Human Rights and Civil Liberties

Recognition of inherent dignity, and equal and inalienable rights and liberties of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Human rights address prejudices and inequities in society; while civil liberties address abuses by government. Even small abuses can collect into a slow erosion of liberties.

The Green Party shall strive to secure universal and effective recognition and observance of the following:

Affirmative Action

Patterns of exclusion of women and minorities (primarily people of color) must be acknowledged as a continuing practice that violates any semblance of social justice, or respect for diversity.

Anti-affirmative action sentiments are being provoked as a subterfuge to hide economic problems: the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few; the exploitation of labor in the U.S. and abroad; the problems presented by greater automation; and the continued decline in real wages and jobs. Our political leaders have failed to address these issues even though other industrial nations are beginning to deal with them. The common practice of these leaders has been to use minorities as scapegoats in order to divert attention from the real issues. This is a recurring scenario in history: economic disparity causes social unrest; anger is directed at easy targets - those least able to fight back; the underlying issues are deflected because they are complex and carry enormous social implications and long term effects.

The Green Party recognizes the need for affirmative action programs and supports the following:


Immigration policies should be based strongly on human rights. Properly devised immigrant work policies can be of economic benefit to the worker and the host nation.

Xenophobic responses are typified by California's Proposition 187 which claimed we "are suffering economic hardship by the presence of illegal aliens..." To the contrary, numerous studies show a positive net effect from the taxes paid, wages spent and jobs created by immigrant workers. However, reactionary allegations are popularized to divert discussions away from underlying causes of U.S. economic erosion, such as the permanent decline of labor-intensive jobs and the widening gap between rich and poor. Likewise, global issues such as deterioration of natural resources and predatory foreign policies by the northern countries are ignored as contributors to human migration.

Many immigrants come to the U.S in response to cyclical demands in the labor market. Since demand drives the migration, most immigrants, legal or not, do not displace native workers. Keeping workers illegal just makes them more vulnerable to exploitations and illegal actions by employers. This makes them an attractive labor source which, in turn, increases the demand. This cycle of oppression and exploitation is the equivalent of a modern-day slave trade.

Many people also migrate due to political persecution and poverty - conditions for which the U.S. should admit complicity. As long as labor demands exist, and poverty and oppression in the southern Americas continues, legal and illegal immigration will be a reality in the United States. We can deal with this reality by militaristic fortification of the border, or we can admit that labor, like capital, will cross borders, and that fortifications do not deter desperate people.

The Green Party supports these policies (as advocated by Cesar Chavez) which seek to integrate, rather than alienate, migrant labor:

Native Americans

We recognize the rights of all indigenous peoples worldwide, and we support full self-government on all Indian reservations.

Like many indigenous peoples, Native Americans have been the victims of European colonialism. Today, tribal lands are threatened by oil exploration, mining and toxic poisoning. Native American culture is only meagerly represented in history books.

In addition to the issues raised in the Human Rights / Civil Liberties and Affirmative Action planks, the Green Party supports full rights for Native Americans:

Women have a right to absolute social and economic equality.

Long-standing patriarchal traditions have resulted in oppressive, exploitative and discriminatory treatment of women, effectively relegating them to second class status. Sustained action, guided by a strong feminist perspective, is needed to overcome this problem.

Important support for single-parent families, the overwhelming majority of which are headed by women, comes from federal assistance programs. Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was replaced in 1996 with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF includes time limits and a lifetime assistance cap. It also allowed states to end funding for tracking and reporting of poverty levels. The time limits, combined with a softening economy, will leave large numbers of poverty-stricken families in dire straits. This will be difficult to prove, however, without adequate tracking and reporting.

The Green Party calls for equal gender rights:

The Green Party recognizes women's reproductive rights:

All human beings have the right to a life that will let them achieve their full potential. Young people are one of the least protected classes of human beings, yet they represent our future. We must ensure they have an upbringing that allows them to take their place as functioning, productive and self-actualized members of their community.

The Green Party supports the rights of youth:

People have a basic right to decide their own sexual orientation.

The Green Party regards heterosexism - the belief that the only legitimate form of sexual interaction is between men and women - as a violation of human rights and dignity. We recognize the contributions of lesbian, gay and bisexual people to society and in building our movement.

The Green Party understands that HIV and AIDS problems are not restricted to the gay community. Nevertheless, the gay community has special needs in connection with AIDS. [see plank]

The Green Party demands full rights for all sexual groups by:

The rights of physically and mentally challenged people

The physically and mentally challenged are people who are "differently abled" from the majority, but who are nevertheless able to live independently. The mentally ill are people with serious mental problems who often need social support networks.

Physically and mentally challenged people have the right to live independently in their community. The mentally ill also have the right to live independently, circumscribed only by the limitations of their illness. These people, including the mentally ill, are their own best advocates in securing their rights and for living in the social and economic mainstream.

Current Medicaid policy forces many challenged people to live in costly state-funded institutions. Excluding these people from society alienates them; excluding them from the work force denies them the chance to use their potentials.

The mentally ill are generally viewed as valueless members of society. The diminishing funds available to provide care for the growing numbers of the mentally ill often result in their homelessness, vagrancy and excessive use of short-term crisis facilities. It also increases the necessity of placing them in long-term, locked facilities.

The Green Party recognizes the rights and potentials of the physically and mentally challenged and the mentally ill: