Bylaws of the Green Party of the United States Youth Caucus
Ratified July 13, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland
Major updates passed on February 17, 2017 in an online vote.
Additional Changes passed on August 29, 2017 in an online vote.
1.1 The marginalization of youth in the U.S. political process, including the electoral process, and within social movements, has long existed in the United States. Furthermore, youth are always the spark of systemic change in society, and thus always repressed by older more conservative (more socialized) people and groups, always dis-empowered by the legal system and in the wider culture due to adultism.
As a party that advocates for social justice issues, the Green Party offers youth an avenue to be represented and participate in electoral politics, in movement spaces, and in grassroots organizing work.
The Green Party of the United States Youth Caucus (referred to as “GPUS Youth Caucus,” or “the caucus” elsewhere in this document) will work to provide Green identified youth representation and opportunities for participation within the GPUS. We also officially identify ourselves as the “Young Greens.”
1.2 The purpose of the GPUS Youth Caucus is to:
–Educate youth about Green politics–and educate Greens about issues that impact the lives and future of young Greens.
–Recruit more youth to the Green Party–including finding and training political and movement organizers and revolutionaries at the high school, college and young-adult levels.
–Give young Greens a voice within the GPUS–including seeking out leadership roles within the party. We recognize that we are incubating the next generation of the Green Party, and advocate for this process, so that the party understands and supports this critical work.
–Create and provide educational and organizational resources for Campus Greens and Young Greens groups.
–Provide resources to caucus members to allow greater youth representation at Green Party related events.
–Continue to fulfill the requirements to exist as an accredited caucus of the GPUS.
–Initiate and support movement work that aligns with our values.
–Envision, nurture and grow strategic coalitions that advance the Green Party’s platform and objectives in relation to our constituents.
–Envision, nurture and grow strategic programs that advance the Green Party’s platform and objectives in relation to our constituents–such as the Young Greens campus program.
1.3 The GPUS Youth Caucus endorses the Ten Key Values of The GPUS and shall follow them as guiding principles. The GPUS Youth Caucus endorses the platform of the GPUS and will continue to take an active role in shaping it. The Youth Caucus shall support national candidates selected at GPUS nominating conventions. We will also seek to and entertain requests for us to endorse and support other Green candidates at the state and local level.
1.4. In keeping with the Green Party’s third pillar of Social Justice, the Young Greens of the US declares itself to be an anti-oppression caucus, actively dedicated to the work of ending capitalism and dismantling white supremacy and cisheteropatriarchy. As such, expressions of sexism, racism, classism, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and other oppressive behaviors are not in keeping with the values of the Young Greens of the US.
1.5. Further, the Young Greens of the US explicitly rejects the false ideas of reverse racism, misandry, etc., because we understand the role of white supremacy, cisheteropatriarchy, ableism, etc. in the oppression of our comrades of all colors, genders, abilities, and sexual orientations. While it is possible for prejudice against white people, against men, against cisgender people, against able-bodied persons, against straight people (or any other privileged group) to exist, this prejudice is not oppression because there are no institutional power structures designed to disenfranchise these privileged groups.
1.6. Caucus officers will conduct themselves in official public statements, public appearances and other situations acting in the capacity as representatives of the YGUS, in a manner in keeping with the aforementioned values of anti-oppression. Representatives of the Young Greens of the US shall make every effort to respect and amplify the voices of marginalized people.
1.7. Informed and inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King’s words in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, in which he decries “the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice,”caucus officers are charged with the responsibility of wading through the difficult discussions when oppression arises or to ask for help from outside allied organizations if they do not possess the skills.
1.8. Leadership of campus//local/state chapters should also adhere to these values, and they should do everything within their capacity to help develop the consciousness of their membership, so as to create a welcoming, safe space in which to build collective power, with women--including trans women, people of color, people with disabilities and the entire spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community and the poor and homeless.
1.9. As a corollary to oppression under capitalism is the oppression felt by the white working class members of our community, who are often used as bludgeons by the ruling class against women, people of color, people with disabilities, etc. It is the mission of the Young Greens of the US to create opportunities for solidarity so that mutual understanding and shared collective power can be built.
