The Green Party of England & Wales, previously the Ecology Party, previously People is 40 years old.


Limits to Growth by Meadow, Randers & Meadows was published 41 years ago.

As part of a questioning and navel gazing exercise inside the GPEW a new site 40Forward has been created by long time member David Taylor to discuss the strategy of the green movement and GPEW's role within that.

David has kicked things off with a useful article, this is my initial response to that article (currently 'awaiting moderation' in the comments under the article:

Thank you David for kick starting this, and thank you for the very relevant history. Two things immediately strike me as being challenges for both the GPEW and the wider greens to rediscover and enact.



One is absolutely the focus on survival - all of the other stuff; the social justice, animal rights, non-violence, democracy, etc etc flow from this. There trouble is in part that this cart has become the horse. It is interesting the way the single one word focus 'survival' became four separate things as articulated by die Grunen and then at least 8 things in the 1982 Green Collective formulation and now 10 thousand clauses in the Policies for a Sustainable Society.

The second thing that strikes me is how it started out by being not a political party, then an "anti-party party" and now has become a fully fledged paid up establishment party with MEPs, MP, AMs, Councillors and all the baggage that comes from defining oneself by reference to what one is not (not-Tory, not-LD, not-Labour) rather than what one is.

For me both of these aspects should have direct consequences for the way forward from here. Rather than expand at length in this comment I'll try to summarise.

On the second issue of being inclusive and orthogonal to the conventional political spectrum one simple step would be to remove from the GPEW constitution the requirement that members of the GP should not be a member of another political party. Why shouldn't a green minded member of any other political party not also be a member of the GP? Their other party's constitution may bar it - but that is a problem for the other party if they find out that their members are also members of the GP.

Currently clause 4 i) of the constitution baldly states: "Membership is open to any person who subscribes to the object of the Party, and is not already a member of another political party,"

We should delete the phrase "and is not already a member of another political party" and publicise this as part of a rejection of the oppositional form of politics practised in this country.

There are other actions that could be taken to rejuvenate and re-energise the organisational (non-)structure of the Greens. Whilst it has been slightly expedient to have a single leader in terms of becoming a party of the establishment we need to rediscover the power of our individual leadership - how about distributing stylised Caroline Lucas masks for all GP spokespeople and candidates to wear when speaking for the party...

My first point about the importance of getting back to the core focus (survival) is even more important. We should understand that survival is meant in a positive sense - not simply a matter of creating a post-apocalyptic survival cult for selected humans, but of finding and supporting ways that ensure the continuation of an eco-sphere as close as possible to the one we have been part of for the past thousands of years.

We can see clearly now that democratic political change in a mature industrialised capitalist civilization is not capable of delivering changes to its structure from within to achieve the survival goal.

Therefore a major role for the GP will be to provide support, initially politicly and culturally but increasingly physically, for those who engage in direct action to poke a stick in the spokes of industrial capitalism in any way at all. 'Monkey-wrenching' or 'undermining' actions are starting to take place but they will need 'above ground' voices to promote their underground activities as being an acceptable and logical response to the situation civilisation faces.

In practical terms we must stop being mealy-mouthed and failing to say 'difficult' things. If activists disrupt a polluting activity - a power station or a motorway say - then we must be strong in resisting the pressure to get suckered into 'condemning' it as unacceptable and be prepared to stand upĀ  in parliaments and council chambers as well as on the streets and say clearly that we admire and support the people taking direct action with their own hands whatever the side-effects may be.

If you shut down a polluting power plant then probably it is possible to find someone who was harmed by that action - but we must be prepared to look beyond that at the bigger picture - SURVIVAL.