by John Rensenbrink
The eyes of the Green world will be on Maine the weekend of October 3rd to 5th. Delegates from 20 member state parties of the Association of State Green Parties (ASGP) will assemble in the Grange Hall in Topsham, a coastal town “down east” thirty miles from Portland. Additional state Green parties considering joining will also be in attendance, as will kindred Green movement organizations.
The theme is “Building a Party of a Different Kind”. It will be the third meeting of the ASGP, whose stated purpose is to “assist in the development of state Green Parties” and “to create a national Green Party based on autonomous state Green Parties. The ASGP was launched in Middleburg, Virginia shortly after the election in November 1996 and was formally founded at Portland, Oregon in early April.
The keynote speaker on Saturday morning will be Madelyn Hoffman, New Jersey Green Party candidate for governor this fall. On Saturday the gropu will alternate between small group discussions and plenary sessions, taking up “growing Green Parties in 50 States,” “Building Towards a National Green Party,” and “Organizational Affairs of ASGP.” Dinner will be an old fashioned Maine clam bake with all the trimmings, followed by music and dancing.
On Sunday, after electing officers, the group will take up “Making Green Waves in the Wide World”. They will deal with cooperation with other third parties, relations with organizations of people of color, the development of a national platform, and the Presidency 2000.
The ASGP conference comes on the heels of a national meeting of the G/GPUSA in Lawrence, Massachusetts August 27 to September 2. Representatives from Califonria, Minnesota, Colorado and New Mexco attended with the hope of reforming the G/GPUSA structure, brining it closer to that of the ASGP, with the hope that this would accelerate the development of a single national Green Party. This reform did not materialize, as the G/GPUSA remained more fitted a confederation of local dues-based activist groups than to a national organization of state Green Parties. Now, Greens in these states and others are turning to ASGP as the likely vehicle through which a national Green Party, rooted in state Green Parties, will be achieved.