Table of Contents:
First stirrings of a Green Political Party in the U.S.
Green Politics: The Global Promise
Roots in the Bioregional Movement
Who Gets Invited to the Party?
The Founding of U.S. Greens - August 1984
What’s in a name?
Creation of the Ten Key Values
First National Green Gathering, Amherst 1987
Strategy & Policy Approaches in Key Areas (SPAKA)
Greening the West, 1988
Green Gathering 89 - Eugene
Early State Party ballot qualification efforts
Green Gathering '90 - Estes Park
Green Party Organizing Committee, Boston 1991
Green Gathering '91 - Elkins
Green Politics Network - 1992
Green Gathering '92 - Minneapolis
Green Gathering '95 - Albuquerque
Third Parties ‘96
Nader ’96 - Ralph Nader runs for president for the Green Party
First Green Presidential Nomination Convention - UCLA, August 1996
Association of State Green Parties (ASGP)
2000 Presidential Candidate Outreach
2000 Green Presidential Convention and Nader 2000
The Boston Proposal/Agreement - October 2000
Founding of the Green Party Press of the United States - July 2001
Press Conference - Founding of the Green Party of the United States - July 2001
National Committee Status
The Green Party in the U.S. exists today as an organized political party fielding candidates for office in most states and for national office. On the national level, those same state parties have come together to form the Green Party of the United States.
But it was not always so. Over thirty years ago, there were no state Green Parties—and no indication nor plans in the wings for a national Green Party in the United States. Instead, the nascent Green movement was in its early stages of self-definition and self-discovery. There was no certainty that a Green electorally engaged political party would emerge across the U.S., though already in January, 1984 a nascent state Green Party had been launched in Maine.
To understand how a party grows out of a movement means understanding its roots. For U.S. Greens, that meant many years of often contentious debate about organizing and focus, followed by testing those theories out in the real world:
• What would a values-based politics look like—and what should those values be?
• Will needed change occur through a transformation of the relationship between humans and the rest of nature (deep ecology), or between humans and each other (social ecology)? Or both, insofar as each hinges on the other?
• When is a movement ready to go into electoral politics? Who decides when it’s time, and on what level?
• What should be the relationship between the Green movement and the Green Party? What would it mean for a political party to be accountable to a social movement? Can a political party be based in and accountable to social movements, and still operate effectively in the electoral arena? Can social movements realize their aims in the absence of a new political party independent of the dominant two parties?
• Can a political party practice Green values internally and externally—and operate successfully in a political system that isn’t very Green? What would it mean to participate in the system while seeking to transform it—and what are the risks of being corrupted by it? And how do Greens deal with hierarchy, authority, leadership and the realities of the need for money in politics?
First stirrings of a Green Political Party in the U.S.
The first stirrings of a Green Party in the United States dedicated to running candidates came when seventeen people met in Augusta, Maine on January 8, 1984 to form a Maine Green Party -- the first Green state political party in the United States.
The impetus for the founding meeting came from Alan Philbrook and John Rensenbrink, who had previously worked together on campaigns to shut down Maine’s only nuclear plant -- and had come close to doing so. Philbrook had recently attended the November 6, 1983 founding meeting of the Green Party of Canada, while in the summer of 1983 Rensenbrink had visited West Germany, where the Green Party Die Grünen had won 5.5% of the vote 27 seats in the Bundestag, West Germany’s Parliament - the first European Green Party to win multiple federal parliamentary seats.
In enjoying such success, the West German Greens drew support from the popular domestic movement opposing the deployment of Pershing II cruise missiles on West German soil by NATO and the US -- and simultaneously united various other social movements, including peace, environmental, feminist, civil rights, and Third World solidarity.
Could those same movements unite around forming a Green Party in the United States?
Green Politics: The Global Promise
To address this historic question, Californians Charlene Spretnak and Fritjof Capra researched and wrote a definitive early study of the West German Green Party — Green Politics: The Global Promise. Published in the spring of 1984, the book provided deep insights into the challenges Die Grünen (the Greens) faced as they sought to bring together various social movements and create an ‘anti-party’ party, that was simultaneously capable of practicing Green values and winning seats in the German Parliament.
With a glowing endorsement “to American readers who want to know what is at the heart of alternative Green Party politics” by Petra Kelly (Die Grünen co-founder and Member of German Parliament), Green Politics became an early primer for those seeking to start a Green Party in the United States. It inspired many to believe it was possible, even in the depths of the Ronald Reagan U.S. presidency.
The book also publicized to a U.S. audience the Four Pillars of the West German Greens, as a values-basis for their new party: “ökologisch”, “sozial”, “basisdemokratisch” and “gewaltfrei” — ecology, social justice, grassroots democracy and non-violence.
These dramatic events inspired many Greens throughout the country to think Green Political Party. Yet it would be a while before such thinking would take hold throughout the countrty. A Green movement was well under way in various parts of the country, but a step beyond that to create a Green Political Party had yet to be taken. Nor was that step a foregone conclusion.
Roots in the Bioregional Movement
In May 1984, with interest growing in a rapidly rising Green movement and in some form of political organization, David Haenke of the Ozark Area Community Congress convened a Green Movement Committee at the first North American Bio-regional Congress. It was held in southern Missouri in the approaches to the Ozark mountains. Attendees approved a statement “concerning the formation of a Green political organization in the USA”, stating:
“It is essential that this organization have a bio-centric vision—one which puts the needs of all life forms at the center of decision-making … As individual bio-regionalists, we recognize the need for bio-regional principles and practices to be secured and protected, cooperatively and in a decentralized manner, through a Green political organization. Such an organization should focus on open, democratic planning and political action supportive of local and regional autonomy and interdependence as reflected in the bio-regional model.”
“To be effective, a Green political organization must originate from a broad base of support, from natural allies concerned with ecological politics and social justice, peace and non-violence, local and regional self-management and grassroots democracy. If the emerging Green political organization does indeed reflect these basic bio-regional concerns, we urge support from bio-regional groups and individuals from around the continent.”
To some, this meant a step towards the creation of an actual political party, a party that ran candidates for public office. But the words “political organization” did not necessarily mean that to other participants whose focus was on bio-regional goals and actions, not electoral politics.
From this gathering in the Ozarks, a larger meeting was planned for August 1984 in St Paul, MN. This would turn out to be the founding meeting of U.S. Greens.
By this time, struggles had already surfaced over the party/movement divide, and whether “political organization” meant movement activism with political lobbying, or meant a full scale independent political party fielding candidates. Months earlier the newly formed Maine Green Party had clearly announced its intention to compete for power by fielding candidates as well as engaging in movement work. Many in the Bioregional Movement in Maine knew about this and did not support the formation of a such partisan political party.
