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Click here to take you to the page with Ralph Nader's statement
Click here to take you to the page with Jello's and Michael Moore's statement
Check out the Independent Media Center (IMC) It was recently founded as a "people's newsroom" during the WTO protests in Seattle and is now, in just the last 9 months, part of an international network of 18 IMC's on 4 continents. They're all volunteer-run, non-commercial, citizen driven initiatives to reclaim our media democracy.Artists like michael franti, rage against the machine, jello, ozomatli, source of labor, ani difranco, and femi kuti have supported them by granting interviews over the last year. Link to them!!!!
VOTE NADER!! (takes you to the Vote For Nader website)
Thank you for all your interest and support for my presidential nomination. Following this note is a qualification and platform statement I sent to Synthesis/Regeneration "A magazine of Green Social Thought" out of St. Louis, MO.
Am I running? Am I campaigning? Yes and no. I am "running" in the sense that I granted the New York State Green Party's request to add my name to the ballot for their primary election scheduled for mid-March. I figured it would do no harm, especially if it inspired more people disillusioned with our corporate government by kleptocracy to plunge into the election process, and get hip to the alternatives to our broken down two-party system.
But I am not waging a full-on barnstorming campaign. I am already under severe time constraints (see near end of Synthesis piece). I hadn't expected to be nominated at all. As tempting as it is to try and make a full-on media splash, I am having to forego almost all requests for personal appearances, debates, fundraisers, and interviews.
I am blown away by all the offers for volunteers, campaign committees, the "Draft Jello" websites, and even a "Jello for President" compilation album. Wow. This has helped drive home to me that I am impacting the political process more than I ever have before, or thought possible. Sure, the impact is still relatively small, but this has to be handled carefully. I do not want to come across as someone on an ego trip trying to derail Ralph Nader. Let's be realistic: he will likely be the Green Party nominee, and probably should be. Am I the right person to be doing this?
I admit I thought of running for Governor of California in the last two elections. I would love to see debate shift away from "who can bash immigrants harder" and "who can put more poor people in prison," and see mainstream media forced to discuss buried ideas like maximum wage, line-item taxation, "None of the Above" on election ballots, and the true evil of Corporate Feudalism and the WTO, so why not me? Then again, why me? Free time was almost nil, and I thought Green nominee Dan Hamburg, an ex-Democratic Congressman, was a good candidate.
Green Party membership is quite diverse, covering a wide generational spectrum. I may be the last sort of person some folks want as a candidate, lest the Party and its ideas "not be taken seriously." To some, I'm as wicked as Marilyn Manson; others take me more seriously than I take myself.
So this has already been quite a learning experience. Never mind that Nader and Hamburg didn't seem to campaign much in earlier elections. (Hypocrisy dept.: Yes, I was disappointed.) People are asking for literature, photos, posters, and even videos of me performing on stage, speaking at Earth First or Mumia rallies, in Seattle, etc. I'm sorry, but I don't have any. Have you thought of trying the FBI? Bootlegs on the net?
But seriously, the flurry of requests has shown how much preparation has to be done, even for a gadfly campaign, and how annoyingly far in advance it needs to be made. All this takes a hometown support staff I simply don't have. My publicist and manager are in near-mutiny over the unexpected workload. Their plates were full already. So there is no true campaign headquarters. You're on your own.
Luckily, some supporters are getting creative. I've heard the Greens who first nominated me in New York are "showing" my spoken-word albums with a Japanese-style human shadow puppet behind a screen playing me. Now this is more in the Biafra spirit. Guerrilla theater is not only a great tool of resistance to make a point, it's fun. If you want to help, feel free to. Any cartoonists out there?
Above all, please keep in mind that while compilation albums, puppet shows, and activism are inspiring as hell, the long-term focus should not be on Jello Biafra, but on the goals and issues that bring our minds together in the first place. I wouldn't trust a personality cult surrounding me any more than I would trust anyone else's.
