Dear Green friends,
We are forced to write you because there is a fact in Spain that could have an important negative impact on the Catalan green politics. Recently the former communist party in Catalonia (now called ‘Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds - ICV’) is trying to become the only Catalan green organisation in Catalonia. To reach this position, ICV will sign an agreement with the Spanish ‘Confederación de Los Verdes - CLV’, asking them to recognise ICV as the only and exclusive green speaker in Catalonia. Both, ICV and CLV are defining themselves as the only ones green organisations: ICV in Catalonia and CLV in the remaining parts of Spain.
We, as members of ‘Els Verds – Alternativa Verda’ or EV-AV, are opposing this proposal. Why? Please, let us explain the reasons. First of all, because we consider that the Catalonian Greens have the right to be independent from Spanish Greens (we are not different from Scottish Greens, or from Agalev). Second, because we consider that ICV is not, and has never been, a green political organisation. ICV is defining itself as ‘ecosocialists’, but not as greens. The most astonishing think is that ICV is going to Spanish Greens to get ‘green’ credibility when in the practice ICV is not implementing any green policy at all, nor in the municipalities where they have ruled many years the local governments, nor in the local governments where they are ruling at present, nor in the new Catalan Government where they have two ministers.
Since 1984, the former and pioneer Catalan green organization, ‘Alternativa Verda’ (that in 1993 was dissolved when different green groups active in Catalonia decided to work together and create a new green organisation called ‘Els Verds – Confederació Ecologista de Catalunya’, but it was refounded in 1999), asked many times to be admitted as full member of the European green organisation, first to the European Coordination of Green Parties (at Dover co-ordination meeting, 1984), and later to the Federation of Green Parties. But always the European Greens have decided not to accept the Catalan Greens as independent members from Spanish Greens. Only during the Green Meeting in Rio de Janeiro (may 1992) ‘Alternativa Verda’ was accepted as full right member, independent from Spanish Greens.
In 1994, the Catalan Greens (‘Els Verds – Confederació Ecologista de Catalunya’) reached an electoral agreement with the former communist party in Catalonia (called ‘Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya – PSUC’, but renamed as ‘Iniciativa per Catalunya - IC’ when an identity crises crossed all the communist parties in Western Europe).
The agreement between IC and EV-CEC took the form as Electoral Coalition named ‘Iniciativa per Catalunya – Els Verds’ or ‘IC-EV’). As a result and for the first time in Catalan history two greens were elected as city councillors in the most important cities in Catalonia: Barcelona and Hospitalet de Llobregat. For the first time, the green politics was included in Barcelona local politics, because Dr. Josep Puig, elected green member of the Council, served as Sustainable City Councillor between 1995 and 1999. He also chaired ‘Energie-Cités’ Network between 1997 and 2000. You can see the results of this work at: www.verds-alternativaverda.org/ciutatsostenible
If Barcelona has now the reputation of sustainability it is because the Sustainable City Councillor was a well respected green activist, who has been able to introduce the sustainability debate in the Catalan political arena.
But, in 1998 it exploded a new crisis inside IC. The battle was between the reformist sector and the communist orthodox sector. The consequences of this influenced the Coalition IC-EV, because the elected Greens members decided to continue supporting the coalition despite the communist sector took the decision to leave the coalition, and to create a new political party called ‘Esquerra Unida i Alternativa – EUiA’. This sector influenced some leftist members of EV-CEC in order to organise a general assembly of EV-CEC with the goal to gain control over the green organisation (March 1998). And they did, but in a non democratic way. Three years later the Barcelona Court of Justice sentenced that the assembly was null and void.
At the end of 1998, when the Coalition between IC and EV-CEC was already active, IC decided to change his name and added the name of ‘Verds’ to its name IC. Since then, the name of the former Catalan communist party is ‘Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds’ or ‘ICV’. This had been possible because a Spanish Court of Justice sentenced in the middle of eighties that the name ‘greens’ is a generic one. So, after that, any kind of political organisation can take it (from our understanding this is a unique case in any European country), opening the door to any kind of opportunistic politics.
The problem is that ICV acts as if they were greens but without any green respected people and without any green policy. The most clear example of this lack of green action from ICV is that despite being member of the Barcelona Government, the sustainability has been clearly discredited since 1999. Look at one case: in 2000 the Barcelona government introduced new public buses fuelled with fossil natural gas. The gas company painted them with a logo saying ‘I’m ecologic, I’m travelling with natural gas’. It has been a great scandal covered by the main newspapers when Els Verds – Alternativa Verda denounced it, because natural gas never can be considered ‘ecologic’. But the government of Barcelona (with its ICV members) and the Gas Company has refused to change the logo. And much more astonishing has been the fact that despite members of EV-AV have addressed a written letter to the Barcelona Mayor and to the CEO of Gas Company, they never gave any answer to this people. Is this a green political attitude?. This is only one example. There are many others.
In order to get some ‘green’ credibility, ICV accepted as members most of the people that were the protagonists of the shameful action to take control over EV-CEC in a non democratic way in March 1998. Now those people are members of ICV and appear in the electoral lists of ICV-EUiA, after these two leftist organisations decided to rule together and after being divorced during four years and losing a lot of votes. More recently, ICV has created a new organisation, named ‘Els Verds – Esquerra Verda’ (The Greens – Green Left) in order to increase its ‘green’ credibility. But the members of this organisation were the same people that took control of EV-CEC in a non-democratic way until the Barcelona Court of Justice sentenced that all their actions were null and void.
As a result of these events, the most respectful green people in the Catalan Green Movement gathered together in summer 1999 and took action to refound ‘Els Verds – Alternativa Verda’, with the goal to maintain real green politics in our country, Catalonia.
It’s astonishing that anytime when a Catalan political organisation tries to be painted as ‘green’ it always goes to Madrid (Spanish capital) or to Brussels (European Capital) to ask for ‘green’ blessings. It has been the current practice in the past, but without any results. Most astonishing is the fact that this continues to be practised today by ICV, a leftist organisation, without any link to the green culture.
From Catalonia, we say, as greens, this is enough. Please let us grow and develop without any foreign interference, nor the Spanish interference, nor the European one.
We kindly ask you to declare your solidarity with the Catalonian Greens and to oppose the acceptance of ICV as member of the new European Green Party.
We inform you that Els Verds – Alternativa Verda will call on the European Court of Human Rights in order to defend the credibility of green policy in Catalonia and to denounce this kind of anti-democratic practices that they are taking place in Spain.
Many thanks for taking some time to be informed about the green political situation in Catalonia, an ancient Mediterranean culture without any political nation-state structure, but with a desire to live in Peace with Nature and in Peace between humans.