The Case for the Green Party’s Passing of the Anti-Capitalist Amendment

by Brandy Baker on June 6, 2016

[ The following article in no way reflects the viewpoint or opinion of the North Star editorial board.]

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On Monday morning, June 6, the Green National Committee (GNC) starts voting on Amendment 835: the Economic Democracy Amendment. This amendment calls for a new, democratically-run society where working people and communities have control and it rejects the old paradigms of capitalism and state-run socialism.

The passage of this amendment will make the Green Party effectively anti-capitalist. This would give the Party an influx of many new members who would bring a sorely-needed energy and vitality to the Party. We would likely become the party of the most important social movements of this country with time. The idea of an influx is not just an abstraction: we have proof that this will occur. Not only have 14 state parties and Green Party caucuses signed onto this amendment, a petition supporting Amendment 835 received over 1000 signatures in two and a half days.

Here is a sampling of those who say that they will join the Green Party if it passes:

Aimee from MD:
“I would be much more likely to devote time and energy to the Green Party if it was avowedly anti-capitalist.”

Chaya from MA:
“I cannot support the Green Party until they have fully taken this resolution and aim of anti-capitalism and socialist green liberation.”

Michael from NJ:
“The GP should lead the anti-capitalist trend rather than follow. We should recognize that grassroots democracy applies to economics as well as politics and clearly rehect the anti-democratic capitalist system.”

“Name Not Displayed” from CA:
“I am not currently a member of the Green Party, but I would join the party if this amendment passes. The struggle to protect our environment and the struggle to create a more just and democratic society are the same struggle. We will not achieve one without the other. We will never effect a lasting change in a system where making a profit is the primary motivation; large corporations and the governments that they have bought will never allow this. The Green Party has an excellent opportunity to be a true alternative that can organize and fight for the environment and the 99%.”

Amilcar from NY:
“If this could happen I would consider joining the Green Party, and it would be a pleasure to donate my skills to your campaigns.”

Beth from VA:
“I would join the Green Party in a heartbeat if this amendment were approved by the National Committee!”

Bob from CA:
“I was Green for many years and then I joined Peace and Freedom, socialist/anti-capitalist. I would again like to consider Green but not as long as it supports capitalism.”

Brent from OR:
“I’ll vote Green if the party is explicitly anti-Capitalist.”

Noah from MD:
“I am not a current member of the Green party but would definitely support a socialist or anarchist Green party.”

Luke from DC:
“I would join and engage with the Green Party if this passes.”

and Gabriel from CA:
“I am not a member of the Green Party but this amendment would persuade me to join and give my efforts to it. The climate is in peril. We must advance an alternative economic vision to make the best of an increasingly ominous reality before us.”

These comments are a small sampling of many others that appear on the petition.

This wide level of grassroots support should be welcomed within the Green National Committee. Sadly, these people who have co-sponsored and who have signed the petition have been labeled “outsiders” and the comments on the above petition are deemed “idle threats” by the minority opposition on the GNC. Some delegates from co-sponsoring states are vowing to vote against the wishes of their states. They do not seem to understand that they are representatives of their states and not autocrats. One delegate refuses to support the amendment because her particular friendly amendment was not accepted, this in light of the new blood that we could infuse into the Party. This is the childish level of discourse that has been the theme of this minority bloc who oppose this amendment. Though they may be small and their scattered reasons for opposing 835 may represent a fringe opinion within the Party, these delegates, some of whom were in office over a decade ago and some who have little to no Green Party activity in their states, hold a disproportionate amount of power in the Green Party of the United States. They have bristled at being contacted by rank and file Greens. One even asked me not to contact him again, that all pleas should only come form the GNC listserv, a listserv that is only available to delegates and alternates. Not even members of the US Congress would treat those who contact them in such a way. They are making decisions that affect the whole Party yet they want no one to weigh in on those decisions or to contact them about those decisions. They want rank and file Greens and interested non-Greens locked out. It is as if they wish to run a secret society with no external involvment. There are also attempts by some on the GNC to reverse co-sponsorship of the amendment in Maine, and there was an attempt to alter the amendment in Maryland without approval from the author.

So much for grassroots democracy.

