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Greens

Australia: Murdoch press demonises Greens over support for Palestinian rights

Racist vandalism of Greens’ election campaign billboards, Sydney. Photo: Peter Boyle.

By Samah Sabawi

April 10, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- While Palestinian, Israeli and international non-violent protesters who march against Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories are literally showered in sewage, beaten, arbitrarily arrested and sometimes killed by Israeli forces, the battle against non-violent resistance has taken its own ugly form in Australia.

Supporters of the non-violent global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement — especially members of the Greens — have been subjected to abuse in a deliberate national campaign of misinformation and slurs orchestrated against them. It has questioned their values and integrity and falsely accused them of anti-Semitism.

The war on BDS is part of a concerted effort to sabotage Palestinian and Israeli non-violent resistance against Israel’s 43-year-old illegal occupation and its 63 years of discrimination against non-Jewish Israeli citizens.

Libya: New Zealand Greens criticise Western intervention

By Keith Locke MP

March 23, 2011 -- The situation in the Middle East is now central to the considerations of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, and was among the topics addressed in the financial review we are debating today. We have been inspired by the success of the Egyptian and Tunisian people in toppling their dictators, and we were hoping that the Libyan people would soon prevail over the Gaddafi regime. However, as we know, the regime has fought back and was making advances, prompting calls for an internationally imposed no-fly zone to neutralise Gaddafi's air force, which was bombing rebel forces. The proposal for a no-fly zone is only one element in the resolution recently passed by the UN Security Council. The motion had a very loose wording, allowing member states to "take all necessary measures... to protect civilians" in Libya. So far the coalition powers have bombed not only anti-aircraft batteries but also Gaddafi's tanks, troops, and even his compound in Tripoli. British Secretary of Defence Liam Fox has not ruled out Gaddafi himself being a target.

Give Israel the South African treatment

“I am a black South African, and if I were to change the names, the description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would be a description of what is happening in South Africa” - Archbishop Desmond Tutu, New York 1989.

By Antony Loewenstein & Moammar Mashni

March 6, 2011-- Green Left Weekly -- When Desmond Tutu made this comment, the South African apartheid regime was still in power. In 1994, after 45 years of racial segregation, the apartheid era was officially over. When watershed moments like this occur, multiple factors can be attributed. But history is clear that one of the many reasons this tyranny finally succumbed was an international boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS).

Essential guide for green left activists


Derek Wall discusses the crisis in the financial system, wall is an activist in Green Left, an ecosocialist current in the Green Party of England and Wales. Filmed at the Coalition of Resistance (http://www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk) conference November 27, 2010.

The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the Worldwide Ecosocialist Movement
By Derek Wall
Pluto Press, 190 pages, paperback

Review by Mat Ward

(Updated Nov. 24) Ireland: Fianna Fail/Greens cave in to EU/IMF on `bailout'; Left vows to fight austerity

Photo by Christina Finn/Politico.

November 23, 2010 -- Irish Republican News -- The public finances of the 26-county state [Ireland] will, for the next three years at least, be subject to “regular reviews” by external monitors working on behalf of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU) and the British and Swedish governments.

On November 21, the Taoiseach [Prime Minister] Brian Cowen and minister for finance Brian Lenihan, after a week of shocking lies and deceit, said they were accepting the IMF/EU bailout. It later emerged that the G7, comprising the seven most powerful countries in the world, had met to give its approval to the deal.

Britain: Understanding the Green Party

November 2, 2010 -- New Left Project -- Derek Wall is an economics lecturer and writer. He has been a member of the Green Party since 1980 and was Green Party principal speaker from 2006 to 2007. He is a founder of the Ecosocialist International and Green Left [an organised ecosocialist group within the Green Party] and has written widely on green politics. His latest books are The Rise of the Green Left and The No-Nonsense Guide to Green Politics. In this interview, he and Edward Lewis examine the nature and politics of the Green Party from a left perspective.

* * *

What are the origins of the Green Party? What are the circumstances that brought it about?

Australia: The nature of the Greens: a rejoinder to Nick Fredman

Australian Greens MPs and federal Labor Party leaders sign the agreement to back the ALP in government.

By Ben Hillier

October 23, 2010 -- In a recent article (“A Marxist critique of the Australian Greens”, available at marxistleftreview.org) I argue that the Greens cannot be regarded as a left alternative to the Australian Labor Party. My conclusions are based on the following considerations:

1. The Australian Greens is a pro-capitalist party with no organic links to the working class – either ideologically or organisationally.

2. The Greens is an organisation 9000 strong that has several thousand unionists as members. Yet they have no activist base in the union movement. There is no union/workers’ fraction in the organisation; no Greens unionist conference; and it has no rank-and-file groups. The organisation has made no serious attempt to intervene into the workers’ movement at all. It has a number of officers from the union movement as members, but no organised current in the bureaucracy.

Britain: Con-Dem government to roll back social gains won since WWII

Greens MP Caroline Lucas addresses the October 20, 2010, protest against the cuts in London, organised by the Coalition of Resistance.

