Green Party: current news, historical perspective
Vermont breaks with national Green Party, refuses to list Cobb on ballot.
The Vermont Green Party has agreed not to list anyone as its presidential and vice presidential candidate on the ballot in November.
By a one-vote margin, the state party decided against ratifying the national party’s ticket of David Cobb and Patricia LaMarche. Vermont was the second state in addition to Utah to break with the national Greens organization.
The Utah GP voted to endorse both Nader and Cobb, resulting in a nasty split complete with court battles to determine who is in charge of the party.
The Utah party voted to endorse both Cobb and Nader, but to put neither on the ballot under the Green Party label. But, Hirschi says, Cobb supporters set out to “overthrow” that decision.
Last week, 3rd District Judge Stephen Henriod denied a request by some Greens to put them in charge of the party, but another suit has been filed and the judge soon may decide who has claim to the party’s leadership.
Utah is hardly alone. Divisive, internal Green Party wars are unfortunately happening all across the country. The warring factions are Cobb vs. Nader supporters. But the real battle is what, in Green parlance, is called the Realos vs. the Fundis, which roughly, is the conservative, electoral-oriented, non-confrontational Realos vs the radical activist Fundis.
From a Green listserv
Radicals and Conservatives in the party have always been referred to as Fundis and Realos. I am an unabashed Fundi, or Radical.
I have feared for a long while that the Green Party,.being originally a party of activists would, as it grew, begin to draw in the “soft greens”, or situational “conservative” Greens.
I will not sing the death knell of the Green Party too hastily. But I fear it is on its way to becoming a Green caucus of the Democratic Party
From that same listserv, a historian comments: (emphasis added)
I should point out that the course of the Green Party in their recent convention follows a common pattern with mass third party movements.
The nature of the American two-party system evokes “radical,” “conservative” and “pragmatic” responses among advocates of third parties, respectively:
- “radical” about the two-party system see political independence as a point of principle.
- “conservatives” see political independence as a temporary expedient,as a means to an end.
- “pragmatists” attempt to maintain unity between radicals and conservatives.
Note: I’m using these designations not about political ideas but as responses to the two-party system.
What happens as such a third party grows is that …
- Those most recently breaking with the two-party system will still be thinking in terms of immediate electoral success, so really rapid growth will always tend tilt the balance within the third party towards the “conservative” response–the idea of bartering votes for the partisan purposes of one of another of the major parties.
- Rapid growth also means the proliferation of local groups that are largely paper organizations, the very purpose of which is to barter for power with a major party.
- The larger the third party growth, the greater the attention and resources brought to bear by one or another of the major parties to bring it to heel, which further strengthens the conservative response.
- The shift is almost always rationalized as being in the interest of the practical need to build the organization, though the dynamic is such that the shift virtually destroys the radical current in the party, leaves the pragmatists nothing to balance, and allows the conservatives to drift back to one or another of the major parties.
As far as the Green Party goes, regardless of what any of us would say or wish, nobody knows how to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
You are now left to play out the script you have written….