‘US needs revolutionary political party to defy the establishment’ - Jill Stein, Green Party
RT: Could you please describe your experience running for president as a third-party candidate?
Jill Stein: Well, it is a very exciting and dynamic time. In many ways what the country needs right now is not only a revolutionary campaign, but a revolutionary political party.
There has been an incredible outpouring of support for his [Bernie Sanders] campaign, likewise for the [Donald] Trump campaign. It is interesting that in both political parties the candidates that are doing well are outsider candidates. People in both parties are repudiating their party leadership, and if you look at polls of the American electorate, the biggest chunk of Americans now have rejected both the Democratic and Republican parties. But what our political system does is suppress political opposition, I am sorry to say. So the media tends not to cover us.
There is a rebellion going on in full swing and we are being discovered especially by young people, because we are the only campaign that will truly defy the establishment by bailing out young people in the way that we bailed out the bankers and we bailed out Wall Street. We’re calling out for a bailout of an entire generation of young people – 43 million young people. And it turns out… if they hear about our campaign and come out to vote that is enough to win the race.
RT: Can you explain why an individual like yourself would run as a third-party presidential candidate knowing that the odds of winning are so low?
JS: I think we’re seeing how far you can go to actually address the crises that are throwing people under the bus here in America and very much around the world, that we have incredible economic inequality; we have an environmental and climate crisis; we have endless wars that are continuing to expand, that are making us bankrupt and just generating more terror, not solving the terror problem. We’ve spent $6 trillion on war here in the US over the past 15 years, and we’ve only seen the terrorist threat get bigger. We have a democracy that has been sold out to the big predators: the predatory banks, the Wall Street profiteers, the fossil fuel giants and the war manufacturers.
In order to fix the problem you have to get out from under the political parties that are held hostage by their big funders. I have seen the Democratic Party sell out election after election. It has, what we call, a ‘kill switch’ and it sabotages its progressive candidates, its rebels.
It will take them down, either through the Super Tuesdays, which are very big elections; they require a lot of corporate money to handle the expensive TV advertising. So Super Tuesday is one place where progressive candidates will fail in this system. They have super-delegates, which are party insiders and they run their smear campaigns, which is how they took down, for example, Jesse Jackson, a civil rights reformer who was riding on the strength of the civil rights movement, won 12 major Midwestern primaries. And then he was sabotaged by a smear campaign from the Democratic National Committee.
So it is a fake left, but go right kind of party; it uses lefty campaigns to keep people back in, but in the meantime it keeps marching to the right and becomes more corporatist, more militarist, more imperialist. This is driving not only the US, but the whole global international community over the cliff. That is really important for we the people in the US and around the world to stand up and insist on - not only in America that works for people in America - but a world that works for all of us. This is within our reach.
RT: Why didn’t you do the same as Sanders and Trump did and join either the Democrats or Republicans. You obviously proved your success and potential in 2012, so why did you not take the presidency route more seriously?
JS: Yes, throughout US history third parties have had a critical influence on the agenda. For example, the New Deal at the time of the Great Depression; social security; workers’ rights and union rights – those all came up through third parties. But in addition, a third party actually won the presidential race at a time of great social upheaval, at the time of the Civil War. When Abraham Lincoln was elected, the Republican Party was an independent third party at that time. So it is not impossible for that to happen in this system.
Yet, what is impossible is for a truly transformative change to happen inside a political party - like the Democratic Party, which is controlled by the Wall Street banks and the fossil fuel giants and the war profiteers. The party has systematically taken down the candidates who actually have integrity, like Bernie Sanders does. He is being marginalized now by the Democratic Party machine, by all the incumbents that they had come out and campaigned for Hillary Clinton, for more of the same, for the big funders, and she is getting lots of that big funding. He will be taken down.
[Sanders] has already said he is going to work for Hilary Clinton. So to my mind that says that you cannot really work for change inside the Democratic Party, because you can’t build. You can only build for as long as you raise, and once you have been marginalized and knocked out of contention, your resources and all the hard work that has been done in a reformist campaign gets absorbed right back into that counter-revolutionary party. And you disappeared, your movement disappeared; you cannot build because you can’t truly identify the enemy. The enemy is not just the billionaires – it is the political parties who are basically working hand in glove for the billionaires.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.