The Young Greens must be the hotbed of political education within the Green Party
The Young Greens is the youth and student wing of the Green Party of England and Wales. This summer, members of the Young Greens will be voting to elect a new executive. Bright Green is offering each of the candidates a chance to set out their vision.
I’m delighted to be standing as candidate for the role of activist training and political education officer. I have benefitted a lot from my experiences within the Young Greens in the past years and I am very eager to give something back. Above all, I want to ensure that
the Young Greens remains the centre of innovation and education within the Green Party, and that the dynamism that inspires so many of us and wins elections reaches new heights.
There are many parts of the Young Green’s political education activities that need no change. The wildly successful Zoom lectures we host every year are a shining example: accessible, informative, and inspiring. I want to use these events to broaden our horizons and hear from those involved in environmental and liberation movements from across the globe, through working with other EC officers. I will also continue our proud tradition of ensuring that Young Greens everywhere know how to win elections – every elected member of this party knows the power of Young Greens on the doorstep. Through a mix of action days and in-person events, it is essential that our members are ready for the next election, because you can never begin the campaign too early.
Within Bristol Green Party, I’ve been lucky to learn from some of the best minds in the Green Party about winning elections and the realities of running a major city. But I am all too aware that the opportunities to gain this experience are often a geographic lottery – if your local party is active with good prospects of electoral wins, you’re able to pick stuff up fairly easily. If it’s not, then it becomes much harder to engage.
This is doubly true for younger people; I know many who struggle with a location-based lack of activity and education. Our generally lower incomes, education commitments and more insecure living situations make it more difficult for us to travel or relocate, and we are often looked down upon and ignored by local party hierarchies. Therefore, my plan is to bring training to where you are, so that Young Greens can benefit from the shared wisdom of the entire party.
In-person activist training and political education events must also be accessible to everyone: both in terms of location and content. Young people especially should not have to travel long distances for these – it is the duty of the Young Greens and wider party to go to them. We must work collaboratively with regional Young Green groups to figure out what their goals for training are, and then deliver what they ask for. Given our rapid growth, this must be a core priority: it will keep members engaged, and it will massively improve our activism.
I will also focus on training local Young Green groups to help them grow and succeed – I have experience with this as chair of the South West Young Greens, having supported the Stroud and Bath Uni groups to grow. I would like to see ”mentoring” partnerships develop, where experienced Young Green groups provide direct support to newer ones in their area – facilitated by the national Young Greens. We must share the wealth of expertise within our organisation!
An area that I wish to put much more emphasis on is empowering Young Greens to run for office themselves – both within their local parties and their local electorates. A key aspect of this is building up confidence: many young people, particularly women and those from minority groups, don’t feel ready to take on managing roles within local parties or put themselves forwards as an election candidate. Imposter syndrome is a feeling I am very familiar with, and it is something that I want to put effort into tackling among the whole of the Young Greens. Additionally, I will seek wider reforms within the party to demystify internal elections – particularly in local parties where things are often run more informally – and ensuring that open positions are properly advertised to Young Green groups. I want to enable Young Greens to take on responsibility in every part of the Green Party.
These aims have wider implications for the entire Green Party: the Young Greens are the ideal vector for sharing knowledge and best practices throughout our membership. Firstly, we talk to each other using well-oiled and active comms channels, and this puts us in an excellent position to cross-pollinate ideas within the party. Secondly, our already enviable tradition of political education and direct activism means such engagement is already in our blood. And thirdly, the progressive values of the Young Greens are exactly what we need to
bolster in the current internal climate. Divisions over trans liberation, sex worker rights, antisemitism and other issues are a stain on the whole Green Party and must be met by a staunch countering force, with the Young Greens at its heart.
I love this party and I love the Young Greens. I hope you will support me so we can continue to build on our election successes into the future.
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