North Carolina Green Party Platform
(Adopted May 10, 2004)


I) Grassroots Democracy

Grassroots democracy is one of the basic principles of the international Green movement. It is a value that Greens accept without equivocation, condition or reservation, to be implemented wherever possible. We seek to increase public participation in government and make office-holders accountable to the people. We seek legislation to stop corporations funding or participating in the democratic process. We seek to outlaw corporate funding of candidates, campaigns and political action committees (PACs) that produce issue advertising. Removing powerful corporate entities from politics will increase the power of the individual voter and encourage greater participation in electoral politics. We support direct democratic participation, as in the New Hampshire town-meeting model.

A. Citizen Participation

Citizen participation should be sought at all levels of government. No citizen should be denied information regarding decisions made by government officials.

B. Campaign Financing

We support “voter-owned election” legislation, which allows a candidate to qualify for public campaign financing (a tax-supported campaign subsidy) if the candidate is able to obtain a reasonable minimum number of small contributions (perhaps 500 contributions of at least $10 each) by a reasonable deadline (90 days before the election) and if the candidate agrees to a modest campaign spending limit. A candidate so qualified and subsidized would be allowed to advertise as a clean election candidate and would be marked as such on the ballot.

C. Instant Runoff Voting

The North Carolina Green Party supports a system of Instant Runoff Voting, preferably as follows:

1. Where a single seat is to be filled, each voter designates on a ballot up to four non-identical choices, ranked in order of preference. All ballots are initially counted based on first preference. If a candidate has a majority after the first count, that candidate wins. If no candidate has a majority of votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is dropped, and that candidate’s ballots are recounted by the voters’ second choices. If a candidate has a majority at this point, that candidate wins. If no candidate has a majority, again the hindmost candidate is dropped, and that candidate’s ballots are re-counted by the voters’ next choices. The process continues until one candidate receives a majority.

2. Where multiple seats are to be filled, each voter ranks a number of non-identical choices equaling the number of seats to be filled, plus three. All ballots are initially counted by the highest-ranked choices for the number of seats – for example, the highest four if four seats are to be filled. Winners are then determined by simple plurality, with the additional requirement that to win, a candidate must receive votes from a majority of the voters. If an insufficient number of candidates meet this requirement, the candidate with the fewest votes is dropped, and that candidate’s ballots are recounted by the voters’ next choices. This process repeats until candidates who received votes from a majority of voters fill all seats, or until all alternate choices on all ballots have been exhausted, at which point the remaining seats may be filled by simple plurality.

D. Election Reform

1. Voting time, when citizens may cast ballots, should be extended to 48 hours and should include at least one weekend day.
2. Same-day voter registration (on election day) should be implemented in North Carolina. It is working well in the states that currently allow it.
3. Restrictive barriers to ballot access should be removed. North Carolina’s current signature requirement for ballot access for parties should be drastically lowered, and the existing signature requirement for write-in candidates should be abolished.
4. Parties should be allowed to define their own voting membership for the purposes of party policy-making.
5. New forms of computerized voter registration should not exclude residents with rural route addresses. North Carolina is currently adopting such a system. No voter should be disenfranchised by a computer or by a rush to automation.
6. Votes should not be counted by computers, which are vulnerable to stealthy and sophisticated forms of tampering. Ballots should be on paper, visible and verifiable to any person. Any voting system that eliminates this transparency and verifiability is an invitation to election rigging and should be prohibited.

E. Campaign Media Access

1. The Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to provide equal time to all sides of an issue or debate, should be reinstated.
2. Because the broadcast airwaves are public property, all political parties and candidates should be granted free, equal access to radio and television, including access for political advertisements. The FCC should allow media outlets to put reasonable limits on the amount of airtime each political party or candidate is allowed. All candidates on the ballot for an office should have equal access to any organized multi-candidate debate that is broadcast on public airways or held in public facilities.

F. Neighborhood Associations

We support public funding of neighborhood associations, which can inspire individual and collective community action. This makes the concept of "grassroots" politics a reality.

G. Workplace Democracy

The fundamental goal of democracy is to ensure that people have a voice in the decisions that affect them, whether those decisions come from a government or an employer. Those affected by the decisions of a more powerful entity should have a voice in those decisions, not just through informal participation in the process, but by direct vote. There is no rational reason for any organization chartered by a democratic government to be allowed to defy this principle.

1. The employees of a corporation should have half the number of representatives on the board of directors of that corporation, along with the investors, who now wrongly enjoy a monopoly on corporate board seats.

2. We support card-check union recognition. If a majority of bargaining-unit employees sign union cards, the employer should be required to recognize the union without any additional election or process.
3. We advocate the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, which strips organized labor of the right to the secondary boycott, deprives it of tactics that are legal in many other countries and allows employers unfair advantage in opposing union organizing.
4. We oppose so-called “right to work” laws, which greatly weaken organized labor in many southern states, including North Carolina.

