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Synthesis/Regeneration 26   (Fall 2001)

A Call To Action

Campus Greens

We are students of America's colleges and universities, and we strive for solidarity in support of the Ten Key Values of the Green Party.

Though we were born into a culture designed to keep our political expectations low and have grown to see many of our peers ravaged by complacency and fatalism, we are disenchanted with the state of American democracy and determined to build a progressive political movement that empowers citizens to overcome the grave social, economic and environmental problems facing our nation and world.

We have come of age in a society whose values are shaped by materialism and which is suffering from a diminished common ground of experience, values, and opportunity, reflected in the growing divide between the rich and the poor, the powerful and the silenced. We are inheriting a world governed by unprecedented corporate power, a global economy structured to create corporate profits without moral restraint, and a nation whose democratic infrastructure has so dissipated that debates over the most fundamental elements of our existence—the food we eat, the air we breathe, the media that shape our perception of the world—are absent from mainstream political discourse.

Many members of our generation have observed the conditions they live in and asked themselves the question: How should I live? How should I live, mentally, physically, and politically in a culture that offends my notion of propriety with its commercial excess and deliberate ignorance of the effects of its social, economic and environmental policies on future generations? Though our answers to this question are disparate, all include the sentiment that we cannot tolerate complacency or set our political expectations so low that progressivism merges with corporatism or that defeatism is accepted as pragmatic.

There can be no mistaking the urgency of the political challenges our generation faces—overwhelming environmental problems from global warming to the accumulation of toxins in our air and water, and social problems resulting from the systematic denial of long-standing inequities between races, genders, and sexual orientations. To confront these challenges, we must search for a democratic alternative to the two-party system that sustains itself only by maintaining the complacency of the populace. In practicing a dull brand of teleprompter politics, producing look-alike candidates, stifling the growth of third parties, maintaining a corrupt system of campaign finance, and directing party resources away from the grassroots organizing that would shift power from corporate national committees to ordinary citizens, the two parties have built a political system that does not attract one-fifth of eligible 18-to-29 year-olds to the polls. In stark contrast to the two major parties, we believe that the best way to engage young people in politics is to facilitate the participation of youths at the highest levels of politics—as candidates and activists capable of rejuvenating the democratic culture.

We are students, and our predecessors have helped to bring about nearly every major progressive reform over the last thirty years in movements for civil rights and equal rights, against war and corporate power, for environmental sustainability and preservation. The Campus Greens shall seek to augment the power of student citizens by uniting Greens in college communities nationwide and helping them to run and win progressive campaigns. As history and the shameful recent debacle in Florida painfully demonstrate, power in America is held only by those groups with full enfranchisement—those who face no barriers getting to the ballot and do not hesitate to get on the ballot.

We are obligated to our forbears in the quest for social justice, and as citizens dedicated to effecting a paradigm shift in our time, to overcoming our own personal trepidations and engage fully in the process of electoral politics.

We offer our personal commitments and our recognition, so absent from modern politics, that social transformation begins with individuals looking inward, and making changes in their own lives. We dedicate ourselves to a politics of hope, conscience and sacrifice, that we may build a society based on values of sustainability and social justice or record our resistance to one that is not.


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