by David C. Schwab, Green Party of New York
The Green Party of the United States (GP-US) is full of dedicated, bright and hardworking people. Despite this, young Greens in the country have yet to organize themselves into an effective group for advancing the Green values of grassroots democracy, social justice, peace and ecological sustainability. This year, however, young activists in the Green Party are working hard to fill the need for an effective youth organization. To ensure that the organizing process is as democratic as possible, these young organizers are inviting all Party members, especially those between the ages of 16 and 30, to get involved.
Young Greens often have the time and energy to work at the grassroots as well as the fresh perspective that can win new voters to the party. Other Green Parties around the globe have benefited from youth wings, typically known as Young Greens in the English-speaking countries. Young Greens organizations have been vital to the recent success of Green Parties in Canada and the United Kingdom. These dynamic organizations give promising young leaders a chance to take responsibility and help their party grow. In the interests of greening our country’s future, work is under way to inaugurate a Young Greens of America, including a Youth Caucus to the GP-US.
The intention behind Young Greens is not to replace Campus Greens and other existing Green youth organizations, but rather to coordinate, expand and improve them. Early in the planning process, Greens who had been active in Campus Greens identified a number of areas for improvement. Young Greens need forums for communication and networking, such as periodicals and online communities like the new Greenchange.org. There should be greater coordination among chapters and with the state and national organizations, so that Green parties all across the country have a sense of belonging to a greater whole. Both students and graduates should be included, so that newcomers can learn from experienced organizers and vice versa. Most importantly, young Greens should always have the resources they need to get involved with Green campaigns, no matter where they are.
The structure that is currently being envisioned for Young Greens would consist of fifty state chapters, as well as an elected national leadership that would be responsible for coordinating organizational activities. On a local level, there would be Young Greens chapters centered around campuses, as well as regional chapters that would be integrated with existing Green Party locals. The elected state and national officers would comprise the Youth Caucus, which would have functions identical to current Green Party caucuses like the Women’s Caucus, Lavender Caucus, and Black Caucus. These functions include casting votes in the Green National Committee, voting as a delegate to the Presidential Nominating Convention, and having the authority to introduce proposals to the Green National Committee.
The organizers of Young Greens are doing everything they can to make youth Green organization more inclusive and effective without insulating young people from the rest of the party or creating arbitrary divisions. The upper age limit of 30 is based on the precedent of international organizations like Global Young Greens, and that 30-year old Americans are eligible to run for U.S. Congress. To this end, the people organizing Young Greens are eager for input and participation from their fellow Greens in order to ensure that any new organization represents a positive step forward for the Green Party.
If you would like to help make Young Greens and the Youth Caucus a reality, there are several ways to get involved:
Spread the word among your fellow Greens and start organizing state chapters by gathering contact information (name, address where registered to vote, phone, email, and date of birth).
Join the conversation about prospective bylaws for Young Greens. Come to the 2008 Green Party National Convention in Chicago, where Young Greens will be electing officers to finalize the bylaws and get the organization rolling in time for campaign season.
To become a part of this dynamic organizing team, please email Adrian Frost, firstname.lastname@example.org.