Review & Renew the Democratic Culture of the Green Party (GPEW conference motion)

This is a late motion I submitted to the Green Party (England & Wales) conference on 5-7 Oct 2018, called “Review and renew the democratic culture of the Green Party”.
It was initially ruled out, but an overwhelming conference vote decided it should be ruled back in for debate, sadly, other conference business meant it never got discussed in the end.
But I was pleased that everyone got a chance to see it and get a sense of some of the problematic things which have been happening in the Green Party, particularly to gender critical voices.
I proposed a safe, decisive and contained way to re-evaluate recent events and re-establish democratic principles, so we could move forward in unity to face our far bigger challenges ahead. I’d say there is a real will among members for this now, although the structure and party processes are lagging behind the mood.

Theo Simon

 

”Conference acknowledges concerns that a culture has arisen in the party which may have lowered standards of civil debate, marginalised members complaints, and silenced members voices around particular policies.

In particular we note allegations of the following: Pressures brought to bear from outside the party to have members suspended; Prejudicial suspensions, without prior warning, including of a parliamentary candidate; Court action being pursued against a member by party officers; Complaints of misogynistic bullying and of complaints going unanswered; Language-policing of members in discussion forums accompanied by legal threats; Blocking of members electronic communications and other access to party bodies; Disciplining of local parties over their wording of resolutions.

We affirm that a culture of respectful, inclusive and transparent enquiry and debate is essential if we want to develop effective Green policy, retain membership, and build a democratic party worthy of office. We also affirm that all party officers and internal procedures must be seen to serve and protect these ends.

We recognise that, in parallel to the independent Verita enquiry, work must now be done to re-establish trust in our democratic culture, policy-making and governance, both within the party and beyond.

Conference therefore instructs GPRC, as guardians of party well-being, as follows:

1) To commission an expeditious internal enquiry into how this divisive culture has arisen and been perpetuated and what measures should now be taken to restore political health and amicable debate.

2) To invite submissions to this enquiry, relating to the period September 2016 to September 2018, from members and former members, with guarantees of confidentiality if required. This Internal Enquiry Into The Party’s Democratic Culture to be established within no more than one month of this motion, and to be concluded no later than the week before Spring Conference 2019, with findings and recommendations to be made available to members at that time..

3) To restore confidence in the ‘no fault’ suspension mechanism by confirming the procedure that GPRC is using to reach decisions on requests for immediate suspension.

4) To ensure that plans are drawn up by 14th December, and communicated to all members, for a Disciplinary Review process whereby members or former members can submit requests that suspensions, expulsions, complaint adjudications or other disciplinary sanctions from this period be reconsidered, such that any remedial action which is necessary may be taken.”

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