By Raphie de Santos

October 21, 2010 – Socialist Resistance – The Conservative Party-Liberal Democrat Party (Con-Dem) coalition government has announced the most severe cuts in public spending since the great depression of the 1930s. The £81 billion (bn) of announced cuts and the £30 bn of tax increases for the next four fiscal years starting in April 2011 are on top of the already announced £8bn cuts for this fiscal year. Add in the hidden cuts (the National Health Service) and it all amounts to a rolling back of a large part of the gains that people have fought to establish since the end of the second world war.

Germany: Greens' support surges as two-party system unravels

Chairperson of the German Greens' parliamentary group in the Bundestag Renate Künast.

By Duroyan Fertl

October 17, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- Coasting on the back of environmental protests and a hemorrhaging two-party system, the German Greens have sent shock waves through German politics, surging into the position of main opposition party for the first time.

The Greens party, which was part of a coalition government with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) from 1998-2005 at the expense of many of the party’s principles, is benefiting from the unraveling of Germany’s traditional two-party system.

Nevertheless, the two major parties — the centre-right Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union coalition (CDU/CSU) and the centre-left SPD — retain a monopoly over government in Europe’s biggest economy.

But the facade appears to be truly falling apart at last. Opinion polls in early October put the Greens on 24%, one point ahead of the SPD.

Australia: A response to Socialist Alternative on the Greens and class

Greens' leader Senator Bob Brown addresses a rally demanding action on climate change.

Ben Hillier replies at http://links.org.au/node/1959

By Nick Fredman

October 13, 2010 -- Ben Hillier’s article, “A Marxist critique of the Australian Greens” (available at http://www.marxistleftreview.org/) contains some useful information and analysis on the Australian Greens, a formation that has achieved a significant breakthrough in the recent federal election. Hillier is correct, generally, in writing of the Greens’ “populist left nationalism” and “middle class ideological basis”. But he over-emphasises the sociologically middle-class nature of the Greens’ voting base (and probably membership), as part of a general confusion on class today. In a related error, he is quite wrong, and quite sectarian, to state that the Greens “do not in any sense represent an alternative to the ALP” [Australian Labor Party].

Australia: Interview with new Greens MP Adam Bandt: 'I'll give a voice to the social movements'

Greens MP Adam Bandt.

Adam Bandt interviewed by Jody Betzien

September 2, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly --  Adam Bandt, the Australian Greens' MP elect for the seat of Melbourne (long considered a “safe Labor seat”), and the Greens' first House of Representatives member to be elected in a general election has been very busy since the August 21 election. He says he left the triumphant Greens' election night party at 11pm thinking that he would have to do some media the next day so should get a good night's sleep. He woke up the next morning and after a couple of hours having coffee and reading the paper, the situation sunk in. “And that was the last two hours I've had to myself since”, he told Green Left Weekly in a wide-ranging interview conducted on September 2.

Ian Angus: What next for ecosocialists?

By Ian Angus

August 30, 2010 -- Canadian Dimension via Climate & Capitalism -- Not long ago, most socialists had little to say about environmental issues, and the environmental movement was focused on individual (change your light bulbs) and capitalist (create a market for emissions) solutions to the ecological crisis.

In 2007, immediately after the founding of the Ecosocialist International Network, I wrote a Canadian Dimension article on the challenges facing ecosocialists. In it, I discussed two parallel trends that, though in their infancy, seemed to portend a new wave of anti-capitalist and pro-ecology action.

  • Some socialists were moving away from the left’s abstention from the environmental movement, and attempting to develop a distinctly socialist approach to the global environmental crisis.

Australia: Swing to Greens a shift to left as neither major capitalist party wins a mandate

Newly elected Greens MP Adam Bandt with trade unionist supporters during the 2007 federal election.

By Peter Boyle

August 24, 2010 -- Green Left Weekly -- By denying both the ruling Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the opposition Liberal Party-National Party coalition an outright majority, in primary votes and in federal House of Representatives (lower house) and Senate (upper house), Australian electors on August 21 voted “neither of the above” for the traditional parties of government. The result after election night was a hung parliament, with several rural independent MPs and one Greens MP to decide which party will form the next government.

This followed an election campaign in which the major parties conducted an ugly race to the right, most notoriously by scapegoating the few thousand desperate refugees who attempt to get to Australia on boats.

Britain: What now for the Green Party?

By Peter Shield

August 17, 2010 -- The Green Party of England and Wales has made some major breakthroughs over the couple of years, the election of Caroline Lucas to the British parliament was one of the few bright points on an otherwise dismal election night on May 6, 2010. At a local level the Green Party now has just over 120 councillors and the two members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The problem however is that the election showed up how patchy and locally concentrated its support base actually is. With the Autumn party conference approaching what are challenges facing the Green Party.

Australian socialists: `Vote Socialist & Greens, put Abbott's conservatives last'


Sam Watson, Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for Queensland. Longstanding leader of the Aboriginal community of Brisbane, campaigner against Black deaths in custody and for Indigenous rights.

