The Green Party’s Political Independence Problem

by Tom MacMillan, Maine based activist, Socialist Party USA member , & former secretary of the Maine Independent Green Party on October 28, 2016

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As a rule, large capitalists are Republicans and small capitalists are Democrats, but workingmen must remember that they are all capitalists, and that the many small ones, like the fewer large ones, are all politically supporting their class interests, and this is always and everywhere the capitalist class” – renown labor leader and Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs (1900)

The Green Party asserts that it is the largest independent political organization on the Left in the United States and it does have a long history of successfully achieving ballot access. The Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, will appear on 44 state presidential ballots in November. By comparison, the next most successful Leftist presidential campaign is only on 8 ballots. Whereas the party’s size is not in dispute, its claims to political independence are much more tenuous. The Greens have a long history of working with the Democratic Party on both the state and national level. Most people, including an amazing group of activists coming of age with the 2016 election, see little hope in electoral activism. This is primarily due to the domination of the Democratic Party and the deference most established left activists give it. If the Left in the United States is to be successful in using electoral politics to engage people in the struggle to build another world, it must commit itself fully to the project of independence from capital and capitalist political parties. Political independence is about power; working within the Democratic Party is about weakness. The Green Party can either be a party for the working class majority or it can continue to exist as a party for the reformist middle class. Either way, radical values are on the rise and many are demanding action; we need a nationally organized and politically independent party to fight for the interests of the working class. To be effective, the Left must be more than an adjunct to the Democratic Party. The Greens, as the Left’s largest contingent, must make clear that workers, students and others fed up with the current state of affairs will not work within the capitalist system. Instead it must build an independent pro-worker base or be displaced by those who will.

The Green Party’s appearance as a major political movement began with the 2000 presidential election and their nomination of consumer activist Ralph Nader. After gaining the support of much of the Left that had previously supported Democrats, including celebrities, academics, certain labor unions, and even a host of newspapers and socialist organizations, Nader gained access to 43 state ballots and nearly 2.9 million votes by challenging George W. Bush and Al Gore. It was the first time since 1948 that a politically independent Leftist had topped 2% in a presidential election. Nader’s campaign established the Green Party as the major force on the electoral Left, but the Green Party itself was still in its infancy. In fact, the Green Party of the United States did not even form until after Nader’s presidential run. By directly challenging the entrenched two-party status quo and the hegemony of big business, Ralph Nader’s campaign tapped into the seething discontent felt by many in the U.S. in the neoliberal era.

From 1996 until 2001, what is now called the Green Party of the United States was an association of state parties with little internal cohesion. The GPUS, while a unified political party at the national level, has retained this overtly decentralized organizational strategy to present day. Because the party is not centrally organized and membership is not accountable to other state parties, all decision-making power outside of a national platform, is made at the state level. This state-centric approach, which may appear democratic, is actually a major hindrance. It allows local activists with significantly different visions of the party to make important decisions independent of national oversight, seriously undermining the organization’s credibility and its claims to political independence. Because of the decentralized organizational structure, reforming the Green Party is a nearly impossible task. It means fighting for control of dozens of state parties that are unlikely to give power back to a centralized organization.

In 2004, a strong majority of those involved in the Green Party’s presidential nomination process strongly favored nominating Ralph Nader once again. However, Nader did not devote much time to the Green Party in the years between the 2000 and 2004 elections, and did not formally enter the race for the Party’s nomination at their 2004 convention. Overriding the will of its membership, the 2004 GPUS convention instead nominated Texas attorney David Cobb. Cobb supported a “safe states” strategy which sought to build the Green Party but only challenge the capitalist parties in states in which either George W. Bush or John Kerry were purportedly assured to win, whereas now independent Nader sought to challenge the system in every state as he had as the previous Green nominee. Cobb and the Green Party’s internalization of the “spoiler” myth sacrificed the party’s momentum and instead sought to swing the election in favor of the Democrat. While the politically independent Nader easily won far more votes than Cobb, a divided and confused electoral left saw all of the gains from the 2000 election reversed. Thereafter, the electoral left sat in relative obscurity for almost a decade.

