State Platform of the Wisconsin Green Party
As part of the international Green movement for grassroots democracy, social and economic justice, nonviolence, and ecology, we are committed to winning power for the people and protecting our planet. We are dedicated to transforming our society according to Green values of decentralization, community-based economics, feminism and gender equity, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, and future focus and sustainability.
The current political and socioeconomic system breeds corruption and puts corporate profit over the needs of people, planet, and peace. The government caters to wealthy elites and neglects the concerns of working people, the marginalized, the exploited, and youth. The crises of our times demand a fundamental shift in human values and culture, and in our social, economic, and political institutions. We need a new way of doing things that is sustainable and humane, which will allow people and our environment to flourish now and in the future.
Instead of pleading with an unresponsive government, the Green Party focuses its energy on electing community leaders and empowering the disenfranchised. Greens offer a compelling vision for change, for a better future. Our vision is of a sustainable society in harmony with the environment, one that meets all people's needs for security, self-respect, freedom, creativity, and community. Creative, progressive, and scientific solutions are needed which allow us to live well while creating a more democratic society and restoring our environment. To fulfill our vision, we reject the corrupting influence of big money on politics and refuse to accept corporate funding, relying instead on our communities for support.
We strive for more than thinking globally and acting locally. To fundamentally change society we need to overcome the stranglehold of the corporate-dominated two-party system at the state and national levels, and other forms of elite rule at international levels. The Wisconsin Green Party platform is intended to complement our local and national Green Party platforms, as well as the agreements of Green parties globally. We recognize that electoral politics is only one tool for change, and also value direct action, movements for social and economic justice, progressive cultural change, community-building initiatives, and personal empowerment.
Together, we can provide the organization, education, and collective experience needed to not only elect leaders who share our values, but also empower everyone to have meaningful control over their own lives. To build a world that works for all of us, break free from the two corporate parties of war and Wall Street and get involved with the activist party, the grassroots party, the progressive party, the workers’ party, the people’s party: the Green Party.
If not us, who? If not now, when? We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Join us!
Section I. Democracy
Democracy and self-governance are dependent on the public being fully informed and all political parties having access to the ballot, public debate, and discourse. Additionally, since the voter is consenting to being governed, the full will of the voter must be expressed and reflected in election results. To this end the Wisconsin Green Party will work to implement policies that result in the public being fully informed about issues and policies that tear down the barriers between the voters and the government that represents them.
B. Political Reform
- Enact Instant Runoff Voting (also known as Ranked Choice Voting) for executive offices such as mayor, governor, and other single-seat elections, to ensure the full expression of voter will and to eliminate the cost of primaries in non-partisan local elections.
- Enact proportional representation for legislative offices on the municipal, county, and state levels.
- Enact public financing for all elections.
- Ban out-of-state campaign contributions.
- Enact automatic voter registration legislation and repeal restrictive voter ID legislation.
- Remove restrictions on the voting rights of felons.
- Oppose the use of unaudited, unverifiable electronic voting machines, and support open source voting software.
- Ensure ballot access thresholds are set low enough to reflect emerging shifts in local voter will.
- Create an independent, non-partisan redistricting commission to draw districts for the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate, as well as U.S. House districts.
- Reinstate the Government Accountability Board to effectively enforce ethics and elections laws.
- Limit the income of state officials to not more than the median income in Wisconsin.
- Join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact as a step towards dismantling the Electoral College.
- Allow communities to pass stronger environmental protections than those specified in state and federal regulations.
D. Free Speech and Media Reform
- Ensure political parties and candidates have equitable access to television and radio. Insist on the full inclusion of all political parties in all public debates.
- Defend the right to protest on UW campuses.
- Close military facilities and oppose recruitment in schools.