I hope some of people's excitement and energy will be funneled toward local election races and ballot initiatives where Green-style insurgence has had the most success so far. When Audie Bock of Oakland stunned the country by becoming the first Green Party state legislator, the local Democratic machine was caught with their pants down. They won't be this time. The California Primary ballot has two horrible initiatives that are expected to pass: Proposition 21, requiring small-time juvenile offenders to serve long sentences in adult jails, and Proposition 22, an Anti-Gay proposal. Stopping these initiatives and others like them are far more important than Jello Biafra for President.
Jim Hightower and others predict that it will take at least one or two more election cycles for the Greens, New Party, Natural Law party, and others to merge into a cohesive and effective force. So why the counterproductive split between the Greens/Green Party USA and the Association of State Green Parties? I don't know the inner details, and I'm not sure I want to. I don't even know which flavor of Green I am. I joined because I liked the overall vision and the genuine impact of the Greens in Europe. Heed Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" Enough lefty hair-splitting. If I must take sides, here is mine: Children, stop bickering, and go to your room.
I'm told this split is between Greens who want to concentrate on elections and activism vs. Greens who want to concentrate solely on elections. I say do both! You can't have one without the other. It takes activism to inspire people that they can change things for the better--and inspire them to vote.
There is no magic leader like Nelson Mandela or Vaclav Havel on the horizon to lead us to the promised land. This country is too vast and too complicated. We all need to be Mandela and Havel, each in our own way. The power to inspire brings with it a lot of pressure. It should be used, but not misused. I hope to inspire more and more people to get their feet wet and fight the power, from inside and outside the system. It would also be nice to record some of my songs some day and make more albums. No one can do everything they want to do full-time. Right now I'm locked in the ugliest legal battle of my life; I will not be in Washington, D.C. for Seattle sequel Number One: The International Monetary Fund/World Bank meetings, starting April 16, so go in my place!
Now here is what I sent to St. Louis. A lot of it may be familiar. Hopefully it will be worthwhile. Further thoughts on the WTO and the aftermath of Seattle are on my No WTO Combo live music CD, featuring Kim from Soundgarden and Krist from Nirvana, that was recorded during the event. It comes out in May.
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:
Enact a maximum wage Great idea. When I got it aired on Politically Incorrect I was roundly booed by audience and guests alike. The host told the viewers I was crazy before he even said my name. People assume they are the ones who will be hurt when the big bad government hits the middle class with another evil tax. So let's be generous: No taxes up to $100,000; after that it's payback time. And emphasize the payback--free health care, free education (including amnesty on student loans), free transportation (including air travel), and more. Revenue will be used for the many costly programs in the Green platform and long over-due public works projects; also vastly increased subsidies for the arts, especially community radio and television; subsidies for independent organic farms, hemp and kanaf farms (to end dependence on paper from forests), and solar and windmill farms to decrease our fossil fuel gluttony. Urban blight can be further eradicated by legalizing and subsidizing squatters who fix up long-vacant buildings. This has worked well in Europe when given a chance; think of what it could do for places like St. Louis or Richmond, VA. Speed up conversion to electric buses, trucks, a national high-speed rail system; and , of course, electric cars. We don't need a flat tax, but a flattening tax, to truly level the playing field. After all, what causes more damage to the planet, drug addiction or wealth addiction? Hopefully the maximum wage will raise enough money to fill the cups of everyone who makes less than $100,000 so we'll all be even. And can we please find a clearer, sexier term than "single-payer health care" next time itís a ballot initiative? We must close all hemorrhaging tax loopholes that benefit giant corporations, including organized religion. Taxpayers should also be given a multiple choice of the ten or fifteen major areas of government to decide what percentage of their tax money goes where. My guess is that education and the environment will go straight up, and the arms race and prison expansion will go straight down.
Abolish the Military And the CIA, NSA, DIA, DEA, ATF, hopefully the FBI, and disband all SWAT teams. Our biggest national security threat is the environmental destruction of our planet and the arms race with ourselves. So letís use the defense budget, personnel, and know-how for a new mission: clean up toxic waste, rebuild cities and infrastructure, dismantle all nuclear arms and satellites, and implement worldwide the very environmental and labor practices Third World WTO delegates complained are too costly.
