississippi, affirm as our first principle that government may only exist as an instrument whereby the People may govern themselves. Governments may exist only with the consent of the People which the People may withdraw or withhold at any time. The purpose of government is to secure and preserve to the People as individuals the inherent rights of all individual human beings. These rights include, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." We affirm our intention to work for the respect and acknowledgement of individual human rights by all people and governments consistent with the values and principles set forth in this Platform. We affirm that we do this work as one small part of the greater work of all Greens and their progressive allies towards the establishment and/or maintenance of free and democratic government in all our respective states throughout the world.

I.  Democracy

1.      Corporate Intrusion into the Political Process

a.       The greatest threat to what is left of our democracy after many years of assaults on the sovereignty of the American people is the ability of special interests to purchase the loyalty of those who are nominally the people's elected representatives. This purchase is accomplished through a corrupt system of campaign finance and corporate lobbying based on soft money contributions, political action committees, and post-public service rewards. We are unalterably opposed to this system and, in the name of the freedom and democracy for which this nation is supposed to stand, will do everything in our power to bring about its destruction.

b.      We propose comprehensive campaign finance reform. including caps on spending and contributions at the national and state levels, and/or full public financing of elections to remove undue influence in political campaigns. We will work to ban or greatly limit political action committees and restrict soft money contributions. We also support significant lobbying regulation, including strict rules that disclose the extent of political lobbying via gifts and contributions, broad based reforms of government operations, congressional reorganization, and ethics laws at every level of government.

2.      We support instant runoff voting. Instant runoff voting is already in use in several other countries and some municipalities in the U.S.. It allows voters to rank their choices first, second, third, etc. and operates like a series of runoff elections, but without the expense of holding an actual runoff election. If a voter's first choice doesn't win, the vote transfers to the second choice, and so on. Instant runoff voting allows voters to vote their conscience without "wasting" their vote on a candidate not likely to win, or being forced into choosing between the "lesser of two evils.

3.      We favor the passage of a "clean money" law such as that of Arizona whereby any candidate who gathers 200 checks from individuals of $5 each becomes eligible for more than $25,000 in public money. The cost of the program would be paid by a $5 state income tax check-off, a dollar for dollar tax credit of up to $50 for direct contributions to the system, and a 10% surcharge on civil and criminal fines.

4.      The intrusion of corporations into American political life must be stopped. Corporations are artificial persons not endowed with the same rights to free speech, freedom of religion, and other constitutional rights as natural persons. We therefore favor an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Mississippi that recognizes these rights to accrue only to "natural persons."

5.      Municipal political parties should be allowed to organize without the existence of state or county parties.

6.      County political parties should be allowed to organize without the existence of a state party.

7.      We favor the passage of a fusion law similar to that of the state of New York allowing different political parties to nominate the same candidate for state, county, and municipal political offices.

8.      Individuals should be allowed to be members of a state political party without being members of a county or municipal party.

9.      We oppose at-large elections as diluting the voting strength of minorities.

10.  No Mississippi elected official should be compensated by law at more than twice the individual median income for Mississippians. If our elected officials want salary increases they should be required to earn them by raising the standard of living of the people they presumably represent.

11.  We support sunshine laws that open up the political system to access by all citizens. We call for vigorous enforcement of existing open meeting and open records laws in Mississippi.

12.  We call for election days to be designated state holidays and for other measures calculated to inform, educate, and motivate voters. Among these measures should be state-organized voter registration outreach to all high school seniors.

13.  The state law denying felons their voting rights even after they have served their sentences and completed their paroles is unjust to ex-convicts who are sincerely attempting to rehabilitate themselves and unconstitutional under the Eighth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. We believe that it should be repealed.

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II.  Social Justice and Equal Opportunity

A.     Education

1.      The ultimate purpose of education, although it should include job training, is to help children become scholars and citizens taught to question, reason, and discern, not employees and consumers taught to produce, consume, and obey. This is the guiding principle behind all Green Party of Mississippi education policies.

2.      We believe in ridding public schools of all institutionalized commercial messages and marketing tactics targeted at students. 

3.      We support school funding equalization so that schools in poor districts receive as much per-student funding as schools in wealthy districts.

