portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

political theory

What about the "Green Movement"?

As "Greens" we are often reminded that the primary goals of a political
party are still the three R's. ("Register voters, Raise money, and Run

But could it be that those of who have focused on creating a viable
progressive alternative to the "one-party two-wing" system in the United
States have forgotten why we became greens in the first place?
When we examine the Green's "ten key values", it is apparent that being green
goes way beyond the support of a political organization or party. Yet it
seems that many of us have abandoned our allegiance to the green
movement in favor of advocating our chosen political party. In the
process we may have alienated millions of people who agree with us
politically, philosophically, and even spiritually.

Ironically, in our zeal to promote our political party we may have
actually slowed the advance of the green movement in the United States,
thus stunting the growth of the political party dedicated to the green
movement. A careful examination of the international political successes
of the "Green party" shows that the global green parties gained the
necessary strength only after the "Green movement" became mainstream in
that country. This is quiet evident in Australia, Germany, and Canada,
just to name a few. The basis of unity for the Green movement is
adherence to common principles, namely the Four Pillars of the Green
Party. (Ecology, Social justice, grassroots democracy, and non-violence)

But what about the half of the US population who feel disenfranchised
and who have no real interest in engaging a political system that
utilizes a "stacked deck" and punishes the masses for voting for their
hopes instead of their fears? Does a party that emphasizes grassroots
democracy simply abandon these people because they are unwilling to
align themselves with any particular political organization or party? It
is the view of this green that if we do, we are missing a huge
opportunity to change the world.

Obviously, existing political and religious institutions have failed to
adequately address the coming economic and ecological collapse that will
occur without a drastic change of direction. Just as obvious are the
political roadblocks created to quell any attempt to instill real
representative democracy through our current political structure.

So what am I suggesting?

How about putting aside our need to stump for a political party long
enough to embrace the ideals of the green movement? How about acting
locally to create a space in which people could get together to honestly
face deepening economic, political, cultural, and ecological crises void
of the requirement that they must join a particular political

The term "watermelon" is sometimes applied to professed Greens who seem
to put social goals above ecological ones, implying they are "green on
the outside but red on the inside." Some Red Greens consider this a
compliment, others an insult. Red Greens are not usually considered
"fundamentalist greens", a term usually associated with Deep Ecology.
This is but one of dozens of examples of how we shoot ourselves in the
foot by labeling each other through advocating single issue politics
manifested through our alliance with various activist groups. Yet when
we examine our political commonality, there is no good reason why people
from a wide variety of political perspectives can't find unity through
the green movement.

The basis of unity for the Green movement is adherence to common
principles, namely the Four Pillars of the Green Party. (i.e.
Sustainability, social justice, grassroots democracy, and Non-Violence.)
The "green" view on other issues may span the political spectrum, but
many Greens claim that the concepts of "left" and "right" do not apply
to them or their views.

A good friend and longtime Green party member recently told me that he
considers himself to be a "placeholder" for future greens. I think he
was trying to tell me that change is expedited as awareness thrives.
Maybe by becoming teachers in the green movement, we can set the table
for young greens who can take advantage of the changing of our consumer
culture into something more ecologically wise.

In conclusion, if we can escape the predictable leftist circular firing
squad that results from our loyalty to single issue politics, perhaps
the senseless battles that focus on our political differences could be
discarded in favor of educating our friends and families to the virtues
of the Green movement? It the belief of this "green" that the natural
result will be the growth of the Green party in the United States.


The Green Movement - Continued 01.Jul.2007 09:07


When I examine why the GP candidates have consistantly received less than
5% of the vote in US for over a decade, I come to at least a couple of

First and foremost of course is the fact that the reigning duopoly have
done everything in their power to prevent the rise of competing political
parties. This includes making it almost impossible in some states for
minor parties to gain ballot access. Or things like opposing critical
electoral reforms like CFR and IRV and public financing of campaigns as
well as limiting who can participate in debates. This is happening right
now in Oregon with attempts to further bolster the power of the status quo
by creating a "top two" primary system under the guise of reform.