I have always known where to go for elevated and deep political discussion and it has never been the Green Party. There are individual Greens who are capable of this, but overall, the party is childish and incapable of solid, elevated political discourse. They do not think politically. They never have. One delegate trolled our petition and trolled me personally by e-mail several times yesterday. This is the level of conduct and maturity that we are dealing with. When the issue of the tiny opposition bloc being mostly older was brought up on the Facebook page and that the Youth Caucus reflected the trend of younger people who oppose capitalism, instead of analyzing and dissecting that dynamic in order to understand it, they cried “ageism” and said, “don’t blame old people”. Some of the bloc then proceeded to red-bait the Youth Caucus, who unanimously supported the amendment, showing the reality that some of those who oppose the amendment are shadowboxing the ghosts of HUAC. Liberals called for reds to be hanged back then, I shudder to think where some of this crowd would have stood. The only thing that they can kill today is this amendment.

So why bother if this is the reality that we are dealing with?

We bother because there is a wide majority of Green National Committee delegates who are so sickened by the long-time toxic and dysfunctional culture of the GNC that they do not read the listserv, and sadly, they often do not vote. If we can get them to vote and to support the amendment, we can easily win this and have this fresh batch of members. We can change the public’s perception of the Green Party as a party that is no different from progressive Democrats. We can effectively point out the failures of liberalism and bring people into the party who have a strong stake in systemic change. We can replace some of these long-term GNC members who see the Green Party as a tiny club that makes them feel comfortable and they do not want to change that. Some of the GNC members have no interest in growth, no involvment in any movements, and whose sole political identities are that of a delegate of a tiny party. Some are retirees who have this side hobby of voting on resolutions year after year.

This is 2016. The ground has shifted. The Bernie Sanders campaign, despite its contradictions and flaws, has brought a mass amount of youth who are ready to chuck not only the two party system, but capitalism. We have a socialist in office in Seattle, the fight for $15, the Black Lives Matter fights, anti-fracking fights, and we are going into the General Election that the public knows is only a second Republican Primary. This may likely be our only shot to get in the game and to get this right. We may not get another chance. The recently-revived Youth Caucus has some of the savviest organizers that have ever been in the GP. Politically and organizationally, they have many options. They do not have to stay with the Green Party.

If we can get this amendment passed, then we should deal with the question of whether or not we need a Green National Committee. Before 835 went to the GNC, we in the 14 state parties and caucuses worked well with one another and diplomatically addresed differences. We were able to get everyone on board to support the amendment. The long-term minority bloc on the GNC turned this whole process ugly. The Green Party of the United States is just a confederation of state parties. Perhaps the GNC, instead of fixing it and making it more representative of the rank and file, should just be scrapped. Perhaps it is obsolete, perhaps the states can just work together, but that debate is for another time.

For now, join us to pass Amendment 835. Contact your local Green Party delegates and sign the petition. I will close with the words of one of our signers of the petition.

Hannah from MN:
“If you want to be a relevant party to 2016 you should maybe side with the majority of millennials who don’t support capitalism according to the Harvard University Survey, but really it’s your own choice to die out so whatever.”

Brandy Baker is a longtime organizer in writer in Baltimore who has worked on many various Green Party campaigns and other issues such as anti-death penalty work and work against privatized prisons.

 

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonah Thomas June 6, 2016 at 6:29 am

I want to argue that this is maybe premature.

My reasoning may seem far-fetched and implausible, but try it out — The Democratic and Republican parties may be about to lose a lot of members, people who get disgusted at the way they do business. Either of them could possibly fall apart as the Whigs did so long ago.

Everybody who leaves those parties will potentially join the largest of the remaining parties, the Libertarians and the Greens. If a lot of people leave the main parties, many of them will look over the Green Party as a possibility.

Some of those will pass us by if we are explicitly anti-capitalist. None of them will refuse to join if we are not explicitly anti-capitalist.

Should the Green Party become a giant bloated party full of people who largely disagree with each other but who agree enough to win elections? Should the party sacrifice its soul to become a major party? I don’t know. But if the Democrats are ready to fall apart, somebody has to do that and the Greens are in the best position to do it. We can reject mass membership and keep our special character, or we can accept them and become something more like a giant bowl of tapioca — but without the Democratic Party corruption.

It’s predictable that if we did that, a large fraction of current Green membership would drop out and create a New Green party.

If this possibility is worth taking, then delay things that would oppose it until after we find out it won’t happen. But if you know it won’t happen, or if you’d rather it not happen, then do whatever you want.

