Pacifica Radio interviewing Jill Stein

Pacifica Radio's Margaret Prescod and Askia Muhammad interview Green Party Candidate Jill Stein

This is from Janet Kobren:

I leave you with a verbatim transcription I did of an amazing and inspiring 20-minute interview of Jill Stein at the DNC (Democratic National Convention) on July 26th (see below), aired by Pacifica radio hosts Margaret Prescod and Askia Muhammad during Pacifica radio network's nationally-aired live coverage of the convention. Note that the interview was a recording, having been done earlier that day, and had there not been a film showing on the floor of the convention when the Pacifica coverage was happening, this interview might not have been aired at all, indicating that even the so-called "alternative" media is playing a role in somewhat silencing the Green Party which although not the end game I think it is the best hope this country has for defeating the corporate-controlled duopoly party system and towards beginning to make systemic and structural changes that are needed for the future of the human species.

~ Janet

Interview of Jill Stein by Pacifica Radio's Margaret Prescod and Askia Muhammad
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

MARGARET PRESCOD: Jill Stein has been quite a phenomenon here in the hall. She's been wandering through the halls outside in the hallways. The convention is going on inside, business as usual, and she is hoarded by the media following her everywhere. She of course stopped by to speak with us here at the Pacifica station, and let's go to that discussion, that interview with Jill Stein right now.

This is Margaret Prescod. I'm here with Askia Muhammad and we are in Philadelphia in the Wells Fargo building where the DNC is taking place. And we are now about to welcome Jill Stein who's causing quite a stir here in Philadelphia, indeed around the nation. Dr. Jill Stein, welcome.

JILL STEIN: Thank you so much Margaret. Really great to be with you and great to be with Pacifica that's actually here as the real press, not the corporate press. We have a nickname for them, we call them the o-press and the re-press. It's great to have the real story from the real press like you.

MARGARET PRESCOD: You've been really busy on the ground. Tell us some of the things you've been doing since you've been here.

JILL STEIN: On Saturday when I got here I was honored to have a keynote role at the People's Convention, basically organized as a day of discussions from the Bernie campaign. And that's when the upheaval began. And I wasn't sure where people were going to be positioning themselves but there were about 800 delegates packing an auditorium and they had absolutely no question about which direction they were going, especially after the email revelations that took place on Friday that the DNC together with Hillary's campaign actually sabotaged Bernie's campaign, not just badmouthed him, they didn't just badmouth him they actually launched smear campaigns and who knows what else. But they were colluding with the major media on specific propaganda campaigns to bring him down. This is what we have seen from the Democratic Party over the decades, where they will allow principled revolutionary campaigns to be seen and heard but then they sabotage them. Basically a fake left, move right strategy from the Democratic Party. And it keeps marching to become more militarist, more imperialist and more corporatist. It is so wonderful that ... this is the perfect storm. People are waking up in real time based on these emails, based on the sabotage of Bernie's campaign. So I think Independent politics is rising up strong, and starting at that Bernie ... the People's Convention, today the Bernie or bust movement, it's been absolutely overpowering. I can hardly walk down the street without a crowd sort of stopping to want to talk about how we are going to keep the revolution going.

ASKIA MUHAMMAD: The process going back as I recall in California, way before your time, the Peace and Freedom Party, and the classic election, the classic case for me the conundrum was Nixon versus Humphrey, the lesser of two evils. Why would you choose the worser of two evils? But nevertheless, the lesser of two evils and so Humphrey was sort of the consensus candidate. Those of us in the Peace and Freedom Party said Dr. Spock, let's support him. Dick Gregory. But we were afraid that if we cast a vote for Spock we would waste our vote because he had no chance of winning and we would help Nixon get elected. What do you say to people who think, well Jill Stein, you have a great program, we love what you say, what you stand for, but you're going to help Trump who, we can't imagine a worse outcome.

JILL STEIN: So, things are really different right now. The majority of Americans have rejected the Democratic and Republican parties. This is the first time in history. Democrats and Republicans are now minority parties, 21 and 29 percent respectively, Republicans and Democrats. The majority of voters, actually 50% no longer identify. The highest disapproval of their two candidates now ever in history. The majority who do not trust and who do not like Clinton and Trump at record levels. And we have the majority of voters actually clamoring for something else. So this is a really different election. We're not just a footnote. In fact if you look at just one group alone, one of the many very oppressed groups, to look at young people who are locked in student-loan debt, that is 42 million people right now, and that's not so young people as well, that is enough, actually, to win the presidential race. That number 42 million is a plurality of the vote. So we are not like some little footnote here. We actually have the potential here to even win this race if the word gets out. And let me say further, what has really helped Donald Trump, believe it or not, what has created this right-wing extremism is what? It's the neoliberal policies, this globalization. It's the control by the banks of our lives. It's throwing every day people under the bus. Offshoring our jobs. The Wall Street meltdown. And where did that come from? These were policies led by the Clintons, actually passed by Bill but advocated for by Hillary. We know from history that the only way to stop fascism or neofascism or right-wing extremism, whatever you want to call it, you don't stop that by more of these neoliberal policies that put bankers first. The only way you stop this is with a true progressive agenda like what Bernie represented, like what our campaign represents. This in fact is how we stop it. Hillary Clinton is a servant of the banks. She always has been, and of the war profiteers and the prison-industrial complex, all the things that have been throwing people under the bus across the spectrum. So we do not meet the needs of everyday people, and we do not stop this growth of the Trump movement, and it's not just Trump, it's happening in Europe and many of the Republicans and Democrats represent this sort of neoconservative, neofascist, neoliberal movement. In order to stop that, we need a true progressive agenda. That's what our campaign stands for, an emergency program to create the jobs that we need to end this economic emergency, and to fix the climate crisis, to cancel student debt, make higher education free, provide healthcare as a human right, a welcoming path to citizenship, an end to police violence and the incarceration state, and the incarceration nation, and a foreign policy based on international law and human rights. This is what we have within our reach. That's how we move forward and stop this new extremist movement.

