THE GREEN PARTY IS WRONG
That's Why Many Good People Don't Vote for It
by John Spritzler
June, 2016 (with updated links October 6, 2023)
The URL of this article for sharing it is https://www.pdrboston.org/the-green-party-is-wrong
While the Green Party is right about some very important things such as wanting the United States to be more equal and democratic and to end its unjust warmongering foreign policy, it is wrong in: 1) Pretending we have a real, not fake, democracy; 2) Advocating a freeloaders' paradise* instead of "From each according to ability, to each according to need"; 3) Accusing good people of being racist just because they want school admission and job hiring criteria to be the same for all; 4) Accusing good people of being "transphobic" bigots just because they think women in a public-access women's shower room have a right to tell any person with male genitalia to leave.
Some people very understandably view the Green Party as the party for what's morally right, and are therefore perplexed that it gets so few votes. The ruling class would love it if such people concluded that the reason the Green Party falls flat in the ballot booth is because the vast majority of ordinary people are opposed to what's morally right. This conclusion leads--very wrongly--to hopelessness about the possibility of abolishing our dictatorship of the rich and making our society truly equal and democratic, which IS INDEED POSSIBLE, BUT NOT BY VOTING (click here for details). This hopelessness ("Resistance is futile because you are all alone") is the main thing that the ruling elite count on to stay in power.
So it is important to investigate what are the actual reasons why so few people vote for the Green Party.
Top on the list is that most (as shown in detail here) adult Americans don't vote, period. Why do so few Americans vote? A big reason is that they don't think it will make things better. Liberals wag their finger at such people, tell them it is their duty to vote, that they have no grounds for complaining if they don't vote, and so on. But these non-voters know something that the liberal voters seem either ignorant of or unwilling to admit--something that not only the non-voters but also the most well-informed academic researchers know. It's this. The United States is ruled by the rich, by an oligarchy. The rich make the important government policy decisions, no matter how ordinary people vote. (Read the academic journal article that says this, here and read more evidence here.)
The Green Party tells people that they can have a real say in government policy by voting. Well, the Green Party is wrong, and most Americans know it.
Perhaps next on the list of reasons why people don't vote for the Green Party is that those who vote at all feel it would be "wasting their vote" to vote for any third party that has no chance of actually winning. At first glance this would seem to be a problem beyond the control of the Green Party. Not so! If the Green Party spoke truthfully about the fact that we have a fake, not a real, democracy (i.e., not even a real republic or "representative democracy," for those who like to quibble on this point), and if it asked people to build an egalitarian revolutionary movement (instead of telling people to rely merely on voting) then it would enjoy far more respect and attract the people who don't vote, which would provide an attractive revolutionary alternative to the people who presently think that their only choice is to "hold their nose" and vote for the major party "lesser evil."
Is the Green Party Morally Right or Morally Wrong?
Those who think the Green Party is for "what's right" need to understand that in some important ways it is actually for what's wrong, and that also explains its failure to get votes from the very people it claims to represent--working class Americans.
Here is where the Green Party is morally wrong. It rejects (for a bad reason discussed below) the widely embraced and excellent moral principle of "From each according to ability, to each according to need" and instead calls for "To each according to need, and forget the part about 'from each according to ability.' "
The Green Party platform calls for [this link is no longer live, but it was when this article was written in 2016] what the people of Switzerland voted AGAINST 77% to 23%*:
"We call for a graduated supplemental income, or negative income tax, that would maintain all individual adult incomes above the poverty level, regardless of employment or marital status." [This is often called the Universal Basic Income, and is exposed as a ruling class scam here.]
In the same spirit it also says:
"The Green Party supports single-payer universal health care and preventive care for all. We believe that health care is a right, not a privilege." [Click here for more discussion about this "it's a right" concept.]
Contrast this with what most people believe, that the economy should be based on the principle of "From each according to ability, to each according to need." This is what it says in "This I Believe," and a solid 80% of people who read that declaration sign it.
"What is the difference?", some readers may ask. It's the difference between endorsing versus rejecting freeloading, i.e., taking without reasonably giving back reciprocally. The people who sign "This I Believe" agree that (as discussed here) those (such as children or persons mentally or physically unable to do useful work or people past retirement age, etc.) whose ability to reasonably contribute to the production and creation of social wealth is indeed zero are fully entitled to take--for free--food, shelter, health care and everything else from the economy according to need and reasonable desire (with scrce things equitably rationed according to need). They agree that taking care of children or of anybody else in need of care, or attending school or an apprentice program, etc., to learn useful skills, counts as making a reasonable contribution. And they agree that automation has made, and continues to make it possible for all the desired social wealth to be produced with less and less amount of work per person required to count as "contributing according to reasonable ability" so that taking off work for long vacations or sabbaticals or "gap years" and so forth may be fine.
They do not agree, however, that some people are "better" than others, that they have a right to benefit from "to each according to need" without any obligation whatsoever to contribute reasonably "according to ability."
