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  August 5, 2016

Green Party Convention 2016: Cheri Honkala

At the 2016 US Green Party Convention in Houston, the 2012 US Vice Presidential Nominee likens voters' allegiance to the two party system to an abusive relationship (originally published on Facebook live)
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DHARNA NOOR, TRNN: So we just wrapped up our coverage of the first press conference of the coming convention. Can you tell me a little bit about what your reactions are to this and what you’re expecting from the coming days?

CHERI HONKALA: Well I’m very excited. I know it’s not going to come without bumps in the road because I know that the Clinton campaign is busy. They’re busy with trolls on my facebook and in my emails and in my life. So I’m sure that they’re going to try to be busy here at the convention. But needless to say we’re giving birth to independent politics in America and I think that we’re going to look back on the year 2016 as the year that we finally really give birth to the imperative party that Rosa Clemente talks about, which is the Green Party.

NOOR: I’ve asked a number of folks in the Green Party about this but I wanted to know why is it despite, especially in this election cycle, there’s been so much disenfranchisement from the two party system and yet so many people are still voting democrat or republican?

HONKALA: I think it’s hard. It’s kind of like you know, like domestic violence. You get used to your abuser. You settle for a lower standard of living. And I think its time for us to decide that we want a better life for ourselves and for our children and if we don’t move quickly, we might not even have a planet. Things like war are real. The climate crisis is real. And so we can’t really afford to be spectators anymore. We have to get actively involved in breaking with the two corporate controlled political parties and build something new. You know the generations to come deserve that of us.

NOOR: What does success look like in this campaign?

HONKALA: I think success looks like us getting at least the 5%. I think success looks like us making sure that we bury the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in as many states as possible by having a huge exodus from both of the corporate controlled parties because I think that the majority of us in this country love our children, love our country, love the air that we breath, and in order for us to hold on to all of those kinds of things it means that it’s time that we develop a backbone and we stand on our ancestors shoulders and we walk the hell out of those 2 corporate control parties.

NOOR: You mentioned that the 5%, needing 5% of votes. Can you talk about the significance of that number? The significance of that 5%.

HONKALA: If we get at least 5% then the next presidential campaign, we will begin the campaign with federal matching funds and that would be absolutely huge. We’ve already seen the kinds of momentous things that we can do with no money. Could you imagine what we could do with federal matching funds?

NOOR: Can you talk about some of the rhetoric that’s been used around Donald Trump. People have called him the scariest presidential nominee of all time and some folks, even those who sometimes would support the Green Party are saying that we need a united front in order to defeat him.

HONKALA: Well you know, he’s not the scariest guy. I mean I know I’m supposed to be excited about the fact that Hillary’s a woman. But you know what? Women in India, women in Africa, women in Palestine, women in Brazil, these are all women I care about as well and the bombs that are dropped all over the world, those women matter as well. So I think that we have to realize as well that it was the first Clinton that ended welfare as we know it and destroyed families in this country. You know families that once relied on public assistance or social welfare in this country. They had the rug pulled out from underneath them and they became homeless. Weren’t able to feed their kids. Ended up doing whatever they possibly could in order to survive and now are part of the mass incarceration in our country. So she’s a very dangerous woman. He’s a very dangerous man. And it ain’t about them as individuals. They belong to a corporate controlled party and that’s what they care about is answering to the corporations and not answering to the people.

NOOR: Is it worth raising this fight within the Democratic Party as well as we saw for instance with the Bernie Sanders campaign?

HONKALA: Oh absolutely. You know, I was one of the main folks that was right in there talking to people that I know that were on the floor. You know talking to my good friend who’s a member of the Poor People’s Economic Rights campaign. He organized a group of folks to walk off the floor and he did that because he knows people are not surviving. They’re not going to survive when we have the priority in our country, making a better world for corporations and not for human beings.

NOOR: Thank you so much.

HONKALA: Thank you.




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