1995 – A Watershed Year for Green Party Development: The Third Parties ’96 Conference, and the Nader Factor

1995 – A Watershed Year for Green Party Development: The Third Parties ’96 Conference, and the Nader Factor

Can also be read here:

Why a watershed year? Two streams of Green organizing joined together to form a new, powerful organizing tide, which was quickly joined by many state Green parties. The Maine Greens and New Mexico Greens were prime movers, as were California Greens, joined by Greens in Rhode Island, Connecticut, DC, and many other states who envisioned a different type of national Green organization and a new direction for the formation of a national Green Party.
The Green Politics Network team of Tony Affigne, Hank Chapot, Linda Martin, John Rensenbrink, and Sam Smith began organizing national third-party get-togethers in Washington, DC (June 1995) and Boulder (November 1995).
The Green Politics Network (GPN) convened a Third Parties ’96 conference in June 1995 at George Washington University, Washington, DC. It was carried by CNN. For a four-day weekend, they brought together 27 parties and kindred organizations. Participants included representatives of the Libertarian Party, Reform Party, New Party, Natural Law Party, Labor Party, Socialist Party, and Green Party. The 100-plus participants were tasked with looking for things they had in common rather than dwelling on things that would keep them apart.
The conference produced a document, The Common Ground Declaration. Seventeen of the items in this declaration were agreed upon unanimously; over a dozen others that received more than 60% approval. Here are 10 of the 17 unanimously approved statements:
We support proportional representation.
We support campaign finance reform to provide a level playing field in elections.
We believe that all economic activities should improve and protect the health of the earth, while promoting the happiness and prosperity of it inhabitants.
We must end corporate welfare.
We would encourage, through economic measures and education, the practices of source reduction, reuse, and recycling, and we advocate the elimination of toxic, nuclear, and other environmentally harmful substances.
We oppose race and class distinctions in exposure to environmental hazards in communities and workplaces, including opposition to the siting of toxic waste facilities, employment in hazardous industries, and in the location of energy and mining facilities.
We support people’s right to control their own sexual and reproductive lives.
We would cut military expenditures dramatically AND provide for displaced workers.
We believe that economic decisions should be made democratically, with participation by all affected workers, communities, and consumers.
We support the maximum empowerment of people in their communities, consistent with fairness, social responsibility and human rights, to meet local needs, and to defend those communities
The success at finding this level and range of agreement among a broad range of alternative parties intensified the search for a third party presidential candidate for 1996. Ralph Nader was being looked to more and more as a likely choice as the summer and fall of 1995 came on apace.