Usually emergent movements stem from philosophical ideologies. For example the concepts of Communism originated from the beliefs of Marx and Engels, which were put in writing in “The Communist Manifesto”. However, this was not the case for Green movements, as these were born out of a perceived lack of will to safeguard the environment. They are characterised by a sense of action which entails a degree of activism. The pioneer Greens were more interested in changing lifestyles rather than searching for the mechanisms that have created the present ecological disarray. This need to act serves as the foundation of the Green movements. Britain, Norway and USA are exceptions to the rule, in that the respective green political parties produced a rich Green theoretical literature, despite the fact that they are comparatively weaker political parties. The works include autobiographies of Green politicians or upbeat anecdotes of inner party life.
One of the challenges that the Green movement is facing is providing a theoretical framework of a Green agenda. How does one define a Green political party? What are the basic criteria for a Green political party? More importantly, it was noted that academic accounts emerge from countries where the Green political parties are weaker. Is there a correlation between a political party’s “developing ideas” and “executive power” (Gahrton, n.d., p. 5)? Will Green “fundamentalism” lead to poor election results? These questions are difficult to answer, as first one needs to establish a consensus on the definition of Green politics.
“There is a need for a theory of society in addition to the utopian goals of a better world. Together that amounts to something that could be called ideology”
This is an intrinsically delicate matter in cultures where ideologies are perceived as inhibiting rationality or thought prisons. On the other hand, ideologies serve as a foundation from which subsequent and more practical concepts and policies emerge. Moreover ideologies convey a sense of identity to the party, making it believable and reliable.
Inspired by the collection of works in “Is there a need for a Green Ideology?” edited by Per Gahrton.
ADZ Sec. Gen.