This time my plan was to participate in the entire convention. I got there just after they took possession of room 237. That meant all I got to see was this backdrop, the registration table had moved upstairs. An hour or two after checking in I'd settled into my room, washed away three days on the Greyhound bus, and figured out that the first workshop I wanted to attend was the one titled "Confronting Oppressive Behaviors". When I got there it was a fairly full classroom with a slender woman organizing a go round, where everybody said something about who they were, where they were from, and what they wanted out of the convention.

There were long time Greens, "Bernie or Bust!" activists that wanted Plan B to work, Houston Greens that wanted to learn more about the rest of the Green Party, and some other random individuals. She kept it going, but there were many of us. Most of the rest of our 90 minutes went into learning through a show of hands how many had experienced many things. Some were oppressive behaviors, things like "Do you know anybody that is in jail?" That one got most of the African-Americans and Latinos to raise their hands, but nobody else. It did my heart good to see a large number of hands go up for "Do you have lots of books in your home?" It felt good to know I wasn't the only reader there.


The next session I went to this guys talk. I was there for about ten minutes before I realized he was just going to lecture at great length about the physics of climate change. Got that "I've seen this movie before" feeling and went out to schmooze with other Greens that were just getting in.

Greg turned out to be the "oldest" Green among us this year. I say "oldest" because there are still quite a few of us that have spent more years circling the sun. He is oldest in the sense that he registered with the Green Party in Rhode Island back in 1984. Among us there is one who has spent more years registered Green, John Rensenbrink of Maine. Unfortunately, he got home from his previous trip sick, and hasn't yet recovered enough to travel to Texas, so he didn't show. Greg was our oldest member that got there this time.

One thing I liked about the University of Houston is their water bottle filling stations. Every water fountain had one at the back.


There was an opening evening talk that started with this woman from the host committee. She welcomed us to Houston, "Where the weather is hot and humid but the air conditioning is great!" Then she introduced the hot speaker from occupy wall street, YahNe Ndgo.


Her name sounded like "indigo". I remember being struck by her ability to bring people along with her vision. I remember it as a "We won't be fooled again!" talk. There was also stuff like how hard it is when you're a single mother worried about where to get your kids next meal. By the end of it everybody was on their feet clapping and cheering. Viva the occupation!


Mike Feinstein wants everybody to go out and make a video of a couple going into some local eatery. They sit down and the waitress gives them menus and asks who they want to vote for. They look at their choices. A donkey or an elephant. One of them says "What we want isn't on the menu here. We want to vote for the leaf!" The other one pulls out a Jill Stein for President flier and says "My vote is for Jill Stein!" Fade to black as the couple walks out and starts unlocking their bicycles or whatever. He's hoping the idea will go viral, and everybody will find a way to bring their take on things into their version. Make it a decentralized movement! I like that idea.


Approval voting starts with the idea "I like voting for good options". Informally, the way it works is the speaker asks for a show of hands for each of an agreed upon list of choices. We vote for every option we like. The option with the most votes in the end wins. Click the picture to find out more.

This Ohio Green enjoys tabling, and had his table set up for all to see. He did everything right, including customizing it with his own issues and favorite books.


They had lots of Green Party shirts for sale. The prices were reasonable. Hope they got lots of them out there. I traded this sticker for the photo op of having her brandish it back there. I also got one of the shirts that says Green is the party of revolt.


Colorado in the house!

Rob Sherman said that in Illinois he is a famous Atheist. He knows more than most about theology and the public there. The 5th District in Illinois is part of the Chicago thing. Oak Park is part of it, from what I remember of what he said.


There was a hubbub of activity out in the hallways. Different people were doing different things and talking about it. Debbie was live casting from that chair. She interviewed me for a couple of minutes. Arn Manconi was evangelizing for his Colorado Senate campaign. (Click his picture to see the picture I took of his flyer.) There was a whole bunch of other people wandering around, but they were the ones I got a chance to photograph.

The next workshop I attended was "Building the Revolution with Social Media". The name involved was Dave Schwab, Communications Director with the Jill Stein for President campaign.


