Sunday, 8 March 2015

green leadership

I was glad to see Vernon Tava's candidacy for the Green Party male co-leadership featuring on TV3's The Nation this morning.  I wish Vernon success, partly because he's an excellent candidate, and partly because of his desire to reposition the greens politically.  

In 2011 I established my website (alternative Aotearoa) and on the editorial page I wrote about my history as an office-holder in the Green Party in the early 1990s, and included my critique of the performance of the GP since I left in '95.  You can read that here:

Since rejoining on 1st November last year, I have been pleasantly surprised by the vibrancy of the culture within and the general quality of the activists.  I have been advocating that the priority of the GP must be establishing authenticity by abandoning the leftist parliamentary alignment, and returning to the original political position of the global green movement:  neither left nor right, but in front.  On my other blog I recently acknowledged that I persuaded the GP to adopt the leftist alignment back in '91 (see Green politics: an integral frame 9/2/15).  It was necessary at the time, so I don't regret that!  However the time to abandon it was about 12 years ago when Helen Clark made it clear that she was going to continue to freeze the greens out.  Anyone who thought the leftist alignment had merit since then is obviously an extremely slow learner - and thus politically inadequate.

Regardless who wins the upcoming leadership contest, I hope we can co-create the opportunity for all three contenders to establish themselves as alternative leaders.  This is best done on an issue-by-issue basis, I suspect. In permaculture (sustainability by design) the relevant concept is redundancy:  concurrent availability of more than one way to get a necessary result.  Power or water supply, for instance, when you have several different sources and are therefore able to switch from one to the other when necessary.  This design makes you more resilient. Similarly with leadership!

The Green Party would be in a stronger position with several alternate leaders - especially if integrated into a collaborative framework.  Seeing each other as colleagues rather than competitors, I mean.  When the male co-leader has prior commitments, or just prefers to give one of his colleagues a go at an issue, then he ought to consult with them to enable this.  Conventional politics requires him to engage without choice, and a below-par performance may result.

I'm confident this is workable on a mutual-benefit basis:  the other 2 guys will appreciate such opportunities to show their mettle.  Such teamwork will then become evident as genuine collaboration to the public.  Modelling a new style of politics will prove to them that we are indeed different to both the left and the right.  A paradigm shift in politics becomes likely as the result!

I always saw the old green slogan `neither left nor right, but in front' as the appropriate signal for such innovative style and practice.  Perhaps I was wrong to assume that other green activists also saw the creative potential therein - but better late than never, eh?  Media will require explanation of this:  just explain that we are the avante garde of politics.

If there's a momentary silence where you can see them wondering "Oh shit, does this mean I have to find a dictionary?" I suggest courteously adding that the avante garde were traditionally viewed as the leading edge of cultural development.

Being in front means showing the way.  You could cite the seminal text "The Way", by Edward Goldsmith (founder of The Ecologist).  Explain that the way is the path to future survival for humanity.  Explain that the greens have to provide it because the left & right remain addicted to economic growth so people need a positive alternative...