Platform of the Green Party of Virginia
The Greens offer an alternative way of thinking about politics. Our agenda focuses on common interests, not special interests, long-term solutions, not quick fixes. The platform of the Green Party of Virginia is built upon the Ten Key Values of the American Green movement.
I. ECOLOGICAL WISDOM
For love of future generations, we consider the long range consequences of current actions. We must address the external costs of production and consumption. Our practices of generating "waste" separate us from natural systems in which degraded matter is decomposed and returned to the web of life as nutrients. We must find ways to address this imbalance and commit ourselves to the rights of clean air, clean water, and clean soil.
We call for the implementation of true cost-pricing or other accountability systems that reveal the long-term and hidden environmental and social costs of products: air and water pollution, deforestation, toxic waste, abuse of labor, risk to health, and countless other ways in which our products and our lives and the life of the earth are interrelated.
1. We support organic and biologically sustainable farming and encourage development of farmers' markets, cooperative markets, and education to increase public acceptance of organically and locally produced food.
2. We encourage small-scale family and cooperative farms, polyculture crops, and regional food supplies rather than large-scale, chemically dependent agribusiness.
3. We oppose government incentives that encourage chemical farming over organic farming.
4. We encourage agricultural colleges to include organic and sustainable farming methods in their curriculum.
5. We encourage the expansion of fast-growing, renewable plant sources (e.g. hemp and kenaf) to replace the use of trees and nonrenewable (i.e., petroleum-based) substances for paper, fiber, food, and oil production.
6. We support phasing out factory farming. We oppose inhumane treatment of food animals and the routine use of hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals associated with factory farming.
7. We support eliminating all government subsidies, including water subsidies, for agribusiness.
B. Land Use
8. We oppose the commercial degradation of public land. Activities that fragment, diminish, or destroy these lands (e.g., old growth timber sales, mining and gas and oil operations, irresponsible road building, harmful recreation, needless game management) should cease.
9. We oppose the construction of the King William reservoir which would inundate 524 acres of valuable wetlands, submerge American Indian archaeological sites, and harm animal and plant life along the Mattaponi River by changing its salinity. We support the use of water conservation measures to eliminate the need for this reservoir.
10. We oppose construction of the Lake Gaston pipeline, which would deprive southwest Virginia of water while subsidizing unmanaged growth in Virginia Beach.
C. Environmental Protection
11. We support the individual citizen's right to bring legal suit against those who pollute.
12. We oppose any law that restricts Virginia and its localities from passing environmental legislation that provides more protection than federal requirements. In accordance, we oppose any state laws that restrict localities from providing more protection than the Commonwealth.
13. We support requiring local planning commissions and boards of zoning appeals to fully account for compliance with environmental protection regulations.
14. We support strengthening the Clean Water Act and full compliance with the Clean Air Act.
15. We support strengthening protection of the Chesapeake Bay.
16. We support market-based solutions and the concept of the "polluter pays" to improve the environment (e.g., "green" taxes, measures to include a product's social and environmental costs in the consumer costs of the product, and cost preferences/discounts for environmentally benign products and services).
17. We support a "bottle bill" (beverage-container deposit legislation).
18. We support rigorous measures to reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated within and imported into Virginia. We oppose the import, export, and generation of nuclear or toxic waste products resulting from nuclear energy or weapons production.
19. We support collection of a deposit on batteries and other hazardous materials to separate them from the waste stream.
20. We support a moratorium on all landfill permits until studies have been completed on inspection and reporting requirements for solid waste; transportation hazards (road, rail, and water) for moving waste; and impact on local economic development of landfills and their growth.
21. We support vigorous development of sun-to-electricity technologies and other solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass energy sources.
22. We support the revision of building codes to remove barriers to the use of new energy-efficient technologies and alternative human excrement disposal methods.
23. We support the reinstitution of tax rebates for retrofitting existing homes with passive solar heating.
24. We support removing any obstacles that prevent Virginia utilities from promoting energy efficient technologies.
25. We support the expanded use of rail for transportation, recognizing that it is less polluting and more energy efficient than automobile and air transportation.
