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Greens

Green politics at an impasse

 

 
In light of recent discussions surrounding the Australian Greens and its future direction, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing an edited version of a talk looking at the origins and politics of the Greens presented by Lisa Macdonald to the Socialist Activists and Educational Conference, held in Sydney, January 3-7, 1996. 

 

By Lisa Macdonald

 

On December 1-2, 1995, the German Greens' annual congress in Bremen split over the question of sending German troops as part of imperialism's "peace-keeping" force in Bosnia. Led by Joschka Fischer, a leader of the right-wing realo current in the Greens, 38% of the delegates and most of the parliamentarians supported the sending of troops. Just two years earlier, only 10% of delegates at an extraordinary party meeting voted for the same motion. 

 

In an open letter to delegates in the lead up to the 1995 congress, Fischer accused party members of "fleeing from reality" in opposing troop deployment. In the end, more than 40 of the Green deputies defied the conference decision and voted with the conservative Kohl government to send the troops. 

 

How did this sorry state of affairs in the German Greens — a party founded just 16 years ago on the four principles of environmental sustainability, peace and disarmament, social justice and grassroots democracy — come about so rapidly and so completely? 

 

Answering this question requires an understanding of the basic content and trajectory of Green politics as it has developed in the world to date. Such an assessment must also be the starting point for any discussion about how to advance the red-green political project on the eve of the 21st century.   

 

Socialist Resistance on the rise of the Green parties in England, Wales and Scotland

Greens' Westminster MP Caroline Lucas.

Click for more on the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Greens.

By Terry Conway

April 8, 2015 -- Socialist Resistance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Membership and support for the Green parties across Britain – the Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) and the Scottish Green Party (SGP) – has surged dramatically.

The membership of the GPEW has doubled in the past year and currently stands at 54,500, making it the fourth-largest party in Britainbigger than the Liberal Democrats and UK Independence Party. It has also been rising in the opinion polls, topping 10% recently, well in advance of the Lib Dems, which has led the broadcasters to propose its inclusion in the TV debates.

Britain: A short history of Green Left current within the Green Party

By Mike Shaughnessy

March 12, 2015 -- London Green Left Blog, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Green Left grouping was formed in 2006 when a small number of members of the Green Party of England and Wales met at spring conference and drafted the Headcorn Declaration. Later in the year, in June, 37 members met in London to formally adopt the name Green Left (the original prototype grouping was called Green Revolution) and amended and adopted the Headcorn Declaration. I was one of those members.

The thinking behind the need for such a grouping within the Green Party was that the party should "raise Green Party politics to meet the demands of its radical policies" and to "act as an outreach body that will communicate the party’s radical policies to socialists and other anti-capitalists outside the party". Green Left would also promote ecosocialism as a solution to our social and ecological ills. 

Britain: Greens surge on back of anti-austerity anger

Rail union RMT president Peter Pinkney with Greens MP Caroline Lucas. Pinkney is standing as a candidate for the Greens, who support re-nationalising Britain's railways.

By Derek Wall, London

February 23, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal --  A Green surge has hit Britain. Thanks to an ongoing growth spurt, the Green Party of England and Wales has now hit 54,000 members, on top of nearly 10,000 members in the Scottish Green Party.

Opinion polls put the party on the rise, frequently beating the Liberal Democrats, who are governing in coalition with the Conservative Party. The Greens now have more members than the far-right anti-immigrant UK Independence Party (UKIP), whose growing support has generated much media attention.

British politics is changing, the Greens are part of this. The Green Party's success has been built by moving to the left.

The most obvious manifestation of the Green surge has been large rise increase in party membership. At the start of last year, membership in the the Green Party of England and Wales was about 14,000. This grew to 34,000 by the end of the year.

Membership growth this year has been explosive, with nearly 20,000 members signing up in January. On several occasions, the party website broke down and at one point, people were joining at a rate of one every 10 seconds.

Australia: SYRIZA’S victory and building a green-left alternative

Socialist Alliance activists march on May Day in Sydney last year. Photo by Peter Boyle.

By Susan Price

February 14, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- What lessons can we learn from the recent victory of SYRIZA for building the anti-austerity movement and a political alternative to neoliberalism here in Australia? Australian Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, in her recent article in New Matilda [see https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/58246], writes that the left in Australia should wake up and take notice of what is happening in Europe. I couldn’t agree more.

Rhiannon writes that the European developments give those on the progressive side of politics encouragement and build our hopes, and then asks the reasonable question, “But do they have any direct application?” To that we can answer, yes. Not because we can or want to create a carbon copy of SYRIZA, but because there are some general lessons that can be applied here.

European Greens on SYRIZA win: 'We want to cooperate with the new Greek government'

January 26, 2015 -- European Green Party -- The following statement on the victory by SYRIZA in the January 25 Greek election was issued by Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer, co-chairs of the European Green Party.

