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Green Values, a Platform for Green Politics
SJS / Green Policy Siterunner: Green political parties, now in over 100 countries, began in the 1980s at the front lines of the Cold War, standing in support of life-affirming values and in opposition to imminent nuclear war. The nonviolent, pro-peace green movement and multi-dimension, out-in-front Green parties internationally are shaping a new vision of politics with values, platforms and positions envisioning local, national and global security.
The "Ten Key Values" of the Green Party of the US followed in the tradition of the European "Four Pillars" and, from 1984 to today, the Green KVs in the US continue to define the Green Party's values-based politics.
From the founding platform of the U.S. Green Party
1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives and not be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.
2. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
3. ECOLOGICAL WISDOM Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.
4. NON-VIOLENCE It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize, and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.
5. DECENTRALIZATION Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.
6. COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMICS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living for all people while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a “living wage” which reflects the real value of a person’s work. Local communities must look to economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers’ rights; broad citizen participation in planning; and enhancement of our “quality of life.” We support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises that distribute resources and control to more people through democratic participation.
7. FEMINISM AND GENDER EQUITY We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.
8. RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines. We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms than our own and the preservation of biodiversity.
9. PERSONAL AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.
10. FUTURE FOCUS AND SUSTAINABILITY Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or “unmaking” all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.
These "KVs" of the US Green Party were originally drafted in a question format with leadership of Charlene Spretnak in 1984.
Your GreenPolicy siterunner first read the KVs in the late 1980s at the Bear & Company publishing offices in Santa Fe, New Mexico and later, in the early 1990's, I would as a national Green Party formed rewrite the language as a foundation for the initial NM Green Party platform. Our state's platform values would in turn become the declarative ten key values of the 1996 and founding national platform of the US Green Party approved in Denver in 2000.
Charlene Spretnak's memory of these early days of the US Green Party is added testament to how we built the Green Party as a values-based political party, a new way of envisioning the future based upon a values foundation and integrity of positions on the issues of our day.
The challenges of today, the initial decades of the 21st century, continue.
The Ten Key Values of the Green Party
Green Values: Foundation for the U.S. Green Party Platform of 2000
The Official Founding Platform
Your GreenPolicy siterunner from 1994 to 2001 was intimately involved in organizing the national Green party.
Origins in a values-based politics:
It is important to look to beginnings as I experienced them. In 1995 I proposed and presented at the Green national gathering our new Green political party organized in New Mexico a strategic plan to draft a new national platform and run a presidential campaign.
The initiative was presented as a way to build the Green party at the national, state and local levels. I spoke then of a "seious, credible, platform-based" politics that was needed at the national and international level.
As a chair of the originating platform committee (the 'Platcom'), your siterunner facilitated the approval of the strategic plan in '95 through the '96 platform presentation in the presidential campaign and then led the drafting of the platform document that was formally approved as the new Green party platform in 2000 at the Green party nominating convention in Denver. The platform document was an essential part of the new party's submission to the Federal Election Commission and was cited as the FEC's Advisory Opinion conferred "National Committee of a National Party" status. The Greens became a major independent party as the plan envisioned and set out to accomplish.
National Legal Status
http://www.greenpolicy360.net/w/File:Green_Party_FEC_request_for_Advisory_Opinion-to_form_national_US_Green_Party_Aug_2001.pdf / Request for FEC Advisory Opinion (note references to founding platform on pages 2, 16, attachment of platform document, and FEC reference to the Green Party positions/policies as party of the FEC determination granting legal standing as national committee of a national party). As your siterunner advocated over the years, to open debate in the nation and bring "serious, credible, platform-based" positions forward to challenge and extend the policies of the two-party system.