But the other conclusion I came to was that mainstream America does not
really have a firm grasp on the fact that we live in a corporate oligarchy
and our "one-party two-wing" system is a sham. The sophisticated
propaganda of the power elite who control the corporate media have
reinforced the lesser of two evils logic so successfully that even many Greens have bought into it.

That combined with how deeply ingrained our consumer culture is within the
fabric of our society have blinded the masses to the suicidal track we are
racing down.

The result is that issues that are vitally important to working class and
the poor are subverted, demeaned, and diminished by people who have the
pulpit and the resources to brainwash people who consider themselves to be
critical thinkers.

So even IF we were to successfully implement the sea of reforms necessary
to level the electoral playing field, we are still left with the
undercurrent of resistance to real change that has been planted in the
minds of the American people.

That is where the "Green movement" comes in to play.

You can't get people to change their own lifestyles if they don't
understand why it is necessary to do so. This includes their independent
participation in what is left of our democracy. It seems to me that we are
(yet again) placing the cart before the horse by trying to build a
political party before properly preparing the voting masses to do the
intelligent thing.

That is not to say that we can't do both things at the same time,
obviously we can and should.

But anyone who has been involved in large scale campaigns and have been on
the street talking to average Joes, know that the GP is not on their radar
and if it is, it is considered a wasted protest vote.

Certainly the successful implementation of the pletorah of electoral
reforms that we advocate would go a long way to changing some minds about
the viability of the GP in US elections, but until the mainstream
understands that we have lost any semblance of representative democracy
and "why", we are destined to plod along at far too slow a pace to stop
the coming economic and ecological collapse that is upon us.

As Greens we need to be thick skinned enough not to be afraid to be honest
with ourselves about the state of our party and it's lack of necesary
progess. This includes understanding what has worked and what has not and

Americans will not vote for Greens in mass for two reasons.

1) They are afraid of helping a greater evil.
2) They don't fully understand the level of corruption that currently
exists and how that will directly affect their children and grandchildren.

Making the "Green movement" a priority in our campaigns and creating small
community affinity groups that are independent of party lables that
welcome and do not alienate all political perspectives, seems to me to be
a good way to begin to educate the masses to the need for expediting real


why i don't vote green party 01.Jul.2007 09:31

kirsten anderberg kirstena@resist.ca

Your use of "green" here is confusing. I assume you are referring to voting Green PARTY, not "green." People ARE voting "green" but not Green Party. For me, it was the running of Ralph Nadar that first turned me completely off to the Green PARTY. Another white rich male is *not* an alternative folks! I also have serious issues that the Green Party was running Ralph Nadar right after he FIRED his ENTIRE STAFFF FOR UNIONIZING!!!!!!!! He also was a greedy bastard only havnig dinner with the rich at my college...he demands fees to participate in his PILF, public interest law foundation and was not interested AT ALL in helping poor law students participate, we asked him to waive the membership fee to join his public service club in law school to his face and he said NO, things like that. A third party running a typical white rich male who shows no concern for the poor or women at all, is not really an alternative. We already have tons of white rich men running!

When the Green Party begins funding and running welfare moms, that will be alternative and I will perk up and listen. But the Green Party is soooo yuppie. It is ridiculous in my opinion. The concept had promise but the men and those with money took over once again and it got boring real fast. That is my assessment. ANd why on earth is it that the Green Party is soooo fucking boring with NO sense of humor. PRESENTATION and ALLEGIANCES is what has crippled your Green PARTY in my opinion. When the poor can run for office, that will be alternative. RUn a welfare mom in the Green Party spots. Try something NEW for once.

another reason not to vote green 01.Jul.2007 10:23


Nowhere in the Green Party 'program' -- if you can even call it that -- is the word 'class' mentioned.

