Observations on the Green Party

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 18 09:51:16 MDT 2003


Since there's been a lot of talk about Peter Camejo and the Green Party on
this list, I thought this item below would be of general interest. It's
taken from a website called "Politics in the Zeros",
http://www.polizeros.com/, run by an ANSWER-activist (and ex-GP member) from
LA. Note also that the following link -
http://www.polizeros.com/2003/08/07.html#a2401 - is an earlier item from the
same site well worth checking out for more interesting discussion about the
nature of the Greens in the context of Camejo's announcement and analyzing
the nature of the Green Party.

The California Recall and Greens

>From Marc Cooper's L.A. Weekly article
(http://www.laweekly.com/ink/03/39/dissonance-cooper.php) on the recall
election

"Myth No. 4: The Green Party is a viable alternative.

This should be a historic opportunity for Green candidate Peter Camejo, who
got 5 percent of the vote in last year's gubernatorial election.

Fuggeddaboutit.

Camejo has pushed marijuana legalization and instant-runoff voting (IRV) to
the top of his agenda. These might be cutting-edge issues along the Venice
boardwalk or in the UC Santa Cruz dorms, but they are not even remotely now
on the minds of most California voters.

The Greens' preference for talking to themselves rather than to others
destinies, the party to soon wash up and splinter like the Peace and Freedom
folks. Eventually the California Greens will be meeting in one guy's house
with different sectarian groups caucusing in the living room and dining
room."

Biting words, and Cooper is no friend of Greens. However, there's more than
a little truth in his words. As one who recently resigned his Green Party
(GP) post, I had grown weary of pointless mind-numbing sectarian arguments
that left little time for actually Getting Stuff Done

Cooper is correct in saying that voters care not a whit about IRV. In fact
voters tend to view Greens who talk endlessly about IRV as being from a
different planet. IRV is a wonderful idea, however it is a terrible campaign
platform -- especially right now in California where economic matters are
what everyone is thinking about.

My own painfully-arrived at conclusion is that the 2000 Nader run for
President will in retrospect be seen as the peak for the GP, because the GP
as an institution hasn't the organizational structure or the will to run a
serious campaign in 2004.

Here in California, in terms of voter registration, the GP is getting
whacked on both sides. Some Greens are re-registering as Democrats so they
can vote in the 2004 primary. Others are re-registering in the newly
resurgent Peace & Freedom Party (http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/index.shtml)
(P&F) because they want a more radical viewpoint. In fact, P&F is now the
third largest party in Los Angeles County with the GP dropping to fourth.
That's right, P&F, a bunch of raggedy-ass Socialists, now have more
registered voters in L.A. County than does the GP. This is not a good omen
for the GP.

A serious campaign in 2004 by the GP could mean a full-throttle campaign
nationwide by a major candidate. It could also mean not campaigning in
states where Democrats might lose, giving the Democrats a pass in contested
states in hopes of defeating Bush. But neither of these approaches can
happen because there is no national structure in the GP for running a
national campaign or for rallying the troops at the state and local level.

The times now call for the GP to get real, get organized, and get into the
political fray. If it can't I'm afraid it will, as Cooper predicts,
disintegrate into irrelevance. Not for a lack of smart, dedicated people --
because there are many of those -- but because of a lack of any real
organizational structure.

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