Monday, October 6, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Wednesday, August 06, 2008 • 2:33 PM Post a Comment
Ferrucci Going Green
posted by Andy Bromage

Ralph Ferrucci worked so hard collecting signatures for Ralph Nader's presidential drive that he came up short for his own campaign.
Ferrucci planned to challenge Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-3) on the Independent Party ticket that Nader is running on. But he focused so much on getting signatures for Nader he failed to get the ones he needed for his own petition drive. So Ferrucci says he'll seek the Green Party's nomination, on whose ticket he ran for Congress in 2004. The Greens, and other minor parties, have ballot access and have until September to nominate a candidate to run.
Ferrucci was at the Capitol today delivering Nader's petitions to the Secretary of the State's office and told the Daily Advocate he's spoken with Green Party elders who seemed supportive of the idea.
Does this mean Ferrucci will abandon his old friend Ralph Nader in favor of Green Party presidential pick Cynthia McKinney? Nope. Ralph says he's sticking with Ralph. Go figure.
Stay tuned for updates......

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Greens to challenge Electoral Collge

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,

Greens launch effort against Electoral College manipulation of
presidential elections
Malapportionment of Electoral College votes may lead to a
Republican victory despite the popular vote, disenfranchising tens of thousands
of voters, especially black voters in southern states
Green civil action seeks to democratize the Electoral College by
enforcing 14th Amendment voter protections, names Vice President Cheney
as defendant

WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders said today that the outcome of
the 2008 presidential election may be affected by the antidemocratic
apportionment of Electoral College votes, with the popular vote
misrepresented by the winner-take-all system of assigning votes to electors.
"We're in danger of seeing the 2008 election stolen again, as in 2000
and 2004," said Clyde Shabazz, Green candidate for the US House in
Michigan (13th District) ( "In Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, we witnessed the obstruction and manipulation of votes by election officials and possible tampering with computer voting
machines. But equally insidious is the malapportionment of Electoral College votes, which disenfranchises whole sections of the voting public."
A civil action to protect the voting rights of presidential electors
and the voters they represent was filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia (1:08-cv-01294) on January 28, 2008, by Asa
Gordon, chair of the DC Statehood Green Party's Electoral College Task Force and executive director of the Douglass Institute of Government
The action seeks relief against the defendant, Vice President Cheney,
who will preside over the tabulation of "unbound electoral states" on
January 6, 2009, challenging the recognition of Electoral College votes
that are apportioned by states on a winner-take-all basis.
The civil action seeks enforcement of the 'Mal-Apportionment Penalty'
provided in Section 2 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution,
which mandates a reduction of a state's presidential electors and
congressional representatives if "the right to vote at any election for the
choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United
States... is denied... or in any way abridged."
The civil action alternatively seeks the issuance of a court order
providing proportional apportionment of presidential electors.
"If two thirds of the voters in a state vote for a candidate from Party
A and one third vote for a candidate from Party B, and the state's
winner-take-all rule gives all of the state's electors to Party A, then
one third of the voters have been disenfranchised in violation of
Amendment 14, Section 2 of the US Constitution," said Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party. "We've witnessed in election after election how some states have used the winner-take-all formula to prevent the votes of political, ethnic, and other minorities from being counted."
Mr. Gordon noted that the civil action had the potential to "alter the
fate of the 2008 presidential election in a manner different from any
presidential election in the nation's history." (
"By refusing to challenge Electoral College malapportionment in 2000
and 2004, which blocked Democratic electors from voting in those
elections, the Democratic Party's leaders abandoned tens of thousands of their own voters, just as they failed to challenge the election
irregularities in Florida and Ohio in 2000 and 2004," said Mr. Gordon. "Will they fail to challenge malapportionment again in 2008, and hand the Republicans another victory? Barack Obama would not be the Democratic nominee if not for the Democratic Party's proportional assignment of primary delegates. The winner-take-all provisions in the general election present the distinct possibility that Mr. Obama in 2008 will win the popular vote by a considerably larger margin than did Gore in 2000, but will repeat the Democratic loss in the Electoral College."
Mr. Gordon said that African American voters in several southern
states* that were represented by proportional assignment of delegates in the Democratic primary, and who were critical to Barack Obama's success, will be lost to Mr. Obama under the winner-take-all rules of the general election.
"If proportional assignment is considered by Democrats to be vital to
democracy in their primary elections, why won't they fight for it in the
general election?" asked Mr. Gordon, who led workshops for Green
presidential electors during the 2008 Green National Convention
As a result of the workshops, several Green electors pledged to
presidential candidate (and eventual Green nominee) Cynthia McKinney agreed to
institute a program for enforcement of the Reconstruction-Era
provision enshrined in the 14th Amendment.
"The 'Democratize the Electoral College' program exposes the hypocrisy
and fraud behind charges that the McKinney campaign might 'spoil' the
Democratic presidential ticket's chances of winning. Democratic leaders
should have to explain why they choose to ignore 13 additional
electors from southern states that they'd gain through the Green Party's
presidential electors project. Why is the Green Party fighting to give
voice to Democratic voters that the Democratic Party will not fight for?
Let me be clear -- we're not doing this to assist Barack Obama, but to
foster real democracy and voter participation, and to offer Cynthia
McKinney as the truly democratic choice for all the people," said Mr.
Green Party leaders noted that after John Kerry quickly conceded the
2004 election, Democratic leaders failed to respond to thousands of
complaints about voting irregularities in Ohio and other states. Green
presidential nominee David Cobb and Libertarian nominee Michael Badnarik
launched the Ohio and New Mexico recount efforts and collected the
initial evidence that Republican officials had blocked the votes of many
African American and young voters ( Greens
raised most of the money for the recounts. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)
later held hearings and published evidence of the election theft
Cynthia McKinney and running mate Rosa Clemente were nominated during
the 2008 Green National Convention in Chicago, July 10-13.
The Green Party's national platform endorses a constitutional amendment
abolishing the Electoral College and providing for the direct election
of the president by instant runoff voting
"Americans don't vote for President. Instead, we vote for an electoral
college which was created in the late 1700s to expressly increase the
power of the slave states -- and which it is still doing," said Mark
Dunlea, an election law attorney with the Green Party of New York State.
* Asa Gordon's civil action observes that the Office of the Federal
Register of the National Archives and Records Administration explicitly
declares that "the electors in these (Southern) States (ARKANSAS -- 6
Electoral Votes, GEORGIA -- 15 Electoral Votes, LOUISIANA -- 9 Electoral
Votes, TENNESSEE -- 11 Electoral Votes, TEXAS -- 34 Electoral Votes) are
not bound by State Law to cast their vote for a specific candidate"
The civil action was filed on July 28, 2008, to commemorate the 140th anniversary of the adoption of the 14th Amendment to the US
Constitution. Since the debacle of the 2000 presidential election, the Green Party in partnership with the Douglass Institute of Government has led the way in educating Americans about their constitutional "right to vote" under the provisions of 14th Amendment, Section 2.

