Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ten Rationales Why a Bioregional State and an Ecological Reformation Are Better Than Other Methods of Greening

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." -- Thomas Jefferson


This is a short summary from another paper. It is mostly about why betting alone on singular ideological, political Green parties may always be a failure for green politics.

Inversely it is equally an argument why other paths are more fruitful for those seeking to green our world: like encouragements of wider geographical and cross-linked social identifications of an Ecological Citizenship and an Ecological Reformation (instead of only an ideological participation). Both of these build our geographical capacities Toward a Bioregional State. That involves further state-level green constitutional engineering to solve the other side of environmental problems: the problems of crony political corruption that cause and politically protect environmental degradation and which can cause other problems for civil inequalities as well. A bioregional state as movement for a further green constitutional engineering means adding many additional ecological checks and balances on how ongoing abstract placeless power is exercised, to keep such abstract state power  from developing degradative and inequality-enhancing historical processes. A bioregional state implies a wider extension of an Ecological Bill of Rights as well. To begin this list of ten points:

Ten Points Why Singular Green Political Parties Are Hardly Enough

           The first major rationale why other paths beyond mere green parties should be used in greening politics and our material world is that environmental movements have been noted to fail to go through what some have called the 'natural life cycle of social movements.' Therefore, stop expecting an assumption of a ‘later mature’ singular political party framework to work for environmentalism, due to a lack of a ‘natural constituency’ [Hannigan 2006] within environmentalism, split as it is:
  1. between different ascriptive categories in societies (different views of proper gender, family, ethnicity, religious views, and ideologies (market, anti-market, statist, anti-statist, etc.), 
  2. as well as split across different regions despite all regions generally having the same environmental concerns, and 
  3. split particularly between left and right ideologies of green. 
One example of the German Greens will have to suffice to illustrate this third point succinctly. Dusting off my old copy of Spretnak's Green Politics, this split is what happened immediately after the left-wing hegemony creation of Die Grunen: it split the German green movement instead of helped it, splitting it with the Ecological Democracy Party. This hobbled the overall movement particularly when the left-wing far more statist-variant Greens refused to integrate local autonomy as one of its platforms and had completely different (ancillary) views about gender and family that it wanted to introduce into 'its green party.' This was one of the rationales why Spretnak reports that German leftists (Marxists and Cultural Marxists) were basically banned originally from infiltrating into the German Greens, because of their divisiveness to simply turn the green movement into the next left wing party. However, soon after Sprenak published that book, the leftists did it anyway by relentlessly taking over Die Grunen. Then the original German Green leaders like Petra Kelly and her partner Gert Bastian were likely assassinated ("suicided") as they opposed any statist German unification, wanting a "Europe of the regions." Left Greens march on I guess? In other words, the green movement became just another two clientelistic elite parties of ideologues, in both centralizing statist left and decentralizing right wing variants. Plus, they were very disinclined to see their commonalities as they were split on other attitudes toward what should be attitudes toward immigration, gender, abortion, and the family. Later, these more statist leftist German Greens soon supported offensive warfare on another country (Yugoslavia) in a coalition government with the Social Democrats--with the Green party leader agreeing to take the War Ministry position, no less. Later, this leftist German Greens party became full of right-wing neoliberals like every other co-opted right-wing centralized party was as well. Die Grunen even began to speak of how it hated green inspired peace demonstrations against its fading Green policies.

In my opinion from a distance, the same self-polarizing and self-defeating strategies are clear in the recent dismal MEP showing of the U.K. Greens. They are leaving much of their strength behind by only appealing to a double-hurdle demographic combination of leftist ideology plus greenness, a very polarized view of greenness. This splits its strength, instead of harnesses its wider strength in greenness per se. They could have easily split UKIP up and taken more MEP seats for themselves. Instead they handed the win to them by their strategies.

            Second, following social movements theory resource mobilization ideas, this means that these common geographical (instead of ideological) green issues of concern, despite widespread grievance, will be difficult to organize into a singular social movement frame as it will remain difficult to group very different ideologically splintered 'green' groups into the same abstract party vehicle or into coalitions.

            Third, so even despite majority polls supporting environmentalism, nothing is likely to unify various separate ideological cultural views, so the bioregional state is designed to let these very different ‘polytopian’ geographic political views be integrated into politics successfully in an ongoing process, instead of pre-packaged and put into one delimited, gatekeeping political party form.

            Fourth, party vehicles for greenness split the green demographic in this way instead of represent it in other words. As said above, the green movement in German split immediately over whether left or right wing political vehicles would be green. The wider movement is characterized by Die Grunen on the left and the Ecological Democracy Party operating in Bavaria—both very successful in their venues chosen—though ideological party versions of greenness are innately split and easily conquered by division demographically in elections. Green geography fails to translate very well into placeless ideology.

            Fifth, with these issues of ideological politics attempting to represent a more non-ideological greenness, any green party is just a co-opted splinter of green sentiment as a consequence, so I suggest instead green constitutional engineering and the institutions of an Ecological Reformation geographically to integrate green as structural/regional geographic politics, to build that geographic constituency instead of only to build a despatialized party politics or ideological politics that calls itself green.

