The Basic Income being a bit player at the Green Party conference last weekend, my main concern was discussions on the governance review. ‘Liberation’ groups may get voting rights on the Party’s two governing bodies, the regional council (GPRC) and the executive (GPex), either possibly to be re-named.
Over the years the Green Party has quite rightly been seen by some disadvantaged or minority groups as more welcoming than any other political party. This is natural because we are firmly grounded in social justice. Indeed, since February 2013 social justice has been the Party’s main raison d’être.
But prior to 2013 this was a twin pillar of the Green Party’s Philosophical Basis. The other , in fact the original reason for Party’s formation, was the warning in the MIT study Limits to Growth that humans were in danger of over-exploiting the ability of the Earth to sustain us. It was I, as a new member in 1973 who told the well-heeled founder members that they had just founded a wildly socialist party, whether they liked it or not. They didn’t at first. They quickly accepted it, but I mustn’t digress about how vast swathes of the Tory heartlands will agree once they, like the founder members, recognize that sustainability for future generations will not happen without drastic redistribution.
In February 2013 a group of left wing activists succeeded in changing the Philosophical Basis. The Green Party website now gives no hint of the Limits genesis, and my conversations with new members suggest that at least three-quarters of the Party’s membership are unaware of it. Nobody could have foreseen that Corbyn might take the ‘Anti austerity’ Party role from us, and it would still have made perfect sense, if firmly linked to the need for economic activity such as fracking to be restricted to what the ecosphere could cope with. But this new development of the Green Party as the party of the disadvantaged for whatever reason is apparently seen as a natural extension of anti-austerity.
It is pointed out that the Green Party is under-represented among minority ethnic groups and Moslems. I do not see how giving extra voting rights to existing Green members will of itself help to recruit others. I think the dynamics of those groups have more to do with it. I am told that Rashid Nix is already doing some work in this area.
It is reasonable for those who have experienced prejudice or unfair treatment at the hands of the wider society to form groups within the Green Party, and to expect their views to be taken into account by the governing bodies, but is preferential representation reasonable? As I write the pros and cons of this are being hotly debated on Facebook: Greens4 Good Governance. For me, the idea has serious problems as an alternative to one person one vote, but above all it is irresponsibly premature
The current embodiment of what the Green Party should be about is the Climate change agreement reached in Paris last December. This ‘Liberation’ discussion takes the success of ‘Paris’ for granted, or, more worryingly, I suspect many of those pressing ‘intersectionality’ – another new buzzword – have not even considered the biggest threat currently facing humankind. My own assessment is that without more reduction in economic activity than looks likely, ‘Paris’ will not achieve the necessary reduction in global warming. And of course the climate is just one of several ways in which humans are encroaching unsustainably on the global environment: desertification due to overpopulation in parts of Africa, oceanic corals dying . . . All these and more are already reducing the ability of the ecosphere to cope with human activity.
If these trends continue, groups of humans will react in ways which will have more in common with 1930s Germany, or more recently Ruanda or Yugoslavia than what Liberation groups hope to achieve through greater GP representation. It is already happening. Much ‘economic’ migration is already driven by climatic factors, and it is a factor underlying the Syrian conflict.
Please, Liberationists, let us deal with the biggest threat first.
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Donald Tusk’s blunt ‘”Migrants keep out” statement is one of the milder signs of the shape of things to come if we do not do as I have just pleaded. Yet, as one radio commentator I heard said, it might deter economic migrants. That would still be heartless, but not if an international Basic income was in place.
Will Rupert Read, or anybody with more clout than me either tell me to shut up, explaining why the Basic income applied internationally is crazy or stupid, or please start including it in their more widely reported thoughts on migration.