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England & Wales Greens : Green Left's first year

[I wrote this post but Andy Newman drew to my attention the fact that I was wrong in accrediting these quoted comments to Derek Wall. This is a muck up in my feed reader as I presumed I had snaffled Derek's blog feed some time back and had happily been reading along. Derek Wall's blog is here --Another Green World So in deference to the blogging medium I now begin to rewrite the post correcting my error. It's blogging folks, not journalism. The argument is the same -- names have been changed to protect the innocent]

Derek Wall is Male Principal Speaker for the Green Party of England and Wales as well as a leading figure in its political development since the early eighties. That he has been elected to that role despite the fact (and I have to say it that way given my experience of the Greens here) that he is dedicated ecosocialist -- deserves our attention.

While I have an interview with him pending for Green Left Weekly, Wall is also a leading figure in the GPEW Green Left Current.

Greenman's Occasional Organ has marked the occasion this week of the first year of the Green Left Current in the party.

The Green Left current was formed around a June 4th 2006 Launch Statement that warrants reading through. Jim Jepps, who is also a member of Green Left has some interesting posts on his blog logging his experiences with GL and the GPEW over this period . These will help you flesh out some of comments. here.

Greenman writes:
The first year has seen the current establish itself as an important part of the GPEW and a mobilising force for events and demonstrations that have taken place over the year. We have established dialogues with various left forces outside the Green Party and have been able to defend the Party from attacks from the left by clarifying policy and showing that the Party is not monolithic and contains a significant radical element. We have been able to demonstrate to internal critics the value of the work we are doing and to counter some of the fears about splitters and factionalism.
He then goes on to make an important tactical assessment that should be (but isn't) de rigueur across the left:
The best part of this is that Green Left faces both outward and inward - it is both a network for strengthening and deepening the radical policies and activities of the party and communicating the left unity message outside the party. To Green Left's credit it does not present itself, or the GPEW as the be-all-and-end-all of left politics in England and Wales, but argues that Greens have a specific and indispensable role to play in the broad movement for social, economic and political change. Without the Green element that broad movement will be incomplete and not fit for purpose. Without recognition that politics is about more than electoralism and that real lasting change requires a coalition of forces on the left, the Green Party is diminished.
Greenman's advocacy posses a key challenge I think both for greens and for lefts. While the fashion has been to passionately embrace Rudolf Bahro's edict that the greens are the "last hesitation to socialism", this easy dismissal has been an unfortunate habit that has cut both ways. In effect Green Left's advocacy is the correct one no matter what your political preference.

In my experience the intense exchange that accompanied the rise of the Greens in Australia has since been subsumed by a stolid electoralism as though this one tactic was 'it'. Fortunately, with the pressing urgency of a carbonated earth we have an opportunity to take up that exchange again and enrich it with the sort of massive campaign that is our only hope to save the planet from capitalism.

10 Com:

AN | June 01, 2007


I am pretty sure that greenman, who's blog you quote here, is not Derek Wall.

AN | June 02, 2007

Dave: It's blogging folks, not journalism

That is an interesting distinction. I am personally uncomfortable with the idea that blogging is somehoe less rigorous, if that is what you mean?

Of course it is easy to make mistakes in any medium, and we all do it. And at least blogging allows you to rectify mistakes rather more easily than after you have printed 5000 copies :o)

Ernie Halfdram | June 02, 2007

I gather this GL is a left current within the British Green Party and no relation whatsoever to the Democratic Socialist Perspective in Australia, publishers of the Green Left Weekly?

Derek Wall | June 02, 2007

yes but we are talking and I also have been given a contact for the Icelandic Green Left Party (second biggest party in Iceland) by my friend Magnus (who I practice Zen with)...so I think unity talks with all three Green Lefts will give the global ecosocialist left some kick!

Green Left (england and wales Green Party one) tomorrow, so hopefully more to report back

Dave Riley | June 02, 2007

Derek Wall: Good luck this weekend with the meet-up.By the way, Greenman's review of GL's first year was very interesting indeed -- very inspiring. Thats' why I jumped on it and if you know of GLefters in GPEW who run blogs or their kin I'd like to review what they say about the whole exercise. This sort of politics is not a evident feature of the Green Party here. Jim Jepps material on Daily (maybe)is really interesting going back some time.

Ernie H: "Green left" is a generic term that implies lefties who are green. The most famous use of the term is by the Dutch "Green Left" party --GroenLinks --. GLW did develop its name (back in 1991) under inspiration from the Dutch usage. I also run another blog which I play on the name:Green Lefts:Left Greens. I expect it to be used more now as I tend to prefer it to "ecosocialist." as it seems a bit exotic to me for some reason and not quite broad enough. Theres' also a few difference I think in the genesis of the ecosocialist current(going back to Rudolf Bahro et al & I guess some libertarian theorists ) from the notion of turning the lefts green and the greens left.

ANAndy I wasn't inferring that factual rigor was something that didn't apply to blogs. I was alluding to the fact that as a digital web medium it is easy to change things once they are challenged. The difference I feel how "journalism" differs from blogging is that when writing for GLW say, I am not alone and anything I write is subbed before it is published. Blogging is writing in the raw, without those checks so it is more prone to mistaken assertions. But in one way thats' part of the process because you need to foster the interaction even if you were stupid or terribly wrong in the first place -- at least have the sense to correct your errors and do so publicly. The "people' are your editors.

In newspapers errors are so difficult to correct as you have to wait for a retraction statement issues hence. And if this was a subbing mistake it is sooooo annoying.

In the case of my silly mistake with Derek's blog I thought I'd use the strike through protocol but thought that would make the post in this instance a total mess. So I went for the rewrite and the explanation-- preferring to do that (because it was such a silly oversight) than correct myself in the comments section. Actulaly I was thinking of you in regard to my option as I remember you correcting one of your posts that way.

AN | June 02, 2007

BTW - I am half way though translating a very intersting interview with Oskar Lafontaine from Vanity Fair.

The situation in germany is interesting becasue of the evolution of the greens into a centre right party, at the same time that the left are getting their act together. Lafontaine makes intersting remarks about Die Linke's possibility to take ground away from the greens on a left-green basis.

Anonymous | June 04, 2007

A report on the GL gathering is here

Dave Riley | June 04, 2007

Do you have any good material of n recent German developments. The poll results are such that the LP are now polling more than the Greens

AN | June 05, 2007

The trouble is Dave that it is all in German! I can read the language reasonable well for my own use, but translating it for other people takes longer.

To give credit where credit is due, the german affiliate of the SWP(GB) Linksrueck have played a positive role and have made consistently intelligent and constructive comment. If you wanted to run alta-vista or some other automated transaltion tool over their site you would get a flavour.

I will write something for the carnival, the SU blog is in the process of moving to Wordpress under a new domain name. I will also paort over the content from the old socialistunitynetwork,co.uk site as and when.

AN | June 05, 2007

And as an observation, we shouldn't be to Anglo-centric about our analysis of the Greens. In the English speaking world, the Greens are more successful than the politicall left, but accross europe the Communist and post-communist radical left vote is considerably more importnat than the greens.

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