MARGARET PRESCOD: Let me ask this. One of the things that Bernie has said is that it's not about an individual candidate, it's not about him, it's not about Hillary, and I imagine, he did mention your name, but to throws you into the mix. But it really is about moving forward towards the people's revolution. There has been without a doubt a huge movement around Bernie. You have seen it on the streets here, We heard it within the convention hall. Across the pond in the UK you see a similar movement around the new head of the Labor Party, Jeremy Corbyn. A lot of people compare him to Sanders. So clearly what I think both of them are saying is that a movement on the ground is needed. A people's movement is needed. It's all well and good to have an agenda, but how is your campaign, as Bernie's campaign is done, feeding into and helping to build that broader movement no matter who the candidate is at the end of the day.

JILL STEIN: And I think what you're pointing out is so important. A electoral campaign, a political party is not the driver of transformational change. Throughout history it's always been the social movements. But when we actually have incredible transformative change is when a social movement also develops a political voice. So in the words of Frederick Douglas, you get this point where power is actually challenged where we make the demand in the realm of political power. As he said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will." So if we only do social movements and we don't actually challenge power, we will be steam-rolled into oblivion as always. The abolition movement, the early movement, it was a social movement, and then it began moving over into political parties that would help lift it up and challenge power. And those abolition parties were called what? They were called spoilers. The Free Soil Party, the Liberty Party, they were all called spoilers because they were challenging the political paradigm, like Greens are called spoilers because we challenge the stranglehold of corporate power right now. And when we had political parties lifting up the social movement, that's when we actually achieved transformational change, and the abolition of slavery. Same thing is true with the labor movement. It developed many political parties too that also challenged. And you can look at the campaigns of Eugene V. Debbs for president as a socialist who he helped lift up many candidates at all levels of government that actually took power and launched the beginnings of the New Deal that launched public health that launched public schools. They transformed our societies, winning office at lower levels because they had a high visibility candidate at the national level that helped bring them to public attention.

ASKIA MUHAMMAD: In the 1988 campaign, Dr. Lenora Fulani really exploited the Jackson campaign and formed a Rainbow, kind of faux Rainbow Party, that managed to get on the ballot in all 50 states and sort of hoped to attract the disaffected Jackson campaign people to join the party. Of course I think they got about one and a half, maybe 2% of the vote but didn't really break through in any substantial way. First, are you on the ballot in all 50 states?

JILL STEIN: We expect to be on the ballot for just about every voter and there's one state we are not on right now. The rest of the campaigns are all ongoing. In 2012 we were on the ballot for 85% of voters. In this race we're estimating at least 95% and maybe more. So just about every voter will have a chance to vote for a non-corporate candidate, the only candidate that is not bought and paid for by corporate money, lobbies and super-pacs.

ASKIA MUHAMMAD: Now again, what about the fear You mentioned the history of being labeled spoilers. What about the fear that people think well she's right, but what about the fear?

JILL STEIN: Yes. I think it's really important to address that fear and to look at the fact that it is this economic misery that lifts up fascist movements, whether we're looking at neo-fascism in Europe or the neo-fascist movements here, or back in Nazi Germany. This was a response to truly economic hard times, where people become very vulnerable to demagogs and racists and xenophobia. And the solution to that has always been real investments in the economy, a real jobs program, healthcare, education, the things that everyday people need. Where did this movement come from? It was the incredible disappointment, number one, after electing Barack Obama that people thought was going to be the new revolution and social benefits, and it didn't happen. And Barack Obama, first he appointed Larry Summers, then he bailed out Wall Street, you know, it was one thing after another. And what happened then? Then we lost one house of Congress and then the other. In fact, the lesser evil actually paves the way to the greater evil. If you look at the track record of lesser evil-ism, even just in the last 15 years, all the reasons that we were told to vote for the lesser evil because you didn't want the expanding war, you didn't want the meltdown of the climate, you didn't want the growing prison-industrial complex, the attack on immigrant rights, all of those things we've gotten by the droves because we the people allowed ourselves to be silenced. Democracy needs a moral compass. If we silence ourselves as the public interest we create a moral vacuum, the predators rush in, the political predators, and we move exactly in the wrong direction. So we say the politics of fear actually delivers everything you're afraid of. Just look at its track record. We say stand up, reject the lesser evil. It's a propaganda campaign. Reject the lesser evil. Fight for the greater good, like our lives depend on it ... because in fact they do.

