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U.S. Green Party

Green parties are parties with strongly ecologically-minded, usually left-leaning platforms. In the United States, until 2000, there were two different organizations that could be called "The Green Party": The Green Party of the United States (formerly known as the Association of State Green Parties) and Greens / Green Party USA.

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Largely inspired by the success of the German Green Party, political activists in the United States formed the Committees of Correspondence in 1984, later to be known as the Green Committees of Correspondence (GCOC). The GCOC adopted the Ten Key Values as their philosophical basis, loosely based on the Four Pillars that most European Greens use. They organized themselves around bio-regional lines.

The GCOC held national gatherings of green activists in 1987, then annually starting in 1989. At the 1991 national gathering, the GCOC was disbanded, and a new structure was put into place, named the Greens/Green Party USA (GPUSA), which was organized with delegates from local and regional green groups, in addition to individual members.

In 1990, Jim Sykes ran as a green for governor in Alaska. He received 3.3% of the vote, enough to grant official ballot status to the Green Party in the state. The California Green Party would follow, attaining official ballot status in 1991. From 1992 to 1995, the number of candidates in local and state-wide elections identifying themselves grew, in addition to the number of organized local and state-wide green groups.

At the 1995 national gathering of the GPUSA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a measure to run a candidate for president was defeated. However, those who wished to run a candidate for president continued to pursue this possibility. They selected Ralph Nader as their presidential candidate and Winona LaDuke as their vice-presidential candidate. The pair were on the ballot in twenty-two states and received 685,128 votes, or 0.7% of all votes cast. [1] (http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/summ.htm)

In the aftermath of the 1996 election, representatives from eleven state Green Parties joined to form the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP). The focus of the ASGP, while still including issue activism and non-electoral politics, was more clearly on getting greens elected. In the years from 1997 to 1999, more local, regional, and state-wide green parties continued to form. Many of these parties affiliated themselves with both the ASGP and the GPUSA.

In the year 2000, the ASGP nominated Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke for President and Vice-President again. This time, the pair were on 44 state ballots and received 2,882,897 votes, or 2.7% of all votes cast [2] (http://fecweb1.fec.gov/pubrec/2000presgeresults.htm).

In October of 2000 (during the campaign), a proposal was made to alter the structures of the ASGP and GPUSA to be complementary organizations with the ASGP focusing on electoral politics and the GPUSA focusing on issue advocacy. The Boston Proposal (so named because it was negotiated at Boston in the days before the first presidential debate) was passed by the ASGP at its next annual gathering, but did not pass at the GPUSA Congress. The ASGP then changed its name to "The Green Party of the United States" and was granted status as the official National Committee of the Green Party by the FEC in 2001. Today the GPUSA survives as a small membership organization, led by the few Greens who opposed the Boston Proposal. Though they often represent themselves to the contrary, they do not represent the vast majority of Greens, and only a handful of state parties are affiliated with them.

Geographic Distribution:

The Green Party is most popular in the far-western and northeastern United States, as judged by percentage vote in the 2000 presidential election [3] (http://www1.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/results/president/) and number of candidates elected [4] (http://www.greens.org/elections/). The California Green Party has the largest number of greens, receiving 405,722 votes in the 2000 presidential elections, and electing 62 of the 171 office-holding greens nation-wide as of November, 2002. In the 2002 Governor's race, the city of San Francisco gave more votes to the Green Party candidate than to the Republican candidate. The president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is also a Green Party member. The Alaskan Green Party has the highest number per capita of Greens, receiving 10% of the votes statewide in the 2000 presidential elections.

See also: List of political parties in the United States

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