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Gary Potter June 6, 2016 at 8:04 am

I have been a registered Democrat for 47 years. Like many others I will leave the Democratic Party this year when Secretary Clinton is nominated. Like many people in bad relationships I have remained a Democrat only to resist attacks on women’s reproductive rights and civil rights in general. But the party’s subservience to financial institutions and its continuing support of imperialism has now made a continued affiliation morally and politically repugnant. For years I have looked at the Green Party as both confused in it’s ideology and elitist in it’s organizing. I can say that I will not change my registration to Green if that party does not reject capitalism. Also, I’m not very fond of tapioca.

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Brandy Baker June 6, 2016 at 6:42 pm

So far, anti-capitalism is ahead in the voting. If this trend continues, I will be the first to welcome you to the Green Party! :)

best,
Brandy

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Jonah Thomas June 6, 2016 at 9:10 am

Gary Potter, you have made some good points.

The Green Party can attract some ex-Democrats while officially rejecting capitalism. Likely many.

My thought is that maybe soon we can and may have to replace the Democratic party. It would be a new party which is a lot like the Democrats but not corrupt. One willing to change the system so it does not inevitably create two giant TBTF parties.

The Green party is probably best positioned to turn into that. Maybe a large number of ex-Democrats will join and try to make that transition whether the old members like it or not.

I think the tapioca metaphor fits. To win elections the party would have to be kind of bland and tasteless. We could keep our core principles because those have become mainstream. Like, the majority believes we have to protect the environment; even the Democratic Party has take up that call, they just conveniently can’t do anything about it. But as a major party we would find ourselves giving up anything we couldn’t make mainstream.

We could choose to avoid that destiny. Then I expect the likely alternative is the Democratic party would promise to reform, and would make surface reforms, and after years or decades the voters would see that nothing had really changed. It’s hard for me to predict more than 3 years ahead, so I want to leave that forecast pretty vague.

I don’t know what’s really possible and I don’t know what’s right. MAYBE the Greens can replace the Democrats, and we ought to notice whether we want to.

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David McCorquodale June 6, 2016 at 9:13 am

How many people know what the platform of GPUS says now? Those who oppose this proposal have pointed out that the Party is clearly anti-large scale corporate capitalist and urged that the current language could have been amended to eliminate the phrase “stakeholder capitalism”. GPUS is anti-capitalist, but that doesn’t mean it is a socialist party, as some of the proponents seem to want. The Green Party has always looked for a Third Way in its ideas on how the economy should work.

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Brandy Baker June 6, 2016 at 10:00 am

This is a talking point that the tiny opposition seems to want to continue to float around even though it has been discredited repeatedly.

Anyone who reads the petition can see that amendment 835 is attached for the signers to read. It also mentions the old language that it is replacing.

Supporting “stakeholder capitalism”, which the platform currently does, is NOT anti-capitalist. If it were, the Party when it formed would not have split over this very question (GPUS/Greens-Green Party USA).

The opposition has repeatedly stated that the now 1100 people who signed the petition “did not know what they are signing”. They have also stated that the 14 state parties and caucuses “did not know what they were doing” when they supported Amendment 835.

This is a condescending and elitist attitude to take towards the rank and file members of your party as well as prospective members who want to join the GPUS if we embrace anti-capitalism. I have seen it numerous times.

I hope I do not see it again.

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Mark Lause June 6, 2016 at 11:14 am

Not knowing what the platform contains has less to do with what’s in it than an issue that runs deeper than what we say. For nearly twenty years, I’ve watched the party make all the crucial decisions day-to-day to be something other than a party. There has never been a serious third party movement in American history that hasn’t organized around an engaged membership base. We’ve hardly done that anywhere in the U.S. because of the predisposition to defer to those who see what we’re doing as a kind of moral statement, a protest to influence the Democrats. Until we discard that utterly failed and delusional approach–and become serious about organizing a real party–what we say is going to remain secondary. (I do support the proposal, though Green politics has never been anything but anti-capitalist to most of us.)

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Brandy Baker June 6, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Right on all points, and the membership–as well as prospective membership– has engaged on this question.

The GNC needs to listen to them.

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MOFYC June 6, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Why not put this to an internal party referendum? I and many others would leave the party if it passes.

We already have a couple of Marxist parties in this country. We don’t need another. What we lack in this country is a social democratic party.

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Brandy Baker June 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Good luck to you, we’re not for everyone.

