Draft for a leaflet to be targeted at "Respect" supporters.
The following article was written for members of Bristol Green Parties. It is much more mildly worded than I would have been. I consider the "Respect" group shows little respect either for the British electorate, which has consistently rejected old-style socialism; even Arther Scargill received a pathetic number of votes. They claim to seek "Unity" but will undermine the Green Party whose policies are mainly identical those that "Respect" professes. Is "Respect" not in reality the amazingly unsuccessful SWP under a new guise? Are not their real aims indicated by their obsession with "the struggle" even where this results in spoiling genuine and potentially effective political solutions to the problems they identify? - Stephen Petter, Bristol South Green Party.
Taking a View on 'Respect' - by Jon Lucas.
You may be aware that a new coalition of socialist groups has been formed by the parties involved in the Socialist Alliance and some individuals. In particular George Galloway. This coalition is currently using the name Respect, and it has approached the Green Party at a national level to see whether we are interested in working within their coalition for elections and campaigns. We have discussed this within the Bristol Parties at the committee meetings and through the email list, being aware that it is something we may all be asked about, particularly during the European election period. Therefore, I have tried to set out here our local parties' thoughts on the issue.
The Respect coalition needs to formalise itself and agree on what its aims and policies are. There is much common ground between our own policies, formulated over the last 30 years, and those held by many socialists attracted to this coalition. However, there are also fundamental differences between green perspectives and those held by many involved in this coalition, particularly on the importance of sustainability, ideas around localised or centralised structures, the need for industrial growth and the nature of wealth.
Potentially a grand coalition of green and socialists ideas has much to commend it for many people (including some Green Party members and supporters), but a coalition can only ever go ahead on an evolutionary basis where trust and understanding is developed between all parties. This is particularly the case where the backgrounds of the various groups involved are so different. It could be argued that the Green Party and many involved in this coalition have fundamentally opposing ways of conducting politics. Discussions on working together on campaigns would be difficult, let alone agreeing anything more formalised. Some campaign work between the Green Party and socialist groups has taken place previously, particularly through the Stop the War coalition. This has shown that single issue coalition work is possible, but has also made obvious the mistrust that many in the green movement have of the ways that some others work.
For the forthcoming European elections, the Green Party is standing its own slates of candidates throughout the UK and has high hopes of gaining more MEPs, especially here in the South-West. Electoral law only allows for political parties to stand for this election, so if the Respect coalition also stand they will have to do so as a distinct political party. For next year's local elections and (probable) general election, we hope to stand as many Green Party candidates as we can, aiming for a full slate for the local elections in Bristol. It is difficult for a small party like ourselves to stand in every seat throughout the country, so we would consider the wider political landscape, including the progress of the Respect coalition, before deciding where our priorities tie in. However, given the nature of the electorate, it is likely that we will wish to stand in seats that are also attractive to Respect.
We will continue to review the situation locally once the European elections are over. Internal differences have already surfaced within Respect, which may ultimately bring it down. For example, George Monbiot, one of Respect's founding members, has now distanced himself because of its potential threat to the re-election of the two existing Green MEPs, who he has described as the best in the country. There is scope for joint working on campaigns outside of the electoral process, and any joint working should be seen as a healthy way of exploring the different ways the groups work and allaying some of the mistrust that exists between them. Jon Lucas
WHY VOTE GREEN
in the Euro Election, June 10th?
• The Green Party (GP) is internationalist.
• GP has close links with Green Parties across Europe.
• GP favours non-violent solutions to international conflicts - it opposed the war in Iraq.
• GP seeks a referendum on the new European Constitution.
• GP opposes further Euro-centralisation.
• GP has comprehensive, well considered policies.
• GP has a social justice agenda.
• GP policies are LOCAL and RURAL.
• GP seeks to ensure sustainable Quality of Life.
• The GP vision is long-term.
• Votes for the GP cause other parties to adopt 'green' policies .
• GP Members of European Parliament and Local Councils have proved themselves responsible, far-sighted, effective, popular and widely respected.
• In summary - the GP stands for peace, social and economic justice, and the environment.
VOTE GREEN PARTY
BUILD A BETTER FUTURE
To display a GP poster, to offer support, or to join, phone 0845 456 2595
Published by ??????????? Stephen Petter / Bristol Green Parties ????
on behalf of SW Britain Euro Constituency GP