‘Open Letter to a Broken Green Party’ by Joe Giambrone

The full thing is posted at OpEdNews.com:

These are the issues I wish to address first.  Fix the intake processes.  Fix the system so that valuable new members are treated with the respect and care they deserve.  This is job one (a decade late, but hey, I have no standing to start tinkering with someone else’s web and organizational structure).

There are a world of artists, creatives, writers, filmmakers, social justice activists, interested people, and they seem to get nothing from the Green Party as it exists today.  It is completely irrelevant to their lives in any meaningful way.  There’s zero interaction.  They are not brought in.  They are not invited to participate.  They are given nothing to share.  They are not treated like VIPs.  One might question whether the party actually wants to continue at all?

I write from a place of some frustration, and out of a sense of guilt at having not done more before.  But, of course, I was not technically permitted to do more as part of the party.  I checked a box upon registering to vote.  Then I never heard a peep from the party.  Absolute zero.  They don’t actually acknowledge the existence of the little people like myself.

I could be crafting popular viral videos to promote the laudable Green principles and platform, but there’s no direct connection to or involvement with this monolith of an organization, which exists quite apart from average shmucks like me.  So where’s the incentive?

35 thoughts on “‘Open Letter to a Broken Green Party’ by Joe Giambrone

  1. Kimberly Wilder

    I think there are some important points in this article.

    But, to play devil’s advocate and/or consider the whole puzzle…

    Sometimes, the problems with new people trying to come into a small, progressive party include:

    -The new person has a “consumer” attitude, based on other, corporations, corporate parties, and huge nonprofits they do business with. So, the person expects “customer service” from other people who are simply volunteer, activists, in the same struggle as themselves.

    -Sometimes, what sounds like a nice, new person sincerely complaining, is someone who wants to come in and take a lot of power (which they don’t always understand as power) to be in charge of a message or platform.

    For instance someone might say, “Why can’t we have a FaceBook?” And, expects that they can set one up and link to the main party. When in reality they must either: 1. Create an informal project on their own authority, and hope that eventually people will approve and/or just follow them or 2. Wait around to learn the ropes and climb the ladder so they can be given the authority to lead an official project or committee.

    Oh, well. I got so burnt from small party, internal, bureaucracy, that somehow, I think I learned something in the process.


  2. Ross

    My reply on the original article:

    If you build it they will come
    You’ve got to take charge, Joe. You’re lucky, in that Northern California has a decent amount of elected Greens, so you’re not far from some people who know what they’re doing. But you’ve got ideas for how to make the party work, so you’ve got to start doing them yourself and recruit people to help you. No one will do it for you.

    I’ve seen that with the Philly Greens. One man, our candidate for state rep last year who got 23% of the vote in a three way race in Philly, has restarted the party with his energy and leadership – but it’s not just him. He brought people in and energized people who are capable and talented and work well together. There’s no big secret about how to do this. It’s just lots of hard work, which does turn people off, but it’s the only way to do it.

  3. paulie

    “this monolith of an organization,”

    A lot of people have this image of alt parties as large organizations. They are not.

    Almost all local affiliates consist of a very small handful of people who put in what free time they can outside of work, family, and other hobbies, in between periods of being burned out and dejected from what often feels like a futile and endless struggle. That is, where they exist at all. In many places they simply don’t exist or exist in name only.

    A very tiny handful of people around the country do this on anything like a full time basis, and they are not necessarily very good at what they do – they just happen to be the very few that are both willing and able. They make do with very little in the way of resources, materials or help.

    And yes, lots of old websites are all over the web. Filling out a form and not having anyone respond? Website looks out of date? There’s a good chance it is. Chances are better than even that the person or small group that created the site moved on a long time ago. Or, maybe they paid someone to make a site that had features which they don’t know how to use.

    Mr. Giambrone should stop waiting for someone else to give him marching orders and assume he is the tactical leader in his area until he finds like minded people through networking – they always pop up – and then they can begin to divide tasks.

    He says he lives in California, and expects someone to contact him because he registered to vote with their party. Over 100,000 people have done that, and many of them are also just waiting to be contacted as well. Who does he think has the time to make all those contacts? If he can get a list of registered voters in his county (or smaller area if it’s a large county) he can start contacting them.

    If not, maybe he can canvass his neighborhood, or find like minded people through local meetings on issue coalitions or through the web or by running for office.

    The sad truth is that the big monolith of an organization that many people expect just does not exist. It has to be built from the ground up, tended, and often times rebuilt by the very few people who are willing to do it against overwhelming odds.

  4. Ross

    Exactly, paulie. btw, I’m sending you an email about something else soon, so just keep an eye out for it.

  5. George Phillies

    “I checked a box on registering to vote”

    Depending on your state, the local party may not have easy legal access to this fact. They almost certainly are not told about it by the person taking the papers.

