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Mood for Resistance – Romayne Phoenix 09.07.12

50,000 students marching on Parliament 10th November 2010 was an event so dynamic and spontaneous that it served to energise and motivate the mood for resistance throughout the country.

The spirit of the student revolt pervaded the founding conference of the Coalition of Resistance 27th November, attended by 1300 people, and addressed by a broad range of speakers including Jean Lambert MEP and, with a welcoming video message, Caroline Lucas MP.

generation of young people who organised with the NUS, UCU, or without, to show their anger and rejection of the government cuts to EMA and university funding and the price hikes in tuition fees, now face a bleak future. Burdened with debt, reduced employment opportunities and an erosion of rights in the workplace, there remains a housing crisis and those under twenty five could lose all rights to housing benefits even as others are being forced out of their communities due to decreased housing benefit allowances. Many recipients of such benefits are in full time work that is so poorly paid that they cannot survive at such levels.

As for the future of our health? The threat to our NHS is such that all services could be privatised, and those under the heaviest burden of botched PFI schemes will the the first at risk. Gone would be the founding principles of our National Health Service, where each contributed according to their means and each received care according to their needs.

Young people growing up today are for the first time in decades to be poorer than their parents, and due to the stresses of an increasingly unequal society there are many who will be less healthy and have the prospect of dying younger. Working longer and contributing more for smaller pensions is another form of attack from this government exercising their austerity measures as an answer to tackling the economic situation caused by the banking crisis and subsequent bail out.

Heading a leadership team my aim is to continue working to place the Green Party at the heart of the battle against austerity, privatisation and ecological vandalism. The capitalist approach to business can only exist with the drive to ever increasing growth, and profit margins that can only be plundered from the earth’s resources or by further burdens on a smaller and lower paid workforce. Unemployment is hard wired into such systems and ecological sustainability is an inconvenience to be refuted, dismissed or ‘buried’ under a slurry of misinformation.

We need to re-invigorate the campaigning spirit of the Green Party and to increase our activist base. That means spending time and resources to support the development of our local and regional parties in addition to continuing the work that is increasing our electoral successes.

The membership of the party has grown, the activist base of the party has grown and along with this the electoral and campaigning successes of the party have grown. It is important that the party has the strategy and vision to build on this, systematically and effectively, through it’s established democratic channels. Will and I are putting a motion to conference to go forward and develop, and put to the party, a membership strategy to secure the future of the party.

The movement against austerity has begun, but if we do not take responsibility alongside others for building a mass movement that is broad and inclusive, whilst protecting the vulnerable, we will not be there during the debate to put forward our ideas for alternative solutions and narratives for a better future. Building a mass movement empowered to demand a better future for the majority, for all of us, will put the Green Party, our policies and our philosophical basis at the centre of that better future.

Our vision for the party and the the support which we have received from activists, campaigners and political figures from inside the party and out can be found on our website here

Romayne Phoenix is running for Leader of Green Party of England and Wales

Romayne is perhaps currently best known for her work as the Chair of the Coalition of Resistance. COR is a broad movement of active resistance to the Con-Dem government’s budget intentions. Affiliates include MPs, trade unionists, economists and many others. Romayne was recently part of a delegation that visited Greece, meeting, amongst others, with Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Syriza Party that that came a close second in elections there recently.


Source: This article first appeared on the Young Greens of England and Wales website

Peter Shield

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