No rules exist for an evidentiary hearing anticipated by the rules of the party.
But the Accreditation Committee did conduct a vote on a set of guidelines for a process short of an evidentiary hearing and without submitting them for ratification by the National Committee has started the clock, on April 12th, on a thirty day process for its investigation, in a document entitled proposed rules. These rules prohibit cross-examination, make no provision to compel testimony, allow those offering testimony to choose whether to answer questions or not and limits each committee member to five minutes of questions for each witness.
A few months back, when the Lavender Caucus was seeking co-sponsors for its complaint before the Accreditation Committee seeking to revoke the accreditation of the Georgia Green Party, the question came before the Illinois Party. Rich Whitney, an attorney, past Green Party nominee for Governor of Illinois (who took 10% of the state-wide vote) and current chairman of the Illinois party, opposed his state party's becoming embroiled in the controversy. What follows was written by Rich Whitney who prepared it for circulation among the state committee in Illinois. Today he released his brief on the subject for circulation before the National Committee.
There is no such thing as a “violation” of the national Green Party platform. The platform is not a code of conduct and disagreement with any particular part of the national platform is not, and never has been, a basis for disaffiliation of a member state party – nor should it be. The platform is at most a guide, more or less reflecting a majoritarian view of what policies are favored by most Greens at any given point in time. It is a living document (or work in progress), constantly subject to review, disagreement, revision and amendment. The platform does not serve as our principles of unity, and never has – nor should it. Just as our state party does not insist that every member agree with every statement in our state platform, the national party cannot insist that every member state party agree with every statement in the national platform as a condition of membership.
Our principles of unity are not found in the platform but in the Ten Key Values. In fact, state parties do not even necessarily have to adhere to the Ten Key Values, as long as they adhere to the Four Pillars. As stated in Article II of the Rules and Procedures of the Green Party of the United States:
“II. Criteria for State Party Membership in the Green Party of the United States.
Acceptance of the four pillars of the international Green Party movement [ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, non-violence] or the Ten Key Values as guiding principles.
Organized and run in accordance with these values.
A statewide organization open to, and reflective of, a statewide membership.
Agrees to support national candidates selection by Green convention.
Makes good faith effort, where reasonable, to achieve ballot status.
Makes good faith effort to run state and local candidates.
Has applied to GREEN PARTY for accreditation, and has included written by-laws, platform, and other documentation with that application.
Has a history of networking with other environmental and social justice organizations.
Evidence of commitment to, and good faith efforts to achieve, gender balance in party leadership and representation.
Evidence of good faith efforts to empower individuals and groups from oppressed communities, through, for example, leadership responsibilities, identity caucuses and alliances with community-based organizations, and endorsements of issues and policies.”
Agreement with the national party platform, let alone every provision of the platform, is not on the list of criteria. If there are grounds for suspending or terminating the affiliation of the Georgia Green Party, they must be based on one or more of these criteria, not disagreement or conflict with the national platform.
Indeed, it would set a terrible precedent to base either suspension or disaffiliation of a member party based on the national platform. For example, the national party recently voted down a proposed platform amendment (proposal 1005) that called for recognizing legal “personhood” to natural eco-systems (basically adopting the position of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) and designating at least 50% of the planet as a nature reserve. If a state party were to adopt such a position in its own platform, or publicly express support for such a proposal, would the national party then be justified in suspending or expelling that state party as well?
Imagine reading an article in the progressive press:
Green Party reveals its right-wing and Russian ties. The surprising nexus between Greens and the Republican white supremacist far Right revealed its ugly head when Greens shamelessly joined racists in opposing the Voting Rights Bill, HR 1, the most important voting rights bill that aims to ensure voting access in a generation. This action can only encourage the suppression of the Black vote as well as the vicious murders of Black people by racist police. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that the Green Party has aligned with the extreme Right, receiving help – financial and otherwise - from Republicans in gaining ballot access, to aligning with far Right libertarian Rand Paul on a number of bills in Congress and working with Russia to throw the election to Trump in 2016. Jill Stein even sat at a dinner in Russia with Putin.
