Australian Greens another middle class party?

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mikabill
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Feb 5 2007 06:48
Australian Greens another middle class party?

Can people comment on the Australian Greens

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boozemonarchy
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Feb 5 2007 06:58

hey mikabill,

the following comment is based on the assumption that I've found the political party you speak of, and not some other one with a similar name. But to clarify, give me the affirmative that this is one of their symbols.

If it is, then they are statist, left of center, ecology minded politicos. Far from anarchist, and incapable of accomplishing anything towards working-class liberation.

mikabill
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Feb 5 2007 07:51

yes thats is them/us can you explain statist?
bill

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boozemonarchy
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Feb 5 2007 08:39

Hey again mikabill

mikabill wrote:
yes thats is them/us can you explain statist?
bill

Right on, wasn't to hard to track em' down. and sure I can explain why they are statist.

Many non-anarchists use the word to describe political systems with a high degree of state control over the economy. I and many other anarchists use it to describe political tendancies (from state communists to the extreme right and every single one in between) that rely on the existance of the state to obtain political power. Thus the electoral campaigns of the Australian Greens is very indicative of their statism.

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Bubbles
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Feb 5 2007 10:19

anything simple you want to know, like the meaning of a political word, just check wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statist

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jason
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Feb 7 2007 00:21
Quote:
Can people comment on the Australian Greens

The Greens strike me as some wierd amalgam of drop-kick hippies and middle-class liberals. I believe this wierd mix stems from a complete lack of theory beyond knee-jerk activism, so it sorta acts as a catch all group for people who care about green issues. This of course leads to cross class politics and inevitably liberalism.

People think (or don't think wink ) that by being involved in a minor party that they are some how immune to all the problems faced by the major parties - incidentally, whilst simultaneously having the goal of being a major party! confused

The problem with minor parties is that if they start to poll well, a major party picks up the issue and runs with it. So for all the hard work of committed members, they end up acting as some sort of polling service for the major political actors. We saw this with the Liberals adopting One Nation policies, and we'll see Labor-Left faction sounding like the Greens in a matter of days now. So any intelligent person would ask themselves what the point is being involved with them.

On the other hand there is the chance that they will gain a little power and influence events. This has happened in Europe where proportional representation is the norm, but is extremely unlikely to happen here. But anyway, lets say it happens for arguments sake. There's a few little concepts that Green party hacks should familiarise themselves with: Capital flight and/or investor confidence. Any real reforms would see Capitalists effectively striking and recession. So the Greens would be forced to make comprises, etc, with capital. Again any numb nuts would ask themsleves what the point is.

And on a more personal level I can't stand the small business and professional milieu that make up the leadership. Elitist hacks with lip-service talk of grass-roots democracy (whatever that is?) coupled with contempt for autonomous working class action. Essentially liberalism in a nutshell.

Terry
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Feb 7 2007 01:23

I don’t know anything about the Australian Green Party.
I know a bit about some of the European ones though.

As has been pointed out here by other posters the ones that had a chance of getting into a position of power basically had their radical agenda nullified (see German greens and NATO and nuclear power - the two issues that defined them) - this nearly happened to the British party after only minor success in the polls.

The Green party activists are not all simply ‘reformist’ though - at least the writings I have read from the British Green party do not deserve that label, and the German green party in the 80s had a strong far left influence. The Irish Green party on the other hand is really terrible! (though a couple of people went through them to the libertarian left).

Greens party activists do have a radical agenda, they just don’t have sufficient analysis of capitalism, or the strategic ideas, necessary to realise that agenda, and hence you end up with reformism.

The potential of a lot of folk gets squandered, particularly on electoralism.

Parts of the American Green party seem more left. At least Murray Bookchin was in a precursor organisation and some of the people around the Capitalism, Nature, Socialism, journal have been involved in the US Green party.

To me the history of the Green parties tells of the weakness of the anarchist movement.

A new movement rejecting the authoritarian organisational models of the traditional left, influenced by ecology, feminism, and anti-militarism, ends up in the dead end route of electoral politics and slowly but surely turns grey, when all things being equal it should have stuck with, or led to, a libertarian left of grassroots action.

On the plus side of the Green parties at least they see environmental issues as being of great importance, and have, in the case of the left, a someways sensible analysis of that.

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jason
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Feb 7 2007 01:41
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To me the history of the Green parties tells of the weakness of the anarchist movement.

How so? Green Parties and anarchist groups should stem from two completely separate demographics. It is not a zero-som game. Its not like growing Green parties draw large numbers of people away from working class organisations. They draw people from the middle-class. We don't really want that kind of people.

More like the history of the Green paries tells about a political vacuum. With an increase in class struggle I'm sure a lot of Green party hacks would be driven into the conservative camp (where they belong).

Quote:
A new movement rejecting the authoritarian organisational models of the traditional left, influenced by ecology, feminism, and anti-militarism, ends up in the dead end route of electoral politics and slowly but surely turns grey, when all things being equal it should have stuck with, or led to, a libertarian left of grassroots action.

