‘US political system hostile to American people’
She believes that both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have essentially the same agenda of serving the interests of the richest 1 per cent of American population while the voices of the rest of Americans, who bear most of the burden of the economic downturn, are not heard.
Stein acknowledged that while proven to be ineffective in Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the “world police” policy the US has followed since the collapse of the Soviet Union is bankrupting Americans.
RT: You said you are going to be an underdog candidate for underdog voters. Who are these underdog voters?
Jill Stein: It is certainly most of the American public. People are losing their jobs, wages are declining, millions have lost their homes, another million are in the pipeline to lose their homes this year, the cost of healthcare is skyrocketing, public higher education is increasingly out of reach.
We have 36 million young people, students and recent graduates, who are effectively indentured servants because they don’t have the jobs or wages to repay those unforgiving debts. And the political establishment is not doing anything about it while a very small segment of the American population, the 1 per cent we say, is making out like bandits. So neither party is fixing this.
RT: You’re going to be on ballots but not in all states. Can you explain what is it in the system of the US that makes it so hard for a third party to break into this two-horse race?
JS: Exactly. The American system is designed to eliminate political opposition, like some of the dictatorships we criticize that have rigged political systems. In many ways the American system is also rigged, but in ways that are not so straightforward.
You have to actually see what it takes to get on the ballot if you are not already on as one of the big machine parties. Each day has its own set of rules which are very demanding, very detailed and bureaucratic and require lots of signatures in order to get on the ballots.
For the most part you need a lot of money, millions of dollars, to buy your way on to the ballot, basically by hiring signature gatherers and people to keep track of this.
RT: The money is powerful in Washington. Is there a way you see to go against the power of money?
JS: Absolutely. I mean the voters don’t like this. The voters repeatedly are calling to get big money out of politics. In my home state of Massachusetts we passed a law to get the big money out
RT: The Supreme Court has just passed another law that lifts all limits from contributions for political parties.
JS: We passed that by voter referendum that the legislature, which was 85 per cent Democratic Party, they repealed that! The entrenched system is very hostile to the needs of the American people.
RT: The Green Party often describes itself as the party that represents “Main Street” versus Wall Street. In what way do Barack Obama and Mitt Romney represent Wall Street that is against the interests of the American people?
JS: You know, Mitt Romney doesn’t even pretend to do anything other than advance the economic elites’ agenda. He has a track record which is to advance the likes of his own to acquire enormous amounts of wealth by tearing down other companies and businesses, firing workers and off-shoring jobs, gobbling up the profits themselves.
He’s got a track record which is pretty clear and he has a pretty straight-ahead Wall Street agenda.
With Barack Obama and the Democratic Party it is a little harder to see clearly what they are about because they do talk a populist line but actually look at their record – it is pretty clear who their exigencies are too.
George Bush provided about $800 billion in bailouts for Wall Street. But under Barack Obama it has been many trillions, some $4.5 trillion worth of bailouts that has already been dispersed and there are many more trillions worth of emergency loans and guarantees. All kinds of backdoors to basically funnel either out-and-out bailouts or free money to Wall Street.
Mitt Romney is a wolf in a wolf’s clothing, Barack Obama is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, but they both essentially have the same agenda.
Dr. Jill Stein (AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards)
'Occupy Wall Street is an American rebellion'
RT: Can you talk a little bit more about you involvement with the Occupy Wall Street movement? Has the movement been big enough to make a tectonic shift in the US politics?
JS: I believe that this tectonic shift is happening and Occupy is one of the indicators it is happening.
It is happening because one out of every two Americans is either in poverty or low income. Americans are really hurting and are desperate for solutions which they are not getting.
There is a rebellion that is in full swing. Occupy speaks for that rebellion. We saw in polls early on that a substantial majority of Americans was very sympathetic and supportive of the Occupy agenda.
RT: With the majority it is kind of silent rebellion.
JS: Exactly. We are silenced. I believe it is not silent but our voices are continually muzzled. Through all kinds of ways. We cannot speak out politically. The media is very much in the hands of big corporations.
RT: The Congress approval rating is 11 per cent, so people are unhappy – but it is silent.
JS: Yes, by design. So that people have to work very hard to break through. And Occupy got the critical mass by assembling in our public squares and they were very effective in breaking through – until the public relations campaign began against them.
We saw it because that PR campaign actually got leaked. It was a many hundreds of thousands of dollars campaign that was constructed even before the counterattack began. So you have both a media counter attack and than you had a counterattack by way of police brutality and suppression of our civil liberties as people were brutally attacked.
'The barrel of a gun has not been an effective diplomat'
RT: Let’s talk foreign policy. What is at the basis of the US serving the world police? Would you carry on with it as a president?
JS: This world police policy is bankrupting Americans. We’re spending about $1 trillion a year on the military-industrial security complex. That budget roughly doubled over the last 10 years and we’re certainly not more secure for it.
We’ve spent trillions of dollars in Iraq. When we withdrew from Iraq how did we do it? We withdrew from Iraq in the dead of night, on a secret undisclosed date, because we were afraid that we would be ambushed in the process. How many friends did we make exactly in this war? What kind of a stable democracy did we make in Iraq? Iraq continues to tether on a brink of a civil war. It has certainly not become a strong and reliable ally for the US, or democracy, or women’s rights for that matter.
The barrel of a gun has not been an effective diplomat and we need to admit that and take a lesson from it.
Unfortunately, President Obama basically embraces George Bush’s militaristic approach to foreign policy. On his third day in office he intensified the bombings in Pakistan, then he spread the drone wars into Somalia and Yemen. He surged the troops into Afghanistan where we still have about twice as many troops as we had under George Bush. It has certainly not made Afghanistan a safer and more secure place. We’re not in a better position to withdraw troops and declare victory than we were years ago.
When you have that kind of civilian casualties that you have in drone bombing, you’re simply aiding those very terrorist organizations that you’re trying to go after in the first place.
RT: What makes you concerned with regards to Mitt Romney foreign policy plans – if anything?
JS: His plans are basically to let the military budget increase. He has a lot of machismo and bravado when he beats the war drum. He wants to really flex muscles against Iran. But so too does the Obama administration, though with a little bit less warmongering about it. But they are basically in agreement about coming down very hard on Iran and holding no options off the table. They both threaten to use war where we should be using diplomacy.
RT: We talked about money in politics. Everyone knows that campaigns are not cheap. You’re a physician. Your net worth is probably far from Mitt Romney’s $200 million. Your party at this stage is financing a lost cause at this stage. What is the real goal at this stage?
JS: In my view to say it is a lost cause is to say that our economy is a lost cause. It is to say that it is inevitable that we’re going to crash.
I mean the uphill battle for our election is identical to the uphill battle to rescue our economy.
We’re a real political party. We’re not just the storefront that looks like it is mainstream, but is actually funded by Wall Street – that’s what the other political parties are. They pretend to really have the public support, but what they really have is the support of this 1 per cent. They have a propaganda campaign going on and intensive public relations and psychological warfare that is intended to convince people that they don’t have any options.