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ECOLOGY • SOCIAL JUSTICE • GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY • NONVIOLENCE

SEPTEMBER 11, 2004

RISING UP GREEN E-Newsletter

Green Party USA
PO Box 3568, Eureka, California 95502
1-866-GREENS-2
info@greenparty.org

Friends,

As we sadly commemorate this Third Anniversary of the World Trade Towers killings, let us keep our own hope and optimism alive, and keep on spreading the word that we - by working together with hundreds of millions who also want a better world - CAN change the world.

We CAN create a cooperative, truly democratic, clean, safe world for all Earth's life forms. And we WILL, because we must.

- Nancy Oden, Ed.


Very highly recommended for a daily dose is http://www.commondreams.org, listing hundreds of progressive links along with new articles and commentaries every day.
In This Issue:
  1. The justly famed Annual Green PESTO FEAST in St. Louis, with important speakers.
  2. Website for excellent new information on Global Warming: "Warming Trend Will Decimate Arctic Peoples." The obvious response to Global Warming is to conserve electricity and all uses of oil while working towards public ownership of energy companies so we can put into place that which is necessary to slow down/stop the burning of fossil fuels.
  3. Further discussion from YOU on what to do about those who, in meetings, will not cease disrupting. Feedback was pretty clear that this behavior cannot be tolerated if we want to get our work done. Good reading - thanks for your responses.

Please feel free to send more feedback to editor@greenparty.org. We can't print it all, but can put some in every issue.


Keep your heart open to the goodness around us, and fight to protect all Earth's life forms.
Love and Strength to All of You,
- Nancy Oden, Ed.
Do right, and accept consequences. (Sam Houston)
1. Courtesy of the "Compost Dispatch," the Gateway Greens (Missouri) Newsletter, we have this excellent source of news headlines from around the world: http://www.abyznewslinks.com/. Also from the Compost Dispatch (get on mailing list by sending email with word "subscribe" along with your name, postal address, and phone to mogreenaction@holesinthesky.com), an important event is coming up in St. Louis:

September 18th - 5:00pm to 10:00pm

14th Annual Great Green Pesto Feast

Eden Theological Seminary - Commons Bldg Dining Hall (475 East Lockwood Ave)

Lead poisoning ravages Missouri, the state which provides over 95% of US lead. Towns such as Herculaneum face disappearing property values from its devastation. St. Louis has one of the highest rates of lead contamination in the country, with 55% of children poisoned in some African-American neighborhoods.

The 14th Annual Great Green Pesto Feast, sponsored by the Gateway Green Alliance, will be one of the rare opportunities to hear about both urban and rural issues of lead poisoning. Bob Lunsford, from Rolla, will talk about lead in rural communities and state-wide legislative efforts. Lee Blount, Jr., M.D. will address efforts to clean up lead contamination in St. Louis and health needs of poisoned children.

One of the best annual vegetarian dinners in St. Louis, the Pesto Feast is 5-10 pm, at Eden Theological Seminary - Commons Bldg Dining Hall, 475 East Lockwood Ave (across from Webster University, corner of Lockwood and Bompart; enter Eden from Bompart or Lockwood). There will be several different kinds of gourmet pesto, including vegan. Tomato sauce will abound for non-pesto eaters.

Tickets are $20 at the door or $15 advance purchase (call 314-727-8554).


2. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0910-02.htm Friday, September 10, 2004 by the Inter Press Service

Warming Trend Will Decimate Arctic Peoples, Report Warns by Stephen Leahy

BROOKLIN, Canada - Climate change will soon make the Arctic regions of the world nearly unrecognizable, dramatically disrupting traditional Inuit and other northern native peoples' way of life, according to a new report that has yet to be publicly released.

The dire predictions are just some of the findings by the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), an unprecedented four-year scientific investigation into the current and future impact of climate change in the region.

"This assessment projects the end of the Inuit as a hunting culture," said Sheila Watt-Cloutier, chairwoman of the group that represents about 155,000 Inuit in the Arctic regions of Canada, Russia, Greenland, and the United States.

The report predicts the depletion of summer sea ice, which will push marine mammals like polar bears, walrus and some seal species into extinction by the middle of this century, Watt-Cloutier told IPS."

Much more in the article (website above).


3. Excerpts from your feedback re disrupters at meetings:

"Robert's Rules of Order seem a good place to start. In this age, we tend to expect consensus to occur within the length of time it takes to produce a sound byte. In a former age, debates would routinely last for days. DAYS!! Can you imagine? Because of our own television-honed expectations of speed, dealing with a person like [named disrupter]. becomes a liability. Practice patience and deflect him. We are growing a garden and pulling weeds can take time."

- Martha B.


"I am of the opinion that it is in the best interest of the whole party to reign in internal disruptions quickly and sufficiently. Allowing the behavior to continue may be trying to be fair to Mitchel Cohen, but consider how many others were negatively affected by his behavior and were not able to achieve goals or to participate at the level they would have liked during the convention. I understand that part of the Grassroots movement is to avoid becoming that which we hate, in essence a totalitarian dictatorship. But to allow such behavior hurts more people than it benefits. It hurts not only the participants, but our image and stronghold in the community. I feel that we need to have a social conduct order in place and hold to it - regardless of the individual's stake in the party.

