Friday, 22 August 2008

Message to Green Left Headcorn gathering from Jean Thierry of the Danish Green Party

Jean Thierry of the Danish Green Party was invited to speak at the Green Left Headcorn gathering in August 2008, sadly he was unable to attend, Joseph Healy read out the following message from Jean.
Thanks a lot for the invitation, I am sorry, I couldn't be here and I hope that there will be another occasion to meet all of you...


If I get two or three months notice I am quite sure that I can get the cheap train tickets.


Because the interactive debate is a big part of it, I hope that it will be possible to put this on a website and to get your comments and questions. Of course you are also very welcome to write me directly.


You are actually doing something very important by organising this Green Left tendency as a possible opposition to the alignment of the Greens in Europe.


For years I did try to make an alliance, a network even an organisation of the really Green parties within the EGP. But it was and especially is clear that consequent opposition is not wanted and eventually not accepted.


We will not try to rejoin the EGP, since it is clear that it is reformable like the EU which it is a treaty stated part of. But we would like to participate in the formation of a network of Greener parties and ideological group that at least in some countries can participate in elections with Red or Red-Green parties and groups giving a real Green alternative to the withered EGP mainstream.


What the EGP leadership, the Committee, does is not maintaining the original green ideas and excluding those who oppose these ideas. It is rather the opposite, they are in a top-down approach imposing change away from the Green principles of anti-authoritarianism, direct democracy, ecology in a broad sense, real global thinking and responsibility


During the ten years EFGP/EGP has become more and more aligned, and moved further away from the original Green ideas.Each voting in the Council or Congress is not important, because the real issue is that every time you vote, you are voting yourself into the EGP, accepting the convergence. It is only socialisation into the EGP and the EU.


If a decision goes against the Committee they will just ignore it or if they think it is necessary, define the EGP policy as the opposite of the declaration or resolution which the Council has made and get away with it because if you are the EGP Council ”you don't question the leaders, you have chosen yourselves”.
This was exactly what happened in Ljubljana when our resolution on maintaining the more than once decided support for referenda on the Lisbon Treaty (aka the EU Constitution) was voted down.


Because the Committee spokespersons had been speaking out in the against referenda in the name of the EGP and thereby speaking against the decisions But the belief in authorities means more to most member parties than their own decisions in council. And their own opinion as party at home. More than one party actually opposing the Lisbon Treaty at home and campaigning for a referendum did not vote in favour of our resolution.


That was actually for me the worst part of that Council meeting in which the Danish Greens were excluded from the EGP. Much worse than having our party excluded...


As some of you might know one of the reasons to exclude us was that I wrote “Non merci” as the signature instead of my name on the EGP 2004 common manifesto preamble, since it was not common because some parties including ours did not support the preamble and its positive statements about the EU Constitution proposal.


Physically I couldn't get myself to sign then, but I also think it was an important act and action. Not only to be against their system and their pompous ways, but also to act against it in civil disobedience. The most striking part of this is that all the other EU Green party representatives signed and didn't want to make footnotes, even though quite a number of the parties did and do oppose the EU Constitution.


Peer pressure works in the EGP. We should ask ourselves: What kind of theatre it is that some member parties have to excuse, deny or ignore the views and stands of their home parties to be accepted in the EGP Council and Congress?


If you are not critical towards the EGP, as a party or even a person, you run the risk of becoming like them and accept their policies and their way of thinking politics and systems...not only concrete policies but also the way of thinking.


You could say that this is what is happening in Sweden...


They have a very good and Green program, but they have never had a real debate about the EGP and now their leaders have been inspired and got a lust for power and wants to use the party for that purpose despite the ideals in the program...


I hope that there will be a chance to make a green and left tendency and parties, which includes the radical opposition towards concentrated power in a way that has not succeeded within the official Greens in most countries. They have become conformed like the liberals and social democrats before them, and except for some in content weak and almost empty talk about the environment, they are just like them.


We are Greens who have seen that the Green (and alternative) policies is in the real one of the left parties in parliament in Denmark. This is the Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten)...


Meaning that we are not left or red by principle, but simply in alliance with them, because they include the Green policies and issues, even though they do not highlight them enough...


Among their headlines in the last election were and still are:


“We believe in:
100 % organic agriculture
100% sustainable energy (by 2030)
0 % poverty
0 % war”


This is much more radical Green than the EGP.


They also have very hard working and honest politicians. One MP is just voted “homo-politician of the year” for working for LGBT-rights. And as the only parliamentarian party they also have a rotation principle. At 24 their vote-magnet Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen is younger than most leaders of political youth organisations and she is stronger in debates than any of the leaders of the other parties. No one and no party is perfect, but these are great, and much better and greener than any of the big green parties in the EU.


A likely future plan for The Greens in Denmark is to become a political and ideological organisation rather than a political party. Thereby we can work for Green proposals and ideas without having to be exclusive and we don't necessarily need to try to contest elections. And it of course opens for an even better cooperation with the Red-Green Alliance.


The Socialist Peoples-Party (SF) is the observer party from Denmark in the EGP and on a very different path. SF have long ago given up to move the political spectre towards the left and green... Instead they are moving themselves towards the centre(-right) of the political system, which not necessarily the centre of the populations views...


On Thursday SF declared that they will vote for the national budget, even during the present right wing government. This is considered their ticket into a government if the Social democrats take over after next election.