But the Green Party says freeloaders do have this right, in the sense that federal law should force people who contribute according to ability to share the fruits of their labor with those who absolutely refuse--for no justifiable reason--to contribute according to ability. The Green Party is morally wrong. The Green Party is advocating a freeloader's paradise. By not explicitly denying that freeloaders have a right to sponge off those who work, and by advocating federal laws requiring those who work to give freeloaders what they need, the Green Party is implicitly declaring that freeloading is indeed a right. This is very different from saying, as many good people would agree, that while freeloaders have no right to anything, people may decide--voluntarily and not under coercion by the Federal government!--to provide them with some things for any number of sensible reasons, such as, for example, not wanting people to be dying of starvation on the street.
Most people don't like freeloaders. They think freeloading, sponging off of those who do the work, is morally wrong. Working class people have a very good reason to feel strongly about this because they know they are indeed being taken advantage of by freeloaders. Ruling classes are the most egregious freeloaders. Like the aristocrats of old, the modern day elites such as Alice Walton (one of the owners of Walmart) with her $34 billion fortune for which she does absolutely nothing, are notorious freeloaders. People hate their freeloader attitude: "Work is for the little people, the lower class people, not for better people such as myself."
The reason the ruling class uses the "Welfare Queen" image to turn some working class people against other working class people is because it makes for very powerful propaganda. Why? Because people really don't like freeloaders. (Yes, the "Welfare Queen" propaganda falsely slanders as freeloaders many people who work or want to work but can't find employment, and this is wrong. But it is not wrong for people to oppose freeloading.)
I (John Spritzler, the editor of this website) don't like freeloaders either. About a year ago a person who saw a PDR poster got in touch with us. I ended up having a meal with him and spending most of another day with him. It turns out he was a hard core free loader. He was a perfectly healthy 40 (or so) year old man who feigned (he told me so!) being mentally incapable of working (by acting weird in public to get himself arrested) in order to collect disability from Social Security. He lives on his disability checks and travels around the world getting stoned on whatever hallucinogenic plants and drugs are available locally. His "career" is sampling hallucinogenic drugs around the world. I didn't want to have anything to do with this guy. I think he is behaving immorally. He's taking advantage of people who do work reasonably in order to sponge off of them, to be a freeloader.
Working class people have moral principles of right and wrong and will--to their credit!--vote according to those principles even if it seems to be contrary to their "interests." The Left, in contrast, believes people only "think with their belly" and have no values other than the "hegemonic" (a favorite leftist jargon word, meaning dominant) capitalist values of self-interest. The Left believes that it simply shows how stupid working class people are when they reject the Green Party's platform that caters to freeloaders (i.e., caters to the self interest of working class people to live as a freeloader.) This is an example of the Left's contempt for ordinary people.
Whatever working class support the Green Party gets for its economic platform comes IN SPITE of (as discussed here), not because of, that party's ignoring the "From each according to ability" part of the principle ending with "to each according to need." The entire Left/Liberal/Progressive leadership, not just the Green Party, enormously weakens our effort to make society be the way most people want it to be. It weakens it by stigmatizing what people want as freeloader-ism ("The government should give us this and give us that because it's everybody's right to have this and that.") This makes it easy for the right wing branch of the ruling class to undermine working class people's confidence in the moral rightness of their demands and aspirations.
"How will we ever be able to pay for everything you want to give away for free?" sneer the Republicans and conservative talk show hosts. The proper reply is, "All social wealth--products and services--is created by the people who contribute according to ability. They have thus already 'paid' for everything by creating it with their work, and they rightfully own it. We're just aiming to take it back from the people who have stolen it so the people who have created it can enjoy the fruits of their labor." This is the way we can build a strong, confident movement. But when people feel their aspiration is, or seems to the general public to be, a freeloader's paradise, they lose the confidence and determination that comes from knowing one is morally right, and are easily defeated--just what the ruling class needs.
Why Does the Green Party Advocate Freeloader-ism?
There are two reasons why the Green Party advocates making our society a freeloader's paradise. First, the liberals who lead the Green Party think this is how to appeal to working class people.
The second resaon is this. The Green Party must (for reasons discussed next) reject the moral and revolutionary principle of "From each according to ability, to each according to need." Having rejected that good principle, the only remaining basis on which it can take the side of the poorest people is the principle that freeloading is morally fine--that society should be a freeloader's paradise.
What prevents the Green Party from advocating "From each according to ability, to each according to need"? It's this. This is a revolutionary moral principle that, if implemented, would mean there would be no rich and no poor; it would mean the abolition of class inequality. For whatever reason, the Green Party refuses to oppose class inequality, per se.
Green Party leaders will not call for abolishing class inequality. They will not challenge the idea that our society should remain a capitalist society based on class inequality, in which a few people are wealthy employers and the great majority are wage or salary employees whose position in society is merely that of a "hired hand" who must do as the employer commands or be fired.
There is not even the pretense of democracy in the workplace, and only a pretense in the public sector. Failure to advocate the abolition of this "wage slavery" is the modern immoral equivalent of the failure to advocate the abolition of chattel slavery before the Civil War. Why does the Green Party embrace class inequality and limit its aims to merely improving the conditions of the "wage slaves"? Good question. The answer (discussed here) might be the same as why virtually no progressive organizations advocate egalitarian revolution.
