Within a global, diverse green political movement are many local and national green political groups. Their multiple threads form a tapestry of green ideas and beliefs.
Green parties and politics are exploring new directions and visionary ideas to bring positive, healthy change.
Varied as they are, their development carries potential for improvements needed across planet Earth.
They face a host of continuing challenges in complex environments and seek to create a better, more sustainable world.
"Neither left nor right, but in front"...
"We are neither left nor right; we are in front"...
"Neither left nor right, but forward!"...
"Neither left nor right but simply forward"...
"Neither left nor right but ahead"...
"Greens are neither to the left nor to the right - they are in front"
“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.” - The Earth Charter (2000)
2018’s extreme heat, drought and wildfires are on all continents and hemispheres, impacting our livelihoods, agriculture and ecosystems with each heat record broken. In July 2018 alone we experienced 3,092 new daily high temperatures, 159 new monthly heat records and 55 all-time highs worldwide, according to the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This includes the hottest 24-hour temperature ever felt on Earth, recorded in Oman (42.6℃), and Africa's hottest recorded temperature (51.3℃), in Algeria.
These record temperatures affect us in big ways; in July more than 300 people died from weather-related disasters and 45,700 people went to the hospital for heatstroke in Japan alone, according to Bloomberg. In Iran, the heatwave led to an unprecedented demand on the power grid causing more than 34,000 homes losing power. And in the United States, Europe and the Arctic droughts catalysed unprecedented wildfires.
The Global Greens Ambassador, Christine Milne, adds that “the Great Barrier Reef is dying and extreme drought besets Australia as the Northern hemisphere swelters and fires burn even in the Arctic, yet democracies beholden to fossil fuel corporations fail to respond fast enough. Across the planet, in whichever Parliament we stand, only the Greens say it is a climate emergency and call for systemic change, protection of the biosphere and rapid transition to net carbon zero and 100% Renewable Energy. The climate cannot wait. To ensure a healthy, safe future for people and the planet one must vote Green at every possibility - from Scandinavia to Sydney and from Santiago to Seoul.”
The Global Greens is the network of Green parties around the world working cooperatively at the local, national, regional and global levels to understand and address these issues through political action. The following statement gives an insight into the experience, impacts and urgency of climate change occurring right now in each region of the world.
In Europe - “Now - the climate cannot wait”
Sweden's local and national elections will be held on 9 September following the hottest and driest summer ever on record in Sweden, and the political parties are finding themselves in heated debate as well. Isabella Lövin, the Co-Spokesperson of the Green Party of Sweden Miljöpartiet de gröna (MP), remarks that Sweden’s political landscape is becoming increasingly aggressive and populist; where unfounded allegations, fake arguments and deliberate misinterpretations are the new normal, rather than a debate on facts and disagreement on substance. Miljöpartiet de gröna is prepared to have an honest debate with those who have different views. But to parties who still think everything is going to remain the same in a two degree hotter world, the Greens are telling them to wake up.
Miljöpartiet de gröna have been in Sweden’s national government the previous four years and has already delivered major advancements in climate adaptation and mitigation - including more than doubling Sweden’s climate and environment investments. MP also managed to pass new climate laws and new climate goals with broad political support. With current population scenarios, these goals imply that emissions in Sweden will be at one tonne per capita by 2045 by the latest. Sweden will now deliver emission cuts that go far beyond our EU-wide commitment in the Paris agreement and far beyond Kyoto protocol commitments.
MP wants Sweden to demonstrate to the world that a fossil-free welfare state with a strong and growing economy, and where we care for each other and the planet, is possible and that it is better and safer for all of us. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Nature can only give us so much, but we also have to give back only one small amount of decency towards animals, other people and future generations.
In the Americas
The Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas affirms that “preserving the ecosystems of Latin America and the Caribbean is essential to maintaining the ecological balance of the planet because this region has the greatest biodiversity and freshwater reserves on the planet. Effects of climate change and increasing temperatures have been impacting the region for decades, as evidenced by an increase in hurricanes, the retreat of practically all tropical glaciers and severe droughts in the Amazon. The largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, the major economies of the planet, have the main responsibility to solve the climate change crisis. Latin America and the Caribbean continue to affirm their commitment to the planet, to prevent deforestation and to advance the implementation of Green energy.”
Canadian Greens Leader and Federal Parliamentarian Elizabeth May adds that “Canada is acutely affected by climate change as well. Since 1948 Canada has warmed by 1.6 degrees, which is twice the global rate, and this is most pronounced in our western and northern regions. Our summers remind us of the devastating effects of wildfires. Drought, permafrost melt and disease are increasing problems for Canadians; and flooding endangers some 1.7 million Canadian households. In May 2018, the Federal Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development released a report indicating that Canada is not on track to meet its climate change targets, including our commitment to the Paris targets. And yet the Liberal government is trying to buy two pipelines putting us further behind. The world needs climate leaders and the Greens have the courage, vision and ability to recognize and fix the problems.”
