Title: Creating Avenues for Civility and Effectiveness through Healthy Boundaries

(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; Juan Sanchez; 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

 

Summary: 

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.

 

Background: 

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:

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.  

 

Financial Implications:

Limited. Will depend on training costs for restorative justice and anti-oppression workshops for leadership. 


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  • Jack Swindlehurst
    commented 2021-09-20 19:00:05 -0400
    “This training will be … provided once per year…”
    Given that most, if not all, elected/appointed positions are for the term of one year, how best to implement training in a timely fashion? I wonder if something like short introductory or refresher trainings might help bridge the gap between comprehensive annual sessions.
  • Jack Swindlehurst
    tagged this with Important 2021-09-20 19:00:04 -0400
  • Brian Cady
    commented 2021-09-19 16:54:44 -0400
    I do not object to anything substantial within the ‘Implementation’ section, but fear the other parts, so I propose that the proposal be slimmed down and amended to only state:

    “Proposal Text:

    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. "
  • David Keil
    commented 2021-09-12 13:58:38 -0400
    Matt and I have pointed out that passage of the two proposals scheduled for vote today will impose a split on the GRP. A short time remains before this happens. There is time to step back from a split.

    What kind of split? It will be of the “cold split” type in which immediate expulsions don’t occur, walkouts, announcements of a competing “Real Green Party,” etc. We already have a cold split to some degree. An impending national split was in effect announced when the effort began to expel the Georgia party for its positions on the sex-based rights of women; and when the Steering Committee publicly denounced the members’ grouping (Dialogue Not Expulsion) that opposed the expulsion of Georgia.

    In the GRP, a split intention was announced in response to a discussion-and-unity proposal to the Spring State Committee meeting; a chapter announced that if the proposal were adopted, it would walk out of the GRP.

    Sean has announced that he cannot recruit to the GRP if there are “transphobes” in the GRP. I frankly see no point in bringing people into the GRP to be interrogated about their “transphobic” opinions about sex and threatened with expulsion for it. Who thinks this is a good political environment to bring people into?

    Sean makes clear that he cannot build the GRP until it removes all “transphobes.” So his only focus, as a GRP leader, has been and will be to remove “transphobes.” He will not rest until this is achieved.

    In doing so, he and others accuse their targets of disrupting the activity of the GRP! When members are accused of “transphobia,” and defend themselves and their ideas, they are accused of disruption!

    Who is pursuing this disruption? Those who are driving for a split by expulsion of members on charges of “transphobia.” No one is proposing the expulsion of the disrupters.

    The two proposals are misnamed as being about “Feminism” and “Civility”. The “Feminism” proposal declares its dogma “not up for debate or discussion.” The “Civility” proposal accuses dissenting members of “hate speech and violence” and mandates “consequences” for them. It is obvious that the “consequences” are expulsion, following the fate of the Georgia members.

    John Andrews wrote, accurately, “If adopted, this proposal will mean the end of the open, respectful dialogue that has always been the goal of the Green way of politics.” Others are silent.

    The new signer of the “Civility” proposal sent me a personal message Friday: “Stick your entire apology in your Patronizing, Divisive, Moron’s ass.” That sort of communication defines an unsafe political space and is incited by the entire discourse of the last six months. Most notable has been the lie that persons who think sex is real and biological are “fascists.” Who can bring new members into such a toxic and physically menacing political space?

    The “Civility” proposal itself explicitly rejects civility: “There can be no civility if oppressed groups are taking back seats to people who don’t share in an oppressed identity and lived experience.” By “taking a back seat,” it means that the proposers are claiming that to coexist with members who have different ideas is “taking a back seat.”

    My experience working with trans people is that their wish is not to be singled out, but to be treated like anyone else. Most of these trans people have not initiated discussions of trans identity with me and I have not done so with them. If a person prefers a pronoun in reference to them, I respect that.

    If trans people share their experiences, that should be respected and is respected in the GRP. About half the trans people I have been aware of, who are Greens, have had different ideas from the factional cult that is running the GPUS.

    It is not trans people in general, but a specific political faction that is rejecting civility and unity in the GRP and that is splitting it.