The 2016 election represents another high water mark for a rebounding Green Party, but with it comes the party’s inconsistent relationship with political independence. At no time was this more striking than when the Oklahoma Green Party formally endorsed Bernie Sanders prior to the Democratic Party’s March 1 primary. Following Sanders win in Colorado, that state’s Green Party claimed Sanders victory as their own. The Colorado Greens even encouraged Sanders to “continue pushing the Democratic Party leftward”, and to join the Green Party when they gave up. Their statement adds to the confusion of voters seeking real change by implying that working within the Democratic Party may eventually bring about economic and social justice, when in fact that same strategy has been tried and failed by generations of leftists. In June, likely presidential nominee Jill Stein called on California Democrats and independents to “build a revolution” by voting in the Democratic primary for Bernie Sanders. While Stein has been able to build a successful one-time electoral coalition of Sanders-supporting Democrats and Greens through an appeal to support Sanders, this stunning lack of political independence has encouraged an “inside-outside” strategy that is both self-defeating and confusing to newly-radicalized voters.

Taking a cue from Stein’s high profile endorsement of Bernie Sanders, state parties took the matter even further. In Connecticut, a Green candidate for the Connecticut Legislature accepted the nomination of the state Democratic Party and will appear on the ballot for both parties. In perhaps the most egregious attack on the Green Party’s call for political independence, the South Carolina Green Party nominated nearly the entire Democratic Party slate for Congress and those Democrats will appear on both ballot lines in November. To be sure, some state Green parties take political independence seriously. For example, the Green Party of New York regularly struggles to fight off Democrats and Republicans who seek to use the Green ballot line to swing the election in favor of their party. However, because of the Green Party’s internal structure, this fight is squarely at the state-level, and Greens elsewhere, including those on the national committee, are helpless to alter these actions, though they do much to undermine the value of political independence. Just as trust in the two-party system is at an all-time low, some Greens engaged in electoral fusion to prop it up.

The Green Party’s claim to political independence is a dubious one, at best. The many public instances of outright support for Democratic Party candidates, from an informal endorsement of pro-Iraq War presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 through the nomination of South Carolina Democratic congressional candidates in 2016, undermine the Greens claims to opposition to the current economic and political order. While surely they are a separate organization outside of the Democratic and Republican parties, organizationally, the Greens have shown far too much willingness to enter into the Democratic Party’s internal politics.

If the Left is to rebuild itself into an important force in the United States, it’s unclear what role the Greens will have in that rebuilding. Greens, spurred by an influx of Leftists, may be able to reform their party internally and place it on solid footing by embracing the time-honored and proven methods of political organizing, such as establishing a national membership system and placing a stronger emphasis on party unity and internal democracy. Indeed, there is a movement voiced most notably by Howie Hawkins of New York to do just that. However, accomplishing that monumental task is unlikely and those who support political independence will likely need to leave the Green Party and join with other socialist groups to form a new political organization that will fight for a truly independent working class party. With Stein appearing likely to win an historic number of votes in the 2016 presidential election, the issue of political independence and the burgeoning Left has never been more important. If we are to translate the millions of people who are willing to cast their votes outside of the two party duopoly into actual political power, the debate around what a truly Leftist electoral movement looks like must begin.[The picture courtesy of the Bangor Daily News]

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea Merida October 28, 2016 at 3:02 am

I’m not going to mince words. Your reading of our position in Colorado is factually incorrect. I wrote the position myself, and the intent was to be gracious to Sanders supporters who were bombarding us to support him post-Super Tuesday but to establish our clear independence and rationale for not supporting him or his party.

Pull down this article until you actually read our statement.

Andrea Merida
Co-Chair, Green Party of Colorado
Green Party of the United States

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Brandy Baker October 28, 2016 at 10:24 am

Agree, most of this article is spot-on, but Colorado does not have a problem with independence from the two parties. Why? Because it has a strong and active left-wing that fights to stay independent. Every Colorado Green that I have met is a solid leftist who sees the importance of independence. Listing Colorado is not factual.

Maine, Oklahoma, California, and other states do very much have a problem with independence. Maryland is shaky and we need to firm it up, but locally, Greens who try to bring it up are targeted by leadership, but bring it up anyway! And we are too candidate-focused, we need to be more focused on Party-building and not solely about elections.

