Pacific Green Party of Oregon proposal to Green Party US, National Committee to form a Government Accountability Standing Committee; proposal advanced from the August 21,2021 PGP state convention, passed by consensus / majority vote.
6-4.1 SPONSOR: From Pacific Green Party of Oregon.
6-4.2 CONTACT: Chuck Fall, 503-484-5548; firstname.lastname@example.org.
6-4.3 SUBJECT/TITLE: Establish a Standing Committee titled Government Accountability, Transparency and Whistleblower Protections.
6-4.4 TYPE OF PROPOSAL, EXPECTED APPROVAL THRESHOLD: Standing Committee requires 2/3 of all ‘yes’ and ‘no’ votes cast for passage.
6-2.1(f) Establishment of Standing and Ad Hoc Committees shall require 2/3 of all ‘yes’ and ‘no’ votes cast for passage.
6-4.5 REQUESTED PROPOSAL DECISION-MAKING TIMELINE
Request two to three week response.
6-4.6 BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The GP US and the Pacific Green Party of Oregon have multiple platform planks that highlight the need for vigilant monitoring of multiple issues. In many cases, Green positions hold that government is too powerful and unaccountable to oversight and needs to be reined in; for example, Pacific Greens call for the military industrial complex to be dismantled and for the CIA to be closed down. GP US calls for investigations into 9/11.
All our platform planks are aspirational but without any consistent pressure from an active citizenry and Green Party, our hopes for change will not be addressed. A Government Accountability Committee is a way for the Green Party to push back in a concerted way, and show leadership on difficult topics enumerated in GP US and Pacific Green Party platforms.
6-4.7 PROPOSAL: Create a standing committee titled Committee for Government Accountability, Transparency and Whistleblower Protections; [and an independent media free from Big Money, corporate and state, influence.]
Mission of Government Accountability Committee: is to hold government and corporations accountable for following the rules, demand transparency in all proceedings and deliberations from Government and Corporate organizations, and support protections for whistle blowers with immunity from prosecution.
Grass roots democracy is a primary objective of the Green Movement as it is one of the four pillars of the 10 Key Values. Our values recognize that a healthy republic requires these measures: accountability, transparency and whistle blower protections; for without oversight, malfeasance will be conducted with impunity, as sadly, to varying degrees, is what happens today.
Green principles for non-violence impel Greens to call out malfeasance that harms the common weal; we recognize the problem of the military industrial complex, which requires vigilant oversight of policies and practice. Oversight requires transparency in government affairs; however, secrecy breeds corruption, so we support Whistle Blowers and just prosecution of government and corporate wrongdoing. We the people of the Green Party would know very little of the truth about the national security state without whistle blowers; our democracy needs them. A Government Accountability Committee would also serve to petition Congress for investigations and other means to hold government and corporations accountable for wrong-doing and over-reach of authority.
We resolve to recognize the value and need for a standing committee that would vigilantly address issues and concerns raised in the GP US platform. See Bold Face sections of the platform (posted below) that speak to areas of concern that require monitoring and vigilant media attention to protect our country and maintain the struggle to advance Green values.
The Pacific Green Party of Oregon requests that the National Committee recognize that a Government Accountability Committee dedicated to accountability and transparency, would be good for the Party and be useful to the National Committee as a way to fulfill goals informed by the 10 Key Values and Platform Planks.
The Pacific Green Party of Oregon requests the National Committee create a Government Accountability Standing Committee that would work to advance the mission as stated in the proposal.
6-4.8 IMPLEMENTATION/TIMELINE/RESOURCES: A Steering Committee for government accountability will function as a standing committee at the service of the National Committee. Once recognized, the Government Accountability Standing Committee will meet and establish goals and objectives and be informed by the Government Accountability Committee mission. It is anticipated that the Committee will meet on a bi-monthly basis; it will be entirely volunteer, and will be made up of Green members from states across the country. The Committee will model itself on best practices to achieve the highest level of performance as possible.
It will be a goal of the Committee to reach out to all Caucuses, state parties, and National Committees to develop a network of activists to fulfill the mission: monitor state and corporate entities for accountability, demand transparency, and support Whistleblower Protections.
6-4.9 REFERENCES: Please read this aspirational call for a committee / caucus on Government Accountability; it offers a rational for enacting a standing committee on Government Accountability and Transparency. https://chuckfall.com/2021/04/20/all-political-parties-need-a-caucus-on-government-accountability-transparency-and-whistle-blower-protection-a-resolutions/
Appendix: Platforms from Oregon’s Pacific Green Party and GP US highlighting themes that a Government Accountability Committee would address.
