Third Party & Independents Archives

Global Greens Charter

David recently posted a copy of the 10 Key Values of the Green Party (our guiding philosophy). Its worth pointing out that, in fact, what he posted is just one of many different articulations of those 10 Key Values - other examples of which can be seen on the Global Greens Charter web page, including the Charter itself, which is a document prepared at a gathering of Greens from across the globe in 2001 that outlines how these principles are to be implemented in great detail.

There is also a more simple rendition, in the form of the Four Pillars, which are reproduced on the Wisconsin Green Party web site (which I linked to). These originated from the European Green Party movement in the 1970’s and were expanded into the 10 Key Values by the North American Green Party movement in the 1980’s.

Someone commented, in response to David's posting: "Nice platform, but what are their plans to gain actual political power?"

Well, the first answer is: the Green Party of the United States, unlike the Democratic and Republican parties, is part of a transnational movement (the good side of "globalization"). We are already in power in several countries, and have elected officials at a national level who are directly influencing policy in many more. Not to mention hordes of local and regional elected officials from one end of the globe to the other (and quite a few, as David mentioned, in this country, including no less than five in Santa Cruz County, CA where I live).

The second is: we're working on it. As David said, 206 elected officials in dozens of states is quite an accomplishment for a party that was basically not on the political map anywhere in this country until 2000 (and which has been continually under attack ever since), and is still quite resource constrained, volunteer dependent, and relatively inexperienced at large scale organization.

Those of us who've been involved with the Green Party in the United States since before Ralph Nader's first run in 1996 are perhaps a little more patient than other, more recent arrivals... the growth we've had over the past few years has been considerable, and if history is any guide, it is only going to continue.

On that note, again, those of us in the Green Party, unlike Democrats or Republicans, are not solely dependent on our experience in this country for inspiration or vindication: Greens can look abroad, to places like Australia, the Canadian Province of British Columbia, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, etc. etc. for examples of how, just in the course of the last decade or so, Green Party's have grown from nothing, to being competitive players on a local, regional and national scale.

You'll hear the argument, and I'm hearing it now, as editor/co-creator of a Green web site (hint: check page 10 in the January 19th edition of Newsweek) that the two party system prevents third parties from ever become competitive. Well, all we have to do is look north, to British Columbia (and Canada in general) to see what nonsense that is. Canadian politics has just seen one of the two "traditional" major parties (the Progressive Conservatives) so utterly eclipsed by the emergence of a major third party (The Reform Party - which I believe has since changed their name), that they've decided, as an organization, to simply fold up their tent and merge with it. In British Columbia, the New Democratic Party (NDP), which governed the province until the last election, is now running neck and neck for second place with the Green Party... and the "Reform Party" isn't even on the map in that provence. There really is nothing magic about a two party "duopoly", even in a winner take all system like ours. If you want more examples, take a look at the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Matt Gonzalez's recent campaign in San Francisco only re-emphasizes that point... he came damn near winning, even with only 3% of the voters in that city being registered Green, and with his opponent Gavin Newsom essentially making the entire election a referendum on loyalty to the Democratic Party... which, in actuality he lost - the majority of voters in his own party cast their ballots for Matt, a Green Party member; Newsom squeaked out a victory with support from the 16% of voters in San Francisco who are registered Republicans.

This, to me, makes it clear that it is only a matter of time before the Green Party breaks through... in that sense, perhaps, Matt's campaign is like Audie Bock's - a forebringer of things to come, an anomaly manifesting itself before it could reasonably have been expected to emerge, but part and parcel of a broad and unquestionable march towards future victories.

Posted by at January 26, 2004 7:15 AM