            Sixth, in this way, green constitutional engineering and an Ecological Reformation both group the green, bioregional demographic, greening all existing parties instead of requiring one party to be green.

            Seventh, green constitutional engineering is required because many green state outcomes are less than optimal or very suboptimal failures, according to comparative historical research about the common failures of green politics [Dryzek, et al. 2003]. It is argued that the issues Dryzek and others discuss will continue without any resolution unless on the state level a green constitutional engineering is institutionalized and unless on the regional level an Ecological Reformation is institutionalized--installing various geographic, bioregional, and watershed-based institutions.

            Eighth, green constitutional engineering aims to stop long-term processes of biased unrepresentative developmentalism that demote the state itself and its own core imperatives as well as erode regional human cultures and environmental conditions equally. This historically repeating kind of crony statist environmental degradation process is mentioned in Ecological Revolution. (Please see that book because it is left undiscussed here in any detail). Any single party is unable to do that check and balance durably across generations. Even if it could or would attempt to do so, it would either only fail or only sponsor novel gatekept forms of political power and cronyism within itself that would encourage the same corrupting process that it should have been demoting. Even worse, if it is doing the latter, then such ongoing state-facilitated environmental degradation would continue under a Green party support in the halls of power--further discrediting such a singular party vehicle of greenness.

            Ninth, green constitutional engineering of the bioregional state encourages that we do a future investment in capacity building of the green movement in both a local bioregionalist cultural sense in an Ecological Reformation for the short haul and in a statist sense as Toward a Bioregional State for the longer haul. These dual recommendations seems to be upheld by comparative historical research: the more successful ‘civil society/state’ arrangement of greenness in Germany are dual like this [Dryzek, et al. 2003; Peritore 1999]. Where both are oppositional and strong it seems to have generated the best outcomes toward greening a European state so far. Germany's greening remains by far more tangibly linked to actual material regional improvements through state policy as well as pressured ongoingly by regional autonomy of the movement simultaneously. Because Dryzek and others demonstrate how many countries construct greenness in a very suboptimal way in both the civil society sphere and in state political deliberations, a trellis for fresh green growth is suggested in the wider Ecological Reformation (including the Civic Democratic Institutions and Commodity Ecology) plus the green constitutional engineering ideas. Respectfully, these are the local cultural checks and balances against corrupt state developmentalism in certain regional areas and the other ideas are the larger state-required checks and balances on corrupt state power over developmentalism equally. Both are ecological checks and balances added to corrupt degradative power. This is the wider principle. A polytopia of preservation is a better ideal: an ongoing biodiversity and an ongoing human diversity regionally aiming to fit into the variety of particular regions well, instead of the drive of making monocultures of the mind or material world. A polytopia is the watchword instead of a single ideological vision. [For those that want, you can still try our your utopianism though please only in a particular region for those willing to voluntarily to try something out, and always thus in a plural polytopian context of multiple real places with freedom of people to travel to you if you are successful or freedom to leave you if you are becoming a failure. This polytopian ideal is a better green ideal instead of any singular political party's ideological vision. The latter almost always quickly attempts to veer into a dystopian and repressive context, if it seizes any wider power over all regions.]

            Tenth, any informal ideological movement will always be partial and oppositional to something and divisive. Instead in a polytopia of the bioregional state, movements in this sense can now agree to disagree in process on implementing the different local optimalities desired by different regions and agreeing to complete. This is similar to how very different groups of right-wing libertarians and left-wing greens are working together on the local level in the United States. On the national level they are involved in ideological hatreds that waste their energies, while on the local level they are working together in particular geographic projects like wildlife corridors and ecological preservation.


            In other words, how can one ideological movement ever encompass all this variety of our world much less the variety in any one territorial state, unless it is a common geographical agreement for group disagreements through democratic competition later instead of through ideological purism and agreement beforehand? Let multiple groups work out their green politics for themselves in different regions and even with different cultural politics within a greater framework of a national state that protects wider shared civil rights. As the working bioregional state definition reads:
Bioregional democracy (or the Bioregional State) is a set of electoral reforms designed to force the political process in a democracy to better represent concerns about the economy, the body, and environmental concerns (e.g., water quality), toward developmental paths that are locally prioritized and tailored to different areas for their own specific interests of sustainability and durability. This movement is variously called bioregional democracy, watershed cooperation, or bioregional representation, or one of various other similar names—all of which denote democratic control of a natural commons and local jurisdictional dominance in any economic developmental path decisions—while not removing more generalized civil rights protections of a larger national state.
To maintain and enhance biological and social diversity, a series of optimized bioregional institutions in the Ecological Reformation and the wider ecological checks and balances of the bioregional state will help local geographic populations formulate their own priorities for their own local ecological self-interest as well as deal with ongoing conflict resolutions between these different bioregions. A federated bioregionalism is better than other political options for the future. If that is done, all parties are pushed into more green sentiment, and the tendency to treat green as a divisive ideology will fade into history as people realize they are the green majority--in ungreen states.