5. We oppose the legal precedent of “corporate personhood,” which classifies corporations as individuals having all the constitutional rights of citizens, including equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Such entities are inimical to democracy, because they are untouchable corporate super-citizens which cannot truly be held accountable to the people.
6. Union organizers and employers should have equal time to make their pitches to workers, even if that requires that union officials talk to workers on the shop floor.
7. All unions should have the following:

a. the right to access areas in which employees work;
b. the right to use employers’ bulletin boards, mailboxes, and other communication media; and

c. the right to use the employer's facilities for meetings that exercise any of the rights guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

8. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) should be reformed to do the following:

a. upon finding that an employee was discharged as the result of an unfair labor practice, award back pay equal to three times the employee’s wages from the time of dismissal to the settlement date;

b. allow employees to file civil actions for punitive damages when they have been discharged as a result of an unfair labor practice;

c. notify any employee wrongfully discharged of the right to sue for punitive and compensatory damages under the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (LMRA); and
d. give unions the right to establish mediation if an employer and union cannot reach agreement on a contract within 60 days after certification of a new union.

II) Social Justice, Equal Opportunity, Respect for Diversity

We call for a renewed recognition of the human values that have been eroded by industrial society and market culture: harmony, peace, cooperation, community, honesty, justice, equality, compassion, understanding and love.

A. Racism

We oppose institutional, interpersonal and cultural racism. Racism is now widely condemned, but it still exists as both racial prejudice and institutionalized discrimination. The North Carolina Green Party expects both elected and hired government officials to take a proactive stance in combating and eliminating this blight on democratic society.

1. Racial profiling should not be tolerated in any North Carolina institution.
2. Affirmative action programs should be supported, but they should be applied critically, so that they favor those most in need of help within discriminated populations.

B. Immigrant Rights

1. The state should provide workers’ compensation for all North Carolina farmworkers, including migrant farm workers.
2. All manufactured homes should be treated as real property instead of personal property.

3. North Carolina's predatory lending law should be expanded to include the financing of manufactured homes.
4. Proprietors of mobile home parks should be required to give 90 days notice (not the current 30 days notice) for a tenant to quit a leased lot when no cause for termination is stated.

5. Deposits paid for the sale of a mobile home should be kept in an escrow account and should be returned to the buyer upon proper request.
6. Consumer representatives should have half the designated seats on the Manufactured Housing Board. 7. Cities should not limit the number of non-related individuals who can live in the same household. This disproportionately targets the working poor, students, and immigrant populations

7. Cities should not limit the number of non-related individuals who can live in the same household. This disproportionately targets the working poor, students,  and immigrant populations.

8. Non-citizens should have the right to be licensed as drivers without regard to immigration status.

C. Sexual Orientation, Domestic Partnerships, Marriage

We are committed to equal civil rights for people of all sexual-affectional orientations and gender identities.

1. The state should recognize domestic partnerships between same-sex couples and require full domestic partner benefits for public and private employees.
2. Same-sex couples should have the right to co- parent, become foster parents or jointly adopt children under the same standards and requirements as those applied to heterosexual couples.

3. As heterosexual marriage is recognized by the state of North Carolina, marriage between gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons should be recognized equally.

III) Ecological Wisdom

The South has long been the nation's toxic waste dumping ground because of the economic and political vulnerability of the region. In North Carolina, corporations target low-income and minority communities for hazardous factories and toxic waste dumps. Abuse of the state’s environment extends far beyond that, however. The North Carolina Green Party proposes the following solutions to our myriad ecological problems.

A. Energy Conservation

1. The state and the nation should require the greatest possible energy efficiency in all appliances, including vehicles.
2. The state should use tax incentives and energy taxes to encourage businesses and citizens to use energy more efficiently.

3. Governments at every level should promote public transportation, both within urban areas and between them.

B. Nuclear Power

1. Fission nuclear power plants are catastrophes waiting to happen and should be phased out as soon as possible.
2. Every state with nuclear power facilities should store its nuclear waste within its own boundaries. Immediate action should be taken at the local level to address the safety of nuclear waste storage.

C. Electrical Utilities

1. The state should create incentives for electric-power producers to invest in energy efficiency and conservation.
2. Electrical utilities should be publicly owned.

3. Electrical utility companies should be required to draw up immediate plans to bury all power lines in order to reduce future power outages, preserve tree canopies, and protect the public.

D. Alternative Energy Sources

1. The North Carolina Green Party favors phasing out harmful sources of energy, such as non-renewable fossil fuels and nuclear fission, and it urges the funding of research on alternative energy sources, including solar power, wind power, and biomass conversion, for use in both the power grid and in transportation.

E. Building Practices

1. Municipalities should require that public buildings, including public schools and universities, incorporate passive-solar heating elements and other energy- efficient measures in construction and renovation.

2. Municipalities should require additional insulation and double-pane window glass, or insulated shutters, on all new residential, commercial and government construction.

3. Municipalities should revise zoning laws to allow for the protection of solar access and other small-scale energy production units.

F. Taxation, Subsidies

1. Subsidies, tax benefits, and research funding should be eliminated that goes to companies producing electricity from nuclear and other non-renewable sources.

2. A carbon tax should be levied on all fossil fuels. These taxes would be an incentive for efficiency and conservation and would be partly used to fund the development of renewable energy sources.

3. Government should subsidize the construction and rebuilding of relevant infrastructures, including public transportation, along more ecologically sustainable lines.

G. Air Quality

We support the development of non-fossil fuel and non- combustion methods of transportation.

