Updated 6/23/99

I. NAME AND DEFINITION

The Greens of Virginia/Green Party of Virginia (also referred to as the GPVA) is an autonomous, independent political party sharing kinship with other Green Parties and Green organizations in the U.S.A. through our common adherence to the Ten Key Values (see Articles II. and XV.). The GPVA also shares common goals and values with other Green Parties and Green organizations around the world.


II. TEN KEY VALUES

The Ten Key Values of the Greens in the U.S.A. are:
  1. Ecological Wisdom
  2. Social Justice
  3. Grassroots Democracy
  4. Nonviolence
  5. Decentralization
  6. Community-Based Economics
  7. Feminism
  8. Respect for Diversity
  9. Personal and Global Responsibility
  10. Future Focus/Sustainability

III. PURPOSE

The purpose of Green Party of Virginia shall be to:

A. Promote throughout Virginia the Ten Key Values of The Greens.
B. Encourage the development of Green Locals (Article IV.).
C. Serve as a networking structure so that the Green Locals in Virginia can better communicate, share ideas and experiences, and provide mutual support and fellowship.
D. Coordinate joint activities among Green Locals.
E. Nominate Green candidates for office (and occasionally endorse independent candidates), and support these candidates with contributions of money and labor.
F. Work to end the two-party duopoly in Virginia and the nation, and to establish a multi-party system based on citizen participation.


IV. LOCALS OF THE GREEN PARTY OF VIRGINIA (GREEN LOCALS)

A. A local is a group of three or more Virginia residents who meet together on some regular basis to advance the Ten Key Values (Article II). Locals may be defined geographically or by common interest. Locals may accept members as they wish, consistent with their own rules For the purposes of representation in the Green Party of Virginia, a person can claim membership in only one local at any given time.

B. Locals may request affiliation with the Green Party of Virginia by sending at least one representative to a meeting of the GPVA and affirming their commitment to the Ten Key Values. Such requests will be considered according to the standard decision-making process of the GPVA (see Article VI.) Affiliated locals are referred to herein as "Green Locals".

C. An at-large local called the Greens of Virginia is available for membership by those Greens in Virginia who are not members of a Green Local.

D. Locals engaged in electoral activity will be responsible for choosing to nominate or endorse candidates whose districts lie within their general area. If in a given area there is no local engaged in electoral activity, prospective Green candidates from that area may request nomination by the GPVA. If in a given area, there are two or more locals supporting different candidates for a given office, then a democratic process open to all GPVA members in that district will be used to nominate a single candidate. If the locals in that district cannot agree on a democratic process in a timely fashion, then the clerks of the GPVA will conduct a mail ballot of GPVA members in that district.

E. Each local should designate a treasurer, responsible for all financial transactions with the GPVA.

F. The GPVA may disaffiliate a Green Local for valid reasons by passing a motion to conduct a mail ballot of all locals of the GPVA. Valid reasons include but are not limited to: actions in contradiction to the Ten Key Values, concerted efforts to undermine the stated purposes of the GPVA, and/or failure to attend GPVA meetings or otherwise participate in GPVA activities for over a year. The ballot must give the reasons for disaffiliation and include a statement by the affected local if available.

Ballots will be counted at the next meeting which occurs 31 or more days after the latest postmark date of the mailing. If three-quarters or more of the valid returned ballots agree, the Green Local will be disaffiliated from the GPVA and will no longer be considered in the GPVA decision-making process, nor expected to pay state dues levies.


V. MEMBERSHIP

A. Membership in the Green Party of Virginia is open to all members of Green Locals in Virginia and/or any member holding membership in the Greens of Virginia at-large local. We welcome and embrace all members regardless of age, race, color, gender, spiritual belief, physical challenge, sexual orientation, or national origin.

B. Members of GPVA are expected to uphold the Ten Key Values, to be honest and forthright in all dealings, and to be scrupulous in the handling of GPVA and/or Green Local funds.

