Jello Biafra's Platform for Year 2000 Green Party

I am surprised and honored to be drafted as a nominee. I have been an artist/activist since 1978. I was the leader and creative force of pioneering punk band Dead Kennedys. I have owned and operated a small business, Alternative Tentacles Records. We are now celebrating our Twentieth Anniversary. I ran for Mayor of San Francisco in 1979, placing fourth out of ten candidates. I was the main target in the first criminal trial over a record album in American history. The jury deadlocked and the charges were dismissed. This vaulted me into the national media and lecture circuit as a spokesman on civil liberties. I have locked horns with Tipper Gore, Pat Buchanan, Oprah Winfrey, and many Religious Right activists on this issue.

Besides music, I have released five spoken word CD sets that boil down and promote many ideas dear to Greens: human rights, freedom of speech, the Gulf War, the Drug War/Prison-Industrial Complex, globalization and the WTO, and a newer emphasis on how to fight back.

I have been registered Green for many years, and support the Green Key Values and Platform. But how do we implement and sell (Yes, sell. This is Disney-addled America) our key values and programs to the general public?

A few ideas:

I apologize to those who feel I should wage a more aggressive campaign. I did not expect to be nominated, and I am locked in my own battle against globalization that has been a huge strain on my time, emotions, and resources. Former members of my old band are suing me with the expressed intent of wiping out 22 years of work because I wouldn’t allow them to put one of our best known songs in a Levi’s Dockers TV commercial. Trial begins April 17.

Plus, I voted for Ralph Nader last time, and would gladly vote for him again. Should I have let my name be on the ballot at all? Ever since I ran for mayor, I have proven to be an effective media magnet and lightening rod for protest votes reaching far beyond the underground popularity of my work. On the other hand, should a flamboyant artist and prankster be the main banner-carrier at this point? Or would more progress be made by only running "serious" candidates?

Events in Seattle and around the globe show there are far more people on our side of the fence than we give credit for. What does it say about our country when people are so desperate for an alternative to our one-party state masquerading as a two-party state that they’ll even elect a professional wrestler governor? Steelworkers and eco-activists are marching together. People are questioning whether it is more important to live in a marketplace than a community. They question whether competitiveness is more important than compassion and quality of life. More and more young people see corporations as an authority figure to rebel against, instead of buying into every manufactured pop trend. The spread of Students Against Sweatshops on college campuses is important--not just because the battle is right, but because it is winnable. A step by step approach makes greater change seem less hopeless.

In my own small way I try to inspire people to at least start thinking about what they might do and where they would fit in if we actually found ourselves in charge. For all their faults, at least the front line opposition in places like the Czech Republic and South Africa had some idea of how they would actually run things if and when they had the chance. We’re not there yet. Splitting into two competing Green Parties is just plain childish.

Join the Green Wedge!


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