MARGARET PRESCOD: Well let me ask you this; I know you have to rush off, but in terms of looking at the future that of the Green Party. I mean you already see Bernie pivoting somewhat in terms of supporting progressive candidates in other races. When we look at the history of the Green Party, let's say in the UK or in Germany and other places, you see that they have been successful in getting people elected locally, onto city councils, mayoral races, members of parliament where they even have a power bloc within parliament. And I always wondered why in the United States with the Green Party not move forward, or perhaps you have with that approach and really tried to get in on these local or even statewide elections, and to have people get more used to having Greens in power, in political power in the halls of power. Do you see that in the future down the road for the Green Party, whatever happens with this election?

JILL STEIN: Yes. Absolutely. And I think that's one of the opportunities in this election because there are a lot of people who are not happy campers. They do not see the Democratic Party as Hillary Clinton pretends. They see her actual track record. She passed NAFTA. The Clintons supported Wall Street deregulation. They supported the crime bill, the 3 strikes you're out. Hillary Clinton helped kill welfare, helped kill AFDC. Her track record is not on behalf of people.

MARGARET PRESCOD: What about this candidate. What about ...

JILL STEIN: I think the track record of the Democratic Party unfortunately is taking us backwards. It's not taking us forwards. And it's clear, from the Bernie campaign, it's clear who is calling the shots here behind closed doors and that's not for everyday people. There are people who are in revolt right now and that includes not only 42 million young people, it includes 25 million Latinos who have seen first hand that the Republicans are the party of hate and fear but the Democrats are the party of deportation, detention and night raids. So it's really important for us to be in the debate. In terms of next steps and how we go forward, we've tripled our numbers in the last polls without any coverage from the corporate media. Because who is it the corporate media is afraid of? It's us. Because we have the anti-corporate agenda unlike all the other candidates in the race. So we're the ones to get silenced in this discussion. But word is spreading because people know that they are in the target here. And in this election, we're not just deciding what kind of world we will have, but whether we will have a world or not at all. Who is it that is leading the charge into the catastrophic wars that are blowing back at us with terrorism that's going everywhere? These are the wars created, in fact, Hillary Clinton has been leading the charge on these wars. They've been Democrat and Republican together. If you look at the climate crisis. Again, these are the policies. It's all of the above which is far worse for the climate than actually drill baby, drill because it completely unleashed, it took the lid off of fossil fuel production. So nuclear weapons. Again, Barack Obama and the Democrats are leading the charge. So, a lot of people are standing up. They're actually past the propaganda that tells us vote for the lesser evil. They're looking at, oh my god, we're not gonna get out of here alive with the lesser or the greater evil. They're standing up and saying forget the lesser evil. In this election, just by getting the word out to young people in debt we could actually win it and we can certainly get to 15% in the polls to hold not only Hillary Clinton's feet to the fire, but to hold Donald Trump's feet to the fire, because Hillary can't do it. She's in bed with the banks and with the TPP.

ASKIA MUHAMMAD: Dr. Stein, I have to ask you again though. Margaret asked you about local candidates. In the District of Columbia, we have a statehood Green Party, but there hasn't been a Green statehood candidate serving even in the DC council since the 1990's. How about these local candidates, how about supporting them and building a base where you have in state and local elections, some power base or platform to build on.

JILL STEIN: And in the same way that Eugene Debbs helped build a strong, local base for the socialist parties and the progressive parties, he did that because we are kept out of the media, we are kept off the ballot. In fact, in many states, we are not allowed on the ballot unless we have run in the presidential campaign. So it is a joint strategy whereby, why should we give power a pass just because they're at the presidential level and more corrupt than at any other level of government. Look at what was just done to Bernie Sanders. We should not be quiet about that. We should hold their feet to the fire and challenge that. So we're doing that at the same time that we are lifting up an incredible slate of candidates for Congress, for Senate, for city council and for local elections, all of the above. So I encourage you, check on our website and join the team to take back the promise of democracy and the future that we can have. We can have an America in a world that will work for all of us, that will put people, planet and peace over profit. It won't unfortunately happen inside of parties that are funded by predatory banks and war profiteers. We are the ones we've been waiting for.

MARGARET PRESCOD: On that note we're going to have to leave it there. We know you have to dash off. We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us, Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate. Thank you so much. We spoke to Jill Stein earlier and she continues to walk around in the convention followed by the media.

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Interview of Jill Stein by Pacifica radio's Margaret Prescod and Askia Muhammad
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Transcribed verbatim by Janet Kobren