Transcript of Dr. Jill Stein's Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech at Green Party National Convention
Thank you so much. This is what democracy looks like. This is what political revolution looks like.
Thank you so much you for being here today and for leading the charge for an America and a world that works for all of us, a world that puts people, planet and peace over profit.
I am honored beyond words to be your candidate in this election. I’m honored to be running for President of the United States with the Green Party, the one national party that stands up for the people, and that’s been ahead of the curve in so many ways - on climate change and green energy, on marriage equality, free public higher education and health care as human rights, on stopping the Trans Pacific Partnership, on reparations for slavery, opposing Saudi war crimes in Yemen, and Israeli human rights abuses and occupation in Palestine, on recognizing indigenous rights. I want to recognize the heroes who have kept the party going through thick and thin. Please stand if you are a part of a Green Party organization - at the local, state or national level.
It’s also so exciting to be running in alliance with the Bernie Sanders movement that lives on outside the Democratic Party. We owe you such a debt of gratitude for getting the revolution going. And then for refusing to be shut down. It’s so exciting to run with you and for you. Please stand up if you’re coming here from the Bernie Sanders campaign.
It’s an honor to be your candidate running alongside Ajamu Baraka, a powerhouse of human rights –who brings a lifetime of dedication to racial and economic justice. And I thank Dr. Cornel West, for bringing his powerful voice into the campaign. And it’s an honor to run along with so many inspirational state and local candidates running for office. If you are running for office would you please stand?
It’s an honor to be your candidate in this historic moment, of unprecedented crisis and unstoppable momentum for transformational change so we can solve those crises. And we have an historic opportunity, an historic responsibility to be the agents of that change. As Martin Luther King said, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." I know that arc is bending in us, and through us. And we are actors in something much bigger than us as we struggle for justice, for peace, for community, for healing.
That arc of justice is moving through us as we mobilize to make black lives matter, and to end violent policing – as the Frisco Five and the Millions March NYC just did. The arc of justice is moving through us as we sit in and lock down to stop fracking pipelines, fossil fuel bomb trains, coal and LNG export terminals, and all manner of fossil fuel and nuclear infrastructure.
The arc of justice was moving through us in Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love was overrun by love and revolution, as the Bernie or Bust movement declared independence from the Democratic Party, and merged with our campaign in rally after rally, growing stronger by the hour. The power of this movement was clear during our Power Rally at FDR Park, where nature erupted in thunder and lightning as our rally drew to a close, and the heavens opened up as if to say, "get ready, there’s a big change coming." We sought shelter in a nearby highway underpass and we kept going. This movement is unstoppable.
So here we are, a movement for justice and democracy that’s sweeping the planet. From living wage campaigns, to fossil fuel blockades, to the fight to end mass incarceration, to cancel student debt, to restore the rights of immigrant rights, indigenous rights, LGBTQ and women’s rights and disability rights. Across the globe people are rising up like we haven’t seen for generations.
We face unprecedented crises that call for transformational solutions, a new way forward based on democracy, justice and human rights. And that won’t come from corporate political parties funded by predatory banks, war profiteers and fossil fuel giants. It will come from we the people, mobilized in a broad social movement, with an independent voice of political opposition, because, as Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has. It never will.” And we must be that demand.
They say we’re in a recovery but in fact it’s an emergency. We’ve lost good jobs - replaced by part time and temporary jobs. A generation of young people is locked in predatory student debt. Black lives are on the firing line. Immigrants face mass deportation. Wars for oil are blowing back at us with a vengeance. And the climate meltdown threatens civilization as we know it in our lifetimes.
Meanwhile, the super-rich party on, richer than ever. Twenty-two of these super-rich people have the wealth equivalent to half of the US population. And the political elite that serve the economic elite are making things worse, inflicting austerity on everyday people while they squander trillions on wars, Wall Street bail outs, and tax favors for the wealthy.
No wonder people are in revolt. And the good news is that we actually have the power to turn this around, the minute we stand up with the courage of our convictions. Because we have the vision and values of the American people. And, as a broad coalition for justice, we have the numbers to win the day.
Here’s how. There are 43 million young people – and not so young people – who are locked in predatory student debt, with no prospects for getting out. And there is only one candidate who will cancel that debt – and you’re looking at her. And by the way, we bailed out Wall Street, the guys who crashed the economy with their waste, fraud and abuse. It’s about time we bailed out the young people who are the victims of that abuse. So if young people come out on election day 2016 to vote green to cancel their debt, they can actually take over the election, not only to cancel student debt, but to advance the whole agenda for justice. And the world will be a better place for it! And millennials are the self organizing demographic that can do this.
So we do have the power to end student debt, and to make public higher education free. This is the right thing to do to provide the younger generation with economic security in the 21st century, just like free high school education provided security in the 20th century. And it pays for itself by a 7:1 margin, as the results of the GI bill demonstrated following the 2nd World War.
We also have the power to create emergency jobs program, with 20 million living wage jobs as part of a Green New Deal. It’s like the New Deal that got us out of the Great Depression… but a Green New Deal to fix the climate crisis as well as the economic crisis. It creates a wartime level mobilization to green our energy, food and transportation systems, and restore critical infrastructure, including ecosystems. And we’ll do this in the needed time frame – by achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030, and implementing an immediate moratorium on all new fossil fuel infrastructure and exploration. This will revive our economy, turn the tide on climate change, and make wars for oil obsolete, which enables us to cut the military budget to pay for this. In addition, it saves so much money by preventing the fossil fuel-linked diseases like asthma, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and more, it actually pays for itself in health savings alone.
We can create health care as a human right through an improved Medicare for All system of everybody in, nobody out, and you’re covered head to toe and cradle to grave. You get your choice of doctor and hospital, and you and your doctor are put back in charge of your health decisions, not a profiteering insurance company CEO.
