Muslim Press has conducted an interview with Mary DeCamp to discuss the Occupy movement, the upcoming U.S. presidential election and the role that the Green Party could play in it.
Below the full text of the interview has been provided:
Muslim Press: What role did you play in the Occupy movement?
Mary DeCamp: Occupy Tucson is a non-hierarchical group of people who continue to come together weekly to discuss ways to challenge the status quo in politics, economics, environmental policy, and social justice. The role(s) I “did play” and “still do play” are simultaneously similar and different.
I speak only for myself – Occupy Tucson has not authorized any single individual to serve as spokesperson for the movement.
In 2011, when we were living in tents in public spaces, I was also running for Mayor of Tucson on the Green Party ticket. I conducted my campaign from my campsite. Because I was a candidate, and Occupy was careful not to align with any political party, the roles I took with Occupy tended to be care-taking and maintenance jobs that could be accomplished in the background rather than in front of media cameras.
I thought of myself and my role as oil in the machine – making things happen more smoothly. I helped maintain hygienic conditions in camp and I tended to emotional care-giving with the help of my pet dog. I pitched in when & where I could to help lighten the load of others.
Currently, I staff our office and continue to attend meetings and share information with other members. I believe we are living at the end of empire; we must investigate ways to transition from a rapacious consumer capitalist caterpillar into a butterfly that lives lightly and engages reciprocally with our host planet.
My efforts with Occupy are freely given. I do not receive any monetary compensation.
MP: Could you tell us about the job you’re doing at Code Pink?
Mary DeCamp: There is no “job” with Code Pink. This is another organization where I can only speak for myself and not for anyone else. I am drawn to the non-violent approach this group adopts and to Code Pink’s commitment to demilitarize our planet.
It is important to me because I believe the planet is in peril. I believe that climate change and environmental degradation create intense weather patterns and biological hazards that threaten human existence. I believe we need love and peace and cooperation and compassion to confront the future we face. Empathy, not weapons, will yield peace.
MP: What are the major problems that you think need immediate attention?
Mary DeCamp: Demilitarization – we must stop using violence to achieve our goals.
Climate change – we must work together to ensure an inhabitable planet.
Unfair distribution of resources – we must alter economic systems that allow obscene opulence for a few and deprivation for so many.
Absence of empathy – we must know one another as parts of ourselves.
MP: What’s your analysis of the upcoming U.S. presidential election and the role that the Green Party could play in it?
Mary DeCamp: I believe that Hillary Clinton will be our next president, using all sorts of political levers to return her to the White House. I am frustrated that Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein receives so little acknowledgment in the presidential race, because I believe she has the best platform to offer. I believe that all the disaffected young voters whose hearts were broken when Bernie Sanders was muscled out of the Democratic primary race could flood the system and help elect Dr. Stein, but I don’t think it will happen. I believe that Mrs. Clinton’s forces will mobilize to ensure her victory.
Following the election, progressive voters will pat themselves on the back for electing a woman and they will be reluctant to force greater change, much the way they were when America elected the first African American president. The Green Party will still be there, pointing out better alternatives and pushing for changes.
MP: Do you endorse Green Party candidate? What’s your take on her impact on the election?
Mary DeCamp: Yes, I definitely endorse Dr. Jill Stein to be president. And I endorse our local Green Party candidates as well.
Dr. Stein’s impact on the election is unfortunately minor. Most people are too frightened by the prospect of Donald Trump as president to vote for anyone other than Hillary.
I am proud to be a Green Party member this election cycle. Our presidential candidate is intelligent, civil, ethical, healthy, and female. It is a shame that she is not included in the televised debates. It is inexplicable and indefensible why American media ignore the Green Party platform of putting planet, people, and peace over profit.
MP: What could be done about the discrimination that Muslims face in the United States? (Does the Green Party have plans for this?)
Mary DeCamp: I believe that discrimination is overcome when human ties are formed. Famous sociologist Muzafer Sherif’s “Robbers’ Cave study” found that artificially assigning “us” and “them” categorizations to children was sufficient to incite hostility and competition. If we take a step back and recognize one another as “just us” we will see change.
We can accomplish this by providing safe public spaces and activities that transform strangers into neighbors. We need human interaction, a sharing of basic common concerns, and avenues to cooperate with one another.
The Green Party has 10 Key Values that inform our public policy proposals. One of them is “respect for diversity” and another is “future focus.” My personal favorite is “nonviolence.
Mary DeCamp was born and raised in a small farming community in Nebraska. She has degrees from the University of Arizona (BA & MA), but dropped out of the PhD program in 2011, after losing her home in America's mortgage foreclosure crisis. She's been a Tucson Green Party candidate for City Council (2009) and for Mayor (2011). She walked across the country in 2014 with the Great March for Climate Action. Mary now devotes her time to advocating for peace and social justice.