From Pacific Green Party of Oregon: in our platform under Non-Violence pillar , sub War and Foreign Policy plank we say: “We will work to dismantle the US war machine, including both the military-industrial complex and the global hegemony it expands…End mass surveillance and manipulation of public opinion by intelligence agencies, and repeal laws which facilitate this, in particular the USA Patriot Act. We will abolish the CIA and NSA.”
A Government Accountability Committee will support actualizing these elements in the Oregon Green Party Platform. For example, the Committee could issue ‘white papers’ on why and how the CIA and NSA could and should be abolished, to support broader reforms to dismantle the Military Industrial Complex, and work with the Foreign Policy Committee to develop broad policy statements that advance the Green vision for world peace.
Below are passages in bold face from the GP US Platform that a Government Accountability Committee could be tasked with taking action to advance especially that involving corruption and other malfeasance that works against social justice and the potential for grass roots democracy to be developed. Especially applicable for a Government Accountability Committee are issues raised under Domestic Security; however, other sections feature goals that require vigilant monitoring, which a Committee on Accountability could be tasked to take on. Below are a few sections highlighted in Bold Face to show applicable platform calls, implicit and explicit, that require vigilance from the citizenry.
A. Political Reform
Greens will crack down on political corruption and strengthen the voice of the people at all levels of government.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to influence the governmental decisions that affect them. But the defining characteristics of modern politics in the United States are a corrupt campaign finance system that enables corporate and wealthy elites to purchase political outcomes; and an abundance of anti-democratic electoral, ballot access and debate rules designed to minimize participation and choice.
To achieve genuine citizen participation, citizens must share in the power of governing. Greens seek to bring vibrant grassroots democracy to every part of the United States.
- Electoral reform.
Enact proportional representation voting systems for …
- Reducing corruption
Develop publicly-owned, open source voting equipment and deploy it across the nation to ensure high national standards, performance, transparency and accountability; use verifiable paper ballots; and institute mandatory automatic random precinct recounts to ensure a high level of accuracy in election results.
Establish guarantees that every citizen’s vote counts, and that all U.S. voting systems—including electronic ones—are verifiable, transparent and accurate.
Establish a National Elections Commission with the mandate to establish minimum national election standards and uniformity, partner with state and local election officials to ensure pre-election and post-election accountability for their election plans, require nonpartisan election boards, and depoliticize and professionalize election administration across the United States.
Establish independent and transparent non-partisan redistricting processes to stop partisan gerrymandering and protect minority rights and representation.
D. Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy—Peace and Disarmament
a. Our government does not have any moral or legal right, or any justification, to preemptively attack another nation. The only legitimate use of military force is to repel an actual attack on our nation. We demand that our government adhere to international law, including the Kellogg-Briand Pact, Nuremberg Charter and United Nations Charter, which prohibit any and all preemptive wars or first strikes with any and all weaponry, nuclear and non-nuclear.
We demand repeal – not amendment — of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and oppose any other measure purporting to ‘authorize’ preemptive or illegal military action. In passing the AUMF, Congress abdicated its exclusive authority under the Constitution to declare war. It further violated the Constitution and betrayed its responsibility to the American people by delegating to the president – one person – virtually dictatorial power to commit acts of war whenever he or she chooses. The ‘system of checks and balances’ has been replaced by Congress just signing the ‘checks’ to pay for war. The AUMF has been used to justify U.S. military actions in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Numerous studies have shown that the ‘War on Terror’ has created an ever-increasing number of terrorists, destabilized the Middle East and beyond, and created massive death and destruction. It serves to maintain the US in a state of perpetual war.
b. The U.S. has over 700 foreign military bases. We urge our government to phase out all bases not specifically functioning under a U.N. resolution to keep peace and bring home our troops stationed abroad, except for the military assigned to protect a U.S. embassy. Many of these bases are small and can be closed immediately. We advocate further reductions in U.S. foreign military bases at a rate of closure of 1/4 to 1/5 of their numbers every year.
c. Close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, in Ft. Benning, Georgia.
d. The U.S. is the largest arms seller and dealer in the world. We urge our government to prohibit all arms sales to foreign nations and likewise prohibit grants to impoverished and undemocratic nations unless the money is targeted on domestic, non-military needs. In addition, grants to other nations may not be used to release their own funds for military purposes.
e. The U.S. must not be a conduit for defense contractors to market their products abroad and must shift our export market from arms to peaceful technology, industrial and agricultural products, and education.f. The U.S. must prohibit all covert actions used to influence, de-stabilize or usurp the governments of other nations, and likewise prohibit the assassination of, or assistance in any form for the assassination of, foreign government officials.We must build on the Earth Charter that came out of the 1992 U.N. environmental Earth Summit. New definitions of what constitutes real security between nations must be debated and adopted by the foreign policy community.
