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Human Rights Party

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The Human Rights Party of Ann Arbor is an independent third political party. It is organized on the principie that the Democratie and Republican parties are servants of the existing social order and they are not legitímate vehicles for serious social and economie changes. HRP of Ann Arbor, originally the radicalIndependent Party, was founded in December ber, 1970, and ran candidates in the April elections last year. Restrictive election laws kept these candidates off the ballot and deprived the party of a real chance to test its strength. A write-in campaign was waged, however, and succeeded in raising people's awareness that a serious effort was goingon to change the city. In June the party ran Bob Hefner in the pon-partisan School Board election. He got about 1 1% of the city-wide vote and picked up support in every ward. In July the party helped in the strike against Buhr Machine Tool Company and supported the Ann Arbor's teacher's strike. Through such actions the party is beginning to make alliances with other progressive forces in the community and to expand its activities outside of electoral politics. During that summer the party decided to affiliate with the Human Hignts Party of Michigan, which was organized with the same intent as the local party. The affiliation represented the desire to expand and join with other radical efforts. In a long struggle to get on the ballot, HRP collected 21,000 signatures on petitions and was finally granted mallot statue The coming election will be the first election with HRP on the ballot and it will be a test of the influence of new voters on electoral politics. In contrast to the Republicans and Democrats, HRP makes all its major decisions at open meetings and anyone who attends can particípate. The day-to-day functions of the party are coordinated by an elected steering committee whose decisions are reviewed by the membership at open meetings. HRP has a women's caucus which has helped the party begin to develop as an organization where women share equally in the leadership and political functions of the group. HRP has nominated candidates for City Council and has adopted a platform stating its position on major issues which follows: The Human Rights Party of Ann Arbor seeks a society in which all people are able to grow fully, free from discrimination and oppression, and in which everyone shares equitably in the wealth of the country and the decisions which affect their lives. The party is a vehicle for bringing radical ideas before the people. It can spark the debate necessary to show the possibility and desirability of a new order. Radical change must be sought on many fronts. We work in electoral politics because it is an important political arena of most Americans. We seek to build a party with a strong loca base before applying our energies to a national effort. We are beginning in Ann Arbor, where we live, but in the long run radical change here must be coupled with a nationwide transformation. Therefore we have affiliated with theHuman Rights Party of Michigan and will seek eventually to join with similar efforts elsewhere. The Democrats and Republicans cannot créate real change because they represent the interests of business and the rich. In Ann Arbor they have placed a low priority on attacking sexism and racism and on providing adequate city services. They have stead given highest budegetary priority to the pólice. As'both the city and the University have grown, the pressure has driven rents sky-high and forced low to middle income people out of the city. And the established parties have excluded students and the poor from participaron in government. The two parties have differed in style and rhetoric, but little in substance. The Human Rights Party does differ. Human needs should be the highest priority of government. City resources should go toward providing housing, healthcare, child care education, transportation, food, and clothing, which are the rights of all people regardless of income. Community control is necessary to give power over these services to the people who need them. City programs should be financed through a highly progressive tax structure. Many of our proposals, however, are mpossible without massive changes in American society. Capitalism and the accompanying political systems have denied economie and political power to the vast majority of people. To maintain its position those in power oppress people throughout the world by means of war, sexism, racism, and exploiI tation of wage labor. The oppressed are expected to be content with tokens and '■ bits but have little share in the real wealth and little power to end their oppression. America should guarantee the humar right to a living income, the human right to choose productive work, and the jiuman right to be free of undemocratic political control. Such rights, however, cannot be guaranteed under our present economie and political conditions. They will only be possible as we move closer to a truly democratie socialist system. While recognizing that the attainment of such a system is a long and ' arduous process, we hope that the Human Rights Party will play a part in bringing that goal closer to reality. COMMUNICATIONS - Mass participaron is essential to achieve real community control, and cable televisión can be a revolutionary tool to make it possible. Ann Arbor's cable TV ordinance should provide for more steeply graduated fees with low-income people receiving service free and for more participation by minority groups on on the Cable TV Commission. The University should provide technical assistance in exchan change for a channel which would be run by a board including students, faculty, and other other employees. - In general the media should be controlled neither by business, through advertising, nor by the government. Ultimately, freedom of the press can only be guaranteed by a blind, automatic government subsida and a wide diYersity of news vehicles. FOREIGN PQLICY - U.S. foreign policy and nvestments are major obstacles to freedom and self-determination for many people and nations throughout the world. Our government, n :onjunction with multi-national corporations ;erves the interest of the rich and aowerful against the great masses of people 3y supporting dictatorships on every contin?nt. In keeping with a broad reversal of for;ign policy, the U.S. should withdraw from Vietnam completely and immediately and 3ay war reparations to help rebuild that :ountry. - Planks on community planning and jrowth, the elderly, and recreation, are orthcoming. EDUCATION ■ ' - The public schools of Michigan are ble o trati but r and ii ;i cial nr and ii mocie SU to pri right íons v . - Ce j throu ents, - Th steepl zed c CHIL - Ar work, a sma is mo peopl spons seek ! more tem c city. i thec all pa THE - Ev todig decisü Liben its figl forts 1 - TtJ andc to all ' examples of mis-education. They perpe:e the myth of an open and free society n practice are nstruments of class, racial I sexual oppression. Fhey oppress working class people and rarninorities through the tracking system Iteach distorted and narrowly sexist role deis. Students must be guaranteed basic rights wivacy, dignity, due process, and the it to have a democratie voice in the deciss which affect their lives. Dommunity control of the schools jugh boards composed of students, pari, and staff is essential. Fhe schools should be financed through a iply graduated personal income tax equal1 on a state-wide basis. ILD CARE round half of the mothers in Ann Arbor 'k, yet there are day care spaces for only Hall fraction of their children. Child care ïore than just a women's demand, it is a ple's demand because all of society is rensible for its children. The city should c subsidies for child care and should use re of its own funds for setting up a sysi of child care centers spread out in the I Employers should shoulder much of cost. Parents, staff, and children should Jarticipate in running the centers. E YOUNG :very person, regardless of age, has a right lignity and respect and to participaron in sions affecting their lives. The Youth :ration movement should be supported in ight against age chauvinism and in its efs to organize and politicize the young. he age of majority should be lowered constitutional rights should be extended I young people. Laws holding parents sponsible for the actions of their children should be abolished. THE LEGAL SYSTEM - - - - - The present legal-judicial system n Washtenaw County reflects a system of drastically mistaken priorities that tie up pólice in enforcing laws against individual behavior such as gambling, prostitution, abortion, vagrancy, public intoxication and other drug use and homosexuality. These laws must be repealed. - The County Jail is neither humane nor rehabilitative and it contains a population which which is primarily poor, young, or black. - Our society must face its responsibility to cure the social inequities which are the real source of most crime - Defendants accused of non-violent crimes should be freed without bail, and bondsmen must be replaced by a community bail fund with bonds set in relation to a defendants ability to pay. - The pólice department must be completely supervised by a community control board. - Prisons should be replaced by rehabilitatior tion centers designed to aid the reintergration of convicted crimináis into the society. - Present drug laws stimulate both organized crime and street crime, keep addicts from getting help, and send people to prison for using harmless drugs or at worst hurting only themselves. All use and possession laws must be repealed. - Until that is possible, Ann Arbor should adopt ordinances with minimal penalties and order the pólice to use these ordinances instead of stricter state laws. - The city should fund treatment and maintenance programs for addicts. Honest drug education programs should be instituted in the schools. ECONOMICS - The American economie system concentrates the wealth and power in a wealthy minority of the. population. The tax system does little to correct this inequity, indeed it may exacérbate t. - All legal and economie bars to the right of working people to organize labor unions must must be eliminated (this includes so-called "public employees"). The right to strike at any time must not be abridged. - Workers must be guaranteed safe and healthy job environments and protected against lay-offs, compulsory overtime, continual speed-ups and the general dehumanization of working conditions. TAX ATION - Progressive taxation is essential to help reduce the extreme inequality of income distribution and to pay for badly needed city services. The proposed flat-rate income tax with its windfall for landlords is no more progressive than the present tax system. The city should work for a steeply graduated income t tax with high personal exemptions and an end to the property tax. SEXISM - - " - - Sexual preference and sexual activity are matters of personal choice and no form of sexual expression should be discouraged or suppressed so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of any person. - All basic human rights must be guaranteed to all citizens regardless of sex or sexual preferences. - All laws against homosexuality, prostitution, etc, must be repealed. - Individual, parental, legal, and property rights should not be denied because of marital status. Immediate divorce should be granted to consenting married people. - Discrimination against single people in tax laws, housing, jobs and credit must end. - All pornography and obscenity laws must be repealed. - Birth control nformation and the services of qualified gynecologists should be provided through community-controlled health clinics. - Anti-abortion laws should be repealed and abortions provided free and on demand. RACISM - - - - - - - - All minority groups must have the right to self-determination and community control. - The City's Human Relations Department should have expanded power and a larger budget so it can investígate and combat discrimination in all areas of city life. - Courses on minority cultures should be offered in the schools. The University must comply with its obligations to native American Indians under the Fort Meios Treaty and to black students under the BAM settlement. - Community control of the pólice department is necessary to end pólice racism, which the cityadministrationand pólice chief have done virtually nothing to stop. MODEL CITIES - - - - - - - The Model Cities Program is designed to pacify minorities and poor people and to undercut their efforts to develop united communities. It suffers not only from inadequate funding and unkept promises but also from the refusal of the city government to grant any real power to the people in the Model Cities area over decisions which affect their lives, such as the Packard-Beakes project, which will run a highway right through the black community. An effective and representative program of communitv control is needed much more than gestures like the Model Cities Program. J