Here is a short email interview with Green Party candidate for Albany County Executive Dan Plaat:
1) How old are you?
1. 26: I'll be 27 by Election Day
2) Why should someone vote for you, what do you offer that the two Democrats (McCoy and Egan) don’t?
I believe I offer a real vision which we can work toward gradually. This vision is Left of Egan and more libertarian that of the Republican. Thus I can be a choice for those that are tried of both parties, as well as voting for specific personalities.
I consider Democrats at all levels as moderates, they play it safe, they become office holders to improve things for a few people at a time or not working for transformational change at all, even when they want it, they whine about the rules as if they came from the heavens.
3) Both those guys are falling over each other claiming to be more “progressive” than the other. What do you think of their progressivism, and for that matter what do you think of the notion of progressivism as they are using the word?
I suppose the first question to ask them is what are we progressing to, and how it is they suppose we will get there. They can have and speak of their progressive values, but their practice is stepped in the status quo of keeping things roughly as they are.
McCoy sends letters to the Secretary of transportation on oil trains; One of Egan's specific policies I've found is that of getting all available people on food stamps. Where is the risk, the leadership?
We need to ask how their tactics and goals actually move us forward. I will argue that they don't.
(2 here pick answer that fits)
This applies if progressive is the mode of thinking that tomorrow will or should be different than today. Progressivism be a specific area on the political spectrum which is left of center, in that case I will compare the political spectrum to a desert. If your in the center or close to it, all you can see is desert, you can be adapted to working and living there, but it is usually all you know. If you are on the edge of the desert like me, you can see and interact with the desert, but you can also see beyond it, with its different ways, risks and rewards.
I think we can not do anywhere truly new or different without moving away from the center to the edges, regardless of the direction.
4) Your chances of winning outright are slim. Do you think your campaign can have a positive affect on the political culture of Albany County, or at the very least this particular race?
Every conversation is effected my the number of and diversity of voices in it, so of course having a left libertarian voice like me will be positive. I can educate others of at least one more perspective that many not have heard before.
Aside from that, our county is dominated by one party which works to limit 3rd parties as if we were an autocratic state. Between both main parties there are many scared cows and unspoken assumptions about policy and society that grind on those that want substantive change like a headache. For many I can be like a does of aspirin, or an ice pack.
5) Do you see the Green Party playing a greater role in local politics? Will you continue to be part of the Green Party after the campaign?
To start, there needs to be a Left wing choice on the ballot in November. More than that they can be the voice and electoral vehicle for the many mass movements of our time (Occupy, Climate justice, Black lives matter, etc).
Many activists avoid elections and office holding because of the pitfalls that exist. Since many movements seem to fall into supporting the parties of the status quo wherein they are defang-ed and marginalized (you can see this happening in real time with Sanders). But I've learned these past 4 years that activism alone is still asking things of those in government when the goal is to govern ourselves.
In this way activism and independent parties like the Greens are two edges of the same sword. Personally; building a party of and for these movements might be the work I will stick with for the time being.
6. How do you feel about the efforts to reduce the size of the Legislature?
The debate on the size of the Legislature reminds me of the quip that it not the size of it but what you do with it. And the question on the exact number substitutes questions of money and geography for the better questions: How do we want to be represented; and how do they make decisions?
As a given, we could reduce the number a few, but less representation is still less. The goal for Greens is a deeper democracy moving beyond the very old way of operating that no longer serves us. We can move to proportional representation and other voting reforms which helps make it more representative of voters and residents regardless of the number of seats.
On the other hand if it is a matter of too many voices making one decision I can also agree and propose giving balanced committees of less than ten more autonomy and authority to make laws on their own by consensus or whatever means (In practice it works best with no more than ten people).
Less is more? Less is a bore. Yes is more!