2020 Green Convention Season

Convention season is upon us! The Green Party of Texas does not hold statewide primary elections, which are expensive; it nominates candidates via conventions at various levels, which meet in person on dates specified by the Texas Election Code. In Texas, this season culminates with the state convention in April, which is a gateway to participation in the Green Party US national convention a few months later.

Here are some details regarding convention opportunities for Greens in Harris County:

Precinct Conventions—10 March, 7 pm

The Harris County Green Party will hold its combined precinct conventions Tuesday 10 March, 7-9 pm at Midtown Bar & Grill, 415 West Gray Avenue. You can represent your voting precinct at this convention. If you wish to participate, please bring your voter registration card that does not have a stamp indicating that you have voted in another party's primary election.

County Convention—14 March, 2 pm

The full convention of the Harris County Green Party will also take place at Midtown Bar & Grill, beginning at 2 pm on Saturday 14 March. This convention is scheduled to run until 5 pm. Delegates to county conventions may:

  • vote to nominate candidates for offices whose jurisdiction are entirely within the county;
  • vote to confirm co-chairs for the county party;
  • select delegates to the state convention;
  • propose and pass resolutions for adoption (or not) by the state convention;
  • propose and pass amendments to the state platform, which may also be adopted (or not) at the state convention.

District Conventions—21 March, 5 pm

District conventions meet primarily for the purpose of nominating candidates for districted offices, such as State House, State Senate, State Board of Education, and US House. The only district convention affecting Harris County this year is the convention for Congressional District 36 which includes portions of Pasadena, Baytown, the Clear Lake area, and several counties in southeast Texas. Hal J. Ridley, Jr., has submitted his name for consideration, his third run for the seat since it was created in 2012, and he has paid the mandated state filing fee.

The TX-36 Convention will begin at 5 pm on Saturday the 21st, at the Nokturne Coffee Shop, 17062 Saturn Lane, 77058 (near Johnson Space Center).

State Convention—18-19 April, 9 am

As of this writing, the location of the GPTX state convention is not determined; most likely in Houston or Austin. Watch this space and your Green social media streams for an announcement of the location.

State conventions nominate candidates for statewide positions. This year, there are a few candidates who filed for statewide office but did not pay the required filing fee, as the pending lawsuit against the Texas Secretary of State's Office may yet remove the fee requirement. The candidates include David B. Collins for US Senate and katija gruene for Railroad Commission.

State conventions in even-numbered years may adopt party resolutions and amendments to the state platform. As with all annual state meetings, the agenda will also include election of a portion of the party's State Executive Committee (SEC).

Delegates to this convention are selected from among the delegates to the county conventions. Counties with active affiliated parties have numbers of delegates apportioned based on their populations; other, non-affiliated counties may send up to two delegates.

National Presidential Nominating Convention—9-12 July

Detroit, Michigan is the host city for the 2020 GPUS Convention, happening at Wayne State University 9-12 July.

This convention, as always, combines the Annual National Meeting (ANM) and the Presidential Nominating Convention (PNC). At the ANM, state parties may submit resolutions and amendments to the national platform. Delegates to the PNC may vote on the nomination of the Green Party's presidential ticket.

Delegates from Texas to this convention are selected from among the delegates to the state convention. All states and territories with active Green Parties may send delegations; there are also delegations from the various identity caucuses within GPUS.

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Alán Alán in Action

Happy Mardi Gras, Lent, Valentine's Day, Lupercalia, Lunar New Year, or whatever other events you may be observing this week.

After a lengthy hiatus, the HCGP blog will once again become active for the foreseeable future. In particular, it will contain periodic reports on the progress of the Ballot Access Petition Drive due to start four short weeks from today. It will also contain adaptations of entries on the blog at dbcgreentx.net, such as the one below.

Longtime HCGP apparatchik Alán Alán Apurim noticed something about the information presented on the HCCO's Harris Votes website. Well, to be more precise, he noticed what information is not on the site: that voters may exercise an option other than voting in a primary or abstaining entirely.

sent a message to the appropriate administrator at HCCO about correcting the oversight. From the resulting correspondence, it seems that the County Clerk's staffers need to be, shall we say, deprogrammed out of the notion that our political activities must remain confined to donkeys and elephants.

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Re Harvey, Irma, et al: Mourn First, Then Organize

[Note: This entry may undergo some changes in the coming days.—dbc, 8 September 2017]

On behalf of myself and the Harris County Green Party, I would like to apologize for being late to the post-hurricane party. Every group with a web presence, in Southeast Texas and elsewhere, political and otherwise, has posted condolences to the millions affected. Several of us have been busy creating yard sculptures made from waterlogged furnishings and trash bags stuffed with moldering possessions, whether our own or those of friends and relatives.

On a personal note, I have wanted to write something on this site for more than a week, but I have been busy—helping others when I could, just surviving otherwise—and more than a little emotionally overwhelmed.

At least our state co-chair Wes Gaige has posted something to point people toward hurricane relief.

Now that the rivers and bayous are mostly back within their natural banks, while Hurricane Irma thrashes the Caribbean and bears down on Florida, it is fitting that one of our group post something here. In keeping with Green traditions, it will not be just the usual "thoughts & prayers are with you" platitudes. It will be about continuing problems and too-long-deferred solutions.

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Supporting the Next Generation of Activists

Most people engaged in progressive politics despair at the difficulty of convincing Joe Average to get involved, to take action against oppression. We all seem to want the same things...income and wealth equality, racial equality, women’s rights, fair and decent pay, safe cities and communities, a healthy planet...the list goes on and on. Getting people on board with the message should be easy because, even if our lists are in different orders of importance, we know that the bottom line is human rights, peace, and respect.

We are hampered in our fight because so many have become so desperate and enraged. The channels of disinformation are so overpowering that they honestly don’t know whom to believe. So, these people—our friends, neighbors, community members, colleagues—choose to vote for politicians who are enacting legislation that will have negative impacts on their lives. Or they’re not voting, claiming that all politicians are the same.

We see this happen, and as activists, we are frustrated. We keep having to fight for the same issues. We gain ground on one hand and lose it on the other. We despair because we are unable to get people to fight for their own rights. Their sense of powerlessness holds us all back and is dooming us to more of the same.

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HCGP Expresses Dismay Regarding KPFT Situation

Several members of the Steering Committee of the Harris County Green Party, along with other HCGP members, wish to make known their dismay over the current controversy at Houston's Pacifica affiliate KPFT 90.1 FM. Pacifica is recognized as the only national network providing news and public affairs programming from a progressive or radical perspective, and KPFT has filled that niche in Houston since 1970.

Last week, the Pacifica Foundation's interim executive director, Bill Crosier of Houston, fired the interim general manager and three other staff members. Beyond that, the facts of the situation are themselves controversial, with different stories emerging from those involved, as are theories regarding the motivation for the firings. Crosier selected longtime KPFT programmer Larry Winters to replace him.

The details of the situation change daily, such as which individuals and groups are pursuing what sort of remedy; as of today (21 July), the central fact of Dr. Kamau's dismissal remains. Various parties involved in the dispute will gather at the S.H.A.P.E. Community Center's Harambee Building, 3903 Almeda Road, this evening at 7 pm. Crosier will not be present.

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Greenwatch 19 July 2017: Pacifica Controversy

This week's installment of Greenwatch TV will feature Dr. Obidike Kamau, longtime programmer at KPFT 90.1 FM, Pacifica Radio. Kamau will discuss his recent, highly controversial dismissal from the position of interim General Manager of the listener-supported station. The firing came after only three months at the helm, following the latest of many unsuccessful on-air fund drives, amid financial difficulties for the entire Pacifica network. Programmers and members of the Local Station Board have lodged protests against the decision to fire the station's first African-American GM so soon.

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On the necessity of treating children and young people as though they were fully human

By the term adultism, I mean treating children and young people with less than full respect for their humanity. That this is a problem in our culture should be clear enough from the fact that children are the only humans in the society who can be hit with impunity—and indeed, adults are encouraged to do so as a way of seeing to it that they "learn right from wrong," learn to respect their elders," cease their "bad behavior." The practice is so prevalent and accepted in our culture that nearly 90% of people surveyed will tell you that a little spanking is necessary every now and then, to "maintain discipline."

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Universal Health Care Events

This new website has a bit of a learning curve to it. One of the things we have to learn is recognizing opportunities to post information about community events. Two such events have come to this author's attention in recent days, and they are happening very soon.

In particular, you can attend an event this Saturday morning, 1 July, with Rep. Al Green on the subject of protecting Medicaid from the threatened cuts. Green will appear at the Crowne Plaza near NRG Park from 10:30 am until noon. If you can't make it to that, try the town hall next Saturday morning (8 July) at the IBEW offices on the North Loop, hosted by a coalition of progressive groups.

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Juneteenth Greenings at Emancipation Park

(NOTE: The following is adapted from a blog entry posted at dbcgreentx.net.)
Of the couple dozen or so photos I took Saturday at Emancipation Park, the first one below is the only really good one. The couple on stilts and their young companions, all arrayed in 19th-century finery, walked around the grounds, posing for pictures with people attending the celebration of Juneteenth and the newly gussied up park. It was a mighty hot day for such accoutrements, with temperatures around 95F/35C and the customary Houston summer humidity.
By design, this past weekend's Grand Reopening of the park coincided with Juneteenth Weekend. Juneteenth has special significance in Texas, since the Emancipation Proclamation arrived in the South via Galveston on 19 June 1865. Here's an item proposing making Juneteenth a federal holiday. (Thanks, Mo Cortez.)

The New York Times apparently considered the park's reopening worthy of coverage. Excellent. It's that and more. (The Times has a paywall, but you get limited free views per month.)

Along with the reopening of the splendidly refurbished park, Emancipation Avenue got its official debut. The air was all abuzz with expectations of an economic revival along the former Dowling Street corridor, preferably without a lot of big chain stores and fast-food joints. For longtime Inner Loopers, the challenge now is not to "dead-name" Emancipation Avenue, which is no longer named after a Confederate general.
While I did get to walk around the grounds, my main reason for dropping by was to help out at the Harris County Green Party's table inside the spiffy new Cultural Center. Major props to Bernadine Williams, my former county co-chair, for arranging that table. A few of us Greens informed visitors about the party and promoted the HCGP Black Caucus, which Bernadine is facilitating. This proved to be an excellent approach for spreading the word about the Greens among the mostly African American crowd, in this traditionally African American neighborhood.

Reactions: Generally Positive
Bernadine also took care to ask visitors what political issue or issues are most important to them. This is something the Green Party likes to think it does well: listening to people. While quite a few of us are really good at expressing our opinions, we tend to place less emphasis on listening to others' and are less adept at it than we should be. Listening to voters' concerns was a big part of Jill Stein's exploratory tour in 2015, before she announced her candidacy for president.

Those to whom we talked and listened, by and large, agreed that neither major party is working for them, and that our nation needs other choices. During the four hours I spent there, not one person indignantly defended the Democratic Party, the default political home of African American voters in the South since the 1960s and in other parts since the New Deal.

Reparations Now
​In the Black Caucus handout that she created, Bernadine placed "Reparations to African-Americans and Native Americans" first among the positions the Green Party supports. "Universal Healthcare" lies just below that. I was pleased to see that our table was placed right next to that of Health Care for All Texas, since Greens tend to be passionate about that issue.

Greens can certainly distinguish themselves from the major parties—and most of the minor ones—in their party's support for reparations for African and Indigenous Americans. We can debate about what form those reparations will take, and at what cost, but mere apologies for centuries of slavery and genocide are not enough.

EmancipationBlackCaucusFlyer.jpgThe question of reparations brought to mind the HCGP meeting in 2001 (IIRC), at which a guest speaker addressed the topic. We were using the phrase "reparations for slavery" in those days. The Greens gathered in the library that evening for far from unanimous, but a majority were in favor of recompense for the descendants of the millions enslaved or killed, and of those subsequently impoverished through state and federal policies.

Regarding our African American neighbors, it's much more than slavery, of course. It's the millions who didn't survive the Middle Passage. It's the never-realized promise of "40 acres and a mule." It's redlining. It's school segregation. It's discrimination in employment. It's mass incarceration, mostly for drug offenses, for buying and selling drugs supplied by the white establishment.

Revival Eventually—without Gentrification, Please
Also near our table in the corner of the room were two tables staffed by one woman named Mackenzie (sorry, didn't get her last name): one for Project Row Houses and one for Emancipation Economic Development Council.

The Times piece linked above reflects locals' misgivings about what shape a revival of Houston's "Black Main Street" might take. The quote below is about the park itself, but it could easily be applied to the redevelopment efforts along Emancipation Avenue. These people have seen what passes for "growth" in other neighborhoods: affordable older homes bulldozed and replaced by $400,000 lofts, locally owned businesses giving way to CVS and Mickey D's, etc. 
Initially, there was some skepticism in Third Ward about the renovation, especially given the influx of wealthier, often white residents who have been filling up new townhouse developments over the past few years, attracted by the relatively cheap home prices and proximity to downtown.
EEDC's central aim is revitalization without corporatization. I salute the group for making that its mission. Its affiliated organization, the Emancipation Community Development Partnership, will be responsible for studies and implementation.

Make it work, EEDC. Use that Kinder Foundation money for all the good you can squeeze out of it. Then we can move on to reviving some other neighborhoods, like Bernadine's Sunnyside.
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20170131_103709.pngAn extraordinary event happened in Austin  on January 31 of this year, a day  when people from the Muslim community throughout Texas went to the capitol . 

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