The perils of setting up a Green Party.

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It's hard work, setting up a political party. The hard days and long nights, the tiny meetings, the repeated electoral failures and the years hoping for a breakthrough, the funny looks and the sheer thanklessness of it all. 

That's how I imagine it, at least in Europe. By the time I joined the Scottish Greens we were just nine months away from our first elected parliamentarian, so I missed the tough phases up to that point. 

It's the process our Hungarian friends are in the midst of, although they seem to be moving more quickly towards that first election success.

In other parts of the world it's much harder still, especially to set up a Green party, an organisation able to challenge gross unsustainability as well as economic injustice and undemocratic practices. Bravely, people do it, most recently in Rwanda, despite local bureaucrats trying to prevent Greens even meeting, and in Kyrgyzstan, where the party leader (pictured above) went on trial for having caricatures of the President in his office, and where effectively he's now being held hostage by the state.

My political commitment will almost certainly never put me in situations as hard or as dangerous as those faced by my colleagues in other countries, but I am proud as hell to be part of the same global movement as them. 


Dear James,

The struggles we all face building a Green future are only part of our day-to-day lives. Being involved in political life should be as easy as buying a pizza, and as common. Unfortunately the political class wants us to leave all that to them, and stay out of the way. While, like you, I will not face jail for promoting the Green Party, like you no doubt, being Green is not the easiest part of my life.

I say this to affirm your respect for these folks, and to add my voice to those who hope for justice for our fellow Greens, but don't down play your efforts. As Kermit said, "It's not easy being green", and all of us must have thick skins to keep on keeping on.

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Post History

This page was published on October 15, 2009 8:17 AM.

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