4.      We support action by the state designed to improve performance by rural and under funded school districts. Such programs would include incentives to students to enter the teaching profession and incentives to teachers to work in disadvantaged districts. Counties in which all or some public schools fail to reach an adequate level of academic achievement should be encouraged to consolidate.

5.      End tracking and train teachers to deal with multiple levels of achievement in the same classroom.

6.      We support programs to train teachers through an apprenticeship system which includes hands-on classroom experience under the supervision of experienced teachers.

7.      We support classroom programs whereby the more advanced students in a class tutor the less advanced.

8.      Birth control information and sexually-transmitted diseases (STD)-prevention information should be disseminated through a program of sex education. We support realistic, practical instruction, not limited to "abstinence only" programs. Mississippi's infamous teen pregnancy rate, usually the highest in the nation, and the spread of STD's, especially AIDS and HIV are public health issues that must be addressed rationally and scientifically.

9.      We oppose school vouchers, for-profit, and religious charter schools.

10.  We support the repeal of the law requiring the Ten Commandments to be posted in all Mississippi public school classrooms. All copies of the Ten Commandments now in Mississippi classrooms should be returned to their donors.

11.  We call for the public election of local school superintendents.

12.  All employers should be encouraged to provide a certain amount of paid time off, upon request and on a regular basis, for parents and guardians to take an active role in their children's education.

13.  All children should have access to a choice of fully funded academic and vocational post-secondary educational services. Stipends should provide living expenses and all books, fees, and tuition should be publicly funded.

14.  We favor bilingual education. Children whose first language is not English need instructional programs that retain and improve command of their native language while building English proficiency.

15.  We favor enhanced foreign language and cultural instruction in primary and secondary schools as a way to prepare students to live in a global society.

16.  To raise the quality of higher education in Mississippi, we favor the hiring of larger numbers of full time, tenure track university faculty and thus, decreased dependence on adjunct, part-time faculty and teaching assistants; the reduction of the standard instructor teaching load in the Community College system to the national average, four courses per term; regional and national candidate searches to fill faculty slots in the Community College system; and the raising of university faculty salaries to the Southeastern average as a tool for faculty recruitment and retention.

17.  We support the right of faculty and staff at all state educational institutions to form unions and enter into collective bargaining agreements with school boards and the Community College and Institutions of Higher Learning Boards.

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B.     Health Care

1.      We believe that the state of Mississippi should support publicly owned county and regional hospitals as a step towards universal healthcare.

2.      We support state-financed malpractice insurance to enable doctors and nurses to practice in the state of Mississippi without unreasonable expenses and without fear of unfair malpractice claims.

3.      We support state-financed healthcare provider education at in-or-out-of-state accredited programs to be reimbursed by practice in the underserved rural areas of Mississippi after graduation.

4.      The state of Mississippi should not interfere with reproductive freedom. Abortion should be covered by state healthcare funding.

5.      We support initiatives to address the epidemic of AIDS and HIV disease, including education, availability of condoms, and access to healthcare for HIV-infected individuals.

C.     Economic Justice/Social Safety Net

1.      We support an immediate increase of the legal hourly wage to at least $2.00 over the federal minimum wage in all municipalities and counties in the state of Mississippi and in all state funded hourly wage positions. Corporations receiving state, county, and municipal contracts should be required to pay their employees a living wage.

2.      We support state funding of living wage jobs in community and environmental service.

3.      We oppose the use of the state of Mississippi's eminent domain powers to acquire land or other property for the use of corporations or other for-profit entities. The power of eminent domain must be used for the public good and not for the enrichment of private interests.

4.      We favor financial and technical incentives for the creation of worker or consumer cooperatives or democratic public enterprises.

5.      We favor financial and technical incentives for the creation of publicly owned community banks or consumer credit unions.

6.      We favor the elimination of sales taxes on food, utilities for residential consumption, pharmaceuticals and other basic necessities.

7.      We favor an increase to 8% of the oil severance tax.

8.      We support an increase in the tobacco tax.

9.      We propose that the Mississippi State Legislature fully match the federal child care block grant so that Mississippi can avail itself of all federal funds available for this purpose.

10.  We believe that corporations and wealthy property owners should be taxed to provide restricted funds for vocational, academic, and extracurricular education.