C. Membership Review Process. Charges of violation of the above membership standards may be made by any member or members. Such charges should be forwarded to one of the Clerks of the GPVA who will confer together. If either or both Clerks believe that the charges are warranted they will formulate a fact finding committee of three persons composed of one person chosen by the Clerks, one person chosen by the accused, and a third person chosen by mutual agreement of the first two committee members. The fact-finding committee will investigate and prepare a report of the extent of truth of the charges as expeditiously as possible but no later than 90 days after the formation of the committee. After completing the report, the fact-finding committee will meet with the accused and the accuser to see if a mutually agreeable resolution can be found. If the situation cannot be resolved at this stage, then the dispute will be referred to a community mediation service. If the dispute cannot be resolved there, then the Clerks will bring the matter, including the written report of the fact-finding committee, to the next meeting of the GPVA. The portion of the GPVA meeting considering the charges should be closed to observers. A three-quarters vote is required to withdraw the membership of the accused where the burden of proof is on those making the charges. However the process ends, the Clerks should file a brief minute giving the names of the accused and the accuser, and stating what, if any, resolution was reached.

If at any time during the above process the Clerks determine that the accused is not making a good-faith attempt to cooperate, they may bring the matter before the next meeting of the GPVA to seek a final resolution.


VI. MEETINGS AND DECISION MAKING

A. Decisions shall be by consensus of those GPVA members present. For major decisions, there must be a quorum which consists of at least one of the Clerks or the Treasurer, and at least one member each of 50% or more of the affiliated locals. Locals which have no representative present and have not sent representatives to either of the two preceding business meetings of the GPVA will not be counted for purposes of the 50% quorum requirement. If consensus cannot be achieved, a vote of three-quarters or more shall affirm a decision. Minor decisions (Article VII.B.) shall require a simple majority for affirmation.

B. Consensus and voting are recorded according to the wishes of GPVA members attending a GPVA meeting. Decisions of Green locals will be considered in the process but do not directly affect consensus or voting.

C. Participants in meetings of the GPVA are expected to treat each other
with gentleness and consideration. Persons who violate this standard may be asked to remain silent and/or leave the meeting.

D. The Clerks of the GPVA (Article VIII.) may call an unscheduled meeting of the GPVA with the concurrence of ten other GPVA members. A good-faith effort must be made to publicize this meeting to all GPVA members.

E. A future meeting date or continuance of a meeting may be set at any
meeting of the GPVA, and will be publicized to the contact person for each local.


VII. SCOPE OF DECISIONS AND LOCAL REVIEW

A. Decisions of the Green Party of Virginia shall be divided into minor and major decisions.

B. Minor decisions are process, scheduling, and communication decisions such as scheduling GPVA meetings and informal networking. Minor decisions cannot be overturned by Green locals.

C. Major decisions include, but are not limited to organizational structure, platform ratification, candidate nomination or endorsement at the state level, formally joining coalitions, or financial matters of the GPVA. Major decisions may be reviewed by Green Locals and will stand unless opposed by two or more Green Locals before the next meeting of the GPVA which occurs 31 or more days after receipt of the minutes concerning the
decision.


VIII. CLERK POSITIONS

A. The Green Party of Virginia shall establish two equal positions of
Clerk, one woman and one man.

B. The Clerks shall be active members of the GPVA and shall be elected for a term of one year. The election or recall of the Clerk(s) may take place at any business meeting of the GPVA by consensus, or a majority vote of those GPVA members present.

C. The duties of the Clerks shall be as follows:

1. Act as contacts and spokespersons for the GPVA. (Additional spokespersons may be designated by the GPVA)

2. Coordinate and assist in plans for and publicity of four GPVA business meetings gatherings each year. (The hosting local shall be responsible for developing and implementing the plans and publicity).

3. Coordinate setting of the agenda for GPVA business meetings, and arrange
for facilitation.

4. Record the minutes of GPVA business meetings and distribute at least one copy to each local within two weeks of the meeting.

