Statement from The Green Party of Oklahoma regarding Robin Long

The Green Party of Oklahoma joins people of conscience around the world in decrying the harshness of the punishment given to Robin Long by the Army on August 22 at Ft. Carson, Colorado.

With Robin Long being the first Iraq war resister deported from Canada and turned over to the U.S. military, the Army clearly intended to make an example of the case. The sentence of 15 months confinement, a demotion to private, and dishonorable discharge, is extreme, considering Long’s only “crime” is moral opposition to the Iraq war.

As determined at the Ft. Carson court-martial, Robin’s refusal to go to Iraq was punished with the equivalent of a felony conviction in many states — a sentence much harsher than that given to personnel whose actions in uniform led to loss of life or serious compromise of U.S. stature and security. It could permanently impact Robin’s future employment options and ability to support his family.

Using Long as a symbol to dissuade others from similar actions will not work, as the call to follow one’s moral compass is a higher command than any military order. Instead, it will only make him a martyr to anti-war efforts, especially in Canada, where citizens are protesting their government’s collusion with the Bush Administration’s misguided foreign policy. Robin Long is only one of many who have fled to Canada rather than act in opposition to their conscience; his harsh punishment has galvanized grassroots efforts to allow the others to stay.

We call on the Army to re-evaluate the sentence. We believe that Robin should serve three months (less time already served), and the discharge be changed to Other Than Honorable — still a serious punishment that should satisfy the Army’s need to make Robin pay for his refusal to deploy as ordered.

We look forward to supporting Robin Long during his imprisonment, working with his support committee, and continuing to promote the growing resistance movement in the U.S. military.

Further, we applaud the work of War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada), Courage to Resist, and Oklahoma Green Party member James M. Branum (Long’s civilian attorney), in their ongoing advocacy on Robin Long’s behalf. We encourage those who want to show support for Robin or to learn more about the case to visit freerobin.org.

Green Party of Oklahoma to have 6th Annual Meeting in Stroud

Anyone interested in the Green Party, its values and positions, is welcome to attend, whether official members of the Green Party or not.

The Oklahoma Greens are currently engaged in a petition drive to ease requirements for placing third-party candidates on the ballot. They are working with the Oklahoma Libertarian and Constitution parties, as well as Oklahoma Independent voters to change what many academics and activists call the strictest ballot access laws in the nation. More info about the coalition campaign, Oklahomans for Ballot Access Reform, can be found at okvoterchoice.org.

The annual meeting agenda will include a report on the ballot access campaign, proposed changes to the state party organizing structure, outreach projects and election of officers.

This year is the 6th Annual Meeting of the Oklahoma Greens, which was established in 2002 and received recognition from the Green Party of the United States in 2005.

Greens are committed to environmentalism, non-violence, social justice and grassroots organizing, working to renew and expand democracy without the support of corporate donors.

The Rock Cafe is located at 114 West Main Street. A map to the site can be found at http://www.rockcaferoute66.com/map.html

For more info about the Green Party of Oklahoma, see okgreens.org or call (405) 205-6048.

Oklahoma County Green Party endorses Fannie Bates in special election for County Commissioner

Support for local mass transit initiatives key to Party’s support

The Oklahoma County Green Party decided at its July 17 meeting to endorse Fannie Bates for county commissioner in the special election on August 14.

The election is being held to fill the seat vacated by Jim Roth upon his appointment by Gov. Henry to the state Corporation Commission. Five candidates are vying for the spot, and the one who receives a plurality of votes in the election will serve out Roth’s term.

Noting her long history of grassroots activism around issues of civil rights, social justice and environmental sustainability, Party members were unusually enthusiastic about the endorsement.

“We’re proud to endorse Fannie Bates,” said James M. Branum, OCGP spokesperson. “We are looking forward to seeing a grassroots activist get elected to office and then continue to fight for the people.”

“In particular, we hope that she can bring attention to the pending needless destruction of the Union Station Railyards.”

Ms. Bates has made preserving and utilizing Union Station and associated rail infrastructure the central issue in her platform. She believes, like a majority of metropolitan area citizens in a 2005 MAPS 3 poll, that mass transit should be a priority in the long-term planning of the area, and that existing resources should not be destroyed.

In order to bring attention to this timely issue, Oklahoma County Green Party members are working with other activists and groups to organize a “Save the Rails!” rally at 10 AM on Saturday, August 11 at Union Station, 300 SW 7th, Oklahoma City.

The Green Party of Oklahoma consists of four party locals. In addition to the Oklahoma County party, there are established parties in Tulsa (Green Country Greens) and Cleveland County, as well as the Rural Greens of Oklahoma, which includes the rest of the state.

The Green Party does not have ballot access in Oklahoma and the state Green Party and locals have endorsed progressive Democrats, as well as independent candidates, in the past.

For more information about the Oklahoma County Greens, see www.okgreens.org/locals/ocgp or call (405) 445-5408.

MORE INFORMATION:

Oklahoma County Districts map

Fannie Bates campaign web site

Oklahoma City Railways

OKC’s MAPS3 survey shows strong support for mass transit by Brian Brus, Journal Record

A System in Transit by Bryan Dean, Daily Oklahoman (as published by MassTransitMag.org)

Support for tattoo legalization bill

Oklahoma Green Party announces support for tattoo legalization bill

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — The Oklahoma Green Party announces its support of HB 1519 (a bill introduced by Oklahoma State Rep. Al Lindley, D-Oklahoma City) that would legalize and regulate tattoo artists in Oklahoma.

We believe that the legalization and regulation of tattooing in Oklahoma is needed to protect Oklahomans. The prohibition of tattooing has not stopped tattoos from being done in Oklahoma, but it has prevented the state Department of Health from being able to inspect businesses that provide tattoos, or to set adequate safety standards for these establishments. We believe that Oklahomans should not have to drive out of state or go to an unlicensed local shop to get a tattoo.

The concern for safety is what has motviated Dr. Michael Crutcher, head of the state Health Department and Dr. Edward N. Brandt Jr., chairman of the Council on State Legislation for the Oklahoma State Medical Association to stand in favor of the bill (The Oklahoman, February 12, 2005, “Health official backs making tattooing legal”)

We also believe that there is no reason why millions of dollars leave our
state each year to go to out-of-state tattoo parlors in neighboring states. One example reported in the press (The Daily Oklahoman, February 9, 2004 “Senate bill seeks to legalize, regulate tattooing”), was that of Fantasy Tattoos and Body Piercing in Gainesville, TX, a tattoo shop that netted $800,000 in business in 2003, with 95% of those customers coming from Oklahomans.

By legalizing tattoo artists, we will enable Oklahoma consumers to spend their money at home and support local tattoo artists.

Oklahoma’s tattoo ban currently serves to pad the pockets of out-of-state tattoo artists while at the same time leaving Oklahoma consumers at risk from unlicensed local tattoo establishments. It is time that we repeal this out-dated and dangerous law.

MORE INFORMATION
The Green Party of Oklahoma
PO Box 52901, Oklahoma City, OK 73152c/o Branum, 504 NE 16th, Oklahoma City 73104

http://www.okgreens.org

info@okgreens.org
(405) 476-5620