The Mountain Party Platform
The West Virginia Mountain Party seeks to implement policies that will ensure West Virginia prosperity for at least seven generations. Our activities are based on the assumption that a worthwhile West Virginia future depends on sound democratic processes, economic fairness, corporate accountability and on improving our infrastructure and environmental health.
• GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY – We are working to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We also work to create new types of political organizations which expand participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.
• SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY – We strive to consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and dis-ability, all of which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
• ECOLOGICAL WISDOM – Because we are part of, not separate from, nature, we must live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and planet so that future generations will benefit–not suffer from–the practices of our generation. To this end, we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.
• NON-VIOLENCE – Believing it is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current use of violence we are working to demilitarize, and to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. Promoting non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, we will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community, and global peace.
THE MOUNTAIN PARTY SEEKS:
1. Protection of our air, water and land by promoting policies which encourage environmentally sound energy, agricultural and economic development; a halt to mountaintop removal coal mining in order to preserve precious forests and water supplies; timber regulation that reduces flooding, erosion and wildfires by eliminating clear-cutting and the destruction of old growth forests; full enforcement of current environmental protection laws, including the effective prohibition of toxic waste dumping, and the phasing out of ecologically destructive energy production while promoting renewable sources; Protection of the environment from the harm caused, or potentially caused, by exemptions from environmental protection regulations, through the lawful establishment of the plenary right for county commissions and municipal boards to individually draft, pass and require enforcement of, ordinances protecting all individuals from hazards and/or nuisances either caused, or which may potentially be caused, by corporations and individuals holding state permits under such regulatory exemption schemes, either directly or indirectly; A ban on horizontal hydrofracking to protect the health, safety and well-being of all.
2. Promotion of political justice through election law reform including: an independent, nonpartisan election commission; full public financing of elections; free media air time and access to debates by all qualified candidates; accurate and verifiable voter rolls; enhanced voter access, and same day registration; verifiable paper trail ballots; instant runoff, and other progressive voting systems.
3. Progress toward corporate accountability through enforcing laws governing corporate crime and violence; holding executives directly liable for harm resulting from their decisions; requiring corporations to pay their fair share of taxes and be responsible neighbors; and challenging corporate person-hood.
4. Promotion of economic justice through small and community-based business organizations and activities; a living wage for all West Virginia workers; and the freedom to form unions and engage in collective bargaining.
5. Promotion of appropriate educational opportunities including small, community -based public schools with enforced time limits on busing; a realignment of state budgetary priorities to ensure that all citizens attain an educational level that will allow democracy to flourish; and provision of a civic education that encourages active participation in the democratic process that goes beyond voting.
6. Promotion of healthy lifestyles in order to decrease medical expenditures for preventable disease along with enactment of universal health care including medical, dental and prescription benefits as a right; promotion of patients’ rights and strictly enforcing rules that ensure West Virginia’s environment is protective of health.
7. Promotion of true democratic principles in government through dismantlement of oppressive political machines and replacement with politics based on citizen’s direction; reversing the privatization of government; proportional representation in the state legislature; and transparency and sunshine laws for all government functions.
8. Promotion of a progressive tax code including elimination of the sales tax on clothing and food; tax relief for small businesses and elimination of corporate welfare; and fair assessments of mineral and other natural resource holdings.
9. Mandating citizen referendums on any gambling initiatives in the state.
10. Promotion of Fair Trade, not Free Trade through opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Free Trade Area of the Americas Treaty (FTAA), World Trade Organization treaties (WTO), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and any future global trade treaties that threaten to override state and US sovereign laws with the use of secret tribunals.
*The 2016 Platform also includes the following Planks, which were ratified at this year’s convention. However, they have not been refined by their primary movants for the purpose of smooth incorporation into the body of the Official Platform.
2016 SOCIAL JUSTICE PLANKS:
The Mountain Party endorses full equality rights for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) individuals. Full equality extends protections for LGBTQ individuals: against discrimination in the workplace, public accommodations, and housing; in adoption rights; protections from hate crimes; and for putting an end to school bullying.
ADDRESSING INCOME INEQUALITY AND LACK OF OPPORTUNITY:
In response to the rampant poverty and lack of opportunity we face in West Virginia, we seek:
A raise in, and the removal of exemptions for, the severance tax on all fossil fuels extracted, as well as on all natural gas traveling through pipelines in the state; an immediate $15 minimum wage pegged to the consumer price index; a public bank to fund public works projects, infrastructure improvements, and sustainable, cooperative industry, in order to put West Virginians back to work; a Universal Basic Income for all those unable to find a job or who face disability.
ADDRESSING EDUCATION IN WEST VIRGINIA:
Recognizing the “brain drain” and the strained, underfunded education system in West Virginia, we call for:
Full and complete funding of public education, from pre-school through post-secondary education; recognition of both university and trades-based education as integral to our state’s future; the democratization and control of our state’s schools by the teachers that work them, through empowering rank-and file members of teachers’ unions; and a limit to all classroom sizes.
2016 ECONOMIC JUSTICE PLANKS
THE MOUNTAIN PARTY OF WEST VIRGINIA condemns the repeal of Prevailing Wage regulations in West Virginia, and urges reenactment of this legislation by the 83rd or subsequent WV legislatures.
THE MOUNTAIN PARTY OF WEST VIRGINIA condemns the enactment of the 82nd WV Senate Bill 1, THE WORKPLACE FREEDOM ACT, and demands the repeal of this legislation by the 83rd or subsequent WV legislatures. We further endorse efforts to reform NLRB regulations to allow “card check’ voting in union representation elections under NLRB regulations.
THE MOUNTAIN PARTY OF WEST VIRGINIA calls for meaningful collective bargaining by public employees for wages, benefits and working conditions which affect them.
Further, THE MOUNTAIN PARTY OF WEST VIRGINIA affirms the rights of public employees in West Virginia to engage in peaceful job actions, including peaceful strikes and labor interruptions.