free hit counter code One SoCal Green: G3 Green: Can the Green Party Evolve, But Keep its Idealism and Values?

Monday, December 31, 2007

G3 Green: Can the Green Party Evolve, But Keep its Idealism and Values?

Watching Green Party politics for the last few years, I think the Party's history can be condensed into three major epochs, or generations if you will; and a lot depends on how Generation 3 plays out.

The first American Green Party members were pioneers. They were outsiders frustrated by an electoral system hell bent on destroying the country, and the world. United at first in their forward looking, biology-centered thinking, the first generation came to differing ideas on what a Green Party should become. Accordingly there now exist both "electoral" and "lifestyle" organizations with confusingly similar names.

Generation Two, at least in the "electoral" wing, tends to be made up of political outsiders. That is, folks who never quite fit in with the rest of the mundane world, folks who were early adopters of sustainable technology and relaxed and revised social norms. Folks who were hot for concepts like environmental wisdom and social justice.

As non-Rotarians and folks unlikely to find themselves recruited as Masons, G2 Greens naturally turned to the time-honored tools of protest and complaint. Coupled with public education, protest and complaint can be an effective tool to get a problem, and sometimes a solution, noticed. If a large groundswell of complaint ensues it can, sometimes, swing society (and with it our government) more to the a particular point in the political spectrum.

Protest and complaint are tricky, though. Sometimes they go unnoticed, or are dismissed as the further rantings of a bunch of cranks; sometimes they are noticed and there is widespread pushback. And very occasionally they are noticed and a problem is addressed and a solution found.

In addition, it is easy to become addicted to complaint and protest. The more one dwells in anger, the easier and more reflexive anger and complaint becomes. The more one is accustomed to having one's ideas ignored or belittled, the fewer ideas one tends to put forward; the fewer actual ideas one proposes, and the less people listen to the angry rant.

It is a self-perpetuating circle of defeat, and some G2 Greens seem to have fallen into this "Angry Impotence" mode. I have even seen folks actively resist evolving into G3 Greens, dismissing actual mainstream political participation as ineffective.

Nevertheless, and make no mistake, Generation 3 Greens are here: Some having grown up politically as G1 or G2 Greens have evolved; others see the party as ready for the next step, and came on board as G3 Greens.

G3 Greens are attracted to the Green Party for many of the reasons the G1 and G2 Greens were. But G3 Greens are here not only because they believe wholeheartedly in the 10 Key Values, but also because Greens have begun to govern and there is hope for the greater culture.

There are elected Greens and appointed Greens and green (small g) policies and programs popping up all over.

This is the beginning of the Third Age of the Greens.

And brothers and sisters, the times they are a changin'.

One of the difficulties I see pretty regularly is that many G1 and G2 oriented Greens are simply not comfortable with real electoral politics. Most have never had the occasion to govern a group of citizens -- as opposed to working with or leading like-minded activists or factions within a single group.

For example, one who governs cannot realistically define oneself as who one is against, but rather what one stands for, what policies will be legislated and implemented, and how opposing viewpoint holders will be accommodated or educated.

Another difficulty is the filtering in of folks from other, shop-worn political viewpoints -- both right and left -- who seem to have climbed on to the Great Green Bandwagon because it was sexy, but want to turn the Party into an echo of what they left behind. Folks from the way-far-left who see the 10 KV as the next best thing to Socialism misunderstand the social element of the 10 KV; libertarian refuges likewise mistake grassroots democracy and local control for "no control"and find themselves mis-advocating for a sort of loose eco-anarchy.

It is my hope for the new year that Greens can focus on evolving into G3 Greens; politically active, politically savvy, actual leaders of policy change at the local level, and on the road to electoral substance. People in general are ready for the 10KV, so long as they come in a resonable, respectable package.

Blogging live from the route of the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, a very Happy New Year to you all!

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At 1:57 PM, Blogger fightonusc said...

Can't say I know too much about politics. I just want to keep our elected officials in our area accountable.

I also live in Pasadena. Any thoughts on getting like minded individuals in the area to start a group to keep our officials in check?

Email me at

At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, Can we get some GREEN Action in the State Legislature. The Ghost of Nader is fading. Alaska govenor is up for grabs. How about some HELP in HEMET!
The lonely GREEN


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