For many bioregionalists, political boundaries like states, counties, congressional districts, etc. run counter to bioregional boundaries. Therefore supporting formation of a Green political party would pull energy and conceptual clarity away from the bio-regional vision, concept and practice.
For this reason, and perhaps also the fear of/ambivalence towards a forthright participation in partisan politics overall, Maine bioregionalists recommended that representatives from the new Maine Green Party not be not invited to the Ozarks NABC meeting, which they were not -- although the Maine Greens didn't find out about this until much later. Similarly the Maine Greens were not invited to the August national founding Green meeting in St. Paul. - a meeting they also didn't find out about until after the fact.
The conflict between what it meant to be 'inclusive' and 'democratic' -- at the same time that different Greens had seemingly irreconcilable opposing views on how to organize -- would play out for many years, and not only in one direction. Year later the shoe would also be on the other foot, as party organizers didn't invite certain 'movement' Greens to key meetings of the Green Party Organizing Committee (Boston, MA 1991) and 1984-who-invited of the Association of State Green Parties (Middleburg, VA 1996).
The Founding of U.S. Greens - August 1984
On August 10–12, 1984 62 people met at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN and founded the first official national Green organization in the U.S — the Committees of Correspondence or CoC. The three-day meeting included activists from peace, ecology and justice groups; veterans of the women’s, civil rights, and community movements; and farmers, community leaders, church activists and teachers. There were social ecologists, deep ecologists, eco-feminists, anarchists, socialists and more.
The organizing committee consisted of Charlene Spretnak, David Haenke, Harry Boyte (long-time member of Democratic Socialists of America and author of The Backyard Revolution), Catherine Burton (founder of Earth Bank in Seattle), and Gloria Goldberg (Institute for Social Ecology). They invited 200 people from 27 issue-areas along with some media, including Mark Satin of New Options.
Reflecting its possible ‘pre-party’ nature, the CoC was broadly formed to organize local Green groups and work toward creating a Green political organization in the U.S. But it was left unclear whether political organization was understood to be the establishment of an actual political party engaged in direct competition for office with the two major parties. The group christened the new organization the Committees of Correspondence and gave birth to its Ten Key Values.
Attendees also agreed that (a) an interim Inter-Regional Committee (IC) be established, made up of regional reps, who would be charged with encouraging multi-leveled movement building, including both local and regional groupings, in liaison with issue networks; (b) to establish a national information office in Minneapolis-St. Paul; and (c) to consider various forms of events that are mainly educational for local, regional or national gatherings.
The IC would meet approximately two-three times a year until 1991, including in Berkeley, CA (February 1985), Boston, MA (summer, 1985) Kansas City, MO (December, 1985), Seattle, WA (March 7–9, 1986), Kansas City, MO (August 1987), Austin, TX (January, 1988), Los Angeles, CA (June 10–12, 1988), New Orleans, LA (February 17–19, 1989), Washington, DC (December 9–10, 1989) and San Diego, CA (February 1990).
What’s in a name?
Not surprisingly, the wide-ranging debate about ‘what it means to be Green?’ has played out in how U.S. Greens name themselves -- starting at that founding 1984 meeting in St. Paul, where the new Green organization was named the Committees of Correspondence, after the Committees of Correspondence of the American Revolutionary War.
According to Charlene Spretnak, “most people [came] to the meeting expecting to use the word “Green” somewhere in the organization’s name. But in a heated argument, a few community organizers who work with minorities maintained that such a name would lose support, since “Green” connotes, in some communities, environmentalism as a middle-class concern that carries no commitment to social justice.
The St. Paul meeting agreed that the local CoCs would have a great deal of autonomy and would be free to use “Green” in their names if they wished, which most of them did.
In July 1989, the national Green Gathering from that year changed the CoC name to the Green Committees of Correspondence (GCoC). It would remain that way until August 1991.
Creation of the Ten Key Values
A major factor in the sustained unity of the U.S. Greens has been the Ten Key Values. It has served as a philosophical framework, a broad umbrella, through all the tumult and factional infighting that a new party appealing to many different groups, concerns, and interests inevitably experiences.
The Ten Key Values were birthed at the St. Paul founding meeting, during a late Saturday night marathon session facilitated by then Los Angeles-based and later Eugene, OR activist Jeff Land (who would later co-host Green Gathering ’89), with primary contributions by Spretnak and by many close to Murray Bookchin of the New England Institute for Social Ecology. Journalist Mark Satin was invited to cover the meeting. His Green-oriented monthly newsletter New Options would become a must read in the late 1980s. He later wrote about the founding meeting:
“About 50 of us were trying to think of a project that could help define us and put us on the political map. We were exhausted and sprawled all over the floor of a Macalester lounge — the conference had been intense! — but everyone sensed that something important could come out of Jeff’s workshop. What happened next was something I’ve experienced only a couple of times in my life. A “collective brain” seemed to take hold, and we began working together as one… No single individual came up with the idea of a values statement; it just welled up from out of our intense discussion … Seamlessly, we began discussing what our own values or pillars might be. Someone began recording our suggestions on a large flip chart. Ten, 15, 20 suggestions went up on the chart with seemingly no end in sight.”
Satin added the idea of phrasing each value with a series of questions after each. Eventually a committee of Spretnak, Satin and Eleanor LeCain (coordinator of the Peace and Environmental Coalition in Boston) were charged with writing a draft Values Statement from the notes on butcher paper that had been taped on the wall. They were charged with reporting that back to the new IC for approval.
In a world before email, faxes and three-way phone calls, the three worked together over the next few months. Satin also sought input from economist/ futurist Robert Theobald and attorney Gerald Goldfarb, both of whom were also at the founding CoC meeting in St. Paul. The eventual set of Ten Key Values they submitted, along with an accompanying set of questions for each, was approved by consensus by the IC in late 1984. Together became the foundational basis for U.S. Greens going forward.
Yet it would not be long before the Left Green Network (LGN), formed in 1988, issued their own, this time with Eleven Key Values. While the LGN statement they did not displace the Ten Key Values, over time Greens in different states would adopt their own version of the Ten Key Values, most often modifying Post-patriarchal Values into Feminism and/or Gender Equity; Personal and Social Responsibility as Social Justice, and Future Focus to include Sustainability.