    The StateCom members have had a second opportunity to embrace unity and coexistence of different ideas, at the Summer StateCom. The ranking of the proposal by Matt and me, “Handling Differences Over Sex and Gender,” indicates that there is little support for the following: "Proposal: “The Green-Rainbow Party welcomes members of diverse demographics and with diverse ideas. Specifically, we welcome trans members and members with divergent views on sex and gender…. Members will continue to hold their particular opinions without trying to impose them on other individuals or the entire party.”

    In fact, proposing coexistence of different ideas is becoming grounds for expulsion.

    What does a cold split look like? People start to take a break or to walk away, as an active female GRP leader, elected to the National Committee, has done.

    People don’t run for election to positions that would require them to work with others who denounce them in vile terms. I’m not running for re-election to the NC; I have lost respect for that body and for most of its members.

    A proposal now before the NC will kick me off that body and all other committees, overruling the GRP, which elected me to the NC and appointed me to the Peace Action Committee. Four other Greens are targeted with banishment for a four-year period.

    I am active in that Peace Action Committee, in the NC, in the Communications Committee, and in StateCom. Will the new Communications Director be a co-signer of the proposal to set me and others up for removal from the GRP? Am I sure I want to serve on the State Committee of this party for another three years? A lot will depend on the vote today.

    I want to say openly that just as others claim that they can’t stand to work with people they disagree with about sex and gender, I have no desire to associate politically or personally with people who demonize me and set me up for expulsion from the GRP.

    I have no problem working with people who have far-different political ideas or ideas about sex and gender. But those who incite against others, attack them, and set them up for undemocratic expulsions — I keep a distance from them.

    I reserve the right to participate in State Committee and to call myself a GRP member.

    It looks like starting tomorrow, we will see what a cold split is like. Perhaps the GRP can revive itself after enduring that and possibly further disruption by motions to expel members.

    David Keil, West Metro region
  • David Keil
    commented 2021-09-11 10:41:28 -0400
    Whose concerns does this revision address? The original proposal has been met mostly by complicit silence. Two StateCom members commented condemning it in strong terms. The idea that this revision addresses those concerns is ludicrous.

    Matt Andrews wrote six days ago:
    "I have blocking concerns for the StateCom proposal titled ‘Creating Avenues for Civility and Effectiveness through healthy boundaries’. I will voice my concerns within the framework of our Ten Key Values.
    "If passed, I believe this proposal will impose a split on the party. Those of us who disagree are not respected by the language of this proposal and it attempts to define us outside the party. The Green process of consensus is intended to prevent exactly this sort of cleaving over political differences….
    “This proposal raises the specter of ‘violence hate-speech’ without defining it. Labeling well established feminist and other Green points of view in this way will intimidate members and suppress free speech….”

    The proposal mandates the creation of what it calls “mechanisms that limit hate speech, violence and misuse of the party infrastructure WITHIN our own party.” It is clearly referring to dissent from the expulsion of the Georgia state party and dissent from the policies elevated and made mandatory in the GPUS by that expulsion, as “hate speech” and “violence”. The proposal explicitly seeks to “codify” the suppression of what it calls “violence and hate speech.” Using the terms “violence” and “hate speech” twice to describe dissenting ideas makes clear the intention of this proposal, and its co-sponsors, to split the party by driving out dissenters.

    The new text makes the proposal worse than the original by implying that dissent on the internal listservs is “misuse of the party infrastructure.” Now the expression of different ideas from the incoming leadership will be silenced as both “hate speech” and misuse of GRP resources. As John Andrews recently commented, what this proposal mandates is unprecedented.

    It is a slimy and dishonest proposal. It would be honest to say, “We propose to suppress all internal dissent from our views on sex and gender, and when we are running the party we are going to disallow any dissenters from leadership or other activity in the GRP.”

    In mid-March, Sean and Pioneer Valley members declared an intention to drive dissenters from their views out of the GRP. What they called for then was an ideological purge of the GRP like the purge of the Georgia party. They backed up their demands with a threat to walk out of the GRP. Now they are marching toward absolute power in the GRP.

    After a faction purges its opponents, it turns on its former allies. Eventually the faction leaders turn on each other. This is already occurring in the NC discussion and we will see it in the GRP too.

    Sean has already begun to talk down, and threateningly, to longtime Greens.

    Normally activists in small parties have an appetite to grow. In bad times, a negative appetite may appear, an appetite to shrink by identifying “bad actors” and getting rid of them. If only we can purify our ranks of all the bad people, surely we’ll grow! It is the negative appetite that may be growing in the GRP.