FEC (from the US Federal Election Commission Advisory opinion):... the (Green) Party has already undertaken significant party building activity of a national scope. The various party registration and get-out-the vote-activities, the holding of a national convention in 2000, as well as efforts to publicize the Party’s positions, indicate that the Green Party of the United States is engaging in activity comparable to other national party committees.
http://www.greenpolicy360.net/w/File:Green_Party_FEC_Advisory_Opinion_2001-13_Nov_2001.pdf / FEC response - Nov 2001
Following are several personal recollections, quotes and links from this early state of building a US Green Party. Although competing claims have been made by a group, the G/GPUSA, that is no longer active in Green electoral politics, the facts of the origins of the US Green party, as it formally and legally came to be, will become a matter of record over time.
The Ten Key Values of the Green Party of the US: The 'KVs' of the Founding Platform
The Ten Key Values of the Green Party of the US are often referred to as "the KVs" and act as a values foundation for the policy platform of the Green Party. The Key Values were approved in 2000 at the national party convention in Denver, CO along with the founding national platform.
- Steven Schmidt - GreenPolicy siterunner writing to Charlene Spretnak in the Green Horizon Magazine, Fall 2013
- "As the person who held a serious responsibility in redrafting the Key Values statement and changing the question format that came out of the 1984 Green meeting, I can say (and have said in numerous speeches, talks, articles and posts) that the Key Values are the values foundation on which we constructed our founding national Green Party Platform.... I often have explained our Green Key Values underpinning in speeches and in my writing over the years. The values of the Greens are a beginning point, an appropriate and a deeply held core set of beliefs that suffuse our platform... I was careful as I drafted platform language during these initial years and engaged with Greens in an extended process. I always pointed out the special, distinguishing role the Key Values hold..."
Revisiting the original key values of the Green Party of the US, published in Charlene Spretnak's Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics
Read more about Charlene here:
Charlene's book, Relational Reality, brings forward in its exploration of living connections of life special meaning and an integral ecology role in the creation of a green values-based green political platform.
Click on these images for more on Relational Reality...
More on history of and personal recollections about the drafting of the US Green Party Platform and Key Values:
"The challenge was to construct a successful model on which to build a growing, vital, U.S. Green party. The model adopted came from an unlikely place: a small state in the hinterland far from centers of power. In 1994 in Santa Fe, named after St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the land and animals, the New Mexico Green party proposed a statewide slate of Green candidates that would run a serious and credible campaign based on their founding platform. The campaign was one of the most successful independent, third-party efforts in the United States in nearly four decades and became a model for the national Green “40-State Green Organizing Effort” launched in December 1994, which led to the founding of the national Green platform and the first presidential campaign in 1996."
-- SJS / 2014
"As I look back at the drafting of the U.S. Green Party's Key Values adopted formally as I presented them to the 2000 national Green Party Convention in Denver, along with the founding Green Party national platform, it remains for future greens, whether formally affiliated with the Green Party in the US or greens who share core values of Green parties to do their best in bringing the values and positions of green thought into reality."
"The politics of the present era clearly demand the independent, future-oriented vision of green, environmentally focused 'planet citizens'"...
-- SJS / 2015
SJS: Here is the 10th KV and "Quality of Life", as written and approved in the founding plaform.
The "Four Pillars of the Green Party", as written about in Wikipedia, are a "foundational statement of Green politics and form the basis of many worldwide Green parties... the four pillars define a Green Party as a political movement that interrelates its philosophy from four different social movements: the environmental movement, the labour movement, the civil rights movement, and the peace movement."
- Ecological wisdom
- Social justice
- Grassroots democracy
GHI / Boll Foundation
Green Parties History Conference, Washington DC, 2004
The following conference publication provides a formal history of Green Party during this formative period.
- Green Parties: Reflections on the First Three Decades -- The Origins of Green Parties in Global Perspective
- "History of US Green Party Founding Platform & First Presidential Campaign"
- “The Origins of Green Parties in Global Perspective” – May 26, 2004, GHI/Boll Institute
Green Party Politics, Internationally
The Platform of the US Green Party
US Green Party National Platform - Official National Platform
Approved in 2000 / National Green Party Convention / Denver, CO
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