Thursday, April 28, 2011

GPCA poised for gains… or not

The General Assembly of the Green Party of California takes place this weekend. For those who will attend, there are a few things I hope you consider while deciding the next steps we will take.

Never before has money played such a key role in politics. Greens have been taking steps to counteract the effect of the Citizen's United decision. However, it does not appear that any great gains have been made on that front, even with key people spending a significant amount of time in the Move to Amend effort.

While washing dishes last night, I listened to the Rachel Maddow show. She was making a very important point regarding the now nearly infamous Paul Ryan budget that passed the House. Republican Congress Critters, including Wisconsin's Ryan, are not being warmly received while back in their districts over the Easter Recess. In fact, they are being confronted with almost as much rancor as was directed at the Obama Health Care plan last summer. Her key point is that, while Progressive organizations have contracted for $106,000 in media buys now, just 4 organizations with ties Corporate Cash, have put up over $2 Mil to support Ryan's budget… the one that would, among other things, end Medicare as we know it.

I introduce this point about money in order to underscore just how uneven the playing filed is. The GPCA has not been so successful raising money. We managed to have a mini-fundraising drive that netted $7,000 just before the General Assembly.

So, what are we going to do if we can't compete on money. Greens back a set of policies that make a lot more sense than those embodied in the Ryan Budget,but who knows what they are.

In a speech given at Occidental College of few years back, Bill Moyers made the statement that "The only answer for organized money is organized people." In fact, this was important enough that he repeated it several time: "The only answer…" and then "is organized people."

It is clear to some that the wheels are coming off the American version of Capitalism. Even Alan Greenspan acknowledged that he did not truly understand just that organizations, like banks and insurance companies, do not act in their own long term best interest, but are tilling to take excessive risks in order to get immediate profit for the executives of these companies. Greenspan was a devotee of Ayn Rand, the same Ayn Rand whose selfish version of living in the world inspires many Republican leaders today.

It is a given that we don't have the money top play the corporate media game. I note the number of people who actually participate in our social media, and it does not yet add up.

If we are to take the next step, and the world needs us to do so, then I think we need to consider just how we can accomplish it. Look around the General Assembly. How many students do you see? If these are the future of the Party, what are we doing to build that future? If we can't answer the question of how many Campus Green chapters exist and who those leader are, it does not speak well for our future.

Maybe it does come back to money, and how we choose to spend what resources we have. We need, at a minimum&hellip' and need to keep it to a minimum… to have full time fundraising that is not dependent on another full time job to live on.

We need to be able to more nimble in how we deal with the media. It is not just that smart cell phones, Android aps and social media have expanded the range of possibilities, they have fundamentally changed the expectation of just how quickly a political organization can respond. This is one more aspect of being a political party that needs full time attention and, once more, there is a need to professionalize it so that no one has to give up making a living in order to do that work.

The real question for this General Assembly is whether we are going to be a player in the political arena, or will we just play at it.


Alex Walker said...

Another thoughtful commentary. There are so many issues that California Greens can use to challenge the duopoly in the Golden State. I pray that this state assembly will no be wasted on internal intrigues and empty postering on symbolic issues.

As I have said many times, Green cannot just be "liberals in a hurry" but voices for a brand new paradigm for the 21st Century. As one who lived through those years, I am sick and tired of old clich├ęs and slogans from The Sixties.

Ross Levin said...

I wrote a really long comment and it got deleted! Basically what I said is that there is one overarching answer: work really, really, really hard and devote yourself to the cause.

Lisa in LA said...

I'll share this quote:

"Upon his sizeable loss to Elizabeth May (almost 11% in the final tally), veteran Saanich-Gulf Islands Conservative MP and former cabinet minister Gary Lunn lamented that he only lost because May had 2,000 volunteers working for her. How unfair of her! Clearly, she didn't get the memo that she was supposed to wage her electoral battle with money alone and thereby lose to her well-funded Conservative opponent.

Next thing you know, right after killing per-vote party subsidies, Stephen Harper will pass legislation declaring volunteerism illegal."



Lisa Taylor
Canada elects first Green Member of Parliament- Elizabeth May!

valleycollegegreens said...

I wonder what the talk were for reaching out to Latino Voters in the state...maybe there wasn't any talks about it? There are 14 million Latinos in the state...

Anonymous said...


ask Nativo Lopez and Mike Feinsteinn about organizing the Latino population.