There is an excellent article in the GREEN EUROPEAN JOURNEY that I think is worthy of close examination and discussion
It seeks to look at the lessons to be learned from the struggles experienced by the Greens across Europe in the last European elections, and the spectre of a UKIP surge in the uK in 2015, and the scary thought of Le pen becoming French President in 2017.
It starts from this position:
Greens must stop dismissing populism as the generic fountainhead of political irrationality and evil, and try to learn from this formidable antagonist. So far, they have been more busy calling populism the enemy than knowing their enemy. Doing so, they are also wasting the opportunity to know themselves better.
It progresses through a long look at what Greens can learn from the ‘populists’, and the urgency of re-assessing our understanding of liberty and democracy, along with getting a true understanding of the appeal of populist nationalism, so evident across the UK. It concludes thus:
Summing up: Greens should take populist nationalism seriously, rather than reject it out of hand (excluding some fascistic groups). We must recognize its inner variety, its political appeal, its democratic roots and its staying power. We should also recognize its proximity to some of our own ideals and concerns, and the need to re-examine them in the light of this challenge. Our own political story is suboptimal, and we need the populists as ‘best enemies’ to improve it. The core challenge lies in the insecurity felt by those (often lower-educated) citizens who crave for a minimum of respect, and the resultant attraction of free-of-charge, effortless identities such as the national one (machismo and religious fundamentalism function in the same way). Birthright in a particular nation offers a gratuitous form of pride: if you are nothing, you are at least something as a Frenchman, Dutchman, etc.
Or, of course, as a Welsh person!
A key point for me, regarding who we work with, is this:
Let us distinguish more carefully between those we can learn from and should talk to, and those who we must not talk to but simply fight.
We are prone to being aloof and arrogant, assuming that we have all the right answers, and take the stance that our beliefs and principles cannot be diluted. The end result is that we fail to connect even with people that share our values and beliefs and get left on the margins.
Dick Pels, former director of the Green Left Scientific Bureau in the Netherlands, points out:
Green Left politics is nothing if it does not itself become an intelligent ‘politics of the heart’