The first major change in the Ten Key Values on the national level came at the 2000 ASGP presidential nomination convention in Denver, where as presented by platform chair Steve Schmidt (NM) and the Green Platform Committee, some of the values were renamed and the questions following each value were converted into affirmations. In 2016 the affirmations were further rephrased and amended by the Green National Committee.
|Original Ten Key Values of CoC (adopted 1984)||Ten Key Values of GPUS (adopted 2000)|
|Ecological Wisdom||Ecological Wisdom|
|Personal and Social Responsibility||Social Justice and Equal Opportunity|
|Grassroots Democracy||Grassroots Democracy|
|Community-Based Economics||Community-Based Economics and Economic Justice|
|Post-Patriarchal Values||Feminism and Gender Equity|
|Respect for Diversity||Respect for Diversity|
|Global Responsibility||Personal and Global Responsibility|
|Future Focus||Future Focus and Sustainability|
In 2001, when the Global Greens were founded in Canberra, Australia and a Global Green Charter was approved by consensus from Green Parties in 72 countries, the U.S. Green Ten Key Values were cited as one of the inspirational source documents behind the creation of the Charter.
Trying to put the Ten Key Values into practice became the task of the first CoC clearinghouse, established in late 1984 in St. Paul with Harry Boyte as clearinghouse coordinator. But these efforts were hampered by a division at the August 1984 founding meeting as to the clearinghouse’s purpose, with a division between those who favored coordinated decentralization and those favoring radical decentralization, to the degree that the clearinghouse only be a mail drop and information resource, but not an outreach vehicle.
At the December 1985 Inter-Regional Committee (IC) meeting in Kansas City, the decision was taken that both the IC and the clearinghouse should actively support organizing efforts through a number of services. The clearinghouse was moved to Kansas City where there was a local (the Prairie Greens) to actively support it.
Dee Berry of the Kansas City Greens volunteered to be the clearinghouse coordinator, with support from Ben Kjelshus. She served in that key role until fall 1989, when she was succeeded by Jim Richmond. By her organizing skills, steady leadership and vision, and charismatic verve -- and with Kjelshus’s enthusiastic help and equally compelling vision, Berry assisted in the birth and intergroup coordination of over 350 local Green groups throughout the country. This provided the 'that-without-which' foundation of much subsequent Green movement and Green political party development. It was a vital step in the direction of both.
The IC Bulletin — published by Dee Berry’s clearinghouse — became a primary source of commentaries and newspaper reprints of Green success stories around the country, and was sent to all the dues-paying Green locals within the CoC. This was before the era of widespread e-mails.
First National Green Gathering, Amherst 1987
The First National Green Gathering was held July 1987 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and was entitled “Building the Green Movement—A National Conference for a New Politics.” The conference brochure stated “We invite all Greens and activists in kindred social change movements to participate in this educational conference. We are not gathering to make decisions for the Green movement. Our purpose is education. It will be a chance for Greens and activists in kindred movements from across the land to meet, share perspectives, and learn from each other—and take what we learn back to our communities to put into practice.”
Over 600 were in attendance. By some estimates that included all who came for a short while, the actual number was closer to 1500. Some of the creative tensions within the U.S. Green movement were visibly on display at the time — ’party vs. movement’, ‘deep ecology vs. ‘social ecology’ and ‘New Left vs. New Age.’
Featured speakers included Spretnak, Detroit-based social activist and feminist Grace Lee Boggs, Muray Bookchin of the Institute for Social Ecology, Wisconsin Green co-founder Walt Bresette, New Hampshire Green and Clamshell Alliance organizer Guy Chichester, California Green Danny Moses from Sierra Club Books, Maine Green Party co-founder John Rensenbrink and eco-feminist Ynestra King.
Workshops included a well-attended session on Independent Political Action. Other well-known Greens in attendance included Dee Berry, Kathy Christensen, Greta Gaard, Gerald Goldfarb, Howie Hawkins, Phil Hill, Myra Levy, Roberto Mendoza, Lorna Salzman, Brian Tokar and Nancy Vogl.
Strategy & Policy Approaches in Key Areas (SPAKA)
After the Amherst gathering, focus shifted to developing a set of policy approaches based upon the Key Values, which might further define and unite U.S. Greens. Today we take for granted that there is a GPUS national platform. In the late 1980s, there was no such thing — only the Ten Key Values.
At the August 1987 Inter-Regional Committee (IC) meeting in Kansas City, John Rensenbrink (ME) and Green Letter newsletter editor Margo Adair were selected principal coordinators of what would come to be called the SPAKA process—Strategy and Policy Approaches in Key Areas. “SPAKA was to create a participatory process to formulate a Green Program for the U.S. — to create an identity” as Adair and Rensenbrink stated it. And why a participatory process? “Democracy is not about deciding if you support this or that person to do politics for you. True democracy is creating policy collectively.”
The first step was a call for topics, which went out to all the Green locals, and to many kindred organizations and individuals. Over the next two years, Green locals and others submitted 190 position papers—or SPAKAS—from the grassroots. The Merrymeeting Greens of Maine, a Green local acting on behalf of the working group, reclassified them into 19 key issue areas. The 19 were Energy, Forest and Forestry, Life Forms, Materials Use and Waste Management, Water/Air, General Economic Analysis, Finance, Land Use, Politics, Social Justice, Eco-Philosophy, Spirituality, Education, Food and Agriculture, Health, Peace and Non-violence, Community Organizing, and Strategy. Strategy was deliberately added in order to pose the prospect that what was being aimed at was an actual platform-based political party — beyond just a Program. Here was a move that helped many who were thinking movement to also think beyond it to an actual electorally-active Green political party.
Greening the West, 1988
With the SPAKA process underway, the chance to define what it means to be Green moved to the West Coast. A “Greening the West” conference was held in a redwood grove at the Jones Gulch YMCA camp in San Mateo County, California on September 30–October 2, 1988. The Northern California Greens, one of the regional affiliates of the Greens Committees of Correspondence, hosted it. The planning group was composed of Bay Area Greens Danny Moses, Greg Jan, Richard Gustafson and Jess Shoup.
More than 1,000 people attended. Speakers included Margot Adair, Planet Drum editor Peter Berg, Sierra Club founder David Brower, Ecotopia author Ernest Callenbach, author Fritjof Capra, Deep Ecology author Bill Devall, eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television author Jerry Mander, Los Angeles Eco-Home founder Julia Russell, Spretnak, and eco-feminist Starhawk.
The conference featured a workshop entitled “Towards a Green Party of the West: Local and Regional Electoral Strategies”. Along with the formation of the Maine Green Party in 1984, this was an early stepping-stone in the development of U.S. Green electoral politics. Facilitated by Moses (who would be the California Green Lt. Governor candidate in 1994), some 150 people attended the workshop and moved ahead with forming a Green Party of the West, ‘a network to facilitate campaigns for initiatives, referendums and local independent Green candidates.’ That network would grow and help form the nucleus for the founding of the Green Party of California 15 months later.