He said stuff like "If you're on Facebook please limit yourself to under five posts a day at the most." People are busy, and it's hard enough to get one idea from someone else out there. Posting too much gets you ignored by many. Best results come from a word to a paragraph with a picture. By all means, develop a long friends list. How many likes your last few posts got will heavily influence how many people see your next effort. Don't expect it to get to everybody just because you sent it. Shares can get something way more hits.

Twitter is completely different in the way it works. For one thing, you're limited to 144 characters. For another, everyone on your list will get everything you post. He wanted us to keep in mind that social media done right is somewhere between yelling in public and getting published. Don't post things you don't want repeated (shared).


The next workshop was "The Role of Art in Revolution" with Ruthi Engelke. David Cobb started it, speaking of his deep feelings for art. He reminded us of many times artists had captured the moment with political memes. Stuff like "tank man" from Tiananmen Square in the '80s.

The curator began by saying "We wanted to hang a political banner outside to attract everybody to this art exhibit, but The University forced us to take it down. Instead, you see it on the floor. We'll pass that later in the exhibit." Then he explained that in resource constrained environments artists play a key role in getting the word out for change. All of the exhibits have something like that about them. Then he brought out the artist that tried to find meaning in the forgotten cremated remains of long ago forgotten people.

The artist explained that funeral homes keep the ashes of the cremated remains that weren't picked up after the service for a long time. Then they get rid of them. He was the trash man there, and it grieved him. He decided to make art of the remains to raise awareness that too many of us are being forgotten like that. Turns out everybody burns down to a different color of ashes. He found ways to bind the ashes to canvas and the dollar sign behind him and the McDonaldsish arches were made using 100% forgotten human ashes for pigments.


The crude oil and shredded money in those corporate icon bottles are real. That "cardboard sign" is a bronze casting. That American flag is made of old cigarette butts found on city streets.

This was the banner that the university had taken down. Mutters of "Censorship!" went through us as we heard the story.

After the guided tour of the art gallery we were ushered into the next room over. It was a classroom with pages urging us to download good reads on all the tables. Here are a few that I crossed paths with. There were far too many for me to visit, but somebody mentioned that Ted Kazinsky's manifesto was one of them.


Each of us sat down with two or three different texts in front of us. It wasn't long before Darryl Cherney took the stage as an example of a political song writer. He did a couple of songs from his Redwood Summer years. Stuff like "Where's Bosco?", which was about how the congressman was too corrupt to show up for normal people because the big money had bought both of his ears and all of his attention.


After Darryl sang a couple of songs David Cobb came up and explained that back near the turn of the millennium, when "teamsters and turtles" got together in Seattle, he had been the labor organizer and Darryl had been the turtle organizer behind that grouping.

It was a well attended workshop.

Then Cobb gave us the readers digest version of his rap about corporate personhood and constitutional rights. He wants a Constitutional Amendment that corporations are not people and money is not speech. He's out of the Baptist Preacher tradition, so it was riveting theater.


Since 2010 he's gathered 408,000 supporters, 17 states have come on board, and 600 government resolutions have been passed supporting his call for a constitutional amendment. If you haven't seen him do this rap you should. It's good art, to say the very least.



The evening was capped off with a "Greens Got Talent!" variety show. You should have been there. It was all good.


One of the acts was this New York Choir that were with us via video who did a stirring rendition of Eric Gardener's last words. It was an operatic collage of many heaving sounds with "I can't breathe" in five part harmony with good orchestration. Not the kind of thing untrained voices can do.

The last act was this chorus that lead us in a sing along version of that song that goes "We are the world... We are the children, so let's start living..."

By the end everybody was singing along and doing the wave. I went to bed feeling awesome about the whole green thing.

Waiting for the elevator to go down to breakfast the next morning I took this picture. A beautiful day was starting.


Tony Affigne is super excited about being involved with the first offshore wind turbine in the USA. He showed me this front page article about it in his State's paper of record. Click his picture to read that coverage.


