Chris Burton joined the Green Party because of its environmental policies but has increasingly been impressed by its socialist principles.
Here he kicks off a debate.
To my mind Caroline Lucas has got this right already, no ecology without social justice.
Socialism must be 'eco', democratic and effecient (think commons/open source/Ostrom).
Indeed Caroline has written about Elinor Ostrom here.
Capitalism cannot deliver prosperity or environmental quality, hey but you know my views...on to Chris.
I am hesitant to use the word "socialist" when describing the Green Party, largely because the term is not understood and has very negative connotations. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe the "socialist" label is a bullet we should bite?
It would certainly get us a good deal of publicity, and force the media to understand our belief that the environment cannot be saved under our current financial-capitalist system. There is a lot of truth in the saying that "there's no such thing as bad publicity". If the media starts saying "the Greens - they're a bunch of socialists", it will at least give us a chance to explain why we are socialists and how our policies will benefit everyone, especially the poorest and disadvantaged. If that helps our message to get through to the poor and disadvantaged then we will surely take over Labour's complete constituency, just as they took over the Liberal vote in the last century. And as the full and true nature of Green policies comes under the scrutiny that the "socialist" label will attract, the middle classes will come to see that Green policies hold no fears for them.
When I joined the Green Party, I did so on environmental grounds (i.e. the human world will end if we do nothing, or do more of the same). I had no idea that our social policies were, basically, socialist. But, much to my initial surprise, I have found them all to be pretty much exactly right and proper. I am now more than happy to defend socialism. In fact, the human world cannot be saved without it.
I think we need to emphasise the Green Party's stand on social issues. We have no need to talk about environmental issues, not because it is not important (it is) but because everybody already knows that the Green Party supports sensible environmental policies. But few members of the general public have any idea about what our "fairness" policies would mean to their lives. And yet our social policies are exactly what everyone needs, if only they knew it. Even the bankers would benefit - not financially, of course, but through finding (no doubt to their own surprise) a better quality of life, spending their time on the things that really matter. If we could put our social policies absolutely to the fore (and get the media to understand that we have much to say on the topic) then maybe we can achieve in the next 20 years what the Labour party did in same period of the last century.
What do others think? Should we declare ourselves absolutely as "socialist"? Not necessarily by adding "socialist" to our party name ("Green Socialist" or "Socialist Green" makes us sound like a different party altogether), but simply by putting it to the forefront of our branding.