The New Party is run by dues-paying members, who are organized
into chapters. The national organization provides support for
chapter growth and coordination. Every member gets one vote.
From 1992 through early 1997, the New Party grew to 10,000 members.
Growth has been accelerating-membership doubled each of the last
two years-and we hope to be at 20,000 by the end of 1997.
Of the current membership, approximately 4,000 are organized
into local chapters now active in ten states and the District
of Columbia. The balance of members are "at large,"
in varying stages of progress toward chapter formation and state
structures. Including at-large membership, we now have some contact
in almost all states.
Membership is approximately 50 percent women, 35 percent people
of color-and predominantly poor, working or middle class. Most
people who are helping to build the New Party are known only in
their communities, but you may have heard of a few of them (such
as Noam Chomsky, Barbara Dudley, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jim Hightower,
Manning Marable, Juliet Schor, Frances Fox-Piven, Cornel West).
What they all share is the conviction that we need the New Party
to restore power to the American people, to build a fair economy
and a real democracy.
Chapters are formed at the initiative of local residents who
apply to the New Party for an organizing "mandate,"
or franchise, within their territory (most chapters are organized
on a county basis). Chapter membership must be representative
of the community and have some institutional support. Award of
this franchise gives the local chapter access to national resources
for candidate training, program, fundraising, and other assistance
in organizational development. So long as they are democratically
structured and promote no program inconsistent with the national
organization's principles, local chapters are free to work on
the issues of their choice. We are building from the grassroots,
with sensitivity to variation in local conditions.
National policy for the New Party is set by the Interim Executive
Council (IEC)-"interim" until our founding convention.
The IEC consists of two delegates, elected by membership, from
each state where there is significant organizing activity. With
10 such sites, there are now 20 members of the IEC (without any
quotas, consistently half women and 40 percent of color). IEC
members select their own chair. The IEC meets in person twice
a year-in spring and fall-and through teleconference on a monthly