Thursday, August 09, 2007

We will run resolution

Sometimes I think that the Green National Committee should seriously consider having one person or a small committee responsible for drafting proposals. There are those on the GNC who disagree with using the proposal number unless you include the proposal title. Some oppose using the word "title", saying that the word "name" is better.

Some proposals are written in all sorts of legalese, rendering them unreadable by me at least. Others sound as if they are attacks on this or that perceived evil, followed almost inevitably by the "Therefore" and "Whereby", as if Hamilton and Franklin were not long dead.

Some are utterly useless.

Some are designed to accomplish a specific goal. Establishing a Senatorial Campaign Committee. Deciding on where to hold a convention. Establishing policies and procedures for committees and caucuses and states.

If there were one person or a small committee of people who could take the raw material and turn it into common language, removing the vituperative language, and composing it consistently, we would not have some of the fights the GNC has now.

As an example, hiding behind the "Read more!" link you will find the text of proposal 305, also known as the "We will run" resolution. Please note that in the first paragraph the resolution refers to Resolution 218, also known as "Resolution to challenge the two-party system" and says, in part,
On April 23, 2006, the National Committee adopted Proposal 218, "Resolution To Pose Challenge To Two-Party System". This resolution put GPUS squarely on record as "posing an electoral challenge to the corporate-funded and controlled two-party system" and as resolving to "run electoral campaigns full out".


Unfortunately, I am here to tell you that Proposal 218, aka "Posing an electoral challenge to the two-party system" never did pass the GNC. If you click on the link you'll see that the "Results" slot is empty. Why? Because it was not submitted to a full vote, but was pulled before the voting could wrap up.

So, why does Proposal 305, aka the "We will run" resolution, say "On April 23, 2006, the National Committee adopted Proposal 218" when in fact it did not do so?

This sort of sloppy actions by, in this case, 10 different state party chapters, leads to mis-understanding and ill will.

Reputable people hesitate to participate in the internal politics of the Green Party not out of fear of being called a Democrat, Republican, or any other nasty thing, but because they don't see the value in spending time on all the unnecessary stuff to get to the few things, like the still un-written budget, dealt with properly.

Anyhoo, the text of Proposal 218 is right here, and Proposal 305 is right here, and the text of both, in their entirety, are hiding behind the "Read more!" link...


Green Party of the United States
Home Vote Results History Contacts Admin
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Proposal Details
Proposal ID 218
Proposal Resolution To Pose Challenge To Two-Party System

Presenter Green Parties of California, Michigan, DC, and Wisconsin
Floor Manager Rebecca Rotzler
Phase Closed
Discussion 04/03/2006 - 04/16/2006
Voting 04/17/2006 - 04/23/2006
Result
Presens Quorum 0.6666
Consens Quorum A Majority of Yes and No Votes
Background
The two-party electoral system has maintained a stranglehold
on political expression in the U.S. since before the two
parties became the current ones. This has proved disastrous
for progressive politics in this country. While each of the
two dominant parties (the Democrats and Republicans) use
wedge issues like abortion or gun-control to persuade voters
to continue to vote for them, they spend the vast majority
of their time in office serving the same corporate elite
which funds and controls both parties. This is their true
constituency, and therefore both party institutions continue
to promote war and the elimination of our constitutional
freedoms. The nominal "opposition party," the Democratic
party, provides virtually no real opposition to these
policies. [Countless examples include the refusal to
filibuster to oppose Supreme Court nominees (the vote on
Scalia was 98 to 0), giving Bush the right to invade Iraq,
passing the Patriot Act multiple times, refusing to hear the
case of electoral fraud in Florida in 2000, leading the
fight to gut welfare and pass NAFTA and GATT under Clinton,
etc.]

The Green Party was formed to pose an electoral challenge to
this system. Reforms of the two parties and lobbying of
those parties are the strategy of caucuses within those
parties and progressive groups which are not political
parties. The reason for being a political party, as opposed
to a caucus or general Green issues group, is to pose a
challenge to the two-party system within the electoral
arena.

Every election year, the inadequate plurality system of
voting is used to create a tremendous pressure against third
parties running full-out and making their challenge as
strong as possible. It is our party that promotes electoral
reforms such as ranked voting, which would render lesser
evilism powerless, and yet we are the ones expected to give
way, time after time, to the inferior and corrupting
two-party system.

The Green Party needs to take a stand on this issue - in
order to make it clear both to its membership and the
outside world our identity and purpose as a political party,
and in order to strengthen all of us in the face of the
regular onslaughts of "lesser evil" pressure against our
right to organize politically according to our values and
platform.
Proposal
Be it resolved that the GPUS affirms one of its main
purposes to be that of posing an electoral challenge to the
corporate-funded and controlled two-party system.

Be it resolved that the GPUS therefore declares its
intention to run electoral campaigns full out, in order to
promote its messages for peace, civil liberties, social
justice, and environmental protection; in order to give
voters an opportunity to cast votes for these values and
create a new mandate; and in order to build the Green Party
to be able to pose even stronger challenges. Full-out
campaigns include running in all states possible as actively
and as eagerly as possible, running on all Green Party
ballot lines possible, participating in Green Party primary elections
wherever possible, and running for all levels of public
office for which the party is able to find credible
candidates to run as Greens and sustain Green Party
campaigns.

