Former Green Party presidential candidates Jill Stein and David Cobb gave a free talk at UCSB’s Multicultural Center last Tuesday. Though open to the public, the event drew mainly students. The discussion hinged on the future of America under President Trump, with the speakers calling for a wholesale restructuring of society.
Cobb began by stating, “I am a straight up revolutionary…we need to restructure our society because our current structure is literally destroying the planet.” He discussed how our capitalist system is not sustainable, that our Earth cannot replenish itself as fast as it is being exploited. He also said now is the time to commit to a Green Party platform of peace, democracy, and environmentalism if we don’t want to become fascist country. Cobb encouraged the crowd to get involved stating, “local people ought to be actually governing.”
Stein spoke next, calling herself a revolutionary as well. She talked about witnessing the collapse of the world that will be home to our grandchildren, discussing issues with the economy, environment, student debt, deportation, and police brutality within a political system that makes the problems worse, not better. Stein focused heavily on the realities of climate change and sea level rise, which she said will trigger floods of environmental refugees.
Stein was adamant about addressing the obstacles society has created for younger generations saddled with student debt and job scarcities. She stated that “we are basically out of time,” and that “nothing is the most dangerous thing we can do.” Stein closed by stressing the need for communities to come together with a unified vision for the future. “We have the power to create an America for the people, but we gotta organize together,” she said.
Stein and Cobb also took questions from the audience. They discussed how technology could be leveraged for a much more sustainable existence, that we could be “living in paradise,” as Cobb said. They talked about the hyper-partisanship of today’s politics, with Cobb stating that we are “living in a state of polarization that nobody has lived through.” He predicted the collapse of the Democratic Party and it being replaced by the Green Party, or something like it.
The audience was eager to discuss the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, with Stein declaring Sanders’s success as proof that American society is ready for radical change. He told the audience that most of the people who voted for Trump weren’t voting for him, but against the Democratic Party.
Stein and Cobb wrapped up the evening by reminding the audience of the power they hold, and the importance of working together. Stein encouraged everyone to hit the pavement, to educate and support organizations and individuals at the local level. The younger among us will be critical in this, she said. “This is our last chance to really do this, and to allow this generation to lead the way.”