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.

Lurid headlines like “Secret past of Greens senator Lee Rhiannon”, “Rhiannon's secret rendezvous with 'agent-running KGB officers'” and “NSW Greens 'riven by branch warfare'” sought to vilify progressive Greens MPs.

Rhiannon has answered the latest red-baiting attacks, noting the Australian appeared to have been given access to material that had been blacked out in her released ASIO files about a trip she made to England as an 18-year old.

She said the Australian's “attempt to associate my departure on a Russian cruise ship to potential spy activities is ridiculous. I left on the MS Shota Rustaveli as at that time it was the cheapest way to get to England, and unfortunately quite boring as we were at sea for six weeks.”

Then on February 2, progressive NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge was attacked for speaking at the recent national conference of the Socialist Alliance, in the article “MP's visit to far-left meeting roils Greens”. Shoebridge's “cameo appearance” at a “meeting of a far-left group” had “raised eyebrows” in the Greens, the article said.

Shoebridge has nothing to be ashamed of. His greetings to the Socialist Alliance conference were open, frank and delivered with humour, as readers can read for themselves on the Socialist Alliance website, or see in the video below.

He joked: “I haven't come here to join the Socialist Alliance but I have come here to give you a sign of enormous goodwill for what you are doing here over these two days as a political project.

“It is a strong call for unity in progressive politics. We do face challenging times. I think many people in the broader populace see the market ascendancy as inevitable, total, complete and absolutely hegemonic. I personally don't believe that.

“We are seeing a globe where market hegemony in other parts of the world, in Europe and the United States is being seriously questioned. We see it here in the streets with Occupy Sydney. We are seeing a market economy facing extreme pressures and partial collapse.

“That gives progressive politics an enormously broad space to start talking over a couple of years about what can replace it, what can empower individuals and communities, how we can re-order our society and our economy in order to deliver for people, in order to deliver for the environment.”

Shoebridge summed up the situation well. Capitalism has taken the world to an unprecedented crisis point. The global climate change crisis, which the Australian often denies, and the new global economic crisis means there is an objective necessity for the left and the Greens to work together against the powerful forces that oppose the urgently needed changes in our society.

Every genuine capital “G” or small “g” green knows this is an objective necessity — if we are to rescue our common future from corporate greed.

At its latest conference, the Socialist Alliance reaffirmed that it “seeks the greatest possible political collaboration with the Greens”. The powerful enemies of political change have an equally strong resolve to destroy the left-Green cooperation we need to save the future. Sadly, it is certain that right-wingers in the Greens are helping the corporate media smear campaign.

[Peter Boyle is a national co-convenor of the Socialist Alliance of Australia.]

From GLW issue 909