Each of the 19 issue areas identified by the Merrymeeting Greens had a working group focused on it in Eugene, synthesizing input. Concurrently, the Green CoC local in Eugene produced a daily newspaper entitled Green Tidings, which reported on the Gathering, and contained a daily report on all changes in the issue areas, so all delegates could follow the process.
After three days input and revision within the working groups, the Saturday plenary session was devoted to reports from each, with decision-making reserved for Sunday. This provided one more chance to receive input and revise their documents, which many working groups did.
On Sunday, policy approaches in all policy areas either received consensus or at least 80 percent of delegates. Those approaches were then published in Green Letter and sent back to the locals for an additional year of review and more input, with final approval set for Green Gathering 1990 in Estes Park, CO. During this final year, political scientist professor Christa Slaton of Alabama became the SPAKA coordinator.
The main organizers of the Eugene Gathering were Jeff Lamb and Irene Diamond. The Gathering was attended by reporters and received unprecedented coverage from the LA Weekly, Mother Jones, New Age Journal, New Options, Pacific News Service, Pacifica Radio, Utne Reader, and Z Magazine and received this substantial write-up in New Options.
The other major dimension of the Eugene Gathering was the focus on electoral strategy. There were well attended daytime workshops on Thursday and Friday on electoral strategy, and highly attended -- and very lively Left Green-sponsored discussions and debates at night.
The daytime strategy sessions were oriented towards building state political parties, while the nightly Left Green marathon sessions were oriented towards building a politically organized movement. The strategy sessions went so far as discussion running a Green presidential candidate, while for the Left Greens, whether to build an electorally engaged party was left open, reflecting the divergence of views of many in the group.
After Eugene, the Politics Working Group of the Green Committees of Correspondence issued a statement encouraging Green electoral activity. It recommended that “Greens begin running candidates at the local level and only proceed to the state and then to the national level when there were a substantial number of Green officeholders at the level immediately below.”
This was followed by a successful proposal at the October 1989 Inter-Regional Committee (IC) meeting in Washington, D.C. to form a Working Group on Electoral Action. Authored by Merrymeeting Greens (ME) John Rensenbrink and Matt Tilly, the proposal needed two thirds vote and after heated discussion and the issue possibly in doubt, the proposal was brought to a tense vote and received over 90% approval.
Then, even more boldly and controversially, the Working Group proceeded at the March 1990 IC meeting in San Diego to form a national Green Party Organizing Committee. There the 15 founding co-signers (DO WE HAVE A LIST OF THESE 15 INDIVIDUALS?) stated:
“The relationship of this new group to the IC and the GCoC was discussed and the following points were agreed upon: (1) That we consider ourselves a cooperating organization but autonomous from the IC and the GCoC and (2) We consider ourselves morally accountable to not only the GCoC but the entire Green Movement.”
At the same time this discussion was taking place nationally, individual state-by-state ballot qualification efforts were underway.
On February 4, 1990 the Green Party of California (GPCA) was founded at a meeting at Cal State Sacramento University, and set off to qualify for the statewide ballot by getting at least 78,992 Californians to register Green. While the vote to start the party from those in attendance was 27 locals in favor and 3 stand-asides, other Greens stayed home and protested, arguing that party formation was pre-mature, could co-opt Green values and ultimately undermine the long-term viability of the green movement.
This conflict came to a head at the GPCA's second statewide meeting at Los Angeles Community College March 25-26, 1990, where anti-party 'movement' Greens came out in force. While many 'movement' Greens wanted the party to be 'accountable' to the movement, the reality was that functionally and legally, the new Green Party of California would only be made up and structurally accountable to its registered members, and would have no structural connection to the Green Committees of Correspondance (GCoC). The strong debates back and forth over party formation pushed back much of the weekend's written agenda. Ultimately delegates continued the meeting at nearby Julia Russell's Eco-Home on Sunday evening to conclude the weekend's business.
Over the next two years, this heated debate became self-selecting, with those interested in party building becoming involved in the registration drive. Ultimately the ballot qualification effort would succeed, with over 103,000 Californians registering Green by the December 31, 1991 deadline.
In Alaska, Green Jim Sykes received 3.4 percent for Governor in November 1990, qualifying the Green Party there for ongoing ballot status as well, while California's Mindy Lorenz received an impressive 1% as a write-in candidate for U.S. Congress in Ventura/Santa Barbara counties. Also in Alaska, Kelly Weaverling, running as a Green, was elected Mayor of Cordova in 1991.
Between 1985 and 1989 a total of 25 U.S. Greens ran for local office, mostly in rural Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Maine and in New Haven, CT, with seven elected. In 1990-1991, 37 Greens ran for office nationwide, with 17 elected, including six in California.
Third National Green Gathering, Estes Park 1990 I NEED ONE MORE WRITING SESSION TO REVIEW THIS
Slaton, Adair, and Rensenbrink prepared intensively for the annual Green gathering in Estes Park, Colorado in October 1990. At stake was whether the SPAKA program, which had had two full years of development, would now be finally approved. During the year, there had been strong negative criticisms of it, coming mainly from members of the Left Green Network (LGN).
DO YOU RECALL THE BASIS OF THE CRITICISM? IT WASN'T SOCIALIST ENOUGH? WAS IT AROUND SPECIFIC PLANKS LIKE ECONOMIC?
LGN had formed in 1987/88 sparked by Howie Hawkins and was exerting increasing pressure for a strong left-centered politics in the emerging efforts to form a Green political organization.
CAN YOU SAY SOMETHING MORE ABOUT THE WORKSHOP? WAS IT LIKE IN EUGENE, WHERE ALL THE ISSUE AREAS HAS THEIR OWN FINAL BREAKOUT SESSION? I DON'T REMEMBER HOW IT WORKED
The many Workshops, however, proceeded well. The Workshop dealing with the Economy had been expected to produce explosions, but differences were ironed out. In the general assembly, however, voices critical of the leadership of the SPAKA, some of it aimed in a pointed manner, tore at the otherwise temperate demeanor of Christa Slaton. With some justification, she took it as fingering her, interpreting the criticism as directed at her as a person and as a woman. She rose, lashed out at the Assembly, declared her resignation, left the room and the party. This shocked everyone deeply.
However, Slaton’s hard and dedicated work as the SPAKA Program Chair during the previous year was crowned with success. SPAKA was approved resoundingly.
Danny Moses the next day delivered a moving speech urging Greens to shape up and grow up. He was graceful and wise in his manner and mode of speech. This helped settle the spirits of the participants to some degree. His speech may also have helped when, on that same day, following his speech, a very large number of Greens responded to a call by John Rensenbrink for an impromptu discussion on Green Party building and running candidates. The mountain air discussion on the big lawn was animated. Though no decisions could be taken, it was unmistakably evident that there were now great expectation for action to move forward to establishing strong state parties and the resolute running of Green Party candidates at all levels.