Withdraw from NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. Wealth addicts have gotten carried away; now it's time for rehab. Earlier in our history there were strict laws mandating public hearings and revocations of charters of corporations for misconduct, and restricting board of directorships to one corporation per person. Let's bring these laws back. Irradiated and GM (Genetically Mutilated) frankenfood and other products must be labeled. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 should be repealed immediately. And workers should be allowed to elect their bosses.
End the war on drugs Decriminalize marijuana and illegal narcotics such as heroin, cocaine, and crack. Hard-core addiction is an illness, not a crime. Put users on prescription, and crime will drop dramatically when they don't have to rob and kill people to pay the Mob's high drug prices. Any president or governor can stop the prison-building boom right now by commuting sentences for minor, non-violent drug offenders to time served. Why not pressure them to do it? The same goes for the death penalty. I have chosen Mumia Abu-Jamal, a noted author, journalist, and activist currently on Death Row in Pennsylvania on questionable charges, as my vice presidential running mate to show why we should join the rest of the civilized world and halt executions forever.
I am an anarchist in my personal life. I try to live my life in a way that I don't need cops or baby-sitters to keep me from infringing on others. But I don't feel we have evolved far enough as a species to make anarchy work in society itself. We still need government to transfer the wealth from those who have too much to those who have too little, to make sure important projects get done, and keep territorial humans from screwing over and killing each other.
So guess what? I'm Tough On Crimeģ, especially when the punishment fits the crime: Sentence slum lords to live in their own buildings. Sentence polluters to inhale and swim in the mess they've made until they clean it up. Sentence Savings and Loan sharks and white collar gangstas from our recent bank deregulation to pay back all the money they steal, just like if they held up a 7-11. Sentence arms dealers and manufacturers to pay for rebuilding all the places destroyed by the by the wars they help start.
End Police Brutality Make police officers stand for election every four years, voted on by the districts they patrol.
Lower the Voting Age to Five See youth apathy magically turn around when they know they have a real stake in their future; and get to vote for their school boards, and why not their teachers?
Education Reform Including a mandatory class on parenting and offer drug and sex education using actual drugs and sex in class. Showing how it's done with an emphasis on sensitivity could do wonders for combating sexism and date rape. Joycelyn Elders is right: teaching masturbation is far more realistic than expecting today's libidinous teens to bury their heads in abstinence. Meanwhile, nothing gets bigger laughs at parties than our rigid Drug Czar's TV ads. To put it mildly: they don't work. Students should be able to experiment with drugs in a supervised and controlled setting to learn their limits, not sent blindly off on their own into the risks of hard core addiction.
Election Reform State and national legislative elections should be switched to a parliamentary system with proportional representation. Campaign time should be limited to six weeks. Anyone campaigning or soliciting bribes, excuse me, contributions, beforehand will be automatically disqualified. Ballots in all elections should include the option of voting None of the Above. If NOTA gets over 50% of the vote, a new election must be held with all new candidates.
Other Proposals: Limit junk mail to one 3 x 5 card per mailing. Ban drug and lie-detector tests of employees and students, and forbid the drugging of schoolchildren against their will. Give out giant waterproof Yuppie Parasite decals containing a skull and crossed cell-phones to be plastered by concerned citizens on all sport utility vehicles until they are eradicated from urban and suburban areas. Convert giant sports stadiums into homeless shelters until the maximum wage imposed on today's sports stars funds the necessary low-income housing. Fight gentrification by allowing those under siege to spray whipped cream on those who flaunt their upwardly mobile invader status until the interlopers leave town.
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.
