Green Party

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Green Party

The Green Party blossomed as an outgrowth of the environmental and conservation movement of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1970, Charles Reich published The Greening of America, a popular extended essay that effectively inserted environmentalism into politics. Reich, along with anarchist Murray Bookchin, helped inspire a worldwide environmental movement. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, environmental activists, calling themselves Greens, began to work within the political system to advance environmental causes around the globe.

The Green party first achieved electoral success in Germany in the early 1980s. German Green party candidates were elected to public office on platforms that stressed four basic values: ecology, social justice, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence. In the mid-1990s, the Green party was established in over 50 countries, and Green party politicians held seats in approximately nine European parliaments.

In the United States, Greens originally were reluctant to move into electoral politics. Throughout the 1970s and most of the 1980s, they teamed with military and Nuclear Power protesters to promote their agendas from outside the formal political system. In 1984, the Greens began to discuss the organization of a political party and, in 1985, the organization fielded its first candidates for elective office in North Carolina and Connecticut. The U.S. Greens became known as the Association of State Green Parties.

In 1996, in response to the need for a national Green presence, the organization's name changed to the Green party of the United States. The U.S. Green party also expanded the European platform to forge its own identity. According to its Website, the party offers a proactive approach to government based on ten key values: ecological wisdom; grassroots democracy; social justice and equal opportunity; nonviolence; decentralization; small-scale, community-based economics and economic justice; feminism and gender Equity; respect for diversity; personal and global responsibility; and future focus and sustainability. Each state and local chapter of the party adapts these goals to fit its needs.

The Green party of the United States also extended its reach in the 1990s and into the 2000s. In 1996, the party fielded candidates in 17 states and in the District of Columbia. It increased its national profile the same year by nominating Ralph Nader as its candidate for president. Nader accepted the nomination, but stipulated that he would not become a member of the Green party and that he did not feel obliged to follow faithfully its political platform. Nader ran a no-frills campaign, eschewing advertising and usually traveling alone to speak at various locales. He accepted no taxpayer money and spent approximately $5,000 on the campaign. With political activist Winona LaDuke as his running mate, Nader appeared on the ballot in 21 states and in the District of Columbia. The ticket also received write-in votes in all but five states. Nader and LaDuke lost to the Democratic incumbents, President bill clinton and Vice President al gore.

Nader and LaDuke ran again in the 2000 presidential election, again on the Green party platform. Nader raised more than $8 million for the campaign, about $30 million less than Reform Party candidate pat buchanan. Nader received the third highest number of votes with 2,882,955, representing 2.74 percent of the total vote. By comparison, Buchanan received a total of 448,895.

On the local level, the Green party has realized electoral success. For example, in 1996, Arcata, California, became the first town in the United States to be controlled by the Green party when Green party candidates won three of the five seats on the city council. And during the 2000 elections, the Green party entered 284 candidates in 35 states. Forty-eight of these candidates won their elections, mostly for local offices. The number grew to 552 candidates in 40 states by 2002. Seventy-four of these candidates successfully ran for office.

Further readings

Burchell, John. 2002. The Evolution of Green Politics. London: Earthscan Publications.

Green Party of the United States. Available online at <> (accessed July 22, 2003).

Herrnson, Paul S., and John C. Green, eds. 1998. Multiparty Politics in America. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.


Environmental Law; Independent Parties.

References in classic literature ?
Such a party was highly agreeable to Rosalie; but not finding it equally suitable to my taste, I presently fell back, and began to botanise and entomologise along the green banks and budding hedges, till the company was considerably in advance of me, and I could hear the sweet song of the happy lark; then my spirit of misanthropy began to melt away beneath the soft, pure air and genial sunshine; but sad thoughts of early childhood, and yearnings for departed joys, or for a brighter future lot, arose instead.
The Soldier with the Green Whiskers looked at Jack with much care and curiosity.
Making a considerable detour to avoid the chance of falling into the hands of the green men, I came at last to the great wall.
With hot heart I took the green winding path, and presently came the little grassy glade, and the bubbling crystal well, and the hut of wattled boughs, and, looking through the open door of the hut, I saw a lovely girl lying asleep in her golden hair.
So he is," said the green man, "and he rules the Emerald City wisely and well.
As the green warrior saw the last of his companions go down and at the same time perceived that the entire herd was charging him in a body, he rushed boldly to meet them, swinging his long-sword in the terrific manner that I had so often seen the men of his kind wield it in their ferocious and almost continual warfare among their own race.
Then give me a glass of white wine," said the Green Man, without showing the least surprise.
Whether they had discovered us or simply were looking at the deserted city I could not say, but in any event they received a rude reception, for suddenly and without warning the green Martian warriors fired a terrific volley from the windows of the buildings facing the little valley across which the great ships were so peacefully advancing.
And as he struggled and squirmed like an eel to escape from him, the Green Fisherman took a stout cord and tied him hand and foot, and threw him into the bottom of the tub with the others.
said the Soldier with the Green Whiskers, not in a stern voice but rather in a friendly tone.
Many are as green as the Green Mountains whence they came.
What would the green earth be without its lovely flowers, and what a lonely home for us