JACOB FALZONE (INCUMBENT) – FOR EDUCATION COM CHAIR
Why are you a Green? What inspired you to join the caucus? *
I became a Green halfway through the 2016 Democratic primary. I saw the DNC and Hillary supporters doing everything they could to disparage Bernie and his followers. I saw the corruption of the DNC and knew that to build a true socialist electoral movement in this country, there was no other alternative than the Green Party. Jill’s presidential platform was amazing and the Party Platform impressed me as well. I joined the caucus because I witnessed the toxicity of the old guard at my state party meetings and quickly realized that the future of the party lies with us, the youth of the party. I truly believe the future of the Green Party is dependent upon the actions of the youth caucus over the next 5-10 years. I want to build the Green Party into a major U.S. political party with senators and house of representatives at the federal and state level and I know that this can only be achieved by growing the youth caucus.
When did you become a Green? *
I became a Green in 2016 because I do not think it is possible to reform the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is a bourgeoisie capitalist party. Many of the ills that infect our culture are due to Americas infatuation with hyper capitalism. The Earth is warming, natural disasters are on the rise, cops are carrying out extrajudicial killings of unarmed black males, racism is alive and rampant, and, the gap between social and capital inequality are growing further and further apart. I became a Green because I believe that the Greens are the only viable anti-capitalist party in America.
What Key Value or pillar are you most passionate about? *
I am most passionate about ecological wisdom. I believe this pillar is intersectional. For example, in my state of North Carolina Duke Energy builds coal ash ponds in traditionally poor, brown, or black communities. These ponds are hazardous to the health of residents and studies have shown a link between the chemicals in the ponds and certain types of cancer. Building community owned energy infrastructure would remove the possibility of large monopolistic corporations from storing their byproducts in minority communities, it would also empower those communities by freeing their residents from burdensome energy bills and dangerous heat and air shutoffs for nonpayment. Climate change is the biggest existential threat to our species survival and possibly all life on earth. Immediate action is needed now. We must build the Green Party to fight climate change, we cannot expect any capitalist party to address an issue that is a market failure, capitalism commodified the earth and we have extracted and burned fossil fuels for profit for too long. Unlimited growth on a planet with limited resources is ludicrous.
Briefly describe your professional and personal skills, interests, affiliations, experience, and education you have that might be relevant to the position you are applying for.
I have been a co-chair of the youth caucus since last February. As co-chair, I have created and facilitated past educational calls. I also have a working relationship with our youth caucus advisor James Andrews who was an organizer of Occupy, current organizer with Black Lives Matter, and a movement researcher and author. In 2016 James and I organized a Disrupt J20 event entitled “Young Greens: Student and Youth Assembly.” We worked closes with the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) to set up an educational space in DC the Thursday before Trumps inauguration. The event was a success and the IIYC could share the experience at Occetti Camp fighting against #DAPL and share their cultural and religious beliefs and criticism regarding the black snake and provided a brief overview of U.S., Native American treaty violations. I am deeply steeped in socialist literature, humanist philosophy, modern and ancient rationalist philosophy. I will graduate from Guilford College this fall with a B.A. in History, a B.A. in German, and a minor in Philosophy.
Given the current state of the caucus, how do you intend to apply your skills to improve and expand it, based on the seat you are running for? *
I believe in Antonio Gramsci’s theory of cultural hegemony. Political organizing and class consciousness have a reciprocal relationship; as class consciousness increases so too does political organizing, and vice versa. The caucus’s role in political education is one of its most important functions. Right now, socialism is no longer a scary word to millennials and generation Z. The youth caucus must create a socialist education program that will help cultivate a socialist class consciousness within our caucus and in our society as well. We need to be well prepared to engage with the right and the centrist democrat’s capitalist propaganda when engaging with the public while doing outreach or campaigning. The better we understand and define what socialism means to us as a caucus, the better we will be able to recruit and win elections.
PRESTON THACKER - FOR EDUCATION COM CHAIR
The Green Party is the largest anti-capitalist party in the US, and eco-socialism best aligns with my own beliefs.
I have been organizing for local organizations for 2 years now, ranging from our County Green Party, to the IWW and John Brown Gun Club. All of these roles have required me to educate members both politically and about the organization. Being Queer/Non-Binary, I am also equipped to some extent, to work with fellow LGBTQIA+ individuals in the caucus. Other current affiliations: Socialist Party USA, John Brown Gun Club.
Political education of the membership, being accessible to members in need of assistance in navigating the way the caucus works.
NATALIA SCHUURMAN - FOR GPUS DELEGATE
I got involved with the Green Party in search of the most viable political force to be part of. My opinion has been that ideologically and culturally, GPUS has yet to undergo an imperative internal transformation to become a genuine and effective leftist political force. Still, I value the significance of organizing under a well-established political party and believe GPUS has the potential to transform. Much of my faith is in the youth caucus, as it’s the intersectional home to a cooperative, eco-socialist, revitalizing base for future GPUS leadership.