Don't hate the media, become the media Film-maker Michael Moore is right: we must spend less time arguing and agreeing with each other, and more time reaching out to people who may not appear to agree with us, but often share the same underlying concerns. These issues aren't left versus right, they are the top against the bottom. No one who is down-sized out of a job should be allowed to fall for Pat Buchanan. Putting food on the table is the number one wedge issue of growing concern for everyone. We need to show the step by step ways each individual can help free themselves from Corporate Feudalism. Condensing and translating the Green Party Platform from lawyer-ese into English, Español, etc. would be a big help here. We must emphasize the importance of voting in local elections, where a smaller group of concerned citizens can make the most difference. Some people not yet weaned from today's Democratic Party will try to intimidate us, calling us spoilers who siphon away votes, and tip close races to Republicans. I say, "Great!" Let's do it some more. The real spoilers are operatives like Clinton, Gore, Feinstein, and the Democratic Leadership Council, rendering their party indistinguishable from the party of Bu$h, Inc., and thus making the Greens, New Party, and others necessary in the first place. As it stands now, we are being farmed. Imagine what we can do if we gain enough seats in legislatures to influence the balance of power and decision making. Imagine what we can do if we get the necessary 5% of the vote in this presidential election to gain federal matching funds for 2004. This is all more than possible, even under current election laws.
Join the Green Wedge!
January 24, 2000 /Alternative Tentacles/ -- Much to his surprise, Jello Biafra was nominated for the Green Party Presidential Primary in New York State. Biafra, former lead singer/songwriter of the seminal political punk band Dead Kennedys, accomplished spoken word performer, and renowned social commentator, will be an official candidate in the March 7 election. Also on the ballot are consumer advocate Ralph Nader, Stephen Gaskin, founder of The Farm - a commune in Tennessee, and Joel Kovel, a doctor, peace activist, and college professor.
No stranger to politics, Jello Biafra ran against Diane Feinstein in the 1979 San Francisco Mayoral race, where he finished in fourth place with over six thousand votes (3.5% of the total). In June 1986, criminal charges for "Distribution of Harmful Matter to Minors" against Dead Kennedys' Frankenchrist album thrust Biafra into the spotlight as a spokesperson on First Amendment rights. It marked the first case in history to try a recorded work for obscenity. The trial ended in a hung jury and the judge ultimately dismissed the case.
Biafra joined forces with other concerned musicians, including Frank Zappa, to combat the PMRC (Parent's Music Resource Center), an organization dedicated to forcing the de-facto censorship of musical lyrics. Biafra locked horns with PMRC leader Tipper Gore twice on the Oprah Winfrey Show; he has also appeared on Donahue, Crossfire, and Politically Incorrect. After numerous musical and spoken word albums, Biafra continues to perform internationally, stirring his fans with scathing political insights paired with razor sharp wit.
Biafra is owner/founder of Alternative Tentacles Records, a respected independent label. ATR recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary, and boasts more than two hundred, often controversial, releases to date.
Jello Biafra, a registered Green Party member in California for several years, has chosen Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award-winning journalist currently in prison on death row, as his vice-presidential running mate. This decision will focus attention on Abu-Jamal's case and on opposition towards the death penalty in general.
For further information concerning the Green Party (including volunteer positions) contact Craig Seeman at (718)797-0045 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Direct press inquiries ONLY related to Jello Biafra or Alternative Tentacles Records to Michelle at (415)282-9784 or email@example.com.
Jello Biafra's manager can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
We do not have merchandise for this.
The following list outlines the other key points of Biafra's platform. Biafra does not plan to actively campaign.
Jello Biafra's Platform for 2000 Green Party Presidential Primary (State of New York - March 7):
- Enactment of a maximum wage - Payback through free healthcare, education and public transportation - Withdrawal of the US from NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, ideally forcing their dissolution - A moratorium (or at least mandatory labeling) of irradiated and genetically engineered "frankenfood" - End the "War on Drugs", disband the DEA, and commute the prison sentences of all small time drug offenders to "time served" - Abolish the military and CIA, and destroy all nuclear weapons - Shift the United States Government to Parliamentary rule, with proportional representation, and a sixty day limit on election campaigns - "None of the Above" option on all ballots, whereby a majority of dissatisfied voters can force a new election - Allow taxpayers to choose exactly where the government directs their money - Citizen election of police officers - Legalize squatting in abandoned buildings - Eradicate all SUV's!!!!!!!!