Britain: Greening the reds, reddening the greens

July 4, 2009

Green Left, an eco-socialist current within the Green Party of England and Wales, held its annual general meeting on June 20 in London. It discussed the work of the network over the past year in struggles against war, racism and environmental decay and in winning support for eco-socialism as a solution to the economic and climate crises.

Green Left co-convener Joseph Healy reported on the results of the European elections. The Green Party retained seats in London and south-east England. Overall, the party's vote was up by 44% from the 2004 result.

The worrying election of two candidates of the racist far-right party, the British National Party was discussed.

The meeting assessed the campaigns Green Left has been involved in. These include campaigns against New Labour's school privatisation agenda, support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, and solidarity with the recent student occupation against the deportation of cleaners at the University of London's School of African and Oriental Studies.

The meeting also noted Green Left's success in getting progressive economic and immigration policies adopted at the last Green Party conference.

Green Left was formed in 2006 by Green Party members convinced that an "ecological, economically and socially just and peaceful society has to be based on an anti-capitalist political agenda".

It seeks to win support for eco-socialist ideas and encourage activism within the Green Party. It also seeks to build stronger links with anti-capitalist forces outside the Green Party, in Britain and internationally.

Green Left's focus on coalition-building, and its engagement with anti-capitalists of various traditions, is part of its goal of "greening the reds and reddening the greens".

Its founding statement, called the Headcorn declaration, argued: "Since the activism of William Morris in the Social Democratic Federation and Socialist League in the late nineteenth century, there has been an eco-socialist tradition in Britain.

"Green Left believes that eco-socialism provides an alternative to a society based on alienation, economic exploitation, corporate rule, ecological destruction and wars. Our analysis demands that in the best tradition of the historic left we 'agitate, educate and organise' to build such an alternative."

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