Mexican Green Party billboard supporting the death penalty

The International Coordinator position is one of the most hotly contested post on the Green Party of England and Wales executive. This time around members have four choices: Alice Hubbard & Sam Murray or Alex Horn & Erwin Schaefer as job shares or Frank Sheridan or Claudine Letsae as individual candidates. I am sure party members are attracted by the idea of building links with Greens across the planet. As an ex-Green Party International Coordinator, while I appreciate that Greens do much good, global Green politics can involve some difficult choices.

In recent weeks, the Irish Green Party has agreed to go into coalition with two centre right parties Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. Supporters of this move, backed by two third of Irish Green Party members, argue it provides a chance to transform Ireland, introducing sweeping climate mitigation policies. Opponents argue that voters are sick of Ireland’s two traditional governing parties, a previous Irish Green coalition was disastrous and this too will end in failure.

More controversially still the Austrian Greens have entered a governing coalition with a right wing party and are accused of supporting racist measures.

Greens need to be critical and not simply assume that Green is automatically good. However there seems to be one Green Party that should, uncontroversially be rejected. The fact that Partido Verde Ecologista de México [PVEM] remains a member of the Global Greens is stain on the reputation of all Green Parties.

My challenge to prospective International Coordinator candidates is to ask whether they will take action to ask the Global Greens to expel the PVEM. I recommend simply googling Mexican Greens – you might be surprised by what you find. In February this year, Greens elected to Mexico’s lower house, have proclaimed their long standing support for the death penalty. This doesn’t sound particularly Green. They also have a notorious record for alleged corruption and have paid huge amounts in fines for breaking Mexican electoral law.

The worst allegation I have seen is that their members were involved in assassinating a leader of the indigenous Zapatistas in Mexico’s southern most province Chiapas.  Vice, captured the apparent deficiencies of the PVEM with an article entitled ‘In Mexican Politics, the Greens Are ‘Corruption Turned Into a Party’:

It votes in favor of fracking, runs socialites and sons of the elite as candidates instead of erstwhile environmentalists — or even anyone looking “hippie” — and plies peasant farmers with herbicides in exchange for support.

The Mexican political party that calls itself Green is notorious for championing the death penalty, courting ties that are closer with the country’s telecommunications industry than with environmental groups, and putting a low priority on issues such as deforestation and climate change.

Mexico’s Green Party, in short, acts in ways that are anything but green.

I could wax indigently about their support for fracking, note how they have been condemned by environmental groups including Greenpeace, etc. Their supporters might counter that Mexican politics is often difficult, that the Mexican Greens at least have done some good on animal issues and that they are making reforms.

I came across them, directly, when I helped organise the Global Greens International Convention in Liverpool in 2017. The Mexican Greens were keen to take part as visibly as possible. I remember they wanted a representative on a discussion about democracy chaired by Natalie Bennett. Given their huge fines for breaking electoral law, I thought this was not a good idea!

I hope any elected Green Party International Coordinator will take action to distance GPEW from the Mexican Greens, to table motions to future Green International meetings such as the Global Greens to challenge their right to belong to the Green Party family.

Greens often criticise other politicians and rightly so, but on my part when I hear Greens criticise others I think of the very dubious action of the PVEM. Green politics too might be produced not just by Green Parties but indigenous and social movements like the Zapatistas in Mexico, who accuse the PVEM of violence towards their members.

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Image credit: Randal Sheppard – Creative Commons