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Top 10 Green Party Stories of 2010

2010 was a roller coaster year for the Green Party. Mid-term elections proved voter dissatisfaction with the Democrats in power, but the media-darling Tea Party Movement drove voters to reactionary candidates, not helping Greens at the polls. International Greens saw successes in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other places, while US Greens were moved by the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza under siege by Israeli forces. The 2010 Annual National Meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan in conjunction with the US Social Forum, putting Greens side by side their brothers and sisters in the struggle for social justice in America. In the fall, Greens had many exciting candidates running for office including Jill Stein, LeAlan Jones, Laura Wells, Rich Whitney, Tom Clements, Colia Clark, Julia Willebrand, Farheen Hakeem, Howie Hawkins, Cecile Lawrence, Ben Manski, Fred Horsch, and so many other inspiring Greens.

The following Top 10 Green Party stories are taken from a combination of hits on Green Party Watch and other criteria to build a summary of the year. May 2011 be prosperous for Greens around the World. Time is running out.

Top 10 Green Party Stories of 2010

May 7, 2010 – Caroline Lucas becomes first Green Member of Parliament in United Kingdom – Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, won a hotly-contested race in Brighton Pavilion to become the Greens’ first-ever member of parliament. The Guardian summed it up best: “It’s a massive breakthrough, not only because she’s a brilliant, charismatic, humane politican who will enrich parliamentary life, but also because it proves it can be done, even under our antiquated political system.”

May 31, 2010 Green Party and Cynthia McKinney Condemn Freedom Flotilla Massacre – In May of this year the Israeli Navy attacked a flotilla of ships run by the Free Gaza movement carrying humanitarian supplies to the besieged residents of the Gaza Strip. 19 human rights activists were killed in the attack and 50 more wounded. The Green Party, led by 2008 Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, have been vocal and active critics of Israel’s war on the people of Gaza.

“The attacks on the aid boats is a criminal act of piracy and a deliberate provocation,” said Dr. Justine McCabe, co-chair of the Green Party’s International Committee. ““We demand immediate action from the US, including emergency orders from President Obama to cut off all aid to Israel. The policies of the US regarding Israel and Palestine up to now have convinced Israel that it can act with impunity in committing massacres and massive human violations against Palestinian civilians.”

2008 Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, who was taken prisoner by the Israelis last year on another attack on a Free Gaza ship, said: “I am outraged at Israel’s latest criminal act. I mourn with my fellow Free Gaza travelers, the lives that have been lost by Israel’s needless, senseless act against unarmed humanitarian activists.”

June 8, 2010California Voters Pass Prop 14, Top Two Primary Initiative By a 53% – 46% margin, California voters approved adopting a “top two primary” election reform, a system whereby all candidates appear on a single ballot in the primary but only the top two, regardless of political party, advance to the General Election.

California Gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells had this to say: “Prop 14 pretends to be “open primary,” but more accurately should be called “top two,” or party-killer! Only two candidates would be left in November, when Prop 14 would exclude all the independent, alternative political parties like the Green Party, Peace and Freedom, and Libertarian. Prop 14 would favor only Democrats and Republicans that are incumbents or highly funded.”

June 24-27, 2010 – Green Party Annual National Meeting in Detroit in Conjunction with US Social Forum The Green Party’s Annual National Meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan in conjunction with the US Social Forum. The Green Party sponsored several Social Forum workshops and registration was cross-listed between the two events. Many Green Party candidates were in attendance and available to the media. A number of candidate presentations were taped by Green Party Watch and can be found through this link.

June 2010 – Republicans pay to get Green Party on Ballot in Texas, Democrats Livid If there is one thing that drives Democrats crazier than a Green “spoiling” an election, it is Greens getting on the ballot at all despite overwhelming odds. In Texas, a Republican consultant in Arizona arranged for a non-profit in Missouri to pay for Free & Equal to come up with 92,000 signatures to get the Green Party of Texas on the ballot up and down the ticket. Democrats were livid, immediately suing and issuing injunctions against ballot access. The case went to the Texas supreme court before culminating with the Green Party candidates being allowed to remain on the ballot.

The ultimate result of this was that Ed Lindsay, Green Party of Texas candidate for State Comptroller won over 5% of the vote, ensuring that the Green Party of Texas will have state wide ballot access through the 2012 elections.

August 21, 2010 – Historic Election Results for Australian Greens The Australian Green Party performed very well in the federal elections in Australia, with Adam Bandt winning a seat outright in Melbourne with over 36% of the first-choice vote, and the Greens winning about 12% of the vote in the lower house, giving them a share of control over the balance of power in the Australian Parliament.