The Korean Greens assert that “unless we work together with other countries to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions, this will happen every year, and its intensity will grow. The Greens have consistently recognised that a climate change policy is needed to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The heatwave should awaken our societies to the urgency of responding to climate change. The government and all political parties should be working on meeting the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperatures beneath 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”
Currently, global average temperatures are already over 1-degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Scientists warn that the hothouse trajectory we are on will make living conditions intolerable in many parts of the world, including a sea level rise that will submerge vast coastal regions under water. “It’s now urgent to greatly accelerate the transition towards an emission-free world economy,” concludes an international team of scientists. The Global Greens observes that deforestation is both a cause and consequence of climate change and thus local and global reforestation and climate programs should be implemented as a necessary component of national legislation. While global negotiations continue at COP24 in Poland this December on how to implement the Paris Agreement, the Global Greens calls on voters to vote Green in 2018 at local and national elections everywhere and at the EU elections in 2019 because climate change is now a matter of first priority for our politics.
From the outset, nonviolence and peace are Green core values that have been pursued across the political spectrum. In this way the Greens are neither Left nor Right; they work across-the-spectrum, out in front of conventional thinking...
The Green Party, a Political Party of Local Parties with a Global Reach
Green Parties - International List PDF / (List as of 2016)
- Listings and links compiled by GreenPolicy360 are used by online sites such as Reddit, Wikipedia and multiple open-source/shared green websites and networks
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SJS / GreenPolicy360 Siterunner:
The Green Party internationally started up at the frontlines of the Cold War in Germany as an anti-nuclear weapons, anti-war peace and progressive movement.
Today nuclear weapons are again a critical political issue and one I've personally have been involved in and writing about since the 1960s. GreenPolicy360 and Strategic Demands are continuing to provide news and editorial opinion on escalating nuclear risks as a new nuclear arms race gather momentum. Although neither GreenPolicy360 and StratDem are formally assoc w/ any Green Party, your siterunner brings a history of green work to his writing and green networking. My drafting of the founding 2000 US Green party platform is an example of the diverse political work, although the US Green Party has moved far from the ideas foundation of the 2000 platform, an example of the many threads within green thought. Petra Kelly, one of the founders of the global Greens spoke of green politics of being "neither left nor right" on the political spectrum but "forward, in front" of conventional political thought.
The larger 'green' political world is bringing forward essential ideas and practices, led 'out in front' by Green Parties internationally.
The initial Green Party led anti-nuclear organizing work at the front lines of the Cold War. The Green Party continues at the forefront of anti-nuclear weapons efforts.
In alignment with Green Party policies of peace, GreenPolicy360 and its associate Strategic Demands are developing "New Definitions of National and Global Security"...
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Green Party of the US
Your GreenPolicy siterunner helped start up the US Green Party in the 1990s. Later I moved on to independent green work with the Green Institute, GreenPolicy360 and a number of environmental initiatives looking to advance a more diverse agenda of green politics and positions. Looking back, the US Green Party began with promise.
“The goal of our founding platform was to have a Green Party policy foundation on which Green candidates could run ‘serious, credible, platform-based campaigns’, that is, to succeed in the goal of effective political campaigning taking the Green Party positions in the platform and turning them into reality.”
-- Steven Schmidt, NM and FL, Green Platform chair 1995-2001
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- The Founding U.S. Green Platform and First Presidential Campaign
Presented to the German Historical Institute Conference in Washington DC
- By Steven J Schmidt –– May 26, 2004
- The first decade of Green political party formation in the U.S., 1984–1994, was as tumultuous as it was promising. Green environmentalism and social activism from the 1960s and 1970s had produced a wellspring of support for green causes. Social reform activists explored links between environmental/economic sustainability and social justice. Deep ecology, bioregionalism and local community organizing, organic agriculture and alternative development, clean air and energy independence were among many branches of green political thought that flourished. Drawing on many threads of “green” organizing to build a “Green” political party was a natural progression that began in the late 1980s.
- The “Rainbow Coalition” of Jesse Jackson’s 1988 presidential campaign was, as some described it, the beginning of current Green national electoral efforts that looked to bring together a broad-based coalition of social justice and environmental voters. Jerry Brown’s 1992 “We the People/Take Back America” campaign adopted many themes from the Rainbow platform and ran a historically significant and competitive race against Bill Clinton, finishing a close second after winning the Connecticut primary but losing in New York after Governor Brown chose Jesse Jackson to be his vice presidential running mate.
