Elaine Browne Quits the U.S. Green Party

Editor’s note: For some time it has been an open secret in U.S. radical circles that the Green Party is dominated by a “Demogreen” current that believes the organization’s main role is to influence the Democratic Party, rather than to build an independent radical alternative. The conflict between the party’s “moderate” leadership and the its radical wing seems to be intensifying, as this statement by long-time civil rights activist Elaine Brown illustrates. It was issued  on December 28, 2007.


OPEN STATEMENT TO THE GREEN PARTY

As of today, I am no longer a candidate for the Green Party nomination for president of the United States, and I hereby resign from all affiliation with the Green Party.  I believe the leadership of the Green Party of the United States has been seized by neo-liberal men who entrench the Party in internecine antagonisms so as to compromise its stated principles and frustrate its electoral and other goals.  They have made it impossible to advance any truly progressive ideals or objectives under the umbrella of the Green Party, and, thus, rendered it counterproductive for me to go forward as a Green Party candidate or member.

I believe this small clique that has captured control of the Party has transformed it into a repository for erstwhile, disgruntled Democrats, who would violate the Party’s own vision and sabotage the good will and genuine commitment of the general membership.  Indeed, these usurpers foster a reactionary agenda, supporting partisans in and backers of the Bush wars and disavowing the Party’s more progressive tenets in favor of promoting high-profile participation in the politics of the establishment.

This became clear to me almost from the moment I announced my candidacy in February of 2007.  I intended using my campaign to bring large numbers of blacks and browns into the Party, particularly from the hood and the barrio—as would come to be reflected in the lists of supporters and delegates I’ve submitted in connection with my candidacy.  As I asserted I would use the respect I enjoyed as a former leader of the Black Panther Party to do so, some in the hierarchy seemed utterly fearful of the prospect of a massive influx of blacks and browns into the Green Party.  Soon, there was wide circulation of false rumors that I was a one-time “government agent,” which was intended to discredit my history in the Black Panther Party so as to undermine my potential influence.—And, since then, I have had to devote significant time and energy to addressing these lies.—What this effort revealed, though, was how the Green Party, while advocating “diversity,” remains dominated by whites.  Indeed, the Party is able to count less blacks, browns and natives in its membership than our national population percentages and certainly less than the Democrats themselves.

In effect, the present Green Party leadership promotes a kinder, gentler capitalism, a moderated racism, an environmentally-sustainable globalism, which I cannot support.  They are dedicated to the underside of the Party’s platform, which falls short of repudiating the capitalist state, source of all the social ills the Party would address.  They equivocate by promoting “an economic alternative to corporate capitalism and a socialist state,” advocate a “re-formulation” of the IMF, NAFTA, so forth, and advance the institution of “stakeholder capitalism.”

On the other hand, they demonstrate a willingness to override the best of the Party’s platform.  My sharp criticism of high-profile Party members’ support for the “three-strikes” crime laws, the sole basis for the inhumane mass incarceration of people in the United States, particularly blacks—the repeal of which the Party’s platform advocates—has been met with outright enmity.  And, to divert attention from this and other critical issues, the leadership has employed chicanery in their promulgation of defamatory lies about me—which they finally extended to character assaults on my supporters and critics of their unscrupulousness.

It is my sincere belief that the Green Party as it now exists has no intention of using the ballot to actualize real social progress, and will aggressively repel attempts to do so.  To remain in the fray or in the Party, then, would require a betrayal of my lifelong and ongoing commitment to serving the interests of black and other oppressed people by advancing revolutionary change in America.

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Dennis M. Goldstein
8 years 7 months ago

Elaine Browne is one of my favorite leaders out of the late 60s and early 70s radical activist period. I think she can only be telling the truth, as she sees it. And I would have to have faith in her judgment until I have other information. Certainly it is time for the Green Party leadership to involve themselves in criticism and self criticism. If the U.S. Green Party is not truly independent of the established Democratic and Republican parties it is not worth anything to me. We Greens are not the left wing of the U.S. Democratic Party. And if we are I am not a Green. I want no part of the capitalist parties as a Green. If we are a capitialist party I am not a Green. I voted for Ralph Nader not Clinton, Gore or Kerry.

Dennis M. Goldstein

Jim Dixon
8 years 8 months ago

Th Irish Green Party has recently entered a coalition government. It has totally betrayed its voters by supporting the US invasion of Iraq through accepting the use of Shannon Airbase for the transport of many US troops and for CIA rendition flights. A current article in C C clearly points out how the Iraq invasion totally contradicts green principles — Good luck Elaine Browne! Jim Dixon Ireland

WHM
8 years 8 months ago

Right on Elaine! Clearly the global capitalist system continues to divert the worlds resources to the few at the expense of the many. A country that continues to impoverish not only the least financially sound but the middle class of all races is not the country that the founders created. The elites futile desire to pile up more and more money will be useless when the environment becomes less hospitable to agriculture & humankind. Clearly, radical steps must be taken!

David Kennedy
8 years 8 months ago

Good for Elaine Browne. I am delighted to see such courage. It is not easy to leave an organisation to which you have devoted much energy and aspiration.

But I am sure she is right in her judgement. It is easy to defer making such radical decisions, hoping that all will be well eventually. I have seen this so often.

One very effective way of overcoming political opponents is by subversion. There have been many such examples in recent years. Old stalwarts and loyalists of the subverted party then face a dilemma similar to that of Elaine.
Should they stay on and hope things will improve, or should they leave and devote their time and effort to better use?

We must all try to learn from experience and radical parties have much to learn about the tactics and strategies of subversion, about how they can protect themselves, and how they can ensure the integrity and loyalty of those they vote into power. There is no easy answer to this (that I know of) and we all have much to learn.

One can only wish Elaine well in the path she chooses to follow. We all need to think carefully about the power we bestow on leaders who then betray the aspirations of those who put them in power.

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