From: The Dialogue Not Expulsion Caucus
To: The Lavender Green Caucus
CC: Dario Hunter, GPUS National Committee, GPUS Steering Committee
Date: May 10, 2020
We have learned that the co-chairs of the Lavender Caucus have informed the National Committee that they are unwilling to reply to the concrete proposal made by the Dialogue Not Expulsion Caucus for carrying out a party-wide democratic discussion of issues of sex and gender within the Green Party. This refusal is on highly dubious grounds.
First, the LC described this as an “anonymous email” from a “random group of Greens” but made no attempt to obtain additional information by simply replying to the email. Moreover, who we are should have been no mystery to the leadership of the LC who is certainly aware of the Greens for Dialogue Not Expulsion Statement that has been circulating around the country. Members of the Georgia Party are part of our caucus but it is far broader than that. The DNE Statement now has 216 signers, Greens from 36 U.S. states plus Washington D.C. and five other nations. To state the obvious, the caucus derives from the DNE Statement's signatories, the vast majority of whom are publicly identified. By contrast, the petition of the Lavender Caucus, with 124 signers, lists no names whatsoever other than the co-chairs, so it is unknown who is supporting their petition or behind their statements.
Second, the LC refuses to acknowledge that this dispute concerns the entire party, not just the LC and the Georgia Greens. The LC would prefer to keep the disagreement confined to the LC and the Georgia Green Party behind closed doors, to continue to threaten Georgia with decertification and to make misleading statements claiming that the Georgia Party has refused a dialogue, when nothing could be further from the truth. In its written response to Dario and the LC on April 7th, the Georgia Green Party clearly stated "The resolution of this conflict must engage a party-wide conversation on the underlying issues", repeatedly opened the door to ongoing dialogue (though not necessarily on terms solely defined by Dario and the LC), and additionally proposed a written exchange on the issues in dispute.
The DNE also previously called for a discussion of the substantive issues in its April 2nd response to the GPUS Steering Committee letter condemning the Georgia Green Party for its “unfortunate statements” in support of the Declaration on Women’s Sex-Based Rights. Those of us in DNE have a range of viewpoints on that document, but we are united in the opinion that it raises important areas for discussion and debate within the Green Party, and that it is within the acceptable range of Green politics for those who do endorse the declaration to say so. This is a document already endorsed by over 7,300 individuals from 104 countries, in collaboration with 150 organizations. There are many Greens outside of Georgia who agree with the Georgia Party’s actions endorsing thedeclaration, and there are still more who, while they may have some disagreement with the declaration or are undecided, feel that the party would benefit from a conversation about the issues raised in that text.
There is more than one oppressed or marginalized group whose rights are implicated in this dispute, those of the female sex, and those of transgender individuals, among others. The Green Party, using our tools of grassroots democracy, is in the best position to openly discuss these complex issues and seek resolution. However the DRC process plays out, every Green member has the right to voice her/his opinion about sex and gender.
Third, the fact that we are not an officially recognized caucus is irrelevant. It’s a basic principle of democracy that people should have a right to organize based on common political views or approaches. Our caucus is an affinity caucus rather than an identity caucus and neither seeks nor requires recognition from the Green Party as an “official”caucus. The DNE Caucus is quite diverse in our views on sex and gender but is united on the need for a broader and deeper democracy within the Green Party and against autocratic methods exhibited by the Lavender Greens that would seek to silence or expel Greens with dissenting views.
Finally, none of us are “haters” or “bigots”. No one is trying to take away anyone’s freedom to see themselves as they choose and express themselves as they like. We all support basic civil and human rights for everyone. There are members of our caucus who are lesbian, gay or bisexual and/or who are gender non-conforming ourselves. None of us are Republicans or Democrats – we are Greens. We don’t want to repeal the Social Justice Pillar, but to deepen our understanding of it through democratic discussion so everyone’s rights are protected to the fullest extent possible.
Should the Lavender Caucus reconsider its refusal to engage in an open and respectful dialogue involving the whole Party, we will be glad to appoint representatives to meet with it to discuss how a genuine and productive dialogue could be organized within the Party.
Kerri Bruss and Ann Menasche
For the Dialogue Not Expulsion Caucus