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Green Party dilemma 2011

16 March, 2011

Editor Te Awa, The Green Party, Wellington

Dear Editor,

February’s Te Awa contains an article by Robyn Bracie which is an interesting discussion of the dilemma facing The Greens in talking about economic issues, taking the “Common Cause” report published by the WorldWide Fund for Nature and others as starting point.

Ms Bracie says, “It may be viable for NGOs, …, to play down economic matters, but this is not possible for (a) political party….”.  The Green Party in this country arose out of NGOs, and still sometimes acts like one, but is definitely a political party.

I would suggest that the difficulties exist primarily because the problems and issues we face arise within, and the progression of them guided along by, the force of cultural history more than that of politics or values or of individual psychology.  The level of consciounsess required at a culture / history level is different from what is required to act in the political arena.  (Apologies for not defining “cultural history” but I’ll go on anyway.)

Furthermore the main influences on political / social progress are ‘events’ that appear suddenly, as in ‘big’ events like nuclear war, natural disasters, or 9/11 type attacks (war in recent decades has often been a calculated attempt to disorient in the same way – “Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Kline), rather than being brought about by campaigns or any conscious actions of individuals, NGOs, and political parties.  Then the world in which political action takes place is suddenly perceived to be different.

The task of choosing political approaches within this culture / events perspective is fraught for one thing because it is difficult to predict such sudden changes within a political time frame.   Having said that, the current dominance of right wing exploitative politics has emerged from the intuition that the world has changed fundamentally and that their ideologies are now dead.  This is the last chance for them and they will persevere until events make it impossible for them to continue.  They have grasp that within the cuture / history momentum of thousands of years of explotative mentality they are in a position to push their agenda when big events occur (“Shock Doctrine”).

The Greens as a political party may attempt to develop a broad cultural / historical awareness, while also acting in the present.  Is it possible to succeed with either while pursuing both?

Sincerely, Richard Keller

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