- Greens were a prominent part of the Brown campaign, helping to draft the campaign’s platform and shaping much of the campaign’s effort to reach out and pull together a broad coalition that would substantially impact policy at the federal, state and local levels. The reform platform of the Brown campaign was presented at the Democratic Party platform hearings but was quickly set aside by the Democratic Party,¹ which, under the influence of the assurgent Democratic Leadership Council, chose publicly to take the party to the right and appeal to Reagan Democrats. The rightward slide of the Democratic Party and subsequent rise of Republican Party successes in federal, state, and local races can be traced to the 1992 shift in direction away from the traditional grassroots policy goals of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency.²
- One of the principal goals of the Brown campaign focused on energizing a broad base of electoral support among progressives, fiscal liberals and forward-leaning conservatives. The platform envisioned many issue- and policy-oriented coalitions forming, such as a “blue-green” alliance that the campaign worked to build between blue-collar labor supporters and environmentalist/community activists around common-ground issues such as the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement. Many greens who were not active in the electoral arena began to glimpse the potential of a Green political party that would draw together many shades of green to form a powerful influence and direct the growing current of Green activism, electoral efforts and organizing.
- At the national level, a nascent Green party organization, The Greens/Green Party USA (G/GPUSA) had only about 1,000 dues-paying members by 1993–94. Support for the G/GPUSA was limited by its anti-electoral tendencies and organizational structure, process and direction, which took a line ascribed to “Left-Green” vanguardism and rejection of political party formations. The G/GPUSA organization was formally established at a 1992 meeting at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN, after a controversial vote the previous year at a Green national gathering in Elkins, WV. The organization’s structure, as described in many commentaries, was the product of prolonged and often acrimonious struggles to make decisions, bylaws and rules.
- The G/GPUSA’s ideological underpinnings were memorialized in the minutes of the 1992 meeting establishing the organization name, bylaws and working guidelines. Left-Green Network proposals put forward by Charlie Betz, Don Fitz and Howie Hawkins were adopted by attendees, few of whom supported electoral efforts. A dues-paying membership organization, where voting was limited under a structure of rules, mandates and other strictures, became known as the G/GPUSA model. Central to the organizing model was a belief that dues-paying activist members would, in effect, be the grassroots of the organization and would oversee state Green parties, candidates and campaigns. The G/GPUSA organization appealed to few Greens and quickly became insular and acrimonious. Its meetings were infamous for strident disagreement, member blocking under consensus rules and list and voting irregularities. By the mid-1990s the G/GPUSA had shrunk to a core group of members, locals and a few affiliated state Green parties.
- Most U.S. Greens chose not to join the organization, pay dues or agree to adhere to its bylaws/rules and working guidelines. The G/GPUSA rules, often described as Byzantine, maze-like or labyrinthine, were intrusive, overarching, complicated and considered by many to be unworkable. Activist members were given extraordinary oversight powers and could require explicit affirmations from candidates.
- Activists could order state parties and each other into dispute resolution. Grievance tribunals came and went. Mandates were 'de rigueur', as was binding mediation under threat of sanction. Any active member of the party could mount a grievance and demand accountability of candidates/campaigns/state parties or Green Party officeholders and representatives. Activist members defined themselves as the grassroots philosophically, and the rules/bylaws/working guidelines and practices of the G/GPUSA were extensions of this core organizational belief.
- A G/GPUSA program that described itself in its opening statement as a manifesto of the Green movement was adopted. A mélange of issues with imperative demands was addressed, with little attention given to local governance or domestic or foreign policy. Electoral-oriented Greens recognized that the G/GPUSA program was not intended to be a platform on which Green political campaigns could effectively run. The program was much more an expression of the ideological goals of numerous factions within the G/GPUSA. Activist members of the G/GPUSA often expressed disfavor toward policies referred to as reform or liberal. Greens seeking to run for office would regularly encounter activist members who held that candidates must report to activist members as a model of grassroots democracy. The members’ oversight model produced few candidates or campaigns.
- Locals, often composed of a few vocal, active, dues-paying Greens, spoke of bottom-up democracy. Core G/GPUSA members who advocated for municipalism blocked statewide and national campaigns as ideologically incorrect. As a result, most Green campaigns from 1992 to 1996 were run separately from the G/GPUSA organization (although these campaigns were subsequently claimed by G/GPUSA in a failed Federal Election Committee (FEC) filing [Sept. 1996] for national committee status).
- By late 1994 the contradictions and failures of the G/GPUSA model were becoming apparent to a wide cross-section of U.S. Greens. Individual state parties and Greens took on the challenge of envisioning and building a viable Green party distinct from the machinations and failures of the G/GPUSA. The New Mexico Green Party was a leader in this effort, as were Maine, California, Hawaii, Alaska and other state parties. In his books The Greens and Politics of Transformation and Against All Odds, John Rensenbrink says the Green Politics Network was established as an organization with an alternative vision to that of G/GPUSA.
