Future Focus for the Green Party (an open thread)

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente both state that they are in this race to build a movement. Others have said that a vote for McKinney & Clemente is a vote toward party building and movement building.

Where is the Green Party heading? How has 2008 been different than 2004? How does 2008 impact 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012?

It has been pointed out that Green Party candidates in America have declined in numbers compared to other Parties, particularly the Libertarians, but how do you explain the growth of Green Party candidates in Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, the heartland of America? How does this “heartland” growth coincide with the perception that the Green Party is now the Black, Brown and Green Party (with Red Socialism tucked inside…)? Will we see a surge in candidates over the next two years?

Where will the Green Party fit in the post-election political landscape? With the Wall Street Bailout and looming Peak Oil, will New Urbanism, Sustainability, & Local Economics become key issues that the Green Party can wrap around? Will the war(s) ever end? How will the Green Party influence the urgency of health care, alternative energy, and green jobs? What about the housing crisis? will the Green Party be offering solutions that resonate with the American people?

What should Greens in America do?

Here is Head Roc, Change in America:

This is an Open Thread (but aren’t they are?), please speak your mind.

Ronald Hardy


  1. In the wake of 9/11, the Green Party played a leading role in a vibrant, progressive anti-war movement for peace and justice. Over the next few years, the energy of that movement was dissipated after being deflected first into the Kerry campaign and then into the campaign for Democratic Party control of Congress.

    With progressives divided and confused, the 2008 presidential campaign began with the reactionary right-wing libertarian Ron Paul as the effective standard-bearer for the anti-war position. As a result, many of Paul’s views, and the views of some of his even more frightening supporters, have made their way into the political discourse of supposed progressives.

    As I see it, the Green Party has two options. We can opportunistically hop on the right-wing populist bandwagon in order to attract support from the Paul camp, or we can stake out a firm, independent, progressive agenda of opposition to the Democrats from the left.

    In my view, the latter is the appropriately future-focused option.

  2. I think we must stake out a firm, independent, progressive agenda of opposition to the democrats from the left! I am looking forward what we are gonna hear from the rightwing Hillary Clinton and her democrat friends!

  3. i would like to see nader, mckinney, leaders from the bigger socialist parties, and some of the leaders major social movement come together and organize a new umbrella party, each party could maintain their own infrastructure, but would network into a mass party.

    either way and push after this election should come after it becomes obvious to the American public that “change” is not going to come

  4. The answer isn’t more parties. I chose this party – and am happy with it – based on its solid principles and internationalist vision for progress. The Green party will keep growing as long as we keep reaching out, because the values of peace, justice, democracy and sustainability are more widespread than you may think.
    The establishment (political, media, business, academic, pick one) wants us to apologize for being Green, but as long as we are not shy about spreading the message, we’ll keep growing because it just makes too much sense.
    It’s time to think big by thinking small – yes, run candidates for governor, which galvanizes state parties and spreads the message, but also zone in on winnable local, municipal and state races that Greens can win.
    In congressional districts where Repubs get 25%, run Greens against corporate Dems, following the fine example of Gordon Clark.
    Tap into the still-kicking progressive movement roused by McKinney and Nader and show them that their energy is good for more than long-shot presidential races… Greens can and do win elections fueled by people power, and they are making their presence felt around the world.
    The Democrats will fumble again and again. Nuclear and coal? *fumble* Afghanistan? *fumble* economic policy? healthcare? *fumble* I could go on and on, but the point is: let’s position ourselves to pick up those fumbles and run with them!

  5. By the way, if you like talking elections and strategy, check out the Green Change Election Night party:

    Green Change is holding an online party on Election Night, Tuesday Nov. 4th, from 6 pm onwards. There, we’ll share results, network, and discuss how to build the Green movement beyond Election Day. To see more details, go to http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/1488/t/338/signUp.jsp?key=2052

    In addition to guest bloggers from around the US, our election night party will feature:
    * A live chat room with Greens from around the world
    * Breaking results from top Green races around the country
    * Discussion of 2008 results as well as future strategy
    * Pictures, videos, music and more

  6. One problem I have with Green Change is the topics they cover. Take a look at their “tag cloud” and you will find the names “Ralph Nader”, “Barack Obama”, “Hillary Clinton”, “John McCain”, “Nancy Pelosi”, and “Harry Reid”, but what you will NOT see is even one single Green name.

