The Ecologist Party of Mexico has enjoyed a victory in this weekend’s elections, gaining 8 seats in the national legislature, for a total of 25 seats. However, the party has been caught up in corruption scandals, and has recently decided to support the national reinstatement of the death penalty, given the death penalty’s current popularity in Mexico.
The Ecologist Party is the Mexican affiliate of the Green Party, and so its recent mixture of political success and ethical failure can be instructive for Green Party activists here in the United States. Currently, it’s easy for Green Party activists to be true to their ideals. After all the Green Party of the United States doesn’t really have much power at stake.
If the Green Party can summon the determination to gain power on the scale of the Ecological Party in Mexico, however, and gain 25 seats in Congress, then the ethical decisions it faces will begin to seem more complicated. How much will Green activists become willing to compromise for the sake of keeping their party’s seats in Congress? Will they begin to accept candidates who don’t support all of the Greens’ 10 Key Values, in the name of building a politically-relevant coalition? Will unscrupulous politicians begin to infiltrate the Green Party, seeing an opportunity for a career path leading to lucrative opportunities for bribery?
The Green Party of the United States has the opportunity now to establish structures that will be more resistant to corruption and the erosion of idealism than the structures of the Republican and Democratic parties have been. However, U.S. Greens ought not to be naive that their party will be free of these problems, merely because it is heavily populated by sincere idealists at present.