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An Open Primary

Authoritarianism is the opposite of grassroots democracy

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Photo by Eneas De Troya - WikiMedia Commons

By Josh Jones

The Green Party cannot, and will never, be authoritarian. Two of our most basic principles are grassroots democracy and decentralization. But our nation has experienced the creeping infection of authoritarianism, currently with the prime examples of Trump and Putin. Fear, guilt, and panic cannot be our guideposts.

Authoritarianism is the opposite of grassroots democracy; authoritarianism is the opposite of the left. Authoritarians use fear, guilt, distrust, and hopelessness to move their followers. In the past, theocracies have also manipulated these emotions in people for social control.

The root aspect of any well supported, long lasting society - of any vibrant and thriving society - is democracy, trust, patience, diligence, intelligence, productivity, and strength in numbers. This is what the left is truly about. This is what social-ism can achieve. We grow in number when we trust each other and work together. Authoritarianism seeks to halt all of that; to rule by fear with an iron fist over fools.

The Green Party, of which I am a member, is inherently democratic, tolerant, and strives for justice. This is expressly stated in our ten key-values and our bylaws. In no way can we ever support the authoritarian and intolerant attitudes of Trump, nor could we ever support the authoritarian and intolerant attitudes of Putin.

The ten key values of the Green Party in any state are:

  1. grassroots democracy
  2. justice 
  3. ecological wisdom
  4. non-violence
  5. decentralization
  6. community based economics
  7. feminism and gender equity
  8. respect for diversity
  9. personal responsibility and
  10. future focus and sustainability.

Of course, an important preservation of justice in society is intolerance of intolerance. This is the antibody of democracy when specifically intolerant people try to become elected. There is no moral contradiction in giving to people that which they themselves believe.

What if Trump and Putin were planning on dividing up the resources of the other countries of the world? What if they planned on the divide and conquer of Venezuela? Could we tolerate that kind of divide and conquer?

Can we tolerate authoritarians dividing friends from each other and sowing distrust to decrease our connections, conversations, and working together? We must trust each other and work together in order to grow. Do not let authoritarians’ fear-mongering, troublemaking, and time-wasting control you. Do not let them dismay you and tear down your friendships.

The principles of the Green Party are those which have always guided any well supported and thriving society - a society based on justice, tolerance, creativity, intelligence, strength in numbers, and democracy.

These are ideas opposite from an authoritarian group using fear, guilt, and hopelessness to rule over a frightened, embattled, and ignorant mob. Authoritarian rule always collapses under the bottleneck of it’s own of incompetence and weight. Authoritarianism has no legacy. Authoritarianism will always crumble.


Josh Jones was  the endorsed Green Party candidate for Governor of California in 2018.


Ann Privateer

I am suspicious of the Green Party candidate who ran in the 2016 election, Jill Stine (?), visited Putin before election, collected several million dollars after the election and never spent it all on recounting votes. This all came and went with little media coverage.

Josh Jones

Dear Ann Privateer,

These tropes have been trotted out endlessly on the news, which is why you're bringing it up again, and not to put too fine a point on it, but it's pure hogwash.

After President Donald Trump's election, Green Party nominee Jill Stein campaigned for recounts in multiple battleground states, which cost more than $7 million. She's also forced Pennsylvania to use only paper ballots for records, recount purposes, and vote security. It's much harder to hack paper ballots, and Green Party members care very deeply about U.S. vote security.

Now, nearly two dozen states and the District of Columbia have said they will use only paper ballots in November, according to Verified Voting, and several more are considering the switch. I think we should all be very happy if all our votes are secure and on paper ballots!

Additionally, Jill Stein never "visited" with Putin, she was at a dinner with a lot of other people, and was on the other side of the table. She's said many times, on many news channels, she only talked to a guest next to her, a guy from England I think. There was a floorshow on the stage, and basically everyone was watching the singing and dancing while they ate dinner. Not everyone can simply talk to the President of a country at a big state banquet with hundreds of people.

Jill Stein did want to talk to Putin about human rights abuses in Russia. What in the world would be wrong with that? It's the duty of politicians to call on autocrats to stop doing things that are unjust.

That said, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, and President Trump have actually visited with and talked to Putin. Trump's one on one meetings with Putin seem particularly problematic, don't you think?

But simply intimating something is wrong if someone is in a crowded room and Putin is nearby at a big dinner, that's simply an attempt at name calling, or an ad hominem fallacy. It's a pretty silly attempt too.