    Not Cynthia McKinney. Not Rosa Clemente.

    Not any of the hundreds of Green Party candidates from all across the nation.

    Not so sure that is the sort of “Green change” I’m interested in.

  7. In fact, I just used their search function at the website, and the names “Rosa Clemente” and “Cynthia McKinney” didn’t turn up a single mention.

    To be honest, I don’t even know why we link to the site, and I certainly don’t intend to play in their sandbox.

  8. I don’t think we can or should pick particular issues that the Green Party of the United States should focus on to build support after 2008. We are less centralized than the other major and minor parties and candidates and so far have had difficulties establishing a national agenda and message. I don’t think working to create a common national agenda is a bad thing but I think there are more immediate concerns that we should focus on right away.

    I think we need to work on universal ballot access right now. We will grow according to all measures (registration, number of candidates on all levels, vote percentage, etc) if we start working toward winning ballot access in all 50 states. There are many states where parties can win ballot access in non-election years and we need to be working on that so when the 2012 election approaches we have ballot access in 30-40 states instead of the 21 we were on when we started petitioning for 2008.

    I don’t think it is a coincidence that our electoral efforts are strongest in Illinois and Arkansas, where we completed strong ballot access drives in 2006 and 2007. To collect 20-30,000 signatures you need to build the kind of ground organization that results in more and better candidates in following years. This is what we’ve done in a few states and have to do a national basis.

    It will be harder to ignore us when we have universal ballot access and everyone in the United States can vote for the Green Party.

  9. I think candidate development needs to be a priority. It will help with ballot access issues if we actually have candidates to run. I think running credible candidates at any level must be a priority if we’re going to grow.

  10. That is how the Green Party should grow over the next four to eight years. The ruling Democrats will not give the USA universal health care even though the majority of the population wants it, because the Democrats have been bought off by the super rich. And will the Democrats even withdraw (completely) from Iraq? That also remains to be seen. We also need to call for the elimination of the fascist Taft-Hartley Act and build stronger support amongst organized labor.

    Hopefully the GP will run candidates at every level, and gain many more elected members at the local and state level.

  11. Gregg,

    I’m sorry that you weren’t satisfied with Green Change. Let me try to address your concerns, so that hopefully your next visit will be more enjoyable.

    The tag cloud is linked to tags that are attached to the news stories that we post to the site. These news stories come from all over, and many are from the mainstream media, which is still not giving Green candidates the coverage they deserve. Since Green Party Watch already does a fine job of highlighting stories about US Greens in the news, Green Change selects a broader range of stories that we think would be of interest to all people with Green values – some of whom wouldn’t necessarily follow Green Party electoral news.
    To put it another way: every day, somewhere in the mainstream media there is a story with a legitimate Green criticism of Barack Obama; say, “Obama backs coal and nuclear” or “Obama wants to expand military and expand wars”. Green Change features those stories, and people who search for “Obama” won’t just see Democrat cheerleaders and racist, xenophobic right-wing bunk – they’ll also see our site with legitimate progressive criticism of Obama. For those who want to monitor Obama’s betrayals of progressives, they could even bookmark our site. The fact that Barack Obama is prominent in our tag cloud certainly doesn’t mean that we like him the best.
    I’m puzzled as to why your Green candidate search didn’t yield any results. One of the last stories I read on Green Change was David Cobb’s endorsement of Cynthia McKinney from the Arcata Eye. Also, right on the front page there is a fundraising appeal for Mark Sanchez – and we have also recently raised money for Jesse Johnson.
    GPW does a great job of posting news and commentary for the Green political junkie – I thank you for that. However, I think we can all agree that a responsible activist should do more than just root for the home team… we also need news about issues, and the truth (which always hurts) about the opposition. GPW provides the former, Green Change offers the latter – yin and yang, my friend.

