Thursday, 24 September 2015

Previewing the Green Party Autumn Conference

The Green Party will be assembling for their Autumn Conference in Bournemouth tomorrow at a time when we need  to  come to terms with the Corbyn victory and what it means for the left in general and the Green Party in particular.

In the above interview Caroline Lucas sets out Green Party's positive welcome for a socialist led Labour Party, although that is a long way from the Labour Party itself democratically adopting socialist policies.

One key quote is her response to a question on whether the Green Party itself is a socialist party:
"...Sometimes words like socialist can be more problematic than they are worth in a sense because  people will bring different baggage to what the term means for them. If you're asking is the Green Party fundamentally committee to the redistribution of wealth, to equality and social justice, absolutely 'Yes' it is and I don't think there's any difference between any of us on that."
She indicates that the main difference with Corbyn is that for the Greens these policies are seen through the lens of challenging climate change, the biggest challenge facing human-kind, so that issues such as the nature of an ever expanding consumer led capitalist economy contributing to the depletion of world resources and the acceleration of global warming are paramount.

She is positive about the potential for progressive alliances which is ironic because Green Left, the Eco-socialist grouping within the Labour Party were not successful in their bid for an official  Fringe Meeting on  'A principled or pragmatic progressive alliance?'

However GL are going ahead anyway and holding the meeting outside the conference venue at  The Goat & Tricycle 27-29 W Hill Rd, Bournemouth, Dorset BH2 5PF 8-11pm on Saturday night.

An issue discussed in Lucas' interview which will loom large at the Conference is the Green Party's position on the EU Referendum.  There will be a panel on EU Referendum: the Green 'Yes' at 1pm on Saturday which Lucas will chair.

Basically the party position is Yes to a referendum but Yes to reform. This position is now under strain, not just because Cameron's negotiations may result in dilution of the progressive aspects of the Social Chapter, but the searing experience of Greece in trying to challenge neoliberalism and austerity, TTIP and the failure of the EU to deal humanely and effectively with the refugee crisis.  This means that somew on the left and some trade unions are now leaning towards a socialist 'No' on the basis that the potential for reform is so much pie in the sky.

Later on Saturday at 6.15pm Caroline Lucas will chair a Panel on "Climate Countdown to Paris" which will discuss strategies and alliances to bring pressure on the December talks so that they are more ambitions both in terms of eventual impact on global warming and in terms of speeding up the response.

On Sunday afternoon at 2.30pm following the General Election result there will be a panel on 'How to get PR: What needs to happen to ensure there is never again a repeat of the unfairnessof the 2015 General Election?' The panel includes Neal Lawson of Compass and Robin McAlpine of the Scottish referendum campaign and chair of Common Weal.

Alongside this in the plenary sessions members will be actively engaged in making policy. Members have prioritised a motion on housing into the No.1 slot.

1 comment:

Martin Francis said...

I have received this comment from Mike Hirst:

I think it is a mistake to suggest that all the left or all GL supporters are leaning towards a 'no position' in Europe. I note that there are going to be pro and anti EU pieces in the next Watermelon. I am aware that a handful of people are trying to make the case but I think most of the left are still uneasy about presenting UKIP with gift and see no alternative structures for cooperation across the continent..

It's also fair to say that much of the anti austerity left across Europe including Podemos are passionately urging all the stay and fight within Europe. If Greece teaches us anything it surely demonstrates that one small country is not big enough to smash the powers of international finance on it's own - powers that will still be in control whether we are in or out of the EU. At the moment there is no Europe wide coherent alternative to European integration and cooperation.

A lot of people are quite rightly singing Yanis Varoufakis for his principles and stand but perhaps some failed to note that he regards the position of PU and others supporting the return of the Drachma as Isolationist.

Does anyone believe that socialism is possible in one country?