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Mark Lause June 6, 2016 at 2:24 pm

. . . because you can’t do an honest internal party referendum about anything when you don’t have any general standard of membership.

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David McCorquodale June 6, 2016 at 3:21 pm

This is an all-in-one comment on the various posts after mine:

Actually what you call “a talking point” was my question in particular. Not sure how you know about what is being discussed since you are not on the NC list. If you notice, I am asking a question based on my view of human nature, including myself. Do people who are not tasked with parsing the language really pay attention to the differences? Just because the language was attached, doesn’t mean people thought about it.

Numerous people who oppose the proposal have said it would have been fine to remove the term “stakeholder capitalism”. But it took lots of arguing from us to have the proposers eventually remove the section about all businesses eventually being taken over by the workers or the community, which clearly isn’t going to work when the question of really small businesses or artisans are considered.

You are inventing the phrase when you write the petitioners “did not know what they were signing”. As I said, my question is do they know what GPUS stands for already?

You, Ms. Baker, are sure the one to know about “a condescending and elitist attitude” after you responding to an email from Elie Yarden, 90, of the Rainbow Green Party of Massachusetts, that he was an “old fart”, apparently not worthy of exchanging ideas with you.

Mark, I completely agree about the lack of seriousness of many “Greens” towards actually building an alternative party. I have been disappointed within my own state party with the people who have left to become Berniebots or, in at least one case, a Hillary supporter.

Final point about Ms. Baker’s comment about the GNC needs to listen to the petitioners: National Delegates are representatives of their state parties. They need to listen to their state party members when thinking about how they are going to vote (although that is not the only consideration).

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Bart Everson June 6, 2016 at 3:27 pm

I like it, but I find the reference to “large-scale” and then “small-scale” in consecutive sentences confusing and even contradictory. “Greens will build an economy based on large­-scale public works… Some call this small­-scale, decentralized system…” A little clarity here would helpful. Many thanks to those who’ve put effort into crafting this amendment. It’s inspiring.

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Brandy Baker June 6, 2016 at 6:03 pm

Thanks Bart, I’ll pass your message onto the author. :)

It is very good, but hopefully, we can work in the years to come and improve on it and make it even better.

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Brandy Baker June 6, 2016 at 5:32 pm

“You, Ms. Baker, are sure the one to know about “a condescending and elitist attitude” after you responding to an email from Elie Yarden, 90, of the Rainbow Green Party of Massachusetts, that he was an “old fart”, apparently not worthy of exchanging ideas with you.”

I never said this, I have called no one any names nor maligned anyone personally, though this seems to be the opposition’s chief tactic against us. This is yet another untruth that is coming from the opposition: David McCorquodale is a delegate who serves on the Green National Committee and he has been a delegate for a very long time….years.

In fact, delegate Elie Yarden was sending messages to me all day on Friday, including a bizarre poem and going on and on about lists. His messages were incoherent and made no sense. I told him the same thing that have told others in the opposition, the same thing that I am telling David McCorqdale right now: please conduct yourself with a level of decorum and please address other Greens with civility. You are a GNC delegate, you represent the Party. The behaviour of you opposition delegates has been childish and embarrassing.

This could have been an opportunity for elevated discussion concerning this amendment, yet the opposition has been determined to attack, spread untruths and wage ad hominem attacks, red-bait and smear. It is time for new leadership. We need GNC delegates who can stick to the topic and focus on the issue at hand, and not worry about who called whom any sort of name. Why is that even being posted here? Even if it were true (it is not) it does not belong here. This is petty and trivial and has no place here in this discussion.

Finally, I said, as stated in the article above that 14 state parties and caucuses as well as over 1000 signers of the petition has weighed in and engaged on this topic. I do not see them as “outsiders” as the opposition of the GNC has repeatedly called them, I see them as important voices that deserve our attention, consideration, and respect. Please stop disrespecting these Greens and prospective Greens by calling them, “outsiders”, and please stop calling the e-mails of Greens who wish to contact their delegates, “unsolicited spam”. It is the right of rank and file Greens to contact their delegates.

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Brandy Baker June 6, 2016 at 5:49 pm

…and yes, oppositionists have said that Greens who signed the petition did not know what they were signing, one oppositionist above says that they do not know the platform, even though the old language is on the petition. Some of the opposition have also said that the 14 states and caucuses also did not know what they were voting for.