    David Keil, West Metro region
  • Elizabeth Humphrey
    commented 2021-09-10 14:38:10 -0400
    Please note the proposal has been revised as of 09-08-21. Please see revised proposal in this comment:

    Title: Creating Avenues for Civility and Effectiveness through Healthy Boundaries  

    Sponsor: Lois Gagnon; Elizabeth Humphrey
    Co-sponsors: Carole Oyler; Jamie Guerin; Juan Sanchez; 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
     
    Summary: 
    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.
     
    Background: 
    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 and hate-speech.  There exists a huge difference between censorship and consequences of actions and language. Censorship means being barred from the broader public 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 and/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 in an oppressed identity and lived experience. The GRP needs to be clear and consistent when it comes to our messaging and branding internally and externally. To avoid process disruption, we cannot allow repetitive or hurtful speech to distract us from our core values and goals. For those who continuously do this with disregard to stated concerns about their behavior and party-established democratically reached and shared core values and goals, there must be established procedures and consequences. Those procedures and consequences must be created within the democratic process established within the GRP committee rules and procedures and must be clear, and understood by the party leadership in order to sustain the 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, violence and misuse of the party infrastructure  WITHIN our own party, as well as foster and strengthen shared values and goals to better prepare the party in welcoming new membership and supporting Green candidates that will run strong campaigns based on a strong foundation of those shared values and goals.
     
    Implementation:
    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 and 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 phase, will be to democratically establish a policy to implement and document 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 to attend the next possible training, 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. 
     
    Financial Implications:
    Limited. Will depend on training costs for restorative justice and anti-oppression workshops for leadership. 
  • John Blumenstiel
    commented 2021-09-10 07:44:51 -0400
    Some additional thoughts/concerns on the proposal: 1) " There can be no “civility” if oppressed groups are taking back seats…" I believe one of the problems is the frequent lack of civility that has surfaced in this debate . I believe the term that better serves this sentence would be “democracy”. No oppressed group should take a back seat. This is the essence of true democracy. I believe that even in very contentious argument, civility can and should be expected. If all parties had maintained civility, I believe all sides would have been much more effective in presenting their points of view and the party would have been better served in terms of informing, educating and growing our ability to learn to manage conflict and better understand complex issues. 2) As previoulsy stated, I have concerns about definitions and how to address that. i.e. “We can not allow repetitive or hurtful speech….those who continuously do this, etc.” to me provides little clarification and will lead to conflict over definitions of these terms. Thus perpetuating this continuing destructive annimosity. I see the potential problem, but sadly do not have a suggested solution.

    John Blumenstiel
  • Sean Connell
    commented 2021-08-19 12:48:17 -0400
    Elie- I have sent very few emails unless directly prompted from other emails that were sent first. I think I may have sent two emails that were its own chain in the last six months. I would like to think that those who espouse right wing ideas with respect to trans rights have other leftist values. But let’s not pretend there isn’t a difference. Left and right scales are literally political science 101. The left and right spectrum, while inadequate to fully represent the political spectrum, do provide a jumping off point for the values that guide our policy and platform positions. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I found the attacks on trans people egregious. And after being voted down several times, the constant rehashing of the issue is what begins to constitute harassment.
  • Sean Connell
    tagged this with Important 2021-08-19 12:48:17 -0400
  • Sean Connell
    tagged this with Good 2021-08-19 12:48:15 -0400
  • Richard Vaillette
    commented 2021-08-19 10:04:25 -0400
    Long overdue.
  • Richard Vaillette
    tagged this with Important 2021-08-19 10:04:24 -0400
  • Elie Yarden
    commented 2021-08-18 18:47:28 -0400
    If its is true that “The Green Party adheres to leftist values.” whatever a left wing value looks like, then how come that “Those with right wing values” hijacking the list—hijacking the list-servs are the leftists.? May one ask this question without being charged with harassment?
  • Elizabeth Humphrey
    commented 2021-08-18 14:58:57 -0400
    For whatever reason, my email is “no longer active” on the GRP webpage. Which I find as extremely odd given that I was able to login in a few weeks ago to post this proposal.

    I would like to respond to John Andrews’ completely false narrative about my proposal.

