Internal fighting and the International Committee at GP-US

At the Green Party of the United States (GP-US) website,  a document is posted that is a draft proposal to the GP-US National Committee. The proposal is in a discussion phase, and may be refined by the consensus process before being voted on.  The proposal was submitted by the state of California, where Mike Feinstein, a character in the background story of the proposal, is a delegate.

Some of the concerns raised in the document are: The International Committee of the GP-US has not had formal approval of Policies and Procedures, as committees are required to do. Julia Willebrand, currently considered an IC Co-Chair, has let her term expire without facing election. Tony Affigne and other GP-US IC leaders ignored the desire of IC members to address the issue that the Green Party in Mexico is supporting the death penalty. That, as then Co-Chairs, Justine McCabe and Julia Willebrand wrongfully approved and released a statement by the GP-US International Committee about the situation in Gaza. That when faced with questions from the election committee, the IC leadership and/or informal leadership threatened and then removed from the Election Committee, EC member Mike Feinstein,  and stood by as another Elections Committee member resigned in sympathy. And, then the past term officers ran the election themselves.

The proposal seeks to create fair Rules and Policies for the committee and have them officially approved. And, to force the Co-Chairs of the GP-US International Committee to hold fair elections within their committee.

[Draft] Proposal 386

Proposal
Declare International Committee Inactive Until Committee RPPs Are Approved, more
Presenter    Green Party of California
Phase    Discussion
Discussion    03/30/2009 – 04/12/2009
Voting    04/13/2009 – 04/19/2009

Background

1) GPUS Bylaws state that

“The National Committee of the Green Party of the United States shall establish standing committees and may create other committees according to need. The NC shall cause to be produced, and then approve a document for each committee including the purpose, duties and general charge of the committee…

Despite this, the National Committee (NC) has never voted to establish the International Committee (IC), nor has their been a document approved as described in this bylaw, to establish the purpose, duties and general charge of the IC…

4) The IC’s unapproved RPP’s state that there shall two-year terms lengths for committee members, IC Co-Chairs and FPVA Reps. (FPVA is the Federacion de Partidos Verdes de las Americas, or in English, the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas). This has not been followed.

5) Despite the IC’s unapproved RPP’s providing for two-year term lengths for IC Co-Chair, the following has most recently occurred:

Justine McCabe was elected by the IC in June of 2006 to finish the second year of a two-year term that ended in the summer of 2007 that was previously held by Alan Kaufman, who chose to step down early. Despite that term ending in August 2007, McCabe continued to represent herself as IC co-chair for another 18 months, until the present March 2009.

Julia Willebrand was elected IC Co-Chair in June of 2006 to a 2006-2008 term. When that term ended as of the GPUS Annual General Meeting in Chicago in July 2008, Willebrand advised the IC meeting that was held in Chicago that the IC’s allowed her to stay in place, which they do not. Willebrand then continued to represent herself as IC Co-chair for another seven months, until the present March 2009…

The terms of the two individuals who have been representing the GPUS to the FPVA (i.e. to all Green Parties all across the Americas) – Tony Affigne and Julia Willebrand – have also run out, in fact so far back that there are no records of their appointment on the IC email list. When asked by email to verify the date of their appointment, neither Affigne nor Willebrand agreed to provide it.

7) A particular problem with Affigne and Willebrand representing the GPUS is that they have made international policy for the GPUS, not only without checking in with the NC, but without even checking in with the IC.

Most prominently at the last FPVA meeting, held in November 2008 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, was the absence of any open dialogue on the Mexican Greens support of the death penalty and the roles of Affigne and Willebrand in it not appearing on the agenda, or at least accounting to the FPVA delegates and to the IC on why it was not on the agenda…

8.  When challenged about this behavior on the IC email list, Affigne invoked the unapproved IC RPP’s to effectively censure such openness. During the FPVA meeting California Green Mike Feinstein, who was in attendance in Quebec City as an observer, blogged back to the IC email list about the lack of inclusion of this agenda item.

Affigne followed this up with an email threatening to remove Feinstein from the IC email list, in violation the unapproved IC RPP’s, which require one private warning and two public warnings before such a removal could occur…

9) After many post-Quebec City requests to hold the past-due IC Co-Chair elections, an IC Elections Committee was established to conduct the Co-Chair elections according to the unapproved IC RPP’s…

The Election Committee was to consist of three individuals – Jay Parks (Lavender Caucus), Aimee Smith (GPMI) and Feinstein. Feinstein was ‘removed’ by the co-chairs and Parks resigned afterwards in protest (see attached letter), stating that believe “the total weight of the situation means that this election would not stand up to the standards Green require of elections.”…

11) Not only has the IC election process been dysfunctional, but also so has IC decision-making in general.