Green Party of the United States
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN
Fax 202-319-7193
• Green candidate database for 2008 and other campaign information:
• Green Party News Center
• Green Party Speakers Bureau
• Green Party ballot access page
Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente 'Power to the People' Campaign for the
White House
Mal-Apportionment Penalty Civil Actions
"Greens: Enforce 14th Amendment's 'Right to Vote' Provision"
Green Party press release, October 18, 2004
"Greens Push for Real Electoral Reforms at Carter-Baker Hearings, June
Green Party press release, June 27, 2005
2008 Green National Convention, July 10-13 in Chicago, Illinois

~ END ~

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Tiny Working Families Party,0,2113560.story
Tiny Working Families Party A Coalition Pushing Labor Agenda
Courant Staff Writer
August 4, 2008

Of the 1.9 million voters in Connecticut, only 15 are registered with the Working Families Party."I don't know who any of them are," said Jon Green, executive director of the party.Is he one?"No," he said, laughing.Confused?What the Working Families Party does have is a progressive economic agenda and a valuable asset: its own line on every ballot in Connecticut.The party practices fusion politics — cross-endorsing supportive candidates from other parties, typically Democrats — on a broad scale.A change in state law last year eased the rules for cross-endorsements, setting up the Working Families Party as potential kingmaker in close races, such as Democrat Jim Himes' challenge of U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, R-4th District.Himes and the state's four Democratic congressional incumbents will appear twice on the ballot this fall — on the Democratic and Working Families lines.So will about 50 state legislative candidates, including two Republicans, Sens. John Kissel of Enfield and Leonard Fasano of North Haven.Two years ago, when Democrat Chris Murphy unseated U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-5th District, he garnered an extra 5,794 votes on the Working Families line.That was more than Shays' 5,747 plurality.Working Families was founded 10 years ago in New York, where fusion voting is common. After a slow start in Connecticut, the party is establishing a reputation as an important ally for Democrats.The increasing role of Working Families in Connecticut, one of the relatively few states that allow fusion voting, provokes concern among Republicans."They've taken a loophole in the law and, with 15 people, they have managed to establish themselves as a fringe party whose sole purpose is to confuse voters that Democrats have support from a phantom party," said Chris Healy, the Republican state chairman.
Composition Of PartyWorking Families is less of a party than a coalition of labor unions and community activists who are trying to convince politicians that support for their causes can translate into measurable votes.Their causes include universal health care, mandatory paid sick days and a livable wage.With its own ballot line, the party is hoping to get credit for electing progressive, pro-labor candidates, just as Ralph Nader's presence on the presidential ballot in Florida earned him blame for Al Gore's narrow loss in 2000.Green said the party's polling shows that many of the votes on their line come from voters who could not bring themselves to vote for a Democrat or a Republican."It's a protest vote that actually counts," he said.Maura Keaney, the campaign manager for Himes, said Working Families is composed of groups that are mainstream, unlike some other minor parties."Working Families is about coalitions," Keaney said. "The Green Party is about being on the outside, rather than forming a strong progressive coalition."Working Families is backed by elements of major unions, including the Service Employees International Union, the United Auto Workers and the United Food and Commercial Workers.Art Perry, the political director of an SEIU local that represents janitors, said Working Families is a consistent voice for labor causes of great import to his members, including paid sick days.Causes are more important than party loyalty, he said.And that attitude is the cause of tension between the Working Families and Democrats.
Backing A RepublicanAlthough the party tries to influence most races by cross-endorsing major party candidates, it occasionally backs a Republican.In one race this year, it is trying to be a spoiler, fielding its own candidate in an effort to draw votes away from a Democratic incumbent.The target is Linda Schofield, a Democrat from Simsbury who was cross-endorsed two years ago in her successful challenge of a Republican incumbent, Robert Heagney. Schofield, who won by 180 votes, got 167 votes on the Working Families line.But Schofield, a former director of the state Medicaid program, became a voice of opposition within the Democratic caucus to a health care pooling bill that the Working Families Party favored.She is facing a rematch with Heagney.Green said the party decided that it would be better off with a conservative Republican sitting harmlessly with the GOP minority than an unfriendly Democrat inside the majority."It is a compliment," Schofield said. "They deem me as intelligent and effective, and they want to take me out."House Majority Leader Christopher G. Donovan, D- Meriden, said the Working Families overlooked Schofield's casting a key vote in support of another labor cause: overriding Gov. M. Jodi Rell's veto of a minimum wage increase."She's been there when we've needed her," Donovan said.Schofield said the Working Families Party was trying to establish a progressive litmus test, which could limit the ability of Democrats to win in Republican-leaning districts."I think they are trying to intimidate Democrats into being more in tune with the Working Families' left-leaning policies," Schofield said. "There is an inherent threat here, 'If you don't vote our way, we'll run someone against you.'"Working Families sees one of its roles as forcing the large Democratic majorities in the legislature to deliver on issues. For that, Green makes no apologies."You have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies," Green said. "It's just about the issues."Contact Mark Pazniokas at full coverage of the 2008 election season, including photos, video and other multimedia, visit
Copyright © 2008, The Hartford Courant