We have all seen articles like this targeting the Green Party - full of lies, half-truths, distortions, and guilt by association – meant to close minds, silence dissent and ensure that the merits of a political position (in the above fictional example, the need for independence from the corporate duopoly and the poison pill in the voting rights bill) are never discussed.
How distressing then to read Margaret Elizabeth’s piece, “WoLF, TERFS and the Religious Right, oh my,”, and learn that such despicable and yes, reactionary methods -reminiscence of Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist hysteria of the 1950’s - are being used by the Lavender Caucus and its supporters against all those expressing gender critical feminist views within the Green Party. Indeed, “guilt by association” has gone so far here that several degrees of removal from the original “guilty” party are enough to paint someone with the same brush. Life-long socialists and long-time members of the Party have been accused by the Lavender Caucus and their supporters of aligning with the Proud Boys!
The smears against those who question a particular version of transgender politics have no basis in fact. There is no “symbiotic relationship” between gender critical feminists and the Christian Right. GC feminists and their allies have politics generally ranging from mainstream Democrat, to progressive Democrat, to independent to socialist to Green. Overwhelmingly, GC feminists unequivocally support lesbian and gay rights, birth control, the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion rights and the right of everyone to dress, express themselves, and pursue their interests as they chose, which many people refer to as “gender.”
These are hardly Christian fundamentalist Right wing positions.
The truth is that GC feminist and LGB groups are notoriously poor. They usually lack paid staff and have budgets that are tiny to non-existent. Yes, WoLF took a relatively small amount of money from the Right on one occasion, a move that, by the way, was widely condemned by GC radical feminists.
My Take on the Substantive Issues (pdf version)
by Steve Bloom
[Note—this piece was posted on April 2, 2021, to the work list of the NY State Green Party State Committee.]
The dispute between the National Lavender Caucus and the Georgia Green Party regarding the “International Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights” presently confronts our national party with a choice that is going to be destructive no matter what choice is made.
It shouldn’t have to be that way.
Both sides in the dispute bear some considerable measure of blame for this difficulty, because each of them poses the political issues in dispute as a zero-sum game: an affirmation of one position requires a rejection of the other, full stop. “There is no middle ground” is a phrase I have heard often from my gender-critical radical-feminist friends. Clearly the forces allied with the National Lavender Caucus feel the same way. I insist, however, that the task of reasonable people in the Green Party and elsewhere is to create the middle ground we need to begin to inhabit on this issue, even if we have to pull both the most militant wing of the NLC and of the GCRFs kicking and screaming into that process.
On one issue and one issue only I place 100 percent of the blame on the NLC forces: They are the ones who reject a coexistence in the broad-tent of the Green Party including those with whom they disagree on questions of sex and gender. The NLC calls for the expulsion of Georgia. There is no reciprocal call by the Georgia Party or by the consciously GCRF members of the US Green Party for the expulsion of the NLC. That’s why I have so far been able to work with GCRF elements in Dialogue not Expulsion, because the goal of that formation is to avoid a split in the party over this question. There are many political issues where the Green Party has different wings, broad currents which affirm opposite sides of important issues—and where we simply agree to disagree. The civil war in Syria can be noted as the clearest example. Those on each side of this question might, quite reasonably, make a case that the other is in violation of our Ten Key Values. And yet no one would consider expelling someone else based on their viewpoint regarding the Syrian civil war. Likewise with the divide between ecosocialists and green capitalists. We find ways to coexist.
It is my judgment that we should be able to carve out a reasonable modus operandi on the sex/gender question too, where those on both sides look for ways to coexist and build a common party — based on our collective goal of forging a genuinely independent electoral alternative in the USA.
* * * * *
On the substantive questions in dispute all I can do is express my personal viewpoint. I know that many will not agree with that viewpoint. Still, it’s my hope that if others consider my specific perspective on the substantive issues it might help generate an understanding of why I believe it’s possible to create a middle ground, and why I see this as perhaps the most important task:
- Please follow the 'read more' link to access the full text of the "Green Feminists: A Women's Liberation Collective" 10-page response, dated February 18, 2021, to the Accreditation Committee complaint brought by the Lavender Caucus against the Georgia Green Party.