For example, in late December, a draft IC statement on Gaza was circulated, but with no clarity about the length of a discussion or voting period. After more than a month, the McCabe and Willebrand called for a straw poll, to see if the statement was going in the right direction. With the understanding that this was a straw poll, several IC members gave the statement a qualified approval, stating that they hoped to see small parts amended, but were OK with the general direction.

At the end of the straw poll period, the IC Co-chairs then declared that a decision had been made, even though no formal vote had been taken, and that the IC could go ahead and conduct an international campaign based upon the statement. What followed as a chaotic discussion that straw polls don’t indicate formal decisions, after which another confused ‘decision-making’ process was conducted, again without a defined decision-making period, approval threshold or quorum.

This not only demonstrated that the McCabe and Willebrand were attempted to serve well beyond their terms expired as IC Co-Chairs, but were [not] administratively capable of conducting the IC’s basic decision-making.

Hence, not only does the process for electing IC Co-Chairs and FPVA delegates have to be addressed, but so also does the IC process for decision-making.

12) In order to address the lack of legitimacy of the IC and the dysfunctionality of its process, two BRPP members introduced a draft set of IC RPP’s for consideration by the BRPP. As of March 7th, that proposal began the formal discussion stage within the BRPP’s internal decision-making process and on March 20th the BRPP conducted a 90 minute conference call to which it invited all IC and NC members to participate and afterwards posted minutes and an audio link to a recording of that call to the NC discussion list.

The BRPP’s draft revision of the of IC RPP’s begins with the existing non-approved IC RPP’s and then is amended from there…

13) Therefore based upon the above, given that the IC is operating without approved rules, that it is not following its own unapproved rules, its elections and decision-making behavior is dysfunctional and lacks credibility, and that there is no accountability nor transparency to the NC about the IC’s international representation on behalf of the GPUS, the following is recommended:

Proposal
Declare International Committee Inactive Until Committee Rules, Policies and Procedures (RPP’s) Are Approved and IC Committee Co-Chair Elections Based Upon Those Rules Are Held

1) That the National Committee (NC) recognizes and declares that the International Committee (IC) is not an active committee under GPUS bylaws.

2) Require that draft IC Rules presently under consideration by the BRPP be posted to the IC email list for comment before the BRPP makes an internal committee decision to forward its draft to the NC

3) That the BRPP bring a proposal for IC rules to the SC for placement before the NC no later than the end of April, and that these rules include procedures for some form of accountability to the NC of GPUS international delegates and policy.

4) That the SC writes to the two co-presidents of the FPVA (Marco Antonio Mroz in Brazil and Jorge Gonzalez Torres in Mexico) to notify them that the terms of the existing GPUS delegates to the FPVA have concluded, that the GPUS is in the process of choosing new FPVA reps, but that all present and past GPUS members on the FPVA email list will remain on that list so that the FPVA email list can continue to be a place for communication between the GPUS and other FPVA member parties

5) Once the NC approves new IC RPP’s, that new elections are conducted under those rules for IC Co-Chairs and FPVA representatives and that the IC not be considered formally active under GPUS rules until those elections are concluded.

23 thoughts on “Internal fighting and the International Committee at GP-US

  1. Kimberly Wilder Post author

    As some of you may know, I left the Green Party a short while ago. I am no longer a member of any level of the Green Party.

    When I was in the Green Party, at a time many years ago, a very subtle background maneuver allowed Mike Feinstein to have me removed and banished-for-life from the party’ national newspaper, The Green Pages. At the time Mike Feinstein was “only an advisor” to the paper and claimed no part in my expulsion.

    Related to the current story, Mike Feinstein recently “placed” in his section of the Green Pages an article that non-chalantly called some youth trips to Israel a kind of tour to study non-violence in Israel. The article mentioned that the trips were sponsored by the America-Israel Friendship League, whose web-site notes that their attendees often visit with Israeli cultural, political, and military leaders.

    Slightly separately from the Green Party, a few years ago, Mike Feinstein had some controversy in the way he took sides and published documents against candidates in the 2007 KPFK radio elections.

    The odd thing is, this IC RPP proposal seems a hopeful measure to set things right. But, in the past, Mike Feinstein has been an unfair and powerful player who has often cooperated with Julia Willebrand, another unfair and powerful player. Now, they argue with each other. No matter which one wins or loses, not sure things will change.

