The Green Party in the United States is a national political party that's loosely affiliated with other Green parties in dozens of countries around the world. The U.S. Green Party has been active in local and national elections since the early 1990s.
As its name implies, the Green Party strongly supports environmental values, green living and ecological sustainability. Additionally, the Greens support nonviolence as a means of social change, economic and social justice for all people -- particularly women and minorities -- and grassroots, participatory democracy.
With roughly 300,000 members, the Green Party is a small but influential force in American politics. Roughly 200 Green Party members currently hold elected office nationwide. In 1996 and 2000, the party nominated Ralph Nader as its presidential candidate; some political analysts believe the 2.8 million votes cast for Nader in the 2000 election may have thrown that election to George W. Bush.
The Green Party: 10 Key Values
The Green Party platform is built upon 10 Key Values that define the party's approach to national and international issues. Those values, as ratified at the Green Party convention in 2000, are:
- Grassroots democracy
- Social justice and equal opportunity
- Ecological wisdom
- Community-based economics and economic justice
- Feminism and gender equity
- Respect for diversity
- Personal and global responsibility
- Future focus and sustainability
In keeping with the Green Party's support for non-hierarchical politics, local and state chapters of the Greens are free to adapt these defining principles to local issues and conditions.
History of the Green Party
Like most political parties, the Green Party had its beginnings in a broader social cause. As the environmental movement of the 1960s and 1970s achieved mainstream acceptance, activists like Petra Kelly in Germany organized the movement's energy into political action. In 1979, Kelly founded Germany's Green Party (Die Grünen), one of the first official Green parties anywhere.
At roughly the same time, a number of small, local Green parties throughout the United States began to network and coalesce into a more organized political structure. The movement grew throughout the 1980s, and in 1991 the U.S. Green Party was officially organized.
The structure of the Green Party, however, was rife with internal divisions: Some Greens disdained the idea of electoral politics, while others believed election to public office would be a potent force for positive change. That division resulted in a split in the mid-1990s, and there are now two Green Party organizations in the United States, the Green Party of the United States and the Green Party USA.
Worldwide, the Green Party has enjoyed considerable electoral success. In Germany, for example, 10 percent of the seats in the Bundestag are held by Green Party members. There are also active Green Party organizations in the U.K., Australia, Canada, Sweden, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, France and other countries.