The first show was a Hiroshima Day remembering. It was a poem with live action mime supplement.

As a California delegate, all I had to do was be there through the counting of the votes.



Then it was time for the Presidential Candidates to each give a brief pitch to those assembled.


Darryl Cherney said you can find out a lot about his issues and background from his website, At the end he said he will help with the Jill Stein campaign during the fall.


Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza-Curry is battling racism. It's easy for her to find it, and she gets loud calling it out. Her campaign was all about using the bully pulpit of a candidacy to push the struggle forward and build the Green Party in the Black community. After this candidate we switched to approving the platform for some reason.


There were a few people that had issues with specific planks in the platform that needed public airing. Rule 842 or something like that got particular attention. So did the racism of some other part. Gotta admit I didn't pay much attention during the platform discussion. We adopted it by consensus after all the problems had been aired. Then it was back to listening to Green Party candidates that rate such time on the national stage as we can give them.



I think this guy was only on the ballot in Florida. His campaign was mostly about youth rights, he's too young to get on the ballot for President in California, where you have to be at least 35 years old.


Kent said his campaign is all about helping the Green Party grow and honoring his Blackfoot heritage.


Rodolfo Munoz is running for Justice on a platform of "You guys don't have jurisdiction to do the pushing around you do." I liked it so much I donated a dead president to his campaign during the break.


Jill Stein talked about campaigning all around the nation during the primary. She wants to be our presidential nominee so she can object to the large student debts that today's young people are being saddled with. She wants to see a foreign policy based on diplomacy not militarism. She wants to grow the Green Party to the point where we're a real choice for everybody so the duopoly can't get away with the corruption we're seeing now. By the time she walked off everybody was enthused about the idea of voting for her.


Then we took a break. The guy in the green Army dress uniform said he was one of the last people that got issued a green dress uniform. The new uniform is another color, I forget what. Sounded like all the ribbons, pins, and so forth mark him as one of the guys that has seen lots of active duty.


David Cobb took the stage to have a live chat with Julian Assange via skype. While they were sorting out the technology issues involved with getting the link working and the TV feed synchronized I found out that Jill Stein had joined us in the audience. I turned around and she shook my hand. One of my more unusual moments. Finally they sorted it all out.

Cobb began by thanking Assange for doing more than anyone knew was possible to expose how much oversight the government was getting on all of us. Then they talked about the political situation. Assange is still holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He thinks choosing between voting for Hillary and voting for Trump is like deciding whether to get one venereal disease or another venereal disease. He hopes we can do something, although getting the word out will be challenging.

We gave Assange a good hand just before the interview was over. Then a couple of Latin American Greens took the stage.


I was hoping the TV people would help me with the names and titles of these guys, but they didn't get it either. They were South or Central American Greens. The first one to take the stage spoke good English and translated for the other guy after he came up to. They talked of the many years of exploitation by the Yankees their regions have suffered, and of their hopes we can change that somehow. They wished us good luck in the fall election.


YahNe Ndgo gave another barn burner of a speech. She started by reading the definition of "revolution" from an authoritative source. Then she gave us a list of "that revolution needs to include" type things before she was going to get involved. She explained that "Black Lives Matter" is the correct phrasing because rich lives already matter, and only when black lives also matter will all lives matter. Hello? Being at the back of the bus means we need to be mentioned for the whole bus to matter. It worked. People were on their feet by the time she was done.



Cornel West is something like a theologian. He explained the moral imperative in the need to vote Green this year.

Lots of other people capturing the event. Bet you can find a very detailed description of the speech contents if you look. Maybe even the whole thing on uTube somewhere.


Then it was time for the roll call. That's the ceremony where every state delegation makes some brief comments and casts votes. They went in alphabetical order.


First up was Alabama. Right away, SKCM-Curry had an objection. That racist state had not let her put her name on the ballot. The rules committee was called out, and a whispered negotiation was followed by the guy announcing that we would get to the bottom of this later. Then the roll call really started.


