Award winning documentary “After Innocence”

By Tha Truth, political rapper and New Jersey Green

As politically educated activists, we have no doubt seen many informative documentaries. Personally, I have seen countless well-done documentary films and many have added to my knowledge and evolution. However, the documentary After Innocence, directed by Jessica Sanders, is beyond compelling; this film is one of the most important films ever made.

After Innocence takes us inside a place many individuals would rather not think about. While many tend to ignore the conditions inside the U.S. prison system and tend to think the worst of incarcerated men and women, this film provides the opportunity to get to know those who have been locked away for decades. It is easier for many to ignore unpleasant topics such as this, yet often they are the most worthy of our attention and actions.

From meeting several ex-convicts in the film, we learn about their treatment on the inside and how the system operated in their resulting prison time. The shocking element of the film is—all of these men were released after serving years, because they were innocent (as proved in court years, often decades, later). Then, after being released, these wrongfully convicted individuals must deal with problems such as having to pay thousands of dollars to have their criminal records expunged, not being compensated financially for their suffering, trying to find a job with a criminal record, and living with the traumatic memories of isolation and inhumane treatment inside the prison walls.

It is beyond critical that Greens and any compassionate, politically educated individuals see this film and encourage others to see it. We often speak of the problems of the U.S. legal system, but this film provides irrefutable evidence of the drastic need to completely revolutionize U.S. law enforcement. The film examines the inhumane treatment of prisoners, the role of money and greed in the lawyer/courtroom process, and so much more. Fortunately those who made the movie are organized and active in helping to change the system. After seeing After Innocence viewers will no doubt be inspired to play a part in this crucial struggle. Far from being depressing, the film offers ways to get involved and portrays many courageous activists who are making a serious difference.

I have also written a song for my next political rap album called “The Injustice System,” which incorporates many of the film’s issues and themes. The song features lyrics such as “The movie After Innocence/After you witness it/You see the significance/of changing the whole system it’s/ The real Shawshank Redemption/ That needs attention,” and “Daryl Hunt was innocent/but served 20 years in prison/His innocence was presented/with DNA evidence.” The song’s purpose is to infuse themes from the film (in addition to my own research) to bring attention to the prison industrial complex, outrageous drug war, and lack of humane treatment in so called corrections. Additionally, the purpose of the song and my CDs is to quickly educate those who are not prone to watching documentaries like After Innocence or reading informative books.

For information on the film go to:
For info about Tha Truth’s music:
To contact Tha Truth by email: Shows Green Is A Way Of Life
By Pat LaMarche, Maine Green Independent Party

greenchange-logo-200.gifAs Marnie Glickman, executive director of Green Change puts it, “We are finding new ways to have fun being Green, be creative being Green, and providing a place for others with values that are Green.” Green Change is a new organization and cyber meeting place for folks all across the country that share Green values. The address is

People with Green values want to make a difference, but can’t always volunteer for the party or candidate campaigns; Green Change is an alternative. Glickman, a former co-chair of the Green Party of the United States, is a new mom. She said, “When my daughter is older, I will run for office. Until then, I want to help encourage people with Green values to act on them.” Glickman believes that political action is generated not just in political campaigns or party activities but also in “Green poetry, music, writing, parenting, business, humanitarian efforts and even Green recipes.”

Green Change builds a more vibrant Green culture that will fuel the Green political movement. It’s not that a person only writes Green poetry; it’s thank goodness for Green poetry. It’s not that a person only has an organic farm; it”s thank goodness for organic farming. It”s not that an employer pays a living wage and provides heath benefits; it’s thank goodness for living wages and health benefits. And it’s not just that a person runs for office as a Green; it’s thank goodness for green candidates.

Although hundreds of thousands of people live essentially a Green culture, many are disconnected from the rest of the Green community. If the connection can be made between these individuals and their communities, growth will occur exponentially.

Sam Smith, political writer and a Green Change board member, explained the desired mingling of politics with lifestyle. “People only get involved in politics in large numbers when it becomes more than politics, when it is more than a logical, thoughtful and well constructed process, when it is more even than a ideology. They get involved when politics becomes a normal, convivial, exciting and satisfying part of their social existence.”

Green Change is not just a “meeting of the minds” for Green Party members, but also is meant to encourage new people to join. According to, an online think tank that measures global Internet usage, approximately 152 million Americans use the Internet regularly. That is 152 million potentially like-minded souls who can be included and feel like participation in the Green cultural movement is doable.

