At the Green Party of the United States (GP-US) website, a document is posted that is a draft proposal to the GP-US National Committee. The proposal is in a discussion phase, and may be refined by the consensus process before being voted on. The proposal was submitted by the state of California, where Mike Feinstein, a character in the background story of the proposal, is a delegate.
Some of the concerns raised in the document are: The International Committee of the GP-US has not had formal approval of Policies and Procedures, as committees are required to do. Julia Willebrand, currently considered an IC Co-Chair, has let her term expire without facing election. Tony Affigne and other GP-US IC leaders ignored the desire of IC members to address the issue that the Green Party in Mexico is supporting the death penalty. That, as then Co-Chairs, Justine McCabe and Julia Willebrand wrongfully approved and released a statement by the GP-US International Committee about the situation in Gaza. That when faced with questions from the election committee, the IC leadership and/or informal leadership threatened and then removed from the Election Committee, EC member Mike Feinstein, and stood by as another Elections Committee member resigned in sympathy. And, then the past term officers ran the election themselves.
The proposal seeks to create fair Rules and Policies for the committee and have them officially approved. And, to force the Co-Chairs of the GP-US International Committee to hold fair elections within their committee.
[Draft] Proposal 386
Declare International Committee Inactive Until Committee RPPs Are Approved, more
Presenter Green Party of California
Discussion 03/30/2009 – 04/12/2009
Voting 04/13/2009 – 04/19/2009
1) GPUS Bylaws state that
“The National Committee of the Green Party of the United States shall establish standing committees and may create other committees according to need. The NC shall cause to be produced, and then approve a document for each committee including the purpose, duties and general charge of the committee…
Despite this, the National Committee (NC) has never voted to establish the International Committee (IC), nor has their been a document approved as described in this bylaw, to establish the purpose, duties and general charge of the IC…
4) The IC’s unapproved RPP’s state that there shall two-year terms lengths for committee members, IC Co-Chairs and FPVA Reps. (FPVA is the Federacion de Partidos Verdes de las Americas, or in English, the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas). This has not been followed.
5) Despite the IC’s unapproved RPP’s providing for two-year term lengths for IC Co-Chair, the following has most recently occurred:
Justine McCabe was elected by the IC in June of 2006 to finish the second year of a two-year term that ended in the summer of 2007 that was previously held by Alan Kaufman, who chose to step down early. Despite that term ending in August 2007, McCabe continued to represent herself as IC co-chair for another 18 months, until the present March 2009.
Julia Willebrand was elected IC Co-Chair in June of 2006 to a 2006-2008 term. When that term ended as of the GPUS Annual General Meeting in Chicago in July 2008, Willebrand advised the IC meeting that was held in Chicago that the IC’s allowed her to stay in place, which they do not. Willebrand then continued to represent herself as IC Co-chair for another seven months, until the present March 2009…
The terms of the two individuals who have been representing the GPUS to the FPVA (i.e. to all Green Parties all across the Americas) – Tony Affigne and Julia Willebrand – have also run out, in fact so far back that there are no records of their appointment on the IC email list. When asked by email to verify the date of their appointment, neither Affigne nor Willebrand agreed to provide it.
7) A particular problem with Affigne and Willebrand representing the GPUS is that they have made international policy for the GPUS, not only without checking in with the NC, but without even checking in with the IC.
Most prominently at the last FPVA meeting, held in November 2008 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, was the absence of any open dialogue on the Mexican Greens support of the death penalty and the roles of Affigne and Willebrand in it not appearing on the agenda, or at least accounting to the FPVA delegates and to the IC on why it was not on the agenda…
8. When challenged about this behavior on the IC email list, Affigne invoked the unapproved IC RPP’s to effectively censure such openness. During the FPVA meeting California Green Mike Feinstein, who was in attendance in Quebec City as an observer, blogged back to the IC email list about the lack of inclusion of this agenda item.
Affigne followed this up with an email threatening to remove Feinstein from the IC email list, in violation the unapproved IC RPP’s, which require one private warning and two public warnings before such a removal could occur…
9) After many post-Quebec City requests to hold the past-due IC Co-Chair elections, an IC Elections Committee was established to conduct the Co-Chair elections according to the unapproved IC RPP’s…
The Election Committee was to consist of three individuals – Jay Parks (Lavender Caucus), Aimee Smith (GPMI) and Feinstein. Feinstein was ‘removed’ by the co-chairs and Parks resigned afterwards in protest (see attached letter), stating that believe “the total weight of the situation means that this election would not stand up to the standards Green require of elections.”…
11) Not only has the IC election process been dysfunctional, but also so has IC decision-making in general.
For example, in late December, a draft IC statement on Gaza was circulated, but with no clarity about the length of a discussion or voting period. After more than a month, the McCabe and Willebrand called for a straw poll, to see if the statement was going in the right direction. With the understanding that this was a straw poll, several IC members gave the statement a qualified approval, stating that they hoped to see small parts amended, but were OK with the general direction.
At the end of the straw poll period, the IC Co-chairs then declared that a decision had been made, even though no formal vote had been taken, and that the IC could go ahead and conduct an international campaign based upon the statement. What followed as a chaotic discussion that straw polls don’t indicate formal decisions, after which another confused ‘decision-making’ process was conducted, again without a defined decision-making period, approval threshold or quorum.
This not only demonstrated that the McCabe and Willebrand were attempted to serve well beyond their terms expired as IC Co-Chairs, but were [not] administratively capable of conducting the IC’s basic decision-making.
Hence, not only does the process for electing IC Co-Chairs and FPVA delegates have to be addressed, but so also does the IC process for decision-making.
12) In order to address the lack of legitimacy of the IC and the dysfunctionality of its process, two BRPP members introduced a draft set of IC RPP’s for consideration by the BRPP. As of March 7th, that proposal began the formal discussion stage within the BRPP’s internal decision-making process and on March 20th the BRPP conducted a 90 minute conference call to which it invited all IC and NC members to participate and afterwards posted minutes and an audio link to a recording of that call to the NC discussion list.
The BRPP’s draft revision of the of IC RPP’s begins with the existing non-approved IC RPP’s and then is amended from there…
13) Therefore based upon the above, given that the IC is operating without approved rules, that it is not following its own unapproved rules, its elections and decision-making behavior is dysfunctional and lacks credibility, and that there is no accountability nor transparency to the NC about the IC’s international representation on behalf of the GPUS, the following is recommended:
Declare International Committee Inactive Until Committee Rules, Policies and Procedures (RPP’s) Are Approved and IC Committee Co-Chair Elections Based Upon Those Rules Are Held
1) That the National Committee (NC) recognizes and declares that the International Committee (IC) is not an active committee under GPUS bylaws.
2) Require that draft IC Rules presently under consideration by the BRPP be posted to the IC email list for comment before the BRPP makes an internal committee decision to forward its draft to the NC
3) That the BRPP bring a proposal for IC rules to the SC for placement before the NC no later than the end of April, and that these rules include procedures for some form of accountability to the NC of GPUS international delegates and policy.
4) That the SC writes to the two co-presidents of the FPVA (Marco Antonio Mroz in Brazil and Jorge Gonzalez Torres in Mexico) to notify them that the terms of the existing GPUS delegates to the FPVA have concluded, that the GPUS is in the process of choosing new FPVA reps, but that all present and past GPUS members on the FPVA email list will remain on that list so that the FPVA email list can continue to be a place for communication between the GPUS and other FPVA member parties
5) Once the NC approves new IC RPP’s, that new elections are conducted under those rules for IC Co-Chairs and FPVA representatives and that the IC not be considered formally active under GPUS rules until those elections are concluded.