- A Real Road to Peace in the Middle East
The Green Party of the United States recognizes that our greatest contribution to peace in the Middle East will come through our impact on U.S. policy in the region.
Our commitments to ecological wisdom, social justice, grass-roots democracy, and non-violence compel us to oppose U.S. government support for “friendly” regimes in the region when those regimes violate human rights, international law, and existing treaties. We call on congressional intelligence committees to conduct comprehensive public hearings on the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction by all states in the region.
U.S. policy should support the removal and/or destruction of all such weapons wherever they are found there.
- E. Domestic Security
Greens want to stop the assault on our civil liberties that intensified after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and restore these and other freedoms to all people.
During the last several decades, there has been an erosion of freedom in the United States. This has come from many sources and takes many forms, including the war on drugs and widespread imprisonment of nonviolent drug offenders; the increased use of personal identification, surveillance of employees at work, and the growing use of private security forces by corporations; restrictions on the speech of protesters and students; and random traffic stops of persons of color and the commonplace use of roadblocks.
Since 9/11, this erosion has turned into a collapse of our freedoms, as then President Bush authorized torture, illegal wiretapping, indefinite detention without trial, and widespread government surveillance.
Greens believe that all such systematic degradation or elimination of our constitutional protections must stop, and that corrective measures need to be taken in a timely manner by Congress to fully reinstate all such losses of guaranteed citizen protections.
Immediately address environmental degradation in all forms. Environmental degradation poses extremely pressing concerns to both domestic and international security, amongst other things. An increasing frequency / intensity of extreme weather events as a whole are stressing global food, water, financial, security, energy, transportation, emigration/immigration, and other systems – pitting the self-interests of normally peaceful nations against each other. See chapter III for more detail.
- The Green Party calls for a complete, thorough, impartial, and independent investigation of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, including the role of the administration of George W, Bush, various U.S. based corporations and interests, and other nations and third parties.
- We call for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act. Many of its provisions, along with many of the other so-called National Security Acts, undermine and erode our Bill of Rights, and contribute to the destruction of the democratic foundation of checks and balances between the branches of government.
- Strictly enforce our First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association and petition. Federal, state and local governments must safeguard our right to public, non-violent protest. It is intolerable that law enforcement agencies intimidate lawful protesters with brutality, surveillance, repression and retaliation.
- End torture, such as in prisons like Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other U.S.-controlled facilities. Ensure those guilty of ordering or executing torture are held accountable for violations U.S. and international law.
- Restore habeas corpus, a legal action to obtain relief from illegal detention. End the use of indefinite detention without trial.
- Revoke the 2011 re-authorization of the Patriot Act, including “John Doe” roving wiretaps and the “library records” provision.
- End the abuse of National Security Letters, which the FBI uses to force Internet service providers, libraries, banks, and credit reporting companies to reveal sensitive information about their patrons.
- End illegal government spying, including the use of warrantless wiretaps. Three federal judges have ruled that President Bush’s National Security Agency warrantless wiretaps violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which contains criminal sanctions. Ensure that anyone who violated the FISA is held accountable for crimes committed.
- Enact a constitutional amendment affirming that the rights outlined in our Bill of Rights are human rights and do not apply in any way to corporations.
- Support U.S. constitutional guarantees for freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and that there shall be no religious test for public office. Eliminate federal, state, and local laws that discriminate against particular religious beliefs or non-belief. End faith-based initiatives and charitable choice programs, whereby public funds are used to support religious organizations that may not adhere to specified guidelines and standards, including anti-discrimination laws.
- Oppose the death penalty in the United States and worldwide.
- Support students’ constitutional rights to free speech.
- Ensure that government actions towards immigrants comply with our Constitution and universal human rights principles.
- Criminal Justice: 5. Police Accountability
- Due to current conditions when it comes to policing the cities and people, police officers are the 6th leading cause of death for young men in America. More commonly, the greatest lives that are at stake are those of our black, brown, LGBTQIA?+ and disabled, including those with mental health issues when it comes to crimes against persons at the hands of the police. In accordance we recommend the following actions:
- Police Require all police officers to carry professional liability insurance as a requirement to working on the police force.
That the insurance will act as a mechanism by which we can have officers with histories of brutality and misconduct removed from duty, thereby keeping that person from committing crimes under the protection of the police department; this functions through the insurance company, which will increase premiums and eventually determine that rogue officers are uninsurable.
Serve as a deterrent to officers taking actions that could result in a complaint against them, as this could cause a premium increase for the officer.
