I have not fulfilled my responsibilities the past few months as Green Party of Michigan
Chairperson or on the two National Committees I have been on. I am truly sorry for that but my
time has been crowded with making a living. Some of you know I have run my own business
since 1995. I recent purchased another 26 year old business in another city and commuting and
running both companies has been a grind. I offer this simply as an explanation, not an excuse. I
believe I have been of use in the Green Party for the years that I have been active and hope to
continue in what small ways I can with my local, The Capitol Area Greens. I believe in the values
of the Green Party and hope that in a year or so I will be able to become more active again at all
Our state meeting is days away; were elections take place and I want to be clear that I will neither
seek or accept any position of officer or appointment to any committee at this time. I am happy to
see that we have several good candidates for Chair and I personally support Jim Becklund for
that position. Jim is smart, patient, and committed to helping the party become effective
politically. I believe he is an excellent choice for this position.
I must also resign from the Green Pages Editorial Board and the PCSC. I feel I have contributed
in both these committees in the past but not to the level I should in recent months.
I am going to take a moment to note that while my decision is based completely on my own time
constraints I have recognized some similar problem issues at both the National and State levels
and wish to take this opportunity to highlight a few. At all levels we have too many folks that are
caught up in process over substantive, active, political influence. To my eyes these seem to most
often be long time Greens who seem set in their ways and discourage change. Whatever the
motivation, discouraging change is antithetical to any organization that seeks to be inclusive,
much less active at a Grassroots level.
Fanatics of any kind should be scary and as Green’s we seem to have more than our share of
fanatics who insist that things are only black and white and that their way is the only way. Again,
if you seek large Grassroots involvement, this attitude actively excludes that from happening.
One possible tool to help mitigate this attitude and its bullying tactics is to allow no member to
serve on more than two or perhaps three committees. No one, no matter how much time they may
have available, can be effective on more than that number. We have a small number of people
serving on many, many different committees and this leads to iconoclasm and myopia. It
sometimes leads to a false sense of “ownership” which often leads to bullying and exclusion.
If we are truly striving to be a political party of the People, we must accept that there will be
countless different views with which we may disagree. Rather than working to silence those
views or push them into exclusion we must work to highlight the views that we have in common
and take action through those shared values.
We need to quit dividing our own members with a misunderstanding of what a caucus truly is.
Saying that you must be female to be part of the women’s caucus, or of African descent to be part
of the Black caucus show a real ignorance of what a caucus is. The proper definition: Noun: a
group of people united to promote an agreed-upon cause. If it helps, think in terms of a Women’s
Issues caucus or a Minority Issues Caucus.
Mission statements that are multiple paragraphs are not Mission Statements, they are rule books
limiting thought and input based on the view of one or a few people. All of which is to say, we
need to put far less focus on process and more on taking action that is meaningful and effective.
Among the Greens, I have met many wonderfully bright and committed people that want the
Party to become politically relevant, I have also met far too many people in the party that at best
want to be a social club for activist and at worst want to be tyrants in their own little world view.
I believe we can and must succeed in becoming a political force. It only requires that, when
challenged, we speak up and say, “No, I disagree with that and here is why!” instead of simply
choosing to go silent.
I look forward to the time when I can jump back in with the time and energy to contribute more
actively to the building of the Green Party in Michigan and America.
About to be former Chair
The Green Party of Michigan