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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On September 17, the Green Party presidential candidate, Jill Stein, came to Rutgers, New Brunswick to speak to the students of Rutgers about various political issues in today’s world.
The All Marxist-Leninist Union (AMLU), a student organization which advocates for a workers’ revolution that would nationalize the means of production, hosted the Green Party nominee.
General-Secretary of the AMLU Don Courter introduced Stein saying that leftists must increase awareness of “anti-capitalist” candidates like Stein and “build a popular front among the left”.
It marked the third time she has visited the Hub City in the past two years. She spoke at the state party’s convention at Rutgers last summer, as we reported.
Stein began the event by thanking the crowd for their political involvement on certain issues, including the protests against Condoleezza Rice several years ago when Rutgers had invited her to speak at commencement.
“If we do not challenge power, then all the other work we do will be basically bypassed and for nothing,” Stein warned.
One of her major points was the importance of not voting for the “lesser evil,” but instead voting for “the greater good.”
She argued the “lesser evil” logic–an allusion to an argument used by advocates who support one candidate so that another will not win–ends up creating the very thing you feared in the first place.
She said that voting based on fear, “paves the way for the greater evil”.
“They do not own our votes, they need to earn them,” Stein said, claiming that the majority of supporters of the two major party candidates don’t support them, but are against the other one.
She spoke of one potential electoral reform: switching from “first past the post” elections to a ranked voting system, where voters rank their choices from first to last. It’s a change that would likely help third parties like the Greens but she said that Democrats were against it.
Jill Stein’s major platform point is known as the “Green New Deal,” which she describes as a modern-day parallel to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, but with a greater focus on the environment and clean energy.
Stein, a medical doctor, said that she supports transitioning to clean energy because doing so will greatly reduce sickness caused by air pollution, and that it would also make American-led wars in the Middle East, which she says are mostly motivated by oil, obsolete.
She argued that the wars in the Middle East really do no good and do nothing to protect the United States, and also made a stand for nuclear disarmament.
Following her speech, Jill Stein took questions from the audience.
Stein was asked by the New Brunswick Today how she thought the public might react to her speaking at a communist-hosted event.
“Well, as I understand it right now, socialism is far more popular than even so-called capitalism if you look at polls,” Stein responded. “What I hear young people saying is that they’re more worried about Wall Street coming and taking their stuff than they are about socialists taking their stuff.”
Stein, however, is not a self-described socialist.
“In my view, I try to avoid the -isms because I find they mean different things to different people, and the question really comes down to what policies are you talking about,” she explained.
Finally, Leland T. Snyder of LocalPress.com asked Stein for her platform on campaign finance reform.
Stein said the current system “produced two candidates that are the most disliked and unpopular ever in our history.”
“That’s not by coincidence. We keep getting candidates that are more the poster-child of Wall Street, the fossil-fuel economy, of the endless wars.”
Stein called for public financing of elections to fix her perceived problems with campaign finance.
“Let’s get money out of politics and get the people back in.”