|GREEN PARTY HISTORY|
The Green Party has a presence in many countries around the world.
The U.S. Greens trace their roots to many places. The European Greens, who first organized as an anti-nuclear, pro-peace movement at the height of the Cold War, brought the Greens their first major visibility. Even earlier, the progressive New Values Party in the South Pacific, and the sixties/seventies student and environmental movement also contributed. The late Petra Kelly, a founder of the German Greens, attended American University in Washington, DC, and was greatly influenced by the U.S. environmental movement of the early 70's.
In l984, the first U.S. Green organizing meetings were convened. These meetings led to the formation of a national membership organization of Green locals and individuals called the Green Committees of Correspondence. At this point, Greens were mostly organizing on the local level. The first Green Party candidate appeared on the ballot back in 1986.
Alaska was the first state in which a Green Party got ballot status in 1990. California followed in l992 and many state parties started to find the individual membership-based organization, renamed the Greens/Green Party USA, less workable and continued their work independently.
In November 1995, Ralph Nader set in motion the Green Party's first presidential campaign by officially announcing he would enter the California Green primary. His decision sparked an enthusiastic reaction from Greens across the country. States that had never had an active Green Party were inspired and motivated to jump on Nader's unconventional presidential campaign. By election eve, the Greens had placed Ralph Nader on 22 ballots nationwide, with another 23 states qualifying him as a write-in candidate. In August 1996, state Green parties held their first national Nominating Convention in Los Angeles, California.
Ralph Nader was joined on the ticket by Native American Winona LaDuke. LaDuke grew up in Oregon and California and now lives on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. She is known for her work on environmental and indigenous women's issues and for her role in the struggle for return of Native American lands.
Their campaign challenged the candidates and platforms of the Democrats and Republicans. The campaign accelerated the party building of the Greens and energized efforts at the local and state level, helping to create new coalitions and awareness of the serious and credible efforts of the Green Party. Many state Green parties were either started or rejuvenated by the campaign. The '96 campaign was one of integrity and ideas, and captured a place in the history books as we stepped into the national political arena for the first time.
When the results were in, the Nader-LaDuke campaign came in fourth place after Perot, and polled over 700,000 votes, approximately l% of the vote nationwide, denying Clinton a clear majority and surpassing third party candidates who appeared on all state ballots. The Nader/LaDuke vote in Oregon was the best nationwide -- more than 4%!
Both Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke have continued their support of the Greens. Ralph Nader has endorsed other Green Party candidates and did a campaign swing through New Mexico and California during the 1998 election.
The Nader campaign happened without a well-defined process in place and its remarkable success convinced many state parties that they needed an organization that could focus on their needs. In the closing days of the campaign many state parties put out the call and the decision to form the ASGP was made by Green activists from twenty-five states who met in Virginia in November of 1996 -- just l0 days after the l996 elections.
Since then, the ASGP has met in Portland, Oregon, Topsham, Maine and Santa Fe, New Mexico, to continue its work of building the Green Party. Our next meeting is scheduled for early June, 1999, in Connecticut. While our state parties carry on the effort at home, the ASGP prepares for national politics. With a recently-formed Presidential Exploratory Committee, we are already looking forward to the 2000 elections. We continue to stand for independent politics and are ready to challenge both of the major parties in 2000.
Source: The Association of State Green Parties