Thursday, June 08, 2006
On Sunday I attended the packed launch of Green Left, a new socialist current within the Green Party, supported by leading members of the party.
The launch declaration states that Green Left hopes “to raise Green Party politics to meet the demands of its radical policies. Green politics needs to be based on dynamic campaigning and hard intellectual groundwork to create workable alternatives. “
The Green Party is an organisation full of contradictions. It's a clearly progressive organisation with a manifesto packed full of the policies of the left, yet its robustly decentralised structure allows space for the right to operate - like in Leeds for instance.
For some in the Green Party they are in the Party as much to fight for peace and social justice as the environment, but others can be attracted to reactionary and disempowering ideas like the Giai theory or even population control. The Green Party, like the green movement, has no single position on ASBOs, trade unions or even nuclear power - but it's this very openness that makes the Green Party one of the places that socialists can effectively operate, both in terms of winning progressives over to a more consistent left position but also to win those outside of any formal political organisations to progressive ideas.
In the Green Party you'd encounter a pluralist environment where people think, speak and act very differently to those in the organised left - which makes it a challenging, uncomfortable and rewarding place to be. Whilst it's easier to stick with the old formulations and old friends the left needs to become those little fish in the big ponds - in Respect, the Labour party, the anti-capitalist movements, the Green Party - in fact everywhere there is space for socialist ideas.
What impressed me about the Green Left meeting was that this was a group of down the line socialists who wanted to be a real assett to the Green Party and ensure it engaged with the trade union movement and other left activists, an area where the Greens are not always particuarly strong. Plus there wasn't a pair of sandals in sight.
Read the launch statement here