I agree that delegates should listen to their states. Sadly, some Maine delegates and delegates from other states are going to vote in opposition to the wishes of their co-sponsoring states.

Again, if we are going to keep the GNC, we need new leadership on the GNC, people who are capable of civil and elevated discussion….and possibly, we need term limits.

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Charles Rachlis June 7, 2016 at 9:57 am

Today the Green candidate calls for a 50% reduction in the military budget. Serious anti-capitalists have to ask what kind of party wants to maintain the US military budget. Socialists ran against imperialist war demanding NOT ONE PENNY NOT ONE MAN (today we could and NOT ONE WOMAN) FOR THE IMPERIALIST WAR MACHINE!

Bernie promises the ruling class to continue the drone program and to defend Israel while the Greens promise to continue funding the US war budget to the tune of 300+billion!

We need fighting workers party to nationalize the commanding heights of the economy and run them under worker/community direct democratic control with an integrated national and international economic/ecologic plan to restore the environment and end exploitation and oppression world wide.

No half way party can do the job. No electoral victory can put Workers and Community in control. To end the capitalist exploitation of nature and humanity the state must be defeated and replaced with the armed might of the working people. To disarm the ruling class the workers must be armed and organized. Thus centralization is essential. For the broadest democracy from the shop floor up and the most effective coordinated action assemblies of popular democracy must initiate, sustain, arm and integrate geographically not only in the imperialist centers but across the semi-colonial world where the imperialist’s control the mines, factories and resources. To defeat capitalism the revolution must go international. There is no national Red or Green solution. If the Green Party wants to change the world it must have a clear anti-imperialist, anti-military, anti-capitalist program which exposes bourgeois democracy as the dictatorship of the capitalist class and counter-pose to it worker’s democracy which asserts its dictatorship over capital.

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Ben June 9, 2016 at 2:51 pm

When you continue to persistently perpetuate those with alternate views as “opposition,” saying “the oppositionists did this, the oppositionists did that,” you are reducing things to a simplistic duality, or polarity of two forces in direct, infinite and perpetual opposition to each other, which is the very same tactic that is used conveniently to perpetuate and sustain the existence of a two-party oppositional political system of democracy in this country.
I implore people to transcend and think beyond this oppositional modality.
You are only reinforcing two-party consciousness.
There can be disagreements and points of differences within the party, even deep political suicides, and our democratic process will sort it out how the party is to be represented.
Those differences don’t deserve to misaligned as an overarching oppositional faction.
We need to worry less about making enemies of each other and always remember that our communities are always stronger than our differences and we will never grow if always perpetuate the notion that some among us are “them” simply because of disagreements around a platform plank.
If we retain, recognize and highlight the “us” and the unity of “us” instead of villifying the others’ point of view as “oppositionist,” then we will grow as a party.
Otherwise, the tenor of this debate, on both sides, is as bad as it gets between Democrats and Republicans, and it’s that very oppositional polarity of thinking that people always seem inclined to participate in, that is what turns off the majority of voters who choose to check out instead of participate, because getting wrapped up in a big fight against the enemy is an unappealing use of most people’s energies.
Getting inspired about possibilities and dreaming big, on the other hand, is more appealing and likely to captivate and engage more voters than petty arguments over differences of opinion in the national committee of a minor party that has hardly any elected officials at all nationally in the grand scheme of things.
Does it really matter?
Do people really care? I’d the amendment passes, will millions of people suddenly join the party and propel it to a force to be reckoned with?
I doubt it.
If they haven’t joined already, a small plank amendment on anti-capitalusm isn’t going to be the big trigger that thrusts millions of new members that they claim it will be.
It does seem a little bit of a political tactic to rally a bunch of non-members to influence the party by claiming, “I would join the party if…”
If that’s the case, then why aren’t they already Green? Clearly we’re already the most socialist and anti-capitalist party in existence, so it appears almost as a fabricated and hole threat to rally hundreds to say, “we will join if it passes.”
This amendment is not the magic wand that is going to suddenly attract the masses and propel is into major party status, as the sponsors of it so vigorously claim.
Other than the nasty vitriol coming from both sides vilifying a constructed “opposition,” this has been a good debate within the party.