    The Green Party adheres to leftist values. Those with right wing values have hijacked our list-servs ad nauseam for months on end. People have a visceral reaction to those right wing antics and somehow the people with reactions are in the wrong… not those espousing the right wing “feminist” propaganda. I have outlined this numerous times with concrete proof. Most people choose to ignore that. Those who responded ignored all the major points (aka the ideas being pushed by David Kiel are explicitly adopted by and endorsed by Republicans).

    The entirely nonsensical “unity” proposal from the spring was a thinly veiled attempt at saying transphobic positions from a state party is okay. I’ve talked about the analogy of demilitarization and how we can have healthy debate within the confines of Green thinking. What we cannot tolerate is the opposite position of militarization. This is not the place for that discussion. Not only have we essentially allowed that, people are crying censorship because they won’t stop advocating for things the Green party has clearly – in strong majorities- rejected. Continuing to push positions that are absolutely transphobic while being democratically voted down multiple times should be grounds for some sort of discipline. Without boundaries, we are not a political party. We end up being a free for all where LGBTQ people and womyn alike feel unsafe and unwelcome.

    Boundaries only feel like censorship to sociopaths. Creating avenues for effective dialogue is something this party sorely needs. We know people step out of line and that’s why we have a “vibeswatcher” at every meeting. The concept of this proposal is the same concept that creates “vibes” except it would be streamlined and more effective.

    Training on conflict resolution that are centered on restorative justice are something that everyone could use; even myself and I literally do this for a living. Doing this annually also allows new members to practice these skills and gives veteran members refreshers.

    There is no such thing as “triumphalism” within the Greens. What actually happened was people who were sour about a vote they lost kept hammering away at the same idea again and again and again and again. Those who spoke up about this may have been irritated, but the root cause was ignored. That root cause was the fact that the Greens rejected right wing feminism for a more trans inclusive left wing feminism. Those throwing around dictionary definitions of gender ignore decades of research on the intersections of sex and gender. One member actually had the disgusting audacity to say the only people who are women are those who menstruate and have babies. Are infertile women not women? Are menopausal women not women? Are young women not women? These same people then have even more audacity to say the “trans cult” are the ones limiting the definition of womynhood.

    These two proposals taken together, clarifying left wing feminism & creating effectiveness, are exactly what this party needs to do to move on.

    As far as silencing people, that hasn’t happened. Not even a little bit. I have dozens of emails to prove that. Also, the GRP already has a mechanism in its bylaws to remove members. I didn’t create that, but I think it is advantageous to go over it and ensure the policy is fair and working as it should be. We need to protect ourselves from ideological rifts by getting onto the same page — not allowing discussion to be a free for all with whatever right wing position permeates us next. Historically, Nazis seeped into the mainstream because people said “sure, all ideas are welcome at the table”. But guess what? Not all ideas are welcome at the table – especially when they are right wing in nature and infiltrating Green spaces to the point of sucking the life out of every single email chain and meeting.

    Any other comments, and I’ll happily reply. Any other actual questions that are thoughtful or helpful, I’ll happily answer to the best of my ability.

    Looking forward to friday. 😎
    ~Sean Connell
  • Daniel Factor
    tagged this with Good 2021-08-18 08:32:18 -0400
  • Matthew Andrews
    commented 2021-08-17 22:18:29 -0400
    State Committee created a Bylaws Review Working Group at our last winter meeting. We need to appoint people to start that work. This is a more specific mandate than the Policy & Procedures Committee. We’re all free to review other documents, but creating (or “re-activating”) more committees will just spread us thin.
    Our leadership shares responsibility for bad behavior and not responding appropriately. Bringing in outside trainers is a top-down command style solution. I would not trust such a process. The whole idea of being a people’s party is that we must be mature and respectful enough to resolve differences ourselves. The key is respectful dialog followed by decisive elections or referendums, not policing boundaries.
    Our primary problem at the moment is political. It is not a personal conflict between individuals that needs resolution. We must avoid liberal identity politics which stereotypes people into certain roles and presumes everyone is only capable of acting within a narrow self-interest. As a small political party for working and oppressed people, we must lift up the voices of others.
  • John Andrews
    commented 2021-08-17 10:35:02 -0400
    Despite its denials, this proposal is intended to impose an unprecedented era of censorship upon the Green-Rainbow Party. It’s result would be to allow favored factions to evade long-standing Green principles of respect for others and deal out oppression, intimidation, and crushing punishments against their enemies. If adopted, this proposal will mean the end of the open, respectful dialogue that has always been the goal of the Green way of politics. Some of the sponsors of this proposal have been the authors of hurtful, insulting, derogatory, and divisive accusations leveled against their fellow greens, not to mention a triumphalism that is completely unGreen in its disrespect of minority concerns. The proposal we need is one that will curtail such unacceptable behavior, not give it protection. I urge that we do not adopt this proposal.
  • John Andrews
    tagged this with Bad 2021-08-17 10:35:01 -0400
  • David Keil
    commented 2021-08-17 09:06:20 -0400
    The proposal for mandatory “training” about political matters is unprecedented and follows a corporate model. In this case, the context is that members elected to positions will be filtered by outside “trainers” and removed according to decisions from above. It is fair to expect a model similar to the Georgia case, where Greens were expelled from the GPUS for dissenting views.