- A federation of state Green parties was conceived in the 1990s as an inclusive, far-reaching way to build a U.S. Green Party. Maine advanced the concept of a triad model to combine “electoral, educational and movement” work. After the 1992 G/GPUSA decision in Minnesota, Rensenbrink and many others began talking about a different vision and definition, hoping to create a Green political formation offering Green values and positions.
- The challenge was to construct a successful model on which to build a growing, vital, U.S. Green Party. A model of party building would come from an unlikely place: a small state in the hinterlands 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 who would run a “serious, credible” campaign based on their founding platform. The campaign became 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 Organizing Effort” launched in December 1994, which led to the founding of the national Green platform and first presidential campaign in 1996.
- New Beginnings
- A meeting in California between New Mexican Green Steve Schmidt and California Greens Mike Feinstein and Greg Jan set in motion a nationwide organizing effort by Greens in 1995–96. The California Green Party was the largest Green state party, and Schmidt carried with him a resolution passed by the New Mexico Green Council after the November 1994 election calling on California to make its 1996 primary ballot line available to a Green presidential candidate. This resolution was a core element of a national effort to place a Green presidential and vice presidential candidate on 40 state ballots.
- The New Mexico campaign convinced Schmidt that the “serious, credible, platform-based” model could be exported. Schmidt, who had been a senior adviser in the 1992 Brown campaign and key participant in drafting the platform, spoke of ballot access laws as impediments to third parties but pointed out that he and Roberto Mondragon received 11 percent of the general election vote in their campaign for governor/lieutenant governor and that the New Mexico Green Party as a result had gained ballot standing as a major party, the first minor party in New Mexico’s history to achieve this.
- The 40-state organizing proposal drafted by Schmidt and supported by New Mexico Greens set out a party-building model focused on creating a “serious, credible, platform-based” presidential campaign; a presidential nominating convention to be held in California; and a plan to “build the Green party” at the state and local levels through ballot access and petitioning drives. The presidential campaign would be a catalyst in building the party across states and localities. If motivated Greens could be contacted and mobilized, the 40-state effort would then reach out to environmentalists, social justice activists, labor, students, community groups, small- and mid-sized business—a broad coalition like that seen in the Jackson and Brown campaigns. The “take back America” message spoke to independents, who had come to number nearly 30 percent of the American electorate. Schmidt spoke of drafting a platform that would stand in opposition to militaristic, “one-party Democrat-Republican hegemony” and interject “ideals and ideas” in 1996 that would not otherwise be in the national debate.
- Greens began the work of identifying and polling contacts in every state to assess support for the 40-state effort and the new model for building a U.S. Green party nationally and at the state and local levels. In the mid-1990s, shortly after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the Green Party contrasted starkly with the Democratic and Republican parties, which advanced neo-conservative and -liberal positions aimed at furthering globalization and transnational corporate dominance.
- In 1994, in a historic shift of political power, a wave of Republican victories led to control of Congress for the first time in 50 years. The Grand Old Party under Speaker Newt Gingrich looked to the South, social conservatism and a renewed military buildup. The “Contract with America” and Reagan-era social and economic agenda prevailed, while the Democrats abandoned long-held policies like the right to universal health insurance and health care. Democrats attempted to step up corporate political contributions even as insurance/health care proposals were devastated by these same contributors. The extent of lobbying and the amount of money contributed were unprecedented.
- The Democratic Leadership Council continued to push the Democratic Party to the right in the 1990s attempting to win back “Reagan Democrats” even as the Democrat’s adoption of Republican policies relegated the party to the backbench. Republicans effectively moved to consolidate control of the political agenda as Democratic opposition retreated. The underpinnings of U.S. policy over the decade were set in place as Democrats adopted core Republican Party positions and each party accelerated their outreach to corporate and conservative interests.
- Against a background of rightward-shifting U.S. politics, the U.S. Green Party launched a vigorous effort to create an alternative vision to a duopoly of “Republicrat” politics. It was increasingly evident that a serious challenge to two-party dominance of American politics was needed. If the Green Party was to enter the political arena as a serious, credible challenge to the politics-as-usual, it had become evident that it would first have to confront its own politics.
- At the 1995 national Green gathering in Albuquerque, NM, the dissension in the Green Party between the radical, membership-based G/GPUSA organization and state parties like New Mexico and California reached a tipping point when a G/GPUSA caucus met in an attempt to ‘nominate’ Mumia Abu Jamal, a convicted felon on death row. The G/GPUSA members attempt to mandate that state parties place Mumia’s name on their respective state ballots in 1996 as the nominee of the G/GPUSA was defeated.
- The bylaws/rules of the G/GPUSA were subsequently challenged and, after the New Mexico gathering, never again would the G/GPUSA successfully act as if it were the legitimate national Green Party. Claims the organization made the following year to the Federal Election Commission were set aside. The 1995 split in the Green Party between those who wanted a nomination process by state parties according to election laws, with serious, credible candidates legally able and willing to run, set the stage for the 1996 presidential campaign and formation of the Association of State Green Parties.
