Sunday, April 15, 2007

A really BIG part of the problem

I love the Green Party. I believe it is our best chance to save human life on planet Earth. Because it is based on the Four Pillars of Non-violence, Ecological Wisdom, Grassroots democracy and Social Justice, the Green Party actually does put principle before personalities.

The Four Pillars are expanded by six to fill out the Ten Key Values of the GPUS. These additional six key values are critical. They are the rest of the foundation of the party. Feminism, Community-Based Economics, Decentralization, Sustainability, Respect for Diversity, and Personal and Global Responsibility are all as important as the first four, bringing us a solid foundation that survives cruel attacks from inside and out.

Not only are we surviving against all the odds, reading these pages clearly shows that the Green Activist is stepping forward to run for office, giving the Green Voter someone to support and vote for. Look today to other nations and you will see that communities that twenty years ago were running one and two Greens are now running Greens for every political seat offered! That can be us! A real alternative.

Now for the problem, eh? Here, taken from a post to the Green National Committee today as voting concludes on Proposal 272, which changes the Delegate Apportionment scheme, is a quote from Hugh Esco of Georgia.

As I see it here, a faction of our Party who would have had us forgo nominating a candidate willing to carry our banner, fight for and defend our ballot lines, has used this as a bully pulpit to distract this Party from its only and essential responsibility:
to provide fifty-one ballot lines for its Presidential candidates, and a means for its members to choose their nominees for that race.

This is essentially the problem. By believing in the sort of "Revolutionary" change that would be required for our Presidential nominee to win without building a real political culture and base, Esco and others leave the process of building a real and effective force for good off for another day. "If we can't get on the ballot, there is nothing we can do to increase our power inside the national party." seems, on the surface, to be a fair argument, and as such, I didn't discuss those sentiments here. But this statement, that everything you and I do to grow the Green Party is entirely in the service of one election every four years is absurd and insulting.

Read his words. "One and only". Goodness gracious, can I have a shot of hyperbole on the rocks for my friend from Georgia?

To me, the reverse is true. The Presidential campaign has only ONE purpose, to help me get local Greens elected. They should help recruit candidates. They should get TV exposure. They should create campaign support committees and turn them into GP chapters. They should use their money with a real focus on getting more strength into the base, with a special focus on states like Georgia and North Carolina where things are so difficult.

If Elaine Brown were to be our nominee, for example, and she spent 40% of her time going from small Georgia town to tiny Georgia hamlet, spreading the news of the Ten Key Values, I would consider that Presidential campaign time well spent. I have lived all across Georgia. I was born and raised in Georgia. I know the sort of poverty that is a shotgun shack without insulation or running water or toilets. I know the sort of bills that can bury a family because the cost of keeping the place warm enough so that your baby is safe is so high.

I also know that, even with Georgia's draconian ballot access laws, one *can* run as a Green in Georgia. First off, every non-partisan race is open to Greens, as is true everywhere. Secondly, at least some partisan offices are available for one to run on as a Green. By petitioning, the Clarke County (Athens) Greens will have a candidate running for some office soon. I did the same in 1982 when I ran for the Georgia State House of Representatives on the Citizens Party ticket by petitioning for it. My wife was pregnant with our first daughter as we campaigned, and Erin was born that December.

But, the real point is, Esco and others believe that the only purpose of the Green Party is to promote One Big Candidate for President who is going to create the Green Party at one fell swoop.

Sorry, that is not sustainable. It is not decentralized. It is not grassroots.

It is not green.
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