Again, the Green Party is specifically against Authoritarianism. We can't be for grassroots democracy and autocrats at the same time, and Green Party members will never be for authoritarians. That's impossible.

Thank you,
Josh Jones

Martin Barnes

Authoritarianism is coming from the left! Why are right wing voices such as Milo Yiannopoulos not allowed to speak on college campuses? Why are voices from the right systematically de-monetized and de-platformed by left-leaning big tech like Google and Apple? The fact that this began after the surprising 2016 election result shows a blatant coordinated political motive. Trump campaigned to stop foreign wars, be friends with Russia. Our war economy needs Russia as an enemy to justify military spending. The Dark State controlled mainstream media has demonized Putin and re-ignited the Cold War. The left’s distaste for Trump has allowed itself to be seduced into supporting the Dark State war agenda. The issue of war is more important than than Trump’s politically incorrect LGBT etc. leanings.

Gary Swing

"I am a revolutionary; my life is dedicated to freeing the people." -- Mengistu Haile Marium, Marxist-Leninist dictator of Ethiopia, convicted of genocide

According to Josh Jones, a Bernie Sanders campaign activist who ran as a 2018 Green Party candidate for Governor of California, "authoritarianism is the opposite of the left."


Mao Zedong, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Saddam Hussein, Kim Il Sung, Robert Mugabe, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Fidel Castro, Green Party National Co-Chair Andrea Merida Cuellar.

Taking the Great Leap Forward behind the Iron Curtain, along the Shining Path through the Red Terror Killing Fields to the Gulag and the Green Party of Colorado's purges.

Josh Jones makes the bizarre assertion that "the Green Party cannot, and will never, be authoritarian. Two of our most basic principles are grassroots democracy and decentralization." As a seven time Green Party candidate, as a former state co-chair of Colorado's Green Party, and as someone who identified as a Green for more than thirty years, I can testify from personal experience that Josh Jones' assertion is absolutely false.

The Green Party began as a political alliance of environmentalists and peace activists that claimed to be "neither left nor right." In practice, the Green Party has failed to live up to the values it advocates.

Political parties tend to become corrupt.

One of the world's most successful Green Parties, in Germany, abandoned its professed belief in nonviolence when it formed a "Red-Green" coalition to join the government. Green Party leader Joschka Fischer, who was described as Germany's most popular political leader, became the Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany. Under his leadership, the overwhelming majority of Germany's Green Party delegates and members of parliament voted to support NATO war crimes against the people of Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. In 2001, more than two thirds of German Green conference delegates voted to commit German soldiers to war (in Afghanistan) for the first time since World War Two.

Colorado's Green Party has become absolutely corrupt and authoritarian. It has been taken over by a totalitarian faction that operates through hate speech, character assassination, bullying, intimidation, suppression of dissent, and concentration of authority.

The junta that is currently doing business under the name "Green Party of Colorado" has systematically violated and rewritten party bylaws to exclude as many people as possible from participating in Green Party activities, discussions, and decision-making, concentrating power into the hands of a small cabal, under the authoritarian leadership of a corrupt demagogue.

Out of Colorado's six recognized political parties, the Green Party is the only party operating on a "pay to play" basis. Under the dues-paying requirements established by the Denver Green Party, fewer than one out of a hundred registered Green Party members in Denver is eligible to vote on nomination of the party's candidates, the election of its officers, bylaws, or political positions.

Voting membership requires a minimum of $5/month dues ($60/year) or a waiver granted at the discretion of party officers. Adjusted for inflation, these dues are more than three times higher than the poll taxes that Louisiana instituted under its Jim Crow Laws to deter poor people from voting.

Pay to play rules have been extended to the state party. The right of any registered Green Party member to vote at state party meetings has been revoked, restricting voting rights to members of the cabal who exercise absolute control over the state party's council. Colorado Green Party discussion forums are strictly censored, with zero tolerance of dissent from the views of Andrea Merida, who simultaneously occupies the offices of Denver Green Party co-chair, Colorado Green Party co-chair, and national Green Party co-chair. Andrea installed herself as a delegate to the national Green Party by having an elected national delegate expelled from the right to participate in party activities.

Andrea and her cronies determine who can view, comment, and post comment on official Green Party forums, with zero tolerance of dissent. They control who is allowed to speak, what they are allowed to say, and what terminology they are allowed to use to express their views. This controlling faction has systematically purged dissidents from the right to attend Green Party meetings, vote on party business, or seek the Green Party's nomination for any office. Past Green Party candidates who were nominated for state or federal office in 2012, 2014, and 2016 have been banned from participating in the party. Local chapters representing four out of Colorado's ten most populous counties have been expelled from representation in the state Green Party. The ruling state party junta has sought to destroy the reputations of anyone who has dared to criticize the authoritarianism of the state party's tinpot dictatorship.