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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Petitioners BOOTED off New Haven Green Petitioners Booted Off Greenby Paul Bass July 23, 2008 1:00 PM Permalink Comments (40)The Squirrel Nut Zippers had the mic. The cops told Ralph Ferrucci andhisband of petitioners they had to exit the Green stage right.Or, if they preferred, given their political leanings, stage left.Ferrucci - a New Haven political activist who has run for mayor and U.S.Senate and Congress on the Green Party ticket - is no stranger toflyeringand collecting signatures on petitions at public events, such as lastSaturday's city-sponsored Squirrel Nut concert on the Green. He didn'tthinkhe was breaking any rules when he brought a team of six petitioners togather signatures of voters to place presidential candidate Ralph Nader'sname on the state's November ballot.The cops thought otherwise.Ferrucci said the "lieutenant in charge" approached him "and told me I'llbearrested if I didn't get the petitioners off the Green."Ferrucci said he protested that he had a right to be on public land."This isn't owned by the city," the cops told him, according to Ferrucci.(It's true; a not-for-profit organization known as the Proprietors of theGreen controls the space.)"But this is a public space," Ferrucci said he (correctly) pointed out."Myrights apply."For at least three decades, volunteers and staffers from politicalcampaigns - including those of Mayor John DeStefano and Democraticcandidates like U.S. Senate hopeful Ned Lamont - have routinelycirculatedpetitions or handed out flyers at summer events on the Green.Which lieutenant was it who threatened the arrest?"I should have gotten his name," Ferrucci said. "But I was more concernedabout getting arrested. I didn't mind taking the bust," but he worriedabouthis crew of volunteers. So he sent them off the Green, to surroundingsidewalks (uncontested public space), where they harvested signaturesfrom asmaller, less compact field of passersby.Ferrucci said he remained by the middle of the Green, where he received"nasty looks" from five cops on duty.Since the weekend, Ferrucci brought his complaints to the mayor's chiefofstaff, Sean Matteson.According to Ferrucci, Matteson confirmed that the petitioners should beallowed to work the Green. Matteson promised to investigate the matter,Ferrucci said. Ferrucci asked for a letter confirming the permission topetition. "That way if the cops bother us I have a letter saying we'reallowed to be there."Matteson didn't return repeated phone calls to confirm the conversation."There is no letter," mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said. "There'snodiscussion about a letter."Mayorga said Matteson "has had a discussion" with Assistant Police ChiefStephanie Redding about the matter. She said Redding "has agreed to lookinto it."Mayorga said that while it's Matteson's "personal opinion" that the Nadercampaign should be able to petition on the Green, the city does not yethavea position on whether it can at another concert this coming weekend. Shesaid she wants to wait to hear back from Redding."I don't know what the turnaround will be on that," Mayorga said."We're not trying to make things difficult for anyone. We're trying tomakesure we're on the same page."Mayorga said it would not be possible to identify the lieutenant whothreatened Ferrucci with arrest.(Update: Reached at a press event at City Hall Wednesday afternoon,Mattesonsaid he plans to make clear to the cops that the Nader campaign maypetitionat Saturday's concert.)One member of the Proprietors of the Green, Anne Calabresi, was surprisedthat a petitioner would be removed or threatened with arrest."How could they?" she asked when told of the incident Wednesday. "TheGreenis dedicated to free speech. It's that simple."A TrendThis is the latest in a string of embarrassing cases of city governmentflouting the constitution or the public's right to know.Some incidents have occurred at the hands of mid-level or lower-levelemployees who acted on their own (though in the spirit of higher-ups).City government lawyer Dinella Dodd, for instance, last month booted thepress from a public hearing on parking ticket appeals.The city's elderly services chief suspended an employee for, in part,speaking to the press on off hours, without first checking in with themayor's spokeswoman.The mayor has implemented a press policy - blasted as flagrantlyunconstitutional by the ACLU - which forbids thousands of city employeesfrom speaking about anything with reporters at any time without expressprior authorization from his press office; that has set a chill overgovernment.The DeStefano administration has also subverted the intent of a ruling bythe State Freedom of Information Commission that required that jobevaluations of top administrators be publicly available. Theadministrationhas basically stopped doing written evaluations as a result.He's BackRalph Nader is running as an independent in this year's presidential racerather than as a Green. Nader ran in 1996, 2000, and 2004 as well. Hedidn'twin.Ferrucci said the campaign technically needs 7,500 valid signatures ofvoters to make the Connecticut ballot. In actuality it probably needs tocollect more like 12,000, he said, because election officials ofteneliminate many signatures as invalid. The deadline is Aug. 6."We're at 5,500 signatures," Ferrucci reported. He said he's confidentthecampaign will make its goal.Assuming the law doesn't shut them down.(Nader, a former Green candidate, is running as an independent thisyear.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

