By Claudia Ellquist, Arizona Green Party; Hillary Aisenstein, Pennslyvania Green Party; and Ann Link, Green Party of New York State
This summer, more than 600 Greens represented 38 states at the Green Party’s National Nominating Convention in Chicago. After traveling by public transportation, bikes, and carpools, delegations made the most of this political weekend, attending workshops, sharing ideas and experiences, meeting candidates, and casting their state’s votes especially for the presidential nominee. Unlike the predictable, tax-payer subsidized spectacles produced for the Republicans and Democrats, Greens paid for their own convention and got their money’s worth.
This year’s convention also produced the best media coverage the Green Party has ever had. Some of the national stations and programs were ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CNN, NPR, and Democracy Now. Pacifica aired the convention live including interviews with convention organizers and C-Span featured speeches by Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente. The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and Atlanta-Journal Constitution all had articles about the event and Chicago Public Radio also aired many segments about the convention.
The Green Party presidential nomination, on Saturday, July 12, confirmed former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Hip Hop activist Rosa Clemente as the Green Party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates, in one round of voting. McKinney and Clemente gave rousing speeches outlining their plans for a dynamic campaign and a new course for the United States.
McKinney’s candidacy marked the 160th anniversary of the Equal Rights Party nomination of the first female American presidential candidate, Victoria Woodhull. She is the 45th female to seek the presidency of the United States, and the McKinney/ Clemente ticket is historic in naming two women to lead the nation.
McKinney said, “We make history today only because we must. In 2008, after two stolen presidential elections, eight years of George W. Bush, and at least two years of Democratic Party complicity, the racket is about war crimes, torture, crimes against the peace; the racket is about crimes against the Constitution, crimes against the American people, and crimes against the global community. … The Green Party is no longer ‘the alternative party,’ we are now the Imperative Party.” (Excerpts from McKinney’s speech are on page 8) For more about their campaign, go to www.runcynthiarun.org.
Additionally, there were several press conferences featuring the candidates for nomination, congressional candidates, and state and local candidates from around the country. The one drawing the most media attention featured Rich Whitney, who got over ten percent of the vote in his 2006 race for governor of Illinois. Whitney also hosted the presidential candidate forum the eve of the convention.
Earlier that day, Pennsylvania’s Cecilia Wheeler distinguished herself as the spokesperson of the newly forming Latino caucus, arguing forcefully to vote down the proposed 2008 platform over wording related to Guest Worker programs. In a show of solidarity, delegates preferred to stand with the existing platform from the previous convention.
Various committees gave reports to the National Committee on the Green Party’s many accomplishments. Three new members of the national Steering Committee were elected: Sanda Everette of California, Craig Thorsen of California, and Jill Bussiere of Wisconsin.
Video from the forum and the convention has been posted on numerous websites including youtube. Link to www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxbDwXeOeA4.