Meet potential Green Party gov candidate Paul Glover
Pennsylvania’s next governor could ban fracking all together. That governor could enact a more progressive income tax and shift funds from prisons to education; expand solar tax credits and attempt to enact local, community currencies. That governor could be a person who once walked from the United States’ east coast to its west coast to write a book.
Meet Paul Glover. He’s a former Temple professor residing in Northwest Philly who’s interested in jumping into the mix on the Green Party ticket. Already an activist in Philadelphia, he tells me Green Party candidacies are still relevant in Pennsylvania, as a means to introduce new ideas.
I spoke with Glover about some of those plans and what he’d try to do as governor of Pennsylvania if he ever got the chance.
You’re not officially running for governor, yet. Are you going to do it?
Pennsylvania Green Party leaders have invited me to consider candidacy. I’ve said yes, if funds can be raised for a web-based campaign plus related travel. The final decision would be made by the Party at its March 2014 convention.
Why would someone like you want to be governor of Pennsylvania?
Apparently I’d be the only candidate seeking to ban fracking; to reduce the power of commercial banks; to require that public education be nonprofit; to cancel college student debt; to curb Homeland Security, NDAA, ICE and the NSA; to replace agribusiness with smaller farms; promote regional economies rather than global corporations; enact a progressive income tax.
My budget would shift resources from prisons to education. Curriculum reform is required at the same time, to teach community management and social enterprise rather than corporate servitude.
We can create a half million new jobs in Pennsylvania without raising taxes, through mutual aid programs such as I describe in my book “Green Jobs Philly.” This is a non-profit, non-governmental WPA. I’d call it the Green Labor Administration.
A green budget would shift from nuclear and coal to efficiency. PennFuture’s study claims Pennsylvania has provided $2.9 billion in subsidies to “fossil fuel industries,” mainly as tax exemptions.
I’d seek to expand solar tax credits, create a State bank and regional stock exchanges that are dedicated to green economies.
Would likewise shift from highways to transit and rail. Fix the bridges and potholes, but make green travel easy.
And would shift from pampering insurance companies to promoting regional health co-ops.
I’ve emphasized that the Republican party is no longer the party of Lincoln, and that the Democratic party is no longer the party of FDR. They’re both owned by the highest bidder, increasingly by foreign investors.
When conservatives don’t conserve and liberals don’t liberate, Greens become centrists, because we address central needs for affordable housing, medical care, dignified work, healthy food and water.
A Green party candidate has never won statewide here. Do you honestly think you—or any Green—could win?
As I see it, third parties win without winning elections. Here’s how.
1) Third parties offer bold solutions. They’re not cautious and poll-driven. For example, Social Security, ending of slavery, votes for women, unemployment insurance, etc.were first pushed by third parties.
2) Third parties pressure major parties to adopt new platforms. Regardless what we think of the Tea Party, they had the courage to risk Republican defeats to push the Republicans to the right. There is seldom such courage on the political left.
3) Third parties often serve constituents who are not yet born. They are the first to raise unpopular questions about global warming, population increase, consumerism, and war.
4) Third parties become mainstream parties by losing, losing, losing, until they win.
You’re an advocate of community enrichment through local currency. How could that work, and how local are you talking?
Pennsylvania doesn’t have a budget problem, we have an imagination problem. Money is just an agreement to trust tokens of trade. Therefore, any network of people can create the money they need. Pennsylvania and Philadelphia have thousands of trustworthy networks that could exchange local and regional cash. So, for example, I’ve proposed Philadelphia ArtCash for the creative economy and MediCash for the Patch Adams clinic. We already have Equal Dollars here.
Local currency stimulates local programs that seek grassroots control of land, law and money.
Wouldn’t local currency actually hurt the value of the dollar?
The strength of national currencies depends ultimately on the vitality of village and neighborhood economies, just as our lungs depend on millions of tiny air sacs. Currently, dollars are in debt to nature, backed no longer by gold or silver but by trillions of national debt. I believe that labor is the new gold standard– money backed by real people, real skills, real goods.
You’re working on opening a Patch Adams Free Clinic in Philadelphia. How is that going?
We’ve found hundreds of people eager to build and operate the clinic. Right now we’re focused on raising funds to purchase 5 acres in North Philadelphia. We’d then rely on sweat equity and in-kind donations to build, equip and staff. It’s to be a co-op: we’re moving beyond charity to ownership.
What would you do to change the new health care law in Pennsylvania, if you were governor?
Medicare can be expanded to everyone without raising taxes, by building a genuinely nonprofit member-owned medical infrastructure. In 1997 I started a member-owned health plan in Ithaca, NY, whose members paid $100 per year to be covered for an ever-expanding range of common emergencies. The group now has its own free clinic. I’ve drafted legislation to enable this to happen in Pennsylvania.
Such nonprofit plans remove corporate greed from health care, whether HMOs of Obamacare. So I also support the proposed Pennsylvania single-payer law.
I’d end the revolving door between insurance regulation and insurers. I’ve written the book “A Crime Not a Crisis” detailing this corruption.
Based on previous elections, the Democratic party will probably try to get you knocked off the ballot—assuming you run. What’s the game plan to fight back, whether it’s you or another member of the Green party?
Our party will defend any package of signatures filed. The manner of that defense is determined by the Green Party of Pennsylvania.
The Green Party endorses the Voters’ Choice Act, which makes it easier for third parties to gain ballot status.
We’ll invite the Republican party to revive our republic, and the Democratic party to embrace democracy.
Lastly, you walked across the United States on foot in 1978. Why did you do that?
Green cities have been my passion for 35 years. By age 30 I had read many books and written many articles, so the time came for primary research into America’s people and land. This walk gave me time to think deeply, undisturbed by anything normal. When I reached Los Angeles, 3,400 miles later, I wrote the book “Los Angeles: A History of the Future” and started the organization Citizen Planners of Los Angeles.
I’d note that 300 miles of my route crossed Pennsylvania, from Delaware Water Gap to the SW corner. Lots of friendly people and bears out there.
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