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Tue

04

Sep

2007

The End of the Green Party? The Making of a Political Silhouette
Tuesday, 04 September 2007 09:21
by Joshua Frank

While the Democratic Party refuses to impeach President Bush, continues to fund the war and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan through 2009, spreads the same lies about Iran's nuclear ambitions, and gives the administration a blank check for domestic spying, what are the leaders of the Green Party up to?

Fasten your safety belts kiddos because they are doing some astonishing things.

Tearing Open of Old Wounds


After Ralph Nader spoke to the Greens during their national convention in Reading, Pennsylvania last July, the party looked incredibly united. Collectively they seemed to recognize that in order to be a party of opposition they better start acting like one now by distancing themselves from the failed policies of old. Within hours, however, a principal architect of the disastrous David Cobb "safe state strategy" in 2004 immediately began to unravel the unity of the Greens.

Under the guise of what was purported to be a unification proposal titled "We Will Run", Phil Huckelberry, a vocal delegate from Illinois, opened up all the old wounds of 2004 by insulting the majority of Green Party members by condemning those who voted not only for the corporate candidate John Kerry, but also those who backed independent candidate, Ralph Nader.

The first question one might ask is why does the Green Party still have an officer in place that helped devastate the party by supporting a losing strategy in 2004? As it turns out, not only is Huckelberry still a delegate to their National Committee, he has also been promoted to their Steering Committee.

The Greens like to tell us how much they hate corporate crooks, yet with Huckelberry they have emulated the very worst of corporate America by promoting an insider who was partly responsible for a major tactical failure in 2004.

In any normal business setting, a manager who is responsible for lost revenues, customer depreciation, and closing of plants would resign in anticipation of being fired. Only the worst, the real corporate criminals, reward such employees. The Green Party has chosen a surprising model to emulate. The "safe states strategy", championed by officers like Phil Huckelberry and a sizable number of other Green Party delegates, emptied the Green Party's treasury, lost over 50,000 members, as well as the ballot lines gained by Ralph Nader's candidacy of 2000.

Those officers still remain in charge.

In an effort to head off an impending disaster, John Murphy, a delegate from Pennsylvania and a longtime Nader supporter, offered his own amendment to counter Huckelberry's.

"My proposal would have fixed Huckelberry's proposal and guaranteed almost unanimous support," says Murphy. "But Huckelberry ignored the amendment until seven hours prior to the vote, which allowed delegates to tear each other apart for almost a month. We had almost been healed, but not now."

Such persistent divisiveness seems to only exist within the rank and squalor of the Green Party, which does not function like a democratic parliamentary body. Instead of operating under "Roberts Rules of Order", the Green Party's National Committee runs under a bizarre system called "Consensus", which was designed as a budgeting tool for the Quakers. A Consensus approach might be of some use to a monolithic religious organization, but it was never intended for a highly diverse political party.

Little things like the democratic process don't seem to bother the Green Party leaders all that much anyway; they gave the Green Party a presidential candidate in 2004 that only received a meager 12% of the vote in the primaries. The Green leaders believe in minority rule instead of majority rule. And they practice just that. Literally, in the Green Party ruling bodies, you must have super majorities -- 20% of the Green Party officers can overrule 80% of the Green Party officers.

With the Green Party delegates busy tearing each other apart, Murphy took his frustration a step further and called for the resignation of those responsible for the disaster of 2004. Not an unreasonable request.

Instead of those officers resigning, however, Murphy was removed from the Green Party's National Committee internet discussion groups by "forum managers" who are, as you might imagine, controlled by the Demogreens (the name given to those Greens who remain philosophically joined at the hip to the Democrat Party and were the "safe state strategists" of 2004). All Murphy had done was publicly oppose his party's failed leadership.

The End of Debate and Dissent

The Demogreens could not risk another Murphy calling for their resignation, so they are now voting on another proposal that will stifle debate and put an end to any dissent within the delegates' email discussion groups. The argument, and proposal, goes something like this: There are a few Greens who post too often so rather than letting the delegated decide what they read, the Greens have opted to prevent everyone from posting more than one letter per day. Apparently the Green Party delegates just can't handle excessive free speech. Of course the Greens could move to a blog format or even an online forum -- which would seem like a perfect solution.

Nonetheless, one thing you have to admire about the Greens is their transparency. They actually let the public see these silly proposals. Anyone can go to http://gp.org/cgi-bin/vote/index and get an education as to how the officers of the Green Party really operate.

Green Party Turns Hard Right

Green delegates from Tennessee have recently advanced a proposal which they call "Moving the Money from Wall Street to Main Street". Certainly sounds innocuous enough. Tragically the delegates from Tennessee based their proposal on a presentation made to the Green Party delegates at their convention by a woman named Catherine Austin Fitts.

Ms. Fitts, a Republican, was Assistant Secretary of Housing in the administration of George Bush Sr. and now supports libertarian causes. Why was Fitts invited to talk to the Green Party about banking issues? Nobody really knows. Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the associates of Catherine Austin Fitts is Franklin Sanders, a leading thinker in the extreme right-wing Constitution Party. Sanders is also chairman of the Tennessee chapter of "The League of the South", yes, from the same state of the Green Party delegates who offered the proposal in the first place.

The League of the South is quite an outfit. They advocate the ideology of "kinism", and would outlaw racial intermarriage and non-white immigration, expel all "aliens" (including Jews and Arabs), limit the right to vote to white landowning males over the age of twenty-one, and re-institute black slavery. The Green Party is about to adopt a proposal based on the philosophy of people like Fitts and Sanders. One has to wonder who would influence these guys if they were savvy enough to win elections.

Nader Greens to the Rescue, Again

When the Green Party delegates from Tennessee were made aware of the implications of supporting a proposal based on the motives of Fits and Sanders by delegates from New Jersey, Liz Arnone and Gary Novosielski (both Nader Greens) -- the folks from Tennessee decided to keep it anyway by simply removing the names of Sanders and Fitts.

Take the gun, leave the cannoli.

However, simply removing the names of the libertarian banker and the racist leader from The League of the South is still an open endorsement of these people and their positions. Who knows, maybe the Green Party delegates are just the most politically naïve leaders of any party in the nation. In any event, politically naïve or intentionally destructive, the Greens certainly do not need folks like this in leadership positions.

Ralph Nader may very well pull the Green onions out of the fire if he runs on their ticket in 2008 by restoring many of their lost ballot lines. Nader would also increase their membership and replenish their treasury. The question simply remains: How long after November 11, 2008 will it take the people who savaged the Green Party in 2004 to squander the political capital once again gained by a Nader presidential campaign?

The Demogreens work pretty damn quickly. My guess is, given its current leadership and their juvenile antics, by 2009 the last chapter will have been written and the book closed on the Green Party of the United States. A sad ending to a story which began with such noble aspirations.


Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of the forthcoming Red State Rebels, to be published by AK Press in March 2008.
 
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