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The Green Action Plan
by Amy J. Belanger, The Greens' Clearinghouse Coordinator
The Green Action Plan offers a structure for focusing related issues around a set of three coherent campaigns: Solar Power Through Community Power, Green Cities, and Green Justice. Three national Working Groups have also formed, helping to coordinate Green organizing around food issues, cooperative economics, and toxics. Green Wisdom says it makes more sense to bring together several aspects of an issue into an existing campaign than to view them as whole new projects. This approach makes sense for organizing against NAFTA, too. As its relationship to a Green vision is better understood, NAFTA will start to influence the character of the Green Action Plan and seemingly unrelated projects.
Take the Green Cities campaign, for example: Trade policy can make or break the urban economy. It affects health care by eroding worker benefits in the US as corporations move South to exploit cheap labor. It affects the kind, cost, and source of materials used in housing. With few places to grow their own organic produce, urban dwellers bear the toxic burden of unregulated pesticide use on imported produce. These are natural focal points for Green Cities organizers incorporating NAFTA into their work.
The Imaginary Greens/Green Party of the Imagination are a mixed bag of Green ex-Democrats, student intellectuals, radical punks and vegetarian Rastas, focusing on toxics and food issues. They decide to investigate and publicize NAFTA. The intellectuals show local trade unions and environmentalists how NAFTA will force "acceptable" levels of toxins downward. The vegetarian Rastas explain to the granolas, health care workers, and new age community how unrestricted trade means that pesticides banned in US agriculture will still end up in the grocery store produce. The radical punks organize street theatre to draw attention to food and toxics , focusing on the problems posed by NAFTA. The Green-Dems call a community meeting to write letters to the editor and they issue a press release, petitioning the City Council to take a formal position against NAFTA.
Together, they plan a summer Green Cities project to engage the community in self-education and activism on toxics and food; developing concrete ways of protecting their own health (like urban organic gardening); and launching a Green community development fund.
Greens who want advice on researching, publicizing, and educating around issues like international trade, should take the leap and order an Organizing Kit ($11.50 includes postage & handling) from the Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 30208, Kansas City MO 64112. [1993 address incorrect in 2000 ójs]