Following up, the Green Party Organizing Committee that same day made plans for a conference to take place in Boston in February, 1991. CAN YOU SAY SOMETHING MORE ABOUT THIS, SINCE THE BOSTON MEETING WAS INVITATION ONLY
Also, in the closing hours of the three day conference, Dee Berry led a planning session for a meeting to place shortly after Estes. The meeting that ensued was held in a conference center near Kansas City. It was composed of both “party first” and “movement first” leaders. Spirits were high. They came up with a bicameral structure for the new national Green Party, one branch composed of state-based political party representatives, the other branch composed of representatives of movement groups. The two branches would have equal power. Provision was made for leaders of both branches to meet in conferences to work out differences between the two branches. The meeting adjourned with the participants in full expectation that this plan would be adopted. It seemed to them a self-evident solution to a vexing issue.
The plan was sent to the locals. Though a clear majority favored the plan, it needed two/thirds to pass, and that did not happen. Members of the Left Green group led by Howie Hawkins lobbied against the plan. Nor did it help that the existing state Green parties had no vote. The plan failed.
These events spurred a momentum toward party building. It did appear that a huge step towards electoral politics and state party building had been taken. But big hurdles remained--or now became more visible. Issues turned to what kind of national Green Party would the Greens create and what would its structure be like? Four issues in particular threatened to capsize the project in midstream. The four issues overlapped with one another and this generated considerable confusion.
CARE YOU SAYING THESE ISSUES CAME UP IN ESTES PARK? OR ARE YOU JUST PREVIEWING THE STRUCTURE DEBATES THAT WERE TO FOLLOW ?
One issue was whether the national party would be based primarily on local Green groups or primarily on state parties. Embedded in this issue was another: whether the voting for national offices would be controlled by dues paying activists based in local groups or by Greens in local and state Green party entities voting in their capacity as citizens and not as dues paying activists. A third issue was the relation of movement entities (aka caucuses) to the new party: should they have no say, some say, or the dominant say. A fourth issue was the treatment by some in the party towards others: bullying, insulting language, brow beating, head-tripping, innuendos and vituperative speech, constantly demanding the last word, a non-listening attitude and behavior. Women especially were the recipients of this lethal blanket of words and body language—and were beginning to fight back.
Green Party Organizing Committee, Boston, February 1991
The Green Party Organizing Committee (GPOC) met in Boston in February 1991. Convinced that the growing fervor for a Green political party necessitated organizational structures that embraced it, they sought a new national structure balancing electoral and non-electoral movement work and strategies. This meant altering the power structure of the Green Committees of Correspondence, by providing direct representation for the new and growing number of state Green Parties.
The GPOC meeting was called on an invitation basis, with a limit of two attendees per state, including Mindy Lorenz and Debra Magnuson (CA), Barbara Rodgers-Hendricks (FL), Betty Zisk (MA), Greg Gerritt and John Rensenbrink (ME), and Dee Berry and Ben Kjelshus (MO). DO WE HAVE A LIST OF OTHER ATTENDEES? WHAT ABOUT THAT GUY FROM NY (ROSE?) WHO EVENTUALLY DID THE GPOC NEWSLETTER
The GPOC meeting notably did not invite Howie Hawkins (NY) or Boston Green Mitch Channelis. GPOC organizers were worried that Hawkins would immerse the meeting in 'party versus movement' debate, and that Channelis would insist on including life-style and new age issues from those who had marginal interest in Green electoral politics.
These exclusions predictably produced swift opposition from the Left Green Network, along with others more interested in movement building than electoral politics -- an opposition which reverberated six months later as blowback at Greens Gathering '91. Yet the Green Party Organizing Committee had achieved its primary aim, to continue to build momentum for an electorally engaged new national Green Party composed of state Green Parties; and toward this end, produced a newsletter highlighting Greens running for office and Greens state ballot drives.
The “Party versus Movement” debate was out in full force again at the fourth Greens national gathering, held in August 1991 in Elkins, West Virginia. Greens concerned about the state party-based electoral direction of the GPOC organized and attended in large numbers to make their presence felt.
HERE WE NEED TEXT ON THE EIGHT PERSON COMMITTEE THAT MET LATE AT NIGHT ON STRUCTURE EVERY NIGHT AND CAME OUT WITH THE FINAL STRUCTURE. THIS PROBABLY REQUIRES A PAPER COPY OF GREEN TIDINGS, SOMETHING I HAVE A IN A DEEP BOX SOMWHERE. I AM GOING TO WRITE ON THE GPUS NC DISCUSSION LIST TO SEE IF ANYONE HAS ANY COPIES HANDY THEY CAN SCAN
The four-day conference produced a restructuring of the Green Committees of Correspondence. In the restructured body the Green movement and Green Party would operate as part of a single organization. The Green Party Organizing Committee was dissolved and its concerns were transferred to a less prominent and less important “Working Group.” The Greens/Green Party of the United States (Greens/GPUSA) was chosen as the name of the new organization.
A Greens press conference broadcast on C-SPAN was held soon after in Washington, D.C. to announce the new organization, featuring Charles Betz (Greens/GPUSA Coordinating Committee member), New York Left Green Howie Hawkins and Joni Whitmore (Chair, Green Party of Alaska), as well as Hilda Mason of the D.C. Statehood Party.
Feeling their passion for a state-based Green Party stymied and deflected, and with the Green Party Organizing Committee (GPOC) dissolved, many former GPOC members and others gathered in March 1992 to found the Green Politics Network (GPN).
JOHN DO YOU HAVE YOUR INVITATION LETTER? IT WOULD BE NICE TO QUOTE FROM IT, OR LINK TO IT
Meeting over six days at the Hartland Center in Kansas City, GPN founders included Mindy Lorenz (CA), Barbara Rodgers Hendricks (FL), Betty Zisk (MA), Greg Gerritt and John Rensenbrink (ME), Dee Berry and Ben Kjelshus (MO), Blair Bobier (OR), Annie Goeke and Tom Linzey (PA) and Sue Conti (VA). WHICH OTHER GREENS WERE THERE THAT WE SHOULD MENTION?
GPN founders identified four major themes for action: (1) to facilitate as rapidly as possible the creation of a citizen/voter-based Green Party of autonomous state Green Parties (calling it “The Confederation of Independent State Green Parties”); (2) to pioneer a Third Party Coalition Project (or “Third Force”), a goal that stemmed from the presence during the last two days of the conference of many kindred groups and organizations who had been invited to attend; (3) to create a protection zone against abusive behavior based on the principle and conviction that “how we treat each other is as important as achieving our goals”; and (4) to “create space for people to connect with the spiritual universe.”