We are an organization of Green Party feminists—women, adult human females—working to ensure that one of our Party’s Ten Key Values, that of feminism, is given due weight in the internal functioning of the Green Party (GPUS) and in our public campaigns, and that those who defend these rights are not targeted or silenced within our Party. We wholeheartedly agree that our society “has inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics” (TKV no. 7) and that the “change the world is crying for cannot occur unless women’s voices are heard.” (GPUS Platform, II(A)(1)). Our Women’s Liberation Collective demands equal participation and representation for our sex within the Green Party and society.
We maintain that defending the sex-based rights of women and girls is not ‘hate’ and that biology is not ‘bigotry’. We further maintain that “respect for diversity” also includes respect and tolerance for diverse opinions, particularly in a political party that claims feminism as one of its 10 Key Values, rather than attempting to silence the voices of those of us born female.
We urge the Accreditation Committee (and the National Committee, if necessary) to uphold our Green values of feminism, respect for diversity, grassroots democracy, and decentralization, and dismiss the mean-spirited and ill-founded complaint made by the Lavender Caucus against the Georgia Green Party.
Here you will find the full text of a statement, dated January 31, 2021, reflecting the viewpoint of the Dialogue not Expulsion Caucus, in response to the National Lavender Green Caucus (NLGC) complaint against the Georgia Green Party (GaGP) recently filed with the Accreditation Committee.
There are, in fact, a significant number of medical practitioners who have objected to the prevailing treatments for “gender dysphoria.” Lay people are also entitled to an educated dissent. This is not a crime, and cannot be treated as if it were by the Green Party.
. . .
To date there has been no response from the Lavender Caucus and its supporters to any of these proposals for a structured political conversation in which all members of the Green Party can participate.
. . .
It would be a grave disservice to the democratic functioning of our party therefore—indeed an action far beyond the limited authority delegated to your committee—for the AC to now take it upon itself to establish “violation of the national platform” as a new offense punishable by suspension or disaccreditation.
. . .
Surely we are not going to act based on the idea that taking what some believe to be the wrong positionin a political dispute about how to apply our key values is now an offense which justifies one segment of the party expelling another.
. . .
If there is not even a single point in this complaint that justifies the action proposed, and it is clear fromthe assessment above that there is not, then the complaint itself should, simply, be rejected both by the AC and by all Greens who are interested in maintaining a spirit of democracy and political pluralism in our party.
Follow the read more link to read the entire document or download the four page pdf here.
Having reviewed the Complaint filed against the Georgia Green Party it is quite apparent to me that Margaret Elisabeth has likely read neither the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia, 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020), nor the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act. If these documents were indeed read, Margaret Elisabeth completely misunderstands or else has consciously misrepresented what Bostock and the Feminist Amendments stand for.
Whether Margaret Elizabeth acted purposefully or was merely misinformed, the Bostock decision as it actually reads and the Feminist Amendments as actually drafted provide no basis for criticizing not to speak of suspending the Georgia State Party.
- My name was mentioned specifically in the Lavender Caucus Complaint against the Georgia Party. In addition, there were several false or misleading statements in the Complaint including about the Feminist Amendments to the Equality Act (which I co-authored) and the Bostock decision. I believe that I should have an opportunity to correct the record.
Madame and Mister Co-Chairs,
. . .
III. In response we offer the following:
A. the NLC complaint relies on accusations without evidence
B. violation of the Platform is not an actionable offense
C. NLC case relies on a narrow and controversial interpretation
D. implication of NLC’s interpretation requires compelled thought and compelled speech, inconsistent with Green values, scientific method and democratic engagement
E. national party platform is a living document
F. NLC interpretation is inconsistent with the Green Party’s key values
G. the Green Party is a feminist political party
H. coherent logic is made impossible by imprecise use of language
I. democracy requires that rules be constructed based on the meaning ascribed to words by the deliberative bodies adopting such rules
J. debate on underlying issue complicated by involvement of monied interests and the corporate capture of public and private institutions
K. meaning of ‘gender’ has shifted since party rules were formulated
L. NLC has engaged in anti-democratic bullying behaviors which have threatened internal democracy within the Green Party
IV. in closing
For all of these reasons and more, we urge this committee to table and ignore this spurious complaint and to allow our national party's platform process to serve its purpose as the venue for debate on the political divisions over public policy within our party.
