|Colours||Red and Green|
The Alliance for Green Socialism (AGS) is a socialist and environmentalist political grouping operating across Britain (although its most active membership is in West Yorkshire, particularly in the City of Leeds). Its first annual conference was in 2003 following the 2002 merger of the Leeds Left Alliance (formed by Mike Davies, Celia Foote, Garth Frankland and other former members of the Labour Party) and the Green Socialist Network (whose origins lay in the former Communist Party of Great Britain). The Leeds Left Alliance had previously been involved in the former Socialist Alliance and a small number of AGS members remained involved in it until it was dissolved by the SWP (who had effectively taken it over) in February 2005. The AGS has sponsored various attempts by one of its affiliate organisations (Rugby Red Green Alliance) and the Socialist Alliance Democracy Platform to re-form the Socialist Alliance from 2005 onwards but this has had little success and the AGS concluded in 2011 that such efforts were no longer politically productive (although the AGS still actively supports the idea of a broader Socialist/Environmentalist political alliance).
The AGS describes itself as an alliance rather than as a party. This is seen as significant by some AGS members because the AGS contains people from a variety of trends, traditions and ideological backgrounds who have all agreed to work together in a single organisation whilst retaining the right to disagree on some issues. Many of the AGS members come from former political parties which had a democratic centralist tradition while others were formerly in the Labour Party or in no party at all. To argue out every issue on which differences existed to the point where a majority decision was reached which was then binding on all members might lead to many comrades leaving. The current arrangement recognises that the AGS is open to people from various leftist and environmentalist positions - as long as they agree on the basic principles on which the AGS was founded.
The AGS stood candidates in its own name in the Yorkshire and the Humber constituency in the 2004 European Election, coming last with 0.9% of the votes cast. It later contested the 2005 UK general election under its own name and in association with other leftist parties in the Socialist Green Unity Coalition, standing candidates in Yorkshire, London and Brighton. The AGS also stood candidates under its own name in the 2010, 2015 and 2017 General Elections.
In 2009, the AGS joined the No2EU - Yes to Democracy election campaign for the European elections and three AGS members stood as candidates in Yorkshire and the Humber. However, following the election, the failure of the RMT union to commit itself to a successor organisation to this campaign (whose name was disliked by most AGS members as it implied an anti-European stance which they do not hold) and its transformation into a new organisation (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) which is politically and organisationally dominated by the Socialist Party, has led the AGS to withdraw from this group.
The Green Socialist Network (GSN) was a socialist environmentalist political grouping whose origins go back to the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB). When the CPGB was wound up in 1991 a number of its members (and the assets of the party) transferred to a new organisation called the Democratic Left led by former CPGB General Secretary Nina Temple. However, the Democratic Left failed to live up to the expectations of a number of its members (particularly those who had spent many years in the CPGB and who still adhered to a Marxist political position) and a split occurred, which led to many of these -- especially in the London area -- leaving the Democratic Left and establishing the GSN. These included Dave Cook, former National Organiser of the party.
The GSN was not merely a socialist grouping as its members accepted that the old Soviet style system of industrialised state socialism had failed in many respects. The GSN adopted a programme entitled "Towards Green Socialism", which proposed linking socialism with environmental sustainability and which argued that these two developments were both essential for human survival and development and that each required the other.
The GSN Programme "Towards Green Socialism" has been largely incorporated into AGS policy documents but is still available on request from the AGS, Freepost NEA 5794, Leeds LS7 3YY. E-mail requests to firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website at .
In 2002 GSN members voted to merge with the Leeds-based Left Alliance (a grouping of primarily ex-Labour Party members in Yorkshire who had left, or been expelled from, New Labour) and some independent Green Leftists to form the Alliance for Green Socialism (AGS). The GSN programme "Towards Green Socialism" was adopted as the basis for the AGS's political programme and remains so.
The GSN membership was largely in London and the South East and former GSN members make up the majority of the AGS London membership. Two former GSN members became National Officers of the AGS and several others became founder members of the AGS National Committee.
The alliance's first and founding annual conference was held in 2003, after the members of the Leeds Left Alliance and the Green Socialist Network had both voted to approve the merger the previous year and had already formed a combined National Committee.
The first general election the alliance contested was the 2005 general election. However, in 2004 it had contested both the local elections the European elections, securing 13,776 but no seats in the European election. The AGS has continued to contest every general election.
During the 2009 European elections the party campaigned as part of the No2EU alliance which combined many minor parties on the left-side of politics to campaign against the perceived 'pro-capitalist' and anti-democratic aspects of the European Union. The alliance secured 153,236 votes, but no seats. However, the No2EU alliance was not consolidated into a new, broad political grouping after the election and the AGS did not wish to remain involved in a group which was increasingly seen as merely anti-European, which they are not.
The AGS publishes full manifestos that cover every policy area. Proposed economic policies include further control over banking and greater job security for workers. Environmental policies include committing Britain to an 80% reduction in its carbon emissions by 2050. The alliance is also committed to nationalisation of all National Health Service (NHS) services and utility and transport services. Other notable policies include electing the House of Lords, abolishing the monarchy and decriminalisation of cannabis. However, because the AGS is an alliance rather than a party, members are allowed to differ on certain policies.
There are four prices available for full membership: £30 for highest income, £18 for lower income and £7 for Pensioners and those with "negligible" income as well as £7 for students. This makes the AGS one of the cheapest political parties in the UK. Membership also entitles the member to the quarterly journal Green Socialist and a newsletter.
The journal of the AGS is Green Socialist magazine, published quarterly. The AGS also publishes a members' bulletin which goes out five or six times a year. Additionally, pamphlets are published on specific topics (e.g. civil liberties) and the AGS election manifesto is published as a booklet available from the national officers or downloadable from their website.
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|Leeds Left Alliance|
|Alliance for Green Socialism|
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