1.10. The Green Party recognizes this nation’s actual history, not its idealized history. A history of empire building, capitalism, white supremacy, and genocide. The Green Party must lead in the understanding of this history, and the current reality that is this history's result.
2.1 Membership in the GPUS Youth Caucus is open to those that meet all of the following criteria: identify as a Green, agree to the Green Party’s Ten Key Values, agree with the platforms of the caucus and the GPUS, and are at least fourteen years of age, and no older than thirty-six and one day (having joined before or on their thirty-fifth birthday), and have met the yearly dues requirement.
2.2 The maximum age for new members to join the GPUS Youth Caucus is thirty-five and no days. Members in good standing who have been involved in the GPUS Youth Caucus for at least one year (having joined before on or before their thirty-fifth birthday) may retain their membership through their thirty-sixth year of age, but may not be considered a member beyond that.
2.3 Members must abide by the governing documents of the GPUS Youth Caucus and must act in a way that represents the organization positively. Failure to meet these requirements may result in suspension of membership by a vote of the steering committee.
2.4 According to GPUS by-laws, all caucus members must be affiliated with their GPUS-affiliated state party. This may not apply in some states where there is no affiliated party. In either instance, members of the Youth Caucus may not be affiliated with any other political party–such as the Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian parties. This is done on an honor system, based on our membership form.
2.5 Individual membership is dues-based, set at a minimum of $10 per year. This process shall be directed and tracked by the Youth Caucus Treasurer in coordination with the GPUS Treasurer, as needed. Additionally, the steering committee has the ability to waive this membership requirement temporarily for caucus-wide votes if the donation structures have not been or are not adequately in place and functional in a way that is detrimental to people attempting to become dues-paying members.
2.6 Members meeting all of the above requirements are considered in good standing for caucus voting privileges and to serve in elected GPUS Youth Caucus positions or to represent the GPUS Youth Caucus on bodies within GPUS.
2.7 Others who do not meet the state party membership requirement, dues-based requirement, or are under 14–but identify as Green and with the 10 Key Values, generally support the GPUS & YGUS Platforms, and are under thirty-six (having joined on or before their thirty-fifth birthday)–are still encouraged and permitted to participate in the GPUS Youth Caucus and its activities, but will not have stature to vote on caucus business or represent the caucus in an official capacity. Persons under 14 are also encouraged to become involved in the caucus.
III. Member Privileges
3.1 Members are entitled to participate in the election of steering committee members.
3.2 Proposals with the support of at least ten members that meet proper formatting specifications may be submitted to the steering committee for a vote of the steering committee.
3.3 Any proposal vote of the steering committee may be reversed by a 60% vote of the members. A minimum of ten members must initiate the request to reverse a steering committee decision of a proposal.
IV. Steering Committee:
4.1 The steering committee shall be accountable to the members of the GPUS Youth Caucus.
4.2 The steering committee shall be composed of eleven positions. The steering committee is composed of six co-chairs, one secretary, one treasurer, two Green National Committee (NC) delegates, and one NC alternate. The duties of an unfilled or vacant position shall be delegated to a co-chair of the committee.
4.3 Membership in the steering committee shall be inclusive, and shall strive to reflect diversity in areas such as race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sex characteristics, sexual orientation, class, ability, religion, and lawful American citizenship or resident status.
5.1 Decisions of the steering committee shall be made by consensus with voting choices being agree, stand-aside, block, or abstain At least one agree vote is required for the steering committee to pass a proposal. A summary of any reservations shall be recorded with the vote. Decisions not able to pass in consensus (when a block vote is placed or if no agree vote is cast) will proceed to the voting phase for a yes/no/abstain vote. A proposal must receive majority vote (greater than 50% of currently seated steering committee members) to pass.
5.2 All steering committee votes must be made available (such as by posting to an official GPUS Youth Caucus website or via email) to all caucus members upon passing.
VI. Committees Caucus Working Groups and Positions
6.1 The steering committee may create and delete working groups of the Youth Caucus, and appoint or remove members of these committees. Committees are accountable to the steering committee and must have a steering committee member designated as a liaison to the committee.
6.2 Similarly, the steering committee may create specifically designated roles and positions to assist the steering committee and the caucus with particular tasks. For example, with the website, social media, administrative tasks, or a particular project, program or initiative.
