Green-Democratic Collaboration

Remarks before the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee

Jesse Gordon

 

November 19, 2003

 

·                 I’m a registered Democrat, and an Associate Member of the Cambridge City Democratic Committee. I served as the Technology Director for the Robert Reich for Governor campaign and am currently volunteering for the Howard Dean for President campaign. I’m a founding member of the Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts (PDM). I’m not speaking on behalf of any of those organizations.

 

·                 Green outreach is as controversial an issue among PDM members as it is at the DSC. But I think it’s important under this scenario of how progressive politics might work in Massachusetts:
- Young people get attracted to the Green Party because of its idealism, and they become politically active.
- When they decide they’re ready to move on from ideology to accomplishing goals, they come to the Democratic Party.
- We should make young Greens aware on a regular basis that we would welcome them, and should make the transition as smooth as possible.
Greens don’t like this scenario very much at all. But it’s a valid description of the way politics works for many progressives. The missing link is that the Democratic Party doesn’t reach out to those Greens who are ready, and hence doesn’t make them feel welcome. Maybe we can consider Green outreach another form of youth recruitment.  

 

·                 I’ve passed around a document comparing the Mass Democratic Party Platform with the “Ten Key Values.” The 10KV are a document that most Greens organizations use as the basis for their platform – this version is from the Mass GRP. There’s a pretty good match between all of the Green values and our values – that’s why I don’t think outreach should be controversial. Being aware of the Ten Key Values is a good start on making Greens believe that you understand them and are sincere in reaching out and welcoming them.

 

·                 One specific issue: IRV, instant runoff voting. Simply put, you rank the candidates so that if your first choice loses, your vote goes to your second choice. As many of you know, Cambridge’s municipal elections use a form of IRV – with computers it’s a reasonably efficient system. Greens are very interested in this issue because it addresses the “spoiler” complaint – if IRV were in place in 2000, Gore would be president. Reps. Alice Wolf and Ellen Story have introduced three IRV bills in the legislature – for state rep races, for statewide races, and for US Congressional races. A resolution on IRV by the DSC, and/or a mention of IRV in the party platform, would go a long way for Green outreach.

 

 

·                 Joint Green-Dem events: We’ve held two joint events in Cambridge in the last year: a budget forum with Jill Stein and several Democrats, and a jointly-sponsored debate for City Council. The budget forum was sponsored by the CDCC, who could not agree to allow Stein to be on the panel, so she sat in the front row of the audience and was picked as the first questioner, then made her presentation. I was incorrectly cited in the newspaper report on this event as a Green, and my Ward Chair was ready to expel me from the City Committee as a result.  The City Council debate was co-sponsored by the Greens and PDC. I was not allowed to list the event on the CDCC’s website because of the Green co-sponsorship. Those sorts of contortions shouldn’t be necessary. I would like to ask for a formal policy statement from the Mass Dems and/or the DSC stating that joint projects with the Greens are encouraged and should not jeopardize one’s party status.