- At the 1995 New Mexico gathering in the Great Kiva, a traditional Native American place of reflection and decision, the assembled Greens heard the results of a national survey which strongly supported running a presidential campaign in 1996. The three presenters of the “40-State Organizing Proposal”, Mike Feinstein, Greg Jan and Steven Schmidt, spoke of a short list of potential candidates. They suggested Greens consider Jim Hightower, a well-known Texas populist and nationally respected writer/speaker, labor advocate and radio personality; Delores Huerta, a Latina activist from California who had over several decades, beginning with Caesar Chavez, proven her courage and political capabilities; and Ralph Nader, the incorrigible campaigner for consumer causes who had taken on the biggest corporations and congressional barter in the name of a revitalized civic democracy.
- The assembled Greens voted their support of the 40-state effort, and shortly thereafter a series of meetings was held to discuss the national organizing plan. Key would be navigating the intricate and restrictive ballot access laws in each of the states. Richard Winger, the editor of Ballot Access News, became an indispensable resource. Dates and petition requirements were sent to organizers in every state. At the same time, the platform process led by Schmidt commenced in Santa Fe. First consulted were state party platforms; the 1988 “Rainbow” and 1993 “We the People” platforms; historic, constitutional documents speaking to the foundation of American liberty as a revolutionary ideal; civil rights speeches; blue-green alliances; environmental books; and works of groups like the Bioneers. The ad-hoc committee drafting and redacting went online and set up forums for discussion/debate with the assistance of long-time Green and webmaster Cameron Spitzer. Schmidt acquired the domain gp.org and began an extended process to draft a platform that Greens would approve and that would become the foundation of a platform-based 1996 campaign.
- The outreach to Hightower, Huerta and Nader was conducted with due speed and in good faith by the 40-state organizers and supporters like Rob Hager in Washington, DC, who almost camped out at Nader’s office in an attempt to convince him of the merits of a run. Other supporters of a national Green presidential campaign, such as Linda Martin and Tom Linzey, also lobbied Nader, and Third Parties 95/96, formed by many of the same Greens, encouraged Nader to enter the race. Green activists like Annie Goeke relayed international voices of support. An open letter from a range of supporters across the political spectrum urged Nader to run. After much back and forth discussion about the scope of his campaign, Nader chose to run a limited campaign, but one of substance.
- At the Green’s first national convention, held at the University of California in Los Angeles, a university system former Governor Reagan had publicly stated he would punish and dismantle for its protest of the Vietnam War, Ralph Nader gave his acceptance speech on August 19, 1996.
- He held the platform up and repeated what he had been saying throughout the day in a series of press interviews — that he was running as the Green presidential nominee because of the ideas and positions in the platform; that he was running to turn the ideas and positions of the platform into reality.
- Nader began his acceptance speech after a prolonged welcoming ovation:
- “You know that you are responsible for all this. All I did was accept. Some of the prior speakers touched on a number of issues and as I was listening to them, what occurred to me was that most of the issues and subjects that the Green Party is adhering to are majoritarian issues to the United States of America. And what commended the Green Party so much to those of us who were not in on the founding is that if you look very carefully at the Green Party Platform that’s being proposed for your approval, this is by far the most comprehensive, broad-based platform that deals with a wide range of systemic justice that’s needed in this country: from the political, to the corporate, to the cultural, the civil liberties, the civil rights platform of any party in the country. I wouldn’t begin to compare it with the flaccid, insipid, empty, cowardly platforms of the Democratic and Republican Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee parties… As a matter of fact, the Democratic Party Platform doesn’t even contain an affirmation of universal health coverage for all Americans. It even backed off of that. While they took money from the hospital lobby, the medical lobby, the drug industry lobby, the giant HMO’s, and insurance lobby. And as far as the Republican Platform goes, this one could’ve been written by the Fortune 100.”
- The Nader campaign that left the campus that day would form the core of a Green campaign of ideas and ideals. The results of the 40-state 1995–96 organizing effort led to new state parties being formed, existing ones revitalized and, one month after the November election, the formation of the Association of State Green Parties that was to become the Green Party of the United States. In December, at a post-election meeting in Middleburg, VA, close to where Thomas Jefferson farmed, the representatives of the state parties gathered to announce a newly structured national party.
- This was a foundation to build on, and the party grew broadly. State parties were affiliated, national meetings were held, a formal relationship and platform were approved between U.S. and European Greens and, with the assistance of Tom Linzey, Dave Cobb, Steve Schmidt and Dean Myerson, a 300-plus page application to the FEC was filed that led to a legal advisory option. The national Green Party, a “national committee of a national party,” had arrived.
