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for people who care about the West

Active Green Party left out of Montana analysis


Dear HCN,

I appreciated Ray Ring's analysis of Montana's political landscape. However, I was surprised that he neglected to mention the latest wave of progressive politics in Montana, the Green Party. Montana hosts a statewide Green Party and active groups in Missoula, Bozeman and Billings * that hotbed of radical environmentalism.

The Green Party is the natural descendant of Montana's Constitutional Convention in that it addresses issues of labor, affordable housing, agriculture and the environment. Greens support Montana's family farms and ranches by opposing NAFTA, FTAA and "free trade" policies that adversely affect our agricultural community. Greens also embrace environmental sustainability by advocating renewable energy, sustainable forestry, land-use planning and conservation of biodiversity. The Green Party relies upon its foundation of grassroots democracy and community involvement.

Greens recognize that irresponsible corporations and runaway capitalism are the root cause of our social and environmental problems. Democracy suffers as consumers replace citizens and corporate interests dominate politics. To help restore democracy, the Green Party recently obtained 31,000 signatures to place a citizen initiative on the 2002 ballot repealing a last-minute sweetheart legislation for Montana Power Company that would raise consumer power bills by at least 50 percent. Greens were also active in the successful effort to get the Bozeman city council to pass a living wage.

In the last presidential election, Ralph Nader received 6 percent of the vote statewide and 14 percent in Missoula, thus qualifying the Green Party for a ballot line in the next four elections.

The Montana Green Party annual meeting/convention will occur in March in Ray Ring's hometown, Bozeman. Hopefully, he will attend and update his article.

Greg Gordon
Bozeman, Montana