Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Green National Committee news

4 of the last 5 proposals voted on by the Green National Committee failed. The one that did pass almost didn't get the needed quorum, and was a vote on where to hold the next annual meeting.

I am pleased to say that the current proposal undergoing a vote seems likely to pass. That proposal, proposal 259, would allow the national office to stay in business while the GNC passes another budget. So far, 15 votes have been cast by 12 states. 2/3 of the states must vote or this proposal will also die for lack of a quorum.

There is something fundamentally broken about the GNC, and I don't know who can fix it. The fact that proposals keep getting turned down doesn't bother me. What does bother me is the flip, cruel, racist and most importantly, needlessly argumentative way many delegates "debate" on the list. I am an abrasive son of a bitch, and don't hold back much, but even I feel that these folks are over the top sometimes.

The tough part is, if a state wants to put out a delegate who is abrasive, inclined to anger, unbending and unable to listen with any respect to divergent views, well, isn't that their right? And sometimes, people who otherwise seem like normal folks, will suddenly lash out at another delegate with whom they have broad agreement. This happened to me a few times. If a state wants to send someone like that to the GNC as a delegate, what can we do?

I wonder if we need both a USGP and an Association of State Green Parties, the earlier iteration of the national Green Party.

The process of chosing the size of state delegations is still under discussion by the GNC. There is talk of re-submitting the last delegate allocation committee proposal minus the proxy provisions, but there is no reason to believe that this would pass.

One thing I am seriously wondering about is this. If we currently have a total of 145 seats in the GNC, and only 110 votes were cast, why is the GNC even considering expanding the size of the GNC? I understand why we need to adjust the current delegate allocation. But, why are they considering increasing the size of the GNC?

If we instead went the other direction and made the GNC smaller, we might be able to make progress. I think that this "formula" might work...

Create a written policy on what the GNC is supposed to do, the role of the delegate in the process, and request of each state that they send their most accomplished listeners. Encourage the states to keep their most effective debaters and policy experts for committees other than the GNC or, better yet, for local work.

Lower the minimum delegation size to one. Require gender ballance by rotating between sexes over a cycle, say, every two years one sex is replaced by the other.

If states want "power" in the Green Party I think the rest of us should wonder what the heck is going on to cause these people to believe there is any power in the Green Party. What is it that they really want? With New York off the ballot, how does it benefit the Greens in California for that to remain thus? Likewise Texas, North Carolina, or Georgia. The bottom line is, all states will benefit from a growing Green Party, and the national committee is unable to provide the leadership that will make that happen. Neither is the Steering Committee.

So, with our fundraising not yet meeting our needs, and ballot lines across the nation at risk, and slightly slower growth in various numbers, we must take a moment and re-think what we are doing. If we want something different, we must do something different.

Perhaps we need some sort of term limits for delegates. Perhaps we should require that delegates come from identifyable local chapters of more than four unrelated Greens. Perhaps we need to dismiss a delegate if s/he does not cast a high enough percentage of votes. Perhaps we should link the number of delegates to the number of committee members on other committees.

The point is, this system is not sustainable. What changes would you make if you could wave a magic wand?
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