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Ben June 9, 2016 at 2:57 pm

When you continue to persistently perpetuate those with alternate views as “opposition,” saying “the oppositionists did this, the oppositionists did that,” you are reducing things to a simplistic duality, or polarity of two forces in direct, infinite and perpetual opposition to each other, which is the very same tactic that is used conveniently to perpetuate and sustain the existence of a two-party oppositional political system of democracy in this country.
I implore people to transcend and think beyond this oppositional modality.
You are only reinforcing two-party consciousness.
There can be disagreements and points of differences within the party, even deep political divides, and our democratic process will sort it out how the party is to be represented.
Those differences don’t deserve to misaligned as an overarching oppositional faction.
We need to worry less about making enemies of each other and always remember that our commonalities are always stronger than our differences and we will never grow if we always perpetuate the notion that some among us are “them” simply because of disagreements around a platform plank.
If we retain, recognize and highlight the “us” and the unity of “us” instead of villifying the others’ point of view as “oppositionist,” then we will grow as a party.
Otherwise, the tenor of this debate, on both sides, is as bad as it gets between Democrats and Republicans, and it’s that very oppositional polarity of thinking that people always seem inclined to participate in, that is what turns off the majority of voters who choose to check out instead of participate, because getting wrapped up in a big fight against the enemy is an unappealing use of most people’s energies.
Getting inspired about possibilities and dreaming big, on the other hand, is more appealing and likely to captivate and engage more voters than petty arguments over differences of opinion in the national committee of a minor party that has hardly any elected officials at all nationally in the grand scheme of things.
Does it really matter?
Do people really care? If the amendment passes, will millions of people suddenly join the party and propel it to a force to be reckoned with?
I doubt it.
If they haven’t joined already, a small plank amendment on anti-capitalusm isn’t going to be the big trigger that thrusts millions of new members into the party that some claim it will be.
It does seem a little bit of a political tactic to rally a bunch of non-members to influence the party by claiming, “I would join the party if…”
If that’s the case, then why aren’t they already Green? Clearly we’re already the most socialist and anti-capitalist party in existence, so it appears almost as a fabricated and hollow threat to rally hundreds to say, “we will join if it passes.”
This amendment is not the magic wand that is going to suddenly attract the masses and propel us into major party status, as the sponsors of it so vigorously claim.
Other than the nasty vitriol coming from both sides vilifying a constructed “opposition,” this has been a good debate within the party.

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Myles June 10, 2016 at 10:04 am

I have not seen any vitriol come from the proponents. I have seen lots come from the right-wing, old guard opposition, and that is what they are. The writer says that the opposition is scattered, you must have missed that part. As well as lies and distortions from the opposition. Accusations that the Youth Caucus was “misused” the Womens’ Caucus was “misled”. Red-baiting. Also, you act as though these divisions are new. They are not. They have been in the Green party for a long time, even before 2004. This is a left-right divide, I know Greens hate that framing, but it is true.

And why shouldn’t the GNC listen to so many prospective Greens? So many who have signed the petition. Why do you dismiss over 1000 in two days? Why are some of you so eager to dismiss their voices and not take them into consideration? I suspect I know why. Some of you are out of touch and consider such support a threat.

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Myles June 10, 2016 at 10:07 am

And who said anything about millions? You are so eager to invent arguments from the proponents that were never made so that you can knock them down. That’s not really an honest tactic.

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Ben M June 10, 2016 at 2:16 pm

Myles, you seem a little quick to the trigger to attack my observation that there is a tendency among those who are within a dispute to frame things in a bi-polarity of two opposing extremes. I certainly respect your right to continue to portray the party as being a schism between a right and a left but I don’t honestly think that is so.
I’ve been in the party since 1992, and that’s just my opinion. The “left-right” and “us-them” oppositional polarity is a tendency that many in politics always tend to subscribe to–hence, the very reason most people in any party at all subscribe to the Democratic and Republican parties as their medium of democracy. Got to stop those Republicans by voting Democrat! Got to stop Obama by voting Republican! etc. etc.
I’m just calling for us to do better than this tit for tat. We are better than that. We have so much more in common to unite around than to get bogged down in wars against ourselves that are needlessly blown up to bigger proportions than they need to be.
You raise a good point about the millions. I perhaps presumed too much what the intentions were in roping others in, and blew it a bit out of context. Not dishonesty, not lying, just paraphrasing another’s intentions out of proportion. I can admit that, and know how to be humble when humbled.
Can others do the same?
Is this plank debate going to make or break the party? Will it be doomsday if it passes? Will it be doomsday if it doesn’t pass? Hardly.
People are acting like either outcome will spell the end of the party for us. Hardly.
We’re better than this. We’re not our own worst enemies.
That’s really most of what I’m trying to convey here.

