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Green Party of Texas hopes to create viable alternative to red, blue politics

Photo: Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Michael Barajas

Jill Stein, a Green Party candidate for president, at the Green Party of Texas' convention in the Hill Country this weekend.

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"Star" Locke, or Robert Arnold Locke, another perennial candidate who spoke at the Greens' convention, can only be generously described as unelectable — his website bio contains claims of involvement in clandestine government attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro and spins an almost mythical tale of the John Wayne granting him the nickname "Star" after a bar brawl in a Mexican cantina.

The Texas Greens ultimately, and unsurprisingly, threw support behind Jill Stein for the party's nomination for president. Stein, who once ran against Mitt Romney for governor of Massachusetts, says her win in the California primary last week guaranteed her place as the Green Party nominee for president at the party's national convention in Baltimore next month. Sitcom comedienne and celebrity Roseanne Barr, who didn't show at the Texas convention, spoke to Texas Green members via phone conference Saturday, saying she'd continue to seek the Green nomination for president.

Stein, an eloquent Harvard-educated physician keen on quoting Frederick Douglass ("Power concedes nothing without a demand") and Alice Walker ("The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any"), seems to embody the type of voter Greens across the country are fighting to win over: liberals, progressives, peace activists, and environmentalists who feel ditched by rightward-drifting Democrats.

Stein wrote off the so-called spoiler-effect of third parties, that the major impact is to tip close races between Democrats and Republicans by siphoning off small, crucial pieces of the party base. "We've been told to be quiet, that this silence is an effective strategy," she said. "Well, how's that 'lesser evil' thing working out for you exactly? … We have assured the policies of expansive war, of ignoring a climate meltdown, of economic collapse by silencing ourselves as the only real, non-corporate voice of public interest," she said. "So many progressives have muzzled themselves."

Meghan Owen, 31, said she grew disenchanted with Democratic Party years ago and soon after gave up on politics entirely. That is until she got swept up in the Occupy movement last October. A familiar face and leader within San Antonio's fledgling Occupy contingent, Owen's now running as the Green Party candidate for the new Congressional District 35, a seat that will almost certainly be taken by longtime liberal Austin Congressman Lloyd Doggett, who won last month's Democratic primary.

Owen said the Democratic Party has refused to follow the lead of, and rather attempted to co-opt, the message of the Occupy movement. "Occupy points to all the problems within the system, adding pressure from the outside by pointing out all the corruption, greed that make up our current system," she said. "People like myself and others who have decided to become candidates, we're trying to change the system from inside too. … We're not going to solve things only by yelling and screaming." •

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