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D.     Management-Labor Relations

1.      Mississippi right-to-work laws must be repealed. We support the right of employees to form unions and engage in collective bargaining.

2.      We support the enactment of "labor peace laws" requiring employers to allow union organizers access to their premises and employees for organizing purposes without interference or reprisals against employees or organizers.

3.      We support the passage of a law requiring employers to provide a written statement of cause before they may fire an employee.

4.      We support the passage of a law prohibiting camera surveillance of employees and surveillance of employee Email traffic.

5.      Temporary employment agencies and other contractors should be regulated, and fair treatment, pay, and security should be guaranteed for their employees.

6.      A State Labor Commission should be created to oversee union elections for workers not covered by the NLRA (as amended) and not allowed NLRB elections. This definition would include state and municipal employees and farm labor. It could also include employees of some medium-sized businesses with 10 or more employees.

7.      We contend that workers have a basic human right to a safe and healthful workplace. Thus, workplace health and safety regulations must be enforced rigorously; workplaces should be open to state safety inspection without advance notice; health and safety whistleblowers must be protected from discharge and harassment; accidents or death on the job should be subject to investigation and possible criminal prosecution.

E.      Criminal Justice

1.      Abolish private prisons. Allowing private individuals to profit by subjecting their fellow citizens to involuntary servitude is suggestive of slavery.

2.      We favor rehabilitation of prisoners. To that end, we support access to education and job training for prisoners.

3.      We support halfway houses, fines, restitution, and community service as alternatives to the continued expansion of the prison-industrial complex.

4.      We call for the repeal of Mississippi's "three strikes" law. This law has crowded our prisons with nonviolent offenders and devoured revenue that could be spent on education or the protection of the environment. 

5.      We oppose damage caps for lawsuits. We favor the repeal of all laws imposing them. Individuals and businesses that commit illegal acts must be brought to account.

6.      We condemn the doctrine of sovereign immunity and favor legislation making it illegal for state officials and agencies to invoke it. If private individuals are to be answerable for their crimes in courts of law then public officials must be also. No government has the right to expect its citizens to obey its laws if it does not obey them itself.

7.      We support vigorous enforcement of laws against cruelty to animals, especially the anti-dog fighting and anti-cockfighting laws.

8.      We support independent civilian review of complaints of police misconduct.

9.      We support the legalization of industrial hemp.

10.  We oppose mandatory drug testing by employers except in situations involving the operation of vehicles and equipment where there is a danger to human life. We favor the passage of laws making such testing illegal in the state of Mississippi.

11.  We support the abolition of the death penalty in the state of Mississippi.

12.  We condemn the USA Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act as steps towards the creation of a police state. We call on all state, county, and municipal law enforcement organizations to refuse to cooperate with the Federal government in the enforcement of all unconstitutional provisions of this legislation. We also call for all county and municipal governing bodies to pass resolutions condemning the Patriot Act as unconstitutional and dangerous to democracy.

13.  We call for the establishment of a state commission to investigate the feasibility of decriminalizing, taxing, and regulating private possession and use of marijuana.

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F.      Civil and Equal Rights 

1.      We support the formation of a State Commission on Civil Rights to examine and recommend action on past and present injustices and inequities among Mississippians.

2.      We support comparable worth legislation to equalize the pay of women and minorities with that of white males.

3.      We support the formation of a State Commission on Reparations to study the question of reparations for slavery.

4.      We support legislation guaranteeing gays and bisexuals the same access to civil marriage as heterosexuals. Laws denying them such access are unjust and unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

5.      We call for immediate passage of legislation banning job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender.

6.      We support legislation prohibiting discrimination in housing, hiring, or health care based on HIV status or AIDS diagnosis.

7.      We call for a change in the state child support laws to make unearned income part of the basis of the calculation of court-ordered child support.

8.      No one should be denied the right to adopt or hold custody of children on the basis of gender, race, religion, ethnic origin, age, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.

G.     Free Speech

1.      The right of the individual to freedom of speech is inherent in his or her existence as a human being and should in no way be abridged by the state of Mississippi. This principle includes state government employees and teachers and students in public schools.

2.      The airwaves are a valuable public property. We thus support the cultivation of "community radio." We believe that the FCC should allow for a new service of small, locally-owned FM stations.

