Party Development

The Green parties' distinctiveness is clearly reflected in their ideological roots. These can be traced predominantly to two key processes.

The first is the emergence of the new social movements of the 1960s and 1970s and the unconventional' style of activism that surrounded these protests. The second is the expansion of eco-philosophy and the emergence of a new wave of green political thought. By briefly examining these two dimensions, one can identify key analytical themes and debates from within these spheres that have been influential in shaping the perception and interpretation of Green parties and Green party activity as a form of new politics'.

The New Social Movements

The new social movement activism of the 1960s and 1970s represented a radical and distinctive break from previous forms of political activism, and provided an initial home for many of the instigators of Green party development during the 1980s.1 Many of the distinguishing features of Green parties are thought to reflect a commitment to the ideals and principles that emerged from within the new social movements. Theoretical explanations for the development and distinctiveness of these movements, therefore, provide an influential starting point in tracing analytical models of Green party formation and activity.

In the US, research into the social movement activism surrounding the civil rights campaigns and, later, the student and environmental movements of the 1960s and 1970s, focused upon the efficiency' of movement organizations. The basis of social movement activism, it was argued, lay not with the emergence of new conflicts and interests in society but the ability of movement organizations to mobilize resources.2 Social movements could influence policy through the mobilization of a broader range of resources than those available to conventional political bodies, enabling them to pursue their goals through informal and unconventional methods, as well as through more traditional routes (Gladwin, 1994, p60). A movement's success, it was argued, reflected how well resources were utilized and the extent to which established institutions were aware of the importance of the movement's aims.

Critics of resource mobilization, however, argued that too much emphasis was placed upon the movement's organization, with little insight into why individuals sought to join or why these groups had suddenly risen to prominence. Gladwin, for example, criticizes resource mobilization approaches for:

.. .normalizing the anti-institutional and anti-systemic aspects of social movements and under-theorizing those goals which relate to thoroughgoing social and cultural transformation (Gladwin, 1994, p63).

The rationality of the resource mobilization approach is also identified as a contradiction to the specific and distinctive anti-systemic character of the social movements. Cohen (1985) argues that through its emphasis on the rational actor' it neglects other influences that are significant to the creation of these new movements:

It is necessary to analyse those aspects of experience that shape the interpretation of interests individual and collective, and affect the very capacity of actors to form groups and mobilize (Cohen, 1985, p688).

A more European approach to new social movements, by contrast, focused upon the dimensions neglected within resource mobilization. Marcuse (1969), for example, identified a style of activism within these movements which, he claimed, entails something other than strategic or instrumental rationality (Cohen, 1985, p691).3 Inglehart (1990) linked the development of new social movements to value priorities and socio-economic change, claiming that an adherence to post-materialist values' lay at the heart of these new movements (Inglehart, 1990, p45). In particular, he identified a shift away from the traditional concern with class conflict and material wealth and towards a greater concern for belonging, esteem and the realization of one's intellectual and aesthetic potential' (Inglehart, 1979, p308).4 New values and new goals, he claimed, resulted in the adoption of different styles of political action.

Touraine (1985) links the development of new social movements to the search for alternative forms of social and cultural life, arguing that recent changes represent a reorganization of the relationship between society, state and the economy, with new movements the potential bearers of new social interests. Emphasizing the importance of their spontaneity of action and their anti-institutional characteristics, Touraine is sceptical of the value of movement organizations, fearing that they can destroy the creativity and vitality of a movement. Habermas also highlights a new focus for conflict based around issues such as cultural reproduction, social integration and socialization. He argues that it is no longer possible for these conflicts to be channelled through traditional parties and organizations as they are ill suited and often unprepared to tackle such issues. New social movements, therefore, provide an outlet for these conflicts and a defence against the encroachment of state and economy on society (Habermas, 1981, p35). In maintaining this position, Habermas argues, it is vital that the movements remain committed to the ideals of grassroots, horizontal control and the restriction of organizational growth.