Glickman believes a pervasive need exists, especially disenfranchised or disconnected folks, to have a cultural resting, reconnection and recuperation place for all aspects of their Green identity. Green Change endeavors to meet that need.

Green Change needs participation. Glickman is asking for “your poetry, your cartoons, your photographs, your fiction and your non-fiction. We need your music, your ballads and your protest songs. We need stories about your actions, your candidates, stories about folks in your area making a difference. We need your tales of Green culture, about anyone and everyone who does Green things, whether they call them that or not.” Glickman adds chuckling, “Oh, yeah, and we need your recipes.”

Most importantly, Green Change is a political organization that believes “all politics is local. With the Internet we are all next-door neighbors and with Green Change we never need to feel alone in our beliefs and cultural identity again.” Or as Sam Smith puts it, “we need each other, we need sources of courage, and we need the music and the art to carry use through until the laws and policies make sense.”


Marnie Glickman with her daughter Calliope Ruskin, is one of the founders of Green Change. 

A book review getting to the roots
By Rhoda Gilman, Green Party of Minnesota

how-green-is-the-200px.jpgRick Whaley reflects on the Green Party’s past and the direction it has taken in a slim volume of collected essays, poetry, and artwork How Green Is The Green Party? Stories From The Margins, Beech River Books, 2007. The author, a long-time Milwaukee Green, identifies himself on the cover as “a Green founder.”

Whaley is best known for his work with the late Walt Bressette on the award-winning book Walleye Warriors (1994), an account of the struggle over Native Ameri can hunting and fishing rights in Wis con sin from l983 to 1992. Those were precisely the years in which the Green movement was taking shape throughout the country and especially in the Upper Midwest. Whaley’s orientation reflects this. It can best be summed up in a few quotations:

“If we don’t reach beyond narrow proletarian ideology and outdated rhetoric, Greens will only be the Left talking to the Left.”

“Green politics without Green living is soulless.”

“Native American spirituality, politics, and practice … are the germinating core of the Greens, in simple and profound ways.”

“Cities, no matter the form of government in a country, exist in a colonial relationship to rural areas, especially small farms and Native reserves and to wilderness (mineral, energy, water, and timber resources).”

My own history with the Greens in this region goes back as far as Rick Whaley’s. His words recall vivid memories of roots in alternative lifestyles and the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Biore gionalism, home schooling, ap propriate (read “Luddite”) technology, and intentional community were the watchwords of the day. For Whaley most of them still are. In his view the key Green Party value is decentralization.

It was a rich cultural seedbed, and today’s political Greens would do well to remember. We may need to re-learn some of its lessons. Ecologists then were already prophesying the current crises of global warming and peak oil, but almost no one was listening. Without access to mass media, politics seemed the only way to draw the country’s attention, so bioregional networks like the Lake Superior Greens, organized by Walt Bressette, were gradually turned into state political parties.

The change did not come without pain and conflict—but it came. A national association of Green Parties (now the Green Party of the United States) was formed, and in 1996 the Greens nominated Ralph Nader as their first presidential candidate. The Native American influence that Whaley cites was still there, however. Nader’s running mate, Winona La Duke, is an Anishi nabe woman who had joined Bresette in proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ensure the environmental rights of our descendants to the seventh generation.

Working within the electoral system not only required organization by electoral units, but also operation on political lines. Greens had to address current issues along with ideological principles and visionary hopes. Alliances had to be made and candidates cultivated. They had to convince voters that Greens were up to managing the business of government for everyone, not only for the counter-culture.

The wave of national politics crested with Nader’s campaign in 2000, which brought to the Green Party a new generation of young activists. Despite the retreating tide in the next years, the party continues to gain a beachhead in city councils, county commissions, and school boards across the country.

Greens have also become active in reclaiming city neighborhoods and in suburbs opposing developer-inspired sprawl. Decentralism has come full circle, but it now has a wholly different flavor from the lifestyle movement that Whaley recalls. Compact fluorescent bulbs have replaced getting off the power grid.

Political decentralism still, however, confronts what Whaley sees as a persistent red tinge in the Green Party. He implicitly accepts it when he concludes: “My counsel is that independent Greens should work with those candidates and activists who reciprocate respect on issues of concern and on community building. A sunflower can grow almost anywhere. But it still has to follow the sun.”