amendment 4/29/2021 - 2pm
Title: The GRP Stands for Discussion and Green Unity
Summary: StateCom affirms Green Unity in support of both human rights and the democratic process. Specifically, we support trans rights as well as democratic dialogue, education and discussion to advance those rights.
Background: A long and complex conflict is raging on the GPUS national committee list serve, which most members of the GRP have not had time to follow in depth. This proposal attempts to build Green-Rainbow Party unity around the core values we share that provide common ground beyond the particulars of the current controversy. Core values at stake in this controversy focus on 1) human rights of a vulnerable community, and 2) the democratic process, which is also broadly under attack in this political moment as resurgent McCarthyism is targeting basic rights of free speech, protest, political association and privacy.
In supporting trans rights, we focus especially on access to sports and medical treatments which can be life saving. Our support for medical treatments for trans youth is not unlike our stance supporting young people’s access to abortion (which in fact we extend to minors without parental consent or knowledge – unlike trans youth whose parents must actively support gender affirming treatment for their son/daughter).
In the course of dialogue to advance trans rights, we recognize that members may inadvertently “pour salt” into each others’ wounds. While seeking to guard against needlessly hurtful language, we must also be wary of censorship, “cancel culture” and related practices. As Chris Hedges, Ralph Nader, Glen Greenwald and Noam Chomsky have all recently warned, such techniques undermine 1st Amendment protections and are ultimately directed at Greens and the left above all in the effort to silence and criminalize progressives, dissidents, and advocates for peace, racial justice, climate action, animal rights and others.
Text of Proposal:
The Green-Rainbow Party affirms support for the civil, human and economic rights of transgender people, and respect for self-identification. Specifically-- we support the rights of trans people to engage in sports, make decisions around which bathroom to use, and in the case of trans youth, to make decisions in concert with parents and doctors regarding matters critical to their health and well being, including gender identity.
We believe that support for trans rights will grow with continued dialogue. Towards that end, we advocate education and discussion. While differences of opinion are to be expected, we implore members to exercise empathy and critical self-awareness. Likewise, discussion should be free of insensitive, insulting and inflammatory commentary, as well as slurs, threats, and profane language. Similarliy, we call for respect for participants' race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, self-identification and dis-ability.
While seeking to avoid hurtful and insensitive language, we must guard against the temptation to use censorship, “cancel culture”, “hate speech” labelling, suspension, expulsion and other strategies traditionally employed by the right wing, but now embraced by many in the liberal establishment as well.
State committee will create a working group to develop tools for education and civil discussion to:
1) advance trans rights (and potentially other sensitive issues on which GRP advocacy is needed),
2) clarify the historic threats to democracy (and the Green Party) posed by censorship, “cancel culture”, “hate speech” labelling and other strategies now in widespread use by elements of the left as well as the right.
Financial Implications: none.
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The only reason to accept Jill’s proposal as an amendment would be to shut down our right to vote on a properly submitted proposal. Such a broad interpretation of what counts as an amendment seems to bend the rules, if not break them. Amendments, in my humble opinion, should specify what text is being added or struck out. Not be a complete re-write.
At this late hour, the most democratic process would allow StateCom members to vote on the original proposal that hopefully we are all familiar with, and to take up Jill’s proposal through the consensus building process at the Summer StateCom meeting, perhaps with friendly amendments. Once we establish some parameters of civil discussion, I think we’ll be in a better position to take up the issues Jill addresses here.
1. “This statement does not explicitly reject the dis-accreditation of state parties for unwritten ideological missteps,”
That is correct. The amendment addresses party unity at the level of the Green-Rainbow Party. It does not attempt to solve the charged national controversies that most of us haven’t had time to follow in detail and do not understand. The amendment does however address the importance of free speech in the context of our state party, and cautions against reliance on strategies akin to censorship, cancel culture, expulsion etc. These strategies have been used historically against the left (at least since the red scare of the 1920s) and against Greens since at least the early 2000s. They are used, for example, in labeling BDS and Palestinian human rights advocacy as “hate speech”. We need to be careful that we not legitimize strategies used to silence us by embracing such strategies ourselves. The amendment prioritizes respectful dialogue and education, and urges the use of empathy and critical self-awareness, and avoidance of insulting and inflammatory commentary.
The amendment calls for “State committee [to] create a working group to develop tools for education and civil discussion advancing both trans rights and democratic modes of discussion. This will require developing skills to facilitate productive, civil discussion, as well as providing relevant information.
