Early Debates About Green Issues

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Like Green Parties in other countries, the early years in the evolution of the U.S. Green Politics movement involved many discussions and debates about policy positions, strategies, types of activism, and the broad meaning of nonviolence in the practice of politics. Because people came into the Green Politics movement from a wide variety of single-issue movements and political orientations, there was an initial assumption by some that their own preference, or favorite issue, should be at the center of the new politics. The challenge was to meld all those preferences into an American version of the already existing international Green vision of an eco-social politics, which included well-thought-out Green models for the economy, governance, education, healthcare, and more. The debates over various options took place not only in Green meetings and conferences but also in numerous grassroots publications that sprang up.
Among the questions considered were these: How can ecological/relational wisdom (originally the first of the Ten Key Values) inform not only environmental issues but also economics and all issue areas – that is, to reject the old compartmentalization of issues and bring to light the interconnections? What kind of activism can best be accomplished by electing Greens to political office and what kinds by working with grassroots movements? How might each type be supportive of and accountable to the other? Would it be possible for Greens to enter the electoral arena and various governing bodies without being distorted politically by the dominance of the two-party duopoly with its unGreen values? How can we avoid the corruption of money in politics (besides refusing any corporate donations for Green candidates’ electoral campaigns) – and how might we participate in the system while seeking to transform it? What would it mean to bring Green values to bear on a rethinking of leadership, authority, and community in our movement and beyond?


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