We must support the disabled members of our community, to ensure they have the needed support, treatment, housing, health care and jobs that enable them to be fully contributing members of society, and respect their human dignity.
We can revive public education by fully funding it and ensuring kids come to school ready to learn – nourished, healthy and free from poverty, the biggest obstacle to learning. And we must end the high stakes testing that is harmful especially to challenged learners, and used to justify closing and privatizing schools,
and to disempower teachers and unions. It’s time to provide small classrooms, to pay our teachers well, to honor their unions, and to teach to the whole student for lifetime learning – with enriched with arts, music and recreation, and nurture the independent, creative minds and spirits that Democracy depends on.
We can create a welcoming path to citizenship for undocumented Americans who are critical to the diversity and vitality of our communities, economy and culture. We must end the shameful night raids, detentions and deportations of hard working, law abiding immigrants. In fact, one of the most important things we can do to fix the immigration crisis is to stop causing it in the first place with predatory policies like NAFTA, the war on drugs, military interventions, CIA-supported coups and US trained death squads.
We say to Donald Trump, we don’t need no friggin wall. We just need to stop invading other countries. And by the way, the Republicans are the party of hate and fear mongering. But Democrats are the party of night raids, detentions, and deportations.
We will put an immediate halt to deportations, detentions and night raids for people whose only crime was to flee the poverty and violence created by predatory US policies across the border.
And we can end racist violence and brutality not only in policing, but in courts and prisons, and in the economy at large. We can start by ensuring every community has a police review board, so communities control their police, and not the other way around. And communities must have dedicated investigators so every death or serious injury at the hands of police is investigated. And we must end the racist war on drugs, treat substance abuse as a health issue not a criminal problem, and discharge from our prisons the hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders who shouldn’t be locked up in the first place.
We call for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to get to the bottom of the crisis of racism, and to provide reparations to acknowledge the enormous debt owed to the African American community for the unimaginable price they paid in building this country and sustaining our economy for generations while they were denied dignity and freedom.
We must end the assault on our privacy, on freedom of the press, on the free internet, and end the war on whistleblowers, and free the political prisoners - that includes Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu Jamal, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, and Edward Pinkney, whose only crime was to stand up against the theft of public resources from Benton Harbor, one of the poorest communities in the nation, by the Whirlpool Corporation.
And finally we can create a foreign policy based on international law, diplomacy and human rights, not on global military and economic domination, which has been catastrophic. This policy will have cost us $6 trillion dollars including the costs of caring for our wounded veterans, which translates to $75,000 per American household on average. Over a million people have died in Iraq alone, which is not winning us hearts and minds in the Middle East. And tens of thousands of US soldiers have been killed or maimed. And what do we have to show for it? Failed states, worse terrorist threats, and mass refugee migrations that are tearing the EU and the Middle East apart.
More of the same failed war on terror is not the answer. It’s time to stop ISIS in its tracks and end the Wars for Oil with a new kind of offensive in the Middle East, a Peace Offensive – including a weapons embargo to the Middle East, and a freezing of the bank accounts of countries that are funding international jihadism, including the Saudi’s, who comprised 15 of 19 9/11 attackers, and who were identified as still the leading funder of Sunni extremist terrorism worldwide in State Department cables signed by Hillary Clinton in 2009, released by Wikileaks.
It’s important to recognize where this violent extremist threat came from in the first place. A global terrorist movement linked to Saudi wahhabism was an idea cooked up CIA and Saudi Arabia in Afghanistan to grow the Mujaheddin to stop the Soviet Union. And it has continued with Saudi schools – madrassas – that continue to be a recruiting and training ground fortomorrow’s terrorists.”
We can’t simultaneously fight terrorism with one hand, while we and our allies fund terrorism, train terrorists and arm terrorists with the other. The only ones benefitting from this catastrophic policy are the war profiteers themselves, who are calling the shots in foreign policy by funding the establishment parties and their politicians. In fact, US foreign policy has become fundamentally a marketing strategy for the weapons industry. We started the terrorist threat. Now it’s time to shut it down. That is what our campaign alone will do.
This is the world we can create outside of the two corporate parties sponsored by predatory banks, fossil fuel giants and war profiteers. So it’s time to vote for our deeply held beliefs, not against what we fear. Because that politics of fear has delivered everything we’re afraid of. All the reasons you were told you had to vote for the lesser evil – so we wouldn’t get the massive Wall Street bail outs, the offshoring of our jobs, the meltdown of the climate, the endless wars, the attack on civil liberties and on immigrant rights – all of that we’ve gotten by the droves, because we allowed ourselves to be silenced, and to let the lesser evil speak for us.
But the lesser evil paves the way for greater evil, because people don’t come out to vote for lesser evil politicians who are throwing them under the bus – even if someone else could be even worse. Democracy needs a moral compass. We must be that moral compass.
The clock is ticking, and this is the Hail Mary moment. In this election we’re not just deciding what kind of world we will have. We’re deciding whether we’ll have a world or not in the future. The day of reckoning is drawing closer – on climate change, on endless war, on nuclear weapons, and the next economic meltdown. We’re accelerating into all of these crises under Republican and Democratic rule. So It’s time to reject the lesser evil and fight for the greater good – like our lives depend on it, because they do.
That means join our campaign – at jill2016.com. Help us get into the debates, help us get the word out by social media and break into mainstream press. Help us phone bank, canvass, bring a campus event to your college or a superrally to your region.
The corporate parties are not going to save us. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Together we can build an America and a world that works for us all, that puts people, planet and peace over profit. The power to create this world is not just in our hopes. Not just in our dreams. Right here. Right now. It’s in our hands. And together, we are unstoppable.