A Political Party That's Close Yet...

I really wanted to write a glowing report on a new choice being offered in the political arena. I found this group, named the "New Party" (http://www.newparty.org), while wandering around the internet one day, as usual, in search of something entirely different. I'll explain my lack of enthusiam regarding this group at the end of this article but will first report on the interesting and progressive principles it claims to stand for.

Let me begin by quoting two sections of their page which explains "The New Party Principles":

"Our commitment to democracy comes from our recognition of the moral equality of persons. People really are created equal, and their free deliberation is the best hope for achieving the blessings of liberty. The same recognition fuels our commitment to fairness in social life -- not letting such moral irrelevancies as race, gender, age, sexual orientation, country of origin, or inheritance determine one's life chances. A commitment to democracy, finally, implies commitment to building the popular democratic organizations -- clean, effective, and accountable government, democratic unions and community organizations -- necessary to any democratic society."

"We are thus saddened and outraged by the present corruption of our public institutions; the deliberate weakening of unions and other popular democratic organizations; the short-sighted and cruel economic policies now destroying our cities and communities, increasing inequality, lowering living standards, and wrecking the earth; the special burdens this society still places on women, people of color, and children; the violence it inflicts on the rest of the world."

To say the least, these statements are in complete agreement with everything this column has ever demanded that America once again take seriously. The idea that every American has the right to a voice in this nation's direction has been ignored or forgotten by the very institutions meant to protect and represent us. There is absolutely no reason to allow any group or business organization to have more power than the rest of us nor to sanction the harm these groups impose on those who are the least protected in our society by dint of such inane attributes as color or sex or age or any other reason.

The New Party's platform consists of the most elementary ideals without which a true democracy cannot exist. What we are experiencing today, though, is not a democracy in our nation but simply the purchase and ownership of our government by the wealthy and that evil of evils, Corporate America and their new religion - the Global Economy! You and I, as individual Americans, have absolutely no say in the direction our country is headed nor any power to alter that course by an inch. You and I are only "consumers" or the "labor pool" or, sadly, "lazy, shiftless liberals" if we demand a better life for all rather than the wealthy few.

I will allow their principles to speak for themselves:

* Full public financing of elections, universal voter registration, proportional representation, free party competition.

* The establishment, defense, and facilitation of worker, consumer, shareholder, and taxpayer rights to democratic self-organization.

* The creation of a sustainable economy based on the responsible and reverent use of earth's resources -- taking no more than we need, replacing and reusing all that we can.

* A society in which we all take seriously our responsibilities as parents, workers and citizens.

* The democratization of our banking and financial system -- including greater accountability of those charged with public stewardship of our banking system, worker-owner control over their pension assets, community-controlled alternative financial institutions, and full disclosure of lending practices.

* A Bill of Rights for America's Children, guaranteeing true equality of opportunity by providing equal access to comparable education, health care, nutrition, housing, and safety.

* Community-control and equitable funding of our public schools, within which we seek not just equality, but excellence.

* Full employment, a shorter work week, and a guaranteed minimum income for all adults; a universal "social wage" to include such basic benefits as health care, child care, vacation time, and lifelong access to education and training; a systematic phase-in of comparable worth and like programs to ensure gender equity.

* A progressive tax system based on the ability to pay.

* Rebuilding our cities and metropolitan regions -- the cornerstones of a high-wage and ecologically sustainable economy -- through community-led programs of comprehensive, democratic, high-wage, and low-waste economic development.

* Communities in which residents, neighborhood organizations, businesses, police, and local officials cooperate as equal partners to provide a safe and secure environment in which to live and work and study.

* A reduction of national military spending to that necessary to the defense of the United States, and an end to unilateral military interventions.

* Trade among nations consistent with mutual improvement in living standards, reduced cross-national inequalities, and sustainable development.

* In all aspects of our economy and social life, an absolute bar to discrimination based on race, gender, age, country of origin, and sexual orientation, and absolute security in reproductive rights, fundamental liberties, and privacy.

I can find very little to quibble with in this document. It states only what a democracy must entail but what America sorely lacks, today.

I said that I could not enthusiastically endorse this group and there is but one reason. I wrote to their governing board asking for more information in order that I could intelligently report on all aspects of their party. That was in January of this year. After reiterating the request three times, I have yet to receive anything from them but outright solicitations for money. This shows no difference between them and the other two major parties since it is evident that money is all that appears important to them.

Perhaps someone else could use the platforms and principles this party has so eloquently expressed in order to found a party to represent the American citizen but without the sad reliance on demands for money when information is what is needed and asked for. They claim to stand for many positive and progressive ideals but are, apparently, no different from the rest.

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Copyright 5/3/98