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The Debate Over GP 2.0 Initiative

First See: How to turn the Green Party Decline Around [1]

(Debating privately doesn't seem to serve the greater interest of the party as a whole, so here's what people have been saying about the above linked initiative)

Kendra Gonzales responded:

"Joe, things are really in process....but again we are all volunteer except for a couple of paid staff (for the entire state!), so things are not always going to progress quickly or smoothly, but we really are on track!"

Joe G:

"I really don't agree about the "on track."

Getting a few people to hold meetings in a county is essentially useless. Without a MAJOR OVERHAUL I just don't see there being a Green Party. It's more of a Green club."

david doonan, web manager:

"I agree absolutely about the need for a discussion forum, open for all, not just Greens. vBulletin is a commercial, web-based application that powers many discussion boards."


"While I'm in agreement regarding a site redesign, please keep in mind that the current web directory contains around 1.7 gig of files. Moving the site over to Joomla or Drupal would be the best way to go for many reasons (including making the site smartphone happy); merging the content from .html, .shtml & .php files into a new system would not be swift."

Joe G:

These types of issues are why I propose an entirely NEW and NATIONALLY FOCUSED (general public) site, so that all the various technical issues disappear. Start with a new design, new initiative. Clean slate, volunteers from around the country.

Jim Doyle:

"The bad news is a lack of "manpower" for implementing the ideas you proposed."

Joe G:

"I wouldn't assume that without putting out a call, nationally first.

I'm proposing at least three different things.

The forum could be set up separately from the media library and separate again from the website. They don't all need to be done concurrently either.

In the case of your video project, if there was an active forum you could post a call for Greens with video cameras to come out and record it. Then it could be uploaded with all the raw footage, as well as an edited version. Shorter is (much) better.

Then the raw video could be picked up and downloaded across the country and little clips taken. People could ask their friends if they'd like to do something similar locally? Then this new location gets involved and attracts a few more people who are tired of waiting for the great Savior from Washington.

There's a snowball effect to aim for. But it needs the basic tools first -- the forum, the media library.

NOW, forums and media libraries aren't new technology. They're all over the net. This one is special because it's dedicated and focused on Green Party members and their materials. Its specific function adds value. People seeking that will gravitate there, hopefully. They will be told about it from the Green Party structure itself, I would hope. These tools will allow larger numbers of people to work together more easily.

I don't think it would take a lot of manpower or money to get started. Just the will and the sense to do it."

Bert Heuer:

"Secondly, I don't subscribe to the lack of manpower thesis. I agree with you that the central issue is organization - to my mind solutions to

most of the rest of the issues follow from improvements to the organization. Although your adjective fits, I prefer to characterize

GPCA organization as "currently ineffective" (rather than your "poor").


Now, several of your points, both with this email chain and in some of your other writings, lead me to think you may not be aware of the existing structure of the California party - however flawed that structure might be."

Joe G:

"...I'll reiterate that I don't think restricting anything to the state level is appropriate to the general public, and the main "landing page" website ( I have proposed. It needs to be national in scope, and can therefore draw upon any successes, and any people across the nation who want to get involved.

Dividing the efforts by state and county distracts from a comprehensive strategy to change the idea of the "Green Party" in people's minds across the country. This needs to be a collaborative effort with the national people and various state leaders/committees.

If that can't happen -- at first -- then the new site can easily just link to their existing web presences. Later, if there is success they will opt to get more involved.

By inviting in all the other entities, more resources should become available. More people, more ideas, more activity on the new forum that would be created, etc.

A site like that which signs people up en masse, and keeps track of their data, keeps in contact with them, becomes its own competing structure. If the new site attracts the new people, it takes on a significance and a weight. It also becomes a model to emulate at the state and local levels. Leading by example.

In this way, creating a new presence bypasses all the red tape and bickering about the existing sites and procedures. It needs to lead by example, and just do it better than it has been done in the past.

My vision is to get the best Green people and innovations, and press, from across the country and make a powerful web site out of it to become the portal to attract new people.

The second component is a creative commons Green Media Library, to provide content to the nation, where people upload and download material at will.

The third component is a massive forum to get people talking not just by locale but by topics, by collaborative projects, by interest in video, graphics, writing articles, etc.

I guess the fourth component is to announce to the nation that there is a new Green Party, GP 2.0, that's open to everyone and expanding its ranks, getting established in new states, and WINNING RACES."

Bert H:

   "I disagree with you about "dividing the efforts by state and county". "

Joe G:

"My point is that the general public who is looking into the "Green Party" wants to see some credibility first. They want to see a serious organization, the image of success and competence and people who are on their side. None of what I just typed has anything whatsoever to do with "state" or "county."

That comes later. First they need to have a positive first impression. Getting into their county or state website is secondary.

This party lacks a "positive first impression." That cannot be overstated. It should not be discounted. That is the crux of what I've been saying.

The initiative should be a national one, although I don't think the GPUS needs to take the lead creating it (especially as they don't seem particularly interested so far).

The General Public are AMERICANS, not West Virginians, or Shasta Countians. You need to reach them as they are. Impress them that the Green Party STILL EXISTS for starters, and show some success up front.

Any website can send them off to their local people later. There's no trick in that.

What this "center of activity" and "first impression" website offers is the best of the Green Party nationally. The winners of races. The highest quality art. And a community forum that addresses all sorts of topics.

I'm afraid that falling back on yesterday's failed initiatives is no way forward:

Bert H:

   "Tactically, I will toss out the opinion that GPUS has its own well established website. Adding "" rather than effecting change  in the National party structure/web presence seems like division to no purpose."

Joe G:

"Getting new people signed up Green is "no purpose?" It's the ONLY legitimate purpose at this point. The rest is so much useless chatter. Without numbers, the party doesn't really exist.

Bert H:

  "It's useful stuff, and go get 'em - if you need my help, you've got it.  But my focus is fixing the Green Party of California."

Joe G:

Is there a way to liason with the other organizations? Are there lines of communication open between the national and other states? Isn't this some committee's purpose?

Here's a proposal:

1. Permanent committee to work with the national and state parties in driving in new Green Party members in as great a number as possible.

There's nothing to stop you from fixing the California problems. But, realize that spending dollars on initiatives that aren't leveraged (creating a single video vs. setting up a user-friendly open source video library that produces hundreds of vidoes...) is wasteful and inefficient. With such limited resources, the idea of ignoring the people-power out there across the nation (as some have suggested on that media list) seems like a losing strategy to me."

Bert H:

   "Like I said, I believe that "ground game wins elections" and therefore we need to get GPCA (and all its counties) participating."

Joe G:

"My initiative provides several alluring ways of reaching people. It creates openings. It creates news. It creates independent media. If you want to help at the county level, we need leadership and initiative to get things rolling and remake the party to seem "happening."

The game plan of the past has been less than impressive. "

Bert H:

   "Right now "victory" is something like winning some Assembly seats."

Joe G:

"Are there ANY in the state of California?

I had banked on highlighting some of the previous victories in other states. At least we could show some progress."

Bert H:

   "But in all cases, I think we should not be looking to replace what is currently there."

Joe G:

"I'm talking about ignoring 'what's currently there, and just building something better. If you try and remake what's there, you're stuck and boxed in, and worried about stepping on people's toes. And, as I said, we need a general "first impression" site, not a California site.

Bert H:

   "BTW, I really like "Green Party 2.0"

Joe G:

"But it's so much more than just a slogan."

Bert H:

"Adding the subtitle: "Green Party 2.0: There's Life After Nader" :-)."

Joe G:

"Ralph Nader is the reason I joined this party."