"Think Global, Act Local" is the time-honoured Green slogan. It is a good slogan, but it has tended to blind us to the necessity of acting globally at the same time as acting locally.
Global action is necessary given that the world is ultimately a single system - an infinitely complex inter-relation of physical, biological, social and economic interacting parts. Each of the parts is local, but the localities summate into the single global system.
"Globalisation" is an ugly, cumbersome word to describe the ugly, cumbersome way the human economy on the planet has evolved into one single powerful marketplace. We Greens have rightly been critical of the way this single market has overridden the need for environmental and social protection, but our opposition has perhaps tended to put us off from grasping the opportunity to act at the global level. Which is a pity, because Greens have an annual Congress every three years. the next is to be in Dakar, Senegal this year, 29 March to 1 April.
I attended the last Congress in Sao Paolo Brazil in 2008. The resolutions we passed are here, and at the same time we set up a small international secretariat.
It is remarkable that with huge diversity of Green Parties from all over the world, (there were 75 parties in 2008) we should have been able to agree on so much. This year the need for us to have a global voice is even greater, not just on climate change, but also on human rights, dictatorships and the global economy.
In Sao Paolo the Global Greens adopted the Global Human Rights Index, which has a real bearing on the Arab Spring and similar movements against dictatorship and for democracy. The paragraph in the 2008 resolution reads: In order to lead the UN from a reactive to a pro-active stance on human rights, we will press for all countries’ human rights records to be expressed quantitatively, so that they can be published annually by the UN in ranked order, revealing the relative standing of each country, which will exert a continual persuasive force on all governments to improve their performance in the field of human rights. (source)
This year we need to build policy on a global tax framework to match the de facto economic globalisation that exists. Tax havens and tax loopholes create a race to the bottom, where countries compete to have the lowest tax rates in order to attract multinational corporations to their shores. This leads to a haemorrhage of wealth from the national economy into offshore bank accounts, as any skuleboy kno.
The Green Party in England and Wales is a latecomer to the Global Greens - I was the first delegate we sent - and this year we are sending Ricky Knight and Gina Dowding. We must hope that from the deliberations we get a clear message to save the ailing world economy from the debilitating effect of domination by self-interested multinational corporations.