Madame President

There is a lot of discussion on the national lists about Greens who have published books.

Green Party Member Mark Dunlea of New York has written the book Madame President: The Unauthorized Biography of the First Green Party President.

Here is a brief summary:
The book outlines key social, environmental and economic justice issues. It talks about how change in the U.S. could be accomplished. It combines elements of Saul Alinsky’s organizing guide Rules for Radicals, and Ecotopia, the ecological utopian novel by Ernest Callenbach.
The book is an alternative historical novel. The close Presidential election in 2004 is decided by the Electoral College rather than the U.S. Supreme Court. Rachel, a single mom and nurse who is active in the movement for universal health care, is the Green’s Vice-Presidential candidate in a disputed Presidential election in 2000.

About writing the book, Mark states:
There were a number of things I sought to accomplish in writing the book

1. Explain to the public what the Green vision meant, that we are not just disgruntled Democrats. It sought to answer the question, why don’t the Greens endorse Gore, he’s an environmentalist. The book covers a huge list of issues and gives a green perspective. What would a green world look like (sort of a green ecotopia).

2. How the Greens should organize their electoral campaigns, starting with the 2004 presidential election. I have been running elections since 1980, mainly for Greens but also for some democratic candidates and referendums. I am pretty good at it. I had some ideas that I thought it would be good to educate other Greens on. I realize of course that others have different opinions.

3. It is an organizing guide, my version of Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, which I had read when I was starting out as an organizer in 1972. I have learned a lot of lessons – and made my share of mistakes – over the last 30 years. I wanted to share those experiences with organizers just starting out.

In addition to those three things, there is some cultural aspect to it. I did want to provide a picture of what I would call the counterculture over the last 30 years. It is a world that is familar to many greens but probably largely invisible to more mainstream individuals.

Rebecca Rotzler, also of the GPNY and a national co-chair, suggests these reads:

Dare to Hope by Jason West and Pride and Politics by Erin Quinn, both New Paltz Greens.

West is mayor of New Paltz, NY and has received the most press for marrying same sex couples. Quinn’s book looks at New Paltz (NY) and the media.


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