By Michael O’Neil, Green Party of New York State
Many Greens gathered in New York City on the weekend of June 2nd for the annual Left Forum Conference. Each spring, Left Forum convenes the largest gathering in North America of the U.S. and international Left. The conference brings together intellectuals and organizers to share perspectives, strategies, experience and vision. Some of the Green Party’s most important contributions to Left Forum are grounded in direct experience with independent electoral struggle and a long-standing commitment to Ecological Wisdom.
High-profile Green and allied presenters included Dr. Jill Stein, Ajamu Baraka, Chris Hedges, Medea Benjamin, Bruce Dixon (Green Party of Georgia, BlackAgendaReport.com), Adrian Boutureira (GPUS National Organizer) and Howie Hawkins (Green Party of NY). Every single session over three days had at least one panel featuring or organized by a Green, frequently presenting alongside comrades in allied formations such as Socialist Alternative and Left Elect.
Left Forum attendees’ interest in the Green Party is definitely rising. Part of that is due to GPNY’s strategic commitment to building and promoting our presence at the conference, part of it is due to the presence of dynamic candidates like Dr. Stein and Ajamu Baraka, and part of it has to do with the extraordinary situation the Left finds itself in, and the Green Party stepping forward as a viable electoral arm.
GPNY, working with NYC-based Green Party leaders and volunteers, helps anchor the Green presence at Left Forum with a table in the exhibition hall and an annual mini-guide to Green Party panels that has proved to be popular with attendees. The state Green Party also organizes a group ticket purchase open to Greens and allies to obtain all-weekend passes at a significantly discounted rate.
Many people in the Left have either avoided electoral politics or have seen their hopes dashed by the Democratic Party, as they saw with Senator Bernie Sanders. It is important for Greens to participate in these kinds of spaces and show that they can contribute to far-ranging discussions of theory with intellectual rigor, in addition to sharing practical knowledge gained from real-world battles with the duopoly political state.
Greens interested in attending or participating in the annual Left Forum can find more information at LeftForum.org.