5. Certify acceptance or rejection of proposals adopted at GPVA business meetings by Green Locals, and notify the locals of the results.

6. Maintain a mailing list of all current members, contact persons and alternates for all Virginia Green locals.

7. Other duties as specified by the GPVA.


IX. TREASURER

A. The GPVA shall establish the position of Treasurer.

B. The Treasurer shall be an active member of the GPVA and shall be elected for a term of one year. The election of the Treasurer may take place at any GPVA business meeting by consensus or by a majority vote of members present. Recall of the Treasurer may take place at any GPVA business meeting by consensus or by a three-quarter vote of members present.

C. The duties of the Treasurer shall be as follows:

1. Receive and disburse all funds of the GPVA and maintain records of all such transactions.

2. Present a report at each business meeting covering the current financial
status of the GPVA and other such information as requested.

3. Reimburse the Clerk(s) for appropriate expenses incurred in the performance of their duties (i.e. phone, postage, etc.).

4. File financial reports as required or requested by the GPVA and law.

5. Prepare a yearly budget if requested by the GPVA.


X. LOCAL CONTACT PERSONS

A. Each Green Local in Virginia is encouraged to choose a contact person for the GPVA.

B. The contact person will be responsible for bringing information from their local to GPVA meetings and for bringing information from those meetings back to their local.

C. The contact person will be responsible for ensuring that their local has a democratic and timely procedure for reviewing GPVA decisions (Section VII, Scope of Decisions and Local Ratification). The contact person will communicate this decision to a Clerk.

D. The contact person's local will ensure that the Clerk has the contact's
address for GPVA business mailings.


XI. DUES AND EXPENSES

A. The GPVA will collect dues from members of the Greens of Virginia at-large local plus a levy on each Green Local.

B. A levy shall be assessed to each Green Local to cover approved expenses. The levy shall be based on the number of members in each local, and be paid in two installments each year. The suggested levy will be set annually by the GPVA. Members of Green Locals may pay their dues to GPVA and request that any or all amounts over the levy amount be returned to the local.

C. Reimbursement of expenses related to quarterly GPVA meetings, including meals, lodging, printing and room rental, will be the responsibility of the sponsoring local.

D. Additional fund-raising by the Green Party of Virginia may take place and be used for such purposes as assisting Green candidates for office.


XII. POLITICAL PRACTICES

A. Accountability to Membership. The GPVA is accountable to its Green locals and members thereof (see Section VII).

B. Immediate Recall. Clerks, officers, delegates and other representatives of the GPVA shall be recallable at any meeting of the GPVA, by consensus or three-quarters vote.

C. Imperative Mandate. Representatives and delegates of the GPVA may express personal opinions, but must act and vote within the guidelines agreed on by the GPVA.

D. Minority Opinions. Significant minority opinions within the GPVA will be recorded in the minutes and communicated to other national and regional Green organizations as appropriate.

E. Affirmative Action. The GPVA is committed to encouraging participation by all Virginia residents but in particular members of those groups which tend to be underrepresented: women, racial and economic minorities, and minorities of sexual orientation.

F. Rotation of Delegates. Clerks, officers, delegates, and representatives will be rotated regularly. An attempt will be made to include new members in these positions.

G. Freedom of Information. Meetings and records of finances, membership, and minutes of the GPVA shall be open to inspection by any member of the GPVA in good standing. GPVA meetings may be closed to non-members on a majority vote in personnel or legal matters or if required by law.

H. Strategic Diversity. A full range of nonviolent strategies and tactics shall be considered permissible and desirable in pursuing Green social change, such as rallies, demonstrations, boycotts, citizens' initiatives, civil disobedience, direct action, building alternative institutions, and/or electoral politics.


XIII. CANDIDATE NOMINATION AND ENDORSEMENT POLICY

A. The GPVA may nominate or endorse candidates for local, regional, state, and national offices.

B. The word "nomination" will be used when the candidate will be publicly identified with the GPVA. The word "endorsement" will be used in all other cases.

