Rising Up Green! - State Convention in Worcester
Wow! What a convention! The Green-Rainbow Party State Convention last Saturday brought into focus the important reason for the existence of our party. The 50 or so people who attended left energized and rededicated to rising up Green in 2014.
Our keynote speaker, Tim DeChristopher inspired us to stand up for climate justice. DeChristopher, who spent two years in Federal prison for disrupting an auction of oil and gas leases on public land, told the gathering that they should not be afraid to stand up as a minority and call for change. "Major social advances, such as ending slavery, have occurred when a minority stood up and refused to go along with the prevailing system. . . Don't be afraid to be unpopular. That is a phase that comes with demanding change."
It was especially gratifying to welcome Chuck Turner back to Massachusetts and see that all the attempts by arrogant authorities to crush his spirit have failed. Chuck is still very much in the fight for justice and dignity for all people. In his talk, he noted that he has never seen such organizing fervor against the status quo from all reaches of society. He noted that much right-wing strength in America depends upon convincing middle-class and poor white males to betray their own interests and support policies designed to benefit Wall Street and corporations. He said that we need to find ways to reach out to these people and get their political opinions realigned with their true interests.
Co-chair John Andrews noted the many issues for which the Green Party/GRP stood for progress and the Democratic Party stood for either the status quo or a disastrous drift to the right. Among the issues he mentioned were single-payer health care, tuition-free higher education, stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership, ending corporate personhood, public campaign financing, ending Wall Street bailouts, breaking up the big banks, stopping military adventures and drone wars, cutting the bloated Pentagon budget, ending government spying on Americans, directly providing jobs to end unemployment, and moving to a renewable energy economy (ending Obama's "all of the above" energy policies, canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, and banning fracking). "These are not trivial differences we have with the Administration" he said. "They are fundamental questions on which the survival of the planet and of democracy depends. Our voice has to be out there in the public debate, because if we hear only the two voices of the two big parties, none of the badly needed solutions will be mentioned."
Co-chair Jill Stein provided a perspective derived from her travels around the country as the 2012 presidential candidate of the Green Party. She said that the Green Party energy rising here in Massachusetts is reflected in many other states. She noted that for the first time national progressive voices are giving a nod of approval to Green politics by joining the Green Shadow Cabinet. "When someone says they are tempted to choose the lesser evil, let's make sure they call it by the right name. It's really the lesser homicide, the lesser suicide, the lesser ecocide. That choice is not the way to a world that is just, green sustainable, and democratic. . . Let's stand up together and flip the switch in 2013 from powerless to powerful. We can do it."
Four GRP candidates who ran for office in 2013 provided perspectives on their races. The candidates were Joe Carvalho, Mark Miller, Rick Purcell, and Elie Yarden.
The convention created an Electoral Action Working Group (EAWG) to recruit candidates to run for statewide offices in 2014 and make recommendations to StateCom about a slate effort. Anyone interested in helping this group should write to [email protected].
The convention elected the following party officers for 2014:
Male Co-chair: John Andrews
Female Co-chair: Jill Stein
Secretary: Daniel Factor
Treasurer: Sean Connell
Communications Director: Dru Tarr
Fundraising Director: Frank Jackson
Membership Director: Brian Cady
National Committee Delegates:
David Gerry (alternate)
A set of workshops covered topics such as strengthening local chapters, working together, writing press releases, and electoral action in 2014.
Several working committees and chapters reported on a variety of actions that are ongoing. Almost every working committee of the Green-Rainbow Party is looking for additional members. Please consider joining us and lending your talents to our movement for real democracy, a just economy, and a sustainable planet. For more information, write [email protected].
We are grateful to our Convention Committee and to the AdCom members who worked to make the convention a success. We also thank our speakers, our workshop leaders, and everyone who attended.