The Green Party has long stood in solidarity with the struggle for justice and liberation in Palestine. While the arrest of 2024 Green Party Presidential contender Jill Stein has been national news, Greens across the country (including in Illinois) have been joining rallies, marches, teach-ins, and encampments calling for an immediate ceasefire and the end of the current assault on Gaza, which has killed tens of thousands.

On April 27, 2024, 2024, Dr. Jill Stein, who is running for the Green Party US nomination for president, was arrested with others, including members of her campaign staff, at the Gaza Solidarity encampment at Washington University in Missouri, where an encampment had been set up calling on the university to divest from defense contractor Boeing. Dr. Stein was in Missouri to collect ballot access petitions in order to be on the ballot in November and went to the encampment after being invited by the students involved. As with elsewhere in the country, police violently broke up the peaceful demonstration and arrested protestors. In a Green Party US press release following Dr. Stein’s arrest, Gloria Mattera, co-chair of the Media Committee of the Green Party, said, “The Green Party is appalled at the level of brutality that campus administrators and local police have employed in breaking up peaceful protests by students exercising their First Amendment Rights to protest what they view as genocide by Israel in Gaza. We see yet again that free speech rights are perfectly okay in America, until someone advocates a position that runs afoul of the agenda of the two parties of war and Wall Street. When that happens, the state will respond with illegal violence and unconstitutional repression, and candidates for rival parties will not be spared.”

Chibu Asonye, Green for IL-13, at the UIUC Encampment.

Earlier in the day, Jill and her team were joined by Chibu Asonye, a Green candidate for Congress in Illinois’ 13th District, a narrow strip that runs from the Illinois side of the Mississippi River across from St. Louis, then NNE to Springfield, before turning East and connecting to Decatur and Champaign. While Chibu was across the River joining Jill at the Washington University encampment, she has also supported her own local encampment at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Chibu, who is in the middle of a petition drive of her own to get on the November ballot, said “I stand in full solidarity with University of Illinois students, faculty, staff, and community members who have demonstrated and engaged in civil disobedience seeking justice, peace, and the divestment of their dollars from supporting the war on Gaza. This is a war on humanity.”

Meanwhile across the state, from Chicago to Central Illinois to Carbondale, Greens have been in the streets supporting calls for an immediate ceasefire. That members of a party of activists have been out in support of a struggle for justice and liberation should come as no surprise, especially as the Green Party, has long supported the Palestinian cause. The Green Party US platform on Palestine states, “The U.S. Greens recognize and reaffirm the right of self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis, and their right to live in a single undivided secular and democratic state where all residents have full and equal rights, and freedoms.” Beyond support for a free and democratic region, the Green Party US has long called for an end to US military aid to Israel. “Support for the democratic rights to self determination and a life free from oppression and abuse are fundamental to Green values,” said Chris Blankenhorn, Illinois Green Party Secretary and former Green Party of the United States Co-Chair (2016-2018). “From Peace and Social Justice to Democracy and Ecology, justice and liberation for the Palestinian people, who have suffered under decades of occupation and oppression, is an issue where the Green Party’s position of solidarity and support, through words and action, is unique in the US electoral system. While mainstream politicians rush to support more death and destruction, Greens and Green candidates are hitting the street, calling for peace, and offering an alternative to voters.”

ILGP Treasurer Jim Madigan being arrested at a March 8, 2024 peace vigil at Federal Plaza in Chicago.

Dr. Stein is just the most high profile Green to be arrested for their involvement in peaceful protests calling for peace, but before Dr. Stein’s arrest thrust Green involvement in the ceasefire movement into the headlines, Illinois Green Party Treasurer Jim Madigan was arrested at a peace vigil outside the Federal Building on March 8, 2024. The March 8 Federal Building protest, organized by Muslim and Jewish groups including Jewish Voice for Peace, saw protesters engage in a 24-hour vigil in Federal Plaza that included reading the names of the more than 30,000 Palestinians who (at the time) had been killed in the recent Israeli assault on Gaza. At the conclusion of the vigil, protestors blocked traffic in the downtown area and 33 people were eventually arrested on charges of obstructing traffic.

Like on many issues where the mainstream parties are failing us, the Green Party is the imperative when it comes to standing for peace and human rights in Palestine, and broadly. While the Democratic and Republican parties both largely remain staunchly in support of not only Israel’s current assault on Gaza, following Hamas’ attack last October, but of decades of occupation, apartheid, and genocide carried out against the Palestinian people. The Green Party exists to offer an alternative narrative, policies. Even when we don’t win, our existence broadens the scope of debate and ensures a voice for those who oppose the bipartisan misleadership of the major parties. In a time when US-armed and backed war crimes fill the daily headlines, the Green Party’s role as an opposition voice and choice is even more essential. If you want to make sure that a pro-peace option is on your ballot in 2024, we need your help in our 2024 Ballot Access Drive, as we fight against anti-democratic repression that forces us to collect many times the signatures as the major parties, just to appear on the ballot. Learn more about our 2024 Ballot Access Drive and get involved in the fight for peace in Palestine and an alternative political voice at home!