I first started working with the Chicago/Illinois Green Party in 2016 during the Jill Stein presidential campaign.
Above all else, we need to fight for the justice of historically oppressed communities—the working class, indigenous peoples, people of color, women/trans/non-binary folks, political refugees and immigrants, and the disabled—while ensuring equal protection for the planet and ecological sustainability. We can’t begin to strategize towards the implementation of decentralized/community-based governance, grassroots democracy, or genuine diversity across leadership until we’ve effectively organized and mobilized to dismantle the post-colonial, globalized capitalist structures of oppression that function to undermine the feasibility of these ideals.
I’m fairly knowledgable in radical leftist ideology, particularly Trotskyism and Libertarian Socialism. My job, though, would not be to pontificate leftist thought, but to utilize my knowledge, creativity, and critical thinking capacity to discuss GPUS party matters with the National Committee as a representative of the Young Ecosocialists. I have some familiarity in collective bargaining organizing with students, faculty, and unionized workers on my campus in my USAS (United Students Against Sweatshops) local at USC, as well as solidarity-building with leftist organizations in the Travis County Green Party and through my recent involvement in a cross-committee/caucus anti-imperialist/border justice GPUS workgroup, which is currently working on building relationships with Palestinian liberation organizations to provide them a platform to speak on issues of Palestinian liberation and ultimately support and promote their work. All of this is to say I am familiar with the nature of inter-group cooperation for mutual aid which, in the case of the National Delegate, is practical for representing the interests and political inclinations of the youth caucus while discussing strategies and decisions that should aid GPUS as a whole. If nothing else, I value accountability and discipline and happily invite constructive criticism to improve my ability to serve and represent the caucus.
One challenge I’m seeing in our caucus is the lack of local and state Young Ecosocialists representation. For example, according to our recent organizational report, only Colorado, Utah, and Texas are actively organizing towards state chapter accreditation, and there are currently no known active campus or local chapters. A strong leftist youth force should start from the bottom-up, with involvement and representation in one’s local and state party. On the GPUSCom, I would work with AccredCom to strategize how we can best encourage and assist young Greens in building Young Ecosocialists representation at the local and state level. Once local and state chapters are established under AccredCom’s guidance, GPUSCom can work with AccredCom to identify youth leaders at the local and state level who can take the lead in representing their state party’s youth and, ultimately, get elected to GPUS Delegate positions via their state parties. In this way, we can begin to foster the growth of youth leadership in GPUS from the bottom-up while expanding and consolidating the Young Ecosocialists base.
ZACK LOONEY (INCUMBENT) - FOR GPUS ALTERNATE DELEGATE
I am Green because I see that the Democratic Party is unable and unwilling to do what is necessary to spark real change. In order to bring to reality the eco-socialism that could save our decaying planet, we need a party that is free from the bondage of corporate money.
Tough choice, but I believe the future focus and sustainability is my favorite. I believe that it is incredibly important that we act in a way that is in line with the central vision of the Green Party and the Youth Caucus in particular, by taking actions that will benefit our planet and the people that inhabit it.
I am confident that my prior experience on the YGUS Steering Committee will help me serve in this position. I believe that my experience forming and running a Young Greens chapter on my college campus (MTSU Young Greens) will serve me greatly as I attempt to build a radical base of young people. In addition to working with Young Greens, I also have experience working for a number of non-profit, movement groups such as: Planned Parenthood, Healthy and Free TN, and animal liberation organizations.
I intend to use my skills to build a network of skilled young greens who, collectively, can build a caucus that can serve as a serious player in the U.S leftist organization scene.
CORY MICHAEL BOWERS - FOR GPUS ALTERNATE DELEGATE
I've had a lifetime of developing a personal political and social philosophy that has been directly impacted as my experiences have contradicted what I've been taught/told. This shaped my beliefs in Non-Violence, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, and Global Responsibility. I believe that political organizing independent of our current political parties is as important as organizing direct action, and I believe the YES caucus is the most effective branch of the USGP.
I began voting for Green/Independent Candidates in 2010, I began caucusing with Greens in 2016
I have organized non-profit and campus organizations while attending college, and I am current active in my union, UFCW Local 540. I have a degree in Theatre/Communication and Philosophy, so I am critical in my writing and speech as presenting to a large audience. I also have some editing and design experience, but a lot of this has been for live presentation/performance, so whenever we're ready to host the first annual YES National Convention, I'll be happy to be a stage hand! ;)
As a representative on the GPUS National Committee, I hope to have access to reach out and work with other caucuses and working groups (I'm currently working with the Disability [not my name choice] caucus, and would like to develop a Labor working group), to create a more goal driven, focused political party at the State and National level.