As noted in the immediately previous posts, these notes were drafted in 2004. I was exploring options for political strategy, particularly the prospects for a Green Party in Bermuda.
A Green Party – Pros & Cons in the Bermudian Context
If the option of setting up a Green Party for Bermuda is taken, being seen as more viable than a Socialist Party or a Liberal Party, what are the pros and cons of this option?
A Green Party benefits from an established international Green Party movement. This leads to:
– Direct assistance from sister parties for organisational issues and help with policy/platform development;
– Indirect benefits through shared ‘branding’ in popular consciousness;
– This will strengthen as international Green Parties continue to advance.
Environmental issues are coming increasingly to the fore in politics, local and global. This provides the Green Party with a unique niche and foundation to advance on.
From a Green Party perspective, all issues can be addressed. They are not simply ‘single-issue’ focused solely on the popular concept of ‘Green’ as purely environmental. There is an inherent connection between the environment, the economy, society (race, class and sex) and wider issues, such as imperialism.
There exists an established (though small) environmental activist core in Bermuda, which could serve as a core cadre.
The biggest challenge would be overcoming the conception of a Green Party as being one-sided, of being solely an environmentalist party in the crude perception of being about trees, reefs and nature generally, rather than having relevance on race, class, sexism and wider socio-economic issues.
The above is further compounded by what can also be a pro – the already existing environmentalist movement in Bermuda. Too often the environmentalism already present is seen as inherently conservative and White. Environmentalism is seen to protect the environment solely from an elite perspective, and is seen to ignore the wider socio-economic implications that a true environmental perspective (which a Green Party would have to be) would address.
It is possible that there will be two wings to any Green Party in Bermuda. One inherently radical, connecting environmental issues to wider socio-economic ones, including racial, class and sexism issues. The other wing would be inherently conservative, focused on conservation and preservation rather than radical restructuring of society to an environmentally conscious society. Conceivably there would be a third wing, of eco-capitalism. So, an eco-socialist wing, an eco-capitalist wing and an elite environmentalism.
These three are, ultimately, untenable as a single party, and should be seen more as a temporary alliance. Even as a temporary alliance though, a coherent and unified Green Party might be sufficient to radically change the landscape of Bermuda’s political discourse. These three tendencies will contest for dominance. Ultimately it will come down to the eco-socialist faction against the eco-capitalist faction.
One big obstacle to overcome is the perception of environmental issues as a White issue. For a Green Party to be viable it must have a strong focus on social justice. A purely eco-capitalist and elite environmentalism focused Green Party would be unviable, and would be readily absorbed by the UBP. Only a social-justice (eco-socialist) perspective renders the Green Party initially viable.
From a purely branding issue, the colour ‘green’ is already branded with the PLP. Indeed, adding to the confusion, the colour green is so identified with the PLP that a ‘Green Party’ in name may readily be misunderstood as referring to the PLP.