Julia Lagoutte interviewing Cllr Andrew Cooper for the Big Green Politics Podcast in 2019

Every year the reasons why I joined the Green Party in 2010 – on a wave of euphoria and political possibilities that Caroline Lucas’s victory ignited in my 18 year old heart – feel clearer. The economic and political structures that exploit both people and the planet look creakier every year, failing even by their own narrow standards. To survive, they are pushing our planet and its creatures ever closer to the edge of destruction, forcing its humans – especially women, the working classes, Global South countries, people of colour, and indigenous communities – deeper into exploitation and misery, and dismantling systems of representation, democracy and accountability that took decades to build up.

The need for a system which values life of all kind and operates by values of justice, liberation, ecology, peace and internationalism is ever more desperate. Flooding and extreme weather closer to home tells us not just that there is a problem – those on the ecological frontlines have been telling us that for decades – but that there is only so long that our political elites can live in denial. Because around them, the whole world is waking up.

To grasp this historic moment, the Green Party is key. I joined the executive as Publications Coordinator last year because after years of campaigning, MEP work and writing, I finally felt experienced enough to understand and make decisions that would best serve members and the party and because I understand the importance of green media, such as Green World: our membership publication.

This passion emerged when I worked for the excellent Green European Journal in Brussels and led me to co-founding the Big Green Politics podcast: to spread the inspiring, ground-breaking, and under-reported stories of global green politics in an accessible way.

Other parties can count on extensive coverage in both mainstream and more politically niche media. Much traditional and new left wing press – such as Novara Media, LabourList, and The Mirror – are dominated by a Labour perspective and frequently ignore the Greens completely (whether deliberately or by accident). Other independent media such as Bright Green and Left Foot Forward do a good job of covering some green issues and internal party affairs but have limited resources and aren’t member-led. To compete with other parties and start to change the narrative, we need more and diverse green media outlets that make green politics come alive for people; media that spreads our ideas, visions and successes; elevates our activists and local parties; platforms our politicians from the Lords to parish councils; and informs and inspires members. Media that says: THIS is what is politically possible.

Building a green media space takes time and won’t yield results overnight. That said, in the couple years that Green World has been online it has already seen significant growth. This is despite it not having been promoted to members in its new online format until this summer. In the past year I have worked with Green World’s brilliant editorial board and staff to implement an ambitious development plan: producing a podcast to increase accessibility and reach, embedding it into the communications and strategy of the party, launching a social media revamp, starting a network of regular contributors, collaborating with other publications and membership groups, and more.

Central to the Green Party vision is a fundamentally different way of doing politics – one arising from our activist roots that is collaborative, people-powered, adaptable, and which treasures diversity and creativity. The means are as important as the ends. Though we may pride ourselves on being ‘the adults in the room’ with other parties, we don’t always succeed when it’s just us in the room. We need to ensure that we embody inside the party the values we proclaim outside the party; for example by negotiating disagreements and promoting tolerance and respect. Being constructive yet critical, I’ve successfully collaborated with others to push for practical solutions to improve democracy, transparency and accountability on GPEx – and to ensure that members remain the driving force they should be. It is up to us to ensure that we have an efficient, member-led, and diverse party that will keep us growing. The planet can’t wait.

This article is part of a series from candidates seeking election to the Green Party of England and Wales Executive. Other articles in the series, as well as wider coverage of the elections can be found here. Members will be balloted for these elections in August.

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