Reinstate the Bromsgrove One – Rectify the Anomaly Soon!
By Abu Jamal
As the Green Party of England and Wales gathers in Nottingham for it Spring Conference featuring the 40th Anniversary of the Founding of the Party, one person who will be not attending this event is Mark France.
Mark a longstanding Labour Movement and Socialist Activist who joined the Green Party in June 2010 was Expelled by a decision of the Green Party Regional Council at a meeting held on the Weekend of 2nd/3rd February 2012.
Mark was never given any clear indication of what charges were laid against him or provided with any evidence or documentation relating to these charges. Mark was not able to provide any defence. There was no hearing in which Mark was able to participate in nor was he able to present any defence. Mark was given no clear indication of the Disciplinary Process despite numerous unanswered attempts to clarify this with Green Party Officers.
To and insult to a series of injuries Mark was not even informed of the outcome of this Disciplinary Process until after he protested loudly via social media at his mistreatment. When he finally [19th February] received a special delivery letter from the party
For a political party of the Left with an avowed Republican Socialist Feminist, Caroline Lucas as the Green Party MP in Westminster, the treatment of Mark France seems to make a mockery of the Green Party rally cry ‘Fair is Worth Fighting For!’
Should this twitter storm in a Green tea cup be of any real concern for thousands of trade union activists and Socialists confronting the devastating effects of Con/Dem Austerity?
In the midst of a rear-guard struggle to defend the last remnants of the Welfare State established by the Labour Movement in the aftermath of the 2nd World War can we really be bothered what happens in Bromsgrove Green Party or how the Green Party conducts its internal Disciplinary Processes?
I would argue that in building mass resistance to the Tories and Lib Dem attacks then all structures in our movement should be based upon the robust, inclusive democratic traditions that were at the heart of the earliest trade unions, the co-operative movement, the Chartists and the Women’s Suffrage Movement.
The early radical democratic tradition of the working class in England was based on a struggle for a just society and inside the movement a sense of social solidarity and mutual respect allowed a plurality of views to flourish without unity in struggle becoming compromised.
One of the great tragedies of recent decades has been the collapse of social solidarity and the destruction of this old radical democratic tradition. Many Trade Union and Labour Party members, activists in various campaigns and left organisations can recount tails of undemocratic behaviour, the formation dominant cliques, the frequent use of bureaucratic manoeuvring to stifle debate or worse hide under the carpet uncomfortable truths.
Sometimes it is a hard pill to swallow but much of the left is riven with forms of behaviour which mimic the worst excesses of power struggles in wider capitalist society. Our organisations and our culture is polluted by various forms of control freakery which often lead to disciplinary processes that are invariably long drawn out and where truth is often the first casualty and justice very hard to achieve. The Crisis in the SWP exposes this culture of control which crushes dissent leading to the abuse of ordinary members and often their sacrifice on some alter erected by a hierarchy which seeks the divine right to rule.
Even the Green Party, which for the past 40 years was known for its highly democratic, de-centralised, and inclusive internal regime, seems to be capable of holding secret courts that put on trial hard working rank and file activists giving them no chance to defend themselves or appeal.
At the same Green Party Regional Council meeting on the 3rd of February another longstanding activist from Cardiff, Anne Greasby, was also expelled from the party. Her ‘crimes’ seemed to centre on public criticism of Pippa Barlotti the Leader of the tiny semi-autonomous Green Party in Wales.
In Mark’s case, some jokey comments made on this website over two years ago were apparently used to accuse Mark of “promoting violent revolution under the banner of the Green Party” this reason for his expulsion was given to a London Federation of Green Parties meeting by a member of the GPRC.
If the “Libertarian” Green Party is capable of mirroring the worst excesses of left wing sects then something deeply disturbing is affecting the political culture in England. Finding the source of this undemocratic culture of control is something that all socialists need to address. Defence of the victims of this culture is part of rebuilding a genuine spirit of social solidarity.
As the Francis Report stated, to prevent abuse of patients and staff the NHS needs a “culture shift based on openness, transparency and candour”. It took the courage of whistle-blowers and campaigners like Julie Bailey to expose the failings in the NHS – Socialists need to be as equally courageous in the fight to build a new culture of openness, transparency and candour in all our organisations and campaigns. UnitetheUnion has supported Julie Bailey’s call for David Nicholson the NHS CEO to Resign. Perhaps if ‘Fair is worth fighting for’ David Murray the Green Party CEO needs to consider his position?
Anyone wishing to protest at the Expulsions of Mark France and Anne Greasby from the Green Party can write to David Murray CEO, The Green Party, 56-64 Leonard Street, Development House, London, EC2A 4LT.
A letter from Mark Anthony France (MAF) to Will Duckworth, Deputy Leader of the Green Party regarding MAF’s attitude to violence can be read here MARK ANTHONY FRANCE attitude to violence 2