26. We support development of zero-emission motor vehicles.
27. We support measures to reduce automobile travel, such as expanded public transportation and higher gas taxes.
28. We support requiring all non-automobile funds from the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Act (ISTEA) to be used for non-automobile modes of transportation, instead of highway beautification or HOV lanes.
29. We support inclusion of curriculum in our schools that emphasizes the ecological concerns of the local environment.
II. COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMICS
We will strengthen local communities by encouraging economic self-reliance in all ways practical. As an alternative to an economy owned by either government or gigantic corporations, Greens favor a Jeffersonian economic model with ownership, responsibility, and control spread as widely as possible among Virginians.
30. We support changing tax laws to encourage the development of small businesses, worker-owned businesses, and cooperatives.
31. We oppose measures which subsidize large corporate development to the detriment of local communities (e.g., tax breaks, compromised land use regulations, weak enforcement of environmental codes, and subsidized highway construction).
32. We support imposing an appropriate share of costs on commercial property owners who benefit from transportation and other public infrastructure.
33. We oppose using prison construction as a method for stimulating the economy.
34. We recognize uncompensated labor (e.g. volunteerism, domestic work, and childrearing) as contributions to the economy that should be included in standard economic measures. We recognize external costs (e.g. pollution, resource depletion, and loss of open space) as deficits to the economy that should also be included. Statistical reports, accounting, and economic decisions should reflect these values.
III. HUMAN RIGHTS
Everyone should share in the fruits of our society regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, class, age, or disability. We recognize the intimate connection between our rights as individuals and our responsibilities to our neighbors, our communities, and the entire planet.
Therefore, we oppose all laws that discriminate based on categories and physical and emotional attributes. We believe all humans have a fundamental right to a liveable wage, access to education, and universal health care, with special emphasis on protection of and care for children.
A. Civil Rights & Community Services
35. We support a guarantee of adequate education, health care, housing, nutrition, and safety for all children.
36. We support the adoption of an amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteeing equal rights to women.
37. We oppose the criminalization of private sexual acts of consenting adults.
38. We support adequate funding so that physically and mentally challenged citizens can pursue their education and training and reach their highest potential, ideally enabling them to live independently. We should provide residential settings within the community for those who do not need institutional care but who are unable to live independently.
39. We support homelessness prevention programs which allow families to receive temporary assistance before they become homeless.
40. We support community-based services for the homeless and oppose all laws that criminalize homelessness.
41. We support extending the full civil rights afforded to ethnic/religious minorities and women to include gays and lesbians.
42. We support the rights of gays and lesbians to marry, adopt, and receive equal treatment under the law in child custody cases.
43. We support seeking a reversal to the Supreme Court decision that gave corporations the status of persons, thereby permitting the owners and officers to avoid personal responsibility for their acts and allowing corporations to be shielded by the Bill of Rights.
44. We oppose the current shift from public to corporate funding of schools.
45. We support adequate funding for public libraries.
B. Worker Rights
46. We support legislation to strengthen collective bargaining, the right of all workers to organize, and the right to negotiate binding contracts with their employers.
47. We support worker control over pension assets.
48. We support availability of parental leave and workplace-available day care.
49. We support vigorous enforcement of child labor laws.
50. We support extending to migrant labor the protections covering other workers.
51. We support extending to contingent workers ( i.e., temporary, leased, and contract workers) and workers receiving welfare the protections covering other workers.
52. We support the strict enforcement of mine safety regulations.
C. Economic Justice
53. We support raising the minimum wage to a liveable wage so that Virginia's families can afford the basic essentials of decent food, housing, and health care.
54. We support the elimination of sales tax on purchases of food.
55. We support the creation of community-based housing trust funds that will grant money to build affordable housing.
56. We support a publicly financed, single-payer universal health insurance system with an emphasis on disease prevention and well-being and the inclusion of alternative treatments.
57. We support freedom to make one's own reproductive choices, providing access to birth control education and all contraceptive options.
58. We support access to safe, legal abortions, while seeking solutions to the root causes of unwanted pregnancies.
59. We oppose prohibition of marijuana as a medication.
60. We support the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction as a health problem, not a criminal problem, funded through health insurance.
