California State Government November 7, 2000 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Medea Susan Benjamin

Candidate for
United States Senator

This information is provided by the candidate

Why I'm Running on the Green Party Ticket for U.S. Senate from California

By Medea Benjamin

As a human rights advocate, economist, nutritionist, and mother, I have struggled for the past 25 years to help build a world where no child goes hungry and where our air, water and land are protected for future generations. I worked for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization to create more sustainable models of development. And for the past ten years, as Founding Director of the San Francisco-based human rights organization Global Exchange, Iıve pressured US corporations to stop abusive policies -- from sweatshop labor to clear-cutting our forests to tampering with our food supply through genetic engineering.

In the aftermath of the Seattle protests against the undemocratic, corporate-biased World Trade Organization, I am more convinced than ever that the majority of Americans -- and certainly the majority of Californians -- agree that we need a society that puts human needs and sustainable development before corporate profits. Through my work at Global Exchange, Iıve made scores of trips throughout California talking to community leaders, environmentalists, unionists, religious, students and small businesspeople about critical environmental, labor and political issues confronting our state, our nation, and our planet. I find many common threads: Most people believe that every worker should be paid a living wage; that this wealthy nation of ours should guarantee health care services to all; that more money should be spent on education than prisons or corporate welfare; that the post-cold war era should be accompanied by a reduction in Pentagon spending; and that our natural resources are public goods that must be protected.

Why, then, do we have a system that negates these values? This disjuncture between our beliefs as a people and our social structure has led to tremendous public frustration -- indeed, apathy and cynicism -- with our political leaders and the dominant political parties. People are disgusted by Democrats and Republicans who take their marching orders from the financiers and corporate chieftains who fill their campaign coffers. They feel that our political system is in desperate need of campaign finance reform and an opening to a broader array of voices if we are to legitimately call ourselves a democratic nation.

So do I. Thatıs why Iım running as a Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate from the state of California. Through this campaign and the Green Party, we will engage the public in a broad debate about our ideas for achieving greater social justice and environmental sustainability, and we will push to see these ideas reflected in our state and national priorities. California has often taken the lead in challenging the status quo and generating new approaches to social issues. Being the first state in the nation to elect a US Senator from the Green Party would certainly be in keeping with our reputation as trailblazers.

-Medea Benjamin is the Founding Director of the San Francisco-based human rights organization Global Exchange. For over 20 years, she has supported human rights and social justice struggles around the world. Her books, reports and articles have examined global issues of hunger and unequal development. She is a key figure in the anti-sweatshop movement and is known world-wide for her work on behalf of garment workers. She has Masters degrees in Public Health and Economics. She lives in San Francisco with her husband Kevin Danaher and her two daughters.

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