There is a disturbing global political trend occurring. Greens know that environmental crisis, inequality and conflicts (often ending in wars such as those in Iraq and Syria) are growing, and are causing dismay and calls for political change. However, unscrupulous populist politicians are exploiting dissatisfaction and blaming virtually all our problems on minorities, particularly migrants.
The Leave campaign nurtured and exploited fears and insecurities in terms of race. Since the vote, British society seems to have become more brutal, and racist attacks have increased. Shockingly, EU citizens born outside of the UK have faced mounting prejudice, and Theresa May, who has now become prime minister, has even argued that they should be used as bargaining chips in negotiations with the EU.
As Green Party members, we can all do our bit to challenge this disturbing trend. We can write to local papers and use social media to challenge the attempts to demonise migrants and to attack EU citizens born outside of the UK. For decades, our party has been promoting peace, ecological sustainability and real grassroots democracy. We also need to promote internationalism, shouting loudly that EU citizens are a valuable part of our community and showing that stronger international links, particularly European links, are vital.
Practical anti-racist work is important, as are demonstrations and protests in support of greater UK involvement with Europe. Where others argue that homelessness and problems with the NHS are caused by migrants, we can proclaim clearly and persuasively that government's austerity and privatisation programmes are the real cause.
This is a time when building stronger links with Greens across Europe could be immensely powerful. The Green Party of England and Wales is part of the European Green Party with over 30 other Green Parties (for more, see europeangreens.eu). Many members of other European Green Parties live in the UK, so it would be good to organise European meetings and events for local parties. The Global Greens and the European Green Party, moreover, will be holding their conferences in tandem with our spring conference, from 30 March to 2 April 2017.
This will probably be the biggest international Green Party event ever, so please support and spread the word. For more details, visit: greens2017.org