1. Air-quality and emissions standards should be tightened. The number of pollutants monitored should be increased, as should air-quality testing. Stiffer penalties and better-funded remedial programs should be established for violators.
2. All discarded heating and cooling units should be collected in order to recover or destroy chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used as refrigerants or insulation. Service and salvage operations for air conditioning units should be required to recover all CFCs.
3. "Good Neighbor Agreements" should be promoted between industry and neighborhood groups. These agreements encourage non-adversarial, non-regulatory meetings that promote the reduction of toxic emissions. 4. North Carolina should require and promote the sale of low-emission vehicles:

a. North Carolina should adopt the LEV II program, a low-emission vehicle standard currently used in other states that would dramatically reduce smog-forming emissions and cut pollution by 40%.

b. To boost clean car technology and demonstrate the state's commitment to improved air quality, North Carolina should invest in clean cars for the state’s vehicle needs.

c. The state should provide tax incentives and rebates to encourage the purchase of low-emission vehicles.

H. Water Quality and Use-Efficiency

1. New policies aimed at eliminating all groundwater pollution and monitoring the quality of our aquifers should be implemented at local and state levels. We propose a groundwater management program that would include regular and extensive testing of aquifers, regulation of groundwater pumping, wetlands conservation, funding to clean previous dumping or landfills and bio-regional aquifer protection.

2. Deep-well injection of hazardous waste should be banned.
3. The destruction of wetlands should be halted immediately and measures taken to restore some damaged wetlands.

 

4. Society should accept no discharge of toxic materials into water or landfills. There must be heavy penalties for violation, including the revocation of business licenses.

5. All landfills should be lined and contained. All underground storage tanks containing toxic materials should be of the double-container type.
6. We need tougher enforcement of our clean water laws. Polluter fines should be increased to give the state the resources to enforce the law and to nullify the economic benefits of disposing of waste improperly. The state should enforce environmental laws by collecting all fines.

7. To reduce salt content in wastewater, self- regenerating water softeners must contain built-in salt recovery systems.
8. Agribusiness and farmers should be encouraged to use water efficiently and avoid polluting it, employing such techniques as low-runoff tillage, drip irrigation, fertilizing with compost, mulching, and organic growing methods, which eliminate the use of chemicals and recycle organic wastes. We support legislation, financial incentives, and educational programs that encourage conservation and water reuse, low-use water systems, and reduced-use patterns in residential and commercial buildings.
9. Water supply projects should be funded on the user- pays principle rather than by taxpayer subsidy. We propose that all water and sewage management be converted to publicly owned and democratically organized regional agencies, ideally in the form of consumer cooperatives.
10.The state legislature should give municipalities, park districts and watershed districts the power to ban certain classes of pesticides (including, but not limited to, diazinin, 2, 4-D, and MCPP) from golf courses, private lawns and parklands.

I. Environmental Outlook Documents

We support the development of environmental outlook documents as a vehicle to environmentally responsible long-range political and economic decision making. Such documents should be used for regional, state, county and city planning activities and updated annually based on the latest information available. Projections for 10, 25, 50 and 100 years should be included. Prototype documents and completed and commented documents could be made available to the public via ECONET.

J. Factory Farming Pollution

The current practices used to maximize output in factory farming are inhumane, unhealthy and show no regard for human or non-human life. Total and partial confinement systems severely restrict the physical and social activity of animals, causing excessive pain and stress. The use of drugs and hormones to produce abnormally fast growth is cruel to animals and unhealthy for humans. These practices endanger public health by lacing the food supply with powerful drugs and by encouraging the growth of drug-resistant pathogens. North Carolina must find a better way to dispose of the wastes produced by factory farms.

1. The hog industry should clean up and properly close the more than 700 abandoned lagoons in eastern North Carolina.
2. Existing hog factories should meet more stringent performance standards. Hog factories using open-air lagoons and aerial spray-fields should replace them with more effective waste management systems.

3. Hog farmers and large pork producers that own hogs should be legally liable for their business and environmental practices. We support legislation that would make these businesses more accountable to the public.

K. Open Space

Each year, out-of-control development and urban sprawl eat away at the natural beauty of North Carolina. Our state government has promised to save 1 million acres of open space.

1. The state should protect the funding of our four natural resource trust funds.
2. The state should create a permanent, dedicated source of funding for open-space preservation.

3. The state should add to existing tax incentives for preservation and should increase penalties for irresponsible development.

L. Recycling

1. Developers and construction companies should be required to recycle or reuse products like cardboard and wood instead of dumping them.

 2. North Carolina counties and industries should meet new, more effective recycling requirements. New landfills should not be permitted if these recycling requirements have not been met.

3. All public and private landfills should be lined to prevent leakage. In the last ten years, state leaders successfully shut down or lined all landfills serving the public. All construction and demolition landfills should be lined and equipped with leachate collection systems as soon as possible. Landfills that do not comply should be shut down.

4. Clean, reusable or recyclable waste should be banned from all landfills as soon as is feasible. Such waste includes wooden pallets, clean wood, cardboard, newspaper, steel, aluminum, plastic and office paper. 5. All local governments, commercial and industrial facilities, and construction and demolition operations should meet minimum state recycling requirements. No new landfills should be permitted in areas that do not meet these requirements.

