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The Nader ’96 campaign clearly accelerated the development of Green state parties, with many new ballot lines as a result. A record 24 Greens won elections in 1996, out of Green 82 candidates nationwide, and the world’s first Green City Council majority was elected in Arcata, CA.
During the Nader campaign, Linda Martin had developed nationwide contacts in the many state Green parties. In collaboration with leading members of the Green Politics Network, Martin invited her Green Party contacts to come to Middleburg, VA, ten days after the 2000 presidential election. The invitation stated that the explicit purpose of the meeting was not to discuss whether or not to form a national Green party by unifying the state Green Parties but to actually do it (See Driving Mr. Nader by Linda Martin, Leopold Press, 1999). Bert Garskoff (CT), John Rensenbrink (ME), Steven Schmidt (NM), Tony Affigne (RI), and Greg Gerritt (RI) each affirmed that their respective state Green Parties were supporting this call. They were acting as leaders in their respective state parties and as colleagues of Linda Martin in the Green Politics Network.
The turn-out was impressive. Sixty-two Greens from 30 states gathered in Middleburg, VA, over the weekend of November 16–17, 1996, to found the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP). The meeting was held at the historic Glen-Ora Farm where John Kennedy had had his weekend retreats during the early days of his administration (rented to the president by the mother of the host of the Green Party meeting and Nader ’96 supporter, Elaine Broadhead). Green Party representatives from 13 states were the ASGP founding members. They approved an initial set of bylaws that set out the organization’s purpose: to assist in the development of State Green Parties and create a legally structured national Green Party. Indeed, the Association of State Green Parties subsequently (in 2001) became the Green Party of the United States. At the founding meeting of ASGP, Mike Feinstein proposed establishing a national newsletter, Green Pages. It was approved and remains to this day the newspaper of the Green Party of the United States.
Subsequent ASGP meetings took place in Portland, OR (April 5–6, 1997); Topsham, ME (October 3– 5, 1997); Santa Fe, NM (April 24–26, 1998); Moodus, CT (June 5–6, 1999); and Hiawassee, GA (December 8–10, 2000). Ralph Nader appeared at the Moodus meeting in 1999 to talk about running for president in 2000.
From 1997 to 1999, as new state Green Parties continued to form, a highly competitive environment developed between the newly created but much larger ASGP and the Greens/GPUSA. However, it quickly became apparent that most state parties were opting to affiliate with the ASGP, as the number of “pro-party” Greens across the country was growing in voice and influence. By summer 1999 ASGP membership had grown to 32 states. At the same time multiple efforts within the Greens/GPUSA to reform its structure to be more “state-party-friendly” failed. Heading into the 2000 presidential election, the situation was far from resolved. Not only were their divisions into two camps between states but also within them.
Mike Feinstein felt that the competition between the two national Green Party organizations was holding back energy and focus, so he traveled east to meet with Howie Hawkins during a meeting of the Green Party of New York State in New Paltz, NY, in December 1999. There they crafted a Plan for a Single National Green Party, which became more generally known as the Feinstein/Hawkins Proposal. The plan sought to take advantage of the timing of the 2000 presidential campaign to create a single national Green Party from among the ASGP and G/GPUSA by Earth Day in April 2000. This plan was supported by most Greens in the ASGP, although many Greens opposed bringing in the G/GPUSA group because their antagonistic anti-party efforts had seriously hindered Green Party growth for years. Within the Greens/GPUSA, the proposal received little support.
For a large portion of Greens, any attempt to work in cooperation with G/GPUSA came to an end when G/GPUSA “secretly” filed an application with the Federal Election Commission in 1996 claiming to be the “official” national Green Party and falsely listing many Green candidacies across the country that were actually the electoral work of ASGP state parties. Hank Chapot, of the California Green Party and a member of the Green Politics Network, alerted people in both camps to this action. G/GPUSA’s application was rejected by the FEC. The small number of G/GPUSA members who continue on today have an organization and program that is separate from the Green Party of the United States, and they have no legal status as a party or as a committee within GPUS.
Table of Contents
- First Stirrings of a Green Political Party in the United States
- Green Politics: The Global Promise
- Early Outreach to the Bioregional Movement
- The Founding of U.S. Greens – St. Paul, MN, August 1984
- Creation of the Ten Key Values
- National Clearinghouse
- Early Debates About Green Issues
- First National Green Gathering – Amherst, MA, 1987
- Strategy & Policy Approaches in Key Areas (SPAKA)
- Greening the West Gathering – near San Francisco, 1988
- Second National Green Gathering – Eugene, OR, 1989
- Early State Party Ballot Qualification Efforts and Candidacies
- Third National Green Gathering – Estes Park, CO, 1990
- Green Party Organizing Committee – Boston, 1991
- Fourth National Green Gathering – Elkins, WV, 1991
- Green Politics Network – 1992
- Fifth National Green Gathering – Minneapolis, 1992
- Electoral Success in 1992 and Post-Election Conferences in Santa Monica and at Bowdoin College, February 1993
- 1995 – A Watershed Year for Green Party Development: The Third Parties ’96 Conference, and the Nader Factor
- National Green Gathering ’95 – Albuquerque, NM 36
- First Green Presidential Nominating Convention – UCLA, 1996; Nader’s 1996 Campaign for President as the Green Party Candidate
- Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) – 1996
- 2000 Presidential Candidate Outreach
- Green Party Presidential Nominating Convention 2000 and Nader 2000
- The Boston Proposal – October 2000
- Founding of the Green Party of the United States – July 2001
- National Committee Status Granted to the Green Party of the United States by the Federal Election Commission, 2001