On July 24, 2010, Australia's leading socialist newspaper Green Left Weekly spoke to Peter Boyle, national convener of the Socialist Alliance, about the political climate of the 2010 federal election, to be held on August 21.

* * *

Many progressive people are feeling depressed about the federal election. How do you see it?

The Australian Labor Party and the conservative Liberal Party-National Party Coalition are in a “race to the bottom”, as Socialist Alliance lead Queensland Senate candidate and Murri [Indigenous] community leader Sam Watson aptly put it.

The Greens: mainstream party or minor irritant?

Greens MP Sylvia Hale addresses a rally in solidarity with Venezuela. Photo by Aporrea.

[The following speech was delivered as the 10th Annual Juanita Nielsen Lecture, on March 23, 2010. Sylvia Hale is a Greens member of the NSW state parliament, elected to the Legislative Council (upper house) in 2003. Juanita Nielsen was a campaigner against the big business development of Kings Cross, Sydney, who disappeared in 1975, and widely suspected of having been kidnapped and murdered by crime figures associated with property developers. The address has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

* * *

By Sylvia Hale

Germany: Big gains for Die Linke as Social Democrats’ support collapses

By Duroyan Fertl

October 5, 2009 – Germany’s ``centre-right’’ Chancellor Angela Merkel was returned to power in federal elections held on September 27, but with a record low voter turnout and an increased vote for the far-left party, Die Linke (The Left).

The election was a clear success for Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Her preferred coalition partner – the free-market fundamentalist Free Democratic Party (FDP) – increased its support by 4.8 per cent to an all-time high of 14.6 per cent, enough to form a CDU-FDP government. The FDP will now replace the CDU’s main rival – the ``centre-left’’ Social Democratic Party (SPD) – as coalition partner in the government of Europe’s largest economy.

At the same time, the SPD’s support collapsed by more than 6 million votes, dropping a massive11.2 per cent to only 23 per cent – its worst result since World War II. As one leading SPD member pointed out on election night, “We have been bombed back into the Weimar Republic”. SPD leader Walter Steinmeier described the result as “a bitter day” for German social democracy.

The rise and fall of the Irish Greens

By Joseph Healy

August 8, 2009 -- Being Irish, one of the thousands who left the country during the 1980s economic crisis, I follow Irish politics closely. I joined the Green Party of England and Wales in 2002. In 2006, as part of a group of Irish Greens members in London, visited Dublin to make contact with the Irish Green Party. We went to raise the issue of support for the Irish diaspora in Britain.

These were the days of the Celtic Tiger — the apparent runaway success of the Irish economy, which tempted many Irish emigrants to return home.

We met one of the party’s TDs (members of the parliament, the Dail) John Gormley. However, it quickly became apparent that he was not very interested in the issue of Irish people abroad, probably because we have no votes to offer him.

The same year, I became the secretary of the Green Islands Network (GIN), which brings together representatives of the Irish, Scottish, English and Welsh parties. It was recently joined by the Cornish Greens.

The network aims to share political experiences and ideas. It played a central role in working out relations between the Northern Irish Green Party, in the six counties that make up the northern statelet, and those in the southern republic. We finally got agreement, leading to the Northern Ireland Greens becoming a full part of the Irish party.

Public ownership of coal industry needed to move to 100% renewable energy and retain jobs

An open-cut coalmine in the Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia.

Graham Brown is a retired coalminer and a climate change activist. He’s also a member of the Upper Hunter branch of the NSW Greens party. The Hunter Valley, near the city of Newcastle, is a major source of Australia's coal exports. Brown is helping build a union and community alliance to create a “just transition” to a carbon-neutral economy. Such a transition would ensure workers in the coal industry move into alternative employment. Socialist Alliance's Zane Alcorn spoke to Brown.

How important is public ownership of electricity generation in a transition to a carbon-neutral economy?

It is definitely of the first importance. A private company is out to make a profit. When that profit starts to drop, it’ll move away. There’s no commitment to the community.

Public ownership is the reverse of that. It will enable the transition to carry through from start to finish. But it’s not going to finish, it’s going to be ongoing. Retrofitting power stations is a first step, but down the track, the best thing about renewable energy is that it is decentralised, and it will be owned by the public. Each community will have its own power generators.

A balance sheet of the European elections

Left Bloc supporters in Portugal.

By François Sabado

The principal lessons of the European elections of June 7, 2009, are the following: massive abstention; progress for the right flanked by the far right; a collapse of social democracy; an increase in the votes for the ecologists; while the radical left, left reformists and anti-capitalists maintained their position, without making new advances, except in Portugal and Ireland.

Crisis of legitimacy

First of all, the recent European elections confirmed widespread popular abstention. The rate of abstention, at 57 per cent across the European Union, increased compared to the election of 2004, where it had already, at 54.6 per cent, beaten the previous record. The level of abstention decreased in nine countries and increased in 17. This level of abstention provides a fresh demonstration of the crisis of legitimacy of the European Union and the governing parties which situate their policies within this framework. It is the result of the peoples of Europe being marginalised in the process of building a European Union that is neoliberal and anti-democratic.

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