- Krista C.

"As I read your description of events as they transpired, I kept wondering who benefits from such chaos. Michael Moore's retelling of the discovery of a spy in a group of peace activists may provide a parallel. But again, who benefits in an election year from chaos amidst the direction setters of an activist group known for it's outspoken, environmental and social morality?"

- Mary P.
"there is no doubt that [disrupters] should be expelled from GPUSA. I feel that if this is not done the members of GPUSA will simply be holding the door open for future trouble from [disrupter] and his gang. It is quite evident to me that [disrupter] and his cohorts have no interest at all in building GPUSA, but rather acting as saboteurs to destroy, not just impede, the GPUSA.

"That agenda should not be tolerated for even one moment. That is why censure is not a strong enough action. If they are not expelled GPUSA will face the real possibility that [disrupter] and like-minded individuals will attempt, at some time in the future, to do irreparable damage to this organization. My advice; expel and walk on."

- RICHARD H.

"Part of a growing organization is working to devising methods to deal with disruptions such as that. Although being liberal, I'm not inclined to give [disrupter] the benefit of the doubt. It should have been stopped long before and although you mention good work took place, much was likely lost as a result of that.

"Although I agree with the movement, I am not willing to join until the organization [grows] past this part of its life.

"Thanks for the emails...I will continue to read them."

-Bill S.

"Reading your report on the recent conference was one of the most encouraging messages I've had about GP. I do see exactly what the dilemma is and have often dropped out of certain prog. groups because a disruptive person could not be controlled. One person can wreak havoc. I see now that [disrupter] messages colored my perception of GP for some time; I'm glad to know how others in the party see him.

"He is a destroyer. Perhaps to expel him might be best though it will give comfort to enemies and so on. He may not be of sound mind or emotions at this time. People do "go off," and sometimes take their organizations with them.

"Thanks for what I take to be an open and sensible report."

- Martha S.

"My suggestion would be to kick his ass out of the meeting. He [disrupter] obviously arrived there with an agenda and he succeeded in disrupting the process. There is nothing that is "unfair and undemocratic" about removing him if he can't behave like an adult. If the Green Party is going to continue to grow and be a real contender in upcoming elections, it shouldn't be wasting time dealing with a "self-proclaimed activist" who bullies to get his way. There are a great deal of liberals out there who blame the Greens for the outcome of the last presidential election. Focusing on getting those people, who share the same ideals, to want to work together with the party should be the primary goal. Liberals are divided in this country. It would be really disappointing for someone new to the Greens, who wants to make a difference, to witness the bickering and politics normally associated with the 'other' parties. They may decide to just suck it up and work with the larger, stronger Democratic party, that in their mind may seem a bit more organized."

- Jackson
"Thank you very much for reporting [disrupter] behavior at the Green convention. Unbelievable!, and so sad! To me if a person cannot be trusted in their interpersonal behavior, NOTHING that they do of social import is worthwhile. I remember having the same feeling of personal disrespect from one of the delegates at the convention I attended here in Maine, and just feel there is no excuse for it, and possible it is even an indicator of direr intents."

Mary

" I am so, so discouraged by all this. If only half of what's been written is truth, you should've thrown the bastard out on his ear. Are we so afraid of a return to the purges and pogroms of other eras that we haven't got the cohones to get our business done? And what's with all these committees and sub committees and delegates and challenges,and congresses? Give me a break! We're a pip squeak party. We're a wart on the electorate's ass. Stop playing like the whole world is watching, let alone giving a damn, and get a basic nonsensical, broad appealing platform written, and lets get to work organizing for a decent vote--10% at least, not some wimp 3% or 4%. Good grief.

" Here is one idea to keep order in the meetings. Don't have any. Have public rallies, but stay true to our grassroots commitments and meet online only. Global Online Democracy (G.O.D.) direct and decentralized, has proven to be our best advantage.

"I suggest a running poll. Any Green should be able to post a short, easy to understand suggestion on your website, to be voted online with a yes or no. If a suggestion gets a certain relative percentage of positive votes, it becomes a postulate. Progressively more votes will make it an axiom, theorem, and so on until it becomes a law. Such laws will have the power of our membership to influence all political decisions and ultimately to change, repeal and propose new laws of the land. It will also draw Green membership from a public hungry for participation.

"Most Greens are able to participate online.

"Would you pass this idea to our Green leadership? Thank you."

- Ren

{This writer is confusing us with GPUS, which split from GPUSA in 2001 to concentrate solely on electoral politics, while GPUSA believes we must do it all: build the movements for social change as well as participate in electoral politics. Many of us are supporting Nader, although GPUSA has not endorsed any candidate for President. Ed.}

"Although the Green Party is my favorite, it is significantly weaker without Nader. I can see why its so hard to control your delegates, the leadership is gone. Its just a bunch of rabble, just like the Communists, just like the Libretarians, just like the Democrats, just like the huge majority of United States citizens. No one would ever shout me down, I'd personally shut them up person to person.

