Gateway Green Alliance/Green Party of St. Louis

Principles of Genuine Unity

It seems to me that discussions of unity should be based on an underlying agreement. Events of recent weeks lead me to propose the following 10 Principles of Genuine Unity, which I submit to the GNC meeting of March 10-12, 2000 in St. Louis as a framework for approaching particular unity proposals.

1. Pursuit of unity SHOULD take place if members of two or more organizations agree that what they have in common outweighs their differences.

2. Unification SHOULD NOT be attempted as a substitute for joint work or as something pushed on people who have not worked together.

3. Unification of organizations SHOULD happen after members have worked together on common projects such as a Presidential campaign or a campaign to preserve ancient forests of stop genetically contaminated food.

4. Pursuit of unity SHOULD NOT be based on manipulation, hidden deals or secret meetings of self-appointed negotiators.

5. Unity SHOULD NOT be based on "stalking" or chasing after people who have repeatedly said "No." Unity cannot be genuine without an understanding that you cannot unify with people who do not want to unify with you.

6. When there is a contradiction between wishes of leaders and average members, continuing or abandoning discussions of unity should ALWAYS depend on the wishes of members and should NEVER cater to the desires of a few to control an organization.

7. When seeking unity with an organization whose leaders seem to be stonewalling the unity desires of its members, it is best to continue to develop reasonable proposals for joint action so that an increasing proportion of members seek to change the views of or replace obstructionist leaders.

8. Proposals for unity should NEVER be given to members of an organization to accept as a "take-it-or-leave-it" ultimatum.

9. Members of each organization ALWAYS have the right to modify and change proposals and draft versions until members of all organizations vote to accept a final agreement.

10. Unity MUST be based on organizations' developing their own strengths and bringing those strengths to negotiations. Thus, an organization working toward unity should continue doing what it does best and not neglect its own internal issues in the pursuit of unity.

Don Fitz

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