Point is, we are 45 to 50 separate entities and we absolutely cannot run a party this way, we will not be successful. Decentralization to a point is good, it allows for local creativity, but pure decentralization gives us a complete mess. Pure decentralization is a white, middle-class luxury and borne of bratty new-left individualism. It does not give way to cooperative planning or cooperative action. Working people do not respect disorganization and the insistence of some to keep things disorganized. They do not think that it is cute and funny and it is not cute and funny. This Party is a social club for some of the Old Guard, for us new leftists who are trying to build it, it is a matter of life and death.

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Tom MacMillan October 28, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Andrea and all,

Calling for the Democratic Party to be pushed leftward by Bernie Sanders is a call to reform that capitalist institution and a break in political independence. Whatever was the intent in your state party’s call for him to do so is besides the point. To be relevant, the Left needs to fully divorce itself from Democratic Party politics. Hopefully LeftElect is positive in that direction. Hopefully you, Brandy and others will also be successful in your efforts.
I will support you from where I am and look forward to working together as is possible in the future.

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Brandy Baker October 28, 2016 at 5:47 pm

Tom, by your own admission, you did not even read the press release until after this article was written.

It was written by Andrea, one of the biggest champions of Green independence from the Dems and GOP who has done way more for the Party than you ever have. You told me months ago that you were done with the Greens. Delegates from Colorado were furious and ready to go uncommitted when Jill endorsed Bernie.

You take one sentence in isolation. Andrea was saying that keep trying, we’re here when you are done. Everyone knew that he was not going to win. She handled it very intelligently, which is more than I can saw for you.

Here is another piece she wrote two days before: http://coloradogreenparty.org/colorado-greens-ask-bernie-supporters-to-consider-a-plan-b/

And Tom, why did you get yourself added on our internal communications a few days ago? You just got off today after the article was published, you have seen what our plans are regarding addressing these issues around independence (have the decency to not say, please), that gave you the idea to write this piece. You had no right to be privvy to our information if your future is not with the GP. I would not get on the internal communications of any organization I was not a part of, such behavior would be unethical. You turned the gun on your allies, when there are many examples of Greens fusing with Dems, your own state being the most stark example on many, many occasions. Greens in your state are bypassing a socialist Green for a Democrat who is stumping for Hillary!

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Brandy Baker October 28, 2016 at 5:48 pm

*until after the article was written and published.

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Dennis Brasky October 28, 2016 at 10:20 am

On the Nader run in 2004 – I spoke with him on Election Night that year, and he told me that the GP national leadership was badly “burned” by the denunciations of liberal Democrats for “putting Bush into the White House.” They offered him the nomination IF he accepted the “safe states” formula – pulling out of races at the last minute where the polls showed it to be close between the two corporate parties and urging a vote for the “lesser evil.” Nader has his own political shortcomings, but to his credit he refused, calling this move “unethical.” The leaders then plucked a no-name supporter of safe states (Cobb) out of obscurity and ran him, while Nader teamed up with Peter Camejo to run a model independent campaign.

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Andres Gonzalez October 28, 2016 at 10:51 am

From what I have seen ,: Green parties are inconsistent Looking in from the outside sometimes I feel that some of it’s candidates are just using a ballot line and have not even been educated on Green political positions. Many times I would not even know that they were GP candidates until you see them on the ballot. I had great enthusiasm with the results of the Nader campaign in 2000 , but apparently many Greens thought otherwise and bent to Democratic Party pressure to adopt the “safe state”strategy which only seemed like a strategy of capitulation That caused me to lose interest.

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John Smith October 28, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Thank you for this piece.
Much of the Left in their eagerness to reject the Democrats doesn’t seem to have taken a very close look at what the Greens have done. It just has become a reflex to support the Greens every four years, rail against lesser evilism and then basically ignore electoral politics again until the next presidential election. If the Left really doe see the Greens as being the electoral expression of the Left in the U.S., there needs to be a lot more involvement in things besides a protest vote for a presidential candidate.
How much progress has the Green Party made since 2000? What are the lessons learned? Is the Green Party today in any appreciable better position to play any kind of role as an electoral formation than they were in 2000?
Also, didn’t the Colorado Greens also not run the McKinney/Clemente ticket in 2008? What was the fallout of that? Clemente mentioned this on the Politically Incorrect podcast interview she did.
The Cobb fiasco in 2004 illustrated how the decentralized nature of the organization made it painfully easy to get co-opted by the Democrats. What would prevent that from happening again?
Moreover, don’t we also have to assess how the Green Party has functioned globally? In other nations they have seats in legislatures and have been part of coalition governments. What’s the actual record of Green Parties in power? Are they any more than another center/left party?

