Does the Green Party exist in the U.S. today?
After a shockingly ineffectual performance on Election Day 2016, the reality should be sinking in over at Green central. In a different context heads would roll. New blood would move in, new strategies the only issue, the only concern, the wake-up call to end all wake-up calls. The US Green Party faces an existential crisis today. This is the fork in the road. The current organization has failed spectacularly (yet again). Forget 5%, they couldn’t reach one and a half.
We cannot fault Jill Stein, who did the best she could and campaigned tirelessly. She appeared on more television screens than any other US Green in history, and yet votes did not materialize. One-percent stunts are simply not worth the effort, and they are not changing the world.
In 2011 I tried to alert the Party (repeatedly) that they were stuck in a failed cycle that needed drastic changes in order to succeed. The main points of my strategy proposal were as follows.
The only goal is to recruit tens of millions of Americans into the Green Party, to register them “Green,” and thus to build a credible alternative that Americans may trust to not be a “wasted vote.”
This requires a national effort, not ad-hoc state by state randomness. Nor city by city, nor Facebook group nor Twitter account. This mishmosh of random efforts is completely uncoordinated and redundant. Efforts are limited and wasted, and the advantages of the digital world are not exploited to their fullest potentials.
In any accounting of strengths, weaknesses, and available resources, we must be realistic. Greens are not the party of money, but of people power. Motivated members: their time and labor are the main available resources, not expensive TV commercials.
When I wrote the original document I had been a Green for over a decade, and since I’d moved to Northern California and re-registered the Party had not contacted me at all. I had nothing to do, no interaction, no initiatives to join in: nothing. No mojo. Plus Northern California is where the party supposedly began!
Greens are sitting around with nothing to do. That’s not how you build a party. You build a party by recruiting new members, and getting them to recruit new members, and so on, and so on, and so on. That should be the main concern of the national party structure, the only real concern. They should be providing tools to their own members to empower and assist them to organize and communicate with one another.
The party must immediately create infrastructure to help its own members organize.
1. A place to communicate, share ideas and to link up, such as a message board forum. Why this doesn’t exist already is beyond belief. Are you a party or a collection of whoevers, whenevers?
2. A media library to store photos, videos, audio, and text. There is no central depository for people to take the raw materials and build new projects. This ignoring of the modern age and its digital offerings is another fumble by a party that doesn’t seem to care if it loses.
3. A landing page to send new people in order to convince them to register Green. Take five minutes and actually put together a professional presentation to attract independents and disgruntled Democrats and talk to them.
Those are the bare minimum requirements for the party to actually exist. It does not exist at this juncture, sorry.
Dependable places for people to use and to build will demonstrate that the party is here and is active all year long, all the time.
Currently, it is mostly random and centered around a star presidential run. In 2011, when I first wrote the proposal, the Green websites were even more crude and off-putting. Some improvements have come around, but not the centers of activity that would provide a place for members to interact and spread important information virally among them: at the local level, the regional, and national levels. Good ideas are not being passed on to those who need them most because of disorganization. This hobbles the people you expect to be building the party and to recruit new members.
GP members are left to flounder in random Facebook or Twitter encounters. No central hub can be identified to check for news, media and initiatives to participate in. Without a centralized library, good content it is quickly forgotten and lost.
Now an anecdote to demonstrate the point. Over the past few months in a ‘Jill Stein Activists’ group on Facebook I began making graphic memes to promote her and the party, as well as to knock the competition. I made at least 47 images (gallery), and they were passed on by hundreds of people, very popular in fact, some of the most active content going around there.
Four days before the election I was suddenly kicked out of the group. No explanation. No rhyme nor reason. Was it related to an argument over the pervasive fake “news” (disinformation) littering the group? Probably.
So that was that. I’m out. The most productive member of the group tossed out without explanation. These groups are random, run by whomever at their own personal whims, and the Green Party has no oversight, investment, nor commitment to fairness or procedures.
That’s not a serious party in my book. Those are junior high school shenanigans masquerading.
The party insists on trying to compete in the national leagues, but continues to play in the Pee Wee league. In 2016 they still haven’t stepped up and invested in their own members and given them… anything that I can see.
Maybe some of its members will simply cease investing time and sweat in them?