Merged party adopts strategic plan
The Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts held a state convention in Worcester in June.
by Grace Ross, Keith Wright & Jamie OKeefe, Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts†
GreenPages, Vol 7, No.3
The Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts, a composite of the former Massachusetts Green Party and Massachusetts Rainbow Coalition Party, held a state convention in Worcester in June. Approximately 100 party members attended the event.†
One of the main events was the election of various party officials. These include David Ebony Allen Barkley and Grace Ross as co-chairs, Dan Melnechuk as treasurer, Gary Hicks as secretary, Gil Obler as financial director, Aimee Smith as membership director, and Keith Wright as communications director.
Green Party of the United States (GP-US) representatives Rudy Perkins and Gerthy Justaforte and GP-US alternate representatives Ron Francis and Vanessa Bliss were also elected.
The party elected a record number of administrative committee members who are people of color and gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (GLBT). Two of the seven people elected were people of color, and two were GLBT. The delegation to the GP-US Coordinating Committee is also the party’s most diverse, made up of 50 percent people of color.
The state convention devoted most of its time to organizing and training. Unlike previous years, the party asked participants to devote more than a day to the convention. The additional time allowed county activists to meet each other and begin building working relationships.
There are now active caucuses and ally groups for most of the party’s subgroups: people of color, low-income and working class, GLBT and women.
A range of workshops addressed internal skill building, including candidate development, consensus decision making, undoing racism and political concerns such as the Palestine/Israel conflict and anti-poverty organizing.
Two major achievements were the adoption of an electoral strategic plan for 2004 and the decision to organize a statewide march against poverty in 2004.†
Other plans for 2004 include running at least 38 candidates for town elections, 40 for state representative and six for state senator. Seven members are already considering runs for state representative or state senator, and the party has not yet started its recruitment effort.
The party will host a campaign training school for Greens in New England during the weekend of Sept. 20-21 to help these campaigns.†
By the end of 2003, 15 candidates will have run for local office. So far, five candidates won and four lost; elections for the remaining six will occur in November.
In the closest race, Greenfield Town Council candidate Keith Wright came one vote away from winning when a recount gave him 50 percent of the vote. The town council appointed his opponent, who will serve only one year of the normal three-year term.
Two incumbents, Chuck Turner, a Boston City councilor and former Rainbow Coalition Party member, and Michael Castronova, a Pittsfield School Committee member, will run again in the November election.
“I am pleased with the direction of the Green-Rainbow party,” said co-chair David Ebony Allen Barkley. “The diversity that was evident at this convention should be an integral part of any progressive movement, and it is our diversity that gives us our strength and our growth as a party. “