The Crisis in the Green Party

By Peter Camejo. Green Party candidate for California governor (twice), VP candidate for Nader in 2004.

Camejo details precisely how Cobb supporters stacked the convention to get the 2004 nomination, have taken over the party, are decidedly Democratic-friendly, and opposed to genuine activism within the Green Party (GP.)

Looking back we can now see clearly that after being crushed in the primaries (they received 12%) and in most state conventions, the Cobb supporters could not win unless they stacked the convention.

And what happened after the convention nominated Cobb?

I think all Greens recognize that something rather peculiar has happened in our history. The formal Green Party vote for President dropped 95% in 2004 as compared to 2000, quite unusual even for a third party.

Cobb supporters control the GP (when not running nonprofits that recently got cushy six figure grants from Democratic donors), and that’s a problem.

Unfortunately, the current that has organized behind Cobb’s campaign after the elections is moving in another direction. It has become quite clear to me that they have shown little interest in trying to reach out to the majority current in the Green Party or the hundreds of thousands who voted for Nader. Instead, they have become quite attracted to the Democratic Party ‘s latest “progressive” wing, the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). They seem to feel threatened by the existence of a militant pro-independence current in the Green Party.

Instead of seeing the danger of co-option by Democrats John Rensenbrink recently warned of the danger of the infiltration of socialists into the Green Party. This red baiting approach is another way to say the left in the Green Party is the problem and we need to get them out. To Rensenbrink, calling for a vote for Kerry is not the problem, the problem is those “socialists” that won’t vote Kerry.

Unfuckingbelievable that a long time Green like Rensenbrink would be mouthing such right wing drivel, but there you have it. That’s the GP problem in a crux. Long time leaders tilting rightward while the party sheds membership and  loses direction.

Of course he never mentions that both the Communist Party and many of the Democratic Socialist of America members were solid backers of Kerry. For those socialists to be in the Green Party, I guess, might be okay with Rensenbrink. His problems are with other “socialists” like the ISO that refuse to vote pro-war, and are helping to build the Green Party.

For those who may not know, the Communist Party in the US has backed the Democratic presidential candidate for decades and always opposes third party candidates. How revolutionary of them. 

Camejo sees the split in the GP as between the majority Greens For Democracy And Independence (GDI) current vs. the minority Lesser Evil faction composed of Cobb supporters.

Many Green members want to know when the infighting is going to end.

Indeed, it’s reached poisonous levels with no signs of abating.

When will people recognize there is nothing wrong when Greens have differences? Why can’t we respect each other and figure out how to work together? This sentiment is wide spread in the Green Party, especially since many members do not have a hard opinion about some of the differences within the party. They are still listening to both points of view. They want peace, understanding, tolerance and unity in action where there is agreement.

Sigh, that belief is one of the problems in the GP – the hope that everything can be happily resolved and will end with a group hug and everyone singing “Cumbaya.” To re-take the GP, the GDI will need to engage in a knock-down drag-out battle.

“Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a
nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.”

 “Society has good reason to fear the Radical. Every shaking advance of mankind toward equality and justice has come from the Radical. He hits, he hurts, he is dangerous. Conservative interests know that while Liberals are most adept at breaking their own necks with their tongues, Radicals are most adept at breaking the necks of Conservatives.”

Saul Alinsky

Update: From the comments, here’s the GDI home site.