Between 1994 and 1996 GPN members would help organize a series of conferences designed to lead to a 1996 presidential candidacy: Third Parties '94 (Oakland, June 1994), Third Parties '96 (Boulder, June 1995) and Third Parties '96 (Washington, DC January 1996), and would play key organizing roles in establishing the Draft Nader Clearinghouse in 1996.
At the July 1992 Greens Gathering at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN, tensions surfaced over whether the new Greens/GPUSA structure fairly represented state Green Parties from states in which one registered to vote by political party.
For example, someone could be a Green Party member and have representation in a state party simply by registering Green in that state, but within the Greens/GPUSA, that same Green Party member would not have representation unless they also paid annual dues to the G/GPUSA -- even if their state party was affiliated with the G/GPUSA. This manifested itself with the Green Party of California, which by that time had over 35,000 registered members, but only a few dozen G/GPUSA dues-paying members.
This was not a new issue. The 1991 Greens Gathering had established a Structural Working Group tasked with examining what an eventual Green Party might look like, to present their report to Greens Gathering '92. The Working Group Secretary was Greg Gerritt (ME), the first Green to run for a State Legislature back in 1986. Gerritt sought a foundation for the party in state political parties, open to all party members under state law. Gerritt's proposal was not received favorably within the G/GPUSA, which was based upon dues-paying membership in Green locals. Eventually the G/GPUSA Green Council abolished the Working Group.
The rift over this – along with the fact that more Greens were starting state parties and thus seeing less value in the national organization – meant that attendance at the next two Green Gatherings -- Syracuse, NY (August 1993) and Boise, ID (July 1994) -- began to drop significantly.
1992 was the first year Greens ran in large numbers across the US, with 93 candidates in 13 states, including 44 in Califoria. Twenty Green won their races including 11 in California. Prior to 1992, the most candidates that ran in a single year was 21 in 1990, with nine victories.
The highest office won in 1992 was by Keiko Bonk of Hawai’i who also became the first U.S. Green elected to the partisan office, when she was elected to the nine-member County Council on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Also in Hawai'i, Linda Martin received 49,921 votes and 13.7% for U.S. Senate, still an all-time high for a U.S. Green for the U.S. Senate.
WE WANT TO STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SANTA MONICA AND BOWDOIN CONFERENCES
Green Parties of the West in Santa Monica. https://web.archive.org/web/20010222174246/http://www.feinstein.org/wlt/greenpartiesofthewest.html
The second conference, "Doing It the Grassroots Way," took place at Bowdoin College in Maine, in February 1993. Coordinated by John Rensenbrink of the Maine Green Party and GPN, it featured candidates in the 1992 elections, most of them Greens from across the country.
JOHN - CAN YOU WRITE A FEW SENTENCES ON THE BOWDOIN MEETING - WHICH CANDIDATES SPOKE, WHAT ABOUT TONY'S PLENARY TALK, WHAT WAS THE GOAL...
It became increasingly evident that Greens in many states were acting on their own in pursuit of a Green politics bent on competing electorally with the two major parties for public office. Green Parties of the West . MENTION BOWDOIN CONFERENCE HERE - WHAT WAS IT CALLED, WHO WERE THE KEY SPEAKERS, WHO SPONSORED IT.
Green Gathering '95 - Albuquerque I HAD THIS REVISED AND LOST ALL THE TEXT, I NEED TO DO THIS AGAIN
In 1994, Greens in New Mexico experienced electoral success -- electing Cris Moore to the Santa Fe City Council, and receiving a state Green record high 10.4% for its 1994 Governor/Lt. Governor ticket of Roberto Mondragon/Steven Schmidt and 32.7% for its statewide Treasurer candidate Lorenzo Garcia.
Buoyed by their success providing an example to Greens across the country, New Mexico Greens used their political capital to convene Green Gathering ’95, July 27-30, 1995. After two years of sub-par attendance at Green Gatherings '93 and '94 -- owing to divisions and faction fights, the New Mexico Greens brought Greens together from all factions to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. A sign of the times was that G/GPUSA was invited as one of many groups invited to the Gathering, a change from their assumption that they were the umbrella national organization. Mike Feinstein followed the same independent arrangement as in Albuquerque the following year, 1996, for the Green Gathering in Los Angeles, the Nader presidential convention. These two precedents were in place for the creation of the Association of State Green Parties in mid-November 1996, independently of G/GPUSA.
At the Albuquerque gathering, Steven Schmidt emerged as a major mover and shaker. He had earlier, as already marked, won attention for his run for Lieutenant Governor, and even more so, for his insistence that Greens must-- in their expectations for themselves and for their party--create a “serious, credible, platform-based” party. During the coming years, he would devote himself to that high purpose. He and Holle Brian Hart worked together, and with increasing support from others, to bring forth a strong Green Party platform.
It was in Albuquerque that Steven Schmidt, Greg Jan, and California Green Party co-founder Mike Feinstein held a workshop. It centered on the national poll they had conducted among U.S. Greens about the prospects of a Green presidential candidate in 1996; and they presented their 40-State Green Organizing Plan. Seeking to build upon and export the ‘serious, credible, and platform-based approach’ of the New Mexico Greens in 1994, they hoped to attract a national Green presidential candidate in 1996 and work toward an electorally based national Green Party.
According to their proposal, reasons to take this step were many: “a recent Times Mirror poll showing 57 percent supported the idea of a third party; while other possible contenders for that role (the New Party and the Labor Party Advocates)—hadn’t tried to organize nationally and, organizationally speaking, were relatively recent efforts. In contrast, the Greens had a ten-year history of activism and had already gained experience running candidates at the local, county and state level. If any progressive alternative political party was going to step into the vacuum created by the rightward shift of the Democrats, especially after the passage of both NAFTA and GATT under the Clinton administration, the Greens were most prepared.”
It was decided in Albuquerque that the Green Gathering ’96 would be in Los Angeles at UCLA. A few months after Albuquerque, the Green Party of California (GPCA) passed a ‘receptive’ process to place a candidate on its March 1996 presidential primary ballot, should a suitable candidate appear.
To sum up: Many groups, organizations, and programmatic initiatives were now solidly moving towards exciting possibilities for a serious, credible and platform-based progressive political alternative. It was also getting clearer by the day that it would be a Green political alternative—indeed, a full fledged Green Political Party.
