First Stirrings of a Green Political Party in the United States

The first stirrings of a Green Party in the United States dedicated to running candidates took place when seventeen people met in Augusta, Maine, on January 8, 1984, to form a Maine Green Party – the first Green state-level political party in the United States. The impetus for the founding meeting came from Alan Philbrook and John Rensenbrink, who had previously worked together on three campaigns to shut down Maine’s only nuclear plant — and had come close to doing so. It is important and ironic to note that this formation of a new state-level Green Party, the only one in the country, went unnoticed at the time.
Philbrook had recently attended the November 6, 1983, founding meeting of the Green Party of Canada, while in the summer of 1983 Rensenbrink had visited West Germany, where the Green Party Die Grünen had recently won 5.5% of the national vote, qualifying it for 27 seats in the Bundestag, West Germany’s parliament. They were the second European Green Party, after the Greens in Belgium, to win multiple federal parliamentary seats. In achieving such success, the West German Greens drew support from the popular domestic movement opposing the deployment of Pershing II cruise missiles on West German soil by NATO and the United States – and from various other social movements as well, including peace, environmental, feminist, civil rights, and Third World solidarity. Could those same movements unite around forming a Green Party in the United States?


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