    Moreover, it sounds like you only got so far as greenchange.org, without proceeding to the Green Change Network. That is where you will find hundreds of Green activists constantly feeding material into our growing base of collective knowledge. That is also where you will find people closely watching Green candidates and planning how to win even more elections and even more campaigns. To see our 21 candidates to watch on Nov 4, go here:

    In organizing people, you can’t always pull them directly into the thick of things; how many people have recruited friends to the Green Party by inviting them to a state committee meeting? Green Change is about approaching people who should be Green but aren’t, and showing them why they should be. We want people who search for ‘mountaintop removal’ to find our site, and then click on ‘what can I do?’ and find Jesse Johnson waiting for their support. Get it?

    I hope you find your way back to the site soon – Peace :)

  12. GF…I don’t have to like everything any particular Green does. I don’t care for the focus of Green Change. I don’t believe the people involved are committed to the Green Party. I have never trusted some of the top people involved. Then again, I am sure there are people who don’t trust me, and by extension don’t trust GPW.

    The people who make up Green Change should make the decisions about what goes on there. I have no desire to make it different. I have plenty on my plate as is. :-)

  13. Anent Left Opposition to the Democrats: Agreed. Also, might we Greens not want to revisit and rethink our ban on campaign money from labor unions? Build coalitions between labor activists and environmentalists? Between labor activists and green enterprises that could open up new jobs in communitites? Our platform calls for green, community-based enterprises, why shouldn’t those new jobs be union jobs?
    Once in power the Democrats won’t give working people, the peace movement, political refromers, or environmentalists what they want. That much we can forecast after they were given control of Congress in ’06 and proceeded to refinance Bush’s wars. As an opposition party, they haven’t got the knack of the thing, to say the least. I don’t expect an Obama administration (assuming this election won’t be stolen like the last two) to take any dramatic left turns, considering he wants to appoint Republicans in his cabinet and the positions he’s taken that line up with Bush.
    Let’s put our thinking caps on after this election
    All I am suggesting here is, let’s not slam doors shut. To succeed we need to build a new coalition

  14. yo, i am ready for next steps, what ever those steps are, lets start stepping. i will participate in election night postings and more updates this week. i am working on another version of the documentary “3rd Eye Wisdom.” Musically, we are trying to link up with other artists to put out a green party album, with some new original music including “run” of course. also i am trying to set up a northern California green party think tank to get some discussion, action planning, and some new media, get things moving, anyone interested can email me. joetruss@gmail.com

    by the way, we have to work with the resources that we have, alot of criticism can be said about GPW if you are looking for it, but the bottom line we have to use what we have. Green Change is fuctional, and its what we make of it. GP.org is fuctional, and it needs to be improved but im sure they need alot of help. we need more blogs, so enough of the bickering and back and forth, lets work to take this to the next level. who’s with me(us)?

  15. Some Green Party values: grassroots democracy, decentralism, personal accountability.

    The Internet has enabled Greens globally to network green to green, group to group. It is so easy now to share ideas, learn from each other, and build networks based on common goals.

    We started Green Party Watch for one primary reason – to bring attention to Green Party campaigns and activities around the USA. The Media Blackout of Green Party candidates has never been more apparent than how Cynthia McKinney has been shut down by corporate media.

    I really like what Green Change is doing, I think they are doing what we are doing, bringing exposure to Green Party issues and attempting to attract people to the Green Party message. We need more sites doing this. The networking part of Green Change is far beyond what GPW is capable of, and I’m very interested in how that can be used by Greens. I’m signed up there.

    So long and short of it – GPW and Green Change are NOT in competition, we are both working for the same cause. Gregg and I agree completely that he and I don’t have to agree on everything in order to get along. It is important for Greens to listen to each other and respect each other even when we disagree. The Movement is bigger than us, it is bigger than individuals.

  16. Using internet is simple as hell. But I can tell y ou right now, it can be very hard, if you are the first time user.
    So, first thing I suggest – open the Explorer, and type in the address you like.
    You’ll get there really fast, it depends on your connection speed.
    Good luck.

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