Building upon these concepts, Melucci describes the movements as displaying a multidimensional character incorporating a plurality of perspectives, meanings and relationships' (Melucci, 1989, p25).5 They function within a new political space' between state and society, from which they can:

.. .make society hear their messages and translate these messages into political decision-making while the movements maintain their autonomy (Melucci, 1985, p815).

This aspect is identified as an important element of what exactly is new' about these groups. New social movements seek to reveal fundamental problems within a given area. As such, the social movements have an indirect effect, seeking influence over the central issues and concerns of modern society. They develop grassroots, informal and hidden' forms of organization, and their strength lies in their ability to stimulate radical questions about the ends of personal and social life. Through their unique style of activism, Melucci argues, they are able to announce to society that something "else" is possible' (Melucci, 1985, p812).

From this brief summary it is possible to identify some of the key features that distinguish this new' form of social movement activism from its more traditional predecessors: features that are reflected within Green party analysis. Firstly, new social movements are seen to represent a new social paradigm, contrasting with the dominant goal structure of modern industrial society (Kuechler and Dalton, 1990, p10). Emphasis is placed upon quality-of-life' issues rather than personal wealth and material well-being, leading to a focus upon social and collective values surrounding, among other things, issues such as the environment and women's rights. While it is true to say that feminist, ecological and peace movements all have a long history of activism before the 1960s, what has changed is the value that society places on these issues and the manner in which this has been channelled through the new social movements.

Organizational structure represents another defining characteristic - in particular, the notion that form is as vital an element as substance. Significant emphasis is placed upon moving away from traditional structures in favour of more decentralized, open democratic organizations. A final key distinction is the identification of the role of conflict. Whether viewed in terms of class conflict, old' versus new' values or conflict between state intervention and society, new social movements challenge the expansion of the modern state and highlight the contradictions that state interventions generate. This conflict helps to explain the apolitical nature and non-institutional character of the social movements.

The Influence of 'Ecologism'

The distinctiveness of Green parties, however, does not rest purely upon their representation of the new social movements. Green parties, by definition, represent a new political challenge that places issues of environmental protection at the top of the political agenda. The parties are, therefore, identified not only as vehicles for new social movement protest, but also as a voice for the newly emerging issues and debates surrounding both environmentalism' and ecologism'. This combination provides Green parties with an ideological basis that is clearly distinct from other political parties.

Although many of the ideas and concepts of ecologism, arguably, have quite a lengthy history, its ideological development is usually recognized as a relatively recent phenomenon. Dobson identifies it as:

.. .the accidental conjunction of circumstances, individuals and events in the 1970s which has provided a dynamic refocus for the ecological vocabulary (Dobson, 1990, p215).

This recent wave of development is reflected in a surge of literature during the 1960s and 1970s concerning the nature of human development and its impact upon the environment.6 At the heart of ecologism lies a critique of the nature and processes of modern industrial society. The cornerstones of this critique are the claims that modern society must reassess many of its core values and recognize the natural limits that exist to both economic and population growth. The continual emphasis upon growth within modern industrial society leads to the neglect of this limited capacity to the detriment of the environment.

The inability of modern society to recognize and react to this imbalance results from attitudes instilled within modern industrialism, which seeks to justify humans' present role as controlling and domineering nature. Continued emphasis upon the free market, it is argued, instils within society a strong commitment to the principles of competitiveness and individualism, while modern technological developments support the process of domination over nature. Green theory identifies significant dangers in accepting this paradigm of modern industrial society:

Growth-orientated economies cannot go on using finite resources. Technological innovations cannot solve the problems indefinitely, although appropriate small-scale technologies are seen as one aspect of the solution. Technological advances can only postpone the problems (Vincent, 1992, p232).

The roots of ecologism, therefore, lie in a reaction against mechanistic science and what is seen as human attempts to dominate nature through technological development. It seeks a new relationship with nature based more upon cooperation and consideration, rather than domination. Achieving this new relationship necessarily entails a radical overhaul of modern industrial society and the ideologies and politics upon which this system is currently based.