EGP also accept SF from Denmark, because this party is successful and a probable governing party three or six years from now, even though their move towards the right have included harsh statements about immigrants, especially Muslims but lately also Catholics from Poland.


Almost everything in the political debate in mainstream media in Denmark is about foreigners and especially Muslims, so when it was revealed that the EC Court had made a decision which in a strange way made it difficult to maintain the strict limitations on taking a foreign wife or husband to Denmark, the power of this Court became a big issue in Denmark.


Good thing is that it highlighted how much power the EU has and that the politicians haven't told the voters about it. It did get much more attention than other already made and much more severe decisions of the EC Court of so-called justice. These are only negative and concerns workers rights, animal welfare, the environment and food safety.


The view of The Greens and the Red-Green Alliance are similar: The Danish policy on foreigners shall be changed by the people and the parliament in Denmark and not the EU/EC court. It is not sustainable to do it in an undemocratic way, which could lead to more xenophobia, mutual understanding is very important in these issues. And next time it can easily go in the opposite direction.
We also want that human rights are ensured by the Human Rights Court of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and not the EC/EU market Court in Luxembourg.


It is important to look what the EU is and explanations why it works like it does...
Lone Dybkjaer, a Danish pro-EU MP of the centre-liberals have admitted that the EEC and the EU was deliberately made undemocratic to avoid to much influence to the people.


The claim is that it was done because “the people elected Hitler”. But that is a myth, he never got majority in a democratic election, but was selected by President Hindenburg, who was monarchist, imperialist and anti-democrat. Germany suffered from a lack of democracy, not the opposite.


But forming the EU was a splendid chance to avoid the risk of real popular democracy, which could threaten the elite power and concentration of wealth.
In Latin America and Middle East the USA had other more primitive and brutal methods to obtain the same goal as explained in Noam Chomskys 1980's book “On power and ideology. The Managua Lectures”. This goal is “the Fifth Freedom”: the freedom to rob and to exploit.


Actually the way the EU exploits Africa reminds of the way USA used to exploit Latin America.Already the opposition against the EU is quite strong in the Third World especially in Africa, and for good reasons, even though we never hear about it in mainstream media in Denmark.


More than one African artist have made songs against the Economic Partnership Agreements that the EU have tried to impose on the African countries.


Any political program that makes Green sense will be stopped by the EU. The EU ban most real Green policies mainly because of the four freedoms of the Single Market, all ensuring the Fifth Freedom. CAP and CFP also plays a cruel part.


The at that time German minister of food and agriculture Renate K√ľnast said it very clear in stating that it is impossible to change the agriculture 100 % to organic farming in four years as proposed by the Danish Greens. Alone the process in the EU Commission would take years according to K√ľnast


The struggle against the EU is therefore a central point for The Greens in Denmark, and we will as always support the Peoples Movement against the EU (Folkebevaegelsen) in the EU-elections as always and perhaps we will even have a candidate on the list of the Peoples Movement, (not to be confused with the more populist and EU-accepting June Movement (JuniBevaegelsen) or the similar and extreme right wing party Danish Peoples Party (DF)).


The Peoples Movement is part of the Nordic Green Left group in the EU-parliament, one minor reason is that the “Green” Group didn't want it in even though the first Green MEP's entering in 1984 actually formed the Rainbow Group with the Peoples Movement. But GUE/NGL is a good place to be mainly because freedom lives there unlike the pressure for alignment, shouting and mobbing-like culture in the GGEP. Also in this sense “Red is the new Green”.


If a party or a politician decide to support the EU to change it to the opposite from within it is not only not logical but they will also almost certainly end up in supporting not only the system, but also the features that are clearly anti-green.


I can give you a wonderful example: Former EU commissioner Michaele Schreyer from the German Greens declared in an EGP meeting, that the Single Market was a great success for the EU (perhaps she even said: “Europe!”). That is true and quite clear, but it is a disaster for the environment, health and workers rights and thereby also for the original Green agenda. But she has completely lost this perspective.


It is also very important not to leave the resistance against the EU to the right wing. Both because it can strengthen the less desirable parts of their political project and because their resistance, although it is often for good democratic reasons, can never be radical enough.




You could ask: Why moderate the Single Market by talking about a “Social Europe”? Quite simple: it distracts some of the most qualified opposition and hands over even more power to the EU and thereby to the big corporate companies...


No conspiracy is needed. It is just a build-in logic in the system...


I will appeal to you not only to criticize the exclusion of the Danish Greens (if you want to do that) or other concrete actions or policies from the EGP but do also criticize the system EGP, and the system EU, which has put pressure in making the EGP what it is today...


This fundamental criticism is the most important, the examples of wrongdoing is just examples that illustrates how the system works based on the way it is made.




Let me conclude by this:


If you look at the EGP with open eyes it is very hard to support it. Which means that the real Green people and parties who participate in the EGP are closing their eyes not to get in trouble by having to think and reflect.
It is a taboo to look critical at the EGP in the way that you look critical at your own government or other political opponents. Even more it is a taboo to criticise the EGP


This is very dangerous, if you don't look at the EGP critical then you run a very high risk of becoming like them or at least and even more probable that your party will easily get a majority of people or even be invaded by people who thinks like the EGP and support their mainstream (and meanstream) and not Green way of doing politics.


The last perspective is even more frightening, because you can't do anything about it, if you don't speak out against the EGP in public.


I am trying to do that. The Green ideas deserve so much better and Earth needs it.
I hope that together we can put the real Green on the agenda again...

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