I’m a Green. I really have no choice. Being at the virtual birth of GreenPeace (Bob Hunter’s boat was right across from mine in False Creek back in the very early 70’s. Talked with Paul Watson, Patrick Moore and a few others now and then but as a neighbour only), being now so pure of heart living OTG and loving Gaia, my political stance is pretty much pre-determined. Earth first.
Especially since I have tried all the other parties at one time or another and found them all extremely wanting in even basic manners, ethics and good intention.
Having said that, I have been a harsh critic of the Green party ever since I joined it back in the day. Nincompoops. They seem to be naive, silly, unfocused and, strangely, somewhat elitist. It sounds odd, but they are loathe to listen to the public and even most of their own members (maybe it is just me) and the party, tho uniquely democratic in so many ways, is usually deaf to input from the hoi polloi – especially if it is about economics.
Which, in light of the latest debacle, seems odd but it isn’t. It seems a narrow, single-interest group timed their late-submitted proposition to boycott Israel to the then-dissolving Green party forum and, by employing Saul Alinsky tactics, kinda hijacked the platform. Or so I gather….
Politics is an ugly business and, it seems, the Greens play in the mud as well. Well, maybe better put; they got played by the mud this time.
But in a normal political party, that ploy would never have worked. All the parties I have been involved in are run by a slightly mad power group and there is little tolerance for ‘revolutionaries’ in any of the parties. Political structure-wise, all parties are conservative and rigid. “Follow the rules, toe the line, be blindly loyal, do as you are told” . That is the basic operating rule of thumb and the most egregious offender/defender of that faith I ever encountered was the Reform Party – later (d)evolved to the Harper Conservatives.
When I considered running for the then new Reform Party, they promised in their WRITTEN political platform a plank that stated the MP would first represent their constituents and secondly, their own conscience. Loyalty to the party was the THIRD priority. Even though I had some basic conflicts with the rest of their platform and certainly some of the personalities I encountered, the simple fact that I could speak my mind, vote my conscience and put the constituents first, meant that I was in.
Plus my hidden agenda was that I was gonna preach GREEN to the party if I got in.
That exercise did not last long. At the Reform-turned-Canadian Alliance ‘electioneering school’, they made it crystal clear that we were obliged to say what Stockwell Day told us to say, do as he told us to do and the WRITTEN and stated MPs freedom to speak was just a way to appeal to the public. It was NOT going to happen. That plank was a bald-faced lie.
I walked out.
And that kind of duplicity has been manifestly illustrated by the NDP, Liberals, Socreds and even BC First and the Conservative Party over the years. They all seem to lie straight to your face.
So, sadly, in politics lying is a given……
But I have to make the point: I am not naive. I know that leadership has to make decisions. I know that not all decisions can be made by consensus. I know that communication amongst volunteers and the power-mad is poor at best, negligible most of the time and downright two-faced lying bastards a lot of the time. T’is the nature of the beast, I guess.
I do not expect perfection. I do not even expect ‘good’ behaviour.
But I do expect some of the ‘basics‘.
Example: when Adrian Carr ran the Greens, she was offered a chance to speak at a pulp mill. She went. She preached Green and, after that speech, she was presented with a cheque for $5000 from BOTH management AND union. One cheque, two signatories. Unprecedented cooperation.
She refused it.
That the contribution showed ‘real people’ showing ‘real concern’ for the environment and in a pulp mill no less would have been a huge political milestone at the time for the party but it was refused because it smacked of ‘corporate’. Then, of course, they went and blew their feet off with putting too late emphasis on Proportional Representation when the average Joe didn’t know what it was, what it meant or how to spell it.
And the list of mis-steps just goes on and on and on.
For every crooked, stupid, giant mis-step the BC Liberals have done these past ten years, the NDP and the BC Greens have equally missed every opportunity to show up with something better. They haven’t even, for the most part, shown up!
And now this: Elizabeth May is likely the best MP Canada has ever had. She works harder than ten others. I like and respect her a great deal. But she is NOT a leader. She COULD be, but, so far, she refuses to wear the crown. She prefers the female approach of consensus building. (God bless her, everyone). Trump (and that old-school, George Patton managerial style of his) prefers the MY-WAY-OR-THE-HIGHWAY approach. (The devil take him!)
The reality is that both ways are required now and then. A lot of stuff can be discussed and committee’d and logic, reason, analysis and commonality will prevail and the party can move as one in a certain direction. Democracy at work. Sometimes the issue is so sensitive to the party that massive majority or consensus is required for the party’s survival because splitting the party would be worse.
But sometimes a leader has to step up, take charge, make the right decision and let their career rest on it. If their ‘leadership’ turns out to be wrong (ie. the Brexit Referendum), they should resign. It is called the honourable thing to do. Leaders should have that strength at the very least.
But to let a splinter group ‘steal’ a plank from your platform by way of Saul Alinsky tactics and then consider resigning over it, is NOT showing leadership. Liz should not only have to stay as the leader (which she announced today that she will), she has to quash the uprising, stall the proposal against Israel, take her own sweet time reviewing it and, she should make sure she grows a spine in the meantime.
Then, when it is time for another Green group meeting, put the topic back on the agenda and say, “I stalled this nonsense last year. Now you can vote on it properly and with all the members having their say. If I did wrong, the proposal will pass and I will, too. I will resign. If we kill this sucker, then taking leadership was the right thing to do and I intend to do more of it.”