Thursday, March 30, 2006

a tipping point, maybe.

I feel that the GPCA is at a tipping point right now and that the decisions we make in the next several months, especially at the next General Assembly and in the selection of our leadeship, either county council or candidates, will have a significant determining factor on how successful this part is in the next decade.

When groups have a bit of success it is tempting to use that as a model for continued action. Sometimes this is OK but at other times it blinds you to the fact that the world has changed. In a real way, the world has change all around us and we have not paid enough attention to it.

The biggest change is that there are more Hispanic's in this state than ever before. We saw athat in the immigration rally in Los Angeles where half a million turned up. Perhaps the single most important Green Party event that I can point to is that Nativo Lopez is running uncontensted for the LA County Council. His presence on the County Council will give the Hispanic community a voice in the direction of this party that they have not previously had. It is up to the rest of us to make use of that if we are to be successful.

According to an OpEd piece by Dick Morris published today in The Hill, the Hispanic vote was the "swing vote in the 2004 election. Having voted for Al Gore by 30 points in 2000, they sufficiently trusted Bush to back Sen. John Kerry by only an eight-point margin."

The future of California Politics will be determined by how well any party is able to relate to the views of the Hispanic Community and thereby attract them into the party. The association of the Hispanic Vote with the Democratic Party peaked after Pete Wilson and Proposition 187. The Republicans are running the author of Proposition 187, Mountjoy, for the Senate this year and that will keep this issue on the table.

If the Green Party wants to grow quickly, then the best way to do so is to be associated with the needs and the issue of the Hispanic Community.

There are some who are not happy with the current factional infighting of the Green Party in California. They would break up the party and work strictly on a local level until such time as the locals collectively become strong enough to asset themselves as a formal party again. I never head something so wrongheaded. If there was ever a time for coordinated action, this is the time. If you are worried about factional infighting, then the infusion of Hispanic Leaders into the party will change that dynamic to the point where we will some time wonder what all the fuss was about.

We need the unified action of Greens in those communities where the problems of social justice and environmental action are the most worst. That, readers, is in the Central Valley and that is where we should focus our energies. Unions would never have spread throughout industry as they did without active organizing. The Green Party will not grow to a position of strength without active organizing.

Similarly, I saw a post today on anopther GPCA email list, that said that the future should be to become a Green Socialist Party, and they cite candidacy of Socialist Todd Chretien as the leadership to follow. Again, I think that this is wrong headed. There is nothing in the 10 KV that is deterministic of a Socialist agenda. In fact, there are some elements that are antithetic to a fully socialist program.

What we need rather is to be involved in the issues of those who are without social justice, stand by their side. We need to realize is that we have to work within these communities on their issues and not just ask them to come join is on our issues. Unless we do that, we will be doomed, as Dick Morris says may be the fate of the Republican Party based on how they handle the immigration issue.

This time just may be the tipping point for a revitalization of the Green Party. We dare not fail.


Roger, Gone Green said...

Green is not Pink; as you say there is nothing in the 10 Key or elsewhere that suggests it, let alone mandates that conclusion. Indeed, the value of the Green Party is that it is a better kind of democracy, and able to support a better kind of American capitalism. As a new member of the Los Angeles County County Council I will actively resist wrongheaded warmed-over leftist leadership.

I have, of course, written about this before,briefly in Left, Right & Green at my So Cal Green blog.

Meanwhile, if would be equally foolish to court Hispanic leaders just because there are a lot of Hispanic voters. Unless those voters are educated about and attuned to Green values, they will not be happy in the party and it will be a short-lived demographic shift. (Unless the party cravenly compromises its values and finds itself held captive by a large voting block.)

On the other hand, there is value in educating local leaders, including Hispanic leaders, in Green values and the benefits to all.

Roger, Gone Green said...

I realized I need to be more explicit on that second point: The Democrats stood (loosely) with the farmworker movement in the 60's and supported, weakly, other social justice issues. But it is widely perceived that the Dems are losing latino support; meanwhile, many latinos see that it is the Republicans who best represent their often socially conservative values, especially as pertains to right-to-life issues, marriage and family issues, and government regulation. But because the Republicans are an uneasy coalition of xenophobes and employers who depend on the exploitative wages available to illegals, that party often gets the immigration issues wrong.

The flaw in the approach, I am suggesting, is courting a voting block by narrow issues where the rest of the party platform is not consistent.

I know many individuals with Spanish surnames who are avowedly and completely Green; I think that sort of convert, across traditional ethnic and political divides, is what the Green party offers.

Wes said...

Roger, your comments are correct. However, I think that there is a tendency for Greens not to want to proselytize. I have heard so many times that we need to wait until someone comes forward and then give them a hand. But what if they don't know we are here or what we stand for. I think that there is no problem with our taking the Green message into the streets and specifically targeting a population that is undergoing change. If we have the right stuff, change will move our way. If we don't, then we don't deserve their registrations anyway.

Roger, Gone Green said...

Actually, Wes, I do agree with skipping the aggressive proselytizing that often amounts to blaming the prospect for bad conduct or not knowing that company x is "bad" or that sort of thing.

Educating to me means education in the larger sense, sometimes outside of the electoral process. In addition to helping with issues that affect a given community, and "being seen being Green" that is. . .