"I can't believe that we are so divided, neither can I accept that Pat Buchanan's Reform Party endorsed Nader before the Greens. Nader is a man of true accomplishment, he knows all the stupid tricks that they use to ruin the little guys. He's been on to their game since 1959. You also know that he is on our side, you may not agree with every little detail, buts he's fighting our fight, with or without us. He will step to the plate for us till the day he dies. I resolved to step to the plate for Ralphie he can unite us."

John D. N.
P.S. I appreciate all you have accomplished, thank you.

"The purpose for a political party is to become in a position to govern. Government, then, must begin within the organization. There is nothing wrong with discipline nor the restriction of disruptive influences. That is what governments do. Disruptions such as you describe would have simply resulted in a swift visit from the Sgt. at Arms at the behest of the Rules Committee (which requires order and a cooperative spirit) and in the event that proceedural order was not regained, the disruptive party(s) are removed. It is paramount that an organization preportadly offering to govern America be able and willing to govern itself. [Disrupter] would simply be banned from the Party as a disruptive provocotuer.

There is not only no need for a Party to accept the abuse of its members and friends, it is the Party's duty to prevent it."

- Grant H.

"Having been sabotaged many times myself, I can only say that it sounds as if someone paid these people to be disruptive. Next time, I would eject the person. There are many agendas and meetings need to be conducted democratically--with majority rule."

- Dr. Carine A.

"Perhaps airing these events, and opening them to discussion, as at present is indeed one positive step. It does seem that some way could be considered to put a limit on the amount of time such disruptions take up following which a majority, of two-thirds of those present, say, with the same standing could for instance after one day of such, then vote as to whether the disruption is at all helpful and going somewhere, and if not, vote that the disruptive element be removed if proving impossible to ignore. But how to...? Anyway thank you for keeping me and everyone informed."

- Anne

"First, I must congratulate Nancy Oden on a wonderfully written report of the congress - personal anger was not evident in the tone of the letter (though it very well could have been). And her explanations regarding progressive ideals for behavior assisted me tremendously in understanding how history contributed to tolerance at this meeting.

As for the dissenters' behaviors, sanctioning was truly a kindness. As a mental health professional, it sounds to me like this person has major challenges with social skills. I too received the request for funds for a family vacation from him and was astounded, although I did not attribute it to official Green Party sanctioned activities. Someone with such nerve can be quite an asset to a grassroots movement, until the ego gets carried away with itself.

Specifically, several questions come to mind when considering an appropriate response to the behaviors exhibited. Number one must always be safety; is this man potentially violent? Has he ever been violent in the past? Has his behavior been a lifelong pattern or have the last few years seen changes in his personality?

In general, we must rely on an individual's ability to monitor his/her own behavior. When an individual refuses to cooperate or respectfully dissent, we must go with majority rule. Once the individual has been heard, she/he must agree to stand down and allow proceedings to continue. Otherwise, chaos and withdrawal of members will occur, as was noted. While I agree with progressive procedures considering the history of oppression in meeting rules, without order and respect of each other as human beings a movement is paralyzed. Therefore I think there are times that excluding individuals from a meeting may be appropriate.

Thanks for the opportunity to share my opinion."

Sincerely,
- Barbara L. M.

"Maybe Mitchel Cohen and his N.Y. friends were off their medication. If Prozac isn't working, I'd suggest Thorzen (sp?) Or maybe they joined the Democrats. The Democrats can be very abusive, even here in Bush country. I'm sure they're responsible for my smashed car window. Us South Carolinians were happy with our 9 votes. Perhaps they need to go start their own party. N.Y. has lots of third parties, it shouldn't be too hard for them. Down here, the neighbors usually call the cops during incidents of domestic dispute. But it would probably be unsavory to see the men in blue show up. My suggestion is that ya'll hire a bouncer for your next meeting. It seems to work in all the bars around here."

Leslie M., Columbia, SC

"The real problem for all of us anywhere even vaguely on the left is how to keep some vague sense of order in our proceedings so that we don't drive away people who don't have time for this kind of chaos. I went through a fair amount of this during the Vietnam War period (though I don't recall anything to quite compare to [this particular disrupter])."

- David M.
"The actions of Mitchel Cohen and his supporters should not be condoned. Maybe the group should have done something like I was in as a Peace Corps Volunteer trainee at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad when one of the students failed to wear a tie to dinner. As the meal was not to be served until all men were wearing a tie, everyone took their large dinner spoons and pounded the tables until the tie-less student finally got up and left to put on his tie.

You mention that Cohen left the GPUSA congress and went to the GPUS convention (which I attended as one of the two Alabama delegates). This suggest his mission may be destroy GPUSA leaving only one Green Party in the country."

- Gene H.
All for now..thanks for reading this e-newsletter. Stay strong.
- Nancy Oden

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