East Midlands Green Party Blog


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Vital Women in Politics – Green World Women

Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader and former chair of Green Party Women, recently said: “The Green Party has consistently led the way compared to the other large parties in the percentage of women standing for elected office.  In the 2010 general election we had 33% female candidates, compared to Labour’s 30%, the Conservative’s 24% and the Liberal Democrat’s 21%.” Always pushing forward, The Green Party of England and Wales has now committed to a fair 50% or more of our candidates being women, in order to redress the imbalance in Parliament and the broader political and social arenas. I want to reflect upon the fact that other parties – the same parties this week heralding an aggressive, agentic and uncompromising leader as the way for a woman to be in power, are the least supportive of further woman candidates. In the news this week we are hearing a great deal about one woman who climbed the political ladder. News reporters, asked to respectfully refrain from criticism, have allowed instead a very one-sided, glorifying and blinkered idea of her policies and put Vaseline on the eyes who seek to see how those policies affect us today. They are also failing to ask a vital question as to where other women of politics are. We will leave controversial critique of her policies for another time, it would take too many posts!

This post is about many political women, not one. These women of the Green political movement of today and of its seeding and growing this past 40 years, include party founders and leaders, activists and our first voice in Westminster. These are the women of the ‘there is an alternative’ movement. These are the women at the front of the movements of social justice, environmental protection, sustainable economics, peace-building and hope.  I would like to introduce just some of these women who have changed the face of the political world for the better.

Click on each photo to find out more and to add your own thoughts and stories. – caroline lucas gpgp natalie bennettGREEN PARTY WOMENGP Leslie WhittakerJean lambertGP no blood for oilMarina-Silva-of-the-Green-006sunflowergpgreenballot3.jpgEuropean Green Group Organise a Get Women on Board Conference circle of friends around earthGP Solange Fernex - France 1934 - 2006GP councillor PheonixGP Jenny_Jones London AssemblyElizabeth May, Green Party CA  GP miriam_kennetIngrid Betancourt Pulecio, Collumbian Green Party

We offer some UK and international images and stories of women involved in the last 40 years of Green Politics. Some of these women have given lives and liberty, all have given integrity, intelligence, strength and vision. Sarah Cope, present Chair of Green Party Women: “Women in the UK are now facing a ‘triple jeopardy’ in terms of austerity. Firstly, increasing unemployment, as women’s employment is heavily focused on the public sector. Secondly, loss of income: over 70% of government cuts to date have come from women’s pockets. Add to this cuts to legal, domestic abuse services, caring and childcare support.” It becomes clear that we need more women representatives of the right kind, for fairness and perspective. The women pictured above and below are among the true women leaders in politics:

 GP MSP Alison Johnstone Lothian with MSP Patrick Harvie GlasgowGreen Party Japaninternational-day-of-peacegp scottish centralgp freda saundersgp woman in male environmentGP reclaimthenightClimate Change DemoGP Jill Stein & Greens against Keystone XLget women on boardnataliebennett2013confGP Cheri Honkala Philadelphiagreen party womenbyname2012summerGP Caroline_Lucas  

Click on these photographs to find the stories behind them and add your own experiences.

These women are not limited to but include (in no particular order):

  • Leslie Whittaker and Freda Saunders, 50 % of the founders of our party which inspired a vital global green political movement. Without them, where would we be?
  • Petra Kelly, bright, guiding star, whose life and influence could fill books & who was tragically killed
  • Caroline Lucas MP, our history maker in Westminster
  • Natalie Bennett, our empowered leader
  • Marina Silva, founder and Leader of the Green Party in Brazil after coming third in elections
  • Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio, held captive for 6 years for standing as a Green for Colombian Presidency
  • Ms. Nao Suguro, co-founder of Green Party of Japan
  • Agnieszka Grzybek, Co-leader of Green Party of Poland
  • Doctor Jill Stein, Leader of Green Party USA
  • Cheri Honkala, USA Green Party Deputy Leader
  • Elizabeth May, Leader of Canadian Green Party
  • Jenny Jones of the London Assembly
  • Alison Johnstone, Green MSP
  • Romayne Phoenix, Green Party MP candidate for Lewisham West and Penge and chair of Coalition of Resistance
  • Jean Lambert, one of our wonderful champions of change in Europe, MEP for London
  • Franziska Brantner, Green MEP
  • Solange Fernex, life-long peace campaigner and European Green Party member
  • Miriam Kennet a Green Councillor in Reading, founder and Director of the Green Economics Institute

Last month was Women’s History month. In a World in which women are often one of the under-represented groups, let’s take a moment to refocus on the inspirational, history making women in the Green Movement. They form part of a rich, vital and growing movement involved in social justice,  environmental protection, peace work and human rights.  As men and women of the Green movement move forward together towards equality, with our vision of a resilient, sustainable future, let’s herald these women.

In the East Midlands Katharina Bottege stands as MEP. Her mother has also been a vital part of the Green political movement. For more information on Green Party policy for a fair 50% of candidates to be women, please see:

http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2013/02/26/greens-take-further-step-to-promote-women-general-election-candidates/


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What our MEP candidate stands for

Kat GP 3

gpstrapsmall.jpg

www.greenparty.org.uk

nottingham.greenparty.org.uk

Meet Green Party MEP candidate for the East Midlands: Katharina Boettge

Kat will be standing in the 2014 European elections to fight

  • For bringing in a Green New Deal;
  • Against mass animal production;
  • For a more fair and equal society;
  • Against cuts and austerity;
  • For bank regulation and a ‘Robin Hood Tax’
  • To address climate change.

Join the Green Party now and help to elect Kat to the European Parliament

We look forward to hearing your voice!