C. A nomination/endorsement may occur at any official business meeting of the GPVA. Any nomination/endorsement will be subject to the usual process of review by the locals, unless the proposed nomination or endorsement was specified on an announcement distributed to all affiliated locals at least one month prior to the GPVA business meeting.

D. A candidate may be proposed for nomination/endorsement by any member of the GPVA or affiliated local.

E. No candidate will be nominated or endorsed by the GPVA if the nomination or endorsement is opposed by an affiliated local which encompasses the candidate's electoral district.

F. It is highly encouraged that candidates who wish to be considered for nomination:

1. Be an active member of an affiliated local

2. Seek the nomination of all locals within their district, and then seek the GPVA nomination

3. Attend or send a letter to the GPVA meeting at which their nomination will be considered.

G. Candidates who accept a GPVA nomination for office will be considered official Green candidates. As such, they should be a member of a Green organization, embrace the platform of the GPVA, and identify themselves as "Green candidates."

H. The GPVA may endorse independent candidates who support the Ten Key
Values and who generally endorse the GPVA State Platform.


XIV. LEGAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CONSIDERATION AS A POLITICAL PARTY

A. The GPVA recognizes that its internal structure may not always coincide with the traditional hierarchical structures evidenced in other political parties and organizations. As required by local, state, or federal law, the GPVA will create committees and/or organizations that comply with any and all necessary legal requirements for ballot access, elections, fund-raising, voter registration, etc. These committees and/or organizations will always remain subject to Articles VI. and VII. of this document, but may be allowed limited autonomy as specified by the GPVA.

B. The GPVA will seek and maintain statewide ballot access as allowed by state law. This will include, but is not limited to, running candidates for local, regional, state, and federal offices in order to gain and retain ballot access. The GPVA will also reserve the right to exercise legal action (i.e. lawsuits, amica curia, etc.) as necessary where ballot access or electoral laws are determined to be unduly restrictive or not in accordance with democratic principles.

C. In order to comply with state law, the GPVA shall establish a "Central Committee" consisting of one member from each of the eleven Congressional districts and two at-large members. Members of the Central Committee may be elected at any regular meeting of the GPVA, by consensus or by a majority vote of members present. The GPVA will elect the committee chair and secretary from among the thirteen committee members. A committee member shall be an active member of the GPVA and shall be elected for a term of one year. Recall of committee members may take place at any GPVA business meeting by consensus or by a three-quarter vote of members present.

D. Candidates wishing to represent themselves as "Green" candidates or "Green Party" candidates must be approved through the Green Party of Virginia nomination process as described in Article XIII. The GPVA will utilize all legal means to prevent such self-description by persons who have not been approved through this process.

XV. OTHER GREEN ORGANIZATIONS

The GPVA may join or affiliate itself with regional,national, global, etc. Green organization which share the values of the GPVA. The GPVA may choose to send delegates to these organizaitons. The delegates should represent the policy of the GPVA to the extent possible and, where possible, should seek explicit direction previous to representation. Decisions and rules of other organization which the GPVA is affiliated with or a member of will in no way be considered binding upon the Green Party of Virginia.


XVI. AMENDMENTS TO THE BY-LAWS

Amendments to these By-laws shall be made by consensus of those GPVA members present at any regular meeting, with a quorum that consists of at least one of the Clerks or the Treasurer, and at least one member from each of 50% or more of the affiliated locals. If consensus cannot be achieved, a vote of three-quarters or more shall affirm a decision. The amendments may be reviewed by Green Locals and will stand unless opposed by two or more Green Locals before the next meeting of the GPVA which occurs 31 or more days after receipt of the minutes concerning the decision. In addition, amendments to these By-laws must be ratified at the next quarterly meeting of the GPVA to remain in effect.