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Andres Gonzalez October 28, 2016 at 2:47 pm

I don’t look at the Green parties abroad and try to emulate what they have done, because in some places they have taken at times right wing positions. But in the US since there isn’t a mass socialist or labor party the Green Party has the opportunity to put those same forces into a broad left party. Just don’t know if enough of GP members realize that , much less have that perspective.

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Manuel Barrera, PhD October 28, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Exactly what motion has been created to set up a movement to “join with other socialist groups to form a new political organization that will fight for a truly independent working class party.” That such a movement–and eventual party of the united struggles– “must begin” is fairly clear, and for many years. It seems that there is a paradox between this need and the fact of many sectarian socialist groups, the few opportunist ones (e.g., CP and SP,not to mention SAlt and many Maoists) all oriented toward their own implosive self-promotion. There is truly much disorientation and it is unconscionable among people who truly should know better, but I for one have been willing for some time to make the effort. But every time something promises to get started, we end up with “twists and turns” that it becomes clear will result in dead ends.
I’m looking to see how emerging conscious layers (like activists in BLM, pro-Syrian solidarity activists, others) might find a way toward collaboration with seasoned revolutionaries willing to cede leadership for the sake of moving forward. I remain hopeful. But damn!

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David Keil October 28, 2016 at 4:26 pm

One option is LeftElect, a coalition of left groups and others that held a conference in 2015 and plans another in March 2017 to form an alliance to oppose the capitalist two-party system (www.LeftElect.net).

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Brandy Baker October 28, 2016 at 5:08 pm

The Green Party has problems, but I hope that people are not going to look to organizationally narcissistic, rape-shielding, dying on the vine socialist sects for any answers.

These sectarians gleefully post articles like this and take joy that the country’s largest socialist party, the Green Party has problems. They breathe a sigh of relief that the Greens are not further along politically, though the Greens have done much more then all of the sects put together.

There are way many more socialists in the Green Party than all of these self-important sects put together. These sects whose self-appointed leaders have been in power since the 70s, 80s, and 90s and emotionally abuse their members into agreeing with everything that they say.

There is no future in the two party system, but there is no future with these sects, either.

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Brandy Baker October 28, 2016 at 5:08 pm

The Green Party has problems, but I hope that people are not going to look to organizationally narcissistic, rape-shielding, dying on the vine socialist sects for any answers.

These sectarians gleefully post articles like this and take joy that the country’s largest socialist party, the Green Party has problems. They breathe a sigh of relief that the Greens are not further along politically, though the Greens have done much more then all of the sects put together.

There are way many more socialists in the Green Party than all of these self-important sects put together. These sects whose self-appointed leaders have been in power since the 70s, 80s, and 90s and emotionally abuse their members into agreeing with everything that they say.

There is no future in the two party system, but there is no future with these sects, either.

Women are not safe in some of these groups.

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Manuel Barrera, PhD October 28, 2016 at 6:07 pm

Thanks, Brandy
I for one appreciate the rejoinder and do agree that the future lies more with current and future radicals inside, outside, and away from the greens and not with the sectarian left. I wish that the issue of safety for women in politics was as simple as the problem of sexism in the “left”, but I am sure you agree that it is not. However, just like believing that being “anti racist” or being a person of color somehow makes you immune from doing racist things, so, too is it foolish to believe that being a socialist makes you immune to sexism. Neither of these, however, means that making mistakes of principle should hold any of us immune to criticism just because one is “trying” to do the right thing.
The proof will be in what happens next for the green party. I hope it can be turned into true mass party that mobilizes beyond in addition to elections and remains independent of capitalist politics. Somehow I don’t believe it will be that simple, but your and others’ efforts will be necessary regardless. I hope to see you on that “line” should it happen.

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Andrea Merida October 28, 2016 at 6:09 pm

Let’s be honest here, MacMillan. You did not read our actual release. You skimmed a secondary piece that reacted to our press release. You didn’t bother to fact-check or ask for clarification or even bother to weigh out the other evidence, which should have included a look at our bylaws, which specifically delineate expectations for locals and which should have included the other piece released that day.

