The following is a guest post by Nick Devlin, Chair of the University of York Green Party.
Following the release of ‘The Spirit of ‘45’, filmmaker Ken Loach has made a call for ‘a new party of the left’ to act as an alternative to Labour. As a viable, egalitarian and ecological movement, the University of York Green Party – and the Greens nationally – are showing in words and action that there already is a vibrant, radical force in Britain that is capable of winning hearts and minds.
The Green Party has made amazing gains over the last few years– winning our first seat in the Commons, coming third in the London Mayoral elections, and electing 2 MEPs with the potential to double this number next time. Building a grass-roots support base, which any party of the left has to do, takes decades of hard work. Britain needs action now, not in ten or twenty years. The Green Party is ready to break onto the political scene already, and in important ways already has. The party is open to all who care for social and environmental justice – and that’s why it’s succeeding.
The Green Party also offers a genuinely progressive agenda. We’ve long championed a living wage, and are the only major party to oppose tuition fees. Where other parties are agreed on damaging the economy in the austerity consensus, only quibbling over minor details, we want to take the opportunity to sort out the longer term problems that caused the crisis. We want to see people put before profit, citizens before corporations, and justice before greed. The Green Party is Britain’s party of social justice.
We’ve worked hard to show people we’re not just a one issue party, but criticisms that environmentalism is a middle-class concern completely miss the point anyway. The Green Party is concerned with climate change precisely because the hardest hit will be those worst off, in Britain and around the world. It is for this reason that any new party of the left that does not regard the fight for climate justice as a priority will be failing to do its job. Indeed, any party that doesn’t recognise and prioritise climate change is not morally serious, but it is particularly important for a party of the left to see that there can be no social justice without environmental justice, and vice versa. Without either, the fight for decent and dignified living standards for all will fail, nationally and globally.
There’s no need for another party of the left. The most pressing need is instead to strengthen the largest left party – the Greens – and work together for a united anti-austerity movement.
[The UoY Greens were behind the motion to the last Green Party conference which enshrined principles of social justice into the party’s core principles statement, the Philosophical Basis. See here for more – http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/02/28/green-party-write-social-justice-into-their-constitution/]