  6. Carey Campbell

    Dear Joe Giambrone,

    Thanks for speaking up. Thanks to IPR for calling attention to you.

    Best advice I can give you is this. Go be a Green Party candidate on the ballot in 2011. Whatever office is up for election. You will learn the most valuable lessons as a Green Party candidate on the ballot.

    Recruit friends, family, neighbors to be Green Party candidates also.

    Ross is right. Go be the candidate that puts the Green Party on the ballot in your area. The Green Party always needs candidates. Your local board of elections can tell you how.

    You are welcome to give me a call. Happy to help you in any way possible.

    Paulie is well experienced, and telling you the truth.

    There is no big organization out there. It’s just us.

    Go get on the ballot.

  7. FYI, not neccessarily an unbridled endorsement! [Lake]

    [a] ditto, Joe, for the last quarter of a century, especially on the west coast. Party in name only [Pine No?] ……

    [b] In Sandy Ego County the local greens have a mid town office. Nothing fancy, but lights and tele phones. Zero people. I have visited upon occasion, and never ever seen a human being, even in campaign season!

    [c] I do not believe that Kim Wilder is a member of the Green Party of New York

    [d] ditto, her husband Ian

    [e] I do not believe that Tom Campbell is a member of the Green Party of Virginia

    [f] ………… I’m ust sayin’ …………

    [g] why is a word from ‘p’ an untarnished gospel from the mountain top? Yes, he is no Thomas Knapp or Doctor George Phillies, but

  8. paulie

    ditto, her husband Ian

    Last I heard Ian is still active in the party. I was not online much while I was up in Maryland, so maybe I missed an announcement. Or maybe Lake is talking out of his…lake…again.

    I do not believe that Tom Campbell is a member of the Green Party of Virginia

    Dunno if you mean Carey Campbell? If so, he’s in the Independent Green Party of Virginia, which is associated with the Independence Party, not the Green Party US.

    why is a word from ‘p’ an untarnished gospel from the mountain top?

    It’s not. What part of what I said do you disagree with, if any?

    Yes, he is no Thomas Knapp or Doctor George Phillies, but

    But what?

  9. paulie

    BTW Lake, why assume people know who you are talking about? Let’s just say Joe Giambrone stumbles on this article. Does he know who Knapp and Phillies are? Your comments seem to assume that everyone reading is a regular, but in fact most of our readers are not.

  10. FYI, not neccessarily an unbridled endorsement! [Lake]

    Ross // Jan 15, 2011:

    “…………. But you’ve got ideas for how to make the party work, so you’ve got to start doing them yourself and recruit people to help you. No one will do it for you.”

    *personal experience* [Lake, 2005: was informed that the spring plenary in Southern California was interested in working on a ‘Veterans Working Group’ (or words to that effect).

    Citizens For A Better Veterans Home did the gut work. We constructed a state and a national (Tucson) proposal. We could not have presented it as non of the interested parties were CURRENT greens. We mailed appropriate copies to appropriate delegates.

    *fade to black*

    A year prior we did over 300 [three hundred] phone calls, emails, and snail mails to california greens. Maybe a dozen replies. Mostly from folks whom happened to answer the phone and then referred us to some one whom would ignore us.

    *fade to black*

  11. FYI, not neccessarily an unbridled endorsement! [Lake]

    Oh, the rude, sand paper skinned, Richard Rider devotees, Knappster and Phillies whom lie and refuse to apologize? Whom contend, FALSELY, that the LP is the one and only North American peace party? Whom twist and turn worst than most Ds and Rs? Whom are grossly dishonest in the long run?

    Yes, CAREY Campbell, whom says you are / were honest.

  12. paulie

    I have heard from more
    than one person that Ian is
    former Green Party

    Maybe they meant Kimberly. People get confused.

    is Maryland important

    That’s where I was the last couple of months, and I did not have much internet access, therefore I said I could have missed it if Ian quit the Green Party, but to my knowledge he is still an active member.

  13. FYI, not neccessarily an unbridled endorsement! [Lake]


    your back up, twisty, tortuous FALSE contention that the LP is the only Peace Party, all the while the major play ur is a dude moniker ‘W. A. R.’

    Like Edward Tesslier and Bruce Cohen and Richard Rider, you’re constantly qualifying previously erroneous state ments to the point where black is white, peace is war, and Eurasia has always been an enemy of Oceanian …..

    ‘See it my way, well you are for getting, well on the other hand *made up, additionally erronreous information* ………..

    Bruce does not think that the Israeli murders, in a undeclared conflict, of non combatants, in Internation waters, aboard the USS Liberty is not unjustified.

    You consider Harry Truman a nuclear murder, against a nation which had threatened to fight to the last woman and child, killed MILLIONS of civilians, brutalized THOUSANDS of POWs, and sucker punched the USA at Pearl Harbor.