Be it resolved that the GPUS encourages state and county
Green Parties to stand firm against the pressure of lesser
evilism, and to use it instead as an opportunity to promote
the reforms of ranked voting (i.e., instant runoff voting
and proportional representation).
Resources
Contact Persons:
Karen Shelley, Michigan delegate
Cat Woods, California delegate
References
None

Questions about this system?
Contact the Voting Admin.
The Green Party of the United States voting system is free software, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
You can download a copy here.
To independently verify a ranked choice vote, or for information about how that works, go to Jonathan Lundell's Voting Page and upload the ballot file from the ranked choice vote result page. JL's ranked choice module is licensed under an alternate free software license. Green Party of the United States


Green Party of the United States
Home Vote Results History Contacts Admin
National Committee Voting
Login
Proposal Details
Proposal ID 305
Proposal We Will Run Resolution
Presenter Green Parties of IL, MI, NC, OR, RI, UT, VT, VA, WI, FL
Floor Manager Jim Coplen
Phase Discussion
Discussion 08/06/2007 - 08/19/2007
Voting 08/20/2007 - 08/26/2007
Presens Quorum 0.6666
Consens Quorum 0.6666 of Yes and No Votes
Background
On April 23, 2006, the National Committee adopted Proposal 218, "Resolution
To Pose Challenge To Two-Party System". This resolution put GPUS squarely
on record as "posing an electoral challenge to the corporate-funded and
controlled two-party system" and as resolving to "run electoral campaigns
full out".

The political climate as we enter 2008 is different from the political
climate in 2004. GPUS is beginning to show hopeful signs on the
fundraising front. Numerous Green candidates posted strong showings in
2006 elections, demonstrating that the public is increasingly willing to
listen to the Green message. GPUS's electoral committees, which have had
limited resources to work with recently, have nevertheless seen recent
increases in activity. Numerous Green congressional candidates have
already declared, and Green ballot drives are already underway in numerous
states.

At the 2003 Annual National Meeting, the GNC staked a clear position to run
for President in 2004; but prior to the convention, official party
statements were much more ambivalent. These mixed messages became part of
a larger fabric of Green inactivity that helped spur many Green activists
into abandoning the party to support corporatist candidates. GPUS's lack
of backbone heading into the 2004 convention also had a sharply detrimental
impact on ballot drives, as several states, confronted with the possibility
that they were working tirelessly for ballot lines that weren't even going
to be used, gave up hope early. GPUS can not afford to make the same
mistake in 2007 that it made in 2003.

This resolution, following largely from Proposal 218, will make the Green
Party's intentions clear for 2008: We will field a presidential ticket in
2008 and will apply resources to the best of our ability to give our
nominees the strongest support possible.
Proposal
The Green National Committee hereby adopts the following resolution:

WHEREAS the GPUS National Committee has clearly stated, through passage of
Proposal 218, a commitment to run "full out" campaigns, and

WHEREAS running "full out" requires gathering the greatest amount of
resources such that a campaign can be as strong as possible, and

WHEREAS the reality of modern American politics is that the longer we wait
to make our involvement clear, the more resources we will lose, and
WHEREAS past election cycles have demonstrated the absolute necessity of
making it clear that we will hold a competitive nomination process
culminating in our quadrennial presidential nominating convention lest we
send mixed signals to Greens, prospective candidates, the media, and the
public at large, and

WHEREAS prospective presidential candidates considering whether to run as a
Green will look for clarity from the national party as to intentions for
2008, and will be encouraged by a party with determination to run,

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that it is the firm intention of the Green
National Committee that the Green Party will nominate a presidential ticket
at its 2008 convention, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that it is the firm intention of the Green National
Committee to strengthen our eventual ticket by generating and applying
resources as available to ensure, among other things, that we will maximize
the number of ballot lines that our nominees will appear on, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green National Committee hereby directs its
officers and committees, when addressing the matter of the party's
intentions in 2008, and to the extent appropriate given the context of any
such public statements, that the Green Party is conducting a contested
presidential nomination process and that we will be nominating a
presidential ticket at our 2008 convention.
Resources
As to be determined by the National Committee at a later time.

Contact: Phil Huckelberry, phil.huckelberry@gmail.com
References
GNC Proposal 218, http://gp.org/cgi-bin/vote/propdetail?pid=218
GPUS Press Release of July 21, 2003, http://www.gp.org/press/pr_07_21_03b.html

Questions about this system?
Contact the Voting Admin.
The Green Party of the United States voting system is free software, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
You can download a copy here.
To independently verify a ranked choice vote, or for information about how that works, go to Jonathan Lundell's Voting Page and upload the ballot file from the ranked choice vote result page. JL's ranked choice module is licensed under an alternate free software license. Green Party of the United States


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Comments:
It's more than a bit ironic for Greens to be supporting Instant Runoff Voting, when it produces duopoly, just like plurality already does.

The solution is Range Voting, and it's proportional form, Reweighted Range Voting
 
Oh, and I'm happy to discuss this with anyone who has any doubts.

Clay Shentrup
clay@electopia.org
415.240.1973
 
Instant runoff voting is still a winner-take-all system, but by removing the spoiler pressure, it creates new space for third parties. Witness the Progressive mayor of Burlington, Vermont who could jump in late in his IRV election in 2006 without fear of spoiling and surge to victory.

Meanwhile, range voting and its cousin approval voting aren't going anywhere.

Bottomline: work for IRV if you need to keep winner-take-all, work for proportional representation if you can change it.
 
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