A Brief History of the Green Party

We are a confederation of Green Parties from states around the country. We are also the recognized partner of the European Federation of Green Parties.

The Green Party of the United States began as the Association of State Green Parties. The ASGP was formed after the 1996 elections to fill a void in national Green politics and to help existing state parties develop.

Our 2000 Presidential Nominating Convention in Denver, CO., nominated Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke for President and Vice President.

In 2004, our Presidential campaign ticket was David Cobb and Pat LaMarche. The 2004 Green National Convention was in Milwaukee, WI.

In July, 2008, in Chicago, we nominated Cynthia McKinney for President and Rosa Clemente for Vice President.

In June, 2012, Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala were nominated for President and Vice President respectively.

In August, 2016, Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka were nominated in Houston, Texas as the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates respectively. 

The mission of the Green Party of the United States is to build the Green Party into a viable political alternative in the United States, and our operating principle has been to keep it simple and focused. Our support comes from thousands of volunteers at the national and local level and from small contributions from individual citizens. Our growth plan includes managing our national office as a focus for national organizing and hiring field organizers to work with local groups and parties to help mobilize greens in voter registration drives, election activity and daily citizen action. Our preference is to leave most decision making and financial resources at the state and local level, minimizing our budgetary needs. This method has met with wide acceptance from Green groups around the country and is what has fueled our growth so strongly.

The Green Party has a broad platform that ranges from protecting the environment to our Blue-Green pro-labor agenda to human rights and social justice. Green groups around the country not only run candidates for office, but work consistently in between elections on issues of concern in their community. This kind of activism is fundamental to our grassroots values and keeps us grounded on local issues, building the support networks needed to run candidates for local office first, followed by higher offices later. With over 160 officeholders in local office around the country from Hawai'i to Washington DC, we walk our talk at the grassroots.

Let's build this movement from the ground up.

The roots of the Green Party and Green movement started to coalesce in the 1970's with the Values Party in New Zealand and other similar movements. They combined environmental sensibilities and non-violent anarchism into a broader philosophy that refuses the allure of single-issue politics.

Although not the first Green Party to be formed, the German Greens put us on the map when they were the first to win seats in a national parliament in the early 1980's while focusing on issues of nuclear missiles and nuclear power.

Greens first met in the United States in 1984 in St. Paul, Minnesota, adopting the 10 Key Values, that all Greens in the United States now use as our basic definition.

Although there were some early campaigns for office, most early efforts ranged from philosophical discussions to non-electoral activism to alternative institution-building. These efforts fueled the growth in Green chapters, with many hundreds in existence in the late 1980's.

Alaska was the first state to achieve a recognized ballot line for the Green Party in 1990. But the growing focus on a political party and electoral efforts resulted in dissension regarding how and whether to use the political system in the United States. Was it too corrupt? Would we be corrupted in the process? If it's okay to participate, at what level? How should the political party relate to the rest of the Green movement?

These arguments resulted in a split in 1991 as the then-existing Green Committees of Correspondence voted to change into The Greens/Green Party USA, with a structure focused on individual dues membership without a separate political party. Some state parties, many of whose activists were not dues paying members at the national level, felt that this structure undermined their activities and retreated to working within their state parties.

The G/GPUSA continued to organize during the 1990's, but a variety of problems and disputes prevented any continuation of the growth seen in the 1980's. Efforts to merge the disputed groups have failed.

After the 1996 elections, state Greens formed the Association of State Green Parties. Four years later the ASGP became the Green Party of the United States. We filed for national party status with the FEC in August of 2001.

The Green Party of Minnesota was founded in 1994 and gained Major Party Status (which ensures automatic ballot access for partisan races) in 2000 with over 5% of the statewide vote for Green endorsed Presidential candidate Ralph Nader. GPMN is currently recognized as a Minor Party in Minnesota. Find elected Greens and party leadership here

An even more comprehensive history of the US Green Party can be found here.

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