. . .
- In their complaint (referred to in this document as the NLC complaint or the complaint), the complainant seeks action by the Accreditation Committee with the intended result of ‘suspending’ the Georgia Green Party, placing our state party on ‘inactive status’; or alternately to take action to ‘disaccredit’ our state party, by asking the Green National Committee to sever its relationship with the Georgia party. . . . The NLC complaint fails to state an actionable claim that either proposed outcome is justified. We urge that this committee (1) reject this complaint, (2) exercise patience that the party’s process for the democratic revision to its platform will function to resolve disputes among accredited members over platform language and (3) allow our state and national parties to return to the important work of building capacity for the election cycle which began as the polls closed November 3rd, 2020.
National Lavender Green Caucus files complaint with Accreditation Committee seeking dis-accreditation of the Georgia Green PartyThe Accreditation Committee of the Green Party of the United States has given notice to the officers of the Georgia Green Party of their intention to give consideration as early as January 22nd, 2021 to a complaint filed by the co-chair of the National Lavender Green Caucus seeking the dis-accreditation of the Georgia Green Party.
- On September 25, 2020, Anita Rios, co-chair of the GPUS Diversity Committee, shared the committee’s response “to the Georgia Green Party’s affirmation of the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights” on the NC-Affairs list. The following is the Dialogue Not Expulsion Caucus’ official response to that statement, ratified by consensus on October 7th.
- The Administrative Committee of the Dialogue Not Expulsion Caucus responds on May 15th to being labeled a 'hate group' by a co-chair of the Lavender Caucus, and again calls for a party-wide discussion on sex and gender issues.
- In a Mothers' Day message, the DnE Caucus responds to public statements by officers of the Lavender Caucus deconstructing its spurious claims intended to discredit the work of DnE supporters and the DnE Caucus, and reiterating its demands for a civil conversation among Party supporters on questions raised by advocates for public policies grounded in gender ideology.
- On April 29th, the DnE Caucus sent an open letter to the leadership of the Lavender Caucus recommending two strategies for framing a party wide discussion on conflicts over competing public policy demands rooted in the diverse perspectives among Greens around sex and gender; specifically (1) establishing 'an online discussion buletin' for 'a respectful exchange of ideas'; and (2) organizing a 'public forum' to hear a 'range of viewpoints' on the subject.
- On April 7th, the Georgia Green Party responded publicly to an invitation to a 'reconciliation retreat' with a letter published to the state party's website and delivered to Dario Hunter who had sought to broker such a retreat. In their letter they describe a range of behaviors by Lavender Caucus leadership and supporters which have created a hostile environment in party forums, and propose a party-wide conversation, stating that they welcome "an opportunity to participate in dialogue on the issues raised by the Platform amendment which has been the subject of this recent controversy".
- Claiming that '(a)utocratic methods are no substitute for democratic discussion and debate', a newly organized Dialogue Not Expulsion Caucus on April 2d, 2020 wrote to members of the Steering Committee of the Green Party of the United States to take exception to a recent statement made by the Steering Commimttee, as 'totally inappropriate'; and urging them instead to 'take steps to organize the kind of national conversation recommended by the Dialogue Not Expulsion petition, allowing for everyone to have a voice, rather than rushing to judgment and making ill-informed statements'.
Statement by the National Black Caucus "Concerning the Georgia Green Party and the Transgender specific related issues", dated March 28, 2020On March 28, 2020, the National Black Caucus (NBC) released two statements through internal party channels, that were subsequently published to www.gp.org under the heading of "Statement from the National Black Caucus on recent issues and events." Because that 'statement' actually contains two separate documents, only one of which is relevant to the dispute between the Georgia Green Party (GaGP) and the National Lavender Green Caucus (NLGC), we are exercising our option to republish that publicly accessible statement here in it's entirety in order that we, and others, may link to the relevant text directly. Here is that statement, as originally published, in full: