Commentary

Johnson-Lee projects Green Party vision

Although 62 million people watched President Bush deliver his State of the Union address on January 28, I suspect far fewer watched the responses that immediately followed the President. Although 62 million people watched President Bush deliver his State of the Union address on January 28, I suspect far fewer watched the responses that immediately followed the President. One response came from the Green Party and was delivered by Natalie Johnson Lee, a member of the Minneapolis City Council. Being chosen to represent her party in a national venue was a distinct honor for Johnson Lee.

I, for one, wish I had seen more press coverage of her remarks. We might not expect national attention but I would have expected more local coverage of her presentation in Washing-ton.

Council Member Johnson Lee pursued the theme “America can wage peace not war” in her national response to the State of the union address. She cited the forces for war – oil, the global weapons trade, unrestricted corporate power, the military establishment, the choice of favored regimes – and offered the Green Party alternative of a global economic policy whose goal is the elimination of poverty, the creation of sustainable industries, and support for democracy based on the empowerment of working people.

Unlike the Republicans or Democrats, the Green Party is an international movement that is active in ninety countries. Although candidates are elected locally, their affiliation is worldwide. According to the Green Party website (www.greenparty.org), a group of American activists, inspired by the success of the German Green Party, came together in 1984 to form the Green Committees of Correspon-dence (GCoCs) network. Several national gatherings were held, out of which grew a grassroots process to draft a national Green Program. These activities brought Greens together from across the US, people committed to building a unified vision for a peaceful, just, and environmentally safe society. The first full-fledged Green Congress was held in Eugene, Oregon in 1989.

Since then, activity at the grassroots level has blossomed with local Green Parties organized in 46 out of 50 states. To date, 170 city council members, mayors, county commissioners, school board members, and state representatives have been elected on the Green Party ticket.

For me, Johnson Lee’s accomplishment was not about the Green Party, or the Republican Party, or the Democratic Party.

No, for me, this was about a Northsider who done good!

February 10, 2003
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