GB No. 4(19)/95


I went to the GF Congress for the first time in my life, as a "helping hand" rather than as a participant. And this is what I saw and heard there. Firstly, it was modest and simple - which I liked - but also a bit dirty and disorderly - which I liked much less. The working part was mainly on Saturday and I admit I had never worked so hard at any other congress as that time.

GF still remains a youth organisation: as it turned out, most of the participants were there for the first time. There was also a group of veterans - they kept complaining that their old friends had not come. The conclusion is that GF works as the Scout Organisation: you work there as a kid and then go to the adult world. Why is that so? I think there are at least three reason for that.

Firstly: GF has neither a plain and clear strategy plan nor a regional policy. On one hand there are local, small actions, on the other - universe and eco-sphere. There was practically no discussion at the Congress on how we see our towns, regions or even Europe if we were given a power to change them. Therefore there were no goals or plans developed that would be possible to realise within 15-20 years and which would motivate people who want to devote their adult life to environment. There are actions that address mainly young people's sensitivity and emotions (e.g. animals) and campaigns á la an old expert. There is no long-term plan in which experience is needed. Whenever we envy the western Greens their position (which is not at all so strong as it seems) we must remember that they have been working for it since 60's, went through a period of wrong decisions and misdirection and let the Communists use them. After all, their engagement in the "bad" politics let them succeed. There are no achievements without fight and failures. The Polish Green want to "remain outside the bad politics" and "bad structures" and do something at the same time. Actually, this is the viewpoint of an average philistine trout who would like to save the world but, at the same time, stay uninvolved in the politics. The stand secures the leading liberals and technocrats that they can manipulate the Green to their own benefit. Sometimes they offer a subsidy, some other time they invite us for a meeting or a minister will shake our hands and ... they will do what they did before. The result is that, instead of efficient work and being an important issue, the environmental protection remains a bunch of empty slogans and the Green - political puppets.

Secondly: in GF there is a lot of ideology and utopian principles concerning practical actions. There is no decision-making structures or mechanisms, which means lack of responsibility. Necessary decisions, about e.g. money, are made by two or three people in a pub, not at a regular meting. This is a sure way to bad atmosphere, accusations, suspicions, which in turn, discourages people from outside because we are only human and the three people in a pub, however honest they are, may not resist the temptation.

As there is no organised decision making, people who are against do not feel obliged to loyally follow the chosen line, however it would be been adopted by the majority. And this is why it all does not work. I do not claim that the ideological base is unnecessary, but there are further aims than a fight for ideological righteousness. Marcin Hyła suggested certain strategic measures in the Zielone Brygady 2/95. Having in mind his suggestions I can say that the changes in the Statute are well-directed.

Thirdly: whether having reached our thirties we decide to end our eco-adventure and begin adult life is only for us to decide. Therefore, it is important to self-educate and to develop spiritually: discussions and humanistic knowledge may appear helpful here. Also, certain climate and life style may help, similarly as supporting one another. Maybe then the older ones will cease to be "experts" looking down their noses at younger not serious colleagues, and maybe the latter will become more serious. This way a circle of people who can depend on one another, learn from one another and work together, can be established.

These were may critical comments: they are always helpful. Where is the title optimism then? Well, the Congress was a nice surprise for me. I could see that the people were re not just a bunch of miscasts who did not know what to do with their lives so they dealt with environment protection. Their intellectual level, openness and lack of pretence could put to shame many adult debates I often attend (Leszek Michno who lead the most important debates deserves great credit for this). This means that there is a good potential in people and a chance to achieve more. It is up to us whether we will take the chance.

Olaf Swolkień
reprinted from Zielone Brygady 10/95
translated by M. Maciejewska

GB No. 4(19)/95 | Contents