THIS NEEDS TO BE RE-WRITTEN TO MAKE CLEAR THE TWO MEETINGS, ONE IN 1995 AND ONE IN 1996, WITH AN EMPHASIS ON HOW THIS FIT INTO THE STRATEGY OF A 1996 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN.
THIS LINK CAN BE USED AS REFERENCE http://www.ibiblio.org/spc/tp96/
The Green Politics Network (GPN) convened a “Third Parties ’96” conference January 5-7 at George Washington University, Washington, D.C. carried by CNN.
Over a four-day weekend in June, 1995, 27 political parties and politically-oriented organizations met together seeking, not how they differed, but what they held in common. The 27 organizations produced a memorable Common Ground Declaration composed of agreement on 19 issues.
Nader ’96 - Ralph Nader runs for president for the Green Party
In mid-October 1995, Ralph Nader told the Chicago Tribune he was considering being on the California ballot. He would run, he said, because of President Clinton’s vacillation on de-regulatory measures covering securities fraud, telecommunications, legal services and welfare.
Seizing the moment, Feinstein, Greg Jan (CA) and Nader aide Rob Hager began negotiating to make it happen in California. Nader didn’t want to self-declare and since the GPCA only had a receptive process, Feinstein and Jan drafted an invitation letter to Nader that would be signed by 47 progressive leaders from across the state, demonstrating a breadth of support to which Nader could then respond, which he did, freeing the GPCA to place him on its presidential primary ballot. A similar process was unfolding in Maine.
In January 1996, the Green Politics Network (GPN) set in motion a national campaign to elect Ralph Nader for president of the United States, called the Draft Nader Campaign. Linda Martin, formerly of the Hawaiian Green Party now living in Virginia, became the de facto campaign manager for the Draft Nader effort.
WE NEED A FEW MORE SENTENCES ABOUT THE DRAFT NADER CLEARINGHOUSE - AND WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE GPN SET IN MOTION - OFFICIALLY IT WAS PROJECT OF GPN, OR SIMPLY THAT IT GREW OUT OF GPN EFFORT, ETC ETC
Nader ultimately appeared on the general election ballot in twenty-two states and received 685,297 votes, or 0.7 percent of all votes cast. He ran a limited campaign with a self-imposed campaign spending limit of $5,000 (which allowed him to avoid being subject to the obligation to file campaign finance statements with the FEC) and chose Winona LaDuke as his vice-presidential candidate.
I NEED TO ADD A FEW SENTENCES HERE TO ELABORATE
The two were nominated at the first ever Green presidential nominating convention, held in Los Angeles at UCLA on August 20, 1996. There each state party who placed Nader on the ballot told their story, followed by a two hour and twenty minute acceptance speech by Nader. The speech was broadcast on C-SPAN and Pacifica Radio — the first time U.S. Greens had gained that kind of national exposure.
Association of State Green Parties (ASGP)
The Nader ’96 campaign clearly accelerated the development of Green state parties, with many new ballot lines as a result, while a record 24 Greens won elections in 1996 out of 82 candidates nationwide, and the world’s first Green City Council majority was elected in Arcata, CA.
Linda Martin, Nader '96 campaign organizer, had developed and coordinated nationwide contacts in the many state Green parties where Greens had worked assiduously and expectantly for Nader. In collaboration with leading members of GPN, she now invited them to come to Middleburg, VA ten days after the 2000 presidential election. The invitation stated that the explicit purpose of the meeting was not to discuss whether or not to form a national Green party based on state Green Parties, but to actually do it.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MENTION OF THESE FIVE PEOPLE NEXT - DID THEIR STATE PARTIES CO-SPONSOR THE CALL? DO WE HAVE THE TEXT OF THE 'CALL'? IN ONE PLACE WE SAY LINDA DID IT IN COLLABORATION WITH GPN PEOPLE, THEN WE SAY STATE PARTIES....
Bert Garskoff (CT), John Rensenbrink (ME), Steven Schmidt (NM) and Tony Affigne and Greg Gerritt (RI) each affirmed the intention of their respective state Green Parties to support this call.
The turn out was impressive. Sixty-two Greens from 30 states gathered in Middleburg, VA over the weekend of November 16–17, 1996 to found the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP). The meeting was held at the historic Glen-Ora Farm where John Kennedy had his weekend retreats in his administration’s early days (rented to the president by the mother of meeting host and Nader '96 supporter Elaine Broadhead.)
Green Parties from 13 states were the ASGP founding members, and approved an initial set of bylaws that set out the organization’s purpose: to assist in the development of State Green Parties and create a legally structured national Green Party. The founding meeting, at the instance of Mike Feinstein who became its founding editor, also established a national newsletter Green Pages, which carries forward today as the newspaper of the GPUS.
The concept of the ASGP as an organization of sovereign state parties originally came out of the 1991 national Greens Gathering, where a committee was tasked with examining what an eventual Green Party might look like. The committee produced a report with contributions from six authors, among them Greg Gerritt (ME), who was also the first U.S, Green to run for State Legislature in 1986). Gerritt's suggestion was not received favorably within the Greens/GPUSA, but it was supported by those involved in the establishment of the Green Politics Network a year later, many who then played a key founding role in Middleburg in 1996.
Subsequent ASGP meetings occurred in Portland, OR (April 5–6, 1997), Topsham, ME (October 3–5, 1997), Santa Fe, NM (April 24–26, 1998), Moodus, CT (June 5–6, 1999) and Hiawassee, GA (December 8–10, 2000). Ralph Nader appeared in Moodus in 1999 to talk about running for president in 2000.
From 1997 to 1999, as new state Green Parties continued to form, a highly competitive environment developed between the newly created ASGP and the Greens/GPUSA. However it became quickly apparent that most state parties were opting to affiliate with the ASGP, as 'pro-party' people across the country were growing in voice and influence. By summer 1999 ASGP membership had grown to HOW MANY states. At the same time multiple efforts from within to reform the Greens/GPUSA structure to be more 'state party-friendly' failed miserably. Yet heading into the 2000 presidential election, the situation was still far from revolved. Not only were their divisions between the two camps between states, but also within them.
With competing national Green Party organizations thus dissipating energy and focus, Mike Feinstein traveled east in December 1999 to meet with Howie Hawkins during a Green Party of New York State meeting in New Paltz, NY. There they crafted a plan the 'Plan for a Single National Green Party, which became more generally known as the Feinstein/Hawkins Proposal. The plan sought to take advantage of the timing of the 2000 presidential campaign and create a single national Green Party from among the ASGP and G/GPUSA by Earth Day, April 2000. This plan found quick support within the ASGP, but not within the Greens/GPUSA.
