Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I attended my local state Green Party caucus today at Sabathani community center. The event allowed me to see how this fledgling party currently is. Yet it provided me hope. Greens can build on its local success and blossom as a state party through long-term effort. But this requires more activists and volunteers leading the charge. But currently, it remains the only party that can successfully challenge Democrats in Minneapolis.
The first part of going somewhere is knowing where it is. Seeing as I went their previously to see Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, I knew the buildings location. The room listed on the Green Party site was room J.
Upong getting to Sabathani, I saw posters for a DFL caucus. But the room listed was different, and since there was no map to state where room "J" was I went to the front desk. They directed me to a room right next to the DFL cacus. Unfortunately, this was for a homeowners workshop. The DFLers asked the ackward question had no clue as to where the Greens were. I then saw the bulletin board in the main entrance that stated where each event was held in the building. There on one line was the Green Party Caucus in a banquet hall - 2nd floor.
Okay, no big deal - yet when I got there the room was empty. But there were some printed adverts for Jay Pond, 5th Congressional District candidate for Congress. I ran into a couple other Greens confounded by the situation and we decided to hang out in the banquet hall. They at least knew that Farheen Hakeem, the Green endorsed candidate for Minneapolis Mayor, was the coordinator. This surprised me as I would think she would be as early as we were - 20 minutes early to the start time of 7 P.M. Ten minutes later I volunteered to do a quick walk-around of the floor to see if we were not expected somewhere else. No such luck.
So, we decided to start without her. We organized ourselves into a circle ( unlike the DFL , whose setup was like that of a classroom ) and decided who would be in charge of discussion and who would keep notes. We decided the order of discussion when Farheen appeared with a couple others ( not exactly an entourage). She brought order to what was more chaotic.
After she agreed with our order of discussion and who would keep minutes, discussion went back to me. Just prior to Farheen arriving, I had mentioned how we should at least mention the U.S. Green Party ten key values. I was the ONLY one with a copy - printed on the back of my national Green Party membership card.
Then we commenced into discussion about resolutions. I considered bringing my own ideas. As this is my first caucus ever, I thought it unwise to do so. Greens seem very pre-occupied on huge current topics. I also need to commit myself to becoming more active in their political community. It is also a wise thing to listen more than you speak.
Moments of irritation did rise in the group. Doug Mann, previous and current candidate for Minneapolis school board, spent much more time on his resolutions than he truly needed to. I found him rather rude. How would a school board deal with a man like this? He would keep them there all evening if he could! His longest resolution dealt with education.
Other resolutions included transit, mercury emissions, renewable energy, and the war in Iraq.
I signed resolutions I thought were practical and sustainable. For every 5 signatures, one delegate could go to the state convention in Duluth ( June 3 & 4) to represent the resolution. Up to 3 delegates could go per resolution. Since we had a little over 30 people attend, a couple resolutions had the ability to do this. Anyone can be a delegate at the state convention if they attend a local caucus. All one has to do is show up in Duluth. :)
There were two other candidates for office who showed up - both for a short period of time to greet us and succinctly sum up their campaign. Dave Berger, whom I always here wonderful things about and was finally able to see, running for State Auditor and Michael Cavlan for US Senate. I liked them both even more than Ken Pentel ( 2002 Green gubernatorial candidate).
The only real BIG issue were off topic comments by Phil Willkie. He is the "Associate Publisher" for the Pulse. I think Phil's opinionated repertoire is too harsh. Phil disagrees with Michael Cavlan's Senate run. He also takes issue with Farheen, but we won't even go there. He should save his viewpoints for the appropriate time and not cause everyone grief, as he did so eloquently tonight.
Phil arrived with Dean Zimmerman, who remained quite quiet throughout discussions. It was almost as if he came to watch - but I understand. The way things were being handled, it was all more confusing and messy than it otherwise could have been. But at least we GOT things done - as we were moving at a snails pace prior to Farheen arriving.
The big surprise for myself was meeting my cousin there - Jason Chavis. He lives in Uptown, just off Lake Street. He feels that America is facing a rise in fascism, and wants to stem its growth. I didn't ask him a lot of details about what he is doing apart from supporting the Green Party, but he did state he writes books. He gave me his card which had a fascist logo(eagle?), with un upside down GOP elephant replacing the swastika. I did a Google search on his "Jason Galore is famous, LLC , of which Jason is the chief manager, and nothing came up.
But at some point we will have to get together and chat a bit. Interesting how other Chavis' are involved in politics. Of course, our Grandfather was a big Huber H. Humphrey supporter and a DFLer.