First, I have a request: Don't bother commenting on how you already knew (or perhaps even told me) that Nick Brana is a clever grifter whose People's Party is a Democrat-sponsored sideshow sucking attention and momentum from the Greens. You're not going to convince me, and I'm not likely to convince you otherwise.
My impression has always been that Brana is misguided but not wrong; that he is not evil or a tool of the Duopoly. The main phenomenon underpinning that impression is the number of people I respect, people who know bullshit when they see it, working to build and expand the People's Party. Brana is clever, but he's not clever enough to long-con the likes of Dr. Cornel West, Chris Hedges, Marianne Williamson, and Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap.
Since 2018, when it looked as if the Green Party of Texas evanescing, I have been flirting with the idea of jumping aboard the Movement for a People's Party. MPP had energy, funding, publicity from YouTube progressives, and what I thought were some good organizing mojo; GPTX did not, especially after an attempt at regaining ballot access crashed and burned before it could really take off.
This past week, among other phenomena, I have seen
Move to Amend's Sopoci-Belknap announcing that she is switching her partisan registration in California from Green to People's Party, even in a state with (historically) one of the strongest Green Party organizations in the US;
- AmpedUp podcaster Ryan Knight's withdrawal from the Advisory Committee of the People's Party, citing the party leadership's balking at embracing socialism (while welcoming individuals who identify as socialists), and then getting bitched out on Twitter by DSA members for his supposed "socialist-er-than-thou" posture despite being a relatively new convert to socialism; and
- Multiple items like the one above from Our Revolution LA's Triston Mendez concerning the strange and alienating behavior that Brana et al have exhibited toward people who want to help with organizing.
In a nutshell, the People's Party has a better chance of electoral success than the Green Party with all its baggage...but currently it's not socialist enough or sufficiently well organized to bring about the policy outcomes it claims to want. Yep.
Last year, when ORLA announced that it was aligning with MPP, Brana was thrilled. It was the largest of several Our Revolution chapters that did what one would expect disaffected Bernie Sanders supporters to do: toss all ties to the Bernie-screwing Democratic Party overboard. Brana also seemed interested when I tweeted a proposal for a coalition between Greens and Peoplists (not the official shorthand for People's Party partisans, but I kinda like it); then that interest kinda disappeared in the run-up to the 2020 People's Party convention.
Enough with the Background and Context Already!
Agreed, that's enough. In fact, there's too much context to supply here, including repetitions of previous blog entries that you can read for yourself.
Here's the central message: I am not going to stamp CANCELED on the People's Party just because they've made a few errors in judgment or driven good people away. I couldn't do that to the Green Party—and believe me, I tried, back in 2018 when Harris County Green Party imploded—because Greenness is too interwoven with my identity. I couldn't do that with First UU Church for much the same reason, even when there were rifts in the congregation or ministers whose presentational style occasionally made me cringe.
However, I also agree with Knight that the solution to the problems of capitalism is not more capitalism, or even a more humane variant of capitalism. The solution that will help the most people live in dignity requires abandoning capitalism and implementing a socialism that has learned from socialist governments' mistakes.
I want to see the People's Party succeed—by which I mean "live up to its professed ambitions of providing a viable progressive alternative in all 51 states." Whether it embraces socialism or not, it should exist, and it should attract as many disaffected Democrats, Republicans, and non-voters as necessary to exist. (Even today the term ecosocialist is controversial within Green ranks). It will not succeed if sincere activists bail out on them or are pushed out.
I also want the Greens to succeed, and the Libertarians as well, because the two-corporate-party system is the main impediment to any people-centered legislation or policy. The system forces millions of people to vote based on what they fear rather than their aspirations, and millions more to walk away from the whole circus in disgust.
Beyond that, I will not tell any fellow Progressives what position they should take on this issue, if they choose to take any position at all. Y'all are intelligent people who can process the available facts and reach your own conclusions.
Interpersonal shit will happen within any movement: It's like a rock band that has more than one ego-driven creative type, each with their own ideas about The Direction of the Band. Sometimes the friction gets so intense that the band disbands entirely; other times, a member jumps ship or is cast aside, is (usually) replaced, and forms another band; still other times, the members work out their differences. (Just yesterday I read about the personnel problems of The Byrds over their ten-year recording career. Egad. Jim/Roger McGuinn should have just ended the project in 1968 and formed a new group, but being a Byrd was too lucrative to allow that.)
I may be reading this situation incorrectly, but it appears to me that Brana aspired to learn from the Green Party's mistakes and put that learning into practice. One of the "mistakes" common in Greendom (although some would consider it a virtue) is implementing a hyperdemocratic consensus-based decision-making process. Democracy is intrinsically good, but it sure can slow things down when certain folks at the meeting insist on having their say and can't keep their comments concise (yes, I plead guilty to a few counts of that)—or when principles rub up against practicality.
If you can't keep your meetings crisp and within the time constraints, people will not want to come to your meetings. The time for everyone trying to get their two cents in is not during the meeting; do that in pre-meeting and post-meeting communications. The Steering Committee sets an agenda and should follow it as close to the letter as possible; anybody who wants to add an item can show up at the Steering Committee meeting or email their ideas to a sympathetic member of that committee.
The picture of the People's Party inner circle managerial style, as painted by its detractors, shows an "our way or the highway" approach. They know what they want to achieve, and how to achieve it; they don't have time to listen to alternative suggestions that might steer them in the right direction but could also cause the party's course to waver.
Some active Peoplists may offer a different perspective, or even a thorough refutation. I would welcome a thoughtful, nuanced reply, in a non-Twitter format, telling me where I'm wrong or right. I just hope they understand that other people within the movement have had wildly different experiences. If they can't listen to the stories of those experiences--truly listen—they should question whether party building is worth their time and effort.