September 21, 2010 – Green Party Senate candidate Natasha Pettigrew hit and killed on bicycle Natasha Pettigrew, Senate candidate for the Green Party in Maryland, was riding in the bike lane on a highway early on a Sunday morning by an inattentive driver of a SUV. The driver apparently didn’t realize she had hit anyone until she arrived home. Pettigrew died from her injuries the next day. This (long after the fact) article really captures the influence this story had on people.

November 3, 2010 – Green Party Gains Ballot Access in Texas and New York Election returns resulted in the Green Party gaining ballot access through at least 2012 in two of the most populous states, New York and Texas, however the Green Party lost ballot access in Illinois and Wisconsin. In New York Greens gain ballot status through 2014 thanks to Howie Hawkins earning over 50,000 votes for governor. In Texas Greens gain ballot status through 2012 thanks to Ed Lindsay earning over 5% for comptroller.

November 5, 2010 – Green Party Candidates for US Senate Net Half Million Votes The eleven Green Party candidates on the ballot this year for US Senate netted a combined half million votes. The 510,000 votes is the highest combined total for Green Party Senate candidates since 2000, when Medea Benjamin won 326,000 votes for US Senate in California and Vance Hansen picked up over 100,000 in Arizona. The 2010 results were clearly led by Tom Clements in South Carolina, whose 118,000 votes gave him 9.37% of the total. Clements had the most votes and the highest percent of the vote of all Green Party US Senate candidates in 2010. LeAlan Jones was the second big finisher with 116,000 votes, 3.19% of the total.

2010 – Green Party Elects 37 Greens to Office in 2010 342 Greens ran for office in 2010, over 300 of them were on the ballot in November. 37 Greens were elected, a win rate of 10.8%. All but 2 of the wins were in non-partisan races.

On the November ballot, Greens had strong showings for State Legislative races, but fell short in races for Governor and US House of Representatives. One Green, Ben Chipman, was elected to the Maine State Assembly but was listed as an Independent due to a technicality.

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CA Greens support lawsuit, consider initiative to nullify Prop. 14; Measure is a clear example of how big money buys California elections, charges Green Party gubernatorial nominee

SACRAMENTO (June 9, 2010) – The Green Party of California’s gubernatorial nominee Wednesday called the passage of Prop. 14 and near victories of Prop. 16 and 17 clear examples of how big money is buying elections in California, using tens of millions of dollars to mislead voters.

The state’s most progressive political party said it is mulling its options after Tuesday, including joining a lawsuit to overturn Prop.14 and a possible statewide initiative to nullify it.

“The rotten part of Prop. 14 is that what it promised – open elections – is the exact opposite of what it will do. Prop. 14 will keep dissenting voices off the big November ballot,” said Laura Wells, who won the Green Party nomination for Governor Tuesday night with a victory over Los Angeles social justice activist Deacon Alexander.

Greens are already working with representatives of the five other ballot-qualified parties on plans to challenge Prop. 14 on constitutional issues. And, they are discussing a possible challenge to Prop. 14 on the streets – putting a ballot measure on the ballot that would give more power and more choices to voters, not less. Details will be released later this week. Continue Reading

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California Greens: Vote NO on Prop 14

In the California primary elections on Tuesday 8 June, voters will decide the fate of Proposition 14, a ballot measure to establish a “Top Two” primary system. If passed, Prop 14 would virtually wipe out Green and independent politics in the state of California.

Green Change has an article on “The Top Five Reasons for Californians to Reject Top Two Primaries” and allows you to quickly write and send a letter to the editor opposing Proposition 14 to your local newspaper.

Green Party US steering committee member Mike Feinstein has an article in the LA Times about “The Prop 14 Bait-and-Switch”.

Laura Wells, candidate for the Green gubernatorial nomination, blogged about her reasons for opposing Prop 14:

Prop 14 is one of those propositions that may sound good, but is terrible!

www.stoptoptwo.org/ gives you a lot more information, but in summary….

Prop 14 pretends to be “open primary,” but more accurately should be called “top two,” or party-killer! Only two candidates would be left in November, when Prop 14 would exclude all the independent, alternative political parties like the Green Party, Peace and Freedom, and Libertarian. Prop 14 would favor only Democrats and Republicans that are incumbents or highly funded. Even the Democratic and Republican Parties don’t like it because it would reduce voter choice within the parties. Mega-corporations, like insurance companies, with their huge campaign contributions – bribes actually – are the chief proponents.

