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Archive for October 6th, 2010

The Greens And Racism.

with 30 comments

The Greens and many of the other new parties would have us believe that they represent a new type of politics, different from the shenanigans, backroom deals and manoeuvring that is often found in mainstream politics.

That might well be so, on some issues and elsewhere in local councils they say:

“Green councillors want to inspire a new culture of increased openness at city hall. Our local election manifesto included a whole range of ideas from improving the way decisions are scrutinised to publishing more information about the council and its activities.”

However, when it comes to the Green’s own debate on anti-Jewish racism trying to get a straight answer from Greens is nearly impossible.

Sure enough they answer, but only in the most obtuse of ways.

Their replies owe more to old-fashioned politicking in the House of Commons than any new form of transparency or desire to openly debate these difficult issues.

This all came about in the wake of the Green Party’s conference and a small piece in the Guardian, by Hugh Muir:

“And some year for the Green party as members meet in Birmingham for the annual conference. The party, still bright and relatively new, has yet to succumb to the dead hand of sophistry and spin. And yet they realise that some things are best kept under the surface. One such is the claim that too often a sympathy for the plight of Palestinians spills over into full-blown antisemitism. These claims have been made before. That’s why the party sought to address them by setting up an antisemitism working group. But good intentions, we understand, were not enough, and thus it apparently became necessary to remove the chair and disband the committee. We have a problem, say worried members. No we don’t, says the leadership; and if we do we’ll deal with it. It’s under the surface for now but bubbling up fast.”

I have asked a couple of leading Greens to comment, but to date I have not received any satisfactory reply, nothing to clarity the situation.

Peter Cranie seem to have a bout of political laryngitis on this topic.

I got two replies from Jim Jepps, after a bit of pestering:

1. “The short answer is that I think there is a problem.

Although I don’t think it is institutional anti-semitism in the party I do think we have a constant failure in the way we deal with disputes or handle individuals who do inappropriate things.

That failure to intervene firmly enough (or at all) can lead to a small group of people or single individuals making discussions or lists poisonous – and I know many people leave those lists because they don’t reflect the friendly and useful Green Party they know in their local area.

I think the people making a complaint have a point that is worth replying to and we should try to address their concerns. Although I should say I don’t 100% agree with them on the detail and definition I think it would be an error for the party to dismis this out of hand.

I’ll try to make a more thoughtful comment on this later, but thought a quick response might be useful to getting on with.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:15:00 AM”

2. “Mod: I can answer that now. Thw working group was disbanded because certain members of it came to the group with such a dogmatic and rigid position that it was unable to function meaningfully.

It was replaced by a two person group who are submitting a report soon I believe. I’ll get to read this report when it comes out and am ‘looking forward to it’ if that is the right phrase.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 7:24:00 PM”

All rather opaque, worth of Sir Humphrey.

So there is a distinct unwillingness by the Greens to provide clarification on this important issue.

I suppose it’s understandable, like mainstream political parties, they don’t like washing their political laundry in public, but then again there is nothing new or radical in that approach, it is the politics of the old school.

Unfortunately for the Greens the issue of anti-Jewish racism will not go away, until the Greens go beyond rhetoric and the political tactics of the past then it will come back to haunt them.

What we are seeing from the Greens is the same old obfuscation that politicos are so fond of, remember the expenses scandal?

Here’s Engage’s discussion of the topic.

[Just to be perfectly clear, that I am not accusing the Greens of racism. I am not accusing them of racism.

Instead, it seems to me, that they display a recognizable lack of transparency, and if they can’t openly discuss the issues of racism then what can they discuss in a meaningful manner?]

Update 1: Despite my best endeavours and the aid of Google I have been unable to find anything of significance on the Green Party’s autumn conference 2010.

There is plenty of information going back to 2007 and 2005, etc but nothing as far as I can see freely available on the Web which openly discusses what went on at the Greens’ conference from an objective point of view.

Sure enough there is plenty of PR and speeches from leaders, but not much critical comment or an interrogation of events, which sounds to me like political parties from 40+ years ago, as if the Web didn’t exist.

If anyone finds a good summary on this issue, please let me know.

Update 2: Peter Cranie has replied and I appreciate he’s rather busy, so we might hear something in a few days or so, which is fair enough.

Written by modernityblog

06/10/2010 at 02:00