No, this was a lazy piece.

Here are the other items you should have reviewed, if your intent was to be fair and offer helpful critique:

http://coloradogreenparty.org/about/bylaws/

http://coloradogreenparty.org/colorado-greens-ask-bernie-supporters-to-consider-a-plan-b/

Colorado was a co-sponsor of Green proposal 835, which explicitly sets us up as an anti-capitalist party. But you didn’t notice that, did you?

No other Green state party has criteria for affiliation as clear as ours, listed in our bylaws. We wrote those in response to internal liberal calls to go as far as endorsing Sanders. I challenge you to find other examples as explicit…but then again, you left the Greens.

Why didn’t you critique your own former state party, the Maine Greens? If you wanted an example of selling out to the Democrats, that would be it.

This piece is lazy and insulting and I continue to insist that you should eliminate mention of my state party, of which I am the co-chair.

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Brandy October 28, 2016 at 11:20 pm

I still want to know why someone who left the Greens got on our internal discussion list a couple of days ago and saw our extensive discussions about the independence issue and how we should about addressing it. Reading that lengthy discussion by many is what likely led to this piece. When I saw today that the article was posted, I was very, very surprised to see that Tom was commenting on this GP internal list that is *only* for current members seeking to build the Party. I would never join a forum of an organization that I was not part of.

Those not attached to any of this understandably may not care, I get that……but my point is: don’t expect to do the above, birth an article from invading the space of working Green organizers that accuses some of those same organizers of supporting the Democrats, and not have people get very angry.

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Jacob October 29, 2016 at 6:30 am

Agree with Brandy and Andrea. Ex-Green Tom is now trashing leftist Greens and slandering them on-line when it was he who invaded their members-only space, that’s harassment and a violation. They were minding their own business and bothering no one. He is now trying to start a war with them but they are not showing up on the battlefield. The rest of the article is good, but why is Tom trying to war with the commie Greens who also think that the party has an independence problem? Why not go after the liberals? This is how toxic and sick sectarians are. The Greens should just continue to move on from this and not show up to this fight. The Greens have better things to do than to indulge this moron. Fortunately, most of the Socialist Party members that I have met are better than this. What nonsense.

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Like Buttah October 29, 2016 at 10:11 am

I’m sorry you guys got burned. I understand the frustration. The sectarian left is very treacherous and is known for pulling stuff like this. They are jealous and vicious. Then, they wonder why no one wants to join their organizations. This was a dirty thing. Frankly, it is a great advertisement for why someone should join the Green Party instead. Who wants to be exposed to stuff like this? Any large group like the Green Party is going to have problems. They can be fixed. Sectarians cannot be fixed.

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Arthur Maglin October 28, 2016 at 6:51 pm

Tom MacMillan charactarizes the Green Party thusly, “The Green Party can either be a party for the working class majority or it can continue to exist as a party for the reformist middle class.” He makes no attempt to explain how this characterization applies to what is now also calling itself a socialist organization with a very left wing program. Further, he complains about how the Green Party has too much decentralization, which may be true, but that is often made as a charge against his own organization, the Socialist Party. I recently heard an election forum in New York City, for instance, in which the SP representative, instead of supporting his party’s candidate, spent his time questioning the value of socialists running in election campaigns. Prominent members of the the Socialist Party have openly supported Democrats since the party was founded in 1973. As for the rest of the socialist left, mistakes around the Bernie Sanders campaign were rife and very few organizations of the the Left can claim purity. The point overall is that with all of its messiness, the Green Party is currently our best chance to rally the forces of the Left and those that are moving Leftward. An internal struggle to improve the GP to make it a better vehicle is imperative. Abstention from this struggle because it isn’t already won is foolish.

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Mike October 28, 2016 at 8:50 pm

when Tom Mcmillan was chair of the Portland Green Party, and an independent coalition of socialists, anarchists, greens and otherwise unaffiliated workers were leading the local 15 Now! charge, Tom and the Greens took it over, kicked out the socialists, and the anarchists, and everyone not a member of the green party. It was very iron handed, and smack in the face of his analysis here.