In September 1998, the New Mexico Green Party proposed that an ASGP Presidential Exploratory Committee be established for the 2000 elections. The ASGP Coordinating Committee passed the proposal on October 30, 1998 and on December 20, 1998 the ASGP Steering Committee appointed a seven-person committee, chaired by David Cobb (TX)
On February 22, 1999 the Committee sent this letter and questionnaire to the following prospective presidential and vice presidential candidates, asking if they were interested in running on the Green Party ticket in 2000 and if so, how would they envision conducing the campaign: Wendell Berry, Jerry Brown, Lester Brown, Noam Chomsky, Ron Daniels, Ron Dellums, Lani Guinier, Dan Hamburg, Woody Harrelson, Paul Hawken, Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Winona LaDuke, Bill McKibben, Cynthia McKinney, Carol Miller, Toni Morrison, Ralph Nader, Ron Ouellette (requested the questionnaire), John Robbins and Jan Schlichtmann. On May 10 the committee also sent the letter and questionnaire to: Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, Joceyln Elders, Kurt Schmoke, Studs Terkel, Myrlie Evers-Williams and General Lee Butler.
Brown, McKibben, Chomsky, Guinier, Hawken, Miller wrote back declining, but all graciously thanking the ASGP for its outreach, and offering sympathetic statements of support for the Green Party project. Nader also replied:
"If I seek the nomination - a decision that will not be made until next year- and receive that designation, I will pursue a dedicated and thorough campaign that meets the Federal Election Commission requirements. Such an active campaign will have the objective of strengthening our nation’s democracy by strengthening the Green Party movement at the local, state and national levels; by emphasizing the problems of, and remedies for, the excessive concentration of corporate power and wealth in our country, by highlighting the important tools of democracy needed for the American people as voters/citizens, workers, consumers, taxpayers, and small savers/investors. If there are Greens who support my seeking the nomination, I encourage them to expand the number of volunteers and increase the time spent working to build the Green Party this year in order to advance the Party’s “Key Values” and to increase the likelihood of ballot access in all fifty states."
Green Presidential Convention 2000 - Denver and Nader 2000
The ASGP nominated Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke for president/vice-president at its June 23-25, 2000 presidential nominating convention in Denver. The convention was attended by over 300 voting delegates from 39 states. Nader and LaDuke were nominated with 92% of the vote, with the remainder being split evenly between Jello Biafra and Stephen Gaskin. Convention delegates also approved a first-time national platform as foundation for the campaign, based upon a platform process led by Platform Committee chair Steven Schmidt (NM).
Jim Hightower was keynote speaker at the convention. Other speakers included Manning Marable, Helen Caldicott, John Anderson, Ann Northrop and Medea Benjamin, as well as representatives from several international Green Parties. Over 1200 people attended the final nominating event, including representatives from Green Parties from 15 countries as well as Green Party Federations of the Americas, Europe and Africa.
The convention was a big success in bringing the Green Party message to millions of Americans who had never heard of it, and demonstrated that the Green Party could be a viable alternative to the two-party duopoly.
From its roots in the December 1989 WTO protests in Seattle -- and the streets of Philadelphia and Los Angeles during the R2K and D2K protests against the summer 2000 Republican and Democratic Party convention, Nader/LaDuke appeared on 44 state ballots in November 2000 and received 2,883,105 votes, 2.7 percent of all votes cast. This strong showing further accelerated the development of more state Green Parties, and solidified the electoral orientation of the Green Party movement overall.
A record 286 Greens ran for public office and 46 were elected in 2000 elections, including a second Green City Council majority, this time in Sebastopol, CA.
The Boston Proposal/Agreement
As for Green unity, the Feinstein/Hawkins plan was revisited and revised in October 2000, and ultimately renamed the Boston Agreement, because it was negotiated in Boston in the days before the first 2000 presidential debate. The negotiators for the Association of State Green Parties were Tony Affigne, David Cobb, Robert Franklin, Greg Gerritt, Annie Goeke, Stephen Herrick and Tom Sevigny; and for the Greens/Green Party USA: Starlene Rankin, John Stith, Jeff Sutter, Steve Welzer, Rich Whitney and Julia Willebrand.
A critically important addition was made in the negotiations to make provision for accredited identify caucuses to receive national committee voting rights in the new national Green Party alongside state Green parties.
The Boston Agreement was approved by the ASGP at its December 2000 meeting in Hiawasee, Georgia. But it did not pass at the July 2001 Greens/Green Party USA Congress in Carbondale, Illinois, where after an intense credentials fight over the California and New Jersey delegations, the proposal to support the agreement from the Syracuse Greens local received 99 votes in favor and 81 against -- but not the 2/3 needed to pass. This caused a profound schism with Greens/GPUSA membership from which it never recovered. Many Greens/GPUSA organizers and adherents, including their most influential leader Howie Hawkins, eventually became involved through their state parties in the soon to be formed Green Party of the United States (GPUSA).
At its July 28-29, 2001 meeting in Santa Barbara, the ASGP voted to change its name to the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) and apply for recognition from the FEC as having National Committee status.
The Santa Barbara meeting was followed by a press conference in Santa Monica. More than a dozen news organizations attended the press conference, including the Associated Press, NBC, CNN, and Fox News as well as reporters from Los Angeles-area radio stations and newspapers, a portion which was broadcast nationally by C-SPAN.
The C-SPAN portion featured featured Santa Monica's Green Mayor Mike Feinstein; Green congressional candidate Donna Warren, from South Central Los Angeles; Jo Chamberlain (CA), newly-elected member of the party's national Steering Committee; and Tom Adkins, director of the Campus Greens.
Other speakers include Kevin McKeown, a second Green Party member of the Santa Monica City Council, who announced the Council's passage of the nation's first-ever private-sector living wage law, more than doubling minimum wage for the city's thousands of tourism and hospitality workers; Nancy Pearlman, recently elected to the Los Angeles Community College board; California U.S. Senate candidate Medea Benjamin; Anita Rios (OH), another newly-elected member of the party's national Steering Committee; John Strawn (CA), California delegate to the new GPUS national committee; Jacqueline Argüelles, of the Partido Verde Ecologista de Mexico, elected in 2000 to the federal Chamber of Deputies; and Tamara Muruetagoiena, cultural affairs adviser to Greens in the European Parliament.
On November 08, 2001 The Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued a unanimous opinion, recognizing the Green Party of the United States as the National Committee of the Green Party. It was granted later that year and the Green Party of the United States has retained it ever since.
The Green Party's extensive filing included an Introduction of the Green National Committee, prepared by Green legal counsel Thomas Linzey (PA) and legal advisor David Cobb (TX); and a Advisory Opinion Request and Candidate Affidavit List prepared by Dean Myerson.