Local Politics: Strengthening the Green Party in Paris

Last week in Paris, I met with Lucas Manetti, Secretary of the Green Party for his district (and where I was staying while in town), the 18th arrondissement.  

The Green Party in Paris has recently won some good seats.  The Minister of Health, The Minister of Transportation, The Minister of Social Innovation and Circular Economy, and The Minister of Environmental Sustainability are all Green Party representatives.  Victory!

Now the fun comes in—leveraging those positions to implement exciting programs and services for local communities.

Lucas is used to mobilizing voters in his district and turning them out for Green Party candidates.  Now the challenge is to engage his voters in the “down season” and get them actively making those Green Party ministers work for them!

Here are some steps Lucas and I discussed to help build a strong campaign:

Local Relationships
The beauty of the down season is that there is TIME.  Instead of running door-to-door to turn out voters, Lucas can invest more in getting to know the constituency.

Lucas and his team can set a goal:  let’s do 100 face-to-face meetings with people in our district to learn about the issues that matter most to them, how they are affected, and what they’d like to see happen.  

This relationship building will give Lucas and his Green Party team some “hot topics” to explore-- areas of traction that are worth pursuing. It will also give them a sense of local leaders to work closely with.

Community Building
After Lucas and his team have completed their goal of 100 face-to-face visits they can bring community members together to discuss the hot topic issues they discovered.

Let’s say a key issue is transportation.  People in the neighborhood report that the local metro line isn’t well maintained and the train runs less frequently.  It’s a big pain for commuters, and as as result lots of people drive to work instead of taking the train.

When community members come together to share their experiences, they see that other people are equally affected.  They also see that other people want solutions, too.  This is empowering.  And it’s the best time to activate people.  Lucas and his team can say, “Do we want to get something done about this issue together?”   YES.

Work Those Green Party Relationships  
Now Lucas and his team can set up a meeting with the Minister of Transportation. Whoop!  That’s what having an elected leader is for! And by having built a strong base of local community members, it’s likely that that their elected representative is going to be interested in hearing what issues matter.  

In the meeting with their elected Minister of Transportation, community members share how their metro line is negatively impacting them.  Then they can learn about options to address the problem by asking the Minister strategic questions. For example, are there any plans to fix this metro line?  Who makes decisions about this?  What kind of money is in the budget to get our metro line better maintained?  What would need to happen to allocate that money?  

The Campaign
Not only has the community begun to build a working relationship with their Minister of Transportation (who will take notice that the members of the 18th arrondissement are serious abut this issue).  They have also learned the specific strategy that will be necessary to make the changes they want to see for their metro line.  For example, the January budget needs x item approved by the majority of city council members.  Now Lucas and the expanded team of local community members have their marching orders and can busy—talking to more people in the community, establishing relationship with other districts, talking to city council members.

This is the down season work that will set Lucas and the Green Party up for success next election season, when they can say, “Look at what our party has done to fix the transportation problem in our district.”  And imagine how many more doors they will be able to knock after building such a strong leadership base!  

Good luck, Lucas!