IV) Nonviolence, Peace, Diplomacy

A. Death Penalty

The death penalty should be abolished. The North Carolina Green Party opposes the taking of human life by any person or governing entity. State-sponsored executions are in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Death penalty cases cost taxpayers more than imprisoning inmates for life. Recent evidence from DNA testing reveals that many inmates are innocent of the crimes that put them on death row.

B. Trade Policy

Any economic engagement by the state of North Carolina with other countries must be predicated on vigorous human rights and environmental standards, including women's rights, racial and minority rights, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, children's rights, and workers’ rights.

C. Gun Control

We respect the rights of people to defend themselves, but there must be limits placed on gun ownership.

1. We urge a permanent extension of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (US Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44, Section 921), and we urge the United States Congress to appropriate money to enforce the current gun control laws.
2. We urge Congress to require registration, background checks and waiting periods for all gun and rifle purchases, including those at gun shows.

D. International Violence, Citizen Responsibility

The North Carolina Green Party supports the peaceful resolution of conflicts at home and abroad by democratic means. We believe that our government should fully fund and support the United Nations by aligning its foreign relations and diplomacy with the policies of that international body. Our government should act to prevent conflict by taking the lead in correcting gross inequalities of wealth, fighting epidemic disease, protecting the global environment, and supporting U.N. peacekeeping efforts around the world.

Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy has not, on the whole, pursued these aims. The current “War on Terror,” the unprovoked attack on another country, the pursuit of a policy of “democratic nationbuilding,” and the government’s deceit about its policies have both worsened the threat of terror and undermined democratic process.

The North Carolina Green Party opposes these policies and stands for increased citizen awareness and involvement in reorienting U.S. foreign policy and in opposing the militarism, the suppression of the truth, and suspension of due process in the pursuit of that policy.

V) Community-Based Economics, Citizen Proprietorship

We seek to build an economy that provides productive work and a living wage for all the nation’s citizens. We call for the application of competitive, market principles to large firms as well as small and an end to corporate welfare. We also favor legislative action to balance the inequities of the market and to plan for the long term well-being of the citizen community and our common environment.

A. Community Action for Economic Justice

1. The North Carolina legislature should determine an hourly living wage, based on a forty-hour work week, that all North Carolina employers must pay all employees, full- or part-time. The level of this living wage should be reevaluated and adjusted, if necessary, every four years.

2. The state should establish a fund to provide retraining and interim income to workers displaced by plant and office closings, bankruptcies, environmental reforms, technology shifts, and conversions from military to civilian production. We favor tax and other incentives to encourage worker retraining by the community and its businesses.

3. We favor federal programs and legislation designed to prevent moving U.S. jobs overseas and international trade agreements with mandatory improvements in wages and working conditions in U.S.-owned businesses abroad.

4. State laws should encourage the formation of consumer cooperatives, worker cooperatives, and community land trusts. Essential public services, particularly utilities and mass transportation, should be publicly owned.

5. As noted under Section I. G., “Workplace Democracy,” we strongly support workers’ rights to organize. We further assert that this basic human right must apply internationally, and we affirm the need for international labor solidarity. We intend to use the international character of the Green movement as an instrument to further this value.

B. Housing

1. Zoning laws should integrate accessible, low-income housing into all segments of a community. We also support volunteer efforts to address public housing problems.

2. We support efforts by local, state, and federal government to oppose and prevent urban sprawl and to encourage denser, less automobile-dependent urban communities.
3. We support co-housing developments with such arrangements being democratically managed by the residents.
4. The state should increase its temporary rental and mortgage assistance programs to provide families with counseling services, grants and loans for up to six months in the case of temporary disruptions of income, including layoff, medical problems and divorce.

C. Corporate Responsibility

1. We support "level playing field" laws. These allow communities to adopt minimum environmental, labor, and social standards that are stricter than national and international standards. These laws place fees on outside corporations and their products, fees which nullify the competitive advantages of manufacturing in places with lower standards. This practice could help reverse the present "race to the bottom" that transnational corporations are imposing on communities worldwide.
2. Just as private citizens who break the law stand to lose their freedom, corporations that repeatedly violate the law should lose their charters. Individual CEOs must be held partially accountable for violations of the law perpetrated by other officers of the corporation that occur during that CEO’s term of office.

D. Taxation

We oppose current property-tax-relief programs that subsidize people who are already advantaged and do not need public assistance.

1. Local property taxes should be progressive, like the income tax, and should have an exclusion for the poorest property owners. Wealthier property owners would pay higher property-tax rates.

2. Since real estate owned by churches requires government services, just as business and private properties do, such properties should not be exempt from property taxes. Exempting church real estate from property taxes unfairly favors religious organizations, violating the principle of the separation of church and state, and burdens private property owners with higher tax rates.

3. North Carolina should move away from regressive sales taxes toward progressive property, income and inheritance taxes based on the taxpayer's ability to pay. 4. The state should eliminate tax loopholes that benefit the wealthy. Capital gains should be taxed at the same rates as wages.

