The limited historical consciousness and subtle Eurocentrism of the Green Party Platform is manifest throughout the document and in various ways. (1) It scarcely mentions colonialism, neocolonialism and imperialism, and it provides no evidence of awareness of the central tenet of the Third World perspective, namely, the colonial and neocolonial foundation of the world-system. It makes specific recommendations with respect to a few Third World nations (Iran, Palestine, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Kurdistan and Hawaii) which more or less point to a progressive agenda in foreign affairs, and it vaguely calls for cooperation with all the world; but it falls far short of explaining the need for a redirection of US foreign policy toward North-South cooperation.
(2) The Green Party Platform demonstrates limited awareness of the great struggles for national and social liberation that have propelled the peoples of the Third World for the last 100 years. It does not mention the Chinese Revolution, the Vietnamese Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, the Sandinista Revolution, and the Bolivarian Revolution, all of which have had significant impact on the foreign policy of the United States and the consciousness of the popular movements in the United States. It calls for democratic reform of the United Nations, without acknowledging that this is an historic and contemporary demand of the Third World project. It advocates reform of Free-Trade Agreements, without recognizing that progressive and Leftist Latin American governments have been developing alternatives to FTAs and have been pursuing a strategy of South-South cooperation in a quest for a more just, democratic and sustainable world-system.
(3) The Green Party Platform displays a stunning lack of historical consciousness with respect to the United States. It offers a couple of cryptic comments with respect to US history: “Our nation was born as the first great experiment in modern democracy;” and “Historically, America led the world in establishing a society with democratic values such as equal opportunity and protection from discrimination.” It makes no effort to analyze the class, race and gender limitations of the American Revolution nor the evolution of these dynamics from 1776 to 1980. It considers that belief in white supremacy was the cause of slavery, without understanding that African slavery in the Caribbean, Brazil and the US South was an economically-motivated integral structure of European colonial domination, and that racism emerged as a justification of this global political domination and economic superexploitation.
(4) The Green Party Platform demonstrates a limited understanding of US imperialism. It rejects US neoliberal policies since 1980, without appreciating that imperialist penetration of foreign lands has been central to US policy since the beginning of the twentieth century, a consequence of its arrival to the stage of monopoly capital. The Platform makes no effort to analyze neoliberalism as a new stage of imperialism; or as a neo-fascist violation of the tenets of imperialism that is rooted in the profound structural crisis of the world-system. It treats contemporary problems as a consequence of the post-1980 neoliberal turn, without appreciating that they have long and deep historic roots.
In addition to being ahistorical and Eurocentric, the Green Party Platform is decidedly unreflective. It calls upon the people “to think deeply about the meaning of government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” but it does not provide leadership in reflecting on the meaning of democracy. It merely proposes citizen participation, with apparent unawareness of alternative structures of popular democracy that have been developed in Cuba and in other nations.
Consistent with its ahistorical, Eurocentric and unphilosophical perspective, the Platform presents the Green Party as an alternative to capitalism and socialism, without reflecting on the development of socialism in Third World nations for the last 100 years, and especially its manifestations in such nations as China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Egypt, Tanzania, Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. The Platform displays a distrust of the state, without appreciating that a strong state, controlled by delegates of the people and acting decisively in the interests of the people, is the key to checking the power of large transnational corporations, as the history of Third World socialism shows.
The Green Party Platform rightly affirms the fundamentals: the right of all nations to self-determination and sovereignty; the social and economic rights of all citizens of the United States and the world; the need for ecological sustainability; the principal of gender equality; and the importance of a reduction of US military expenditures. But in order for an alternative political party to arrive to political power, it must obtain the support of the people, which would require it to demonstrate an understanding of the sources of the serious problems that the nation and humanity confront. For in demonstrating such understanding, the Party would be showing to the people its capacity to lead the nation in a more positive direction. And it would be showing its moral commitment, because no party could arrive to such understanding without the strong moral commitment of its leaders. Fortified by an evident understanding of historical and social dynamics and by fidelity to fundamental moral principles, such a party would be capable of earning the confidence and the support of the people. This possibility for the evolution of the Green Party will be the subject of my next post.