Green Politics in the United States

To form true green politics in the United States, ecological groups need to become more political or politically sophisticated organizations need to develop a concern with ecology.

| Summer 1984

According to West German Green parliamentarian Petra Kelly, a significant Green movement has not yet developed in the U.S. because the natural constituents of such a movement are not as organized, interconnected or politicized as those in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Ecological groups have not been political enough, while politically sophisticated organizations have not been concerned enough with ecology. 

There are signs that this situation is changing:             

— Ecological groups, such as the large coalition which formed the first "North American Bioregional Congress" in May near Kansas City, are developing the necessary political concern to help form a politically conscious organization. Charlene Spretnak (author of Green Politics) calls this development "no small victory." 

— Jesse Jackson's "Rainbow Coalition" has declared its intention to be a permanently organized political factor in U.S. politics. (This has many important parallels to the West German situation, where "multi-colored" and "alternative lists" considered themselves as a "rainbow of opposition" when they formed and were crucial in the emergent coalitions which formed the West German Greens.) 

— The Citizen's Party (CiP) already resembles the Greens in some respects. But it has been too purely electoral. Not only does this fail to make the deep "movement party" connections that Greens have made, but since they concentrate too much on the national level, they appear as spoilers in an electoral arena where at present everyone's major concern is to defeat Ronald Reagan (Barry Commoner, one of the key founders of the CiP, tried for an entire year to convince the party to support Jesse Jackson's campaign, finally breaking with the party to support Jackson independently.) 

Wendy Adler, director of the Citizen's Party national office, has stated that the CiP is now moving toward a more grass-roots direction so that it will appear less as a spoiler. To date, its only electoral successes have been at the local level, as in Burlington, VT.