What makes the Oregon Progressive Party different from other third parties?

There are similarities between the Oregon Progressive Party (OPP) and the two other left-leaning Oregon minor parties, the Pacific Green Party (PGP) and the Working Families Party (WFP). But there are some fundamental differences. You can see many of the positions that the OPP has taken at http://progparty.org. OPP supports multi-third party independent politics, and we look forward to many fruitful collaborations, but here we will focus on some distinctions to help clarify who we are and how we uniquely contribute to Oregon politics.

Both the PGP and the Oregon WFP are local affiliates of national parties that have a larger bureaucratic infrastructure. The local branches sometimes must go through the national structure before taking positions on issues. OPP is an Oregon-only party that is not beholden to any national party, which gives us the ability to respond to local issues more quickly and without filtering by a national political agenda. OPP also tends to take on issues that the other parties do not appear to address, such as drone legislation, institutionalized racism, local police affiliation with the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), and various international U.S. military and foreign policy actions.

The Working Families Party is a national party with local chapters.  The WFP does great work on ballot measures and usually cross-nominates the Democratic Party nominees but sometimes does run its own candidates in local partisan elections where the Democratic candidate is overwhelmingly favored. The Oregon WFP has supported at least one successful challenge to an incumbent member of the Oregon House of Representatives, in the 2012 Democratic Party primary election. The Oregon chapter is run by a committee comprised mainly of labor union representatives.  WFP takes positions sometimes very different from OPP.  For example, WFP in 2014 strongly supported a statewide initiative to create a “top two primary” system (Measure 90), which was strongly opposed by the PGP and OPP.

The PGP does run local candidates who are usually quite good. Often the same person receives both the PGP and the OPP nomination for the same office. A candidate in Oregon can list up to 3 nominating parties next to her/his name on the ballot, under a law passed in 2009. PGP does not control the selection of Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates, who are determined by the national Green Party structure. OPP is not constrained in these nominations and in 2008 and 2012 chose its own nominees (Ralph Nader and Rocky Anderson).

OPP greatly appreciates the work of PGP and WFP. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

OPP is currently leading a campaign finance reform measure in Multnomah County. WFP has provided important support for that effort, and PGP has endorsed it. Oregon is one of only a handful of states that allows unlimited political contributions to candidates.  We favor strong statewide limits. OPP also closely follows the activities of the Legislature when it is in session, providing testimony on nearly 100 bills per session. WFP and PGP do not testify on most of those bills. Oregonians should not need to rely on a single left-liberal-progressive party to perform all possible functions. In Oregon, each of the 3 such parties contributes in its own way.

If you have any questions, please let us know. Monthly public meetings are the second Tuesday of every month, in downtown Portland 7:00 - 9:00 pm.

Updated July 19, 2016
by Alaina Melville
State Council Member

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