Forwarded from Derek S. (Greens)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Jul 16 11:09:50 MDT 2003

> 2. There´s been reference to a division in the Greens between a more 
> left, quasi-socialistic wing, and a right wing whose real ambitions lie 
> around influencing the Democrats. Can someone elaborate on this in more 
> detail?

Howie Hawkins is a leader of the leftwing of the Green Party who lurks 
on Marxmail. This is something he wrote in reply to Jay Moore's query 
"It would be interesting to hear from you about what happened to the 
Left Green Network and what the organizational state is today of the 
Reds to be found among the U.S. Greens."

Howie replied:

Most of the energy that went into the Left Green Network in 1988-1991 
subsequently went into GPUSA from 1992 on. LGN still exists as an 
inactive network/mailing list of maybe 25 people with an occassional 
newsletter, but little energy goes into it.

The left the Greens had won out in the adoption of the Green Program at 
the 1990 Green Congress and in how to structure the Green Party at the 
Green Congress in 1991. In 1991, the pre-party Green Committees of 
Correspondence voted overwhelmingly to become The Greens/Green Party USA 
(GPUSA), with a democratic structure based on accountable representation 
elected by active, dues-paying members, and with the purpose being a 
movement-based party that participated in popular social movements and 
gave them independent electoral expression. These decisions were defeats 
for the realos. They objected to the socialistic economic demands in the 
Green Program and had thus proposed to separate a strictly electoral 
party from the movement-based Green Committees of Correspondence and to 
structure this Green Party like the Democrats and Republicans, with a 
"membership" based on state-regulated enrollment lists, from which 
mandate for a more moderate program could be concocted by the party 
leadership, and which, as an atomized, unorganized mass, could not 
control the party oligarchy.

The realos withdrew from GPUSA and began counter-organizing against 
GPUSA: smear campaigns, red-baiting, the whole nine yards. They got 
nowhere until the 1996 Nader campaign when they were able to 
successfully convince a few of the existing state Green parties, but 
mainly the many new people in the Draft Nader Committees, that there was 
no national Green Party and therefore they must form an Association of 
State Green Parties. GPUSA wasn't recognized as a "national committee" 
by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), but it certainly was and is 
active. Most of the GPUSA affiliated state Green parties have also 
affiliated with ASGP and as the ASGP affiliated state parties find more 
left-leaning activists coming in, the whole left-right debate on program 
and structure is re-emerging inside ASGP.  After four years of ASGP 
refusing to negotiate with GPUSA about a unified Green Party, at ASGP's 
national committee meeting in Denver just before the convention, the 
left inside ASGP won a vote to get ASGP to negotiate with GPUSA.

I think a likely outcome of the negotiations will be a registrant-based 
Green Party evolving from ASGP that accommodates state election laws and 
the FEC, but is more democratic than the current ASGP structure, and a 
Green activist membership organization, a national network of party 
clubs, evolving from GPUSA. The GPUSA successor "clubs" will stand in 
relation to the ASGP successor "party" the way the old Left Green 
Network stood in relation to the old Green Committees of Correspondence, 
or the way the Bolsheviks stood in relation to the pre-1917 Russion 
Social Democratic Labor Party (but with no pretense to democratic 
centralism). The "Mensheviks" in the Green Party have their 
party-within-the-party too, an organization called the Green Network.

GPUSA's membership is about 1300. The Green Network's membership is much 
smaller. I would guess 50 to 100 at most. They have a very low, 
virtually secretive, profile within the Green Party movement. New 
members must be sponsored by current members. There are about 150,000 
enrolled/registered Greens in the state parties, but that will climb 
rapidly as more states get ballot status in this election. If Nader's 
4-8% poll numbers hold up, about 4-8 million people will vote for the 
Green presidential candidate.

That's the picture. The left is still there, but organized in GPUSA, not 
the Left Green Network. The important thing is that it stay organized 
and help all the new people coming in get organized at the base, which 
is the only antidote to the old "iron law of oligarchy" in left 
electoral parties.


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