* * *

By handing Syriza a decisive victory, Greek voters have clearly opted for basic change in their country. We congratulate Syriza on their victory and express our hope that they will make the best possible use of the mandate they have received.

Greece: SYRIZA, the first Green government in Europe?

January 28, 2015 -- Bright Green via Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- SYRIZA’s colours are red and purple and green, identifying it as socialist, feminist and environmentalist. The party platform includes all the key demands of the Green Party (UK).

Brasile: l’ascesa di Marina Silva è una conseguenza dei fallimenti e non del successo della sinistra

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4059.]

Di Federico Fuentes

16 settembre 2014 -- ZNet Italy -- A due settimane dalle elezioni nazionali del Brasile del 5 ottobre la grande notizia è stata il significativo aumento dell’appoggio a Marina Silva, ex ministro di governo del Partito dei Lavoratori (PT) ed attivista ambientalista; alcuni sondaggi predicono che potrebbe vincere la corsa alla presidenza.

La presidente in carica e candidata del PT Dilma Rousseff, mantiene uno stretto vantaggio su Marina, ma le elezioni andranno certamente a un ballottaggio il 26 ottobre.

Se questo succederà, le indicazioni attuali sono che Marina ha una probabilità di vincere, una notevole impresa dato che poco più di un mese fa non era neanche candidata alla presidenza.
La sua candidatura è arrivata soltanto come conseguenza della morte avvenuta il 13 agosto del candidato presidenziale del Partito Socialista Brasiliano (PSB), Eduardo Campos. Avendo in precedenza assunto l’incarico della vice presidenza come parte di un accordo tra il PSB e il suo proprio partito non registrato, la Rete di Sostenibilità, Marina è stata promossa a candidata alla presidenza.

Brazil: Marina Silva’s rise is a result of the left’s failures

Marina Silva.

For more on Brazil, click HERE.

By Federico Fuentes

September 16, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- A fortnight out from Brazil’s October 5 national election, the big news has been the significant surge in support for Marina Silva, a former Workers’ Party (PT) government minister and environmental activist, with some polls predicting she could end up winning the presidential race.

Incumbent president and PT candidate Dilma Rousseff maintains a narrow lead over Silva, but the elections will almost certainly go to a second round run-off on October 26. 

If this occurs, current indications are that Marina Silva has a chance of winning, a remarkable feat given that a little over a month ago she was not even a presidential candidate.

Watermelons or tomatoes? Social democracy, class and the Australian Greens

[For more on the Australian Greens, click HERE. For more on Green parties around the world, click HERE.]

By Nick Fredman

January 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal; this is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, copyright 2013 Taylor and Francis; Capitalism, Nature, Socialism is available at http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcns20/current.

Abstract

This article* examines the extent to which Green parties can be considered social-democratic formations. The Australian Greens, since 2010 in de facto governmental coalition with the Labor Party, are posited as an important case study of the global Green party movement. The Australian Greens have generally been seen as a far-left party, as expressing the views of the new social movements or as a site of tension between these two tendencies.

Australia: Socialist Party local councillor re-elected in Yarra, Melbourne

Re-elected socialist municipal councillor Steve Jolly.

For more articles on socialists in municipal councils, click HERE.

Socialist Party member Mel Gregson interviewed by Ian Anderson

November 6, 2012 -- The Spark (New Zealand), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In the recent local elections of Victoria, Australia, socialist candidates won seats in Yarra and Moreland. Socialist Party councillor on the Yarra local council in Melbourne Stephen Jolly won his seat for the third time. [The Socialist Party is associated with the international Committee for a Workers International (CWI).]

* * *

The Spark: So the Socialist Party retained its municipal council seat held by Stephen Jolly, and lost its council seat held by Anthony Main. Can you break that down a bit more?

Mel Gregson: The campaign in Yarra was very successful with almost one in five voters across the city voting for us. We stood a team of five candidates, including current councillors Stephen Jolly and Anthony Main.

Britain: Why I resigned from the Green Party of England and Wales

Joseph Healy.

By Joseph Healy

April 2012 -- Red Pepper -- I joined the Green Party 10 years ago as I believed that it had something new and radical to say in British politics. I was also a founder member of Green Left, which was formed in 2006, and I helped draft the Headcorn Declaration, the group’s mission statement. One of my aims in doing so was to ensure that there was a radical left faction in the party constantly pushing it in a progressive direction -- and providing a counterbalance to those in the party for whom pragmatism and "lifestyle environmentalism" were the driving forces.

Australia: Left-Green unity is an objective necessity

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge addresses the Socialist Alliance national conference in January 2012. Photo: Peter Boyle
By Peter Boyle

February 4, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly -- Rupert Murdoch's flagship newspaper, The Australian, has been on a campaign to destroy the Australian Greens because the party represents a big electoral break from the two-parties-for-capitalism system that has dominated Australian politics for more than a century. In the past two weeks, this campaign has been hyped into McCarthyite Cold War hysteria.

