Opinion on the State of the Green Party in Washington and Beyond

By Derrick Miles, Spokane, Washington

As a four year member of the Green Party, I whole-heartedly believe in continuing the nearly four decade-long movement. I also believe that it is up to each and every one of us as individuals to devise strong organizing strategies and to get deeply involved within our communities in a way that will reach out to, and uplift, all those that have been disenfranchised. It is a necessity for GPWA as a whole to begin working more interconnectedly to ensure we are on the path to victory; whatever that may look like for each respective delegation of Greens in Washington.

Currently, I have reached an intellectual plateau for how to effectively change our oppressive system, and in regard to our value of non-violence, I hope only for a peaceful transition away from the current duopolistic form of governing. Meanwhile, those that will continue to “Vote Blue No Matter Who” will fall back into an undisturbed state with a blue congressional majority and a party-officiated candidate in office. Still, no matter which side of the aisle they fall on, there is a discernible trait growing within Americans; little faith in elected officials when they continue to toe their respective lines. Yet in response, both parties have continued to push further and further to the right in their pursuit of conservatism. For over a hundred years now, the people of our country have been led to believe these are the only “ideologically different” parties that can effectively represent or embrace them.

Our membership often reaches peaks as Presidential elections ramp up, and as word-of-mouth, social media and what little mainstream media coverage we can scavenge spread the message of our candidates. Following each election those upward trends tend to fall back into a lull. More likely it is the newly joined, with misguided frustration over the loss of their chosen candidate, possibly aimed at a poorly organized local or state party and/or coordination between GPUS. No doubt, there are many more members that have been and will remain Green and continue to advocate for our cause; a figure which surely grows as each year passes.

To our membership it is blatantly obvious, but has become increasingly more apparent to the general public; billionaires, corporations and special interests do not bear in mind what’s best for the people. As their capitalistic profits continuously soar, our livelihoods stagnate and decline. What assures that our representatives are held accountable to the people and not just their wealthy pocket holders? To start, as Green Party candidates have historically done, honest campaigns should not accept contributions from corporations or bottomless PACs. To push this further, regardless of party denomination, GPWA should watchdog campaigns and seek to discourage and call out any candidate that forms PACs, or that accepts corporate and/or wealthy high-profile individual donations.

The Green Party’s lackluster experience in the political landscape has often been construed as a failure to ignite the people behind our core beliefs. Being reliant upon volunteers and small dollar donations, rather than mega-donors and super PACs in the face of decades-long corporate influence, the Green Party has not yet obtained a position of major influence. This late into the rising cataclysmic events unfolding, we must organize and grow, fast. To partially quote Jill Stein, “like our lives depend on it, because they do.”

In my home state of Nevada, I personally spent hours caucusing for Bernie Sanders in February of 2016. I saw firsthand how unorganized and undemocratic our system had become. It was specifically designed to discourage participation. I left the Democratic party shortly after and immediately learned that voter suppression has evolved beyond the exclusivity of limiting BIPOC and women and is now commonplace for all Americans when both the Democratic and Republican parties alike assert their control to protect and influence their copy-paste candidates. I applaud the efforts of Greens advocating for Ranked Choice Voting and Proportional Representation, another effort which GPWA must push to the forefront of change, and discredit those that would hope to maintain underrepresentation in Washington.

Many like myself originally roused in 2016 felt responsible for Bernie Sanders&’ initial “failure.” Thoughts parading around our minds like, “had I volunteered and gotten more involved, maybe it would have turned out differently.” Thinking back, those thoughts were partially true. We should have gotten more involved. We should have taken to the streets. Many simply just “walked out,” quite literally during the Democratic National Convention of 2016, and it ended there, (despite calls to write-in Bernie; which amounted to nothing unless he had filed as a write-in, but I digress.) After failure to eradicate the systemic issues within the Democratic party many more were maligned into thinking, “at least they aren’t Republicans.”

Lastly, the status quo parties are not alone in the share of the blame when it comes to devaluing our democracy. The mainstream media give out hundreds of thousands of hours in free advertising, in most cases to the two most disliked candidates, while completely shutting out minor party candidates who have actually had to complete the ground work to gather ballot status. GPWA must shine a spotlight with which the media in Washington will be forced to acknowledge us. This is a struggle faced by all state Green parties, as in my home state of Nevada. We must ensure that our actions maintain meaningful and direct purpose and that our discourse informs and embraces all, including volunteering in other like-minded groups’ efforts rather than treading on the others’ work. Through our actions around the state we should easily be able to garner recognition, not for the esteem, but to gather the voices of which would never have heard the call to join us without it.