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This is a space where one Green shares their one Voice. These writings are not reflective of any of our official positions I may hold. Any opinions shared here are my individual opinion and not any official party stance unless specifically stated. It is important that Greens begin to clearly identify our platform and positions to the greater public. We are worldwide growing party. ITS GOOD TO BE GREEN!
I have been asked to share the following piece with you all. This was not written by me. However, I feel it important to understand the dynamics and viewpoints of the current currents in the GPUS. At this time, I am not a member of the GDI. But I do stand behind the goals of One Green One Vote, Porportional Representation, and a Independent Revolutionary Green Party.
There is a space for comments, so please feel free to discuss.
Which Way forward for the Green Party?
At the 2005 Annual National Meeting in
Divisions form during the 2004 presidential nominating process
These crises originated in the period leading up to the nomination of Green Presidential candidate David Cobb, who argued for a “safe states” strategy in battleground states during the 2004 election campaign. This tactic was viewed by many Greens as a backhanded way of adopting a political strategy of sustaining the centrist Democratic Party in order to defeat Bush, at the expense of Green Party interests. Cobb’s eventual running mate, Pat LaMarche, had spent the primary season arguing for complete abstention from the Presidential race.
Cobb’s strategy enjoyed only minority support in the Green party, but his forces were able to win the Green Party nomination by rallying leaders of the small state parties, who had a disproportionate number of delegates allotted to them, and convincing several delegates to change their assigned positions and vote against the expressed will of their state party’s membership. Based on successful manipulation of this undemocratic process, Cobb won the nomination and official support for his lesser-evil strategy without the consent or interest of the grassroots party members and Green-leaning progressive voters. But the Green membership and potential Green-leaning voters quickly registered their disapproval as the Cobb campaign could attract sufficient petitioning volunteers and signatories to get on the ballot in only 28 states, 22 of which held pre-existing ballot lines.
The Cobb campaign for president garnered less than 120,000 votes, or about 1/3 of the registered Greens in the country, and less than 4% of the Green Party’s previous national tally. As a result of this disastrous showing, Green Parties in seven of the twenty two states with Green Party ballot lines lost them, which resulted in those states’ election boards purging computers of Green Party membership databases and terminating party enrollment rights. The enhanced vote totals, success of local candidacies, and membership increases Cobb and his promoters had assured the Green Party would derive from the “good will” the lesser-evil approach would engender in the wider progressive community failed to materialize. Despite accommodating the “Anybody But Bush” forces and the high-profile position Cobb and the Green Party took in the ballot challenges and recounts in
Since the election, the division between
Under the leadership of David Cobb and his supporters in the weeks following the election debacle, and continuing to the present, many in the liberal wing aligned themselves with the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), whose stated aim is to transform the Democratic Party from within through a policy of encouraging progressives to think “realistically” about the immutability of the two-party system and apply their energies inside the Democratic Party rather than through third-party challengers like the Greens. David Cobb has appeared on many PDA panels as an “Alliance Partner” and Cobb ally Medea Benjamin, of Global Exchange and Code Pink, wrote a glowing fundraising letter for the PDA which was disseminated in Green Party circles.
Like many inside/outside formations such as the Working Families Party, however, the PDA exists to co-opt challenges into the Democratic Party, shepherd progressives into the left wing of the duopoly’s electoral pen, and reinforce the two party system and its consequences. If the
Divisions Intensify in
Conflict between the two wings erupted early in the convention over which delegates to seat from
With both delegations asking to be seated and confusion reigning over recollections of what process had been applied to seat one faction over the other, the pro-
Following this telling skirmish, speeches by Peter Camejo and David Cobb laid out very different visions and strategies for the future of the party.
Camejo stressed the significance of building the Green Party as the political expression of mass social movements and argued for the importance of promoting debate and encouraging many political tendencies to exist within the party. He even went so far as to apologize to David Cobb for any misstatements he may have made about him during the campaign. Finally, Camejo called upon the Green Party to stand up to the Democrats and argued its independent challenge to the two party system is “the spirit of the future.”
During his speech Cobb repeated several of Camejo’s points, but then emphasized an exclusionary message. Instead of inviting debate, Cobb condemned what he called “sectarianism” — his label for anyone who opposed his safe states strategy, or believed in building a left wing of the party – and did not accept or even acknowledge Camejo’s olive branch. In answer to a question after his speech about critical reviews of Green Party performance, authored by prominent Greens, that have appeared periodically in the online progressive magazine CounterPunch, Cobb assailed these articles and denounced CounterPunch editor Alexander Cockburn, saying that he “represents why the sectarian left has failed.” The not-so-subtle message was that the Green Party should exclude the Left, continue to support Democrats in their election campaigns, and suppress dissent.
Key leaders of the liberal wing of the GNC made their support for Cobb’s position clear after the speeches. “I’m not willing to define us as a party independent of the corporate parties,”
The real conflict broke out when
The liberal wing, however, did not argue against the content of the proposals. Instead they relied on objections concerning bylaws, implementation, and procedural concerns. They also attempted to draw
It was not lost on
While the Green National Committee defeated the
If the liberal wing is able to maintain its dominance of the party and orient the Greens towards subordinating themselves to the Democratic Party, the Green Party is likely to wither away like the New Party and other progressive alternatives before them.
The Future of
The opportunity and responsibility for
As a result, tens of millions of Americans – workers, women, gays, Latinos, blacks, Muslims, the foreign-born, other oppressed populations – now including mainstream anti-war advocates who are finally reaching the majority of the American public – can find no electoral expression within the two major corporate parties for their demands and aspirations. Millions more have grown frustrated with the failure and consequences of the “lesser-evil” strategy of voting for the Democrats in 2004 and its impending resurgence behind the early card of centrist Democrat hopefuls for 2008. They are looking for an alternative. They think it was a mistake to suspend all progressive social movements and anti-war activities in order to mobilize the vote for Kerry, who opposed all of their interests. Ten months after the election those movements are still demobilized, although it is hoped that the demonstration against the war scheduled for September 24th will mark the return of mass social movements to the political landscape.
These millions of people and activists form a latent electoral force that
The contest between the two visions of the Green party as expressed by the two wings of the GNC is not just a fight for the soul of the Green Party. It is a fight to win the hearts and minds of people to break with lesser-evilism and build a no-holds-barred challenge to corporate politics. It is also a fight to maintain and expand social movements and their influence during election periods.
While the current undemocratic national committee of the Green Party is taking the PDA-paved off-ramp back to the Democratic Party, the Greens for Democracy and
(The authors of this report are State and National Committee delegates of the Green Parties of
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2005
GREEN PARTY OF LOUISIANA
Contact: Leenie Halbert, 225-615-4905
GREEN PARTY CONDEMNS WEAKENING OF E.P.A. RULES AFTER KATRINA DISASTER
WRYR's Saturday Live Coverage Antiwar events
CAMP CASEY ATTACKED, ZOOL ARRESTED AFTER SHEEHAN
GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Monday, September 19, 2005
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, email@example.com
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Rotzler, Peace Action Committee Co-chair, 845-255-3122,
GREENS JOIN THE SEPTEMBER 24 ANTIWAR PROTESTS,
CALLING FOR IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ
September 16th, 2005
A Message from Cindy Sheehan