A Complex Situation

Usually, a journal reports what has been done rather than what it is to be hoped will be done. That has been my usual practice here. For reasons I will at least attempt to explain, this post will be different.

A couple of weeks ago, T Oliver sent an email to Party activists asking whether anyone would be willing to represent the Pacific Green Party at a meeting of the general board of the participating organizations, of which the Party is one, of the Health for All Oregon coalition in Salem. His schedule prevented him.

I answered that I was already going; as the secretary of the Eastside Democratic Club I had volunteered weeks before to represent that organization, and the former Club president, longtime progressive Jim Robison, had volunteered to go to Salem with me.

We drove down together on Friday, the 16th of November, and attended the meeting. It was a group of about 40 activists, and it had a budget upwards of a hundred thousand. What they want to do is, to lobby the state legislature by getting as large a turnout as possible to a demonstration on the steps of the state Capitol building on the first day of the upcoming legislative session, to show support for a bill requiring healthcare for all Oregon residents.

Since the Pacific Green Party is a cosponsor of HCAO, the coalition in question, I called in to the next meeting of the Party’s State Co-ordinating Committee. I wanted to report what I just wrote, that the Pacific Green Party could assist this effort by getting as many Party members (preferably with banners) on the steps of the state Capitol on February 4th as we could.

But the reception I got in the SCC was quite interesting. First, an SCC member said he objected to my reporting to the SCC at all: my participation was that of a chapter member, and chapter reports ought to be submitted in writing, if at all. When that was overridden — I was reporting on a state-wide effort, of which the Party was signatory, and presenting what would assist this effort — I was asked by another SCC member whether I would continue to act as liaison between the HCAO coalition and the Pacific Green Party. Again, that same person on the SCC who had objected to the report, objected to my service as liaison.

I will be presenting the materials and the details discussed at the November 16th meeting I attended to the next meeting of the Cascadia Chapter. I will be asking, both of the Cascadia Chapter, and, when next it meets, of the Eastside Democratic Club, who can be committed to attending the February 4th rally for the cause.

But because of the objections of one member of the SCC, the Pacific Green Party has no liaison for the state party in this effort to promote health for all Oregonians.

I find this interesting, to say the least. Even self-destructive.

About M. Meo

Worked as translator, museum technician, truck lumper, lecture demonstrator, teacher (of English as a Second Language, science, math). Married for 25 years, 2 boys aged 18 & 16 (both on the Grant cross-country team). A couple of scholarly publications in the history of science. Two years in federal penitentiary, 1970/71, for refusing the draft.
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3 Responses to A Complex Situation

  1. Debra says:

    Not being familiar with the inner processes of the Pacific Greens, what happens now-and what process exists for moving past this odd development?
    On a mote personal note, gave you been able to ascertain this person’s objections to your involvement?

    Thanks

    • Dear Debra,

      Somewhat more than a year ago, I was a member of the SCC myself. The issue came up, whether the Party was to condemn or not the bombing of Libya.
      As an SCC member, I put in a ‘block’: on something that concerned me deeply, I was unwilling to assent to a Party action I could not condone — namely failing to condemn the bombing.
      I was overridden. I resigned the SCC immediately.
      The option of overriding a ‘block’ exists, but I strongly recommend not using it. Rather, the fact that a particular member is using the SCC to prevent normal sharing of responsibility is a signal that something is seriously wrong with the Party.
      I don’t think it possible for my own action to solve it.
      As for the objection: it is clear to me that the person in question is unwilling to tolerate opposition to his hegemony within the Party.

  2. I find myself thinking about the future of our party often, does it want to shrivel up and die as it seems that that is exactly what is happening, or does it want to grow? If it truly wants to continue to exist then we must focus our energy at attracting the youth to our party, without an infusion of fresh blood we are doomed.

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