A new New Party

Today is the founding convention of the Movement for a Peoples Party.

It irks me a little that alternative electoral initiatives keep popping up that have essentially the same program as the Green Party but only serve to divide the movement for an alternative party on the left. Since the Green Party was established during the 1990s there have been at least six:

. New Party (1992–1998)
. Labor Party (1996–2002)
. Working Families Party (launched in 1998, still exists, but rarely runs candidates in its own name)
. Progressive Party (an initiative of some Nader supporters after he ran as an independent in 2004; it had some state chapters, but never gained traction)
. Peace and Freedom Party of California attempt to go national (2008–2012)
. Justice Party (2011–2017)

The Green Party is somewhat established and has dozens of ballot lines in over 20 states. Why start something new from scratch?

I guess the answer is: (a) some see the Green Party as “particularistic” (over-identified with “just environmentalism”); and (b) there are social democratic parties all over the world and some people want to see one formed in the United States.

There are actually a lot of people who want a social democratic electoral option, but the majority of them have the idea of transforming the Democratic Party into such. The now-popular DSA (Democratic Socialists of American) has that orientation.

The founders of the Movement for a Peoples Party originally had that orientation. They were Bernistas in 2016. When they got burned by the system they gave up on the Democratic Party.

They think a social-democratic/labor-unions-oriented initiative can have broader appeal than the Green Party. The New Party, Labor Party, Working Families Party, and Justice Party thought that, too.

If it’s not easy being Green, well, it may be even harder to be amorphously social democratic.

Time will tell.

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Steven Welzer

The editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a movement activist for many years (he was an original co-editor of DSA’s “Ecosocialist Review”).