I intend to join Rupert Read’s Climate Activists Network. But what does CAN hope to achieve that is not already Extinction Rebellion’s raison d’être? CAN is based explicitly on Green Party policy which has been built up over several decades precisely with the danger to the ecosphere in mind. Linked to XR’s formidable momentum, this could be a way forward.
Direct electoral efforts are, as Rupert says, now pure fantasy, and that this is due in my opinion to wrong turnings in the past does not invalidate that view now.
But there are problems with such an alliance. It is not necessarily the fact that XR has taken a specific view on identity politics. Like Shahrar Ali, I see that issue as a distraction from the fact that the Green Party was founded because the ecosphere was and is in grave danger. But if such a decision had been taken by the Green Party, I would be quite clear as to how and when it happened.
To what extent such issues will hamper co-operation remains to be seen.
Although I welcome CAN. I am clutching at it as a straw rather than seeing it as a visionary way forward., because I fear that there is too high a probability that past wrong turnings will be repeated.
There are two wrong turnings (in my opinion) which are too deeply embedded. When I joined what became the Green Party, I had a vision of left versus right, or haves, versus have-nots being replaced by sustainability vesus growth. I envisaged the age old fear of hardship being answered by the basic income (not knowing that it had already been proposed). I saw the redistribution from the ‘haves’ as the payment for saving the ecosphere. The 2.3 million mainly conservatives who voted Green in the 1989 Euro elections made this strategy more realistic than I dared hope.
But the insistence on retaining the old battle lines meant that this vision was never realised. I have made the case for the basic income without reference to CV19, but the mutation currently spreading in the south east of England brings the principle of giving every individual enough for basic necessities ever closer to being plain common sense, so that medical prioriies can be given priority.
The other wrong turning was failing to see the shift to sustainability instead of growth – identifying ecology as left wing. What seemed obvious to me – that provided economic security was guaranteed, a whole raft of ‘right wing’ ideas could now make sense to those on low incomes. They could no longer be oppressed.
I believe there is a potential split in the Conservative Party: those who would have voted Green in 1989, and the rest.
I don’t expect any of this will make sense to Rupert Read, but if he insists on seeing the Green Party as left of centre, and has no provision to guarantee security in an economic downturn, much as I support it, I don’t think CAN can do what is necessary.