(Date Submitted: 7-29-21 at 9:18pm & 2nd attempt at website on 7-30-21 To: StateCom Business & Discuss lists due to tech issues w/website)
Title: Creating Avenues for Civility and Effectiveness through Healthy Boundaries
Sponsor: Lois Gagnon; Elizabeth Humphrey
Co-sponsors: Carole Oyler; Jamie Guerin; Danny Factor; Richard Vaillette; Jordan Hodges (AKA - J. Stewart); Lisa Anne Richards; Roni Beal;; Richard Purcell; Manny Pintado; Dan Kontoff; Tom Grzybowski; Mike Heichman
Vetting Committees: AdCom; StateCom; Policy & ProcedureCom
Floor Manager: Sean Connell
Shepherd: Elizabeth Humphrey
Recent events within the GRP have shown that there is a need for effective protocols and policies to guide our membership and leadership around the various ways we exchange political/social views and ideas with each other internally as well as the use of GRP external communication infrastructure.
Email chains have gone back and forth with many of them being needlessly uncivil, mean spirited, hurtful or curt. Party infrastructure is being used in ways that are counter to, or undermine party values, public statements or platform; which is harmful to the effectiveness and professional integrity of the GRP.
The GRP is facing a critical time. Like never before, there is limitless room for our growth as the corporate two-party system disenfranchises more and more people and voters. As we welcome new membership into our party, we must be well prepared and strengthen the party to support Green candidates. In doing this work, the GRP stands to become an exemplary model for Green Parties and grassroots democracy, and all third parties across the nation.
The Sponsors hope this proposal will establish protocols for party leadership to become better trained and knowledgeable in the most compassionate and best practices to effectively guide the party, as well as start the democratic process of evolving the party to be better prepared in welcoming new membership and support loyal Green candidates in 21st century politics - and actually WIN more elections.
Recent events have necessitated the need for civility and effectiveness that can only be achieved through communications and actions with healthy boundaries that maintain, not only a respectful, peaceable and democratic process of communication but also clear and precise rules around the use of party infrastructure.
The GRP has already acknowledged the need for policy to address potential discussion in bad faith or in frustration that can unintentionally harm other members with the creation of the Vibes Policy; however, the vibes policy/protocol has recently been proven to be too vague and nondescript in its application when people and members ‘cross the line’ from civil to uncivil discourse.
It has already been decided by StateCom that our party cannot function or be effective by casually accepting or adopting whatever platform or values that would conflict with the 10 key values or the GPUS Accreditation Requirements (which was demonstrated by the issue with the Georgia Green Party). Ideological differences elicit conflicting emotional responses because more often than not, politics IS personal. Concepts of freedom, human rights, sovereignty, etc., are all emotionally charged because those concepts are about people’s personal lived experiences within a society that is very oppressive in a myriad of subtle and unsubtle ways.
We need to codify this decision in new and/or amended policy and protocol which will foster a more socially evolved and broader understanding within the context of, and advocating for, anti-oppression and what constitutes the subtleties of violence hate-speech. There exists a huge difference between censorship and consequences of actions and language. Censorship means being barred from the broad picture debates, not party debates that are within the healthy boundaries of democratically reached values and political/social goals. This also needs to be delineated and affirmed within the bylaws in order to deconstruct the propaganda created around censorship &/or “cancel culture” that has proliferated through our society as of late.
These codifications will not only strengthen and evolve our understanding of the need to maintain and value the uniqueness of our 10 key values, but will also provide safer, more welcoming spaces for oppressed and diverse identity groups/individuals; who otherwise, are ignored or exploited by the two corporate party U.S. governmental system.
Conflict resolution and anti-oppression training through the means of restorative justice will enable party leadership with the professional skills and knowledge to address internal conflicts perpetuated by any and all forms of violence, hate speech or misuse of GRP infrastructure whether intentional or unintentional. For example: In professional practices of conflict resolution, a conflict regarding trans rights would not be implemented with heterosexual cis white men or cis white women leading the conversation about trans rights.
Text of Proposal:
The leadership within the GRP is sorely in need of new professional training on practices that will limit the vitriol that has been commonplace in too many meetings and email chains. To this end, those in leadership positions will commit to being trained annually on conflict resolution as done in professional practices through the process of restorative justice and anti-oppression.
There can be no functionality or effectiveness if there is no shared vision and goals. There can be no civility if oppressed groups are taking back seats to people who don’t share the oppressed identity and lived experience. The GRP needs to be clear and concise when it comes to our messaging and branding internally and externally. We cannot fall to rancor every time someone with Conservative right wing, Liberal or Neo-liberal talking points that will distract us from our core values and goals. For those who continuously do this with disregard to established democratically reached shared core values and goals, there must be consequences and those consequences have to be understood in order to sustain these shared values and goals that differentiate the GPUS and it's federation of states from any other existing political party in the United States and the world.
This proposal will create democratically implemented mechanisms that limit hate speech and violence WITHIN our own party as well as foster and strengthen shared values and goals to better prepare the party in welcoming new membership and support Green candidates that will run strong campaigns.
Implementation of this proposal will be two-fold.
The first phase of implementation will consist of re-activating the Policy & Procedure Committee. There needs to be healthy boundaries in the way we communicate and the way we dedicate our time to various issues & outreach. With regular review of our policies and procedures to ensure we maintain an evolving understanding of Inclusive, Safe Spaces for Diversity and Just Policies, Values and Political Goals.
The second, will be to democratically establish a policy to implement and documentation of training on conflict resolution that focuses on the process of restorative justice and anti-oppression for leadership positions within the state level of the GRP; State Convention elected positions, AdCom and StateCom. Those elected in special elections or nominated throughout the year between state conventions will pledge to attend the next possible training in order to fulfill the requirements to remain in that position.
This training will be organized and scheduled by AdCom, with the approval of StateCom, and be provided once per year within no longer than one full quarter of StateCom Meeting sessions from the start of each new year; GRP State Convention marking the start of a new year.
Documentation of training participants and pledges will be recorded and clearly stated within the minutes of the first post training StateCom meeting and shared with AdCom for their use and back up record purposes. This Documentation will be maintained and updated by the GRP Secretary and shared with AdCom and will be reported to StateCom on a quarterly basis; coinciding with the StateCom business meetings throughout the year.
Limited. Will depend on training costs for restorative justice and anti-oppression workshops for leadership.