This is problematic. The two big parties spend tons of energy skirting this all-important issue anyway they can. An alternative party must make it a priority to address this topic head on, and thus not become a 'class blind' society, where there is supposedly no rich, no poor, no billionaires and now cubicle dwellers.

Hiding from this issue makes you status-quo complicit.

(one could also spend a considerable amount of time rambling about the horrible track record of the Greens internationally, who are enthusiastic supporters of imperialism EVERYWHERE they've gained an ounce of power, but i'll let another poster handle this one)

Why vote Green/green?... 01.Jul.2007 12:16

Pravda or Consequences

My take on the sheeple is that they want what they see in the elite (celebrities, "trust fund babies", owning class, etc.).

They want to feel powerful to negate their fear of being without (stuff, position, etc.). The dems or repubs offer that, but not the Green/green.

So how does voting Green/green address that? How do we convince the sheeple that living simply so others may simply live is right?

Somehow we must address the perceived inequality. No one is going to deny themselves the bling of the marketplace if they think that will impress others. No one (especially in Amerika) wants to be considered ordinary. The minds of the sheeple have been dumbed-down to the point that negative conflict resolution is the only answer to life's struggles.

The sheeple don't want to hear that 'restraint' is the solution to global climate change. They are conditioned to consume.

Green/green must be more than reactionary. It must lead.

Just give me something real in the Political Process 01.Jul.2007 13:21

Disllusionment with the process

Almost every Senator is a millionaire. In the the last Presidential Race Kerry
is worth at least 500 million Bush a millionaire a few times over.600 billion roughly spent to date for a futile disgraceful war in Iraq. Hardly a whimper from the public. Every one knows the war is fought to enrich Haliburton. Children and our elders dying from lack of health care. The top 10% of the United States Rich control 80% of the wealth. Then if that isn't enough
we give tax breaks to the rich. It's so sad it ain't even worth a laugh. I see people Fellow citizens sleeping under bridges families living in cars. Every one acts like this is normal. No health care for the diseased no help for the afflicted because government programs been cut. Still we give huge tax breaks to the rich and corporations. I cant vote green until they promise something real for the people like universal health, care decent living wages, jobs an equitable tax system where the rich really are taxed. No more over crowded class rooms. I want river I can swim in without catching an unknowable disease that eats your flesh. I want a police force that doesn't cap fellow citizens because they feel like it.

nader is not "white" 01.Jul.2007 16:06

just for the record

Ralph Nader is an Arab. Arabs are Asian and are not generally considered "white" by America's weird standards. Whether he's intentionally or unintentionally "passing for white" is another question.

dems and repubs make me want to ralph 02.Jul.2007 15:08

union man

Don't believe the right-wing-talking-points attacks on Nader. Nader's "entire staff" that was fired twenty-three years ago numbered three! The argument that this makes him just another rich white man is a foolish one. Any intellectually honest examination of Nader vs. Gore or Kerry suggests that it was Nader who was far and away the better friend of labor.

During his presidential runs, Nader consistently laid out his view that union organizing is an important friction point between citizens and mega-corporations. He emphasized workers' rights throughout his campaigns. He urged repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, which was adopted 53 years ago to slow the growth of labor unions. He called for treble damages when companies unfairly fire workers during a union organizing drive.

Ralph called for the U.S. to issue a six month notice of withdrawal from the WTO and NAFTA to protest the loss of "good American jobs" and the degradation of international labor.

In June, 1960, the California Nurses Association, the largest organization of registered nurses in the nation, endorsed Nader, praising his "outspoken stance on behalf of an overhaul of the nation's health care system and strong advocacy of nurses' and patients' rights."

At an anti-WTO rally at San Francisco State in 2000, Nader punctuated his meeting with a call to action: "Labor never got anywhere without being militant," he told the unionists.

Oh, yes. Gore won, regardless of what Nader or his supporters did. The fact that Gore and his DLC compatriots failed to acknowledge this (like Kerry in 2004) is indicative of a fundamental flaw in the Democrat Party, not in Nader.