Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Alberta Greens executive declares: Blue is the new Green

Alberta Greens Logo Comparison: Blue is the new Green
Top: The new, blue, logo,
Bottom: The original logo.
The new executive of the Alberta Greens seem to be dipping into either the realm of surrealism or the realm of Orwell’s “Big Brother” — or maybe someone is colour-blind. The new party website that appeared online yesterday features a revised party logo where the word “greens” shows up in the colour blue.

One might wonder if this portends new policy directions for the party under the new regime. Perhaps they shall declare that 2 + 2 = 5.

There has long been a slogan associated with the Green movement and Green Parties: “Not right, not left, but forward.” This has represented the Green rejection of ideology as a basis for organizing, and instead the willingness to consider all sides and aspects of issues to look for the best directions to take. This is an informed rationalist approach, rather than an ideological approach.

In a province where the colour blue is solidly associated in politics with right-wing, capital-C Conservatism, the change of colour from green to blue in the new Alberta Greens logo sends a strong message that those now in charge of the party intend a shift to the political right. (If that message was somehow unintentional, one would have to question the political awareness of those now running the party.)

If true, this signals that the party organization is no longer part of the movement the that so many have worked so hard to build in this province.

The movement, however, continues — in spite of this apparent setback. Though we no longer have the support of the organization still called “Alberta Greens”, Greens in Alberta are still working together to advance the Green principles.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Alberta Greens shifts away from democracy

The executive of the Alberta Greens is now in the hands of people who seem to me to not respect the democratic principles the party was built on.

I have posted documentation on the events leading up to, and including, the September 27, 2008, AGM where the efforts to make this significant change in party leadership was initiated, including my extensive overview, analysis and commentary on the situation.

Subsequent to the date of the AGM, there was much controversy as to which meeting was the “real” one and who had the right to claim themselves to be the party executive.

On December 21, 2008, control of the party executive transferred to Joe Anglin and his associates. The process by which the transfer came about did not reflect the will or interests of the majority of party members, and was pushed through in a manner that I personally find reprehensible.

Key among the tactics used was a legal suit against financially vulnerable members of the now previous party executive. While I remain firmly convinced that Mr. Anglin, and his co-plaintiff Connie Jensen, would have lost the case in court if it had proceeded, the case threatened to drag out for years and create untenable financial, temporal and emotional strains on the members of the old executive who were named as defendants. That would have effectively halted, or at least greatly diminished, the work of advancing the Green movement in this province.

I’m not privy to the terms of the settlement that we can assume was arrived at to avoid the court proceedings, but it clearly involved the resignations of at least 2 or 3 of the now previous members of the executive, and the acceptance by the executive of the decisions of the meeting on September 27, 2008, where Mr. Anglin and his associates have claimed to have been elected. I, personally, still hold that that meeting was not legitimately constituted as a General Meeting of the party and should not have any formal standing.

What’s particularly frustrating for me (and I’m sure many of the other party members) is that subsequent to the September AGM, the party executive initiated a process whereby the full membership of the party could decide the controversy in a fully democratic manner. Mail-in ballots and a General Meeting were to be used to give every member a chance to have a say in deciding the future of the party. That process was cancelled and what I have seen from the new executive strongly indicates that they have no intention of resuming it.

Instead, without consulting the members, control of the party was taken by Mr. Anglin and his associates in large part due to the application of the threat of a protracted legal battle.

That is thoroughly anti-democratic in my books.

Coming up: Blue is the new Green, changing the party from anti-authoritarian to command & control, and opportunities for hope for real Greens in Alberta.

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