Colorado's Green Party has nominated candidates for every general election since 1994. 2018 was the first time that Colorado's Green Party failed to nominate any candidates to the ballot for state or federal office, due to deliberate obstruction of open and democratic process within the party. Nevertheless, seven Greens filed as write-in candidates for Congress to protest the authoritarianism and corruption of the state party.

Some members of Colorado's Green Party who were concerned about creeping authoritarianism, hate speech, and systematic violation of bylaws within the state Green Party, compiled an extensive complaint which they submitted to the national Green Party, seeking a redress of grievances. Other party members co-signed the complaint. Fifteen of the Colorado Green Party members who signed this complaint were subsequently banned from participating in the state Green Party. (See www.restoregreenvalues.org for documentation.)

Sixteen months after this complaint was submitted to the Green Party's national Accreditation Committee, a subcommittee consisting of all members who were on the committee at the time the complaint was filed ruled in favor of the plaintiffs. However, in the meantime, Andrea and her supporters had packed the committee with their allies, increasing the number of committee members from 8 to 49, thereby obstructing action to redress the grievances of Colorado Green Party members. The subcommittee report stated:

"The GPCO/Respondents dealt with the RGV complaint by revoking the rights of participation of RGV-associated GPCO members, stating that the reason for the revocations was because they filed a grievance. This is a violation of the key value of grassroots democracy. In a democracy, many ideas and stances are entertained and considered. The substance of the complaint is immaterial to this concern. We use 10 key values to guide our work. These values may inform our platform, but they do not completely eliminate differences. The value of respecting diversity refers to respecting a diversity of ethnic and class backgrounds and experiences, as well as the ideas associated with these experiences. The members who were ousted from participation in the GPCO were recognized GP candidates, they had served the party in leadership roles, and one was voted state party co-chair by fellow members. The revocations were clearly personal attacks in retaliation to their raising the points of concern regarding bylaws violations and exclusionary practices."

"Escalation of actions by GPCO/Respondents have resulted in alienation of a significant group of experienced and active members, exclusion of members from state meetings, abusive control of access to the state website discussion boards, concentration of state offices in a small group, manipulation of locals allowed to vote, violation of the letter and spirit of state bylaws, silencing and purging of members, and refusal to participate in conflict resolution in good faith. The manner and scale are unprecedented in the history of the GPUS, and will result in further difficulties and embarrassment for the national party."

What remains of the Green Party of Colorado as an organization today is diametrically opposed to the values that the Green Party claims to represent. It is unworthy of anyone's support or participation.

Eric Maisel, writing in Psychology Today, described "What You Can Expect From An Authoritarian." The following excerpts quoted from that article, typify the Green Party of Colorado's current leadership:

"The central truth about an authoritarian is that he or she is coming from a place of hatred."

"Because they are full of hatred, authoritarians need to punish others."

"Authoritarians want their victims to fear them."

"Authoritarians, who may or may not have any personal interest in abiding by rules, love rules for other people. The more quixotic and unclear the rules, the better, since quixotic, unclear rules are the least possible to follow. Such rules are inevitably broken, opening the door to punishment for the rule-breaker. For an authoritarian, the rules are there to be broken, so that punishment can follow."

"Authoritarians, in part to explain to themselves their bottomless reservoir of hate, act as if they’re being continually threatened and endangered. They see enemies everywhere, including (and often especially) in former friends."

"Authoritarians have little regard for the truth. If your agenda is to punish others because you are filled with hatred and anger, the truth of any particular matter is a mere inconvenience."

"The hatred-and-punishment authoritarian agenda produces a person who takes pleasure in cruelty and who regularly shames, derides, and ridicules his current targets. To control is not enough; to win is not enough; to dominate is not enough: none of that is experienced as enough. The authoritarian wants you harmed and diminished. Since nothing feels quite as bad as shame, it is shame especially that the authoritarian wants you to feel."

Gary Swing was a Green Party candidate in 1996, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. He gives an account of his experiences with the Greens in this commentary http://www.newprogs.org/it_s_not_easy_being_green


Eric Maisel, Ph.D. "What You Can Expect From An Authoritarian," Psychology Today, 11/8/17:

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