    A personal vignette I wanted to share:

    I recall walking down a path behind a college in Tulsa at the GP-US National Convention, and coming across Julia and Mike walking together and chatting. And, that Mike came up to me and told me that I should be sure not to speak to the press, because there were people appointed to do that. And, Mike and Julia as this wall of imperiousness looking down their noses at me…

    There have been some very unfair actions with the National Women’s Caucus at GP-US. The officers had a secret list, which others did not know about for a long time, and members were not allowed on, but was defended as an officer’s privilege. Julia Willebrand had been on it since the dawn of time, when she was in no way an officer.

    Julia Willebrand is into a lot of stuff at the National Green Party. So, is Mike Feinstein. It is the oddest assortment of each one being good and bad on various matters of import (such as Mexico and Gaza) and matters of process.

    I hope the International Committee works out well. Can’t see it as being the great reform that fixes the party. But, heck, there is always a chance…

  2. Donald Raymond Lake

    Ah, the shadowy Zionist cabal! John Blare, John Coffey, John Bambey, and Valli Sharpe Geisler have done a similar ‘number’ on the [so called] reform movement, especially the Deform Party of California………….

  3. David Pollard

    As a former NC member, I often observed that – partly due to the lack of support funding – the Intl Cmte was often a “rich persons’ club” – or at least limited to people who could afford fairly frequent International travel. I don’t intend this as a critique from a class consciouness point, but merely to show that the folks who could participate were VERY limited in number. Generally, their aims and concerns were consistent with the rest of the National Committee, but I suspect this type of conflict was inevitable.
    Suspending their activities until they have adequate policies and procedures in place sounds reasonable – perhaps even with limits on the length of consequtive years of membership. However, any fundamental reform on this committee would require funding sufficient to provide for travel so that people of limited financial means could participate on the committee.

  4. Michael Cavlan

    David and Kimberly

    I am also a former NC delegate and now former Green.

    It is absolutely amazing just how much the GP has sunk. David, it has been my observation that the National GP has become an amazing classist organization. Not to mention racist with the whole Brent McMillian/Elaine Brown debacle.

    I have a friend who met Mike Feinstein at the International GP gathering in Brazil and she told me what a snob Mr Feinstein and his fellow compatriots were and how he treated her, since she could not afford the $300 fee for the GP International Convention.

    Add to that where dissenting voices are driven off, the GP newspaper folding up, not enough participation on virtualy every level and voila, you have where we are today.

    Sad history but we can learn a lot from it. By we, I mean those of us who are serious about building an alternative to the pro-war, corporate corrupted two party system.

  5. Levon Helm

    The Green Party rocks!

    These little internal things are a) normal, and b) not worthy of note.

    What matters is that the Green Party continues to recruit candidates at all levels, and gets them elected!!!

  6. Catholic Trotskyist

    The Green party’s internal fighting does matter, and proves that, like the Libertarian and Constitution Party, will never get candidates elected to important positions. The only hope is either to surrender to the Obama Catholic Trotskyist revolution and abandon fascist/stalinist pig Nader, or to come together in the Fringe Alliance strategy, along with Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul supporters and moderate independents, to get the election laws changed to proportional representation and abolishing the electoral college, ballot access doesn’t matter is as much as these because you’ll never get a plurality or even majority to actually support Green, Libertarian and Constitutionalists policies.
    ‘The Catholic Trotskyist Party has no infighting because it contains only one person, who, through the light and abouding blessings of God, is slowly converting our Lord Revolutionary Liberator-General Barack Obama to the right path. The Catholic Trotskyist Party is the open hand to the clenched fist of the world, and leaves the Green Party in the dust. Amen. Blessings to all on this Lentine season.

  7. michael cavlan

    Insane ramblings of Catholic Trotskyist aside Paulie. (I am a Catholic and former Trot BTW)

    You want the skinny on the racist stories of GP National Political Director and Elaine Brown, former Green party presidential candidate then perhaps some of those good, solid Greens here could fill us in?

    Or, if not I will be only too happy to talk about it.

  8. michael cavlan

    Oh look, my posts are not blocked out here?

    Unlike the Green Party Watch site. They do not do dissent or critiqueing there, let me tell you.

    But they do not have the power of the censor here. far too much open, democratic debate here folks.

  9. paulie

    Insane ramblings of Catholic Trotskyist aside

    They’re magically delicious.

    Or, if not I will be only too happy to talk about it.

    Talk away. That’s what we’re here for.

  10. Catholic Trotskyist

    Michael, it would seem that you may agree with me on many issues, but like so many, cannot understand when a true revolutionary leader with religious credentials, the only combination for a truely successful and permanent revolution, starts galvanizing the masses and the powerful alike. But maybe I should change the name of my ideology to “magically deliciousism”, that would make it more popular, probably.

  11. Green Ferret

    I’m with Levon Helm – the Greens rock.