McKinney announce campaign manager

McKinney/Clemente Campaign Appoints Campaign ManagerGreen Party McKinney/Clemente“Power to the People” Presidential CampaignAppoints Campaign Manager, 24 July 2008 17:16[Washington] /Former six-term Congress Member from Georgia, Cynthia McKinney and running mate Rosa Clemente were nominated by the Green Party at the Green National Convention in Chicago on July 12, 2008. The newly nominated Green Party candidates Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente have chosen Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowaifza-Curry (SKCM Curry) as the national campaign manager for their 2008 “Power to the People” presidential campaign, the first all-female and African and Latino heritage ticket for the White House.Presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney noted "Our candidacy marks several nationally significant historic events, especially the 160th anniversary of the Equal Rights Party nomination of the first female American presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull, which was also the first party to nominate a Black man, Frederick Douglass, for Vice President. I stand proudly as the 45th female American to also seek the presidency.”Ms. Curry brings a lifetime of political skills to the Green Party's all-woman presidential ticket. She is a social justice historian and activist from South Central Los Angeles, where she grew up in the Pueblo Dio Rio Housing Projects, in a family dedicated to peace and justice. A 46-year-old woman of African descent, Ms. Curry calls herself a "product of the battles won during the 1960 Civil Rights Movement,” including the Voting Rights Act, Head Start, and expansion of public higher education.Ms. Curry has years of experience training others in “popular education”, a program for social change pioneered by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, author of /Education as the Practice of Freedom/ and /Pedagogy of the Oppressed/. SKCM Curry has had a long involvement in civil rights struggles, including voter registration and ballot access drives, as well as organizing around the need for universal health care, an end to current wars, environmental issues. and other campaign priorities.She has been involved with the Green Party for six years at local, state, national, and international levels. "Party affiliation is like a vote, only more powerful and cumulative, as it doesn't begin and end with an election. I joined the Green political party because it stands for my values -- I'm no longer willing to settle for something less. The McKinney-Clemente 2008 Green Party Campaign will promote a national long-term Green vision with policies and programs, and new visionary female leadership that will serve the interests of all Americans and members of the human family," Curry said.Curry thinks that “We Greens must combine our energy on all levels to create winning strategies that synergistic promote a national long term Green vision supported by measurable policies, programs and laws appealing to the varied interests of all Americans and members of the human family.” Her objective in joining the Green Party was and is about building a permanent non-corporate funded political party here in the United States of America.*MORE INFORMATION*Cynthia McKinney 'Power to the People' Campaign for Presidenthttp://www.allthingscynthiamckinney.comRosa Clemente, candidate for Vice Presidenthttp://www.rosaclemente.comGreen Party of the United States

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Greens on trial in London on trialThe Greens can justifiably claim to be the largest progressive party in the UK, but often meet with suspicion from the left. Are they given a fair hearing ? Alex Nunns weighs the evidenceThere is a party, ostensibly of the left, that has more than 100 councillors (and rising), holds seats in the European Parliament and London Assembly, and might just drop an electoral bombshell by securing its first MP in the next general election. It's called the Green Party. But for reasons either of jealousy or good socialist sense, it is regularly hauled up before the Court of Left Opinion, suspected of being overly electoralist, unduly white, middle class, and Not Sufficiently Left.

