20 Mar 2007

Another ape threatened with extinction

George Monbiot, published in Green World 35:

"I think much of the Green Party's refreshing distinctiveness rests on the absence of a single leader. It's one of the only parties which really looks like a party, rather than simply an apparatus of power designed to sustain those at the top. It's essential that we have alternatives to the increasingly monarchical style of Blair, Bush and the other G8 leaders and to the appalling whipping system which dominates almost all forms of party politics in Britain, crushing dissent, free speech and genuine representation. Partly because of the absence of a single charismatic leader, the party has the potential to remain much closer to the voters. How this plays in terms of realpolitik is another matter, but I believe the Green Party is respected for its integrity and idealism, and is trusted as a genuine alternative to the others."



here is our petition to preserve the principal speakers male and female instead of going for a leader.

it's going to be the big debate at party conference in Swansea.

GENUINE LEADERSHIP PETITION.
============================
We the undersigned believe that the Green Party's commitment to democracy and accountability distinguishes us from conventional politicians in a way that affirms our values and helps us to pursue our radical political goals - without a Leader, as enshrined in our Philosophical Basis.

Moreover, as a result of a series of on-going attempts by some to inaugurate a
Party Leader, we recognise the need to reaffirm our commitment to a non-hierarchical structure of governance within our Party.

As it says in the Philosophical Basis (Empowerment section), we reject the hierarchical structure of leaders and followers, but advocate participatory politics instead.

We believe that the Green Party's enduring constitution is the best way to advance genuine leadership and initiative - from the grassroots up.

ONE WORLD. ONE CHANCE. ONE LEADERSHIP PETITION!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Please print off this page for use in your local parties:

NAME LOCAL PARTY Any party position (optional) Email (organisational matters)










CURRENT SIGNATORIES TO THE GENUINE LEADERSHIP PETITION

NAME LOCAL PARTY

1. Jenny JONES Southwark Assembly Member & councillor
2. Derek WALL Windsor Principal speaker
3. Noel LYNCH Barnet London coordinator
4. Jonathan DIXON Scarborough Borough councillor
5. Shahrar ALI Brent London policy coordinator
6. Romayne PHOENIX Lewisham Councillor
7. Keith Malcolm ROSS Swansea
8. Paul INGRAM Southwark former co-leader of Oxford City
9. Penny KEMP Maidstone and Kent
10. Molly SCOTT CATO Stroud Economics speaker
11. Annie WILLERTON Scarborough Chair
12. Geoff COLLARD Bristol West GPRC rep for South West
13. Linda GARRARD Swansea Secretary
14. Peter Kenneth JONES Swansea Treasurer
15. Brian ORR Brent Chair
16. Panayiotis ZENIOU Islington
17. Christian ANTONIOU Barnet
18. Heber MICELLI West Central
19. Marc SHEIMANN Luton
20. Madeleine LAUDER-ATKINS Harrow
21. Andy D'AGORNE City of York Councillor
22. Peter MURRY Brent
23. Daniel VIESNIK Brent
24. Jane RICHMOND Swansea Chair
25. Shasha KHAN Croydon
26. Ian WINGROVE Hackney
27. Adam STACEY N & E Hampshire
28. Michael O'SHEA Barnet
29. Tim TURNER Wandsworth
30. Ken BURGESS West Central
31. Elizabeth O'SHEA Barnet
32. Anne GRAY Haringey
33. Andie HARRIS Scarborough
34. Michelle LYNCH Barnet
35. Priya SHAH Brent
36. Telai QUARTERY-PAPAFIO Barnet
37. Khalid AKRAM Brent
38. Nigel RAYMENT Lewisham
39. Chris ASHBY Islington
40. Graham LEE Hillingdon
41. Andy HEWETT Greenwich
42. Alan WHEATLEY Camden GPEW disability spokesperson
43. George GRAHAM Lambeth
44. Danny BATES Hackney former GP executive officer
45. Tim SUMMERS Lambeth GPEW campaigns coordinator
46. Shane COLLINS Lambeth GPEW drugs spokesperson
47. Miranda DUNN Barnet GPRC rep for London
48. Anthony AGIUS Hounslow
49. Adrian WILLIAMS Islington
50. George SHAW Barnet
51. Joseph HEALY Southwark GPRC rep for London

THIS PETITION WILL BE UPDATED ON A REGULAR BASIS. TO HAVE YOUR NAME ADDED, OR TO ADVISE OF ANY CORRECTIONS, PLEASE EMAIL SHAHRAR AT DECOUVREZ@YAHOO.COM.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN SAYING?

Jenny Jones, London Assembly Member and Southwark councillor:
"We've proved in London that you don't need a leader to get good media coverage - there are plenty of opportunities for us all. In fact, the limitation on how much media we can do is often the need to rest, eat and visit the loo. So what we need is more people prepared to do media, not rely on one fallible person to deliver our message."

Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speaker:
"Leadership is vital. We must have effective voices. However, conventional leadership with a single leader has been disastrous for political participation. It almost always comes with commitments to water down the message, to remove real debate and participation. It makes ordinary members into observers. Please sign this petition to give support to a real, radical green party that values everybody."

