Local party chapters have local flavors

Posted by Ronald Hardy at Green Party Watch. Reposted to IPR by Paulie. For IPR purposes, the discussion can apply to other alternative parties as well.



The Green Party at its most grassroots level is made up of local chapters around the nation. Some are small, some are large. Some are formal, some are informal. The issues that a local chapter might address vary greatly depending on what is going on in that area, local elections, and perhaps even more so by the membership itself.

Take my local, for example, the Lake Winnebago Green Party. We are in the region on the west side of Lake Winnebago from Fond du Lac in the south to Appleton in the north, and west to Ripon & Berlin (WI). However most of us are in Oshkosh, roughly in the center of that area.

Our membership just happens to consist of a lot of parents with children. In fact at many of our meetings, children out-number the adults. At our last meeting, there were only five children aged 1-8, but we have 10 children in that age range between us. This picture gives an idea of how that affects our local chapter:

LWGP

We met where the children were and the food was – in the kitchen and on the floor. That’s me against the window with one of mine on my lap. Our Secretary is against the stove on the left, he has two kids. Our Treasurer is the one with the two year old in her lap, one of their three children. The other kids were upstairs playing pirates, and there were a few other local members out of picture at the kitchen counter eating the many snacks everyone brought.

Is this the most effective way to meet? We formally endorsed Tony Palmeri and Bob Poeschl for Oshkosh Common Council, both Greens and members of our local chapter. We endorsed the Todd Price campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction. We elected new officers, went over our budget, discussed future directions for our local chapter, possible public events we could pursue. And we talked about kids, and health, and Oshkosh, which led to discussions about issues we should challenge our local government to pursue – water quality for example, the school system, parks.

I have many meetings at big tables that go on for hours, and I say meeting on a kitchen floor is just as effective and a lot more fun. Furthermore, “table” meetings in a group like this alienates those that wind up having to watch the children, which like it or not often turns out to be the women. Here everyone participates, and my seven year old even wanted to run for co-chair but she went AWOL during the meeting to go play pirates instead.

I think that there is a perception of Greens as being a bunch of socialists and pot smoking hippies. I think our local and many others would prove this to be a very false perception. Our local is very family oriented. Our active members include a nurse, a librarian, a DNR guy, two professors, a property manager for the housing authority, a waitress, an artist, a disability coordinator, a CPA, a factory worker and a few ex-students (among others).

What is your local chapter like? What’s your flavor?

One thought on “Local party chapters have local flavors

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