6.3 Delegates to GPUS committees (such as the Diversity Committee) or caucus delegates or liaisons to other organizations (such as the Global Young Greens) may be selected by the steering committee. and shall operate as committees of the caucus. As a fully accredited caucus of GPUS, we automatically receive 3 spots on most GPUS committees, and we encourage our members to participate in these structures by contacting the steering committee with their interest.
7.1 Time Commitment to Organizing: While varying in responsibilities, all steering committee members are expected to put in 10 or more hours of work each week. The steering committee is a hands-on body of committed Green organizers whose labor fuels our party and the movements we participate in. Without this level of commitment to work, the caucus operations are inhibited to the detriment of the rest of the steering committee, the caucus as a whole, our constituencies, and the party. Members who have other party or outside commitments are encouraged to understand and consider these requirements prior to seeking office within the Youth Caucus.
7.2 Co-chairs are the primary officers of the steering committee. Responsibilities include but are not limited to being the chief organizers of the caucus, spokespersons of the caucus, writing press releases and seeking media opportunities, facilitating ways for members to get involved in movements and actions that align with Green values, overseeing caucus social media, planning and mobilizing meetings, conducting caucus elections, monitoring the performance of other officers, and related duties.
7.3 Treasurer shall be responsible for the fiscal management of the caucus and shall serve as the caucus’s primary liaison to the GPUS Finance Committee, the GPUS Merchandise Committee, and the GPUS Treasurer.
It is expected that the treasurer provide a financial report to the steering committee no less than quarterly, and make available a financial statement to the caucus members no less than annually.
The treasurer is charged with maintaining the avenues of online and mailable donations–in coordination with the GPUS Treasurer–and with tracking and continual upkeep of our caucus dues-based membership requirement. The treasurer is also charged with making suggestions about funding and fundraising to the steering committee and exploring other possibilities of material support for the caucus.
7.4 Secretary is responsible for keeping and maintaining meeting minutes. The secretary is the officer primarily responsible for the continual tracking of our membership roles and the verification, as needed, of membership status. They also oversee the integrity of the caucus archival structure–which includes documents and other items as determined by the steering committee.
7.5 NC Delegate will represent the Youth Caucus on the Green National Committee. The NC delegate is responsible for voting on proposals before the National Committee in a manner that is representative of the Youth Caucus. The NC delegate is also encouraged to participate in the discussion of these proposals. It is the responsibility of the NC Delegate to use their judgment and to make an effort to get feedback from the steering committee and caucus members as to how to vote on proposals.
NC delegates are the conduit by which the caucus can submit proposals to the Green National Committee. All proposals submitted by the NC delegate must be approved by the steering committee, or by a 60% vote of the members. The NC delegate shall make a good effort to get feedback from members when drafting proposals.
7.6 NC Alternate shall serve as NC Delegate if the NC Delegate can no longer perform the duties of the position, and is empowered to vote on behalf of the caucus in stances where the NC Delegate cannot. They are also encouraged to participate in discussion on the National Committee and work with the NC Delegate on proposals the caucus wishes to submit to the NC.
7.7 Officer Removal
7.7.1 An officer may be removed from office for misconduct or non-participation by a majority vote of the members of the steering committee, minus the member in question. This must be initiated by at least two steering committee members. An officer facing removal must be notified of this and allowed a chance to speak or issue a statement addressing the charges against them. The officer in question has seven days to issue such a statement. An officer’s privileges may be revoked temporarily if the members initiating removal cite a concern regarding damage that could be done by the officer in question during the period preceding the removal vote.
7.7.2 An officer may be removed from office at any time by a recall of the members, or by a removal vote by the other steering committee members.
VIII. Elections, Voting, and Decision Making
8.1 Officers Elections:
8.1.1 The regular election for officers shall occur yearly. In February, three co-chairs, secretary, and alternate delegate are elected. In August, the other three co-chairs, treasurer, and two delegates are elected. Elections are staggered as such to promote continuity of caucus operations.
8.1.2. The official transition will happen during the next regularly scheduled conference call of the steering committee after the election. While other previous and ongoing discussion is encouraged, this provides a minimum opportunity for outgoing and incoming steering committee members to ask questions and seamlessly pass along needed information.
