There were four of us in the Chrysler Town ‘n’ Country barreling down the Interstate, late for the state convention in Salem for the Pacific Green Party of Oregon. Your Intrepid Reporter was at the wheel, with his colleague [and State Co-ordinating Committeemember] Scott Green and Scott’s friend — sufficiently supportive of his politics to be joining the Party today — Katie, as well as the new Portland resident but veteran activist, formerly of Sacramento [just like, she subsequently pointed out, Pacific Green Party treasurer Pat Driscoll], Starlene Rankin.
It turns out that both Starlene and Scott came from families, the father of whom served in the US Air Force. (Ach, the syntax may be shaky, but the meaning is clear.)
The convention was well-attended; depending on how you counted, there were between 27 and 29 attendees. George Hutchinson of Corvallis did the facilitation, with his usual good judgement, but his countymen Charles Newlin, Mike Beilstein, Alex Polikoff, Vernon Huffman, Tim Dehne, and Delbert McCombs joined him.
George was kind enough to ask me how much of a fine I had to pay for the “infraction” of posting on the day of Occupy Mount Tabor a prominent Green Party banner. It was $260.
At 10:30 Vernon Huffman spoke at some length on the topic of civil disobedience as a means of resisting the imposition of the KXL Pipeline. He advised Your Intrepid Reporter to contact Bonnie Tinker for further detail in the Portland area. The National Lawyers’ Guild is offering legal support.
The agenda item introduced by Scott Green, an amendment to our Party’s platform which would assert a legal right to healthy [which in the present instance means that drawn from non-genetically-modified-organisms] food, did not gain consensus support. Mike Beilstein suggested that an explicit opposition to GMO technology was unnecessarily constrictive, and that what we were after was a statement of opposition to deleterious or dangerous applications of technology, rather than the technology which, Who Knows? might be just what helps in some unforeseen future circumstance. Your Intrepid Reporter volunteered to be on the Wordsmithing Committee, as I think George Hutchinson phrased it (but in full disclosure, the same must admit that he does not know the other volunteers, and hopes that one of them contacts him).
At 11:30 Chair of the Host Committee and SCC Member Byron Harmon made a considered critique of the present Party infrastructure; it was answered by treasurer Pat Driscoll’s observation that there is now an accessibly-constructed website, and that among the Party resources available presently there is an office in Eugene and the capacity to provide bulk mailings. Some eloquent talk followed. An Elections Working Group was formed at 11:50, to consist of Byron Harmon, Pat Driscoll, the effervescent Eugene-based activist Hali Burley, Ken (I believe the last name to be Adams), and volatile Robert Zivlovich of Salem.
We elected Starlene Rankin and Hali Burley to the SCC.
I had the good fortune to be able to eat lunch with Mike Beilstein, who described the participation of his Pastors for Peace group in the celebration, last summer, of the 60th anniversary of the attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba on July 26, 1953, the historical beginning of the Cuban Revolution. The first speaker was President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro, followed by Evo Morales of Bolivia and Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua. Delbert McCombs stopped by, having had lunch in the same small restaurant; I also saw a couple of the Salem folks whom I met at the last convention, in Eugene.
After lunch we heard an address, or perhaps a request, by an attorney recently arrived in the state who had joined the NAACP and wanted to open lines of coalition-building with the Party.
At 2:10 Byron Harmon reported that the Salem Chapter of the Party, of which he is the revivifier [that’s my term for it], is preparing two statewide initiatives one to require biodegradable pakaging and the other to prohibit the construction of any new fossil-fuel infrastructure in the state. Various pieces of advice, encouragement, and warning subsequently accumulated at Byron’s feet; George put forward the suggestion that the state convention bless the Salem chapter’s “proceeding” with its daunting efforts.
In response to a question from Alex, Party co-founder Blair Bobier brought the audience up to date with the move to legalize marijuana.
Alex, Mike, and myself, declared candidates, introduced ourselves to the group.
The now four Party members from Portland drove home and Your Intrepid Reporter had an attack of lower back pain that kept him bed-ridden for most of the next day.