Strategy & Policy Approaches in Key Areas (SPAKA)

Also can be read here:

After the Amherst gathering, focus shifted to developing a set of policy approaches based upon the Ten Key Values, which might further define and unite U.S. Greens. At the Inter-Regional Committee (IC) meeting held in Kansas City in August 1987, John Rensenbrink (ME) and Green Letter newsletter editor Margo Adair (CA) were selected to be principal coordinators of what would come to be called the SPAKA process: Strategy and Policy Approaches in Key Areas. According to Adair and Rensenbrink, “SPAKA was to create a participatory process to formulate a Green Program for the U.S. — to create an identity.” Why a participatory process? “Democracy is not about deciding if you support this or that person to do politics for you. True democracy is creating policy collectively.” The first step was a call for topics, which went out to all the Green locals, as well as to many kindred organizations and individuals. Over the next two years, Green locals and others submitted 190 position papers — or SPAKAS — from the grassroots. The Merrymeeting Greens of Maine, a Green local acting on behalf of the working group, classified the submissions into 19 key issue areas: Energy, Forest and Forestry, Life Forms, Materials Use and Waste Management, Water, Air Quality, General Economic Analysis, Finance, Land Use, Politics, Social Justice, Eco-Philosophy, Spirituality, Education, Food and Agriculture, Health, Peace and Non-violence, Community Organizing, and Strategy. The category Strategy was deliberately added to pose the prospect that the desired aim of the project was an actual Platform for a political party — beyond a mere Program.

These issue discussions helped Greens think in terms of an electorally active Green political party. Although the Greens would have to struggle for many years of against efforts by some members who opposed any Green electoral political party, with each step of the way toward the goal of “becoming and being” a political party the process became clearer. The 1980s Green Politics activism continued to push forward toward what would become, in the mid- to late 1990s, a robust political party. Obstacles were overcome, and this progress was assisted by the SPAKA envisioning of what could be and should be. The SPAKA process and organizing work gave impetus to local Green groups throughout the country and, although it did not ultimately arrive at a national platform – which occurred in a separate process from 1995 through 2000 – it illuminated future possibilities that a national party could compete with the two-party duopoly in the United States.