A report from #Greens2017

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Introduction

Global Greens Congress was without doubt one of the best weekends of my life. A coming together of compassionate, hard-working greens from across the globe with a shared passion for green politics. Hearing some of the struggles faced by our friends in other countries, in some cases putting themselves in mortal danger to promote the green cause, really gives our campaigning in England & Wales a new perspective.

Meeting so many people from across the planet with shared goals really brought home the feeling that we have far more in common than that which divides us.

Green Party of England and Wales conference ran efficiently alongside the Global Greens Congress and we managed to pass some really important changes to our policies and organisational structure.

National Policy Changes

All five of the accredited C motions brought to conference were passed by the attendees, as were many of the non-accredited E motions. This means there are a lot of policy changes to take note of so be sure to brush up on PSS!

The headline changes are as follows:

  • The Green Party is now calling for an animal abusers register similar to the ViSOR register to protect animals from abusive owners. We will also seek to redefine “pest control” and protect vertebrates from unnecessary suffering.
  • It is now officially Green Party policy to defend the EU’s single market, encouraging green-minded reform of the trade area. We are also calling on the government to protect EU environmental regulations, the right to free movement and migrants’ rights as we leave the EU. Finally on this point, we are calling for a ratification referendum at the end of the negotiation process to ensure that this is still what the public wants.
  • Our intersex rights policy has finally been updated to give intersex people the support they need from the Green Party. This comes after the issue has failed to be heard at the last few conferences and is a welcome update to PSS.

Organisational Changes

Conference D motions allow for changes to internal party organisation. Without a doubt the biggest and most controversial discussion in this respect has been the idea of progressive alliances. Conference passed a motion over the weekend to officially support the idea of progressive alliances and lay out a kind of framework to help local parties (and the media) understand what is meant by “progressive alliance”. From the point of view of a local party, not much has actually changed. Local members will still decide whether or not to stand a candidate in a given seat.

Motions were also passed to update our subscription rates and capitations, to facilitate the selection of a more diverse range of candidates, and to allow the party to become a limited liability entity.

What does this all mean for South Glos?

When campaigning locally in South Gloucestershire we should now be aware of the party’s official position on the EU, which may be a huge talking point on the doorstep. We also now have a clearer idea of the scope of “progressive alliances” and how we can pursue them in consultation with the national party. Not much else changes for us locally, so we can concentrate on getting on with our dedicated activism and turning South Glos Green!

What does this mean for South West Young Greens?

We should be aware that the SWYG committee may now be a point of access for Young Greens wishing to pursue the idea of progressive alliances and liaise with us on that. SWYGs can also be confident that pro-European activism is now in keeping with party policy and use that fact to better develop our campaigns.

Summary

GPEW conference was pretty straightforward. Almost every motion that was heard passed without controversy, but there were a few moments of drama as passions ran high. But for me the weekend will always be about the Global Greens Congress. The ties we share with our green friends all over the world are unbreakable. We are strong, we are compassionate and we are willing to do what is right for people and planet. GGC has given me a weekend I’ll never forget and I’d like to thank all the wonderful people I met in Liverpool for making this such an exciting and uplifting event.

Published by Dan