Presumptive Green party presidential nominee Jill Stein appeared at the Occupy DNC rally across from CIty Hall in Philadelphia today (or at the "Bernie Sanders rally" as one cop put it) to speak before a cheering crowd full of Bernie Sanders supporters and other activists.
"Power concedes nothing without a demand," Stein said, quoting Frederick Douglass, "and we are that demand."
Stein told the crowd that they stood for "economic justice, for racial justice, for workers justice, for climate justice, for indigenous justice, for women's justice, for LGBTQ justice."
"We will be a unified movement, an unstoppable movement," she said, "because we are for all the forms of justice." She criticized the mainstream for trying to divide and conquer the crowd. "They would like us to be a movement to stop fracking over there, and a movement to stop police violence over there, a movement to stop deportation over there," Stein told the crowd. "We need to be all of those movements, all together, that's how we'll stop the unstoppable."
Stein called Democratic presidential nominee "a candidate who has been the advocate for the big banks, for the prison industrial complex, for the war profiteers," calling on the crowd to reject the choice of the "lesser evil," arguing that it "paved the way to the greater evil" and that that was how Republicans took over Congress. "It was not a set of Republican victories, it was a set of Democratic defeats," she said.
Stein also argued such lesser evils contributed to the rise of discontent that has fueled the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. "Clinton and the Democrats helped do that," she said. "Putting another Clinton in the White House is the worst thing that we can do for Donald Trump and his movement… we are the solutions to the Donald Trumps of the world."
Stein also acknowledged the work of the Black Lives Matter movement, saying the U.S. had to "end for once and for all this disaster of racism that is hardwired into our economy and a culture that was founded on the criminal institution of slavery… We call for an end to police violence, but in order to address the racism of policing we must end the systemic racism in every area of our society."
Stein called for the creation of a "truth and reconciliation commission to put this crisis of the legacy of slavery behind us once and for all," saying it should "share the outrageous stories which have continued from slavery to lynchings to Jim Crow to segregation to redlining to the war on drugs to the police violence to the incarceration state," which she called a "continuous line."
She said the commission would also "share the solutions," which involved the economy, housing, schools, and the "segregation and apartheid state that we continue to live in." She called other racial disparities "another form of racial violence" and said she was calling for specific solutions to "end this emergency of racism that we see in police violence" but that exists "throughout society," and called for reparations for African-Americans and indigenous people.
She also addressed immigration, saying that the human rights of immigrants were "essential" to all human rights, and that all Americans except those whose ancestors were indigenous people or brought to the country forcible were immigrants. "The diversity of our nation is the real exceptionalism of America," she said, "that we are people from all corners of the world who have come together to find our common humanity."
Stein touched on foreign policy as well, saying it was important not only to value black lives at home but to "stop the bombing of black and brown lives around the world." She criticized the size of the military budget, arguing cuts would pay for her spending plans, and said U.S. foreign policy "has created failed states, meass refugee migrations, and worse terrorist threats." She reminded the crowd about "where the first terrorist threat came from," saying the CIA and Saudi Arabia hatched a plan to use mujahadeen in Afghanistan to topple the Soviet Union, and that that "started the international jihad."
Stein also called for an "emergency jobs program to end the crisis of climate change," healthcare as a human right, a "welcoming path to citizenship," and an end to police violence and student debt.
"I am so honored and proud to be working with you and for you, we are together, we are one," she told the crowd before leaving, "this is the beginning, we will prevail, we are unstoppable together." On her way to her next location she was surrounded by volunteers from Black Men for Bernie as well as Philadelphia police officers, both of whom she thanked for their help. One cop told Reason no other person this week has gotten so much attention.
Watch the speech here.
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