- Today, the Green Party has grown from some 60 Green candidates for office in the mid-1990s to well over 400. Greens continue growing a unique political party combining electoral/movement/educational work, yet face a barrage of obstacles and legal barriers to full participation by minorities, minor parties, independents and all who have walked away from a rigged system rewarding incumbents, power brokers, wealthy contributors and lobbyists.
- In the near term, the U.S. Green Party no doubt will continue challenging the winner-take-all U.S. voting system. A break in the bulwark of incumbent party opposition to voting reform can be found in public recognition of the failings of the 2000 presidential election and disenfranchisement and voting irregularities that produced a president with a troubling victory. The U.S. electorate is becoming increasingly aware of how elections are conducted, how voters and votes are manipulated and how difficult it is to oppose the system in place. The U.S. Green Party is speaking to this core issue by its very existence. Having established itself as a serious, credible force in American politics and a voice of opposition to politics- and business-as-usual, the Green Party now faces the challenge of being a consequential force in politics. As a result of the 2000 campaign, the Green Party has come to be perceived as a swing vote, and, along with independent voters who continue to grow in numbers as the two-party system fails to garner wide support or commitment, the Greens and independents will increasingly exert perceived and real political leverage. If the Greens choose to continue working toward making the platform a political reality, then much will continue to be possible.
- One of the leading issues will be proportional voting, preference and instant run-off voting, which are moving to the forefront of many of Green’s agendas. The Green Party’s platform positions on electoral and political reform, alongside positions taken by allies like the Center for Voting and Democracy/FairVote, League of Women Voters, Common Cause and other public interest groups, will undoubtedly play an increasing role in shaping the future U.S. political arena. The European Greens, who have proportional voting systems, will no doubt keep a close eye on progress toward opening up the American political system to Green, independent and opposition points of view.
- ¹ Chapter 4, “An Insurgent Campaign,” from American Twilight, by Steven Schmidt, ©July 2003.
- ² During the eight years of the Clinton administration, the Democratic Party lost more political races and offices at the federal/state and local levels than at any time since the 1890s’ presidency of Grover Cleveland, which led to the election of William McKinley and the historic period known as the “Age of the Robber Barons.”
- Sam Smith, editor of Progressive Review (http://prorev.com), wrote of Clinton’s record:
- Here's what happened to the Democrats under Clinton, based on our latest figures.
- o GOP seats gained in House after Clinton became president: 48
- o GOP seats gained in Senate after Clinton became president: 8
- o GOP governorships gained after Clinton became president: 11
- o GOP state legislative seats gained since Clinton became president: 1,254 as of 1998
- o State legislatures taken over by GOP after Clinton became president: 9
- o Democrat officeholders who have become Republicans since Clinton became president: 439 as of 1998.
- Since Clinton was inaugurated, the Democrats have lost 12% of their registered voters, and lost during his administration the largest number of seats in Congress, the governorships, and state legislatures of any Democratic White House incumbency since Grover Cleveland.
Green Values and the Environmental Movement Bring Forward a Green Party in the U.S.
SJS / Siterunner: The origins of the US Green Party can be found in initial gatherings and the writings of founding Greens. The "Key Values" work of Charlene Spretnak and up front voices of environmental, progressive women in the 1980s has special meaning. The key values writing became a foundation document that led to key values language drafted and carried forward into the founding Green Party platform passed in 2000. I often speak of the Green party as "values-based politics" and Green values, especially ecological wisdom, the first of the original key values, and non-violence, a foremost goal, remain at the center of the Green platform.
Revisiting the original key values of the Green Party of the US, published in Charlene Spretnak's book - The Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics
- The Ten Key Values of the Green Party
* Originally ratified at the Green Party Convention in Denver, Colorado, June 2000
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.
A special tip of our GreenPolicy hat h/t to the vision of Charlene Spretnak of California and Petra Kelly of the German Green Party (German: Bündnis 90/Die Grünen or Grüne)
Green Party / United States
SJS / Siterunner: Our formative U.S. Green Party, after the 1996 campaign, reached out to European Green parties and I worked via our new Platcom to draft a first-ever "Common Ground" document articulating core, shared U.S./European Green party values and positions.
The following document memorializes what we presented that was approved and passed in Paris in 1999.
The Association of US State Green Parties* and European Federation of Green Parties Approve a First-Ever "Common Ground Platform"*
Presented/Passed at the 2nd Congress of the European Federation of Green Parties - February 1999 by SJS / Siterunner
*The ASGP is now the Green Party of the United States -- http://www.gp.org
*The EFGP is now the European Green Party -- http://europeangreens.eu/front
COMMON GROUND TEXT
The evolving relationship of the U.S. Greens and European Federation of Green Parties is cause for great optimism. The partnership of the Association of U.S. Green Parties (ASGP) and Committee of the European Federation (EFGP) is in its initial formative stages. As we continue to grow in strength and numbers, we submit that the future of political thought will look to our Green ideas and values as a foundation for political action.
