Just before last christmas I wrote a critical article about the Green Party. I was inundated with abuse, threats and insults from members and grassroots supporters, some of which were astonishingly reminiscent of the far-right thuggery and threats I once experienced from the National Front when I was involved with the Rock against Racism and Anti-Nazi League movements, at a time when Neo-Nazi and Fascist rhetoric was becoming more common in the UK.
I was in my mid-teens, hanging out at Wood Street Socialist Club, the Deeply Vale/Pickup Bank Festivals, co-running a local live music venue (The Gaiety, Bolton) and digging being in a band called “Oh no, it’s them again.”
Back in the early 80s I was just a kid, but these were times when I experienced a sense of community and belongingness; of organisation and collaboration; of a cooperative creativity and solidarity amongst a considerably politicised generation of young people, marred only by Thatcher’s oppressive government (though it has to be said that the Tory government probably contributed considerably to consolidating the various movements and campaigns I belonged to.)
It was marred also by my getting my head kicked in by a roughly size 10 Dr Martin boot on the rapid-firing foot of some bonehead fascist on a so-called peaceful protest against racism. National Front affront. I had twenty stitches.
And there was frequent hate mail addressed to “the paki lover,” written in block capitals, shoved through the letterbox. My flat got turned over a few times, weird stuff happened and I had to move in the end, because the death threats meant that unless I had someone with me, I was reluctant to go out. But I was a busy gal. Things to do.
That’s when I learned that political activism is often stifled by dirty and dangerous zealots, who believe that freedom of expression is exclusively theirs.
Back to the threats. They don’t stop me doing what I do. They never have. As an adult, I am not so easily intimidated. Threaten me with a rapidly approaching size 10 Doc Martin nowadays and I will most likely very deftly wrap it around your neck for you.
So, down to the nitty gritty.
The Green Party claim to be “left”, many grassroots supporters also frequently inform us that they are “real socialists,” and that the party is very democratic, yet there as no democatic dialogue regarding the content of my article – that wasn’t criticised. I was.
For example, the following comment from my site is neither socialist in spirit nor does it extend a willingness for democratic engagement:
Now I had assumed this was simply the work of unsophisticated grassroot supporters, with a tendency towards bullying, however, I’ve since learned this is NOT quite the whole story.
Amongst the usual abuse and “we know where you live” type of threats, I also got the following:
Henry Worthington says: December 23, 2014 at 11:44 pm
Bravo. This Green gets the Thug of the Year Award.
As far as threats go, this is one of the more bizarre from the Green Party membership that I have received.
“Henry’s” email address, which appears on my notification of his comment, along with his IP address, is: firstname.lastname@example.org