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Social Media Coordination, EM Green Party


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Robin Hood and the Just Greens

Re-introducing Robin Hood:

Something  that has resonance with our region is the policy of the financial transaction tax, also called the Robin Hood tax.  In Green Party’s  fighting austerity and public service cuts they are for tax reform to avoid the farce of the richest of the rich and big corporations avoiding tax under both main parties and the coalition. This affects the most vulnerable, workers and small and medium sized businesses who do have to pay tax. It is not fair for people to have to bale out banks who have speculated widely and yet not have benefits passed on to them. Green Party propose the financial transaction (Robin Hood) tax on speculation in financial institutions so that risks taken are more calculated and the consequences of mistakes are absorbed more by those financial institutions than by tax payers who at present have the risks but very few of the benefits.

Politics for All People :

For those moving away from the dilemma the UK has in place of democracy, Green Party values and policies make sense. I feel the Green Party is a party for equalists; for so many who believe in and want equality and fairness because it is a party that has these values at its core, not as a vote winning after thought. Women particularly have apparently become statistically less likely to become involved in mainstream politics, even to vote.  The people supposedly representing them are nearly all white, middle class men. Women often have battles to be valued within their parties as well as in broader political spheres. It is different for Greens. A woman heads the Green Party. Our first Green MP is a woman. A fair proportion of our representatives in local and European politics are wonderful women as well as marvelous  men. It is a party that supports and responds to women as much as men from a wide range of backgrounds. Our knowledgeable people and speakers come from so many areas of work and experience including teachers and educational professionals, ethical entrepreneurs and workers, scientists, people of many faiths and none in a collaborative society. Green policies are integrated, whole and relevant to people across social and economic spectrum. Our members are heard. So in this way we are part of bringing the relevant and the fair back into politics. Sometimes I hear a description of our party members as ‘just greens’, but that has two meanings. We’re Just Greens and this does not mean we’re only green, it means we are Greens for Justice!

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Social Media Coordination, EM Green Party


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Green Lights in a Season of Hope

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It is that time of lights in the darkness. There is a photo of me waving a Green Party banner saying ‘Go Solar Not Ballistic’ at a Stop the War March in London 2003. I am sleepless, recovering from flu and lit with determination. Luckily the photo is not digital so I can’t share it with you. It seemed the world was there; millions of people, every creed, every skin colour, every generation linked by values of fairness, justice, peace-seeking. To my mind the problem and the will to go to war was both a social and environmental problem. Human rights, dignity, honesty and the value of life were and are linked with how we guard the planet, share and manage resources.

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Caroline Lucas, Green MP, hosting a meeting on economics at Portculis House, Westminster. Panel included Rajesh Makwana, of Share The World’s Resources, (STWR) Chris Hewett of the Finance Innovation Lab & Benedita from The People Who Share

I recently attended a meeting hosted by Green MP, Caroline Lucas in the Houses of Parliament entitled ‘the sharing economy’. While there are those who say there is no alternative to the present system, we say that system is broken. Einstein said you cannot solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it. Green economic policies include fighting austerity measures and saying no to public service cuts, instead protecting the NHS and education, changing from minimum wage to a fair living wage and increasing jobs and investment in areas such as green technologies and transport.  We believe money should be saved and created by cracking down on tax havens and tax dodging by the biggest corporations and the very richest people, amounting to billions of pounds, to cancel unnecessary road building, costing 3 billion a year, address the billions we spend on unjust and unnecessary wars and outmoded weapons, introduce better regulation of banks and other financial industries. To the Green Party the savings that can bolster our economy should be made, not by hitting the most vulnerable, but by looking at priorities and making lasting, value-based change.

It is the time of year for so many festivals of light started across cultures, across times. A season of re-dedication to peace, friendship and light and the sense we are all branches of one world tree. This is seen in the lighting of candles, kisses under mistletoe  lights of the Christmas tree and the branches of the Menorah at Chanukah and so many other traditions reaching back through eons. In part of my own tradition, there is a story that in first peace after a long war the lights were kindled from the only unspoiled olive oil they thought would not last but did for the time it took to make more. Now, in a time where lack is something many are increasingly concerned about, this meeting of social and environmental need again shows paths to solutions. Talk of responsible resource management, sharing economy and energy policy can seem abstract but they are real and workable in small and huge ways. Solar powered sun-jars and fairy-lights add festive shine without depleting bank accounts or fossil fuels or adding to conflicts fueled by oil shortages. Fuel poverty is rising with depleting reserves of fossil fuels and rising prices. Food and living costs rise too with a fossil fuel focused energy policy and the economy suffers. The Green Party policies are decrease demand for from non-renewable fossil fuels and to make energy generation more local, with more local control, less wastage and increasing efficiency. Renewable energies work best in localised systems where it is more efficient, can come from combined sources – hydro, wind, solar etc and gives more power to communities and individuals. Natural resource use, energy and economic policy meet illustrated by sunjar and solar fairy lights.

At the moment the general state of affairs seems to be unaccountable accounting systems with public service cuts and people suffering with more investment in wars than ways forward and those that can afford most often contributing least. Green choices for many seem a luxury yet green policies can help with the affordability of good standards of living. Green Party energy policies and economics of sharing are those that look at social needs, human rights, resource and money management and accountability. So, at this time of year, where we seek our hope, I find some of mine in a sunjar and fairy-lights, in the meeting hosted by Green MP Caroline Lucas in Westminster on the sharing economy and on a meeting with East Midlands Green Party media team in the house of the woman I hope to be the next MEP for the region. So to close, I welcome you again to this blog and I offer this image of a possible path lit up before us, lit with renewable energy:

ImageWishing you peace