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Capturing The Spirit of Wellington’s Greens Wind

by: John Muhammad and Diana Goeltom

Kia Ora!

For Indonesian people who are accustomed to living in temperatures of 30-40 degrees Celsius, Wellington weather in June is very unfriendly. Indonesia does have the cities located in the highlands and temperatures below 10 degrees celsius – which is similar to Wellington. However, Wellington is not only cool, it’s also very windy!

However, the cold Wellington was conquered by the warmth of the Asia-Pacific Greens meeting. Apparently, the heart of Greens has an antifreeze shield.  The fire of love and the deep longing for the “green world order” that burns in their hearts, making them immune from low temperatures and cold wind. As a result, within four days, the Asia-Pacific Greens have successfully determined and set the steps for their political progress. And all just started from the magnanimity of all participants.

And especially, the host.

Wellington residents seem to know how to anticipate the weather. They have paid the chill of the city with the friendliness and sincerity. It can be seen from what they have done for the 3rd Asia-Pacific Greens Federation Congress (APGFC). Starting from the Mayor of Wellington (Celia Wade-Brown), the committee (Keli Yen, Claire Waghorn-Lees, Maree Brannigan and their friends), the employee-Upper Hutt Silverstream Retreat to Hotel Waterloo Backpackers. They have to show us all the orchestra of friendship. Also, this opinion is not an exaggeration, because at the same time, they also succeed as a host for the U-20 World Cup.

On a scale of Asia-Pacific, the New Zealand Greens indeed excited. Currently, the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand managed to get 14 Greens elected as Members of Parliament (10.7%). This figure led them to become the third largest party in New Zealand. The Green Party of Australia is also the third largest political force in their country having won 8.65% of the general elections in 2013 and passed the 10 members to the Senate and one of its members to the House of Representatives.

With these facts, you can say I’m just joking, but it may be true if we consider that Wellington looks like the capital city of the Asia-Pacific Greens! :))

For that, we deserve to convey “whakawhetai ki a koutou” to Wellington!

Involvement of Indonesian Delegation (Green Union Indonesia dan Green Party Indonesia)

In this event, the Indonesian delegation was represented by Ade Zuchri Indriani, Diana Goeltom and John Muhammad. The three of us came to represent Green Union of Indonesia (Sarekat Hijau Indonesia/SHI) which is a Full Member of the APGF. And, for SHI, this is the fifth time participating in a Congress of the APGF or Global Greens!

  • 2001: Global Greens 1st Congress, held in Canberra, Australia, Indonesia was represented by Farah Sofa.  
  • 2001: Asia Pacific Greens Network’s 1st congress, held in Kyoto, Japan, Indonesia was unfortunately absent.
  • 2008: Global Greens 2nd Congress held in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Indonesia was represented by Andreas Iswinarto and Adriana Sri Adhiati.
  • 2010: Asia Pacific Greens Network’s 2nd congress, held in Taipei, Taiwan, Indonesia was reprsented by Andreas Iswinarto, Adriana Sri Adhiati and Khalisah Khalid.
  • At the Global Greens 3rd Congress 3rd in Dakar, Senegal, Indonesia was represented by Adriana Sri Adhiati and Khalisah Khalid.

On September 2014, two of PHI’s founder: Dian Abraham and Khalisah Khalid received an invitation from the Green Party of Western Australia to come and share learning about mechanisms of politics and management of Green Party. Note that journey can be followed on this link.

This was the first time for Diana, Ade and John to attend a Greens congress. However, in preparation, we were equipped with a lot of experience by Adriana Sri Adhiati, Andreas Iswinarto, Dian Abraham, Koesnadi Wirasapoetra, Khalisah Khalid and other comrades (Thank you, Greens!).

For the congress, we focused on two issues in climate change:

  1. the inclusion of local initiatives and 
  2. the development of grassroots democracy. 

Other green issues are also important, but we choose to recall the importance of the inclusion of local initiatives in projects of global climate justice, especially in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the issue of grassroots democracy is necessary at this time to give special attention to the development of green politics at the local level. We prepared a draft resolution for the congress’ consideration, with the title of the “Call from Indonesia for Climate Justice”.

