Update on the anti-science positions of the Green Party

Update on the anti-science positions of the Green Party July 15, 2016
photo credit: Jill Stein via photopin (license)
photo credit: Jill Stein via photopin (license)

 

A few months ago I published a piece about the Green Party’s anti-science positions and how they would need to update them if the party would want more leftist support.

A party that is so green energy and trusting of climate science, it seemed strange they took a position on certain issues that seemed anti-science.

Below, are the three main issues I discussed and how they have changed since I last wrote about them. The Green Party is actually making progress and that is a very good sign.

Alternatively, these positions are not 100% the same as Jill Stein’s, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee. I have written about how Stein is clearly pro-vaccine, even though her language seems guarded, and Martin Hughes, a fellow Patheos blogger has written about her views on homeopathy, here.

Back to the Green’s, here is an update:

Alternative medicine

The Green Party strongly supports universal healthcare which will give every single American healthcare at no additional cost (outside of taxes paid) to them. This means no deductibles, no costs for medications, etc.

In my original post, I highlighted the party’s views on “alternative medicine” and that their language supported government funding for such quackery.

Greens support a wide-range of health care services, not just traditional medicine which too often emphasizes “a medical arms race” that relies upon high-tech intervention, surgical techniques and costly pharmaceuticals. Chronic conditions are often best cured by alternative medicine. We support the teaching, funding and practice of holistic health approaches and as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and other healing approaches.

I am glad to report that in the upcoming revision of the party platform, the Green’s have changed their entire language.

The Green Party supports a wide range of health care services, including conventional medicine, as well as the teaching, funding and practice of complementary, integrative and licensed alternative health care approaches.

This isn’t perfect. Again, I appreciate that they want to give people a choice. Adults do have the right to make bad decisions, but I love that they are not talking more about regulation. “Licensed alternative health” is important. What that means, I don’t totally know, but I think we have made progress here.

Stein herself argues for more testing from third-party scientific groups to evaluate the effectiveness of “snake oils” to remove them from the market.

GMO food labeling

This position, sadly, has remained unchanged. My original post is below, unchanged.

This is another massive anti-science position held by greens.

We support mandatory, full-disclosure food and fiber labeling. A consumer has the right to know the contents in their food and fiber, how they were produced, and where they come from. Labels should address the presence of GMOs, use of irradiation, pesticide application (in production, transport, storage, and retail), and the country of origin.

This is simply irresponsible. GMOs are proven, through countless scientific studies to be safe. We don’t label safe foods or products; we label dangerous ones. To label a GMO product is to imply to the consumer there is something in the product they should be aware of.

Consumers with an irrational fear of GMOs can do their own research on what products they wish to consume, but the burden should not be placed on companies who are using safe products to make food.

By supporting the labeling of foods for containing perfectly safe ingredients, the party is telling me, like with alternative medicine, they do not take science seriously.

Capitalism

When I originally wrote this, it was controversial, people argued that capitalism wasn’t science. I disagree as political science and economics are both valued sciences.

Here is what I wrote originally about their stance:

This last one is not the biggest deal breaker for me, but one policy change I think could unite many radical leftist parties and bring about the best chance for a Green Party victory moving forward. The Green Party has decided to work within the capitalist economy and wants to put band-aids all over it to make it work for the people. While it would be better served to realize capitalism is a broken and unjust system and that the country would be better off if the solution was to move away from capitalism and towards a socialist economy that was democratically controlled.

In order for the party to support true green initiatives and public policy that help the environment, it must abandon an economic system which survives off exploiting the land and its people. This simple change to their policy would attract the country’s many socialist organizations who could, for the first time, have a party with more mainstream recognition to rally behind.

And they party listened, not only to me but countless others demanding a more anti-capitalist position. Their new stance is:

The Green Party seeks to build an alternative economic system based on ecology and decentralization of power, an alternative that rejects both the capitalist system that maintains private ownership over almost all production as well as the state-socialist system that assumes control over industries without democratic, local decision making. We believe the old models of capitalism (private ownership of production) and state socialism (state ownership of production) are not ecologically sound, socially just, or democratic and that both contain built-in structures that advance injustices.

Instead we will build an economy based on large-scale green public works, municipalization, and workplace and community democracy. Some call this decentralized system ecological socialism, communalism, or the cooperative commonwealth, but whatever the terminology, we believe it will help end labor exploitation, environmental exploitation, and racial, gender, and wealth inequality and bring about economic and social justice due to the positive effects of democratic decision making.

Production is best for people and planet when democratically owned and operated by those who do the work and those most affected by production decisions. This model of worker and community empowerment will ensure that decisions that greatly affect our lives are made in the interests of our communities, not at the whim of centralized power structures of state administrators or of capitalist CEOs and distant boards of directors. Small, democratically run enterprises, when embedded in and accountable to our communities, will make more ecologically sound decisions in materials sourcing, waste disposal, recycling, reuse, and more. Democratic, diverse ownership of production would decentralize power in the workplace, which would in turn decentralize economic power more broadly.

While I would be happier if they would simply recognize socialism, they seem scared of the word. However, call it what you want, I feel this is a party victory that they are finally realizing capitalism cannot be reformed.

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