It doesn't even have factions that hate each other.Confusingly for the presiding judges of the court, none of this seems to matter too much to the public jury, who are giving favourable verdicts to the Greens in growing numbers. Quietly, unassumingly, the Green Party of England and Wales has been making strides over the past few years, propelled by the ever-increasing urgency of the climate catastrophe.Nevertheless, Red Pepper proposes a retrial -- a trial by media, after a fashion.*A party of the left ?*
One of the main reasons why the left is suspicious as to whether the Greens _ can be counted among its number is that it contains many people who simply do not associate themselves with the British left and its glorious history of defeat.One such man is Chris Rose, the party's national election agent, who points out that 'many Green Party members wouldn't like to describe themselves as left. If we positioned ourselves as explicitly left it would be dangerous, with no guarantee of success. We need to keep our reputation on the environment.'But London Assembly member Darren Johnson, who is not on the left of the party, takes a different view : 'I'm not a socialist but I feel comfortable about being on the progressive left. Not the far left -- we never will be. But we're the serious party of the left and a potential power broker working with centre left parties, like the SNP in Scotland and Labour in some areas.'One thing is beyond doubt.
Whether or not they see themselves as left, the Greens have a manifesto as radical as any other, based on sustainability and equality, which if implemented would constitute nothing short of a revolution. Their espousal of an end to economic growth is unique, and has resulted in attacks from parties who believe in either capitalism or the traditional Marxist model of growth leading to a world of plenty. Instead, the Greens promote economic localisation, and say wealth should be measured not in GDP but in overall wellbeing.And the party's policies stretch far wider than the environment. They would (if they could) make income tax more progressive ; replace VAT with eco-taxes ; replace benefits with a non-means tested citizens' income for everyone ; increase the pension ; nationalise the railways ; welcome asylum seekers ; stop the privatisation of council housing ; reverse the privatisation of health and education ; scrap PFI ; scrap prescription charges ; scrap tuition fees ; scrap ID cards ; scrap nuclear weapons and scrap wars.*Coalitions*So far so good.
But other leftists squeal that when it comes down to electoral politics the Greens can be bloody uncooperative, as when they refused to make a pact with Respect before the last general election. Darren Johnson is defiant : 'We often get criticised by left groups for standing against them, but they can't even sustain coalitions with each other ! It would have been a disaster if we had had a coalition with Respect -- look where they are now.'But hang on. The Greens do form alliances on councils -- and have even been known to work with Tories. Most controversial was a coalition with the Conservatives and Lib Dems on Leeds City Council. The Greens eventually pulled out over plans for a new waste incinerator in 2006, after two years, but in many other places the Greens co-operate informally with other parties, including Tories.Chris Rose doesn't care : 'We say none of the mainstream parties are worth anything. So, if the situation demands it, it doesn't really matter which one we work with, just what the outcome is. We can't sit on the sidelines forever.' Others on the left of the party, like the party's male principal speaker Derek Wall, are much less keen on such arrangements and are clearly embarrassed by the Leeds example, but in a decentralised party they have had to learn to live with it.The potential for such unholy alliances goes further than just the council level.
In December David Cameron announced that he wanted a 'progressive alliance' with the Lib Dems and the Greens to push for decentralisation. They rejected the offer as a publicity stunt, but it pointed to a new and unexpected problem for the Greens -- they're suddenly very popular with the other parties.For Caroline Lucas, MEP for South-East England and the party's female principal speaker, this is a double-edged sword : 'If the mainstream parties really were going green we'd react with delight, but there are no signs that it's anything more than words. In fact it's dangerous that they are using the rhetoric without taking action -- just look at Labour with coal-fired power stations.''But on the other hand, look at how our vote has gone up since Cameron started talking green,' she says. 'I think people are savvy, they see through the empty words, but they are alerted to the issues and go looking for the real Greens.'Darren Johnson believes the existence of the Green Party over the years has contributed to people taking the environment seriously, but that this is not enough. 'We have put pressure on the other parties to green up their act,' he says, 'but we aren't just a pressure group. In terms of making things happen you need Greens elected -- not necessarily in government but in a position to really push the agenda.'*Concrete green advances*For Chris Rose, what matters is the outcome -- the 'need to make concrete green advances'. He points to Kirklees and London as examples.Five per cent of all the solar energy generated in the UK is concentrated in Kirklees, the west Yorkshire borough that includes Huddersfield. The Greens hold four of the 69 seats on the council, which is under no overall control. This position has been sufficient to put some of their ideas into practice. Their latest success is a scheme for 30,000 homes to receive free cavity wall and loft insulation

