Saturday, February 03, 2007

Is the Green Party a democracy?

In an ongoing debate about how many delegates each state should be allocated and how to balance one state party's rights with another and the individual members of each, the Green National Committee has seen posts from some members calling for the Green Party to be a democracy. This, loosely said, is the position of those who want "One Green, One Vote" policies in place which would, if carried to full implementation, render a neighborhood Green Party chapter in Arcata (assuming they had enough members) as influential as a state party in any state with a small membership.

David McCorquodale of Deleware wrote to the national committee that the Green Party cannot be a democracy, because democracy is a form of government. The Green Party does not expect to replace the government, but to use elective office to implement the Green Party platform. As I interpret this, it's similar to the "war on terrorism", in that one cannot be at war with a tactic. The Green Party can be democratically run, but cannot be a democracy.

Lou Novak points out that the Green Party is or can be a self-governing body, and as such can be a democracy.

While this may seem like arguing over which end of the egg to crack, the net result of these arguments is not inconsequential. If one or another proposal is adopted, a state might wind up with less or more representation. I have seen evaluations of the existing plan to change the delegate allocation procedure which indicate that the new plan will leave the actual delegation sizes about where they are now. If so, it seems like a lot of effort and anger to little effect.

Don't get me wrong, I know there are vital issues in play. South Carolina has little influence at the national level, with only two representatives on the Green National Committee. But when I tell you that the state party membership is under twenty I am by no means exaggerating. In six years we have never had a membership of over twenty, although we have held conventions of about forty.

We need to come to some sort of decision about the Green Party as individuals. Do I want to have the Green Party available for me to vote for? Do I want members of the Green Party to get elected? If so, what the hell am I doing about it? Green National Committee members often times are the most involved local members too, but I think it fair to say that some of our national "leaders" are like me, a leader in a very small local, if that much. Some serve at the national level when they have not even organized a sustainable local. Somehow that seems to me to be a deeper problem than if Michigan should have one more or Maine one less member on the GNC.

Nothing behind the "Read more!" link on this one, but you might want to click here to read about the results of the York County (SC) Greens local peace vigils. 1st week there were three. Second week, about thirty five. Today, when it was MUCH colder, we were down to twenty six.
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or, more importantly, do I want the Green Party to express the principle it lists in its four pillars, grassroots democracy. It appears to me that those who engage in the sophistry that the GP cannot be a democracy are violating that principle. Surely it should not be governed by mob rule but it must embody the principles it professes.
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