61. We support a public dialogue to determine the most feasible plan to decriminalize drugs and redirect the funds presently spent on the drug war to education, prevention, and treatment.
E. Crime & Law
62. We support crime prevention programs such as after-school recreation and youth employment initiatives.
63. We support "offender restitution" and "restorative justice" programs.
64. We support "fully-informed juries" that are instructed in their constitutional right to judge the law as well as the case in question.
65. We support judicial discretion in setting sentences for those convicted of crime.
66. We support measures requiring gun owners to be qualified to use firearms safely and held strictly accountable for any illegal use of the firearm.
67. We oppose the "21-day rule" that prevents defendants from introducing new evidence more than 21 days after their original trials.
68. We oppose the death penalty. Dangerous criminals should not be released as long as they pose a threat to society.
IV. PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE
We encourage education, investment, and dialogue to find ways to prepare for peace. We examine the causes and effects of violence, from individual acts of violence to institutionalized acts of violence. We must end assaults against individuals, families, nations, and the environment. We call for cooperative ways of interacting to replace the cultural ethics of domination and control. In this way, we can most effectively foster the process of peace.
69. We support the teaching and implementation of conflict resolution skills and techniques in all schools.
70. We support prevention programs to deter hate crimes and domestic violence.
71. We support U.S. compliance with international law.
72. We support the elimination of nuclear weapons and land mines.
V. DEMOCRACY AND ELECTORAL REFORM
Concentration of political power in the hands of too few contributes to social and economic injustice. Virginians must reclaim their right to govern themselves, acknowledging that both the national and Virginia constitutions state that all power is derived from the people. We support community authority to make decisions that affect the community and promote social and economic justice for all. We support citizen participation in passing legislation, including initiative, referendum, and the right of recall of elected officials.
In order to dilute the power of the two-party system and to promote citizen participation, we call for extensive campaign finance reform and adoption of an alternative system of electing legislative bodies instead of the current "winner-take-all" system. In our Green campaigns, we pledge not to accept campaign contributions of more than $1000 from any individual and will not accept any contributions from Political Action Committees or lobbyists.
A. Grassroots Democracy
73. We support the right of citizens to petition to place legislation on the ballot for approval by the voters (initiative), to vote on laws passed by the legislature (referendum), and to recall elected officials from office.
74. We support the repeal of all state laws which restrict local communities from exercising the power or authority to make decisions (e.g., the Dillon Rule).
75. We support increasing citizen participation in elections by reducing the number of required signatures on candidate petitions for statewide office (governor, representative, senator, etc.) to a number that can be reasonably gathered by volunteers rather than paid petitioners.
76. To increase voter participation, we support reforms such as optional mail-in voting, voting on weekends, or making Election Day a state holiday.
77. We support replacing the current "winner-take-all" election system with the use of measures which more adequately represent the concerns of the voters rather than the power of the two major parties. These measures include NOTA (none-of-the-above on all ballots) and a proportional representation system of electing city, county, and state offices (for instance, guaranteeing seats to all parties which garner more than 5 percent of the vote).
B. Ballot Reform
78. We support increasing ballot choices available to voters. We call for changes in the laws that currently restrict access to the ballot for parties other than those of the Democrats and Republicans.
79. We support identifying candidates by party on the ballot in Virginia. We also support permitting a candidate to be identified with more than one party (fusion).
C. Campaign Reform
80. We support real campaign finance reform: spending and contribution limits, restriction of political action committee (PAC) contributions, and moving toward taxpayer supported campaigns.
81. We support creation of significant media forums free to qualified candidates. Both printed and broadcast forums would be structured to publicize campaign finance reports, improve electoral discourse, and broaden electoral choices.
To modify the state platform of the GPVA, please refer to Article 13 of our by-laws. Any questions should be forwarded to the Platform Committee.
To modify the national platform of the GPUS:
- Formulate a proposal and bring it to your local.
- If your local supports the proposal, rewrite the proposal in the format designated at the GPUS Platform Committee page.
- Forward the proposal in this format to the GPVA co-chairs.
- Finally, it will be placed on the agenda of a state business meeting for a vote.
- If it passes, then it will be submitted to the GPUS.