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What is The Green Party?

Think Environment & Social Justice

Compiled by Badpuppy's GayToday

green.gif - 13.69 KThe Green Party, hardly well known in the U.S.—where it has a variety of state-based groupings-- has grown substantially in Germany. In September, that nation's citizenry voted out its old guard politicians and the new slate—including left-leaning Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroder—began holding coalition talks with the Greens last week.

The Green Party is gay-friendly, feminist friendly and environmentally concerned. It represents a rapidly growing segment of the German populace that has responded favorably to its progressive agenda. This agenda was formulated as recently as 1979 by feminists, socialists, environmentalists, and pacifists.

Greens, it is widely believed, will prove pragmatic as they seek the implementation of their programs—including the legalization of marijuana—and as they begin wielding, for the first time, real power in the world's third largest economy. Among Green priorities will be the closing of 20 nuclear power stations which now account for a third of Germany's energy sources.

Greens call their approach to politics "grassroots democracy" and they are determined to provide an electoral alternative to "a corrupt, corporatized two-party system." Greens believe that the policy-making processes determining a citizenry's quality of life belongs in the hands of the people. The current two-party monopoly effectively deprives ordinary citizens, they say, of their constitutionally guaranteed rights to representative government.

schroder.jpg - 41.25 K German Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroder is reaching out to the Greens Greens' first priority is to value-based politics. They believe that the most effective strategy for achieving democracy is through serious alternative-party challenges at the polls. The Green Platform hopes to effect change in the way government operates safeguarding the quality of the environment.

In the United States The Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) currently consists of 21 autonomous, Green Parties, each with its own platform and bylaws. They seek—in unison-- to become a political force as has occurred in Germany, and state groups cooperate on substantive issues such as campaign finance reform, ballot access, environmental and social justice issues, and electoral campaigns (like the Ralph Nader for President campaign in l996). Greens will soon create legitimate parties in all 50 states.

Although third party politics haven't won any national offices since the l860 election of Abraham Lincoln, Greens argue, many major issues, nevertheless, have required the prodding of third party movements to achieve acceptance. The abolition of slavery, women's right to vote, establishment of a minimum wage, and regulation of child labor were all incorporated into major party platforms and enacted only after they were raised and promoted by third parties.

The European Green Federation, on which the ASGP is modeled, currently represents 28 member parties from Ireland to Georgia, from Malta to Norway. The parties are today represented in 12 federal governments in Europe and in the European Parliament by about 200 Green parliamentarians. There are also Green Parties in African countries, Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia. With parties around the globe, the international Green Party is the only truly global party. The ASGP has formed relationships with the European Green Federation, the Green Federation of the Americas, and corresponds with Green parties everywhere. There are currently Green parties in 87 nations.

Greens throughout the world support 10 key Values:

  • Ecological wisdom
  • Social justice
  • Grassroots democracy
  • Nonviolence
  • Decentralization
  • Community-based economics
  • Feminism
  • Respect for diversity
  • Personal and global responsibility
  • Future focus/sustainability.

Within Green parties and a broader Green movement, a guiding principle is to "think globally, act locally." The Green vision calls for a diversity of approaches to solving problems, one that tends to be bottom up, not top down. Green politics looks to peace and prosperity, and a rich milieu of communities.


Greens in the United States trace their roots to the European Greens who first organized as an anti-nuclear, pro-peace movement at the height of the Cold War, the progressive New Values Party in the South Pacific ,and the sixties/seventies student and environmental movement.

The late Petra Kelly, a founder of the German Greens, attended American University in Washington, D.C., and was greatly influenced by the U.S. environmental movement of the early 70's.

In l984, the first US Green organizing meetings were convened. These meetings eventually led to the formation of a national membership organization of Green locals and individuals. By l992, state parties were organizing and gaining ballot access. In Arcata, California, Greens now hold the majority on a five member council. There are currently 43 Greens holding elective office in 11 states, 22 of them in California. Many more Greens hold appointed office and serve on city/county groups and community organizations.

ralphnader.jpg - 6.66 K Ralph Nader was the Green candidate for President in 1996 In August 1996, state Green parties held their first national Nominating Convention in Los Angeles, California. Earlier, in November 1995, as a result of Green national organizing efforts, Ralph Nader had set in motion the Green Party's first presidential campaign by officially announcing he would enter the California Green primary.

His decision sparked a reaction from Greens across the country. States that had never had an active Green Party were inspired and motivated to jump on Public Citizen Nader's unconventional presidential campaign. By election eve, the Greens had placed Ralph Nader on 22 ballots nationwide, with another 23 states qualifying him as a write-in candidate.

Ralph Nader was joined on the ticket by Native American, Winona LaDuke. Their campaign crossed the country and challenged the candidates, and platforms, of the Democrats and Republicans. The campaign accelerated the party building of the Greens and energized efforts at the local and state level, and helped create new coalitions and awareness of the serious and credible efforts of the Green Party.

Ralph's 96 campaign was one of integrity and ideas, and captured a place in history books as representing the Green Party as it stepped into the national political arena. When the results were in, the Nader-LaDuke campaign came in fourth place, after Perot, and polled nearly 700,000 votes, approximately l% of the vote nationwide, denying Clinton a clear majority and surpassing third party candidates who appeared on all state ballots. The Nader/LaDuke vote in Oregon was the best nationwide -- more than 4%!

Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Winona LaDuke grew up in Oregon and California and now lives on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. She is known for her work on environmental and indigenous women's issues and for her role in the struggle for return of Native American lands.

Both Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke have pledged their continued support to growing the Greens. It was the remarkable success of the Green parties in 1995 and 1996 that led to the formation of the Association of State Green Parties.

The decision to form the ASGP was made by Green activists from twenty-five states who met in Virginia, November of 1996 -- just l0 days after the l996 elections.

Not far from where the documents were written and the meetings held that gave birth to the historic experiment known as the United States, Greens from across the nation gathered, debated and determined to go forward to build a major political party.

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