Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Civil Liberties
Section title: Civil liberties
Our position: Greens want to stop the assault on our civil liberties that intensified after 9/11, and restore these and other freedoms to all Americans.
During the last several decades, there has been an erosion of freedom in America. This has come from many sources and takes many forms, including the war on drugs and widespread imprisonment of nonviolent drug offenders; the increased use of personal identification, surveillance of employees at work, and the growing use of private security forces by corporations; restrictions on the speech of protesters and students; and random traffic stops of persons of color and the commonplace use of roadblocks.
Since 9/11, this erosion has turned into a collapse of our freedoms, as then President Bush authorized torture, illegal wiretapping, indefinite detention without trial, and widespread government surveillance.
Greens want to make sure that the United States is not the first nation in history to lose its constitutional freedoms because we forgot what they were, and why we had them in the first place. We believe that citizens of the United States must, once again, act as if we were free, and force our government to restore our constitutional freedoms.
1. Strict enforcement of our First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association and petition. Federal, state and local governments must safeguard our right to public, non-violent protest. It is intolerable that law enforcement agencies intimidate lawful protesters with brutality, surveillance, repression and retaliation.
2. End torture, such as in prisons like Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other U.S.-controlled facilities. Ensure those guilty of ordering or executing torture are held accountable for violations U.S. and international law.
3. Restore habeas corpus, a legal action to obtain relief from illegal detention. End the use of indefinite detention without trial.
4. Revoke the 2010 re-authorization of the Patriot Act, including "John Doe" roving wiretaps and the “library records” provision.
5. End the abuse of National Security Letters, which the FBI uses to force internet service providers, libraries, banks, and credit reporting companies to reveal sensitive information about their patrons.
6. End illegal government spying, including the use of warrantless wiretaps. Three federal judges have ruled that President Bush’s National Security Agency warrantless wiretaps violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which contains criminal sanctions. Ensure that anyone who violated the FISA is held accountable for crimes committed.
7. Enact a constitutional amendment affirming that the rights outlined in our Bill of Rights are human rights and do not apply in any way to corporations.
8. Support U.S. constitutional guarantees for freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and that there shall be no religious test for public office. Eliminate federal, state, and local laws that discriminate against particular religious beliefs or non-belief. End faith-based initiatives and charitable choice programs, whereby public funds are used to support religious organizations that may not adhere to specified guidelines and standards, including anti-discrimination laws.
9. Oppose the death penalty in the United States and worldwide.
10. Support students’ constitutional rights to free speech.
11. Ensure that government actions towards immigrants complies with our Constitution and universal human rights principles.
12. Support strict Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure.
2004 TEXT OF DOMESTIC SECURITY (CHAPTER 1 DEMOCRACY)
The Green Party calls for a complete, thorough, impartial, and independent investigation of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, including the role of the administration George W. Bush, various U.S.-based corporations and interests, and other nations and third parties. [Move this to another section]
We call for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act. Many of its provisions, along with many of the other so-called National Security Acts, undermine our Bill of Rights, and contribute to the destruction of the democratic foundation of checks and balances between the branches of government.
The Greens believe that all such systematic degradation or elimination of our constitutional protections must stop, and that corrective measures need to be taken in a timely manner by Congress to fully reinstate all such losses of guaranteed citizen protections.
2004 TEXT OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND SECULAR EQUALITY (CHAPTER 2 SOCIAL JUSTICE)
The United States Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of religion. We affirm the right of each individual to the exercise of conscience and religion, while maintaining the constitutionally mandated separation of government and religion. We believe that federal, state, and local governments must remain neutral regarding religion.
We call for:
a. Ending discriminatory federal, state, and local laws against particular religious beliefs, and non-belief. The U.S. Constitution states that there shall be no religious test for public office. This requirement should apply to oaths (or affirmations) for holding public office at any level, employment at all government levels, oaths for witnesses in courts, oaths for jury membership, and the oath for citizenship.
b. Prosecution of hate crimes based on religious affiliation or practice.
c. Elimination of displays of religious symbols, monuments, or statements on government buildings, property, websites, money, or documents.
d. Restoration of the Pledge of Allegiance to its pre-1954 version, eliminating the politically motivated addition of “under God.”
e. Ending faith-based initiatives and charitable choice programs, whereby public funds are used to support religious organizations that do not adhere to specified guidelines and standards, including anti-discrimination laws.
f. Ending school vouchers whereby public money pays for students in religious schools.
g. Ending governmental use of the doctrines of specific religions to define the nature of family, marriage, and the type and character of personal relationships between consenting adults.
h. Ending religiously-based curricula in government-funded public schools.
i. Ending the use of religion as a justification to deny children necessary medical care or subject them to physical and emotional abuse.
j. Ending the use of religion by government to define the role and rights of women in our society.
k. Revocation of the Congressional charter of the Boy Scouts of America. Any private organization that practices bigotry against certain religious beliefs and classes of people should not have a Congressional endorsement or access to public property and funds.
TEXT OF WAR ON TERRORISM (CHAPTER 2 SOCIAL JUSTICE)
The so-called war on terrorism must not become an assault on the civil liberties that are enshrined in our Constitution. The price of freedom is not the loss of liberty. Constitutionally protected rights – fought for by American patriots – are rights the Green Party patriotically holds in the highest regard. Greens demand that the Justice Department cease and desist its wholesale rollback of constitutional protections and its daily dismantling of legal safeguards.
The use of Homeland Defense monies to spy on citizens exercising First Amendment rights is particularly onerous, as are “sneak and peek” provisions of the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act that allows surveillance of libraries, readers, the Internet, and computer users. Basic rights ensuring individual privacy are under attack. The U.S. government’s use of high tech tools, including intrusive monitoring, data mining and analysis to identify and disrupt citizen activists, should be seen as an attack on fundamental rights of an engaged, active citizenry.
The Green Party calls on Congress and the courts to reign in constitutional and civil liberties abuses that have become prevalent in the Bush administration and the John Ashcroft Justice Department.