FAQ's about the Green Party
- Since Nader's running as a Green, I thought I'd share this information to
help clarify some issues, issues that are directly and indirectly related to
<What follows is an excerpt from the Green Party Media Manual, a pamphlet
published in 1992 by the Green Party of California to help novices manage
press contacts and related publicity through their locals.
Frequently Asked Questions
The basic Green premise you present to the public will depend upon a group
decision of your local, which may or may not reflect the sentiments of Greens
universally. However, as you stand alone in that glaring spotlight, questions
your local has never officially processed are sure to come your way. When
that happens, you are going to have to make a quick judgement as to how far
you can define the Green Party on your own. Following is a general stance
which should work for all Green locals, and a list of suggested responses to
some of the most common questions asked. For the most accurate
representation, review with your local any that you feel might raise the
We have a distinctive political ideology which stands alongside other
ideologies, such as socialism, capitalism, liberalism, or communitarianism.
Ours is historically placed, new and still being written, and the fastest
growing, world-wide movement seen in the second half of the 20th Century. It
is scientifically supportable, not just a romantic utopian vision, and is
relevant to all classes, all ideologies, and all nations of the world. The
Green Party calls for a complete restructuring of social, cultural, and
political life, especially in the developed countries. It seeks to shift the
debate onto those who would maintain the status quo, away from the defenders
of Green prin- ciples, which challenge that there is no alternative, that if
there is to be a future, it will have to be Green.
*Are you environmentalists?*
We stand for peace, social justice, and the environment. All questions must
be framed from an environmental perspective. All the issues are interrelated.
Many of us come from the women's movement, gay rights, labor, environmental
racism, and social justice movements. We are environmentalists in that we
believe our continuing existence as a species depends on a safe work place, a
healthy community, and a clean environment.
*Are you all white?*
Many people of color have registered Green. The Green movement grew out of
the environmental movement, which has been traditionally white. Movements
have to start somewhere. Some start with workers, some with women or youth.
We are working with all of the above, as well as the environmental justice
movements. We recognize that there will be no social justice until people of
color gain genuine political power, and this is reflected in our selection of
candidates. We are especially sensitive towards Native Americans, both for
the reverence with which their culture regards the earth, and for the
onslaught they have suffered in the name of business as usual.
*Won't you split the vote?*
What vote? We are very different from the Democrats. We are running against
the two- party system. We are tired of the lesser of the two evils we have
been forced to choose between for decades. We are attracting the 60% which
does not vote: youth, and minorities. The Democratic Party has been failing
for a long time, without our help. That is because a Democrat has become
indistinguishable from a Republican. Greens offer a genuine alternative
choice from the Republocrats.
*Who are your candidates?*
Since we are decentralized political party, the Green locals are free to
analyze their races, chances, resources, and opposition. We take the local,
bottom-up approach. State campaigns will be managed by a cooperative of
locals. Electoral reform is a big issue for Greens for both the community and
the state, because mainstream politics have become fundraising contests, and
not fair determinations of voter choice. We support values, not financiers or
personalities. We hope to recruit from active movement groups, assess the
opportunities, and then run appropriate candidates. We are still working out
*What kind of political reform?*
We support finance reforms, proportional representation, equal media access
for all candidates, full disclosure on "hit mail," a shortened campaign
season, a single primary day, None of the Above ballot choice, eliminating
alternate party restrictions, lifetime voter registra- tion--or easier,
automatically with a Social Security number, driver's license, or school
registration. Some Greens ask for a weekend election day, easier write-ins,
or a national initiative process.
*What are your economical policies?*
First, we want to force the conversion of the military budget to civilian
use. The key words in a Green economic plan are: sustainability, life-
affirming, self reliance, community-based, true cost pricing, a global
economy of locally owned and operated cooperatives, reduce, reuse, recycle.
Also: conservation, efficiency, labor intensive, worker run, low consumption,
less consumerism. We want a return of state and federal resources to the
local level, an end to subsidies, redistribution of wealth--not only across
class lines, but also across the hemispheres, and down through the
generations. We support neither a state-run nor free market economy. We
support, above all, economic justice.
*Are you socialists?*
We support a mixed economy and community life. We adhere to no one ideology.
Our politics refer to scale, decentralized decision-making, bioregional
Congress, and local control of tax revenue, services, law enforcement
agencies, and health care. We stress direct democracy over representative.
*What is your foreign policy?*
We stand for self- determination of all peoples. We must end military
intervention, threats, and coercion. Stop all shipments of arms abroad. Close
all foreign bases. A U.N. strengthened and more inclusive, by reforming the
Security Council. A policy of nonintervention by outside governments, except
for peacekeeping. A foreign policy based on the exportation of
self-reliance-building products and ideas, as well as an exchange of
information to improve every nation's understanding of the many ways to
improve democratic decision-making.
*What about the failure of the German Greens?*
They came out against reunification, and lost ground at the polls. They also
received government funding, which increased internal tensions. But Green
Parties are flourishing in Central and South America, Asia, and elsewhere in
Europe. For example, the Finnish Greens who after winning 5% of the national
vote were awarded 10 seats in the National Parliament, and went on the
following election to seat nearly 1,000 party members in local offices.
There, the Green movement is clearly on the upswing. (Since this was written,
the Greens have returned to the German Parliament.)
*Is this anything like Greenpeace?*
Greenpeace is an international, direct-action, environmental organization. We
are a political party, subject to the rules and laws of our state. Greenpeace
typically performs non-electoral operations, though many of its members are
*Isn't consensus an inefficient, tedious process?*
Consensus is a method of including the minority view, and getting the whole
group behind a decision, because everyone had a hand in forming it. We try to
foster partnership and cooperation, rather than parliamentary manipulation or
power politics. Sometimes finding it requires an 80% fall back vote.
Consensus has been used by American groups effectively for over 70 years. We
adopted it from anti-nuclear activists and the peace community.
*Don't you have internal conflicts?*
Sure, doesn't every political party? The other parties tend to have theirs
behind closed doors, while we feel that opening to such conflict can actually
be healthy. Disagreements allow us to tailor our projects to include
dissenting opinions. In serious cases, we use mediation. Many locals teach
*What have you done?*
What have you done?>
It's what we learn after we know it all that really counts.
Sunday, April 02, 2000
6:40:37 AM Pacific Standard Time