Third Party & Independents Archives

Exclusive Interview With Green Party Congressional Candidate Michael Berg, Part One

I recently had the chance to speak with the Green Party’s at large Congressional candidate in Delaware, Michael Berg. What follows is the transcript of that conversation.

Rhodes: Mr. Berg, I recently read the online transcript that is linked from your website http://bergforcongress.us as Read a CNN interview and noticed that no where in the transcript is it mentioned that you are running a campaign for Congress in Delaware as a Green Party candidate; what are your thoughts about this being left out?

Berg: CNN is not the only one to leave things out, the local newspaper around here has run an article about people opposing the candidate that I am opposing and they too left me out. And when things like that happen it tells me that I must be doing something right because they must be pretty scared of me too not even be able to mention that I am running.

Rhodes: Recently voters in Humboldt County, California passed Measure T, an initiative which repeals the legal status of corporations as persons and drastically limits corporate power in politics. What are your thoughts on this occurrence, and if elected would you push a similar philosophy for Congress?

Berg: First of all yes I would. I think anything to limit the power of corporations is needed in this country. Right now I think that it’s not a democracy at all but instead it is a financial oligarchy, and the corporations are the ones with most of the money so they seem to me to be the ones that are running the country.

Rhodes: I would like to get into the 2004 Presidential election as it relates to progressives. In 2004 we saw a right wing incumbent president, a moderate right leaning Democrat in John Kerry, the Green Party’s presidential candidate David Cobb who worked under a safe states strategy, and an independent campaign run by Ralph Nader that appeared on far less ballots than in 2000 when running with the Green Party. What happened to progressives in this election?

Berg: Simply put they were kept out of politics. Your first question involving CNN leaving out the fact that I am running for Congress, well it will keep happening over and over again. In answer to that earlier question, the major newspaper in Delaware who was claiming to cover everyone running against Mike Castle they left me out, that is what happened to progressives. There are plenty of progressives out there who are working against a stacked deck. The people in power, the people in control are keeping us away and when we do get on the ballot they aren’t counting the ballots.

Rhodes: On October 23, 2001 the PATRIOT ACT was introduced into the House, a day later on October 24, 2001 the House voted on the PATRIOT ACT with an overwhelming vote of 357 to 66, the next day the Senate voted on the PATRIOT ACT with a result of 98 to 1, with Senator Russell Feingold being the sole dissenter and one Senator not voting, by the fourth day President Bush signed the bill into law. What are your thoughts on how this repressive piece of legislation passed so swiftly with virtually no dissent and what will you do about the PATRIOT ACT if elected?

Berg: I’ll answer the last part of your question first. I’ll repeal the PATRIOT Act or introduce legislation to do so. I will work to repeal the Patriot Act as soon as I get into Congress. I’ve already been a part of a large group of people in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania who have worked on a campaign last year to reform and repeal the Patriot Act. I should say that my son was collateral damage of the PATRIOT Act, because he was held without any of his due process rights. I think the Bush administration took the quick passage of the PATRIOT Act as a go ahead to do whatever they wanted to do.

Rhodes: Obviously education has always been a large part of your life. Earning a B.A. in English Literature and a teaching certificate in 1967 at Bucknell University and a master’s degree two years later at Temple. Going on to teach for a majority of your adult life, I would like you to comment on the effect education has had on you, your outlook on education, and any plans you have to help the state of education if elected to Congress?

Berg: Education has had a profound effect on not only me but on my family. My grandparents, all four of them, were immigrants, proud immigrants, and they had to teach themselves to read and write in English. Before moving here they lived in an area that is now called Ukraine but at the time it was called Russia where they were pretty much deprived of any education. They valued education.

With my parents in my father’s family out of seven only one graduated high school, and in my mother’s family only one, my mother, graduated high school. So my father was not a high school graduate, my mother was. And in my family my sister and I not only went to high school and college but went on to advanced degrees. My children all went to universities, and my daughter is a lawyer which really is the equivalent of a PhD. So we have made a passage from being immigrants without any education at all to having a piece of the American Dream. And to me that is the importance of education. It allows for every one in this country to make that journey. Education is the equalizer.

When I get elected that is another high priority of mine to repair the damage done by the Bush administration, which has raped all Americans of what is good for them, education. The Bush administration has pushed for private education, but private education cannot teach the most important thing which is how to get along with people who are different than you.

Rhodes: The 1998 drug provision to the Higher Education Act denies federal financial aid to people convicted of state or federal drug offenses. No such provision exists to deny financial aid to rapists or murderers. Since 2000, more than 180,000 students have been denied federal financial aid due to this provision. What do you think about this drug provision?

Berg: I think that drug provision is just another tool of the Bush administration to keep the poor poor and the penniless penniless. Mostly it is poor people who are getting convicted of drug offenses. Unfortunately for these poor people getting convicted of drug offenses, much like everything else in this country your freedom is determined by how much you can pay for it. These people who have drug convictions are essentially being denied the opportunity to make themselves better. The first step of course has to be rehabilitation, definitely. The second part however is to make something of your life without the drugs, and these people are being deprived of that. The Bush administration wants to divide our nation into a very small elite section of the rich and let the rest of us rot in hell.

Michael Berg is the Green Party's at large candidate for Congress in Delaware. His campaign's website can be found at: http://bergforcongress.us

Posted by Richard Rhodes at June 17, 2006 3:14 PM
Comments
Comment #158801

Richard, fine interview with a candidate not afraid to go on record for what he stands and believes in. If he were running in my district, I would vote for him as a challeger.

Though I think repealing the Patriot Act is not happening. Amending it to resrtore some civil rights to citizens as H. Clinton is trying to do with her new legislation proposal, has greater potential. Any chance the two of them will endorse each other? It would be a headliner.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 17, 2006 9:15 PM
Comment #158914

For anyone interested check out this site, http://www.opensecrets.org/races/summary.asp?cycle=2006&id=DE01
it shows that the Democrat has recieved 90 percent of his funding from his own pockets, and that in actuality Berg has raised more than the Democrat, although only slightly. Thus to this point in time Berg is the best chance for Delaware to unseat the Republican incumbent.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at June 18, 2006 3:37 PM
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