The word "green" is often associated with environmental issues. Sure enough, the issue of ecological responsibility plays a major role in Green Party positions. But just as the modern environmental movement began to emerge in mainstream politics in the 1960s, so too did a number of other socially liberal, peace-orientated concepts.
The Greens divide their core beliefs into what they call "The Greens' Ten Key Values."
- Grassroots Democracy: Every person should have a say in the governmental decision-making process. The Greens advocate electoral and political systems that directly involve citizens. Positions: The Greens support campaign finance reform, election reform and Presidential Debate Commission reform. The party does not accept contributions from corporations.
- Ecological Wisdom: Society must live in balance with the natural world by building and maintaining communities and industries that use natural resources responsibly. The Greens advocate agricultural methods that replenish the soil and energy-efficient economies that don't compromise natural systems. Positions: The party opposes corporate agriculture and supports strict standards on genetically modified organisms and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
- Social Justice and Equal Opportunity: All persons should have access to the rights, opportunities and resources provided by society and the environment. Positions: The Greens support abortion rights, national healthcare, same-sex marriage, a living wage and labor unions.
- Nonviolence: The Greens believe in working to eliminate violence at the domestic and international level. They advocate demilitarization while recognizing the need for national defense. Positions: The party supports military reduction and opposed the wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Decentralization: The Greens believe segments of society are disenfranchised by the centralization of power within certain social, economic and political institutions. They believe the decision making process should be restructured to take place at an individual and local level. This means less bureaucracy and more direct government. Positions: The party opposes global corporate power and increased accounting oversight and supports election reform and telecommunications deregulation.
- Community-Based Economics: The party believes in long-term economic structures that offer dignified work and protect workers' rights, environmental integrity, quality of life and local involvement. This model tends to favor independently-owned and operated companies, cooperatives and public enterprises. Positions: The Greens oppose corporate agriculture and support a living wage and labor unions.
- Feminism: The Greens believe that society has a legacy of economic and political male dominance. Feminism pushes for political, social and economic equality between the sexes. Positions: While this value underlies a number of Green positions, it can be seen directly in the party's support of abortion rights.
- Respect for Diversity: The world is filled with groups divided by culture, ethnicity, race, sexuality, religion and spirituality. The Greens promote developing respectful relationships between these groups as well as including them in decision-making processes. Positions: The Greens support same-sex marriage and oppose uncontrolled bio-engineering.
- Personal and Global Responsibility: The Greens believe peace, justice and environmental responsibility can be achieved if people and organizations from around the world coming together. Positions: The party supports mitigating widespread environmental issues like global warming and polluted water.
- Future Focus and Sustainability: The Green Party believes its actions and policies must be based on long-term, responsible goals. The environment and economy should be managed and shaped with the future in mind. Positions: The party supports reducing greenhouse gasses.
In the next section, we'll take a look at the history of the Green Party and how it rose to its prominent third-party status.