As coverage of the Green Party in mainstream papers goes, Kormbaki's piece is above average. It contains no obvious factual errors and treats the Party as a legitimate political movement, not just a one-off human-interest story. It certainly doesn't hurt that Kormbaki works for a German news outlet aligned with the Social Democrats, a party whose role as leaders of the left is gradually shifting to the Greens, as is happening elsewhere in Europe.
The photo selected to accompany the article features some Greenfolk I love and admire, such as the late Ashely "Flashe" Gordon (on the right end, partially obscured by a camera). This photo helps bust the persistent myth that the Green Party is just for old white recovering hippies. It is a microcosm of the convention delegates and the Party as a whole: diverse in ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and other dimensions.
“We have an opportunity to present the state of Texas with a democratic choice that the voters would not previously have had under the oppressive two-party system, which is really just a one-party system,” said Janis Richards, co-chair of the Green Party of Texas.
“The Democrats kidnapped the Green New Deal, but I don’t mind at all. This way our name is constantly in front of people - the Greens are present,” Richards said. The Houston-based party leader, who intends to run for a Texas House seat in 2020, views the much-discussed Green New Deal as an advertisement for her party: “When the public hears about green ideas it knows who came up with those in the first place: us, the Green Party.”
Some American Greens are closely watching what is happening in Europe, where the party is on the rise. In May, the European Parliament election showed that increasing environmental awareness can be turned into political representation. In Germany, for example, the Greens got over a fifth of the vote share. What was once seen as a radical and crazy fringe movement has become an inevitable political force on the regional as well as on the national level.
This, though, is far away from the reality her party faces, Richards said. “The Green Party is ineffective at the moment,” she said. “It is marginalized by the media as well as by the political establishment of the Democratic and the Republican party.”
Oil city Houston is not a natural habitat for activists and politicians with green proposals. "Of course it is not easy to promote the end of fossil fuels in a city like Houston,” former Texas party leader Laura Palmer said. But she is convinced of the need for a transition to renewable energies - accompanied by a minimum income for workers. “These are painful discussions but we have to have them in order to stop poisoning ourselves,” she said.
Given their poor results in elections so far, the Texas Greens stick to the idea that their actual power lies not in winning electoral seats but in pushing ideas: “Whether it was abolition, women's suffrage or civil rights: Progressive ideas have repeatedly been forced into the public debate by alternative parties,” Palmer said. “Now this is happening with climate action.”
“We wish that those Democrats would (a) give us credit and (b) retain the portions guaranteeing a 'just transition' away from fossil fuels by 2030,” stressed David Collins, who is serving as a co-chair of the Green Party Houston. He adds: “The Democratic Party continues to take millions of dollars of corporate interests—including the fossil fuel industry."
A small semantical detail: I recall saying "...millions of dollars from corporate interests."
In retrospect, I would add that readers should not conclude that all Green activists and voters feel the same as Laura, Janis, and I do about Democrats' adaptation of the Green New Deal. Our view, however, is that governments need to start implementing such policies right away, and then figure out how to adjust them as new data emerge.
It is also important to note that climate change is not an isolated issue; it is connected with multiple issues related to social, economic, and environmental justice. Our analysis is that predatory capitalism and militaristic imperialism must be dismantled, as they are unsustainable and incompatible with climate solutions. The current worldwide refugee crisis will likely become far worse; wealthy nations must open their borders to the desperate millions displaced by the climate disruption that those same wealthy nations have created.
“We have received much support and encouragement from Green Party leaders in Houston, most of whom are strong advocates for the Green New Deal,” said 17-year-old Houston-based activist Madeline Canfield, one of the organizers of the climate strike.