The policy was voted through on a combined Green, Conservative and Lib Dem motion and means households will receive £400 of insulation measures free of charge. The project is funded jointly by the council and private company Scottish Power -- something that might alarm many on the left, but which most Greens seem comfortable with.In London, the Greens' two Assembly members have found themselves in a pivotal position. Since Labour lost four seats in 2004, mayor Ken Livingstone has had to rely on the Greens to get his budgets through each year, giving Darren Johnson and Jenny Jones great bargaining power. They claim the credit for tripling the cycling budget from £21 million to £62 million and increasing the climate change budget for greener homes from just £100,000 to £12 million in four years.*Electoralist ?*So the Defence can present the court with evidence of creditable achievement. But now the Prosecution brings a new charge : electoralism. Chris Rose still doesn't care : 'We need to ensure that in everything we do we make the maximum electoral advantage. I've been on plenty of demos but I'd rather put people in power who don't need to be demonstrated against.'Even some on the left of the party, like health spokesman Stuart Jeffery, would prefer more electoralism : 'I do a shed-load at grass-roots level in Maidstone, like Keep Our NHS Public and community groups. We're not wholly electoralist. We're probably not electoralist enough. We should be more targeted and systematic.'
Perhaps one of the reasons why many Greens aren't too bothered about being called electoralist is that they're getting pretty good at it. In last year's local elections the party increased its number of councillors by 20 per cent to 110. This year, in May, the party expects a further 10 per cent boost to that number, and is looking to increase its London Assembly representation from two seats to three.But what the Greens are most excited about is the prospect of their first MP. Their sights are set on Norwich, where they are likely to be the second biggest party on the council after May ; Oxford, where uber-activist Peter Tatchell will stand as a Green candidate in the next general election ; and most importantly Brighton, where Caroline Lucas stands a real chance of winning.In the Brighton Pavilion constituency at the last general election, Keith Taylor finished third for the Greens with 22 per cent of the vote, only marginally less than the second-placed Conservatives. Support in the city has been increasing ever since -- 27 per cent in the European elections ; 30 per cent in the locals ; and 41 per cent in the last council by-election before Christmas. Added to that, the incumbent Labour MP is standing down.'In theory 26 per cent would win it,' says Chris Rose, who really does care about this. 'The big worry is that the Tories will come through. So we need to convince progressive people in Brighton to vote Green not Labour.'Greens hope the Brighton electorate will be inspired by the significance of the choice before them. On Caroline Lucas's election leaflets the appeal 'Help us make history' is emblazoned across a picture of the Houses of Parliament. 'All the evidence suggests that once you get the first Green elected to a council or authority, you break the credibility barrier and more follow,' Lucas comments. 'Remember Labour's first MP was elected in 1900, and by 1924 they were forming a government.'*First past the post*One of the reasons why the Greens have so far failed to break through that credibility barrier at the national level is the first-past-the-post voting system. In Germany, and more recently in Ireland and Scotland since devolution (where there is a separate Green Party), the Greens have fared well under proportional representation. Ironically, the experience of these successes suggests that the barriers erected by the electoral rules might be one reason why the English and Welsh Green Party tends to be more left than its European cousins, which have often been sucked into the prevailing system.But ideological purity has limited appeal against success, so in Brighton the Greens are thinking tactics. The obvious response is to throw resources at the city. This will happen, but the Green version of targeting is less severe than that practised by, for example, Respect, which focuses relentlessly on a few core areas.
At the last general election the Greens stood candidates in more than 200 constituencies.Part of the reason is that the Green Party is more decentralised. Its 170 branches all sign up to national policy but retain a high degree of autonomy. But it is also a deliberate decision. Chris Rose explains : 'In the British political system you'll be laughed at if you only stand ten candidates. Unlike Respect we're a proper national party.'The first-past-the-post system is also forcing the Greens to tailor their political message. 'The threshold is so much higher that we have to think about how we appeal to people who don't see themselves as Greens,' Caroline Lucas says. 'We need to be far more creative in the way we communicate to win in a first-past-the-post election.'But does this mean a compromise with electoralism, that the programme will be sanitised and weakened in the fashion perfected by New Labour ? Lucas claims not : 'Our roots are so strong in the social movements that there is no risk that our policies will be watered down. We offer integrity in our policy package, which is entirely decided at party conference. That's what people buy into when they join the Greens. It's just about how to communicate those policies.'*Leadership*This feeling that the Greens need to communicate better with the public and the media was the main factor behind an upheaval in autumn last year. In a referendum the party decided by 73 to 27 per cent to change its structure and adopt a leader, replacing the strictly non-hierarchical system of two principal speakers.The debate echoed previous divisions between 'fundis' (fundamentalists) and 'realos' (realists), terms first coined in relation to splits in the German Green Party in the 1980s which have since been used to describe similar conflicts elsewhere. On the 'fundi' side was one principal speaker, Wall, and on the 'realo' side was the other, Lucas. 'The leadership question was simply about how we get the message across,' Lucas says. 'Social change is still also about building on the ground outside parliament, but having a leader, a recognisable figure to articulate our views to the public, is not in any way incompatible with that.'But others saw the move as substituting 'the "eco" of serious ecological commitment with the dreary "ego" of conventional, shallow, careerist British politics,' as Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones put it in the heat of the leadership battle.In response Lucas insists that the Greens 'should always be involved in non-violent direct action and consciousness-raising'. This, she says, is not in conflict with her own aspiration to be an MP.

'Having a Green MP would scale up the impact of what the social movements and campaigns do outside parliament. It would be an incredible breakthrough. It would send shockwaves through the political establishment.'*Factions ?*In any other left party such a fundamental question as whether to adopt a leader would have been marked by fierce faction fighting. But the Green Party is curiously lacking in this department. It has survived for more than 30 years without splitting up into five different sets of acronyms.The closest thing to a faction in the Green Party today is a group called the Green Left. Conceived by, amongst others, Derek Wall, Peter Tatchell and Green mayoral candidate Sian Berry in 2006, the group's job is to reach out to the wider left and link up with other socialists, with the added hope of bringing more left activists into the Green Party.Through its email list the Green Left also loosely coordinates action in the party. It comprises hundreds of eco-socialist activists, but represents nowhere near a majority in a party of 7,500 members. Nevertheless, as Wall points out, he has been elected to the principal speaker position twice on a platform of 'eco-socialism without apology', suggesting that the group does have some organisational strength.On a practical level Wall believes that Green Left has been 'very successful in bringing through policies and bringing socialists into the party'. He believes passionately in forging links with committed activists of the Labour left, Respect (both versions), the Communist Party of Britain, the Socialist Party, and beyond to what he sees as the eco-socialist movements of Latin America, especially in Venezuela and Bolivia.The unions are a particular focus.
In February, Wall and Green MEPs Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert addressed a trade union conference on climate change. The Green Party supports the TUC's proposed trade union freedom bill, which would roll back Thatcher's anti-union laws. And unions that are not affiliated to Labour, like the FBU and the RMT, have already funded Green Party activities. But Wall aspires to the example of Australia where Green-union links are far more developed, to the extent that construction unions have imposed 'green bans' and refused to work on certain developments on environmental grounds.*White, middle class academics*One obstacle to closer relations is the suspicion in the trade union and labour movements that the Greens are just a bunch of white, middle class academics. A cursory glance around the Green Party's conference in Reading in February revealed that delegates were indeed overwhelmingly white and well-spoken ; many of them boasted a Dr before their name ; and an improbably high proportion of members seemed to have a perfect grasp of the most intricate details of green energy technologies.But this is unfair. Something similar is true of most party conferences (with the exception of Respect), and the Greens had a higher proportion of women than is usually seen.Away from conference, Greens insist they have been picking up support in ethnic minority and working class areas. The best example of this is Lewisham in south-east London where the Greens occupy six of 54 seats on the council. Darren Johnson, who has been a Lewisham councillor since 2002, as well as a London Assembly member, tells how he 'started campaigning in Lewisham in the mid-1990s. By 1998 we got 30 per cent in my ward. That was the Guardian-reading middle classes, but it proved enough of a base to then widen our support. The big difference now is that we're getting votes on the council estates, which make up about a quarter of the ward. You can't get 50 per cent in Lewisham without significant support from ethnic minorities and the working class.'Meanwhile, Stuart Jeffery thinks the class accusation is outrageous. 'We're not middle class idiots,' he barks (as your intrepid questioner ducks for cover). 'That's quite offensive. I don't mind being called an idiot but don't call me middle class.'*The verdict*Back in the courthouse both sides have finished presenting their arguments. The judge bangs his gavel and addresses the court. 'Members of the jury, it would be difficult for any leftist to read the Greens' last election manifesto (Exhibit A) and not agree with the vast majority of it.

