Oxford Ecology Party

The founding of OEP remembered by Phil Foggitt. This contribution is an edited from an email conversation between Phil and David Taylor in June 2016

"I cannot recall the sequence of events clearly but I was actively involved in the EP, FoE, and green politics in Oxford and stood as a local candidate in St.Clements ward. I also helped with drafting national policy1 in the very early stages.

I joined a South-African guy whose name evades me, in founding the Oxford Ecology Party (OEP). This other guy then moved away leaving me co-ordinating activities . Others I remember being involved included Jenny and Dick Helling.

I can’t recall the relations between us and Oxford Ecology Movement (OEM) but I was actively involved with FoE during this time doing paper recycling with a 1947 milk float and was of the opinion that ecologists should become actively involved in politics because it was the political policies which were creating the problems in the first place.

Also at this time Oxford FoE opened up a shop in Cowley Road called Earth-n-Wear2 (I recall I was the sole volunteer to decorate it!) selling all manner of subversive materials such as “For Fox Sake Stop Hunting” t-shirts, badges etc and recycled paper loo rolls, cycle trailers etc.  It became another venue for greenies to meet after Jon’s bookshop3 across the road.

In terms of left-right scale of EP members, I was on the right in terms of strategy. i.e. I felt we should have one leader (M or F) not 2 as some suggested later, and that we needed to present as efficient/competent a front as possible and be as visible in the mainstream as possible. Others were more anarchically motivated and didn’t seem to be as bothered about moving beyond much of a small clique or pressure group. "


Notes:

  1. of the Ecology Party
  2. Earth'n'Wear opened in Spring 1982 as a coop. The premises were shared with Oxford FoE office, a recycling project and a community print shop.
  3. Jon Carpenter ran the East Oxford Advertiser (EOA) Bookshop in Cowley Road and co-founded and edited GreenLine newsletter/magazine
  4. The timescales have become a bit hazy here. OEM disbanded after the 1979 General Election so it is likely that OEP was formed in 1980. 
Sources: : emails from Phil Foggitt to David Taylor, June 2016.

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