Section II. Social Justice
The Wisconsin Green Party opposes all manifestations of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and discrimination. We fight to end the root causes of these issues through education and empowering people through collective action. We fully respect the rights and sovereignty of the Native American Nations. We defend civil rights and liberties against any encroachments and seek to expand their scope. We envision social justice in which people are actually treated equally before the law and in their day to day lives. We work to end the double standards the wealthy benefit from and ultimately strive to create a classless society. To this end, we seek to expand the popular conception of social justice to consider high-quality housing, healthcare, and higher education as rights.
B. Civil Rights and Equal Rights
- Support the right of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual people as well as other gender and sexual minorities to be treated equally. Amend the constitution to give the right to LGBTQIA+ couples to marry.
- Enact gun control reform to restrict the sale of firearms to people with a history of violent crime, and require a background check each time a firearm is transferred. Ban assault weapons. Instate a 48-hour waiting period for firearm purchases.
C. Economic Justice / Social Safety Net
- Provide food assistance to everyone in need.
- Subsidize high-quality day care.
- Subsidize high-quality assisted living.
D. Welfare: A Commitment to Ending Poverty
- Remove counter-productive drug testing requirements to qualify for benefits.
E. Education and the Arts
- Support fully-funded public education and oppose the voucher system of public funding for private schools.
- Limit the student-teacher ratio to not more than 15:1 in every K-12 classroom, to greatly improve the quality of education and raise the graduation rate.
- Address the racial achievement gap by focusing on high-quality early education and improving the graduation rate in urban areas.
- Oppose the use of 'high stakes' standardized tests as the primary determinant for grade advancement, graduation, or teacher pay.
- Freeze college tuition and work towards free higher education.
- Adequately fund the University of Wisconsin System, maintain UW-Madison as a world-class institution, and unconditionally defend academic freedom (reinstating tenure protections).
- Redraw district boundaries to promote an equitable number of electors relative to the size of the school board, ensure parents can have a meaningful impact on school board policies, decentralize crowded schools, and provide an appropriate scale for school districts. This will reduce the time and cost of transporting students.
- Shape education policy to include the history of our government’s conflicts and treaties with Wisconsin's tribes (and foster a respect for native cultures), comprehensive sexual education, a wide variety of the arts, and sufficient education on local and state government to enable graduates to meaningfully participate in politics and capably run for office.
F. Health Care
- Implement a universal, single-payer system that will be funded through state taxes. The system will be designed to allow citizens to select health care providers and treatment.
- Revitalize public health care clinics and school nurses to provide necessary health services and counseling, preventative care, and instruction in hygiene, nutrition, contraception and wellness.
- Charter non-profit and not-for-profit hospitals.
- Establish work rules that abolish mandatory overtime for nurses and other paraprofessionals in hospitals.
- Fund the University of Wisconsin system to develop new programs to provide paraprofessionals required to expand the public health service.
- Treat substance abuse and substance dependence of all kinds as a disease, rather than a criminal offense.
- Defend a woman’s right to make reproduction choices affecting their own body. Safe birth control prescriptions should be covered by all health care plans and/or subsidized by the state. Fund women’s health centers and family planning.
- Uphold the right of all working people to form unions, bargain collectively, and strike Oppose "union-busting" tactics and deceptively titled “right to work” laws. The state should assist management in working more closely and cooperatively with unions.
H. Criminal Justice
- Ensure all individuals are held accountable for actions that harm other people and/or communities, with an emphasis on ensuring justice for the victims and their loved ones. Alternatives to incarceration should be used in response to nonviolent offenses and victimless crimes. Shift the emphasis from punishment to rehabilitation. Ex-offenders need resources and support to engage with their communities in ways that are healthy, positive, and socially sustainable.
- Prevent crime by promoting economic justice, education, and programs that create opportunity; the solutions to violence, poverty, alienation, anger and political inequality are the key to criminal justice reform.
- Oppose the privatization of prisons and the criminal justice system.
- Attach equal importance to justice for white-collar criminals, including environmental violators of our common property. Hold corporate executives responsible for the consequences of their corporate actions.
- Legalize, decriminalize and regulate the cultivation, sale, possession, and use of cannabis and hemp.
