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.

Tulsa Run opportunity for climate awareness and ballot access reform

Jean McMahon as polar bear in the 2007 Tulsa Run

Oklahoma Green Jean McMahon has been doing outstanding work in a very unique way: attending public events in a polar bear costume. The outfit dramatically illustrates the issue of global warming and gets lots of notice wherever Jean wears it.

Today it was the Tulsa Run, for which Jean has been training for over a month. “As soon as I arrived at the starting line,” Jean reports, “Mayor Kathy Taylor came trotting over to say, ‘Hi, remember I saw you at the climate report at TU (University of Tulsa)’.”

Jean and fellow Green Huti Reynolds also collected 42 signatures for the Oklahoma Ballot Reform initiative.

The Tulsa World reports that an Edmond man won the race. We suspect that the polar bear running and petitioning through the city’s streets won a few points from onlookers and run participants alike.

Oklahoma County Green Party works to “Save the Rails”

James Branum addresses Save the Rails Rally 8/11/07

GPOK State Secretary and Oklahoma County Green James Branum spoke on behalf of the local party in Oklahoma City on Saturday, August 11, at a rally to “Save the Rails”. Green Party members helped organize the event.

Citizens, activists, teachers and legislators gathered to demand that state officials stop the New Crosstown boondoggle and develop clean safe and economical public transport for Central Oklahoma.

Also speaking at the event were State Representative Wallace Collins, County Commission candidate Fannie Bates and longtime rails activist Tom Elmore.

Organizers plan to have an event each month to keep the rails issue alive. To get on the email list for news and updates from the campaign, send an email to railsok@netroutes.net.

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)

OK Greens speak against Red Rock coal-fired power plant

Journal Record cover on coal plant

GPOK members Jean McMahon and Huti Reynolds have been in contact with the Eco Action Committee of the Green Party since they heard from the Oklahoma Sustainability Network last January that a 950-megawatt coal-fired power plant was in the works to be built at Red Rock, Oklahoma.

They got support and resources from a great group called the National Energy Justice Network, the only national group dedicated to no more coal plants.

July 1, they heard from James Branum, GPOK state Secretary, and Fannie Bates, an Oklahoma City activist:

What is arguably the most important environmental decision made by/for the current generation of Oklahomans is about to happen and I am, as usual, amazed/chagrined that it is going virtually unnoticed. First the immediate facts which OG&E has made public:

On Monday, July 2 and Tuesday July 3, Oklahoma Gas & Electric will be before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission seeking pre-approval to build a new coal-fired power plant at the existing Sooner Power Plant near Red Rock, Oklahoma. The hearings begin at 8:30 a.m. and will be held in Courtroom 301 on the third floor of the Jim Thorpe Building at 2101 N. Lincoln in OKC. The proceedings will be adjourned for the July 4th holiday and will reconvene on Monday, July 9. All interested parties may appear at the hearings to make public comments.

It proposes to build what it “contends” (OG&E’s language)is a “state-of-the- art” 950 megawatt coal-fired power plant in collaboration with PSO (Public Service Company of Okla.) and the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA). These three entities will share costs and ownership of the plant (OG&E 42%, PSO 50%, and OMPA 8%), which is estimated to cost approximately $1.8 billion to build. OG&E will build the plant and operate it when it is complete.

According to OG&E, rate changes to recover the cost will be phased in from 2007 to 2012-average cost per month increase for OG&E customers is estimated to be “a cumulative total” of $4.66 per month.

OG&E lists the following contact information regarding the application: OG&E at 1-800-272-9741. The Commission’s web site is www.occeweb. com or you can send written comments addressed to:
OG&E Red Rock Approval
c/o Office of General Counsel
Oklahoma Corporation Commission
P.O. Box 52000
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-2000

The Chairman of the Corporation Commission is Jeff Cloud. Bob Anthony and Jim Roth are the other two commissioners. Their address is as above.

So Huti and Jean rushed down to Oklahoma City on July 2. The OG&E lawyer noticed their Green Party T-shirts and spoke with them, as did the judge, “for some time,” Jean reports.

“I think the main point is, however she (the judge) decides, it will be contested. She apologized that public comments had been postponed for that day.”

Jean and Huti returned the following Monday for the public portion of the hearing — Jean in her famous polar bear suit that got some media attention. “We made our public statements. I believe it was useful for the Green Party to get info out via the media that environmental groups in Oklahoma do oppose coal-fired plants Our fellow citizens may think everyone loves coal by listening to the corporate press.”

Here is statement from the Green Party:

The U.S. is blessed with tremendous renewable energy potential, enough to meet the entire electric demand of the country. We call for a Manhattan Project-level of commitment to developing clean renewable energy technologies—technologies that do not create pollution in the course of generating electricity. These can include wind, solar, ocean power, geothermal, and small-scale hydro. Since even clean renewable energy can have negative environmental impacts, care must be taken to minimize such impacts. Clean renewable energy does not include nuclear power, any sort of combustion or process in which by-products are ultimately combusted, or hydroelectric dams that block entire rivers.

The period for public input closes July 23. It is unknown when the decision will be made.