Our responsibility is to challenge conventional wisdom and create a climate of political change. As humankind approaches the beginning of a new millennium, Greens globally will continue to press for comprehensive expansion of rights, for social justice, peace and the protection of our common heritage and environment.
At this historic moment, with vision and purpose, we advance our first mutual platform document - a U.S./European "Green Common Ground Statement".
HUMAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS
We believe that the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
We recognize that clean air, clean water, fertile soil, diverse plant and animal life, and the ability to derive a living from the bounty of the earth is a birthright of all living beings.
We believe that all people have a right to food, housing, education, medical care, a living wage job and support in times of hardship.
We oppose all forms of discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, age, or sexual orientation. We support the rights of all individuals, regardless of ability, to strive for personal fulfillment and to live with dignity.
We support civil liberties that are the basis of individual freedom: freedom of speech and information; the right to peaceful assembly; freedom of religion; the right to vote in democratic elections; the right to fair public trial and open, humane and accountable legal processes.
We support a woman's right to full reproductive choice.
We support the right to asylum and refugee status.
We condemn the use of torture and the death penalty.
We condemn child labor and the oppression of women through forced prostitution and sterilization.
PEACE AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
We believe the ever-growing expansion of unregulated, inappropriate-scale profit-making interests, the limits of the resource base that these interests are trying to control, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction pose a dire and imminent threat to world peace. As technology and commerce increase the depth and complexity of global relations, individual nations need to work together to develop multi-national responses to global issues that spring from shared values of peace, justice, community, democracy and ecological sustainability.
We call for international relations that favor cooperation and support over competition and exploitation. We believe that, as a matter of principle, considered diplomacy should always be favored over recourse to military intervention and violence.
We support the formation of international alliances and non-governmental organizations to work to find peaceful and sustainable solutions to the global problems of war, environmental degradation, oppression and poverty.
We support immediate decommissioning of all nuclear weapons production facilities, date-specific destruction of all nuclear weapons, and the signing of oversight treaties calling for drawing down of nuclear stockpiles.
We call for a ban on the development, production, sale and use of land mines, chemical and biological weapons, and other weapons that bring indiscriminate destruction to civilians and the environment.
We oppose the use of economic sanctions which bring suffering and death to innocent civilians.
THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
We call for benchmark social and environmental standards to be goals at all levels of economic decision-making -- local, national, and international.
We support the right of local governments to set higher social and environmental standards than those set by international trade organizations and treaties.
We support the right of workers to form collective bargaining units; the right to a fair living wage; and right to safe, healthy working conditions.
We reject agreements that negotiate downward our basic environmental, human rights, health, safety and labor standards, and prohibitions against child and forced labor.
We reject trade agreements negotiated in secret and/or unduly influenced by mega-corporate interests such as the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Treaties such as these are threats to local autonomy, and limit the participation of citizens in decisions affecting the economic and environmental health of their communities. Increased mobility of capital and commodities is being coupled with decreased mobility of people. National and local authorities are losing power to an international "empire of wealth". We call for a vigorous international campaign for economic democracy -- political change that supports environmentally and socially sustainable economic systems.
It is our belief that the massive debt owed by the Third World is causing immense misery and environmental destruction. Foreign aid must be addressed in the context of retiring this debt and in this regard "structural adjustments" must not be forced on the economies of the underdeveloped world via the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and World Bank.
We demand that international loans be conditional on human and labor rights records, social and environmental impact statements, and the providing of basic health and education.
We believe in the right of self-determination of indigenous peoples. We recognize the essential importance of balancing economic development in the Third World with a respect for traditional culture and economies.
On the national, state and local levels, we call for a diverse economic system that is based on a combination of private businesses, decentralized democratic cooperatives, publicly owned enterprises, and alternative economic structures -- all of which put human and ecological needs alongside profits to measure success, and are accountable to the communities in which they function.
We advocate the use of "true cost pricing", which reflects the total cost of production based on its impact on the ecosystem.
ENERGY AND GLOBAL WARMING
Climate change is accelerating. The greenhouse effect is increasingly evident. The succession of record-breaking heat waves since 1980 and the increasing frequency of severe weather phenomena across the globe are strong indications that climatic disruption is already upon us. There is an urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now.
Greenhouse gases and the threat of global warming must be addressed by the international community in concert, through international treaties and conventions, with the industrial nations at the forefront of this effort.
The truly global agreement required to deal with global warming can be achieved only if based on genuine equity. A policy based on per capita emissions, with countries agreeing on a global limit and converging to meet that limit on a per capita basis, would allow developing countries to continue their necessary development while encouraging the use of clean technology. The industrialized world must cut emissions to realistically necessary levels.