This opinion was then read by Ade Zuchri on the opening of the APGF Congress. The response from other participants in this view is quite good, it can be seen with the approval of the issue of the inclusion of local initiatives into one of APGFC resolution.

In general, Indonesia’s participation at the APGF Congress can not be said to be optimal. Congress was a very dynamic space and there were many working groups, with at least three types ocurring simultaneously throughout the three days of the congress.  See the program.

One working group we participated in discussed the constitution of the organization APGF. This Committee shall be followed by each delegation. A second working group we joined discussed a variety of topics about the construction of the Green Party, ranging from funding strategies to the campaign strategy. A third working group discussed the issues or resolutions on priority issues that need to be appointed as resolutions of this APGF congress. In total more than 10 groups were offered at the congress, and with the number of Indonesia’s delegates being only 3 people, it was difficult to follow all of the issues.

As a result, we only focused on some of the working group, which are: APGF’s Constitution, APGF’s Resolution, APGF’s Development, Resolution for Local Initiatives, Green Party Development and Green Party Fundraising. Beyond that, though we could not be directly involved, we also payed attention to other working groups such as the resolution for rejection of nuclear energy, the rejection of the death penalty to encourage a solution to West Papua.

There are some interesting things to be learned and developed in Indonesia.

First, the political culture of Asia-Pacific Greens are very distinctive and very different from the political culture of Indonesia.  Egalitarianism is very prominent in the political culture of Greens. No escort or aide to officials such as the Mayor and members of Parliament. There is no social distance between us at all.  Personally I was impressed with Kennedy Graham, when in his speech, it involves a sign language interpreter.

Second, the friendly organizational culture, which is simple and efficient. For an event of this magnitude, there are no major committees like political events in Jakarta. No assistant delegates. All things done voluntarily and together. All information and amendments placed on the bulletin board. Starting from the Information of meeting schedule up to get a ride and also lost and found items. Delegates take care of everything themself from the gift table set up to preparing the presentation.

Thirdly, the seriousness in practicing green lifestyle. This showed by the presentation of vegetarian food. There are two types of vegetarian food: (1) regular vegetarian and (2) a special vegetarian (Free of dairy and free of artificial sweeteners). Both are good and especially for the vegetarian plus, it was still delicious. However, because our tongue are still addicted to seasoning, then there needs to be an adjustment.

Fourth, sharing green political development from various countries makes us even more motivated. Especially hearing and learning difficulties as well as the success of many countries. All of these experiences are increasingly making us optimistic to build the Green Party in Indonesia!

Learning for the Green Party of Indonesia

One of the interesting learnings for us is how political parties are structured. The Green Party of New Zealand, for example, has a dual leadership based on gender, both are called co-leaders. The Green Party of Western Australia, for example, does not recognize the vote uses consensus to make nearly all decisions.

Our experience meeting, sharing and discussing at this APGF Congress further strengthened our spirit to build a Green Party of Indonesia (PHI), especially for Indonesia’s elections in 2019. We are aware that under the current electoral prerequisites it will not be easy and it is often considered impossible to fulfill. Quite often some doubt, harassment and even fear encircle our steps. We also understand that the image of the political party in Indonesia has been sullied by the behavior of other parties in the past. But giving up before you try is erroneous.

Our current efforts are not grandiose. We want to prove that building a political party is possible. We want to reinvent Indonesian political parties. We want to protect good people and the Greens to have a decent political space. We practice grassroots democracy in the political fight for a smart green and ethical politics. We believe that without a political party that is true then not only good people are eliminated but even worse, hope of change will be further dimmed.

In an effort to tackle climate change and to improve the conditions of political leadership in Indonesia that is still far from green values, the existence of a Green Party Indonesia has become urgent. In many cases, the oligarchy of current political parties still obstructs the leadership of the good people and the work of Greens in Indonesia. Thus, there is no other choice but to build the Green Party of Indonesia as early as possible to save the good people and promote Green politics.

The blowing of this Green wind should be maintained and nurtured. Indonesian Greens should be able to use this wind to free their country from environmental suffer. This wind will also fly the pride of Indonesia as “the lungs of the earth” with other tropical rainforests countries. This wind will only continue to exist if Indonesia Greens are united.

The wind that is not cold at all. The wind that warmful, refreshed and very fun. Wind of friendship. Wind of change.

06/26/2015 – 10:24


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