Political work engaged in by the U.S. Greens Abroad is organized primarily through Working Groups, although it is also possible for individuals to engage in political work without forming a Working Group. To avoid a hierarchical organizational structure, administrative and political activities are clearly separated in the U.S. Greens Abroad. The function of the Coordinating Committee, in contrast to the Working Groups, is to handle the administrative tasks of the organization; the Coordinating Committee is prohibited by the USGA charter from engaging in political work (although members of the Coordinating Committee may, of course, also serve on Working Groups if they choose).

In the same way that any USGA member can volunteer to serve on the Coordinating Committee (there are no elected "officers"), all USGA members are also able to start a Working Group, whether it be a single person or a group of individuals with related interests. Any member may also put up proposals for a vote, call a meeting, etc. In short, whatever political work the U.S. Greens Abroad actually engages in is based on the self-organization of the members themselves, not on any top-down form of "leadership." All work is voluntary, of course, and how much the Working Groups actually do depends on the time, energy, and initiative of the members involved.

Working Groups can be established on either a permanent or ad hoc basis (i.e., for either long- or short-term projects). They can be focused either on a general area of interest or on a specific issue or campaign. Working Groups are free to engage in whatever activities they choose, but any statements, actions, or policies promoted under the name of the U.S. Greens Abroad must be approved by a vote of the membership.

Since many members of the U.S. Greens Abroad are already busy and active with other organizations and projects, some may feel hesitant about getting involved with a Working Group, thinking that it may involve a lot of time, energy, and responsibiltiies. The purpose of the Working Groups, however, is not necessarily to "do something more" or initiate new projects (although Working Groups can certainly do this if they want). Rather, the Working Groups may also function as a way for members to share with others the work they are already be doing outside the USGA and to give it political expression within the Greens. The Working Groups can thus serve as a two-way link between the U.S. Greens Abroad and other groups working for progressive social and political change--we can learn about and support what they are doing and they can learn about and hopefully support us as well.


The only requirement for starting a Working is that the individual(s) involved agree to act as a point of contact for people who are interested in the area or topic covered by the Working Group. Members who are starting a Working Group should notify the Clearinghouse, giving both the name of the group and the contact person(s). The information will then be publicized so that others who may be interested in joining or contacting the group can do so. Whatever other activities the Working Group engages itself in depends entirely on the members themselves.


Here are some optional activities Working Groups may wish to engage in, depending on time and energy (these activities can also be engaged in by individuals outside of the Working Groups!):


- Network with individuals and groups connected to the Working Group's area of interest

- Gather information from these groups and share it with the U.S. Greens Abroad

- Help the groups you are in contact with promote their activities through the U.S. Greens Abroad (for example, through our listserv and newsletter)

- Find out what the concerns of these groups are and consider how they might be given political representation in the Greens

- Ask the U.S. Greens Abroad to endorse the actions, policies, statements, etc. of other groups

- Encourage USGA members to participate in the activities of these groups


- Tell individuals and groups you are networking with about the U.S. Greens Abroad

- Distribute promotional info about the U.S. Greens Abroad and encourage people to join

- Distribute other info about the U.S. Greens Abroad

- Encourage people to vote Green and have them contact the Clearinghouse for absentee voting info

- Encourage groups to officially endorse Green candidates and actions


- Engage in research on the Working Group's topic and share the research with the USGA

- Prepare an infosheet or other materials on what the Working Group is doing

- Organize a teach-in or symposium (perhaps in conjunction with other Working Groups)

- Write articles for publication

- Send off press releases related to the Working Group's activities (the Clearinghouse and Communications Coordinators can help with this)


- Organize letter-writing campaigns and petitions

- Organize or participate in (legal) protest marches and demos

- Lobby the U.S. Government on specific issues

- Lobby American corporations on specific issues

- Organize other campaigns on specific issues


- Issue a specific policy statement endorsed by the USGA membership (requires a vote)


The following Working Groups have already been established in the U.S. Greens Abroad. If you would like to join one of these Working Groups, please contact the USGA Clearinghouse: Richard Evanoff, 1933-8 Hazama-cho, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo 193-0941 Japan. E-mail: <>.

Currently only the ELECTORAL WORKING GROUP is active.


Here are a few ideas for additional Working Groups that could be established in the U.S. Greens Abroad--just to stimulate thought on some of the possibilities (of course, Working Groups can be started on any topic and it is entirely up to the members to determine what the name and focus of the Working Group will be): Anti-globalization; Culture (literature, music, and the arts); Fair Trade; Bi/Lesbian/Gay/Transexual Issues; Green Philosophy and Theory; Human Rights; Living Green (alternative businesses, cooperatives, etc.); Multiculturalism/Anti-Racism; Politics (networking with other political organizations in Japan or abroad); Religion and Spirituality; Sustainability; Women's Issues.


If it is necessary for an individual or Working Group to call a vote of the membership here is the procedure: Write up a draft of your proposal. Before putting the proposal up for a final vote you may want to give the membership a chance to discuss it. You can do this either by posting a copy of the draft on the USGA members-only listserv at <> or by asking the Clearinghouse to circulate the draft to all members (not all members are on the listserv). Once the proposal is ready to be voted on, send a copy to the Clearinghouse. The proposal must be clearly worded and otherwise ready for distribution. Deadlines for completing voting should allow ample time for those not on e-mail to be mailed and return their ballots. The Clearinghouse will distribute ballots to all members and count the votes. A proposal passes if a majority of those casting ballots are in favor of it (there is no quorum). Proposals for ammending the USGA Charter, however, require the approval of two-thirds of all USGA members.