- Release from incarceration and expunge criminal records of all non-violent offenders convicted of drug possession or any non-violent cannabis-related crime.
- Oppose solitary confinement.
- Ensure penal labor is compensated at the minimum wage or higher.
- Continue to oppose the death penalty in Wisconsin.
- Directly involve community members in crime control in their own communities through citizen police boards and neighborhood watch programs.
- Encourage restorative justice, as an alternative to incarceration, through community restorative courts.
- End stop-and-frisk and racial profiling practices, along with addressing police brutality with their continued training.
- Become a sanctuary state. Prohibit police from acting as immigration agents and inquiring into immigration status.
- Allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and become eligible for in-state tuition.
- Adopt policies welcoming refugees.
J. Housing and Homelessness
- Provide high quality affordable public housing to all in need.
- Enact rent control legislation.
- End de facto segregation in Milwaukee and other urban areas.
Section III. Ecological Sustainability
The Wisconsin Green Party believes that Ecological Wisdom directly relates to quality of life. Only by practicing sound stewardship and ecological responsibility can we stop the degradation of the life-giving relationships that exist between humankind and the earth. The “public trust doctrine,” which holds that public land, water, minerals, forests, and other natural resources are held in trust for the public and used for the common good, must be enforced. The precautionary principle must be applied to public policy decisions, especially those concerning the approval of drugs, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms to protect the public from practices of uncertain consequence.
B. Climate Change
- Work with other states to exceed the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
- Provide financial aid to neighborhood networks to promote community ownership of renewable energy utilities. Require that the electric grid be reconfigured to accept power from widely distributed, diverse sources.
- Foster statewide energy independence and promote energy research that brings Wisconsin closer to a self-sustaining energy system.
- Regulate energy utilities to minimize flat fee charges, so consumers are primarily charged based on usage, to incentivize energy conservation.
D. Nuclear Issues
- Stop granting licenses for new nuclear facilities or renewing licenses for existing facilities.
- Only allow high-level radioactive and highly toxic waste storage for waste generated in Wisconsin.
- Support higher average miles per gallon requirements and stricter emission control requirements on new vehicles, as well as "gas guzzler" taxes and renewable fuel and "gas sipper" rebates on new car purchases.
- Support building and promoting mass transit infrastructure for light rail, high-speed rail, commuter rail, as well as intra and intercommunity bicycling and walking trails (as a response to oil production having reached its peak).
F. Zero Waste: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Apply the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle to policies in order to reduce waste streams, reduce demands on natural resources and reduce the generation of pollutants. Mandate collection of compostable materials as a separate waste stream.
- Increase tipping fees at Wisconsin landfills for commercial haulers. Commercial haulers will be required to bill their commercial customers on a per weight basis.
- Use the history and environmental record of recycling or waste disposal firms as major criteria in considering awarding contracts for municipal services.
- Ban single-use plastic bags.
G. Clean Air / Greenhouse Effect / Ozone Depletion
- Enact policies that significantly reduce the release of gases that deplete the ozone layer, contribute to global warming and cause acid rain.
H. Land Use
- Create and maintain a citizen accessible central database of the products used, concentration applied, chemical contents, health effects, and company responsible, for any private or commercial pesticide application.
- Avoid using pesticides on or in public property, except as a last resort, after the failure of organic alternatives has been demonstrated. Tax incentives will reward the use of organic pest control methods.
- Eliminate fees for state parks.
- Replace all lead water pipes in the state with a safe alternative.
- Require disinfection for municipal water systems.
- Impose regulations on fertilizers, pesticides, and pollution to protect private wells.
- Ensure access to healthy drinking water as a human right.
- Provide subsidies to make the change from petrochemical-based to organic farming methods economically feasible for small-scale farmers.
- Develop the necessary infrastructure to support the regionalization of food production and distribution systems, such as urban farms, farmers markets, community supported agriculture, and regional food processing facilities.
- Establish a system of subsidies and tax incentives to protect family farms as an indispensable component of a healthy and sustainable agricultural economy.