5. The personal exemption for single heads of households with dependents should be raised.
6. The home mortgage interest deduction should be limited to an amount equal to or less than the median cost of a home in North Carolina.
7. Corporations should not be able to deduct outrageous salaries as business expenses. The deduction should be limited to the portion of an executive salary that does not exceed 25 times the earnings of the lowest-paid worker in a company.

E. Development Funding

Government funding should be available to businesses only as interest-bearing loans. Such loans should be predicated on stringent adherence to environmental, human rights and civil rights standards.

VI) Feminism, Gender Equity

We are dedicated to aiding the completion of the historical task of feminism and to transforming the relationship between men and women from one characterized by exploitation, violence and dominance to one based on equality and mutual respect.

A. Reproductive Freedom

Greens support the right of women to full reproductive freedom and to determine the degree of technological intervention, including abortion, which they deem necessary for their own care and protection, regardless of their ability to pay. A woman old enough to conceive is old enough to make decisions regarding the termination of her pregnancy without the permission of others.

B. Individual Empowerment

It has been conclusively demonstrated that the more control individuals have over their lives, the more likely they are to plan their families in an intentional and sustainable manner. One step toward stabilizing and, ultimately, reducing population growth must therefore be the creation of just and nurturing human societies.

C. Family Planning
We endorse the United Nations and all international, national, state and local agencies that advocate family planning and birth control in a culturally sensitive and ethical manner.
  1. The state should fund the dissemination of information on the full range of currently available contraception options, including natural family planning.

  2. Contraceptives of all sorts should be readily available to all sexually active females and males.

  3. In the U.S., private insurers should be required to provide gender-equitable coverage of medical services and prescriptions related to contraception and reproductive health.

D. Comprehensive Sex Education, Rape Prevention

  1. Statewide curriculum should be revised to include comprehensive sex education. The state should mandate comprehensive sex education beginning no later than grade four
  2. The curriculum of that program should incorporate a rape prevention unit aimed not to arm women against men, but to grow boys into men who respect every person’s autonomy over her own body.
  3. Furthermore, the curriculum should include an exploration of gender concepts and sexual-affectional orientation that promotes understanding of other-than- heterosexual relationships.
  4. Moreover, the curriculum should include the full range of currently available contraception options, including natural family planning.

VII) Reform of Health Care, Education, Justice Systems

A. Medical Research

As evidenced by granting agencies’ preferences for disease research, the news media’s coverage of dramatic treatments and insurance companies’ reimbursement policies, our current medical focus emphasizes curing existing disease over the prevention of disease. The search for "magic bullets" and single causative agents is out of place when dealing with the major killers of today.

1. The development of non-animal models in scientific research of human disease should be funded and pursued at least as vigorously as the development of animal-research-based models.

2. Medicine's current focus on interceptive and crisis medicine should be replaced with a focus on preventive health care.
3. Institutional animal-use and care committees should include members other than those with a vested interest in the continuation of animal experimentation and should publicly disclose all nonproprietary business. 4. Childhood immunizations should be available to all who desire them. Early childhood programs should offer, but not require, these immunizations. Parents and doctors should be educated about the possible benefits and risks of specific immunizations.

B. National Single-Payer Health Insurance

A national single-payer healthcare program should be implemented to serve all citizens, including those who previously could not acquire adequate health benefits through their work or through other programs. Funding for such a program should be shared by individuals, employers and government.

C. Alternative Health Care

1. State and national health plans should cover the use of alternative care providers like chiropractors, massage therapists, homeopaths, acupuncturists and nutritional analysts.

2. Alternative health care providers should only be regulated by licensing and review boards made up of representatives of their respective healthcare fields.

D. Family Support

1. The state should require companies that employ 20 or more people to provide paid leave for childbirth, for the adoption of children and for the care of sick family members.

2. The state should establish a Family and Children’s Services Board, with broad parent and professional representation, for the planning and coordination of public and private family services.

3. Local governments should establish planning councils to assess the needs of children and adolescents, and to develop the resources to meet those needs.

E. Elder Support

1. The state should fund community-based support services that aim to avoid unnecessary nursing-home placements and encourage the highest degree of independence, dignity and choice for our elders.

2. Community programs should make use of the wisdom, expertise and energy of elders.
3. Housing options for elders should include both multi- generational settings and peer-based settings.
4. Workers should have the option of phased-in retirement –

a. to ease the transition from working to retirement;
b. to allow time for economic and personal adjustment;

c. to allow for the development of replacement social connections; and
d. to help retirees find a new place in the community.

F. Youth Support

Investment in children and those who care for them is an investment in the future of both the human race and the planet. We believe that all children have a right to housing, healthy food, medical care, education and loving, competent caregivers. We support policies and programs that ensure these rights. We acknowledge the legitimacy and value of diverse family arrangements and support primary caregivers (parents, guardians, etc.).