At the heart of the party's policies is a desire to stop all exploitation, not only of the planet but of the people too.'Yet the Greens will clearly never satisfy some on the left. They do have an electoral slant, they do encompass a range of political traditions and they do take a pragmatic attitude that, while refreshing, can lead to alliances with Tories.'The jury retires. In the public gallery, Derek Wall looks nervous. Chris Rose still doesn't care. In the visitors' section, a fight breaks out between a member of Respect and someone from Respect Renewal.The jury returns -- it has failed to reach a verdict. The judge declares a retrial ... by you, the readers.Let us know what you think in our forums _______________________________________________--

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Nader Forms Exploratory Committee!!

Ralph Nader Flirts with Presidential Bid
With Harsh Words for Current Field, Nader Says Candidacy as Urgent as Ever
Jan. 30, 2008 —
Ralph Nader has formed a presidential exploratory committee, and said in an interview Wednesday that he will launch another presidential bid if he's convinced he can raise enough money to appear on the vast majority of state ballots this fall.
Nader, who ran as an independent candidate in each of the past three presidential elections, told that he will run in 2008 if he is convinced over the next month that he would be able to raise $10 million over the course of the campaign and attract enough lawyers willing to work free of charge to get his name on state ballots.
Nader said he established an exploratory committee and launched a Web site after Dennis Kucinich, a liberal Ohio congressman, announced his decision to withdraw from the presidential race last week.
He was set to announce that he had formed an exploratory committee Wednesday, even before former Sen. John Edwards made it known that he'd be ending his candidacy. But with Edwards who has made economic populism and ending poverty cornerstones of his campaign leaving the Democratic field, Nader said, he feels his candidacy is more urgent than ever.
"When Kucinich threw in the towel, now you have Edwards gone who's going to carry the torch of democratic populism against the relentless domination of powerful corporations of our government?" Nader said. "You can't just brush these issues to the side because the candidates are ignoring them."
He has harsh words for the leading Democratic candidates, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, chastising them for failing to advance aggressive plans to tax corporations more fairly, and to fight for a vastly higher minimum wage.
Obama, he said, is a particular disappointment, since his background suggests that he knows the importance of progressive issues yet hasn't fought for them in the Senate.
"His record in the Senate is pretty mediocre," Nader said. "His most distinctive characteristic is the extent to which he censors himself. He hasn't performed as a really progressive first-term senator would."
His "self-censorship," Nader said, "is a reflection of character."
He's no kinder to the Republican frontrunner, Sen. John McCain. "Senator McCain is the candidate of perpetual war," he said.
Nader also rejects the "spoiler" label many Democrats have applied to him since 2000, when his candidacy was blamed in some circles for helping defeat Democratic candidate Al Gore.
"That is the sign of political bigotry," he said. "Why aren't the major candidates spoilers? They represent parties that spoil our electoral system and our government."
Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

Friday, January 18, 2008

Green Party's Steve Fournier profiled,0,2127311.column?coll=hc_home_xpromo

Dear John: Steve's Waiting
by Rick Green

January 18, 2008

Excuse me, Congressman Larson? I'd like you to set aside a little time for one of your constituents.

I know it's the election season and your party's angling to take charge of the White House and all. But there's a cranky guy here in Hartford who says you two must talk about impeachment.

Stephen Fournier — an intelligent, heartfelt and sometimes confrontational Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-Green-Party-member — wants you to join some of your colleagues in the House of Representatives and go after President Bush because of the Iraq war.

Fournier claims that you've been dodging him, but I don't buy it. So I want to bring you two together. If you need neutral ground, I can get a room here at The Courant.

Personally, I agree with you, Congressman. It is time for all of us to move on from this relentless, exhausting George Bush fiasco. Unlike a lot of your colleagues, you can be proud that you did the right thing in opposing the war in Iraq. Impeachment is messy and divisive.

But I still think you owe Fournier a little chat. This guy poses a provocative, difficult question for those of us who opposed the Iraq adventure: If we are really against this war, isn't it time to examine what led us up to it?

Fournier says that the president lied to Congress and the country and that he should be impeached for this. He wants to talk about spying on American citizens, holding prisoners without due process and a long list of other complaints that Fournier says merit impeachment.

Steve tells me that since a group of like-minded folks began meeting last summer, he's asked to meet with you four times. Fournier said that your staff members never got back to him about these requests. In late November, members of Greater Hartford Impeach presented your office with a list of questions about your position on impeachment.