If he believes in independence of working class struggle, then at what point will he atone for his past hijacking of independent working class efforts, in failed attempt to win reforms, and grow the green party? He has yet to acknowledge his fuckup, and yet to take responsibility. waiting…

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Seth October 29, 2016 at 11:28 am

If people want to disagree with this piece or Tom’s ideas, I have no problem with that. Let’s debate the issues and grow the left. This post above for Mike is pure slander, none of it is true. Mike loves to do this to everybody he disagrees with in greater Portland, make up the worst lies and post them all over. For better or worse nobody gets kicked out of the Portland or Maine greens.

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John Mclaren October 28, 2016 at 9:32 pm

The green party is founded on principals, not centralised power. It’s actually more independent and flexible, and can appear anywhere values overlap. It’s a different, more evolved animal.

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Manuel October 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm

I appreciate Art’s contribution to address the issues of working toward a democratic mass anti-capitalist party, which he believes (and at this point, I must concur) that such an event is best addressed to by working to build a truly independent and democratic Green Party. Our choices are few devoid of any greater motion on the part of larger struggles (anti-DAPL, BLM) to create political organizations that challenge the political rule of the forces that oppress us all. Stein remains the best alternative during the elections and the Green Party remains a viable arena for building political and revolutionary alliances. We need to remove from our side view the notion that the various sectarian and opportunist left organizations represent any meaningful potential for alliances or direct alternatives. They ALL have proven their failures many times over.
Brandy and Andrea, you are indeed doing good work to navigate the murky waters of an amorphous party. However, it is really UNimportant whether somebody got into your mailing lists. What is infinitely more important is how you, and we, can leverage the opportunity to engage revolutionaries on this list and perhaps others to engage in a process for accomplishing what we all hope to see; a revolutionary democratic political organization that can reflect the leaderships of veritable struggles in both the political and mass movement spheres and promotes the solidarity and collective effort that builds on each area of struggle. Indeed, some of this is already happening; the Anti-DAPL movement of indigenous people in U.S. has garnered the solidarity and commitment of indigenous people in Latin America AND the solidarity and support of fighters against racist police violence (BLM joining Anti-DAPL in their fight). There are efforts from some elements of the sectarian left striving to build solidarity with the Syrian people’s democratic revolution and though their efforts are marked by some of their own sectarian interests, there efforts at solidarity are a MATERIAL basis for their breaking with the sectarianism that has marked the so-called Left.

All of these reflect opportunities for true revolutionaries regardless of affiliation on non-affiliation and we should attempt to unite all these into a political party of struggle. Perhaps the Green Party will not be that vehicle, but I doubt that the ultimate development of such a party will not involve what is being done right now in the Stein campaign and the efforts of people like Brandy and Andrea.

In that context, the article by Macmillan may have served a purpose albeit not either his or others’ intentions. It does not matter if Tom is an opportunist or provoker of dissension. What matters is that we get to a better place in our common struggle. To do that, we need discussion and interaction. It cannot be exclusive.

You are correct Brandy that for many of us who aren’t involved in the nuances of any group, the issue whether someone used an ill-gotten privilege to write a paper is never as important as the issue itself. Perhaps Macmillan had other dishonest motives and his points are not credible or actually reflective of the reality of the Green Party in Colorado. So what? The discussion is here and you have adequately defended your actions in trying work within your organization. It is far better to move beyond ill-conceived political points and assert leadership, and ownership, of the “high ground” for independent political action.

Building an anti-capitalist party is much more difficult than asserting that there should be one, so, I applaud your efforts to fight for that end. The question remains whether the terms “independent political action” mean the same thing to all of us or not? It may be true that there are different reformist and revolutionary forces all within the “big tent” (sic) of the Green Party (or of the SP, for that matter). What matters is the struggle for achieving an independent political party and whether our individual or group decisions take us in that direction or not.

It’s a tricky business walking the “class line” in any organization or movement. We need each other to help us make the right decisions or learn from our wrong decisions. I don’t know whether a statement on one piece of paper really conveys a correct perspective or reflects a deliberate effort to move in the best direction possible given the options at a particular time. I have been in meetings and conventions where a particular decision appeared “reformist’ but reflected a tactical decision that spurred revolutionary politics forward. I assume unconditional positive regard in any activist’s intentions even if their efforts may have proved ineffective or ill-fated. I urge everyone to assume that as well and then deal with the issue at hand. How to support the effort to build a revolutionary democratic counterforce to the true enemies of working and oppressed people, the international capitalist class.

