Fourth National Green Gathering – Elkins, WV, 1991

The Creation of Greens/Green Party USA (G/GPUSA)
The “Party versus Movement” debate was out in full force again at the fourth Greens national gathering, held in August 1991 in Elkins, West Virginia. Members of the Left Green Network and other Greens who were agitated about the momentum of the state party-based electoral direction of the GPOC organized and attended in large numbers. They crashed the pre-gathering meetings of the GPOC and stymied its state and local party discussions, plans, and organizing efforts.
Also heated was the session at Elkins in which many Green women charged the Left Green Network men with having harassed and driven out of the Greens a list of women leaders they named.
The four-day conference produced a restructuring of the Green Committees of Correspondence. In the restructured body the Green movement and Green Party would operate as part of a single organization. The Green Party Organizing Committee was dissolved and its tasks were transferred to a less prominent and less important “Working Group.” The Greens/Green Party of the United States (Greens/GPUSA)was chosen as the name of the new organization. A Greens press conference broadcast on C-SPAN was held soon after in Washington, DC to announce the new organization, featuring Charles Betz(Greens/GPUSA Coordinating Committee member), New York Left Green Howie Hawkins, and Joni Whitmore (Chair, Green Party of Alaska), as well as Hilda Mason of the DC Statehood Party.
In the aftermath of the Elkins gathering, the news spread among grassroots Greens that the Left Green Network faction (Hawkins, Betts, et al.) had finally gained control of the governing committee (now called the Green Council) of the national Green organization. At the same time, news traveled that there was some structural latitude for the formation of state-level Green parties to go forward, even though the major instrument for accomplishing this had been reduced to subordinate status as a working group in the new G/GPUSA structure. (A few months later even that pro-party working group would be abolished by the Green Council.) The combination of these two developments at Elkins led to a highly energized eruption of Green state party building across the country, as well as a general turning away from G/GPUSA among large numbers of Greens.


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