A powerful base of local parties and activists is crucial to deliver the next Green Wave
We’re living in unprecedented times.
The Covid crisis has reshaped people’s lives across the UK and around the world. It has simultaneously revealed and exposed the clear and pernicious flaws in our current social, economic and political systems.
Meanwhile, as the new IPCC report demonstrated, we are erring closer and closer to climate catastrophe. In this context, you would expect serious political parties to be offering a vision, a programme and a platform that faces up to the scale of these crises.
The reality is far from this.
Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen the Labour Party disrobe itself of any semblance of radicalism it held under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. When we needed opposition, they offered placid appeasement of the Tory government. The Lib Dems are drifting further and further into irrelevance.
It’s abundantly clear that there is a huge space in politics for a party offering a radical, transformative vision for the future of our society, that speaks to the needs and ambitions of the vast majority of people in our country, as well as facing up to the reality of the climate crisis.
However, the Greens won’t capitalise on this context without taking organising and internal structures seriously. If we’re to harness this moment, to deliver the transformative change that is required, we need to have a resilient, powerful and effective base of local parties and activists across England and Wales ready to take things to the next level.
How do we get there?
We must continue to build the capacity, skills and talents of our grassroots organisers and local party election machines, as well as ensure our membership base is not just growing, but engaged and empowered to deliver change inside and outside the ballot box. For me, this means delivering on a three main priorities:
1. Bespoke training and support packages for all local parties
Before drafting new training opportunities, we must deliver a comprehensive mapping of local party needs and capacity. This will allow us to devise and prepare multiple and bespoke local party training and support packages. This means mentoring, training and resource programmes that support target seats to win, help smaller local parties get a foot on the ladder, and provide those already in administration with the tools to build powerful movements behind their campaigns and deliver greater transformative change in their communities.
2. Development of national and local activist training programmes
Our national Campaign School and Campaign Academy have proven to be immensely valuable, building election organisers that go out to win time and time again. Let’s expand these schemes, delivering them at the regional and even local level, and for a wider range of vital local party executive roles. Effective volunteer coordinators, social media officers, campaigns coordinators, press officers – all these are crucial to any winning election or grassroots campaign team. Let’s ensure they can also access expert training and support, and nurture the talent that we have hidden within our party.
3. Building an engaged and empowered membership
The size of our membership has rocketed over recent years, and this month alone an additional 3,000 new members have reportedly joined the party. We must ensure our internal structures are able to cope with sudden surges, ensuring streamlined communications and offering them the stepping stones to becoming core activists delivering positive change inside the party and out. This starts with devising and delivering an ambitious strategy for membership recruitment, engagement and retention, and should include plans to build the capacity of our liberation groups to increase the diversity of our membership.
The strength of our success as a party has so much to do with the passion, dedication and power of our party’s activists – and now is the time to be fully investing in and growing that infrastructure.
Covid has blown the roof off ‘business as usual.’ Now is our chance to put forward a radical vision for change, build power in our communities and get more Greens elected at all levels of government.
Let’s build the next Green Wave. Let’s push for a real transformation of society, for radical democracy, and for social and environmental justice – not a more sinister, capitalist compromise. Let’s win.
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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