United States: A Green perspective on Occupy
By the Green Party of St. Louis
October 25, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Green Party of St. Louis endorses, marches with and is a part of Occupy St. Louis and the global Occupy movement. We, the 99%, must have jobs and economic security that the 1% is destroying. But there must be jobs without leaving a burnt-out, mined-out, radioactive and chemically contaminated planet. The Green Party advocates …
Jobs without environmental destruction!
The only way to preserve the Earth for future generations is to halt economic growth. Every effort to stimulate the economy is a call to destroy life. This is a Green Party perspective on how we can create jobs, shrink the economy and preserve the environment.
We can combine economic and environmental sanity if we have a shorter work week – a much shorter work week. Why should some be forced to work 40, 50 or 60 hours a week while watching their neighbours be unemployed and their children’s asthma get worse from the pollutants created by overproduction?
We need to produce different things – not more things. Everyone should have medical care, housing, food and education. The amount that the 1% squanders on what we do not need vastly exceeds the cost of what is important.
A Green economy would create things that we need (instead of useless junk) and things that endure (instead of being designed to fall apart or become out of style). It would not build things that designed to kill other people in order to steal their oil (or corner the world’s oil market). If we stop producing things that are useless, fall apart or are socially destructive, there will be no need for mining, manufacturing and transportation at anywhere near current quantities.
This is the only way to stop poisoning the air, land and water. Solar panels, wind power, energy-saving devices and “green” products can only be helpful if they are part of an overall goal of producing less. An economy of infinite growth would require more fossil fuel to build and expand “alternative” energy than would be saved by their use. What is the value of having cars that are 20% more energy efficient if the number of cars on the road and miles driven increases by 30%? Wouldn’t it make more sense to build walkable/bikeable communities where people can get to where they need to go without cars?
Economic growth is not bringing us better lives. If we work at a more frantic pace to produce twice as many gadgets, who benefits if each gadget lasts half as long before it falls apart? We, the 99%, don’t benefit – we just have more heart attacks, strokes and cancer that come with high-pressure, toxic-filled jobs. But the 1% who own and finance the gadget company get richer. Yet, the greedy 1% don’t have happier and more fulfilling lives – they just increase their money and power.
Would producing a lot less stuff mean that there would be even more of us out of work? That’s what the 1% would like us to believe. But imagine a different world. Imagine that we share the work among everyone. Instead of producing more and more and more so the 1% can have a brief fix on their greed habit, imagine that we produce what we need and then go home.
Let’s start with a 35-hour workweek for everyone. If there are still people out of work, let’s reduce that to 30 hours. If we find that producing useful instead of destructive stuff means that we need to work even less, then, instead of throwing some people out of work, why not reduce the workweek to 25 or even 20 hours?
But, uh-oh, there could be a problem. What happens to my health-care plan? And what happens to my pension plan? (For those who are lucky enough to even have health plans and pensions.) That is why Greens believe that an environmental society must have …
Medicare for all! Double social security!
Instead of trying to make it possible for everyone to work less, the Democrat and Republican parties are standing with their Wall Street financiers to whittle away at Medicare and social security until there is nothing left of them.
We will not choose between feeding our children today and poisoning our grandchildren tomorrow. We can have much better lives if we work less. Occupy the financial centres! Occupy your workplaces! Occupy your mind as you imagine a new society!
[This statement was submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the Green Party of St. Louis.]