From Topsham to Santa Fe
ASGP Builds the Green Party across US
by Dean Myerson, Secretary, ASGP
The Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) is an organization of state Green Parties from across the United States. Currently there are affiliates in 21 states.
Nineteen of those 21 were in Topsham, Maine, last October, for the last meeting of the ASGP Coordinating Committee (CC). The CC consists of two delegates from each state party. The next CC meeting will be in Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 24th-26th.
The ASGP’s goals are to assist in the development of state Green Parties and to create a national Green Party based on state parties. ASGP committees have laid steady groundwork for future national Green politics, while state parties are building the base.
In Maine a new ASGP Steering Committee (SC) was selected using preference voting, a type of proportional representation. Elected were three co-chairs: Nancy Allen (ME), Patrick Mazza (OR) and Tom Sevigny (CT); treasurer Tammy Davis (NM), and secretary Dean Myerson (CO). Allen, Davis and Myerson are new to the SC.
The New York State Green Party was admitted into the ASGP on a provisional basis until the next CC meeting. This provisional status was due to the existence of two Green parties in New York. In December, the Green Party of New York State was admitted under similar terms. The two parties are negotiating, and their provisional affiliation status will be reviewed in Santa Fe.
As directed by the CC, the SC has kept in contact with unaffiliated state Green parties. In addition, many Greens from these states are full, active members on many ASGP committees.
The CC uses email extensively for communication, and sometimes for decision-making between face-to-face meetings. Since Maine, there have been two email votes by the CC – one on the Green Party of NY State affiliation and one appointing Anne Goeke as ASGP representative to the founding meeting of the Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas, in Ihla Bela, Brazil. (See page 6).
The SC also endorsed a number of positions since Maine. The first was on the International Landmine Treaty that the Clinton Administration has refused to sign. Second was a global Green Party statement on Global Warming, endorsed by more than 50 Green Parties world wide, prepared for the Kyoto global climate conference. This was the second time Greens coordinated globally on a position, the first being in 1996 against French nuclear testing in the Pacific.
The ASGP also signed onto the People’s Global Action statement about the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and Public Citizenís statement on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. Finally, the Green Party of Rhode Island submitted a statement against US military action in Iraq which was also adopted. Some of these actions involved full votes of the CC. Others were time critical and were submitted to the CC for objections only. This process continues to be clarified.
Since Maine, other ASGP committees have also been hard at work. The Transition Committee was formed in Maine to devise internal representation for the ASGP and for a year 2000 presidential nominating convention. It sent questionnaires to hundreds of Greens around the country and compiled a report with to consider in Santa Fe. Similarly, the Accreditation Committee drafted criteria regarding accrediting new state parties into the ASGP.
In Santa Fe, the Platform Committee will present a process and timeline for arriving at a national platform in the year 2000. The committee has reformatted the draft Platform 2000 submitted by the New Mexico Green Party, and is soliciting position papers from Greens around the country. They have also drafted an ëinterim positions documentí to build a foundation of agreement towards 2000.
The Clearinghouse Committee opened a Green Ballot Clearinghouse, available to Greens and progressive or environmental candidates nationwide (whether or not their states are affiliated with the ASGP). The clearinghouse will offer advice to state parties about how to set up their organizations, and to candidates about ballot access, financial reporting and other issues.
In Santa Fe, these and other matters will be on the agenda, with further direction expected on internal representation, outreach to unaffiliated state Green Parties, platform development, and plans for 2000. Approximately, 75 delegates and observers are expected. The meeting will be preceded by an international working group meeting regarding global Green Party cooperation. Initially, the focus will be on global warming and globalization. Representatives from the Federation of European Green Parties and El Partido Verde Ecologista de MÈxico have confirmed attendance. Representatives from the Green Party of Canada and El Partido Verde Do Brasil may also attend.