2017 marks 25 years since the federation of the Australian Greens — a quarter century in which the party has gone from being a fringe movement to an established political force making substantial impacts on the course of Australian history, improving people’s lives, and protecting the planet.
2017 also marks an extraordinary moment in history, as the political certainties, realities and possibilities which the party and the great majority of its members and supporters grew up in begin to melt into air.
The arrival of the climate crisis, sharply deepening inequality, the rise of the extreme right, and massively accelerating technological development make the next 25 years among the most pivotal in human history to date. If we don’t change direction dramatically, we face a future that is nasty, brutish and short. We have a very short window to turn this around and create a society that can not only survive but thrive.
It is clear that the Greens are the only party facing up to this challenge but also, like the broad global left, currently starkly unable to present and articulate a politics which is both popular and sufficiently radical to rise to the challenge.
That’s where our conference comes in.
Everything is connected
Entitled Everything is Connected: Building a Green Politics for the Next 25 Years, the conference will bring together invited keynote speakers, academics, artists, as well as activists, members, supporters, and interested parties to discuss these vital questions through the theme of connection — to each other, to politics, and to nature.
This theme is informed and driven by what we believe to be the unique insight of Green politics, the idea that sets our politics apart from all others: ecology. Ecology teaches us that everything is connected, and that everything and everyone is better when we have connected diversity.
We are delighted to have confirmed three amazing keynote speakers to talk on this theme from fascinating directions.
- Dr Mary Graham, a Kombumerri person (Gold Coast) through her father’s heritage and affiliated with Wakka Wakka (South Burnett) through her mother’s people, has worked as an activist, consultant and lecturer on Aboriginal history, politics and comparative philosophy. She will address the conference on Indigenous world views, helping us to come to an understanding of how those world views can and must inform our own.
- Professor Brendan Mackey, one of Australia’s world-renowned environmental scientists, will give a powerful presentation on ecology and the web of life, and how a better understanding of ecology can help conceptions of politics and social change.
- And Dr Stephen Healy, co-author with brilliant eco-feminist Marxist writer J K Gibson-Graham of Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming our Communities, will address us on conceptions of the commons, and how these can lead to a new way of thinking about politics.
I hope you’re as excited as I am about these speakers, and that these ideas are setting off connections in your brains!
If so, please think about not just attending but proposing a presentation or panel for the conference! We’re looking for a broad range of provocative and creative papers and sessions to explore the ideas as thoroughly and deeply as possible.
How to get involved
Proposals can be:
- Individual papers of up to 20 minutes;
- Panel sessions of 3-5 speakers for up to 90 minutes;
- Theoretical, academic, activist, practical, or artistic and creative responses to the theme;
- Facilitated discussion sessions; or
- Further explorations we haven’t thought of!
Papers and sessions engaging with the theme of “Everything is Connected” are encouraged to address topics including but not limited to:
- Ecology, sustainability and Earth-centred governance;
- Democracy, anti-fascism, Commons-based governance, open internet and grassroots community-building;
- Economic transformation, the future of ‘work’, resilience, sharing and repairing, and the good and fair society;
- Peace, Australia in the world, and how we grapple with our history, our First Nations people, and our diverse cultures.
Papers and sessions which cut across multiple topic areas, or which approach these topics from new angles, are particularly encouraged.
So, what’s your big idea?
Put in your proposal by July 28!