8.1.2 Regular terms shall be approximately one year in length. The length of term may vary slightly depending on when the election is conducted.
8.1.3 Officers may serve indefinite terms so long as they meet the necessary requirements to hold office and be a member of the caucus.
8.1.4 An officer candidate may only run for one steering committee position per election.
8.1.5 Officer elections shall be conducted by either Single Transferable Vote (STV) when more than one seat is to be filled, or Instant Runoff Vote (IRV) when only one seat is to be filled.
8.1.6 Elections for officers shall include a binding “None of The Above” (NOTA) option. If NOTA wins an IRV election, the election must be conducted again with a new slate of candidates. If NOTA wins a seat in an STV election, a new election must be conducted but candidates that have won a seat and received more votes than NOTA retain their seats. Any candidates that receive less votes than NOTA in this scenario may not run again in the re-election.
8.1.7 The officer election is to be conducted by online means to allow the greatest opportunity for members to participate. The online vote may be supplemented with other voting means (such as mail vote) at the discretion of the steering committee.
8.1.8 Elections shall be conducted in such a way to prevent non-members from participating.
8.2 Special Elections:
8.2.1 A special election may be conducted to fill an officer vacancy at the discretion of the steering committee. The length of an officer’s term when elected to fill a vacancy shall only be for the remainder of the term.
8.3 Officer Recall:
8.3.1 An officer recall may be initiated at any time by the request of a minimum of ten members. An officer may be recalled by a 60% vote of the members.
8.4 Proposal Voting
8.4.1 The steering committee may issue referenda to be voted on by the members of the caucus.
8.4.2 Proposals with the support of at least ten members that meet proper formatting specifications may be submitted to the steering committee for a vote of the steering committee. The steering committee must consider the proposal during their next regularly scheduled call.
8.4.3 Any proposal vote of the steering committee may be reversed by a 60% vote of the members. A minimum of ten members must initiate the request to reverse a steering committee decision of a proposal. The steering committee must conduct the vote and otherwise cooperate with qualifying reversal requests.
8.5 Presidential Delegate Selection
8.5.1 Accredited caucuses of the GPUS are entitled to presidential delegates to represent the caucus at the nominating convention. The steering committee shall conduct a vote with options including but not limited to: all of the recognized GPUS presidential candidates, uncommitted, and no nominee. This vote may be conducted at a time chosen by the steering committee, but must be conducted within the timeframe that is required for the results to be valid for the convention.
8.5.2 Delegates should be allocated proportionately based on the outcome of the vote. Delegates shall not be bound beyond the first round of voting at the convention, and are not bound to vote for a particular vice presidential candidate.
8.6 Candidate Endorsements
8.6.1 The caucus’s selection of presidential delegates shall not be considered an endorsement of any candidate. A presidential candidate may be endorsed prior to nomination, but this must be done by a 60% vote of the members that is separate from the delegate selection vote.
8.6.2 The steering committee may issue an endorsement on behalf of the caucus prior to the nominating convention if a candidate has clinched the nomination. A candidate is considered to have clinched the nomination when enough delegates, bound or unbound, have been designated to the candidate sufficient to win the nomination.
8.6.3 Regardless of prior endorsements, the caucus must support national candidates selected at the GPUS nominating convention.
8.6.4 Concerning non-presidential races, the steering committee may endorse Green Party candidates that are uncontested by other Green Party candidates, and candidates for nonpartisan office running on a Green Party platform.
8.6.5 Non-presidential candidates running in a contested Green Party primary may seek the endorsement of the caucus, and earn the endorsement of the caucus by receiving over 60% of a caucus-wide vote.
8.7 Caucus Meetings
8.7.1 The caucus shall convene no less than twice annually to discuss overall caucus direction. This meeting is an opportunity to systematically and holistically review the performance of the caucus, discuss both long and short-term strategy, and brainstorm revisions to the platform and governing documents of the caucus.
8.7.2 The meeting ideally should happen in person, but may also take place by phone or by online means if necessary, or be hybrid of an in person and online or phone meeting. It is the responsibility of the steering committee to announce, plan, schedule, and run the meeting to achieve maximum participation from committee members.
