Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Green Party. Breaking the cycle of compromise and decay.

This originated as a response I posted on Dave Oslers blog comments on his assessment of the Green Party.

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Maybe within the Green party it is possible to honestly and sincerely put forward the following ecological socialist strategy and programme – in the best interests of the Green Party, society and the ecosytem? :

To win votes the Green Party must distance itself from its old image of backward looking petite-bourgeoise utopians who appears to romanticise feudalism. Instead it must have a strategy for securing sustainable jobs, housing, food, welfare transport and energy for the majority of people in advanced modern societies. A central plank of this should be an alliance with trades unions and other broad sections of society to promote a planned, democratic and egalitarian transition to a low carbon economy. This techno-economic transition includes what some have described as an ‘ecological modernisation’, with new green technologies and sciences. However ecological socialism is the only set of ideas that promotes an ecological modernisation that is also anti-capitalist, egalitarian and democratic.

The Green Party is right to build a space within electoral politics for a popular left alternative voice for sustainability, peace and equality. But we also have the benefit of 30 years experience of Green Parties being co-opted and destroyed by the system – from Germany to Ireland. GPEW must have a strategy to avoid this fate in order to fulfill its ecological and egalitarian mission. The change we seek is too important and profound to be thrown away by short term ambitions to join capitalist governments and power structures, and sacrifice our core mission by supporting anti-green policies in office. We are also aware that we are filling a void left by the slow death and decay of the Labour Party, which also once started out with a radical mission. However, Labour in its hundred year cycle of birth and death became caught up in administering the machinery of capitalism, making it attack its own working class supporters and voters, eroding its strength and eventually mutating into the horror we see today, a total captive and slave of the system. If the Green Party is to represent something truly new and hopeful, then it must learn from these Green and Labour histories, and develop a strategy for entering the political mainstream without being captured by it.

A guiding insight must be that the source of real progress is social movement activity by the people themselves – from the founding trades unionists, the suffragettes, anti-slavery abolitionists to civil rights marchers, anti-colonial struggles and now the green movement today. The wealthy and the powerful, those at the apex of business and government have always resisted and dragged their feet. It is not to these social forces that the Green Party should look to and seek compromise with. The Green Party should seek to be rooted in and encourage multiple grassroots social movements, and stay true to these, seeking to use its elected representative to carry forth the demands of these movements. This is the best defense against political suicide by capture and compromise with the system.

Eco-socialists should organise around these ideas and fight for a radical and realistic strategy for the Green Party – one that helps the GPEW shed its existing naivete or indifference to the realities of capitalist political power – and also recognise the alternative sources of counter-power. And it is only through tapping into these historic sources of real social progress through social movements that a long term strategy for victory can be found. If the Green Party should eventually prove incapable of resisting the traps laid out by capitalist politics, then at least enough radical forces will have gathered beneath its umbrella to be able to carry forward the struggle in a new and different form.

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