One approach to this problem has been the concept of the sustainable society'. This model directly challenges the problems of continuous economic growth and provides for wider and more profound forms of fulfilment than those offered by modern society's focus upon the consumption of material objects (Dobson, 1990, p18). Sustainable living requires a re-education of society based upon consuming less and producing for basic needs on a self-sufficiency basis.7 Ecological models also place great emphasis upon the importance of local organization, active participation and the development of self-governing communities - all of which, it is claimed, help to strengthen relationships and remove society's current emphasis on competitiveness and individualism. In addition, greater local autonomy arguably increases the likelihood of individuals becoming responsible agents within the social sphere.

While the discussion thus far implies a common core to Green political thought, these ideas represent key features of a very disparate literature, within which there are significant conflicts and debates. These debates primarily surround the identification of a central binary division between deep' ecology, centred upon the concept of ecocen-trism, and a shallow' anthropocentric approach. The impact of this dichotomy has had far-reaching implications, not only for the development of Green political thought but also for the subsequent analysis of development and change within Green parties.

Deep' ecology questions the assumption that places human welfare above that of all other species. Its focus is predominantly ecocen-tric, endowing all species of life on Earth with intrinsic value.8 The principle of biospheric equality sees humans as being on an equal level with all other things, rather than being their masters. Naess (1973), for example, argues that humans' capacity for freedom depends upon this process of identification with external forces - in particular, the natural world. Merchant similarly argues that people must realize that they have a duty to maintain the integrity of the ecosphere (Merchant, 1992, p87).9 Humans, therefore, represent merely one part of the wider ecosphere, dependent upon a balanced relationship with the rest of nature for continued survival.

In contrast, an alternative form of social' ecology can also be identified, based upon a light' or shallow' Green anthropocentrism.10

The distinction between ecocentrism and anthropocentrism is seen as less influential in this case. Humans' relationship with nature is identified as one where:

Humans may play the role of managers of natural processes as long as they act only to enable the natural and diverse evolution of organisms within the biospherical community (Kenny, 1994, p240).

From this perspective, it is argued, there is a greater tendency to believe that the natural world only has value because humans themselves place a value upon it. This does not necessarily imply a lessening of the importance of nature. Rather, it highlights why preservation is so important for society. Vincent suggests that:

Nature can be an early warning system for us in terms of impending ecological disaster; it supports and nourishes us; we can do valuable experiments on it which can prolong and improve the quality of our lives; we can exercise, admire, relax in . . . and be aesthetically moved by its beauty (Vincent, 1993, p255).

The identification of nature in terms of human values enables people to understand the significance that its maintenance holds for human society. While not extending the concept of value' as far as deep ecology, the recognition of the relationship between humans and nature clearly places this approach beyond more traditional anthro-pocentric perspectives that focus largely upon exploiting nature for human ends.

These distinctions are also evident among theorists who seek to provide a precise classification of what it means to be Green'. Hence, a similar dichotomy can be identified in theoretical distinctions between what is perceived to be a true' deep Green approach to environmental issues, in contrast to a weaker light' Green compromise. Dobson, for example, distinguishes between ecologism' and environ-mentalism', arguing that this distinction is necessary to provide a clearer understanding of Green political theory:

If we confuse Green politics (capital G) with either con-servationism or environmentalism (the latter being green with a small g) then we severely distort and misunderstand the nature of the Green challenge (Dobson, 1990, p4).

Environmentalism' is thus identified as a managerial approach to environmental issues, whereas ecologism' seeks to radically alter the nature of our relationship with the natural world. Similar classifications and divisions are also evident in alternative dichotomous terminology such as dark' and light', deep' and shallow'.11 At the heart of all these classifications, however, lies what Young described as the great divide' (Young, 1992, p14). The basis of this divide' rests with the assumption that authentic or true' Green politics is understood as deep' and must be based upon ecocentric motivations. All other Green activity, by definition, is classed as shallow' (Barry, 1994, p370).

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