Now I know that a U.S. representative is busy. But I see where you had time to head out to Iowa to campaign for Chris Dodd. And I heard you on the radio during a leisurely, lengthy gabfest with Ray and Diane on WTIC-AM over Christmas.

You might recall his days on the Hartford Board of Education back in the 1990s, but Steve has mellowed since heart surgery a few years ago. He paints. He's got grandkids. But he's also mad as hell about this impeachment thing.

"My representative is right at the vortex of it all. He claims to be the vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus," Fournier told me when I stopped by his house in Hartford's West End the other day. "It's simple accountability. If you commit a crime, you are going to pay for it."

"I had to do this. I am a citizen. I am a lawyer. I know what a crime is," said Fournier, who showed me your most recent letter to him. I don't disagree when you say that "to knowingly move forward with an impeachment that cannot succeed would only serve political purposes, vindicate the president and not serve our rule of law."

But when you say that the Bush administration's war policy was "one reached largely by deceit," that troubles me. Fournier says this mandates impeachment.

Because he's frustrated, Fournier has promised to run against you as a Green Party candidate. I think there's some wiggle room here, though, if you will sit down and talk with him.

Emily Barocas, your press secretary, told me that you are "happy to meet with any constituent on a substantive issue. But our office is not in the business of staging media events for someone's candidacy. We are not brushing him off."

Now I'm no Kissinger, but I think I can get Fournier to agree to some ground rules. Shall we pencil in a date during your next visit back home?

Of course, if you do find time for Steve, I should warn you. I've had a few arguments with this smart son-of-a-gun through the years.

He's very persuasive.

Rick Green's column appears on Tuesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at

Copyright © 2008, The Hartford Courant

Monday, January 14, 2008

Green Party Holds Presidential Debate in S.F>

Green Party holds presidential debate in San Francisco
Delfin Vigil, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, January 14, 2008

(01-13) 20:01 PST San Francisco -- Withdraw from Iraq immediately. Eliminate the No Child Left Behind law. Legalize marijuana.

Those were just some of the goals stated by candidates at the Green Party presidential debate Sunday in San Francisco.

About 800 people of varying ages, economic backgrounds and political parties attended the "Presidential Debate that Matters" at the Herbst Theatre, where the five Green presidential hopefuls spent more time agreeing with one another than actually debating.
"We're not so much against each other as we are for each other," said one of the candidates, Kent Mesplay, an environmental engineer who also ran for the Green Party nomination in 2004. "We have to be because by no means is (the two-party system) a level playing field."

The nearly three-hour event was co-moderated by "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan and KPFA radio host Aimee Allison, who allowed the candidates timed answers to questions about the war in Iraq, illegal immigration, the farm bill and health care, among other subjects.

Nearly every answer was greeted with nods of agreement from the other candidates waiting their turns and by roars of applause from the audience, giving the forum a pep rally feeling.

Bay Area elected officials who are Green Party members - including Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and San Francisco Board of Education member Mark Sanchez - also took the lecturn, urging the crowd to see the Green Party as the most progressive political option and not as a wasted vote.

"Please. This is serious. This is not a joke. This is about starting a real movement in this country," said candidate Cynthia McKinney to a standing ovation.
The former Democratic congresswoman from Georgia who converted to the Green Party last year was, at one point during the debate, acknowledged as the front-runner. The party's presidential nominee will be selected in July in Chicago.
The other three candidates included Jared Ball, a hip-hop scholar and assistant professor of communications at Morgan State University in Baltimore; Kat Swift, a 34-year-old dread-locked activist from San Antonio who said she will "be just old enough to be president by the time of the next election"; and actor and filmmaker Jesse Johnson from West Virginia.

Getting the Green Party candidate on the ballot in every state is the priority, according to the candidates, who repeatedly urged the audience to register Green after the debate.

"Can the Green Party get beyond being blamed for Bush coming into power?" asked Mesplay, sarcastically referring to the argument that the Green Party takes votes away from Democrats. "We're not the ones who spoiled the American vote. Bush is."
The candidates' answers ranged from dramatic sound bites to simple solutions.
When asked about the farm bill, Swift's answer was not that of a typical politician:
"I'm not familiar with the details of the farm bill. From what I've heard from farmers is that it doesn't work. I would get farmers together and ask them for the answers."

Ralph Nader, the 2000 Green Party presidential nominee who has yet to announce his intentions for 2008, was scheduled to participate in Sunday's debate, but he did not. Nader showed up late for the event and addressed the crowd for about 10 minutes

Former San Francisco mayoral candidate and Green Party member Matt Gonzalez was scheduled to co-moderate the event but could not make it due to illness, according to event spokesman Cress Vellucci. Gonzalez received the loudest applause when his name was announced as one of several elected officials from the Green Party.

At least three hecklers who interrupted the forum also received a few claps of approval.

The event was organized in the past month by several Bay Area Green Party activists who spread the word through advertisements in local weekly newspapers and on Air America Radio. About 760 paid the $10 to $20 suggested donation to attend the forum, while an additional 50 to 100 got in free, according to Vellucci.

Mini Kahlon, a 38-year-old San Francisco resident, came to the event at the suggestion of a friend.
"I had hoped for a higher caliber of interaction on the issues," said Kahlon. "There was a lot more cheerleading than I had expected. But I like the idea of a debate that doesn't only include Democrats and Republicans."

E-mail Delfin Vigil at
This article appeared on page A - 8 of the San Francisco Chronicle