3.      We also call for the creation and funding of genuine public access TV channels by all the cable providers in the state and for the creation of modest production facilities in at least one network TV station in each major media market in the state to facilitate citizen access. To fund such access, we call for a state surcharge to be paid by all corporate broadcast entities and cable or satellite TV providers in the state. This surcharge would be proportional to the power and reach of their signals, or, in the case of cable or satellite TV providers, the number of households enrolled. These monies would be made available to applicants for public access airtime to be used for the discussion of public issues and paid to the originating broadcast facility to cover the expense of production and broadcasting.

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H.     Native Americans

1.      We support the self-determination of the Choctaw and any other Native American tribe indigenous to Mississippi and resident in the state before 1900.

2.      We support legislation allowing the state of Mississippi to grant official recognition to Mississippi Native American tribes.

3.      We recognize the sovereignty of Native American tribal governments.

I.        Immigration

1.      State laws allowing employers to import employees from foreign countries and pay them less than minimum wage by hiring them as temporary workers are a form of peonage. We favor and call for their immediate repeal.

J.       Housing

1.      We support passage of equitable landlord-tenant laws in all counties and municipalities.

K.    Community Involvement

1.      We support legislation and public policies that encourage establishment of consumer co-ops, micro loan funds, and local currencies.

2.      We support direct democracy through town meetings. We favor the passage of municipal ordinances requiring public officials to hold such meetings. Such meetings should be empowered to pass and/or repeal municipal ordinances, as well as to monitor, instruct, and recall representatives elected to municipal, state, and federal office.

L.      Banking for People

1.      We support a law capping interest rates on all loans including credit cards in the state of Mississippi at 1% over the Prime lending rate.

2.      We support a law against rollovers whereby a late payment causes the interest rate on a loan to double. Rollovers are a form of extortion and all lenders who engage in this practice should be imprisoned for no less than five years and be required to make restitution to their victims.

3.      We support the promotion of credit unions as an alternative to the legalized swindling practiced by easy credit lenders. Every Mississippian, regardless of employer or place of residence, should have access to a credit union.

4.      We support a cap on fees for cashing checks at 0.1% of the value of the check, but no more than $5.

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III.  Environmental Sustainability

A.     Energy Policy

1.      We oppose the deregulation of utilities. Public utilities are too important to our citizens and businesses to allow prices to become subject to the vagaries of the marketplace.

2.      We call for the development of a state energy policy including taxes and/or fines on energy waste and credits for alternative and sustainable energy use such as solar, wind, hydrogen, and biomass. In addition to corporate tax credits for viable alternative energy creation or conservation projects, we also call for such credits for individuals or contractors who design into or add onto personal homes active energy producing/saving devices.

3.      We encourage state agencies to incorporate energy-saving and alternative power generation technologies as feasible in all state-owned buildings.

B.     Nuclear Energy Policy

1.      We oppose nuclear energy and call for a decommissioning and phase-out of current nuclear plants.

2.      The Green Party of Mississippi opposes the transportation of nuclear waste through Mississippi to Yucca Mountain or any other facility.

3.      We support a law requiring the owners of Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant to allow independent, public-access radiation monitoring.

4.      We oppose construction or expansion of any nuclear plants in Mississippi.

C.     Waste Disposal

1.      We support local ordinances and state laws requiring businesses applying for zoning permits to disclose any toxic substances which may be used or produced at the site.

2.      We favor comprehensive and systematic recycling programs for state and local governments.

3.      We call for a "bottle bill" to place a deposit (5 cents) on all non-returnable glass, plastic, and metal packages of beer and soft drinks.  The intended effect of the deposit is to reduce litter along our highways and other roads and to encourage recycling.

4.      We call for the reduction of the public sector waste stream and especially for the development of viable recycling programs for all waste paper generated by state offices and by the state university and public school systems.

5.      We call for measures by which organic trash collected by municipal and county waste management-lawn clippings, leaf and pine straw, dead fall and trimmed tree branches-would be composted and the resulting mulch and compost made available to farmers, home gardeners, and the state.

D.     Fossil Fuels

1.      We support incentives to enable local communities to build bike paths and sidewalks in order to reduce auto-based transportation.

