Green Party prospects

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Nov 2 09:48:40 MST 2000

NY Times, November 2, 2000

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 - For as long as he has been running for president,
Ralph Nader has made clear that his quest is not about winning, but about
building a viable third party, the Greens, that could reform Washington,
elect state and local candidates and provide a home for disenchanted liberals.
"This is not going to go away," Mr. Nader said recently. "It is going to
build a major political progressive force in America."

But in the colorful history of third parties in America, there have been
few, if any, alternative parties that have succeeded on the scale Mr. Nader
envisions, analysts say. Indeed, history is littered with tales of
fledgling movements built around charismatic or iron-willed individuals -
from Robert M. LaFollette to Theodore Roosevelt to Ross Perot - that
crashed soon after taking flight.

"The track record is real bad," said William G. Mayer, a political
scientist at Northeastern University in Boston who has written about third
parties. "The obvious point is we've had the Democrats and Republicans
since the late 1850's, and no third party has managed to crack that."

Moreover, questions abound about the Green Party itself. There are, for one
thing, not one, but two Green Parties. And should Mr. Nader win 5 percent
of the vote this year, qualifying the Greens for millions of dollars in
federal funds in 2004, many party members worry that their movement could
be torn by competition to control the money, just as the Reform Party was
this year.

"Everyone takes the Reform Party as the object lesson, and people want to
make sure that doesn't happen to us," said Howie Hawkins, a member of the
Green Party USA's national coordinating committee [and Marxism list lurker].

Full article at:

Louis Proyect
Marxism mailing list:

More information about the Marxism mailing list