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Camejo and Green Party of California

As one who was deeply involved with the GP of California for several years (my post on the current trainwreck is linked to from a previous discussion here.) I've never been able to satisfactorily explain how and why things got so dysfunctional. No one can.

Part of it, I think, is the non-parliamentary system of government in the US. In most countries, if you get, say, 5% of the vote, you get representatives elected. That doesn't exist in the US, so third parties exist in a mostly impotent netherworld, at least at the national level. This means - and there's no other way to say it - you get a certain number of marginal people involved in third parties, and this just slows things down in terms of organizing.

Factor in the GP penchant, at least in the US, for governing by consensus, and you have a recipe for things not getting done. At the state level of the California GP, if they are voting on a policy matter, and just one person expresses possible disagreement, then it has to pass by 80%. This not only is madness, it also means just a couple of people can completely jam up the works.

Someone once told me he was at a German Greens meeting some fifteen years ago, and a sign on the wall said "consensus is nonsense." They have a point.

Without getting too much into the details of the current conflict, Camejo is, I think, fighting a losing battle to keep the Green Party functioning as well as free from Democratic influence. On the other flank, ISO is making inroads. There may not be much remaining but a husk soon. Wish I could be more optimistic, and while there are vibrant healthy Green Parties in other countries, it's difficult to see how GP-US can revive itself.

3 Com:

Dave Riley | May 26, 2007

The terrible irony seems to be that the core rationale for a project like the Green Party is to maintain political independence from other countervailing forces.

When the Green Party went belly up for the Dems (was that 2004?) and Camejo and Nader had to run their own ticket you have to wonder what was the point of this party making exercise.

The other features in play is that of accountability which I would think was a core green principle.

Nonetheless, the GP experience is a major advancement in US third party politics going way back to Debbs and sundry other experiments since. It surely flags the obstacles that exist given the nature of US "democracy" but there still remains the local level which, I gather, can be very mercurial.

Anonymous | May 27, 2007

This discussion has also been taken up by Andy Newman here California Green Party to split? as it relates rto the Green Party of England and Wales

polizeros | May 27, 2007

In 2004, forces within the GP rigged the convention rules so Cobb had to be the candidate. To say this caused bad blood would be putting it mildly.

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