The Greens propose a shift to renewable and sustainable energy production, together with industrial and domestic energy efficiency. One important instrument to reach this goal is a progressive tax on pollution and on resource use, particularly fossil fuels, and incentives for safe energy in industrial as well as private use.
We support the development of decentralized, non-polluting renewable energy technologies and the funding of energy research for alternative and sustainable energy use such as solar, wind and biomass.
We encourage the creation and design of energy-efficient human environments.
The Greens call for a new definition of wealth that includes clean air, clean water, and diverse habitats as indicators of ecological and economic health.
We call for immediate decommissioning of all nuclear power plants without passing the cost on to ratepayers. We support permanent above-ground, locally based storage sites for nuclear waste to minimize the hazards of waste transport.
We call for the conversion of the chemical industry to biologically degradable substances, and the use of hazardous chemicals only in zero-emission pollution constructions.
We support a radical reduction in the volume of road transport and a shift to an integrated system of alternative forms of transport including energy-efficient public transportation, pedestrian friendly community design, bikeways, and rail and water shipping for industry.
We call for a halt to all current international funding policies that promote destruction of forest ecosystems and we call for an end to the trade in endangered hardwoods.
The Greens have long championed the development of organic farming to replace costly and unsustainable industrial production of foodstuffs using dangerous pesticides and fertilizers.
We call for a moratorium on the genetic manipulation of crops and animals used for foodstuffs; the strict labeling of products containing genetically modified organisms; and a ban on patenting forms of life.
We support legislative and land use policies that preserve and restore biodiversity (genetic, population, species, ecosystems) at the local, national and global levels.
We support the protection of endangered plant and animal species.
We oppose shipping of toxic/hazardous or radioactive wastes across national or political borders without regulation.
We believe that the mark of a humane and civilized society lies in how we treat the least protected among us. To extend rights to other sentient, living beings is our responsibility and a mark of our place among all of creation. We find cruelty to animals to be repugnant and criminal. We call for an intelligent, compassionate approach to the treatment of animals.
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The US Green Party was recognized officially by the Federal Election Commission in 2001
The application for official, legal standing came after years of dissension within Green politics in the US. The failure of the G/GPUSA membership-based group became an on-the-ground fact that Greens confronted and constructively worked through. Individual Greens proposed in 1995 a national presidential campaign and platform that was separate and distinct from the G/GPUSA group and state Green parties organized a US Green Party during the period of 1995-2001, bringing together and coordinating the 1996 and 2000 presidential campaigns as well as multiple local and state campaigns in association with the new national party.
The following application was the formal 2001 request to the FEC, with the FEC's advisory reply granting official Green national committee and party status:
- File:Green Party FEC request for Advisory Opinion-to form national US Green Party Aug 2001.pdf
- File:Green Party FEC Advisory Opinion 2001-13 Nov 2001.pdf
- Excerpt from the FEC Opinion:
- ... The 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.
- ... These results compare favorably with other recent national committee situations. Considering these factors together, the Commission concludes that through the functions of its coordinating committee, the Green Party of the United States has manifested sufficient activity to qualify as the national committee of a political party for purposes of the Act and Commission regulations.
About GreenPolicy's siterunner: Steve Schmidt actively worked from 1993 to 2001 to establish the US Green Party.
Steve's political organizing began in the 1960s in California, Washington DC and in Europe. He was a co-founder of the largest US anti-war group, the Vietnam Moratorium Committee and coordinated actions in California. He travelled widely speaking against the war and nuclear weapon issues. He helped release the My Lai story with Dispatch News Service and spoke to policy issues in association with Dan Ellsberg. His green/environmental organizing began with a series of actions and initiatives with Congressman George E Brown who encouraged Steve to enter politics when the Congressman represented East LA and they then began a cooperative relationship of over thirty years. The Congressman was one of the original supporters of 'teach ins' and supported student work to initiate the first Earth Day as an annual event beginning in 1970. Senator Gaylord Nelson spoke with Steve's invitation and encouragement on the day after the first Earth Day at USC. Steve's relationship with California Governor Jerry Brown goes back to the 1970s and they worked closely together for many years on environmental issues through the 1992 presidential campaign when they worked together to draft the campaign's "We the People/Take Back America" platform. The progressive positions resonated across the country in opposition to the priorities of the 'new Democratic Party' and together they carried key proposals to the platform hearings. Steve went independent after the 1992 campaign. Steve was the main drafter of a new platform for the New Mexico Green Party and ran for Lieutenant Governor in 1994, subsequently becoming a member of the State Board of Education. He became a core organizer in the Green Party, arguing for a state party based national organization and proposed a "40 State" organizing campaign in 1995 at the Greens national conference in NM. He then drafted platform structure, policy language and key values of the founding Green Party US platform which was approved at the 2000 national Green convention in Denver. The Platform became a key part of the application for national committee/party status and the Federal Election Commission legally recognized the national committee of the new national Green Party in 2001.