Over the Fourth of July Weekend, my young daughter and I learned how to play the video game Spore together. It’s a wonderfully flexible game, in which players can choose to advance through the levels in a very Green way, making friends and allies and never getting into a fight.
My daughter is only four years old, but she learned one lesson very quickly: Whenever two creatures of the same kind meet, and they like each other, they lay an egg. I would like local Green Party activists to learn the same lesson.
Yesterday, there were meetings of three separate Green Party organizations in Arizona: The Mesa Greens, the Green Party of Pima County and the University of Arizona Campus Greens. Those meetings were great, I’m sure, but the rest of the world won’t have the chance to find out about that, because there were no news reporters present to write about them.
There are two groups of people who share responsibility for that. There’s the mainstream media, yes, which we Green Party members love to complain about. But where was the Green Party media?
Honestly, I don’t think that anyone here at Green Party Watch has the money to fly over to Arizona just in order to report on what happened at those meetings in Arizona yesterday. Besides that, it wouldn’t be a very sustainable use of energy.
Instead, Green Party media is going to have to work the way that Green Party political campaigns do: From the bottom up. In addition to the mainstream media, the Arizona Greens who attended those meetings yesterday share responsibility for the lack of news about their events. Every person in attendance could have acted as a reporter.
It’s like playing Spore: Every time that two Greens meet, they need to lay an egg. They need to write about that meeting, and make news of their activities available to the world. They need to get the news online, so that writers at places like Green Party Watch can write articles here, though they’re not jetting all over the country to gather the information in person.
They need to issue a press release too, and send it to the local mainstream media. When organizations hold meetings, but don’t issue press releases, they’re sending a message to local reporters anyway. The message is that the organization isn’t doing anything newsworthy. If you don’t think that your local Green Party’s meetings involve anything worth writing a press release about, then that’s a good sign that you need to change the way you hold your meetings.
The structure for getting this kind of grassroots reporting is already present. It just needs to be put into action. All three groups that met last night already have their own web sites, places that can include a news page to tell the stories of the Green organizations’ activities, and why they matter. If they’re organized in the right way, each group should have had an official secretary, with the job of ensuring that meeting minutes are taken (even better would be a digital audio recording, excerpts of which could be transcribed and edited into a podcast).
We Greens need to regard every meeting as a crucial campaign event which is designed to persuade people who haven’t joined the Green Party yet that they need to do so. Before the meeting, at the meeting, and after meeting, we need to craft a story that makes people care about the Green Party.
If you never take the trouble to lay an egg, you don’t have much right to complain that you’re not seeing as many new Greens running around as you’d like to.