    Sixteen days ago, I asked if the “Civility” proposal’s pledge to “create democratically implemented mechanisms that limit hate speech and violence WITHIN our own party” was intended to prevent discussion of new positions that a separate proposal declared to be “not up for debate or discussion.” No one answered that question. The point is that “hate speech and violence” is a label applied to dissenting views on sex and gender.

    I ask the same question again. Do the mechanisms envisioned have the goal of suppressing dissenting ideas?

    A slogan “not up for debate or discussion” is apparently “transwomen are women.” It is not in the platform and in fact contradicts the platform of the GPUS, which makes clear that women are female adults; for example, the right to choose abortion is stated as a women’s right.

    Elizabeth Humphrey’s reply to John Blumenstiel is hardly helpful. John asked about the proposal’s mandate that “there must be consequences” for members who utter “Conservative, right-wing, Liberal and Neo-liberal talking points”. Clearly this is a distorted description of views about sex and gender that the same proposal refers to obscurely elsewhere as “hate speech and violence.” Clearly the “consequences” under consideration are loss of membership rights.

    Half or more of the signers of this misnamed “Civility” proposal have made clear that they insist that those members with whom they disagree on sex and gender issues must be silenced in or expelled from the Green-Rainbow Party, as the Georgia state party was expelled from the Green Party of the US. This proposal codifies such an insistence on silencing and expelling GRP members.

    The proposal carries the names of Lois Gagnon; Elizabeth Humphrey; Carole Oyler; Jamie Guerin; Juan Sanchez; Danny Factor; Richard Vaillette; Jordan Hodges; Lisa Anne Richards; Roni Beal; Richard Purcell; Manny Pintado; Dan Kontoff; Tom Grzybowski; Mike Heichman; and Sean Connell. They have an obligation each to state their personal views on a proposal that creates a mechanism for silencing and excluding GRP members. One of them has cussed me out in a message to about a dozen members.

    I repeat that such proposals as this cannot have any validity or legitimacy if voted on three days from now, after only three StateCom members have addressed it here, and given that it is unprecedented for the GRP to declare a category of opinions held by members to be “hate speech and violence” and subject to silencing and other “consequences.”

    A way out is for the scheduled meeting August 20, in three days, to be declared a pre-convention discussion session, open to all GRP active members, at which votes will not be taken on proposals.

    David Keil, West Metro region
  • Brian Cady
    commented 2021-08-17 08:40:23 -0400
    I have concerns about requiring annual conflict resolution training. I fear it will be belittled by repetition, when one training should suffice per statecom member. There’s nothing like making something mandatory to develop resistance.
    I have no concerns with declarations by the GRP about what words mean, but banning words or phrases or meanings etc. seems too much, likely to inspire blowback.
    Free, if hurtful speech is better than putting the GRP into being the enforcer of bans.
    I believe that violence refers to physical bodily damage, not to speech.
    Sorry for the hasty and late comments – I should have developed this earlier.
    Brian
    -
  • John Blumenstiel
    commented 2021-08-16 17:36:18 -0400
    and thank you Elizabeth for a considered thoughtful response. This effort demonstrates what a rational, respectful dialogue can be. It is what we as a party should strive for.

