Yeah, I've taken another longer-than-usual hiatus from blogging. So much is happening, and I've been busy not commenting on it here. Below, however, I have some observations about recent developments on the local Green front.
This post is completely lacking in links, because I'm not feeling sufficient enthusiasm to find pages to link to. If you want more information about stuff referenced herein, look it up yourself.
Just Another Lazy Unemployed Person—Moi? Kinda.
Unemployment may give me more time to blog, but it has also knocked me off the routine that I had developed. In my office at the university, I could hammer out chunks of bloggage between and around my various duties. Then I could edit them so they didn't read like something I hammered out between and around said duties. I can do that at home, too, but I'm having trouble adapting to the new circumstances.
With domestic business and job hunting to attend to during the day, I also don't consume what had become my regular diet of podcasts and news analysis videos. It's been several weeks since I last listened to a weekly installment of Jeremy Scahill's Intercepted, for example.
Meanwhile, shit keeps happening at a relentless pace, from the ITC fire in Deer Park to the current putsch in Venezuela to maniacs shooting up houses of worship all over the world. In my current frame of mind, I can understand and process these events, but I have trouble crystallizing my impressions of them into anything coherent, let alone blog-worthy.
Green Revival Movement
On 20 April, several disaffected former Harris County Green Party activists, including Kayleen and me, got together to discuss forming a Green Party group that would not compete with the official HCGP, but might still be able to send delegates to state meetings as representatives of local university communities.
Those in attendance, and others who dropped into the email chain, reached general agreement that the new group's purpose and activities should be markedly different from HCGP's. Among those activities, I suggested a group that could mobilize disaster relief, drive people with mobility problems to polling places on Election Day, and support a local chapter of Extinction Rebellion. Young activists, in particular, are more drawn to action on issues rather than partisan causes.
That Saturday afternoon, we were two of the six people at the table at the Midtown Bar & Grill, a familiar stomping ground for many Houston-area Greens. One of the six reported that he had recently been to an HCGP monthly General Membership meeting at which he was one of five in attendance. For all intents and purposes, HCGP co-chair Bernadine Williams is the HCGP. It's hard to judge by that one meeting, but some of the people whom Bernadine brought into the Party have been fleeing it since they helped elect her co-chair last February.
Will HCGP collapse, leaving an opportunity for the Old Guard to sweep up the pieces and put it together again? It's certainly possible, but I don't relish the task.
Ideologically, I am still Green, as I have been for more than 20 years. Viewing events and policy matters from a Green perspective has become a reflex for me. That said, I'm not big on participating in Green organizing in Texas. Other state Green Parties may be experiencing growth, but the once highly influential Green Party of Texas has fallen on hard times. GPTX is not dead yet, but it suffers from a combination of long-term internal dysfunction one the one hand, and phenomena like Bernie and Beto on the other. Senator Sanders and would-be senator O'Rourke have drawn large numbers of Progressives back into the Democratic sphere—Progressives whose views more closely match the Green Party's Ten Key Values and platform than O'Rourke's plat-itude-form.
People's Party of No Party
Rather than try to rebuild the local Green infrastructure, my preference would be to make the group either non-partisan or an affiliate of the Movement for a People's Party. An active MPP chapter in Harris County would either motivate the remaining Greens to start acting like a proper political organization, including a legitimate attempt at regaining ballot access, or just to give up. In my lefty fever dreams, I envision MPP and Greens not competing for signatures on their ballot access petitions, but collaborating in collecting them:
Hey, citizen! Are you sick of the two major parties (as at least half of voters are)? We've got two alternatives for you. You may like them both, but by Texas law you can sign only one of these two petitions, either mine of my friend's. What's that? "Unfair," you say? Well, so is having to vote for just one candidate in an election with three or more: unfair and undemocratic. Twenty-one candidates in the Democratic Party, and they make you pick just one? Eight people running for an open City Council seat, and they make you pick just one? The Green Party has long supported Instant Runoff Voting, and the new People's Party likes it too! More voices, more choices, and Jill Stein would say.
Not likely to happen, but it could.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.