Justice Party candidate says it’s time to occupy the elections and overturn Citizens United.
Rocky Anderson is always deferential to Occupy Wall Street when asked about the movement, most recently in a Jan. 31 interview with the online environmental magazine Grist. Occupy has been a “very healthy thing in this country,” and there’s an “enormous convergence” between its concerns and his. But for inspiration, the Justice Party candidate points to Tahrir Square, not Zucotti Park.
"One of the great inspirations for us was what we saw in much of the Arab world, where people were intent on overthrowing their nations’ dictators," he told Grist’s special projects editor Greg Hanscom during a wide-ranging Q&A. “… They put their lives on the line, utilizing democratized means of communication through social networking and engaging in classic grassroots organizing — and they succeeded.”
The same sort of populist, new-media-driven movement can succeed in this country, the former Democrat and Salt Lake City mayor said. The American people are disgusted with Congress, hold President Barack Obama in low regard and are ready for fundamental change. They understand that voting for Democrats and Republicans simply reaffirms a failed system and accomplishes little more than moving its players around.
"There really is a perfect storm in terms of the resonance that the idea of a major new political party has with the American people," he said.
And, Anderson argued, it won’t require a billion dollars in special interest money to “overthrow the dictatorship of corrupt money in our government.” His website says he is fighting corruption by not accepting campaign donations of more than $100.
"What the Justice Party and my campaign are about is to radically change that system so that we can eliminate the plutocracy — that is, government by the wealthy — and ensure instead that our government finally represents the public interest," he said.
To get money out of politics, the first priority in an Anderson presidency would be passing a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.
Beyond the corrupting influence of money in governance, Anderson further burnished the antiwar, supergreen reputation he earned during two terms as mayor of Utah’s capital city from 2000 to 2008. Ending the wars and taking the lead on climate change were next on his list.
"First and foremost, the wars," he said. "I would end them immediately. They have been devastating to this country and to the world. And they just feed into the corrupt military-industrial complex."
Obama, he noted, started and ended this year’s State of the Union speech with a militaristic, cheerleading appeal, seemingly channeling George W. Bush. The president claimed that, through the tragic, wasteful and illegal war of aggression in Iraq, the U.S. is safer and more respected around the world.
"If the American people still buy that, after all the disclosures about the debacle of that war and the lies that led us into it, I really fear for this country," Anderson said.
As for combating the “most catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis,” Obama had one “throwaway line” in the speech, which was one more than he had in the prior year’s, he said.