    Can we get The Band to tour every city in the US and Canada to promote the Green Party? That would really rock.

  12. libertariangirl

    M.C__You want the skinny on the racist stories of GP National Political Director and Elaine Brown, former Green party presidential candidate then perhaps some of those good, solid Greens here could fill us in?
    Or, if not I will be only too happy to talk about it.

    were still waiting for the low-down …

  13. paulie

    That’s pretty weak, racism-scandal wise.

    I was expecting video of a Johnny Rebel singalong, or at least college fraternity blackface pictures or something.

  14. michael cavlan

    Brent McMillian, political director the the GP was contacted by Elaine Brown, former member of the Black Panther Party, former green mayoral candidate for New Bruinswick, GA, to talk about her campaign for the endorsement of the GP for her presidential campaign.

    Brent McMillian freaks out, calls her a delusional alcoholic and calls the police on her, when she and her campaign manager try to visit him at the GP national office in DC.

    White liberal freaks out at black woman, former black panther and calls police, after smearing her.

    As an aside Elaine Brown is a wonderful speaker and wondeful person who is serious about standing up to the system.

    I was hoping that some of the Greens here might chime in because I am rather biased agin the GP theses days.

    You see, I and others are SERIOUS about building an alternative to the two party system.

    The GP is not.

  15. David McCorquodale

    I can’t believe I read this story and then see the same malcontents still posting the same stuff that used to be on the national Green Party lists.

    Points:
    1. Michael Calvin has no idea what really happened between Brown and McMillan, but Brown didn’t come to D.C., so he’s making stuff up. I’ll mention that Elaine Brown had the opportunity to come to the Annual National Meeting in July of 2007 to participate in a presidential candidates forum and to make a strong impression on the assembled national delegates, but she passed. Also before the incident Calvin mentions, Brent collected petition signatures for Brown in Washington, D.C. so she could be in the primary there. But she scuttled any more work, apparently feeling everything should have just been handed to her.
    Her behavior strongly contrasts with that of Cynthia McKinney, who came to all the functions to meet people and became our nominee, and even the behavior of Ralph Nader, who appeared at Green party functions and helped raise money for the party, even though he had determined to run his own campaign.
    2. Green Pages, the national newpaper of the Green Party did not “fold”. For lack of national funding, several of its issues will be done only online although hopefully the next one will be done in hard copy. You can link to the newspaper on the Green Party website.
    3. I have had several e-mail chats with Kimberley Wilder and knew of her dislike for Mike Feinstein, but this is the first time I’ve seen that she thinks that Mike was behind her removal from the Green Pages board. Although it was before my time, I’m pretty sure everyone was unanimous wanting in her removal.

    David McCorquodale
    Co-chair, Green Pages Committee

  16. Kimberly Wilder

    Probably, someone in the newspaper industry should not proclaim things when they are only “pretty sure.”

    There were about 15 or 16 people on the board of Green Pages shortly before I was removed. And, the way someone worked it, people were talked into agreeing with the decision to remove me, or just slithering away in disgust with the battle. So, it was like 10 people, whose votes were ultimately collected on one-on-one phone calls, to sign onto some letter the editor or Co-Chair created in secret.

    I suppose the decision did wind up on paper to be look unanimous. Even though many people quit rather than vote. And, even though shortly afterwards, one of the people that provoked me and voted to remove me went left and lambasted the Green Party and also went to federal prison for something or other. But, no one in the Green Party follows history and makes apologies when stuff like that happens.

    Also, Mike Feinstein did not have a vote. He is the background, shadow government at Green Pages (hence David McCorquodale’s loyal and constant defense of him.) The day of the phone call when I received my Kangaroo Court/witch trial, Mike Feinstein actually got on the call, took what he wanted and proclaimed the articles he would write, and then left by telling everyone he had to go “rollerblading” (while I received my punishment from his cronies.)

    That is how Mike Feinstein works. That is the culture of the national Green Party.

    And, David McCorquodale is one of the people too busy and flattered to know anything more than what he is “pretty sure” about.

  17. Kimberly Wilder

    Oh, that was so long ago. Realized the other funny thing. Maybe people will realize.

    If I am an elected rep to a committee from New York, and there is a vote to remove me, then I would vote to keep me on.

    But, they did not do the vote fairly. And, then they characterized it as unanimous against me. Proving their injustice. How is that process?

    Thanks,
    Kimberly

    P.S. NY created a committee in response to my permanent banishment. The committee had people on it who like me, and some who did not. The result was that the committee said I should be on, and that we should all have conflict resolution. But, national thwarted the will of one of its member states. And, did not obey the demands of a committee that investigated the situation fairly.

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