The Australian Greens and Palestine: confronting the 'inconvenient truths' of the party's right of return policy

In 1948, more than 800,000 Palestinian men, women and children were forced to flee their homes.

[After a year of debate, and under pressure from right-wing forces, the NSW Greens decided on December 4 to retreat from supporting the global pro-Palestine boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. Below, Tony Harris discusses the background to the policy.]

By Tony Harris

November 25, 2011 -- This article first appeared at Watermelon, and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- In March last year, 35 prominent Jewish Australians signed a petition renouncing their automatic right of return to Israel, labelling such a right a “racist privilege” while Palestinians, ethnically cleansed from Israel in 1948, are denied their rights of return under international law.

United States: A Green perspective on Occupy

For more reports on the Occupy movement, click HERE.

By the Green Party of St. Louis

October 25, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Green Party of St. Louis endorses, marches with and is a part of Occupy St. Louis and the global Occupy movement. We, the 99%, must have jobs and economic security that the 1% is destroying. But there must be jobs without leaving a burnt-out, mined-out, radioactive and chemically contaminated planet. The Green Party advocates …

Jobs without environmental destruction!

The only way to preserve the Earth for future generations is to halt economic growth. Every effort to stimulate the economy is a call to destroy life. This is a Green Party perspective on how we can create jobs, shrink the economy and preserve the environment.

Derek Wall: 'Ecosocialism places Marx at the centre of its analysis'

September 10, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Economist, activist and writer Derek Wall (pictured above) is a member of the Green Party of England and Wales (and the Green Left grouping within it) and is the author of several books on ecology and politics. Wall will speak via video link at the Climate Change Social Change activist conference in Melbourne,r September 30 to October 3. He maintains the ecosocialist blog Another Green World. He spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Simon Butler about the politics of ecosocialism.

* * *

What are the most valuable insights ecosocialists can bring to discussions about the source of our ecological problems?

Ecosocialism, without being reductionist, cuts to the roots of the ecological crisis. The destruction of the environment is not an accident. It is not simply a problem of false ideas and it is not a product of inappropriate policies that can easily be dealt with by electing a new set of politicians.

Aotearoa/New Zealand: Greed is good, as long as it's green

Greens Party co-leader Russel Norman sees the big business Pure Advantage group as "being an important ally for the Green Party’s vision of smart green prosperity".

[Sue Bradford will be a speaker at the World at a Crossroads II: Climate change: social change conference, in Melbourne, Australia, September 30-October 3, 2011.]

By Sue Bradford

Australia: Greens' BDS stance widens debate over boycott of Israel's apartheid

By Pip Hinman and Peter Boyle

May 18, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Samah Sabawi, from Australians for Palestine, addressed a May 13, 2011, community forum in Holy Trinity Church Hall, Dulwich Hill, a suburb in Sydney, which was called by local residents to discuss the controversy (incited by Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd media empire) around a December 2010 decision by Marrickville Council to support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel's apartheid. Samah is introduced by Father Dave Smith, the local Anglican parish priest.


Samah Sabawi, part 2

Former Greens parliamentarian Sylvia Hale dissected the NSW Greens' stand in support of BDS and the struggle around the Marrickville Council position.

Green illusions and the carbon tax

By Tim Anderson

April 30, 2011 -- The proposal for a carbon tax raises the issues of tax equity and political strategy. Yet despite their inter-relatedness, we need to disentangle these issues to focus on the original question. As a mean of addressing climate change, the carbon tax proposal comes in the context of difficult global negotiations, where almost any proposal has been seen as a breakthrough, and where (after the last financial derivatives bubble) there is justified suspicion of emissions trading schemes.

In Australia the political context includes a narrow, two-party debate which has reverted to tax incidence, with both major parties basically captured by the major investor groups and Labor having recently been humiliated over a failed proposal for a new mining tax. Into this mix we have the Greens, presenting as an alternative, yet signing an accord with the Labor government over its carbon tax.

I would like to briefly touch on the tax equity issue, before moving to the carbon tax and then to the question of political strategies.

Tax equity

Australia: Strong support for Marrickville council's stand against Israel's apartheid

April 19, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following letters and statements have been sent to the Marrickville City Council, in Sydney, Australia, in support of its decision to boycott Israel. The council has been under enormous pressure from Australia's capitalist media and the pro-Israel lobby to reverse the policy. For background information, please see "Australia: Murdoch press demonises Greens over support for Palestinian rights". For more on the BDS campaign and the struggle of the Palestinian people, please click HERE.

Marrickville council – continue to stand on the right side of history!

By the Palestinian BDS National Committee

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