1. Children of a responsible age should participate in determining how their needs can best be met.
2. The state should fund programs that meet the needs of the poor, including food, shelter, childcare, healthcare, job training and education.
3. Corporal punishment should be prohibited in schools and all other institutions, public and private, where children and adults are cared for or educated.
4. The state should support programs that teach alternative, non-corporal forms of discipline to parents, teachers and other caregivers.
5. The state should fund treatment for all juveniles in the legal system with mental health or drug problems. 6. The state should expand and promote its support services and shelters for battered women and their children in every county in North Carolina.
7. The state should fund crisis nurseries and respite care to provide safe housing for children whose parents are temporarily unable to care for them.
8. School meal programs should provide more pesticide-free, organic foods prepared onsite and more fresh produce.
9. The state should increase its financial support for childcare providers.
10. The state should establish a voluntary professional accreditation program for those serving special needs children, make screening and therapeutic services available to homes and centers serving special needs children, and link special needs programs with Early Childhood Family Education, Early Childhood Screening and Early Childhood Special Education programs.
11. Every school-aged child of working parents should have access to responsible childcare. Family services collaborative grants should be offered only to programs that include childcare.

G. K–12 Education

Education is a basic, individual right and an utter necessity to the community’s civic health. Education should be free and available to all. We support the separation of church and state in public education and oppose direct funding of private schools, including “vouchers.” We oppose the growing dependency of public school systems and higher education on private funding and call for increased public funding of this basic civil right and prime public investment. State and local government and school districts should also act to correct existing imbalances in facilities, equipment, and teacher-student ratios among schools of single districts and between districts.

1. The state should move in the direction of full public financing of preschool education to make preschool available to all state residents.
2. Because the public schools are a public trust and a public asset, they should be supported by public taxes. All citizens, regardless of where they send their own children to school, have a direct interest in an educated society.

3. Private and parochial schools are a consumer choice and one that should not be funded by public tax money.

4. State funding of primary and secondary education should be sufficient to negate the importance of federal funding in school district budgets. The whims of federal legislators should not adversely affect public education in North Carolina. Federal power grabs through carrot- and-stick funding offers could likewise be ignored if state funding were adequate.

5. Grading, assessment and standardized examinations should be thoroughly studied and reevaluated.
6. Families and students need to be free to choose from a wide array of educational approaches.

7. Student-teacher ratios should be no more than 15 to 1 in kindergarten through 3rd grade and 20 to 1 in all other grades.
8. School districts should explore alternatives to suspension, including academically focused day- treatment centers.

H. Higher Education

1. The state should move in the direction of full public financing of public higher education to make college available to all citizens who desire it.
2. To make North Carolina's higher education system more equitable, the state should reduce the share of individual support provided via appropriations and increase the share provided directly to individuals on the basis of financial need.

3. State aid programs should follow a student to whatever campus and academic program the student selects.

I. Continuing Education

We are committed to the value of continuing adult education.

1. The state should provide free literacy programs for all residents.
2. The state should make literacy, job training and other educational opportunities available to the public. Such programs have been positively linked with reducing the chance that a released prisoner will become a repeat offender.

J. Criminal Justice

We believe that the most effective way of dealing with crime is prevention, tackling the root causes of criminal behavior. Imprisonment may remove criminals from society for a time, but it does not rehabilitate criminals or help them repay a “debt to society.” The justice system needs to redouble its efforts to eliminate discrimination based on political ideology, class, and race.

1. Conflict resolution programs should be promoted in schools, prisons and as part of probation.
2. Restitution programs and alternative sentencing, such as meaningful community service, must be emphasized as much as possible.

3. Our justice system must begin to attach as much importance to justice for white-collar criminals, including environmental violators, as it currently does to justice for petty criminals. Corporate executives should be held personally responsible for the social and environmental consequences of their company’s actions.

4. Community members must be involved directly in crime control in their own communities, through citizen police boards, recruitment of police officers within patrol areas and neighborhood watch programs.

5. Prosecutions that appear to have been politically motivated should be promptly reviewed, including convictions of individuals associated with the American Indian Movement, the Black Panthers, the civil rights movement and Earth First.

6. The death penalty should be abolished.

K. Prison

The United States is the world leader in imprisonment. Our long-term goal should be to lose this distinction.

1. The state and the nation must take immediate steps to improve the conditions of the prison system and to educate the vast number of citizens who are incarcerated.

2. Small, sustainable businesses, such as organic farms, greenhouses, and small appliance repair services, should be established in prisons, with the goal of teaching skills and business practices to inmates. The profits from these programs should be used to compensate crime victims and to help underwrite the cost of running prisons.

3. Prisons should be run by the state, not by for-profit corporations. It is a breach of trust to turn over the lives of our citizens, criminal or not, to unaccountable, profit-driven entities.

4. Inmates should not provide cheap labor for corporations, not even government contractors. For- profit corporations should pay the same amount for prisoner labor that they pay their employees to perform those same duties. Some portion of that payroll should go to the prisoners or to the state to cover the cost of housing and feeding those prisoners.

L. The War on Drugs

The “War on Drugs” has failed to reduce drug use, has increased violent crime, and is commonly enforced in a racist manner. The U.S. government has used the “War on Drugs” as a justification for arming authoritarian regimes and projecting U.S. power abroad. We call for treating drug abuse as a medical problem rather than a criminal problem. The money currently spent in the military war on drugs should be re-directed to a war on poverty in drug- producing regions.

1. Communities that are susceptible to high levels of drug abuse should be the focus of economic development efforts. Those efforts should favor locally owned enterprises.

2. Drug abuse of all kinds should be treated as a disease, rather than a criminal offense. We support legalizing the personal possession of controlled substances.