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Like Buttah October 29, 2016 at 3:22 pm

I think that there does need to be an unwritten code of conduct in how revolutionaries deal with one another and we all should be comradely, and tapping into the internal communications, I am not sure of it is an email list, chain,or a social media page or what, but it does not matter, of another left organization is a pretty dirty and rotten thing to do, and yes, it is important to know. Why would anyone even want to do something like that? I am glad to know that is the source of the article. I think we could see a far superior analysis of the Greens from someone who does not have an ax to grind as this writer clearly does. I don’t know any of these people on here, but I think that this was brought this up to point out, as is said above, that the guns are being turned inward and that it is destructive. Sectarians write articles like this sometimes to hit groups and the Greens have been getting hit a lot by envious sectarians this election season. We’re all going to have to work well together after Hillary and dirty tactics to not help to forge alliances.

This article has not only opened up a discussion of how we should view and orient to the Greens, but how we should treat others on the left, that is just as important.

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Brandy October 29, 2016 at 4:02 pm

I’m not trying to score any political points, Manuel, that is really not my style, I was just caught off guard, deer in the headlights, that is what you are seeing above. I consider that specific topic to be a closed and finished matter, and I think we all should move on from it.

Moving on to what is actually important, to the question of the Greens, I am not sure why people write them off because they are not perfectly formed. For the level of decentralization, lack of funding, and hostile environment, the US, that they have had to work in, the fact that they are still around is amazing. I think that people give up too soon when they do not become a perfect organization right away. If you find people like yourself who want to change the Party, you easily can. Working the polls this coming week, we will meet with many working people we can talk to about the GP, which I think goes further than really any other left electoral vehicle has in our lifetimes.

It is going to take a lot of work and effort and it will not be easy. We are not going to get instantaneous gratification here.

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Manuel Barrera, PhD October 29, 2016 at 5:29 pm

agreed, and thanks, Brandy.

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Sean O'Torain October 29, 2016 at 3:40 pm

In this election, one in which there are tens of millions looking for an alternative, unless there is going to be some unimaginable surprise the Green Party will do very badly. I believe there has to be three major changes made in the GP. One its eco socialist platform has to be explained and fought for and explained that it means a world economy based on, owned by and controlled and run by the working class. This was not done by the GP in the elections. The GP has been to the right of Sanders in reality. The second change that has to be made is that the GP has to come out openly and state that it wants to build itself as a workers party. That is represent the working class, be the party of the working class, put down its foundations in the rank and file of the unions, (not the union bureaucracy), in the workplaces, in the communities and the schools and colleges. And state openly that it is for the international working class to run the world not the international capitalist class. And thirdly the internal life has to be changed from the consensus decentralized undemocratic model to one where decisions are taken on the basis of majority vote with minority opinions always having the right to be heard. These are the steps necessary to give the GP a future. I fight for these three points and want to build an organized non sectarian current within the GP on these three points. I would like to work with others on this basis. Unless these steps are taken the GP will have no future. If it could not win a decent vote in this election when there was such a demand for an alternative to the two capitalist party monopoly then it will either change fundamentally or it will have no future. Sean O’Torain.

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Andrew Stewart October 31, 2016 at 9:39 pm

There is a certain thing going on and I am not certain if others have caught this. For all intents and purposes, I get the impression that Jill Stein has been positioning herself since July to become the Occupy candidate. Obama did that in 2012 by calling Romney a “1%-er”. Sanders did that over the past year by doing the same thing but also having a bit more meat on the bone. Now Stein and Baraka are angling for that same Millenial Occupy Wall Street populist vote. Does it seem like that is where all the state parties and everyone are?

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Manuel Barrera, PhD October 29, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Nicely put, Like and Sean. I concur with both sentiments and the efforts of Brandy and Andrea to work toward a united revolutionary Green Party that looks outward. Those 3 points of Sean’s are appropriate, especially if it gives everyone a chance to challenge the political points with which we may disagree but do not rise to our unwillingness to unite behind a common banner and goal. It is difficult terrain to walk and I do not believe any of us no matter how old have trod it. We may make blunders, but if we try and fail, it will not be a failure in the end if we keep going and try to get things “right”.

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