The Commons: What, Why And How?

The commons is one of the key ideas that we can make use of in our efforts at developing a postcapitalist politics. 

In his keynote address at the Green Institute’s Conference, Everything is Connected, in October 2017, Dr Stephen Healy, discusses the what, why and how of commoning.

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Green Agenda | Towards Ecological Democracy

Towards Ecological Democracy – Part 2

This is part two of Tim Hollo’s essay, Towards Ecological Democracy. To read part one, go here.

Be part of the conversation! We’d love to hear your thoughts on Tim’s ideas. We’re looking for comments and responses covering any parts of Tim’s essay. Your response can be long or short, critical or positive. If you’d like to respond, get in contact here. 

“Connecting everything”: implementing ecological democracy

If that’s the conceptualisation of the new politics, what might it mean in practice, and how can we make it happen?

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Green Agenda | Towards Ecological Democracy

Towards Ecological Democracy – Part 1

Be part of the conversation! We’d love to hear your thoughts on Tim’s ideas. We’re looking for comments and responses covering any parts of Tim’s essay. Your response can be long or short, critical or positive. If you’d like to respond, get in contact here. 

Introduction

In 2018, the issues that the Greens have made our focus for a generation –environmental destruction, corrupted politics, overwhelming corporate power, and permanent war – are more urgent than ever. At the same time, the cultural dominance of neoliberal capitalism is collapsing, with the ideas it is based on facing a crisis of legitimacy, and the institutions that hold it in place looking increasingly shaky.

Yet the Greens political project appears stalled, not just in Australia, but around the world. The huge steps of a decade ago have not been lost, but neither has the pace picked up to match the urgency of the crises we face.

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What Even Is Democracy?

By Nick-D (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

In October 2017 Green Agenda hosted two lively debates at the Green Institute Conference: “Everything is Connected”. This is the edited audio and transcript of the first of these discussions, titled “What Even Is Democracy?”.

In this conversation, hosted by Green Agenda co-editor Simon Copland, three speakers — Clare Ozich, Stephen Healy and Joan Staples — answered key questions about the nature of democracy. Panelists discussed what it is that we mean by ‘democracy’, why our democratic institutions are in crisis, and what we can do about it.

Thanks to the Green Institute for hosting such an engaging conference, and to Clare, Joan and Stephen for appearing on this panel.

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Public debates on rights: necessary and positive

Green Agenda co-editor, Simon Copland, responds to Hayley Conway and Mary Tomsic 

In Voting on the Rights of Others Hayley Conway argued against public votes on the rights of others as “a vote affirming the rights of a minority doesn’t lead to systemic change.” She continued:

“Systemic change is needed to end discrimination. Winning the ‘yes’ vote in the postal survey will not end homophobia and the campaign itself has given great licence for public homophobia, abuse, and misinformation.”

I think Conway has created a straw man with this argument, refuting something that no one has ever claimed about the postal survey on marriage equality, or the use of the public votes on rights in general.

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Voting On The Rights Of Others: A Debate

The postal survey on marriage equality in Australia has opened deep questions about the intersection between human rights and democracy. In this discussion community campaigner Hayley Conway and researcher Mary Tomsic debate what role citizens should play in voting for the rights of others.

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The Trouble With Consensus Is … We Don’t Do It Enough

Co-founder of the Victorian Greens Facilitators Network, Jim Buckell, responds to Sarah Maddison

In her interview with Clare Ozich in Green Agenda, Sarah Maddison puts consensus decision making under the spotlight. In doing so, she perpetuates some common myths: it’s too slow; makes for bad decisions; marginalises dissent. Then she advances a new one (to me anyway): it can apparently be impossibly difficult to review or overturn an old consensus decision.

I’m certain these pitfalls are not systemic. They don’t arise because consensus is a flawed concept. These myths take hold because so few of us see consensus practised well, including Sarah Maddison I suspect. Groups take all manner of shortcuts or press to a vote because of time constraints. Continue reading →

International climate agreements: useful or useless?

Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement has put the status of the international processes on climate change in doubt. In this discussion Green Agenda editor Simon Copland and researcher Felicity Gray debate whether Trump’s withdrawal should mean the end of the international climate process.

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Is Social Democracy Ever Coming Back?

As labour parties and their political projects appear to recede deeper into irrelevance in every election around Europe, we might wonder whether the death knell ring has rung for social democracy. But what remains to be seen is whether this trajectory will continue, whether the political landscape is in the process of shifting irreversibly – and if so how Greens can assert their place in it, and their vision for a new social democratic pact?

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“A vibrant clash of passions”: exploring agonistic democracy

The nature of democracy is an age old question. We are currently witnessing a crisis in representative democracy. Times of crisis present opportunities for questioning assumptions and asking fundamental questions including about our conceptions and practice of democracy.

Green Agenda spoke with Associate Professor Sarah Maddison about the concept of agonistic democracy and what it offers for the practice of politics.

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