8.7.3 A review of decisions made and a summary of the meeting’s minutes shall be made available to caucus members within fourteen days of the meeting’s conclusion.
8.7.4. The steering committee of the caucus should meet no less than monthly–likely by phone or by online means.
8.9 Decision Making
8.9.1 Endorsements and actions of the caucus shall comply with the Ten Key Values of the GPUS. Endorsements and actions of the caucus should also align with our caucus emphases on being anti-capitalist, intersectional/anti-oppression, anti-colonialist, and politically independent.
8.10 Consensus Process
8.10.1 The steering committee and the delegation of the meeting shall use the consensus process to make decisions. Agreement seeking shall have the voting choices of agree, stand-aside, block, or abstain. At least one agree vote is required to pass a proposal. A stand-aside vote indicates non agreement with the proposal, but will not block a proposal from passing. A block vote indicates strong reservations and prevents a proposal from passing in the consensus phase unless the vote is rescinded. An abstain vote indicates that the individual does not have enough interest or knowledge on the topic to participate and is leaving the decision up to the others. Reservations are concerns individuals state when casting their vote. Discussion should seek to address as many reservations as possible. A summary of any reservations shall be recorded with the vote. Decisions not able to pass in consensus (when a block vote is placed or if no agree vote is cast) will proceed to the voting phase for a yes/no vote. A proposal must receive majority vote (greater than 50% of currently occupied elected steering committee positions) to pass.
8.11 Governing Documents
8.11.1 The caucus may create other governing documents in addition to the bylaws, such as an operating rules document. Documents such as these must not conflict with bylaws.
8.12.1 The caucus may create a platform, so long as the platform complies with the Ten Key Values of the GPUS.
8.13.1 This document may be amended by a 60% vote of the members from a steering committee referendum.
IX. Youth Caucus Programs
9.1 Young Green Campus Chapters, and, Young Green Local Chapters
9.1.1 Young Green Campus Chapters, and, Young Green Local Chapters are programs overseen by the GPUS Youth Caucus to identify, organize, educate, support, and build ideologically and functionally congruent coalitions nationwide.
9.1.2 Chapters that wish to receive the prioritized support of the Youth Caucus must identify themselves as “Young Greens” somewhere in the name of their chapter, uphold the GPUS 10 key values, four pillars, and the YGUS’s anti-colonialist, anti-authoritarian, anti-racist, anti-ageist positions in their day to day operations and in all community engagement activities; including but not limited to the following, campus recruitment, direct action, internal policies, and internal elections. Any chapter found to be in violation of section 9.1.2 requirements for accreditation, is liable to lose accreditation.Support includes but is not limited to possible funding, merchandise and literature, access to national Green Party resources and Green speakers, strategic organizing support and tools, social media and press amplification.
9.1.3. Chapters found to be in violation of §9.1.2 accreditation requirement clause, can, and will, lose accreditation with a majority vote by the YGUS Steering Committee.
9.1.4 The dues gathered from campus chapters should be used to support both overall health and activities of the caucus–including and especially support for the nationwide campus program.
9.1.5 The Youth Caucus steering committee has the ability to further clarify the structure and the direction of the overall campus program, which is a key project of the caucus.
9.2 Affiliate Campus Organizations, and, Affiliate Local Organizations
9.2.1 Affiliates that do not identify themselves as “Young Greens” in name may be affiliated with the Green Party Youth Caucus in so far as they align with the 10 Key Values, the GPUS Platform, and the Young Greens platform interpretation. Affiliates must make a good-faith effort to include Green/Young Green name, branding, and/or language as an aspect of their materials and events, as well as to promote Young Greens movement-oriented initiatives. These chapters will receive second-tier support from the caucus and its resources, but will still be included in the work of the caucus, including but not limited to, movement-oriented actions and trainings.
9.3Affiliatesmust be in good standing with the Youth Caucus for official recognition. In addition to alignment with the values and platform of the party and caucus, Affiliates can be set and altered by the Young Greens steering committee. It may have tiers or other mechanisms, and it may take into consideration many factors, but it will not include a waiver, which is historically shown to be detrimental to an effective dues program.
X. Copyright Waiver
10.1 To the extent possible under law, the authors have dedicated all copyright and related and neighboring rights to this document to the public domain worldwide.