VIII) Personal and Global Responsibility

A. Self-Sufficiency

 We oppose the trend toward the overuse of public subsidies to private corporations. Such subsidies should be used sparingly and only when they serve a demonstrable community need, such as the creation of living-wage jobs by locally owned companies that keep wealth in the community.

B. Manufacturer Responsibility

We support a manufacturer's cradle-to-grave responsibility for the products that it creates. Manufacturers should be responsible for the recovery and recycling of materials used in their products. That responsibility would engender more thoughtful product design and materials selection.

C. Food and Health

We believe that a vegetarian or vegan diet is an alternative that is less harmful to the environment, to humans and to animals.

1. State farm subsidies should encourage a shift from animal agriculture in order to provide more food for the human population.
2. North Carolina public schools should include non- biased information on proper nutrition in their curriculum.

3. Produce should never be irradiated.

D. Waste

Greens support a waste-management philosophy that prioritizes, in the following order, reduction, reuse and recycling over current methods. Given the inherent limitations of recycling, and the fact that it uses considerable energy and may cause pollution in its own right, the reduction of waste at the source and the maximum reuse of products are essential. Put simply, we have to create far less garbage to begin with if we are to manage our waste problem.

1. Manufacturers should reduce packaging and make durable products: The first priority of any waste- management plan must be to minimize waste. Only reduction at the source in manufacturing and packaging will solve our growing waste problems.

2. Consumer products should be reusable: Our second priority in waste management is maximum possible reuse of materials. We must adopt standardized reusable containers and mechanical parts wherever possible.

3. Government policy should encourage the development and use of recycled products and should fund community recycling: Our third waste management priority is recycling. We support the expansion and increased efficiency of all current recycling efforts and encourage the manufacture of recyclable products. We also encourage the composting of organic waste.
4. Industry, agriculture and communities should discharge no toxic chemicals into the environment. Until we have accomplished the transition to a sustainable society, residue of waste streams remaining after exhausting the first three waste management priorities must be permanently isolated from the environment in a manner that protects against toxic leakage and allows future recovery of additional useful materials. The costs of such disposal must be internalized in the price of the products or services requiring it.
5. Society should reduce consumption. We must reclaim the virtue of frugality, eliminating overconsumption and its attendant waste.

E. Product Testing on Animals

We believe that human and non-human animals experience pain and pleasure that differ in degree, not in character, that non-human animals have inherent value beyond their usefulness to humans, that humans have the moral responsibility of guardianship, not just ownership, over domesticated animals and that humans should protect non-human animals from suffering whenever possible.

1. Whenever possible, companies should be required to use the wide variety of innovative, quick, accurate and inexpensive product tests that do not use animals.
2. Research grants, whether they come from the government, universities or the private sector, should favor in-vitro (non-animal) testing methods.

3. Companies should be required to use ingredients recognized to be safe for animals and people.

F. Animals in Education

Animal experimentation in education is all too common, often beginning in grade school and continuing through the graduate programs in the sciences.

1. Education, especially in the life sciences, should communicate respect for human and non-human life.

 2. Schools should use existing alternative teaching techniques that enhance the learning of anatomy and physiology while instilling greater respect for life.

G. Animals in Entertainment

Animals used for entertainment, such as in gambling, zoos, circuses and the film industry, are subject to abuses that are hidden from the public. Forcing non-human animals to live lives that are unnatural or unhealthy for the sake of our entertainment is unjust.

1. The use of animals in entertainment should meet federal standards for minimum acceptable living conditions.
2. Laws against animal fighting should be expanded and those currently in place vigorously enforced.

3. Anyone caught using endangered species in entertainment should have their permits revoked and their animals confiscated.

H. Fur Apparel

The use of steel claw leg-hold traps, including padded traps, is cruel and inhumane. Public funds should not be used to promote or subsidize sport trapping, commercial trapping or fur ranching.

I. Overpopulation of Domestic Animals

The overpopulation of companion animals has reached epidemic proportions in this country. We believe the state should actively support spay-neuter programs and promote local pounds and shelters.

IX) Sustainability

We support evaluating all goods and services based on their true monetary, social and ecological costs. The direct costs of resource extraction, manufacture, marketing and distribution give only a partial idea of the true cost of production.

A. Communications Technology

International standards should be adopted for telecommunications systems, protocols and services. Communications technology has the potential to significantly reduce business travel, commuting and the associated waste of non-renewable and human resources.

B. Sustainable Agriculture

We support the maintenance and development of smaller, community-owned or privately owned farms that provide a variety of agricultural products and can be managed on a human scale. Farming and food production should be encouraged in cities, towns, and suburbs, as well as in the countryside.

1. Agriculture should begin to move away from farming that depends on synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and phosphates in favor of sustainable practices like crop rotation and cultivation, integrated pest management and the use of unprocessed natural fertilizers and disease-resistant indigenous plants.

2. All farm animals should be humanely treated and respected in their own right. Diversity and natural husbandry should be used to maintain healthy stock. 3. A higher percentage of the money spent on food should go to farmers rather than to processors, packagers and distributors.

4. Federal organic certification standards should be established that are at least as stringent as those of the California and Oregon certification boards.
5. As a vehicle to economic growth and job creation, the state should promote the development of new and ecologically sound agricultural products, including non- food uses of plant fiber, hemp and agricultural waste.