Instead of condemning our fake democracy that is actually a dictatorship of the rich, and advocating a genuine democracy (as described here) with an economy based on "From each according to ability, to each according to need," the Green Party lies to people that they can have a real say in government policy and make a good and just society if only they would vote for the Green Party's freeloader agenda. Why won't the Green Party leaders tell the truth? Good question. Whatever the answer, it is the reason why the Green Party insults working class people by appealing to them to make our society a freeloader's paradise.
The Green Party Tells the People They're Wrong on Social Issues, When Actually the People Are Right
There are other reasons why the Green Party gets so few votes, such as their endorsing the ruling class on its divide-and-rule social issues. For example, the Green Party platform says:
"Corporations receiving public subsidies must provide jobs that pay a living wage, observe basic workers' rights, and agree to affirmative action policies." (Section D j)
This (the part about affirmative action) implicitly tells voters that the Green Party agrees with the ruling class: "If you think hiring and school admission criteria should be the SAME for all races, then you're a racist!" (Readers who believe that affirmative action was ever about improving the lives of black or Hispanic people, and who fail to see that affirmative action was always about divide-and-rule, should read this.)
So, in order to vote for the Green Party you have to want to make our society an immoral freeloader's paradise, and you have to agree that one is a racist for wanting an end to racial discrimination.
The Green Party's platform was written before the ruling class began using the issue of transgender bathroom policy for divide-and-rule (as discussed here.) But the Green Party's current platform language employs the same vague phrases that are the basis on which President Obama recently insisted that any person with male genitalia (whether born with them or not) who says "I feel like a woman today" has a legal right to enter the public-access bathrooms, locker rooms and showers designated as for women, and anybody who disagrees is a bigot. Hardly any ordinary people agree with this, not even transgender persons (contrary to the LGBT organizations allied with Big Money that falsely claim to represent them.) The Green Party's platform, however, says in implicit agreement with President Obama (and the party's presidential candidate, Jill Stein, makes her agreement with Obama explicit, as discussed below):
"The Green Party affirms the right of all persons to self-determination with regard to gender identity and sex. We therefore support the right of intersex and trans-gender individuals to be free from coercion and involuntary assignment of gender or sex." [section 5 d]
Jill Stein has called for the repeal of North Carolina's HB2 law**, which says that public-access bathroom, locker room and shower room facilities designated as for women are only for people whose birth certificate says they are female, and vice versa. North Carolina (like many other states) lets a person change the gender on their birth certificate by providing "a notarized statement from the physician who performed the sex reassignment surgery or from a physician licensed to practice medicine who has examined the individual and can certify that the person has undergone sex reassignment surgery."
North Carolina's HB2 law thus simply codifies what has been the perfectly reasonable custom for decades: people with male genitalia (whether born with them or not) use one set of facilities and people with female genitalia (whether born with them or not) us a different set of facilities.
HB2 is a perfectly reasonable law and in fact ordinary transgender people are fine with it too. Contrary to what some LGBT organizations allied with Big Money say, typical transgender people prefer to use the facilities where their genitalia are the same as everybody else's, which is exactly what the HB2 law supports. The rare transgender individual with one kind of genitalia who insists on using facilities where everybody else has the opposisite kind of genitalia is viewed by most transgender people as wrong, as motivated by ideologically driven exhibitionism. (For further discussion about this, click here.)
But Jill Stein, the Green Party's presidential candidate, tweets "To folx in Raleigh today working to #RepealHB2, keep fighting! Transphobia & LGBTQIA+ discrimination needs to be shut down."
And people wonder why the Green Party gets so few votes!
Please understand that the problem with the Green Party is not that it is weak, but that it is wrong. And THAT is the reason it gets so little support. It has nothing to do with ordinary people being stupid or morally wrong, because they are not! The wrong positions of the Green Party stigmatize its good positions in the eyes of many good and decent people. It stigmatizes good ideas just as the ruthless anti-democratic Communist Parties in the Soviet Union and its Eastern European puppet government-ruled nations stigmatized the good idea of equality so thoroughly that when people who lived under those Communist regimes hear the word "equality" today they fear being lured into a pernicious trap.
It IS possible to remove the ruling class plutocracy from power and make our society genuinely equal and democratic, but not by voting. We can do it the way described here.
* Swiss voters overwhelmingly (77% to 23%) rejected this idea (of a guaranteed income for all whether one works or not, as advocated also by the Green Party) in a referendum vote June 5, 2016. Note that some supporters of the idea defended it by arguing that "In Switzerland over 50% of total work that is done is unpaid. It's care work, it's at home, it's in different communities, so that work would be more valued with a basic income." Think about what this argument is actually saying. It's saying that people deserve an income BECAUSE they are actually doing useful work. True! But this is the opposite of the idea that people deserve an income even if they refuse to do useful work.
** The HB2 law has parts in it that have nothing to do with "bathroom" facilities or gender (such as whether cities can pass their own minimum wage laws, etc.) Jill Stein and the liberal media, however, condemn the law as "oppressive, transphobic bigotry" for its "bathroom"/gender content, specifically, and not for its other content. It is only the "bathroom" content of the law that this website page is, therefore, concerned with.