Thanks!

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Mark Lause June 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Hmm. We have a resolution that some people favor and some people oppose. To acknowledge this reality isn’t necessarily to polarize the situation. In fact, the read a polarization into the observation probably contributes more to a polarization than the observation.

I am a lifelong socialist and favor this resolution, but I don’t think that, in itself, it will do much of anything. I’d rather us discuss doing things right now than how we might talk about what we should do at some future date.

In particular, I’d rather see concrete measures aimed at building a serious party organization. Flush the leadership of those who won’t lead towards a new party. Establish standards requiring local parties to be “parties.” Try to build an organization that actually bears some resemblance to our voting base.

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Brandy Baker June 12, 2016 at 6:38 am

When I first put the petition up, I was hoping that we would be lucky enough to get 50 signatures. I was thinking, “yeah, 50 would be great, we can show that there are some people who support this.”

A few months ago, when we were seeking co-sponsoring states and caucuses to support the amendment, we started to notice a trend: we were being contacted by young radicals of various stripes, a few Bernie people, most not, who said that they would join the Green Party if this passed. Some have helped us tremendously with lobbying efforts. We were telling Greens, including some in the opposition, that we had people reaching out to us saying that they would join if this passed. At the time, all that they had was our word to go on.

Even before the petition was officially put out, we had a hundred signatures. As I state in the article, we garnered over 1000 in two and a half days, the petition far exceeded our expectations with so many stating that they would join if this passed.

We never said that the amendment alone would being in “millions”, but people are telling us over and over that they will join if it passes. A woman from New Mexico contacted me personally this week and said that if it passes, she will join and help build and organize the New Mexico Green Party.

Even with their own words, there are those who continue to deride and ignore the signers. These are part of the grassroots activists that we are trying to bring in; that’s unfortunate. The amendment means something to them, and also the very large audience inside and outside the Party who have been watching all of this unfold. No other amendment has garnered this much interest. Many people, some I know, a lot whom I do not were contacting me saying, “what can I do to help get this passed?” I’ve never seen anything like this.

It’s pretty damned important, and it does differentiate us from progressive Democrats as people will see that we seek systemic change. It also shows that the long-seated, conservative old guard seated on the GNC is losing its grip on the Party.

When it passes, we’ll lose some liberals and social democrats. Okay. I think that this party has always tried to accommodate disaffected Democrats who want a kinder, gentler liberalism and revolutionaries. It is clear that it cannot continue to do so.

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Jonah Thomas June 12, 2016 at 7:17 am

“Okay. I think that this party has always tried to accommodate disaffected Democrats who want a kinder, gentler liberalism and revolutionaries. It is clear that it cannot continue to do so.”

Why not?

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Brandy Baker June 13, 2016 at 10:50 am

For those whose views are fluid, most people, we can, peoples’ views can shift over time……but those who are not, I don’t think we can.

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Mark Lause June 13, 2016 at 1:33 pm

What accommodating disaffected Democrats usually means is simply deferring to whatever they want. So you have state parties that simply don’t have any engaged memberships because they don’t see the goal so much as building a new party as arranging the periodic rare protest vote to kick the Democrats further left. Or safe state strategies. Or not holding public meetings and rallies..

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Jonah Thomas June 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm

“What accommodating disaffected Democrats usually means is simply deferring to whatever they want.”

There’s some value in moving the Democrats leftward toward the center. But that’s at best a short-term goal.

If you can get their attention you have a chance to pitch a new party to them. That can have some value too. When else are they more likely to be persuaded? But the ones whose attention spans are too short will just drift back to the Democrats.

I don’t know. At some point a lot of disaffected Democrats will be ready to build a new party right then, again with no thought for the long term. It would be good to have a plan ready, something that takes a whole lot of work and doesn’t take a lot of training, to funnel that enthusiasm into. Ready for whenever it comes. I don’t know yet what would be useful or how to organize it, but it would be very good to be ready for that event the year it happens.

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Anthony August 2, 2016 at 3:05 pm

I just recently switched to green party and over the last 5 or 6 years I have been researching Michael Albert and participatory economics. In my observation, the green party is in the best position to approach participatory economics but it must start with the conversation of anti-capitalism which the democratic and republican parties cannot even begin to have

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