Paul Ingram, former co-leader (legal position) of Oxford City Council:
"Leadership within the Green Party is vital. Having a formal leader will itself not bring any of the benefits its advocates dream about, and is likely to bring further conflict into the Party. It dangerously distorts the fundamental philosophy of empowerment at the heart of the Green Party."

Priya Shah, young Green, and new member of Brent Green Party:
"I believe that hierarchical party structures are outdated. To advocate the participation of all in a party without hierarchical structures is the only base on which to develop the politics of the present and future. Naturally, if we were to be an elected government, we would need a party spokesperson, but this is not to be mistaken with the obsolete idea of a party leader."

Shahrar Ali, London Policy Coordinator:
"A person with genuine leadership qualities will benefit our party with the authority that he or she earns along the way. True Green politics is about not being afraid to stick to our joined-up principles even if that did mean bucking the trend in media expectations."

Joseph Healy, GPRC International Friend:
"Better to follow the path of integrity and truth than the path well trodden. There are enough grey parties with grey leaders and people have had enough of them."

Daniel Viesnik, Brent Green Party:
"There are already too many clone parties in UK politics. One of the strengths of the Green Party lies in its courage to be different and determination not to sell itself out on its principles and ideals. I do not go along with the notion that strong leadership and direction require a designated leader."

Andy D'Agorne, one of the first Green councillors for York in 2003:
"I have always felt that a major strength of the Green Party has been its approach to cultivating new leaders, promoting gender equality and challenging 'conventional wisdom' . We have people of stature and experience in the party who would not have that if they had had to challenge a Leadership position to do so."

Molly Scott Cato, GPEW Economics spokesperson:
"Leaders only create psychological dependency and disempowerment. Our process is as important as our policies so let's not have our agenda set by the requirements of the media."

To have your comment added here please email decouvrez@yahoo.com. Please allow me to make minor edits.


APPENDICES

1. FROM PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS OF THE MANIFESTO FOR A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

STATEMENT OF CORE PRINCIPLES
PB001.
Para 6. We emphasise democratic participation and accountability by ensuring that decisions are taken at the closest practical level to those affected by them.

SECTION ON EMPOWERMENT
PB440 Power is simply our ability to be effective, but it takes different forms. 'Power over' is dysfunctional, succeeds only at the expense of others and should be limited and contained. 'Power to', or empowerment, is our potential to co-operate and take control over our own lives. Organisations which have based themselves on empowerment have found that they are as successful, if not more, at achieving their aims, and have delivered considerable social and environmental benefits.

PB441 However, 'power over' remains the dominant force in our hierarchical, competitive society. We have to engage with it, but we do so only in order to transform it. This requires changes in law, culture and economics.

PB442 The Green Party does not believe there is an automatic moral obligation on all people to obey their governments. It seeks to maximise the extent to which obedience to laws is based on consent and minimise the need for conformity through deterrence. We believe there are occasions when individuals and groups in society may openly, and peacefully, protest at an unjust law or practice through civil disobedience.

PB443 We seek a society in which people are empowered and involved in making the decisions which affect them. We reject the hierarchical structure of leaders and followers, and, instead advocate participatory politics. For this reason the Green Party itself does not have an individual leader.


2. RECENT CONFERENCE DECISIONS

Autumn 2006, Brighton. Motion D07 - single principal speaker - Defeated
Autumn 2005, Lancaster. D08 - Leader & Deputy Leader - Defeated
D08 Amendment 1 - Defeated
Autumn 2005, Lancaster. D05 Change name of principal speakers to ‘co-leaders’ - Defeated
Autumn 2004, Weston-super-Mare D3 - Amend titles of Principal Speaker roles - Defeated
Further past conference decisions to follow


3. WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID

George Monbiot, published in Green World 35:

"I think much of the Green Party's refreshing distinctiveness rests on the absence of a single leader. It's one of the only parties which really looks like a party, rather than simply an apparatus of power designed to sustain those at the top. It's essential that we have alternatives to the increasingly monarchical style of Blair, Bush and the other G8 leaders and to the appalling whipping system which dominates almost all forms of party politics in Britain, crushing dissent, free speech and genuine representation. Partly because of the absence of a single charismatic leader, the party has the potential to remain much closer to the voters. How this plays in terms of realpolitik is another matter, but I believe the Green Party is respected for its integrity and idealism, and is trusted as a genuine alternative to the others."

1 comment:

Matt Sellwood said...

Hey Derek, nice press release!

Just two things...

1) Fair enough to oppose a leader/deputy leader model. But why oppose a referendum of the entire membership on the issue, which is what the motion to Conference is about?

2) Technically your list of defeated leadership motions is correct. But wouldn't it be more accurate to point out that they failed to get a two-thirds majority? If I recall correctly, they all got a simple majority at Conference....

Best wishes,

Matt

P.S. Last comment about this topic, I promise. Just wasting time in an effort to avoid organising our Oxfordshire nomination signature efforts!