2.      We also call for the creation of carpool lanes and other incentives to carpooling in metro areas throughout Mississippi.

3.      We call for state tax credits-either savings on vehicle tag costs or income tax deductions or both-to be granted to those consumers who buy "hybrid" gas electric vehicles or other alternative-fuel vehicles that meet rigid fuel economy and exhaust emissions standards.

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E.      Renewable Energy

1.      We support the use of tax-exempt bonds to allow publicly owned utilities to finance conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy project.

F.      Transportation Policy

1.      We support publicly financed mass transit in Mississippi's metropolitan areas. 

2.      We advocate the use of existing highway corridors when new highways are constructed. Rather than exercising eminent domain to acquire land for highway construction, Highway Department planners should first examine the feasibility of widening existing roadways.

G.     Clean Air

1.      We favor state legislation on the California model requiring stricter clean air and fuel efficiency standards.

2.      We favor state legislation underwriting low interest loans for the replacement of high-pollution older vehicles which have been licensed in Mississippi for at least the preceding five years with low-pollution vehicles, to be available to each owner of such an older vehicle.

H.     Land Use

1.      We support the full funding and expansion of our state parks system.

2.      We propose to overhaul Forestry Commission rules with the aim of protecting all our remaining old-growth forests, The revised rules will prohibit clear cutting on public land and promote sustainable forestry practices on both public and private lands.

3.      We support a review of all state land-use policies.

4.      We call for stricter public scrutiny and control over wetlands reduction, flood control and river-redirection projects.

5.      We call for a moratorium on the cutting of mature deciduous trees on all public lands and call for the creation of incentives to protect and preserve these native species on private lands throughout Mississippi.

6.      We will implement an immediate ban on the building of logging roads in state forests at taxpayer expense. These roads cost more to build than they bring in revenue and contribute to soil erosion and silting of streams.

7.      End any state subsidies that encourage the export of raw logs and other minimally processed forest products (pulp, chips, carts, slabs, etc.) to out-of-state mills. Instead, provide incentives to local mills and in so doing create jobs for the people of Mississippi.

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I.        Water

1.      We support the promotion of water conservation by the state of Mississippi.

2.      We oppose the privatization of municipal water services.

3.      We acknowledge Native American rights regarding water and urge that courts and state water engineers do the same.

4.      We support the creation of green belts around our urban areas to rein in sprawl and promote development of the inner city.

J.       Agriculture

1.      We support organic farming methods and endorse the efforts of Mississippi's organic farmers to organize statewide to promote them.

2.      We support cooperative farming and oppose agribusiness. We support farmers markets and on-site and u-pick-em operations.

3.      We propose to abolish all state subsidies and tax breaks for agribusiness while maintaining them for small farmers and cooperative farmers. We support incentives to promote small-scale family farms, biological diversity in crop cultivation, and regional approaches to food supplies rather than the transportation of food over long distances to markets.

4.      We wish to create incentives to increase diversity in forest plantings to promote wildlife habitat, the diversity of our ecosystems, and the natural beauty of our rural lands.

5.      We propose to institute the teaching of organic and sustainable farming, including permaculture methods, in Mississippi's agricultural colleges. State universities should be given a mandate to perform research into organic farming methods and integrated pest management as a way to replace chemical biocides and fertilizers.

6.      We propose incentives to promote the use of integrated pest management and the phasing out of biocides.

7.      We propose a ban on genetic engineering and the release of genetically engineered organisms in the state of Mississippi. This ban includes "terminator gene" plants that produce sterile seeds.

8.      Farmers have the right to save viable seed they have grown. This right contributes to sustainable farming. Contracts that prohibit farmers from saving seeds from their harvest for planting the following season should be made illegal.

9.      We support pollution fees for the use of non-organic fertilizers, the resulting revenue to pay for environmental restoration.

10.  We support rapid completion and implementation of state regulations defining "organic food," including both produce and livestock.

11.  We support the use of work projects, goats, and other sustainable methods to control undergrowth rather than spraying herbicides, especially near communities.

12.  We support a state program, including incentives and research at the state's agricultural schools, to promote the growing of industrial hemp, kenaf, and other non-tree sources of raw material for the manufacture of paper.


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