C. Biotechnology

1. The use of growth hormones and preventative antibiotics in livestock should be banned.
2. A five-year moratorium should be instituted on all products containing genetically engineered organisms, from seed to processing to table, including bovine growth hormone.
3. All genetically engineered products should be labeled as such.
4. In keeping with the precautionary principle, all genetically engineered products must be proven safe to long-term public health and the long-term integrity of the environment before being put on the market or having a chance to contaminate the environment.
5. The patenting of life forms should be prohibited.
6. The patenting of any segment or portion of the human genome should be prohibited.

D. Community Greenlands

We support the creation of multiple-use community forests on marginal farmland with the purposes of capturing carbon, protecting soils, moderating water runoff, producing fuel and food, providing recreation, cleaning the air, sheltering human communities and providing wildlife habitat.

E. Hunting and Fishing

1. Wildlife advocates, non-hunters, and anti-hunters should receive proportional representation in wildlife management agency oversight.
2. The state should establish refuges for the protection of both habitat and species, not for the production of game animals.

3. Current laws which hold that hunters may enter private land not posted against them should be reversed. Any hunter wishing to use another’s land should receive permission to do so. Any landowner who wants to welcome all hunters should post signs to that effect.

4. The state should not promote "new game species," and no new hunting seasons should be established.
5. Public funds should not be used for the promotion of recreational hunting.

6. Rather than declaring a special hunt for every perceived problem with wildlife, non-lethal and educational approaches to human conflicts with wildlife should be considered.

F. Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism contributes to personal health as well as to the health of the planet. We believe that by lessening the nation’s reliance on animal products, more food would be available for the millions of people suffering from chronic hunger. We vigorously support abandoning our present reliance on animal agriculture in this country in favor of a more sustainable system.

1. Nutritional information in public schools should not be written by the meat and dairy industries. Educational materials should come from sources without financial conflicts of interest..
2. Schools should provide accurate information on vegetarian diets in nutrition classes at all levels.

G. Overpopulation

We support efforts for zero or negative human population growth. Overpopulation, combined with the resource demands and waste production of our modern lifestyles, is the root cause of environmental degradation. Furthermore, the competition of expanding populations for limited resources is a real cause of war and civil unrest in the world today. Any efforts at global peace and political stability must include efforts to reduce the population of the world.

H. Overconsumption

The problems of overpopulation have been exacerbated by the overuse of resources in the world’s industrialized northern countries, particularly in North America. These countries use much more of the world's non-renewable resources, consume far more energy, and thus produce far more waste than developing countries. As mentioned in Section VIII.D.5, we must reclaim the virtue of frugality on our way to eliminating overconsumption and its attendant waste.

I. Public Transportation

The state should restructure public transportation into a convenient and financially attractive alternative to individual vehicle use.

J. Combustion Engines

As much as possible, government should work to reduce internal-combustion vehicular traffic, especially in cities. Ultimately, we support reorganizing our living patterns into a self-reliant, human-scaled society.

K. Automobile Efficiency

Increases in automobile efficiency should be mandated. At the same time, we recognize that cars have become nightmarishly complex, nearly un-repairable, throw-away goods. We recognize the need to include mechanic- friendliness and simplicity as important design priorities.

L. Bicycles

We support improving the infrastructure for human- powered transportation.

1. Roads should include paved shoulders, wide outside lanes, or bike lanes wherever practicable.
2. The state should build bicycle and pedestrian through-paths in areas with few through-streets, to create shorter travel routes and traffic bypasses for bicycles.

3. The state should depart from “big road,” freeway- style architecture when designing the surface streets and secondary roads where bicycles are allowed, and freeways should interrupt the fewest number of these streets possible.

4. Traffic signals with pressure plates should be able to detect bicycles waiting at an intersection.

5. Drainage and expansion grates should be designed not to destroy bicycle wheels. Those with the potential to snag bicycles should be replaced immediately.
6. Planning and development policies should emphasize modest-sized communities placed at reasonable distances, linked by scenic secondary roads, rather than distant metropolitan areas served by freeways.

7. The state should institute educational and public relations programs to inform all users of the road about the proper and safe use of bicycles and the rights and responsibilities of both cyclists and drivers.
8. Three- and four-wheeled human-powered vehicles of less than 1 meter (39.37”) width should be recognized as vehicles legally equivalent to bicycles.
9. Bicycle racks should be added in all public destinations and should be part of all new development.

M. Plant and Non-Fossil Fuels

We support the development of plant-based and other non-fossil fuels.

N. Downtown Transportation, Auto-Free Zones

1. We support designating free mass-transit areas within the major business districts of North Carolina's major cities to promote the use of mass transit, limit automobile traffic in downtown areas and promote the use of downtown businesses.

2. We support the designation of automobile-free zones within downtown areas.

O. Light Rail Transit

We advocate light-rail transit as an essential part of the public transit system in the metropolitan areas of North Carolina.

P. Natural Control of Undergrowth

The use of herbicides should be prohibited on railroad and utility rights-of-way. Seasonal burning should be used to prevent wildfires and promote the return of native prairie growth.

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