Prevent the taxpayer from having to foot the bill for police brutality cases, which cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
Establish a national database to record excessive force complaints, to be used in hiring decisions of police officers.
L. Advanced Technology and Defense Conversion
The Green Party supports defense technology transfer towards a peacetime technology-based economy, particularly new industrial applications and developments in the areas of advanced communications, alternative energy, non-toxic battery technology and waste management.
Consolidation of the nuclear weapons complex should move toward alternative civilian technologies and non-proliferation work, not toward a new generation of nuclear weapon design and production.
We recognize the need for de-escalating the continuing arms race, and we strongly oppose putting nuclear weapons, lasers and other weapons in space in a new militarization policy that is in clear violation of international law. [See section F. Demilitarization and Exploration of Space in chapter I]
Let us go forward with government and civilian space programs; research initiatives in sustainability science, environmental protection, ecological economics and transportation, appropriate technologies and technology transfer; environmental sampling and monitoring; systems testing; laser communications; and high speed computers.
Let us devote a larger percentage of our nation’s research and development budget, both private and public, toward civilian use and away from military use. Let us address our chronic trade imbalance in this fashion—not by increasing exports of military weapons and technologies.
The Green Party opposes patenting or copyrighting life forms, algorithms, DNA, colors or commonly used words and phrases. We support broad interpretation and ultimate expansion of the Fair Use of copyrighted works. We support open source and copyleft models in order to promote the public interest and the spirit of copyright.
We call for a federal Technology Assessment Office to examine how technology fits with life on Earth, with our neighborhoods, and with the quality of our daily lives.TelecommunicationsAdvanced telecommunications technologies (many of which came originally from defense applications), such as fiber optics, broadband infrastructure, the Internet, and the World Wide Web hold great promise for education, decentralized economies, and local control of decision- making. We believe we must move toward decentralization in these efforts, carefully protecting our individual rights as we go forward.
Advanced and high definition TV, digital communications, and wireless communications hold promise and challenge. For example, the public airwaves that will accommodate the new generation of telecommunications technology should not be free giveaways to media giants. An auction and built-in requirements that attach licenses to act in the public interest is needed. Technology provides tools: we must use these tools appropriately and ethically. [See section J. Free Speech and Media Reform in chapter II]
Broadband Internet access should be open to bidding, not simply the current choice between cable or telephone company monopolies, where grassroots Internet service providers must merge or go out of business. Broad- band access should be a taxpayer-funded utility, like water and sewer, ending the “digital divide” that keeps low-income folks from access to the Internet.The Internet is a commons, developed with public funds, and must insure freedom and equality of access. The Green Party opposes Internet access tiered service controlled by an Internet service provider (ISP), with independent (not housed with the ISP) most costly and inaccessible. ISPs and advertisers should not be gate- keepers.The Green Party calls for increased protection for user privacy and for accountability on the part of ISPs.Open-Source SoftwareOpen-source software is necessary to achieve personal, cultural, and organizational security in the face of technological threats brought by corporations and individual criminals.
Government has a vital role in breaking up software monopolies, not so much by filing antitrust suits, but by buying nothing but open systems. The U.S. Government and the larger states are buyers large enough to influence the computer and software systems through their purchasing. It should be illegal for a government agency to create and store information vital to its operations in a format it doesn’t control. Governments should always consider storing information with open-source software and in-house staff instead of only commercial systems, vendors and software. One way to achieve this would be to add a virtual bid for in-house open source deployment whenever a software purchase goes out for bid.
The Green Party supports protection of software (free or proprietary) by means of the copyright. We strongly oppose granting of software patents. Mathematical algorithms are discovered, not invented, by humans; therefore, they are not patentable. The overwhelming majority of software patents cover algorithms, and should never have been awarded, or they cover message formats of some kind, which are essentially arbitrary. Format patents only exist to restrain competition, and the harm falls disproportionately on programmers who work independently or for the smallest employers.
Nanotechnology—the science of manipulating matter at the molecular level—is poised to provide a new industrial revolution with vast social and environmental consequences. Like nuclear science and biotechnology, nanotechnology is being pursued largely outside of public debate, risking great harm and abuse in its use and application.
The Green Party calls for a halt to nanotechnology development until the following conditions are met:
11.Development of full and open public debate about the implications of nanotechnology and the fusion of nanotech with biological, materials and information sciences.
12. Development of democratic public control mechanisms to regulate the direction of nanotechnology research and development.
13. Expanded research into the environmental and health consequences of exposure to nano-scale materials.
14. Development of technology to contain and monitor nano-scale materials.
15. Development of precautionary safety measures for the containment and control over nano-scale materials.