Kelsey Trevett

The government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has, for those who have kept a close ear to the ground over the past decade, taught us as many lessons as those which Johnson and his ministers have learnt in the 16 months since March 2020. For clarity, that is none. The injustices it has revealed — the depth of inequality within our communities, the scapegoating of students and workers, the profiteering amongst the Tories and their mates — none of it is new, simply a continuation of a ten-year-normal which the PM, with the erosion of democratic rights and accountability measures, is determined to cement into the UK for generations to come. Now, with a Labour opposition with neither purpose nor competence, the corruption and exploitation at the hands of this government is hurtling the country towards authoritarianism, without even the decency of subtlety.

More than ever before, the Young Greens are poised to be not only the most radical youth and student movement in England and Wales, but also to take the lead in the resistance to this Tory rule. The groundwork, delivered through political education talks, deep-dives into the catastrophic effects of neoliberal capitalism on industries, international relations, and individuals, and campaigns first for fair A-level results, and then for justice for students on campuses, has mobilised activists, and painted the clearest picture yet of ecosocialism. Our job, over the coming years, is to transform that energy into action, placing our values at the heart of demands for justice, democracy, and a future which works to support both people and planet.

I’m running for co-chair, because I know that this is a pivotal moment for the Young Greens, and I believe I have the skills, experience, and politics to make us a powerful force both electorally, and within the broader social and student movement. The past year has offered me the beginnings of hope. The thousands who marched on our streets against racism and police brutality, and then against the policing bill which would, if enacted into law, place an even larger question mark over the UK’s status as a democracy. The votes cast in May for a truly radical vision of social and environmental justice, realised in the election of now 17 Young Green councillors. The rent strikes up and down the country, led by grassroots activists exploited by the neoliberal ideology underpinning the marketisation of our higher education sector. Young Greens must recognise the power of building coalitions in the fight back against not just the Conservatives, but the economic system which perpetuates structural inequality and oppression, which has resulted in record numbers of food banks, and which is pushing the environment to breaking point and beyond one profit-driven oil barrel at a time.

The Young Greens, then, must be unapologetically anti-capitalist: there is no collective liberation or environmental justice  under an economic system founded on the principles of exploitation. The media is overwhelmingly against us, pushing an unimaginably dangerous right-wing populist agenda. Pro activity, in setting the agenda ourselves, is essential to making the Young Greens a successful force for radical change.

Solidarity — with traditionally-marginalised groups, with rent strikers, with unions — is how we build coalitions, and deliver transformative change. My experience this year, as the Young Greens equality and diversity officer, has allowed me to gain experience working with Green Party liberation groups; the political education we delivered, and the conference motions which our work helped to pass, has given me a taste of what this type of collaboration can achieve.

And to deliver all this, we need a plan: a political and organisational strategy, created by our local groups and societies, regional committees, liberation groups — the backbone and real strength of our movement.

There’s no time like the present: the Young Greens are poised to become the most radical, the most vocal, and crucially the most effective political movement in England and Wales. Let’s get to work.

This article is part of a series from candidates standing in this year’s elections to the Young Greens of England and Wales Executive Committee. You can find all the articles in the series here. Voting is open in the Young Greens elections from July 3 to July 18. 

PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now.