Fifth National Green Gathering – Minneapolis, 1992

At the Greens Gathering at Augsburg College in Minneapolis in July 1992, tensions surfaced over whether the new Greens/GPUSA structure fairly represented state Green Parties in states where one registers to vote by political party. For example, someone could be a Green Party member and have representation in a state party simply by registering to vote and checking Green Party as his or her party affiliation in that state – but within the Greens/GPUSA, that same Green Party member would not have representation unless they also paid annual dues to the G/GPUSA, even if their state party was affiliated with the G/GPUSA. A clear example of this situation was the Green Party of California, which by that time had over 35,000 registered members but only a few dozen G/GPUSA dues-paying members.
This was not a new issue. The 1991 Greens Gathering in Elkins had established a Structural Working Group tasked with examining what an eventual Green Party might look like. They were to present their report to Greens Gathering ’92 in Minnesota. The Working Group Secretary was Greg Gerritt (ME), the first Green to run for a State Legislature, in 1986. Gerritt sought a foundation for the Green Party in state political parties, open to all party members under state law. The Gerritt committee’s report, with contributions from six authors, was not received favorably within the Greens/GPUSA, whose idea of a structure for the national Greens was based upon dues-paying membership in Green locals. Eventually the G/GPUSA Green Council abolished the Working Group.
The rift over this – along with the fact that more Greens were starting state parties and thus saw less value in a national organization in which they had no representation – meant that attendance at the next two G/GPUSA Green Gatherings dropped radically. Those meetings were held in Syracuse, NY (August 1993) and Boise, ID (July 1994).


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