- Create a state land banking system of prime farmland to prevent diversion to non-farm use through first-option state acquisition of the land.
- Oppose the utilization of genetically modified organisms.
- Incentivize urban agriculture.
K. Biological Diversity
- Maintain forests, wetlands, and all other ecological communities in a manner which will protect biodiversity and will allow future generations to benefit.
L. Forestry Practices & Lake, River, and Aquifer Protection
- Support a general moratorium on draining wetlands, building roads in public forests, and metallic mining.
- Stiffen water quality rules to require absolute non-degradation of existing water bodies.
- Work with states and Canada to restore the Great Lakes. Ban the export of Great Lakes water beyond the basin.
- Enact rigorous environmental safeguards to protect communities and prevent contamination of our air, land, and water from mining pollution, including arsenic, asbestos, mercury, silica, and other known toxins.
Section IV. Economic Justice and Sustainability
The Wisconsin Green Party believes the government must guarantee economic well being for all and ensure that the financial security and social status of one group does not come via the exploitation and marginalization of another group. Economic security must not come at the cost of consumerism and the alienation of corporate culture. New economic paradigms are needed which value quality of life, the environment, and the meaningful employment as more positive than expanding production for its own sake and maximizing profit.
B. Ecological Economics
- Support family leave legislation, paid sick and vacation time, job sharing, and the involvement of workers in decision-making, management, and scheduling.
- Emphasize and promote regional trade with our Canadian neighbors who share the Great Lakes basin. State trade missions should promote “fair trade” over “free trade” with specific countries that are moving toward more equitable, sustainable economies.
C. Curbing Corporate Power
- Revise laws regarding Articles of Incorporation to make executives and board members more accountable for the effects of their decision-making.
- Require the DNR and state Attorney General to be more vigorous in prosecuting corporate offenses and will hold individuals accountable when appropriate. Corporations that engage in gross violations will have their corporate charter revoked.
- Stop wasting taxpayer money on corporate subsidies.
- Promote public ownership of all utilities.
- Revise eminent domain laws to protect small landowners from private business encroachments.
- Promote right of workers to have at least two days off every week.
D. Livable Income
- Increase the state minimum wage to a living wage of $15 per hour (in 2015 dollars), adjusted annually to inflation.
- Support prevailing wage legislation.
- Enact equal pay for equal work legislation.
- Improve overtime compensation by requiring time-and-a-half for work after 8 hours and double-time for work after 12 hours each workday.
E. Fair Taxation
- Institute a progressive method of taxation that shifts the tax burden away from those that can least afford it. We will eliminate the income tax for households making less than $20,000 a year and reduce the income tax for households making between $20,000 and $30,000 a year. Increase taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
- Create a carbon tax on commerce and industry to fund sustainability projects. A portion of funds from an increase in the motor fuel tax will go for development of alternative transportation such as mass transit and bicycle trails.
- Eliminate tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy, including the state capital gains deduction and the exemption of manufacturing machinery and equipment from property tax.
- Tax independent businesses that are locally owned and not affiliated with any out-of-state entity at a lower rate than franchises that export local dollars out of the community.
- Oppose state restrictions on local property tax levies.
F. Local Economic Development, Small Business, and the Self-Employed
- Gear economic development to focus on jobs that are based in the community and that have a vested interest in the community where their employees live- especially small businesses.
G. Work and Job Creation
- Promote the renewable energy industry and sustainable technologies.
- Increase staffing of state and local governments to adequately serve the public interest.
H. Banking and Insurance Reform
- Charter a publicly-owned Bank of Wisconsin to hold public funds, provide affordable credit to local governments and private businesses, invest in needed infrastructure, and avoid the risks and profit-taking associated with holding public funds in private banks.
I. Advanced Technology and Defense Conversion
- Reject military contracts and convert military industries to address public needs.
J. State Debt
- Pay off the state’s debt to stop wasting tax revenue on interest payments.