Progressives and Leftists in Rhode Island may have noticed that the Green Party of Rhode Island has been keeping busy since the election. With a new Nation Builder website, an active presence in a variety of organizations and campaigns, and an enthusiastic new generation of members activated over the past 20 months by the recent election, it is clear that one of the oldest Green Parties in America is working to make a visible impact on the midterm elections and bring the Green New Deal to Rhode Island.
“I maintain that state representative races, especially in states with relatively small districts, are excellent for Greens to win with shoe leather campaigns,” said longtime Green Greg Gerritt. With this in mind, the Greens are working to actively attract potential candidates for the General Assembly as well as those looking for a political home in municipal elections. Already conversations have begun with individuals who are interested in local mayoral races. In a recent blog post on their new Nation Builder, the Green Party writes “For far too long Rhode Island has been run as a corporatist business-as-usual state where the interests of the rich and connected are put before the needs of the rest of us who should be given and deserve more resources and support. The two-party system is a sham, hopelessly corrupted by corporate greed and the special interests of the 1%.”
To this extent, there are several efforts now at work which local grassroots activists are invited to join in and support. First, the Party has been standing in solidarity and supporting Rhode Island activists and organizations opposing the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in Burrillville and Providence.
After you join the Green Party of Rhode Island, there are a variety of efforts one can join in with via this new website.
There is the petition to the Rhode Island Congressional delegation that people can sign expressing their expectations and standards in the face of President Trump. They are demanding Congressional review of the aforementioned fossil fuel infrastructure expansion under the auspices of the Commerce clause of the US Constitution, conversion to a sustainable energy grid, passage of a single-payer Medicare for All healthcare law, halting recent anti-Russian militarism and jingoism so to marginalize progressive calls for change, and a pledge to halt further privatization of public utilities and infrastructure by federal and local officials. “We’re seeing this over and over. Just enough Democrats are voting for Trump’s appointees to enable their confirmation. In some cases, dangerous and unqualified appointees are getting confirmed with little or no Democratic objection. That’s not what an opposition party does,” said Laura Wells, 2010 Green Party candidate for Governor of California.
From there, one can choose to enroll in one of the national Green Identity Caucuses. “We need people who are members of each national caucus to make reports to the Rhode Island Greens on a regular basis. This means we need your help! Please consider joining a national caucus to begin work in the Green Party of Rhode Island,” says the website. Currently there are caucuses for Latinx, LGBTQQI, Youth, Black, and Women Greens and the national Accreditation Committee is always available to discuss starting a new Caucus.
And as part of their publicity efforts, they are forming a Street Team that will build knowledge and understanding of the Green Party brand in every municipality. “The Street Team will go into communities and promote the Green Party by hanging flyers and engaging with potential voters in centers that residents of a voting district congregate in. These flyers are small, lightweight, and can fit comfortably inside a purse, backpack, or other travel bag. These can be places like libraries, laundromats, coffee shops, bakeries, community centers, and any other place where the public gathers. Building these relationships in a one-on-one fashion is the key to growth of any grassroots movement and can become long-term connections,” says the Party.
And be sure to consider coming out for their events in the next few weeks. On March 25 at 3 pm they will be holding a public meeting at the William Hall Library in Cranston. This is going to be shortly after a rally for Donald Trump is being held at the State House so it is quite possible those who counter-protest could go from Smith Hill to the library with ease. Then on April 22, the Party will be involved with the Rhode Island iteration of the worldwide March for Science that is protesting this new administration’s climate policies. The Greens are going to be putting efforts into supporting and building off these efforts.
“In my home state of Rhode Island, Greens are active in grassroots movements to end racial profiling and police brutality, protect immigrants’ rights, end deportations, and achieve a path to citizenship,” says longtime Rhode Island Green Tony Affigne. “I’m Green because from what I can see, the world’s only real chance to survive, is through politics grounded in Ecology, Equality, Democracy, and Peace—in other words, Green politics. The mainstream parties are both controlled by big business, and can’t help us now. In fact, they’re working together against us. Isn’t it time you joined the Greens?”