    Onto specific points with the clafification that I do not have great skills in the area of bureacuracy.
    1) As to the point of improved deliberative process to consider proposals with sufficent time balanced with the need to move proposals forward makes since, but I will leave that to better minds than mine.
    2). As to the issue of “interpreters” of the language, I still have concerns. Your formulation could lead to a minority of the party detemining what is appropriate language to be used in disagreements in contrdiction to a majority. Obviously, majorities can be erroneous in their thinking, use of language and desire to maintain a privlidged status while minorities also can be erroneous. I see this as a major potential for on going vitriol. I am not certain how to escape this conumdrum other than through rational dialogue, carefully articulating talking points, calling out respectfully the use of inappropriate language and expression of hostile attitudes. It is through this process that our party will grow and mature. Perhaps I am residing in “lala” land but it is the clearest thinking I have to offer.
    3) An additinal concern over language interpretation is the termininology of “those who continuosly do this with disregard….” creates another interpretation problem. What is continuous? Daily, weekly, 2 times a month, etc. Who is responsible for determining this/. This may seem like a minor or moot point, but it is exactly these kind of “interpretations” that arouse conflict and can lead to a feeling of one side attempting to silence another.

    Sorry if I am “running in circles” but this dialogue is an attempt to bring clarity to a needed process that would ideally be resolved by hoenst, respectful, thoughtful and self assessing talking and listening. We are all in this together. The world needs our party more than we can even imagine. Thank you for taking the time to reach out.
  • Elizabeth Humphrey
    commented 2021-08-14 16:23:49 -0400
    John, Thank you for your thoughtful questions.

    I hope that I will answer your questions thoughtfully and therefore, alleviate your concerns.

    The Sponsors and co-sponsors believe the process of creating policy SHOULD need much time, temperance, careful thought and collaboration in order to adhere to our 10 key values as much as adhering to the democratic process; more time than is allowed during the vetting and consensus reaching process.

    That is why the proposal includes reactivation of the Policies and Procedures Committee in the implementation of the proposal.

    A Committee is directed by our Bylaws to be structured with more transparency in it’s process than a working group, and would be required to achieve the approval of statecom for any policies created or amended by the committee.

    As for your concerns around who will become the interpreters – I may not understand your concern here but if I am correctly understanding – my answer would be those who would be directly or most affected by the language/talking points that need interpretation.

    I do hope that Conservative, Liberal and Neo-liberal talking points are recognized without too much deliberation or it would be a much bigger challenge for our membership and constituents who vote Green instead of Republican, Democrat or even Libertarian, to understand why they cast their educated vote for Green candidates.

    This is also why we hope our members would consider the logic behind clearly defined healthy boundaries instead of a “free for all” in the subject matter of our GRP serious political discussions, especially when it comes to our values and our platform; otherwise, our party would become indistinguishable from any other and would become pointless as a serious alternative to the status quo in US politics.

    We hope that by passing this proposal it will encourage rank & file members to participate in the anti-oppression and restorative justice training. We also believe that requiring those in leadership positions to participate in these trainings will, in itself, be an encouragement for all other members to participate when they are able.
  • John Blumenstiel
    commented 2021-08-12 21:56:42 -0400
    I understand the intent. The desire for leadrship ( I woud also add the membership in general) to avail themselves of "conflict resolution that focuses on restorative justice and ant-oppression skills/attitudes/values could greatly enhance our currently self destructive political dialogue. However, I have serious questions about what , at least to me, becomes very vague language and who become the interrpreters of that language. My point of concern is the following language: "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 " I may not be reading this correctly, but it seems incredibly confusing to me and opens up a pandora’s box for even greater contentiousness down the road.
  • Matthew Andrews
    commented 2021-08-01 06:59:02 -0400
    A better written proposal for civility and unity was already rejected at the last StateCom meeting. This proposal is dangerous because it seeks to restrict the content of speech, rather than merely the tone or personal attacks. Who will judge what speech violates this policy? I don’t want political minders. A better policy would be to let everyone speak freely then choose our leadership through democratic elections.
  • David Keil
    commented 2021-07-31 19:01:33 -0400
    The proposal pledges to “create democratically implemented mechanisms that limit hate speech and violence WITHIN our own party.” The other proposal, the one about feminism, seems to claim that dissent from prescribed definitions of words like “woman” is to be disallowed as “not up for debate or discussion.” Is such disallowed dissent what is referred to here as “hate speech and violence”?

    David Keil, Metrowest
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