Please vote NO on Prop 14, and spread the word as widely as possible to your California contacts, NORTHERN and SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

Human Rights Examiner reports on CA Green state representative candidate Linda Piera-Avila’s view that Prop 14 will bring “corporatocracy through discrimination, repression and disenfranchisement.”

Recent polls have indicated general support for Prop 14, showing that the misleading advertising campaign by the alliance of political insiders and corporate interests behind Prop 14 has been effective. If California Greens want their party to survive, it’s crucial that they not only vote against Prop 14, but spread the word as far and wide as possible.

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Ralph Nader warns Californians: Vote NO on Proposition 14 – Stop the “Top Two” Tyranny

From Free and Equal via StopTopTwo.org:

Ralph Nader Warns Californians:

Vote NO on Proposition 14 — Stop the “Top Two” Tyranny

Ralph Nader, who has run for president both as an independent and as a third-party candidate, today warned against the ballot proposition promoted by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Californians need to defeat Proposition 14 or they will risk further entrenching the two-party system,” stated Nader.

Nader explained that he has campaigned for the need for “more voices and more choices” on the ballot, not fewer. He noted that Proposition 14: Continue Reading

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WA third party leaders issue statement opposing CA Proposition 14

From Free & Equal:

Leaders from Washington State’s Third Party Coalition released a statement today urging California voters to vote no on Proposition 14. The coalition is comprised of the American Heritage Party, Constitution Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party, and Progressive Party.

Here is the full text of the statement:

The Top Two Primary System in Action — The Experience of Third Parties in Washington State Continue Reading

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CA Greens raising money to air “No on Prop 14″ ad

The California Green Party is raising money to air an ad urging voters to vote no on Proposition 14, the Top Two Primaries Act. In Washington, where Top Two was used for 2008 elections, it helped incumbents and big-money candidates, and eliminated independent and third-party candidates from the ballot. Here is the ad the CA Green Party plans to run:

You can help put this ad on the air before the June 8th vote on Proposition 14 by contributing to the California Green Party today. According to GPCA press secretary Cres Vellucci, the cost of a single ad on CNN, Headline News or MSNBC is about $15-20.

To donate by check, contributions for the spot should go to the Green Party of California, Treasurer, PO Box 485, San Francisco, CA 94104. Make sure they note “for TV spot.”

To donate online, contribute to the California Green Party and send an email to cvellucci [at] cagreens [dot] org specifying that your donation is for the anti-Prop 14 TV ad.

Please donate today to help save Green and independent politics in California.

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California Green Party airs anti-Proposition 14 ad

From Richard Winger at Ballot Access News:

Both the Peace & Freedom Party, and the Green Party, have produced short TV ads that will air next week, and which ask voters to vote “NO” on Proposition 14, on cable channels CNN, Headline News, and MSNBC. About 750 spots will air by election day.

See here for the Green Party ad. The Peace & Freedom ad is virtually identical.

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California Green US Senate candidate calls Prop 14 “a power grab by big business interests”

From Bay Area Indymedia:

ANAHEIM, Calif — Duane Roberts, Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate, says Prop 14 is a “power grab” by big business interests that will disenfranchise millions of Californians by limiting their choices at the polls. Roberts urges voters to reject this “unprecedented attack on democratic rights”: Continue Reading

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Mike Feinstein: CA Prop 14 would weaken democracy, voter choice

Mike Feinstein, the former mayor of Santa Monica and well-known Green activist, has an opinion piece in the San Jose Mercury-News opposing Proposition 14, the “Top Two Primaries Act”.

Proposition 14 would stifle diversity and competition within the major parties, limit the choices of independent voters and drive minor parties off the ballot…

The threat to California’s smaller parties is a canary in the coal mine about what’s wrong with Proposition 14. A system that truly worked for all voters would give them more, not fewer, opportunities to elect representatives who reflect their views. Eliminating candidates and parties to choose from is not the way to get there…

Unlike the high-risk Proposition 14 lottery, there are electoral systems that have been in place for decades around the world that our state could openly compare and contrast. Why not consider multiseat districts with proportional representation, where Democrats and Republicans could win seats according to their percentage of the vote, along with parties like the Greens if they have enough support, as in Europe?

Read the full article at the San Jose Mercury-News.

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Alameda Green Party publishes voter guide for CA primary

Bay Area Indymedia recently featured the Alameda Green Party voter guide, including Green positions on the various ballot measures on the June 8th ballot (perhaps most importantly, a No vote on the Green- and independent-killing Prop 14) and a writeup of the Green gubernatorial primary between Deacon Alexander and Laura Wells.

Read the Green Voter Guide at Bay Area Indymedia or at the Alameda County Green Party Blog.