To make a long story short, we nominated Jill Stein as our Candidate for POTUS. Cheri Honkala lead us in nominating Baraka as our Vice Presidential candidate by acclimation. Then she introduced him as a human rights activist she has been following for years.


Baraka began by saying he's not the fan of being arrested for Justice that Cheri Honkola is, but he will work hard on the campaign between now and election day. He is grateful for the analysis of an author who exposed the "sheep dogging" strategy of the Democrat Party that made it possible for many to see Jill Stein as an alternative after Bernie was bullied into line by the establishment insiders.


She used all the good lines from her stump speech. "We need a foreign policy based on diplomacy not militarism." was my favorite line. There was something there for everyone to cheer for. By the end my hands were sore from clapping enthusiastically.


This flier they gave me at the after party represents the things she mentioned very well.


When the speech ended the crowd really went wild.

Everybody was on their feet. It was a great moment. When the enthusiasm was highest I was cheering to, but this was soon after that.


Before anybody had time to go anywhere George came out and led us in this great OWS style chant:

George: mike check
George: system change not climate change!
George: leave the oil under the soil
George: leave the coal in the hole!
George: leave the gas under the grass!
George: peace and love for all!

Then it was all over except for the celebrating....


It was mostly schmoozing and drinking beer and listening to music, but after a while Jill Stein took the stage and I had to snap a few pictures. She covered a lot of the same issues she had earlier, but this time it was in a call and response format. She'd say "Do we want a medicare for all system?" Everybody would yell "YES!" Then she'd ask "Do we want a foreign policy based on diplomacy instead of militarism?" We'd all yell "YES!" Every time we went around the cycle I could feel the "we" building a bit more. It was good when she started, but it was music by the time she finished.

Half of the band was members of the Colorado delegation. The rest of them drove down just to play for us.

I liked them enough to get a CD at the end of the evening.



Sunday morning I attended the seminar on bringing Jill to your town for the campaign. While I was waiting for it to start I met this guy. He'd run for Congress in Illinois in the primary and lost to another guy that was also at the convention. I couldn't find out who because he refused to say the other guys name. I took the picture of the crowd just before the meeting started.


George warmed us up with the same chant he ended the previous plenary with. System change not climate change! Keep the oil in the soil! Keep the gas under the grass! Keep the coal in the hole! Peace and love for everybody! By this time I knew it by heart.

The woman in the green dress is schwag order fulfillment at the campaign HQ. She said dot your i's and cross your t's and we'll get the stuff to you as fast as possible.

The guy in the blue shirt is a honcho in Jill's campaign. He said that with all the press Jill is getting because of the nomination online donations have been coming at a $10,000 per hour rate. He doesn't know if that will continue, but right now it means money isn't the problem he's used to it being. The objective is to use Jill's campaign to grow the Green Party as much as possible between now and November 8th. That means she is going to spend a lot of time on the road spreading the word. For her to come to your town we need your help to make it work out. Then they passed around these Jill Stein visit worksheets.

They explained that without at least three or four volunteers willing to put real work into the tasks on the sheet you can't get Jill to visit. Experience has shown that she needs all of those things done well for a visit to be a success. The campaign will work with you to make it happen, don't worry if you think you can do it because you've done it before.


These guys (Adrian and Joshua) spent a lot of time reiterating points mentioned on the worksheet. Jill's time is valuable. She needs down time, she needs cooking time, she needs access to a good kitchen because she's on a special diet. She doesn't have time to listen to your pet project endlessly because she is under your roof. She has to know what's going on in the news because she will be asked to respond to it by the press, and probably soon. Please respect Jills time while she is in your world.


Jonathan explained that he would be coordinating non Jill appearance related campaign activities. He's starting by finding state coordinators in each state to get the two way communications between the campaign and the grass roots going.

Cheri Honkala remembers many occasions when she was on the VP ticket where she'd go to an appearance and the food would be good, the volunteers revved up, but the crowd almost nonexistent. She's learned some tricks to keep that from happening again this time, and once you submit a good worksheet she will work with you to make sure the event is a success.