Dialogue not Expulsion Reply to the Green Party National Steering Committee

Dialogue not Expulsion Reply
to the Green Party National Steering Committee
June 4, 2021 pdf

The statement issued on Monday, May 24, by the national Steering Committee of the Green Party titled “GPUS Steering Committee Statement on the Dialog not Expulsion Caucus” consists of nothing more than a list of baseless assertions about our caucus and its political motives. There isn’t a single citation of a single policy of our caucus, a single word we have written, or a single action we have taken that can substantiate even one of the accusations made. By any reasonable standard of political discourse, therefore, such a statement should simply be dismissed out of hand.

Socrates -- When debate is lost, slander becomes tool of losers
Socrates -- When debate is lost, slander becomes tool of losers

Still, we do not find ourselves at a moment in history when reasonable standards of political discourse seem to prevail. We will, therefore, say a few words more.

“Dialogue not Expulsion” began life as a sign-on statement that is posted here. Later some of those who signed onto the statement gathered together in a group to engage in concerted action to defend reasonable standards of political discourse in the Green Party. On our website we posted both formal statements of our caucus (all specifically identified as such) and relevant comments made by individuals or collectives with different points of view about the issues in dispute (also clearly identified as to who their authors are). That is our only crime: We called for and attempted to facilitate a political discussion about the political issues in dispute in our party as an alternative (and in opposition) to the campaign for the expulsion of the Georgia Green Party because of its expressed views on questions of sex and gender.

We used the word “caucus” to describe ourselves. This is a normal English usage of a normal English word that is recognized in every political collective we are aware of. Now, in the Green Party, it suddenly becomes an indictable offense. We adopted the Earthflower logo for our website—the display of which as a fair-use item substantially predates the founding of the Green Party of the United States—in order to illustrate our commitment to the core values of the Green Party. This, we are told, is some sinister plot.

Why is it that those who are setting an agenda for the national Steering Committee choose to focus the present declaration on trivial complaints of this nature rather than to engage in any serious discussion about the political issues that underlie the current crisis in our party? The obvious explanation is that they do not feel they can make a case that is strong enough on the substantive issues. They proceed, therefore, with a torrent of attacks on the character and motives of those with whom they disagree, based on half-truths and outright distortions, hoping that people will forget about the political issues.

We will assert, further, that it is completely improper for the national Steering Committee of the Green Party to take sides in a dispute that is, shortly, going to come before the full national Committee for discussion and decision. The SC is a subcommittee of the NC and, by rights, should play a neutral role, strictly as the facilitator of a fair and honest assessment by the NC of the relevant questions. This has now been made impossible, however, by the choice to denounce one side—even before the report of the Accreditation Committee is brought to the NC. We find it of some considerable interest that this is the first and only time to our knowledge the national Steering Committee has issued a formal public declaration. The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis did not stimulate such an action. The most recent Israeli attack on Palestinian civilians did not stimulate such an action, nor did any of a number of noteworthy events in between. On its face this would seem most extraordinary.

The tragedy we face is that this effort to substitute slanders for political discussion may well succeed if Greens who know better fail to speak up. But of course the intimidation of Greens who know better, making it impossible for them to speak up for fear of being the next ones subject to a torrent of personal attacks, is one of the clear effects a declaration like this from the national leadership of the Green Party is inevitably going to have. As we say: it portends a tragedy—which will be a tragedy for the US Green Party far more than for those of us who have been active in DnE. We therefore call on members and supporters of the Green Party in the USA to demand something better from their leading committee than what this statement offers us.

If it is a crime to request an honest political discussion of honest political disagreements we hereby commit the same offense again. And we ask others to do likewise.