    But that is AOK. Lake is always wrong. ——- Except when I am not!

  14. paulie

    You’ll have to show me where I made any of those statements other than the last one.

    The last one is not a lie. The Japanese were ready to surrender as long as their emperor was kept on the throne. The bombs were dropped, then the emperor was kept on anyway. Yes, Truman was a mass murderer. And Pearl Harbor was not a sucker punch; read Day of Deceit yet?

    Now, as to your sources that I made the other statements you allege, so I can see what the hell you are talking about and the missing context?

  15. paulie

    oh, I thot you were inferring that Ian was GP of Maryland …………

    Chalk that up to your extraordinarily poor reading comprehension.

  16. FYI, not neccessarily an unbridled endorsement! [Lake]

    stumbles? I personally know, eye witness and or ear witness, of a dozen folks, mostly west coast, whom would contend that Joe was *spot on*

    Let’s NOT agree that he stumbles, as I would consider *personal experience* that that would be a lie *multiple references*

    not trying to be rude [I come by it naturally] but I gotta go get my meds re-pumped [god bless P. I. C. C.]

  17. paulie

    I’m sorry, what do his initials prove in your mind?

    My initials are PF. Does that mean I’m with the Peace and Freedom Party, or from French Polynesia, or a member of the Brazilian Federal Police, or what?

  18. paulie

    Wayne has a mixed record on foreign policy, and has been evolving in a more non-interventionist direction with some apparent backsliding from time to time. The latest I have seen from him is that he wants to bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, so no, he’s not a “mega neoconservative imperialist.”

    What that has to do with anything, I have no idea.

    Lots of people besides Wayne are involved with the LP, and the vast majority are by and large anti-interventionist, far more so than most Democrats and Republicans.

    What that has to do with this thread or my credibility, I still don’t know.

    Is there any part of my original comment in this thread that you contend is inaccurate or not?

    Please get to the point, if you have one.

  19. paulie

    Oh well, that was almost entertaining for a minute.

    But seriously, I stand by comment #3.

    Anyone have a substantive disagreement?

  20. Michael Cavlan RN


    I agree 100% with your comments @#3

    Sooooo when I talked about a certain group of Greens (former greens now) who were deliberately disenfranchised by the Green Party, as documented by the original article, guess who they were?

    The Nader supporters and the people who were their supporters and allies. people like myself.

    the very people who had done the WORK, the needed work of organizing and fundraising. the kinds of people who were attracted to the Greens
    after the Nader campaign 2000. The ones who NEVER fell for the spoiler arguement.

    THOSe are the kinds of people who were driven out of the Greens.

    It was mentioned about running as a Green.

    I did. TWICE.

    It was also mentioned about those places where the Greens had made a difference. getting people elected. Minneapolis.

    That is where I live. Here in Minnesota, which was recognized as one of the most organized Green districts. Which is now virtually dead.

    The GP is almost kaput. Mind you the Minnesota Greens had agreed to run a campaign against PAUL WELLSTONE. Proving that folks here have never fallen for the whole lesser evil, only run safe states, only run small local races nonsense.

    however, the Greens were IMHO sabotogued. That it was made undemocratic, in a very similar manner to how the Republicans shut down discussion in the US Senate. The tyranny of the minority who had an agenda to shut things down. We called the Demo greens.

    The above article makes that case as well.

    This is one of the few places where this discussion can be made.

    As the article also states. people can vote. With their feet and head towards organizations that will stand up to the duopoly.

    Or build one as we are doing in Minnesota.

    taking the lessons of the past 10 years to heart.

  21. Joe Giambrone

    I was searching around the net, and I stumbled on this discussion (a little late).

    I think the fragmentation of the party is what I am calling attention to. The need for a central Green USA forum to serve as a meeting and communication hub has been an ongoing theme of mine.

    The problem was: nobody really gave a crap.

    I tried to motivate some insider types, computer people, media people — but it’s mostly head nodding.

    To me, the very notion that the United States Green Party has NO forum for members to meet and share info is a travesty. It should be corrected — 15 years ago. I’ve brought this up dozens of times in dozens of ways. I thought I was close to getting one set up (for five minutes).

    But nothing.

    Just back to the same old whatever it is they do.

    There’s no organized outreach program that has the clout to actually TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

    Until that issue is solved, not given lip service, solved, you guys are done.


  22. Ross Levin Post author

    Joe, I would love to work with you on this, but all I can realistically contribute (at least for the next few months) is to put you in touch with people who might be able to work with you on it in a more concrete way. Comment here and/or send me an email if you’re interested in getting this started – rossmlevin at gmail dot com

  23. Eddie

    Joe, I am a recent Green who has firsthand made a difference inside the party with all my ideas and revitalized internet work. Contact me. I live in Southern California. I will not give up. The Green Party around the world is growing, and the US will have its rightful place. valleycollegegreens@msn.com

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