FAQ


What does the Green Party stand for? Is it just an environmentalist party?

The Green Party is a diverse political party that takes stands on nearly all current political issues. Most Green Parties around the world have never been single-issues parties. The name “Green Party” came about due to the tradition in West German of giving every political party a color. The Social Democrats are “Reds” and the Christian Democrats are “Blacks.” In 1979, the new party that was speaking out in support of feminism, peace, the Third World and immigrant rights, values in politics, and the environment were naturally called the “Greens.”

Where does the Green Party stand on the issues important to me?

The Green Party of the United States has a lengthy platform outlining the party’s views on many issues. It is indexed to help you find your area of interest. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let us know.

As in any diverse political party, not every Green candidate agrees with every aspect of the party platform. If you are interested in the stands of a Green Party candidate, you should contact the candidate directly.

There are many local or detailed issues the Green Party has not yet considered. In general, the Green Party is most effective when we undertake activist projects on just a few targeted issues and when we run progressive candidates who speak out on behalf of their communities. If you wish to propose a specific way that the Green Party can help with your issue, or if you have an interest in running as a Green Party candidate, attend an upcoming meeting or write to us directly.

Didn’t the Green Party’s presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, spoil the 2000 presidential election for the Democrats? Does the Green Party really have any chance of winning anyway? Why build the Green Party?

Americans have the right to vote for who they wish. Under the Electoral College system, it was the responsibility of Al Gore and his supporters to win the majority of Electoral Votes. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, Al Gore failed to do that. You can blame the Supreme Court for stealing the election, but you can’t blame Ralph Nader voters. It wasn’t our job to elect Al Gore.

Unfortunately we do not use “majority rule” voting systems in most of the United States. Instead we use “plurality rule,” and for the presidential election, we use the Electoral College.

In a majority-rule voting system, a candidate for one seat (such as governor or mayor) must receive the support of at least 50% of the voters to win. Most towns and cities in Alabama wisely use this system. If no candidate for mayor wins 50% in the municipal election, there is a runoff election three weeks later when voters choose between the first- and second-place candidates to elect the winner. Alabama voters can vote for their favorite candidate in the municipal election without being afraid that they are “wasting their vote” on a candidate with little chance of winning. They will always have the opportunity to vote between the top two candidates in the runoff. The Republican and Democratic Parties of Alabama also use this system to elect their nominees in the primary elections.

This is a very democratic system. It would be even better if Alabama voters could just mark who their second choice would be on the municipal Election Day. That way they wouldn’t have to return to the polls three weeks later. This system is called “instant runoff voting” (IRV). The city of San Francisco, California, has just adopted this reform.

It’s too bad Alabama doesn’t also use majority-rule in its state and federal elections! Instead, we use the most common U.S. voting system, “plurality rules.” In this system, whichever candidate gets the most votes wins. Even if most people in a voting district are liberals, if two liberal candidates run against one conservative, the conservative will win if the liberals “split their votes.” This leads to lots of behind-the-scenes maneuvering, as candidates try to get other candidates, similar to themselves politically, to not run or drop out.

The Electoral College is a further problem. Everyone agrees that Al Gore received more votes across the nation than George Bush, but the Electoral College and the Supreme Court made Bush president.

The United States must move to a majority-rule voting system. This means having runoff elections, as Alabama does in its primaries and municipal elections, and making them “instant runoffs.” Each state has the power to change to this system on their own; it does not require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In August 2002, the entire state of Alaska will be voting in August 2002 on switching to IRV.

If majority rules had existed in 2000, many Nader voters would have marked Al Gore as their second choice, and Al Gore would have won Florida and other closely fought states. This would have been a fairer, more democratic way of electing our president. If the Electoral College had been abolished before 2000, Al Gore also would have won.

With instant-runoff voting, you can vote for the Green Party knowing that your vote will never be wasted. We believe that with instant-runoff voting, Green candidates will receive many more votes, representing the real support our values have in our communities.

The Green Party is already thriving at the local level where being an active citizen, getting to know your neighbors, and representing them honestly gets you elected. Over 130 Greens currently hold elected office across the country.

The Green Party is not strong at the state and federal levels, where big campaign donations from wealthy contributors and special interests pay for media campaigns that drown out grassroots voices. American democracy in our state capitols and Washington is dying, as our “one person, one vote” democracy changes to a “one dollar, one vote” dictatorship of money.

The so-called “campaign finance reform” passed by the U.S. Congress in the spring of 2002 does nothing to change the basic reality: big-money contributions win elections. The only way to revive our state and national democracy is to allow we, the taxpayers, to pay for elections. We wouldn’t let special interests pay the salaries of our elected public servants, so why do we let them pay for the campaigns that get our leaders elected?

Four states -- Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Arizona -- now provide public financing to all qualified candidates for state office. Like instant-runoff voting, public financing will likely happen state-by-state, before it is adopted at the national level.

It is these two reforms -- instant-runoff voting and public financing of campaigns -- that will allow the United States to break out of its two-party rut. We need more voices and more ideas in our public debates, not more moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats failing to lead our country. The Green Party is addressing the big issues of poverty, war, and justice. Will you support a more democratic election system that will allow more political parties to flourish?

Is the Green Party an international party?

Not really, because every nation’s Green Party is independent and makes its own decisions. Several dozen countries now have their own Green Party. For the first time in 2001, delegates from Green Parties around the world met in Canberra, Australia, to write a common statement of our political principles, the Global Greens Charter.

The Charter is not binding on national Green Parties, but it does outline what will be considered as “Green politics” by Greens in the rest of the world. For example, the decision of the German Green Party in 2001 to support the bombing of civilians in Afghanistan has been very controversial, as Green Parties in other countries have called on the German Greens to return to their earlier principles of non-violence.

How can I learn more or get involved?

The Alabama Green Party is completely run by volunteers. The public is invited to observe or participate in any Green Party meeting. At the meeting we can talk more about what you can do. The most common tasks are recruiting candidates, gathering petition signatures to put candidates on the election ballot, organizing campaigns, publishing brochures, doing legal research, and managing the web site and list serves.

If you can’t attend a meeting, feel free to Contact Us!

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