Here’s a situation. in 2012, Elena Herrada ran as the Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) candidate for State Representative in Michigan’s 6th District. Now, in 2014, she is running in the Democratic primary for that same position. Other GPMI members living in Detroit who supported her campaign in 2012 are now supporting her campaign in 2014.

GPMI member Bill Opalicky asks, “Why is she not running as a Green? How does her election campaign benifit the GPMI?” In particular, Bill publicly has characterized Fred Vitale, the current Chair of GPMI, as a “traitor” for supporting her 2014 campaign. Lest you believe this is an exaggeration, or is somehow quoting Bill out of context, you can find his complete original remarks at You can see Elena’s campaign site at and decide for yourself what you think about the issues she focuses on.

Traitor? In the loosest definition, treason means betrayal of someone or something to which loyalty is due. The question is what exactly should we be loyal to? Is it to the values of social justice, grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom and nonviolence, or is it to the organization of the Green Party of Michigan as the one and only group that can possibly advance these values?

Where our loyalties should lie is not a hard question to understand, and it’s not at all hard to answer. However, it does demand a degree of practical understanding of how the world works.

If “GPMI” is the answer, then our cause is hopelessly lost. Anyone who believes that GPMI is the only organization that can support these values and that every political person, movement or organization outside GPMI must be our enemy is – how to put this politely – nuts.

If instead our loyalty goes to any person or group actively working for our values, then we will also support a wide range of efforts that push in the direction we want our society to go. That would include Elena (who has a better track record than many GPMI members) and Elena’s current primary election campaign.

This approach also allows us to support the People’s Water Board, D-CATS, Detroiter’s Resisting Emergency Management, the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, Occupy Detroit, etc., etc. These are all ways of advancing the values we stand for. Bill’s sectarian approach (Traitor! etc – see above) would have us treat them all as enemies.

Which side are you on?