XVII. PRESS SECRETARY (JULY 20,1996)

A. The GPVA shall establish the position of Press Secretary.

B. The Press Secretary shall be an active member of the GPVA and shall be elected for a term of one year. The election of the Press Secretary may take place at any GPVA business meeting by consensus or by a majority vote of members present. Recall of the Press Secretary may take place at any GPVA meeting by consensus or by a three-quarter vote of members present.

C. The duties of the Press Secretary shall be as follows:

1. Responsible for seeing that all activities and events of the GPVA receive the maximum amount of favorable publicity that is possible.

2. Assist the Locals in seeing that all of their activities and events receive the maximum amount of favorable publicity that is possible.

3. Maintain a data base of publications and other media for use in publicizing GPVA activities and events.

4. Act as spokesperson for the GPVA, in the same manner as the Clerks (Article VIII.C.1).

5. Distribute and follow up all press releases of the GPVA.

6. Maintain a record of all known media coverage of the GPVA.

7. The Press Secretary shall follow all written guidelines of the GPVA.

XVIII. INTERIM COMMITTEE (October 19,1996)

A. The GPVA shall have an interim committee consisting of the co-clerks, treasurer, press secretary, and one representative from each affiliated local that wishes to be represented. It is highly encouraged that all members of the interim committee have daily access to email as this is currently the most cost efficient, accurate, and democratic medium of communication available and will be the main avenue of communication and decision making.

1. A representative from an affiliated local will be seated on the interim committee upon receipt by the co-clerks of minutes designating a representative to the committee or; a written statement, signed by three members of the local, affirming that the local has selected a representative to the interim committee.

B. The duties of the interim committee shall be as follows:

1. Conduct the day-to-day activities of the GPVA.

2. Make decisions on any matters which can not reasonably be put off until the next meeting of the GPVA.

3. Issue statements on behalf of the GPVA concerning current events.

4. Hire and oversee the activities of all staff of the GPVA.

C. One of the co-clerks shall be designated as the convenor of the interim committee. This position may be alternated, as the co-clerks choose, upon notification of the other committee members. The convenor shall facilitate discussions and certify and record any decisions as well as make reports to the meetings of the GPVA.

D. The interim committee shall strive for consensus in all of its
decisions. If consensus is not achievable then approval by all members of the committee minus one shall affirm a decision.

All decisions of the interim committee are subject to revision by the GPVA at any scheduled meeting.

E. All discussions of the interim committee are open to any member of the GPVA. Any member of the GPVA may request to be placed on the interim committee email list and may participate in discussions unless the committee finds such participation to be disruptive.

XIX. PLATFORM REVISION PROCESS (April 19, 1997)

A. The platform of the Green Party of Virginia and all revisions will be approved by the following process:

1. Platform revisions shall be drafted by a meeting of the Green Party of Virginia or a designated committee.

2. The recommended changes shall be mailed to each member of the GPVA in a format by which they can indicate approval or disapproval of each new or changed plank .

3. Returned ballots will be tallied 30 days after the mailing by a person or persons designated by a meeting of the GPVA. The tally clerk will forward all ballot materials to the co-clerks for archiving.

4. New or changed planks in the platform are approved if the votes in favor are 75% or greater of the total votes for or against that change. Deletions are approved if supported by more than 50% of the total votes for or against the deletion.

B. The GPVA will institute the above process in odd-numbered years. In extraordinary circumstances, the GPVA may amend the platform at any regular meeting as specified in Article VII Section C.

C. The Platform and all changes made through the above process shall remain in effect until changed by the same process.

D. The GPVA , or designated committee, may approve non-content changes to the platform without the need for the above described membership ratification process. Such changes may include: titles and arrangement of the planks of the platform; grammatical and stylistic changes to the wording of planks; creating and naming various subsets of the platform to be used in cases when the entire platform would be too cumbersome; combining planks; and other similar changes.

Questions? Comments? Send mail to the Green Troll at ridewaver@gmail.com.

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