Similar issues – including women’s rights and disability rights – could certainly be addressed in analogous initiatives if state com wanted to create such programs.
2. “The implementation of this proposal creates a committee tasked with advancing trans rights, but not the rights of women and youth. This whole controversy is based on the intersection of trans, women, and youth rights.”
As someone who considers herself a feminist, I do not understand the notion that trans rights compromise my rights as a woman. In my view, disenfranchised groups are being played against each other by a ruling elite that wants us to think that we lack resources to meet our needs – including bathroom needs or sports scholarships (when in fact education should be tuition free). This is a manufactured and false scarcity imho, a consequence of diverting resources to endless wars and obscene concentrations of wealth. For example, we have the resources to ensure a diversity of bathroom choices (private stalls, individual bathrooms etc.) to address everyone’s comfort level. Dialogue and discussion is needed to address the various concerns people may have.
While I personally know of a handful of feminists who have these (inherently addressable) concerns, in the Green circles I have contact with across the country, the numbers of people I have encountered voicing such concerns are vastly outnumbered by orders of magnitude, by feminists who fully support trans women as women.
While I disagree with some colleagues on trans rights, I also value them as indispensable comrades in our struggle with oligarchy and empire. If we allow the party to be splintered based on differences on single issues, we have no chance of building a party to challenge power. We must be able to tolerate our differences, develop skills for empathy, and evolve towards consensus without seeking to cancel each other. We do not need 100% agreement in order to take affirmative action now, even as we dialogue to inform and enlighten each other along the way. The party has done this many times in the past, affirming that the Green-Rainbow Party – like the universe – bends towards justice. I have no doubt we will continue to do so.
3. “Medical procedures that change a person’s hormones and amputate body parts is NOT comparable to abortion. Such comparisons put our defense of abortion rights at risk.”
I see it differently. I’m very uncomfortable with the idea that someone other than a women and her health provider should intrude on her personal and private decisions about her body – whether to take the birth control pill, have her tubes tied at a young age, have an abortion, have surgery to reduce, augment or remove her breasts, etc. These are personal decisions that should be made with one’s health care provider. Government’s role is to ensure health providers are properly licensed and, ideally, to ensure everyone has access to care. (If only!)
To deny a trans person that same autonomy over their body that women deserve in making their reproductive health decisions would be extremely unfair.
To argue that government can intrude on standard medical treatment for a trans person puts at risk the very arguments (privacy and personal autonomy over one’s body) that are used to justify reproductive health treatments of all sorts.
In regards to decisions by minors, the discussion I have seen (including the widely referenced WPATH report by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health www.wpath.org) clarify that treatment of trans minors requires not only consent by the parent/s but active participation by the parent/s in the overall treatment program as well. (Gender transition surgery is generally deferred until the person is of legal age, in the sources i’ve seen.) Major pediatric clinics across the country now offer gender care. This is not some fringe program offered by sketchy or untrained providers. Gender medicine is now a well established treatment offered by teams of highy trianed medical and mental health specialists with decades of experience behind it.
This statement does not explicitly reject the dis-accreditation of state parties for unwritten ideological missteps, or defend free speech for feminists in the party.
The implementation of this proposal creates a committee tasked with advancing trans rights, but not the rights of women and youth. This whole controversy is based on the intersection of trans, women, and youth rights.
I find it hard to take anything seriously if the author(s)/sponsors themselves are hesitant to take credit for their own work .
The only thing Good about this is the affirmations for trans rights. Everything else is contradictory to that….and horrible! Censoring people from calling hate speech hate speech? So we have to sit down and be “tone and civility policed” while people make sure our genitals are the right shape, but can’t call bigotry what it is? Bourgeois baloney! So David Duke could come and sit on the state Commitee and we would have to politely listen to him and not be able to call his rhetoric what it is, or is this just about anti’ LGBTQIA+ rhetoric? Writing in stone the opening and actual call for Endless and eternal debates about whether trans women are women or not? Support for GAGP’s rights to trample on trans rights which now aligns the GRP with their anti-trans ideology? Talk about “expulsions” when that’s not even a technical possibility in the party. Wow. This is very detached from reality. Cancel culture? That doesn’t even make sense. Greenwald and Chomsky don’t even think the Green Party should exist, but we are going to use some stuff they say ti make an argumen This last minute"Jill Stein’s amendment" will most likely be accepted by the sponsors. I ask state committee to vote this DOWN on once and for all please.