IMHO all things being equal,single issues like anti-authoritarianism, ecology, feminism, and anti-militarism coupled with electoralsim lead necessarily to liberal reformism. There was no other option for the Green parties. Also, we don't need or want a libertarian left. We need to reject the term left once and for all as representing the left-wing of Capital.

bastarx
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Feb 7 2007 02:12

In 99 the German Greens - then the junior partner in the coalition govt with the Social Democrats - played a key role in mobilising hordes of retarded middle-class liberals behind the bombing of Serbia with bollocks about 'humanitarian war'.

Later that year the Australian Greens were pretty important in getting Australian troops into East Timor using similar rhetoric.

Terry
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Feb 7 2007 13:11

Jason what do you mean by middle class and working class.
I ask as even the people in the Irish anarchist movement who are from unquestionably working class backgrounds like me for instance, would I think? predominantly be graduates, as I am.

"single issues like anti-authoritarianism, ecology, feminism, and anti-militarism"

Get that in regard to anti-militarism perhaps, but not anti-authoritarianism, ecology and feminism, which seem to me to be a lot more than single issues.

The Irish Green Party I would certainly see going into the conservative camp (but perhaps since at some stage they purged their radicals) - they would not have far to move in my book, but the German Green party in the 80s had apparently a strong far left influence and participation.
Bookchin and eco-Marxists have been someways involved in the US Green party (or precursor organisations).
A fair slice of early Earth First! UK activists seem to have been from the Green party.

On libertarian left et al - this is an argument over terminology, I think if you ran up a list of what you think 'left wing politics' you could be pretty sure my view on it is similar or the same to yours.

Edit: To remove typo

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jason
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Feb 7 2007 23:51
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Jason what do you mean by middle class and working class. I ask as even the people in the Irish anarchist movement who are from unquestionably working class backgrounds like me for instance, would I think? predominantly be graduates, as I am.

When I say middle-class I am generally referring to small business owners and professionals. My perception of the Australian Green Party is that it draws most of its leadership from this demographic. Not to say that working people aren't involved, but not I believe in significant numbers so that the Green party can be defined as a failure of the anarchist movement.

Tertiary education does not define class. Plenty of working people enter the universities nowadays. In a high-tech economy, doing a degree is like doing a trade a generation ago and not all graduates enter the professions. Someone with a science degree will end up testing water or pathology samples for $45K p.a. (less than 30k euros) with short term contracts, etc. However, I still consider the traditional professions like law and medicine as middle-class though.

Quote:
Bookchin and eco-Marxists have been someways involved in the US Green party (or precursor organisations).
A fair slice of early Earth First! UK activists seem to have been from the Green party.

But that's exactly my point. Bookchin lost faith in the first world proletariat and went down the path of grass-roots democracy (whatever that is). Earth First! is a bunch of irrelevant activists (actually critisiced by Boockhin too). So the Green party has never had anything to do with autonomous working-class action, but has now and then thrown up lip-service reference to libertarian politics.

Quote:
On libertarian left et al - this is an argument over terminology, I think if you ran up a list of what you think 'left wing politics' you could be pretty sure my view on it is similar or the same to yours.

I get what you're saying here but I believe terminology is important. Historically the left described those sitting in the left of parlimanet so is intimately entwined with bourgois politics. And don't forget that the left includes Lenin, Stalin, Greens, etc. Do you refer to the CNT in '36 as the Left? I think that would be gross misrepresentation.

Terry
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Feb 8 2007 01:13

Like I say I don't know anything about the Australian Green party, but if I was to extrapolate a general rule from the current status of the Irish one, then I would agree with you (in fact I would be even more anti-Green party) however this doesn't represent the totality of Green parties or all who have been involved in them.

Take for instance Earth First! UK (relevant because to some degree it started as a break away from the UK Green Party). Note UK, Bookchin's critique was of Dave Foreman of Earth First! US (and out of it by the time Earth First UK got going).
The Do or Die! website is down at the moment, but to me has a fair bit in it about what I would class "autonomous working-class action", but try this article instead:
http://www.geocities.com/knightrose.geo/sub17_2.htm
as the article says there is also material on this in Aufheben.

I think your argument that the left of Green parties have no relationship to, or similarities with rather, the anarchist movement, seems to hinge on seeing the anarchist movement as organically linked to class struggle.
But it isn't. The contemporary anarchist movement consists of people who think the way society is organised is shit and it could be changed, orientation towards class struggle is a strategy to that end. In no way do these boards for example represent something that has grown out of class struggle in Britain.
In that sense the anarchist movement is similar to the left of Green parties, except they have a very poor anaylsis and not a notion of strategy.
I don't see any reason why people wanting radical change ending up in the Green party is not a potential loss to the anarchist movement. Moreso when we consider what is to my mind ideological similarities, at the very least in regard to some Green party activists' libertarian focus. I would consider a left Green closer to anarchism than someone from the traditional left.

ticking_fool
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Feb 8 2007 08:14
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I would consider a left Green closer to anarchism than someone from the traditional left.

Anecdotally, most of the local Green party here are also involved in some of the same activity as the anarchos and the most active chap and main organiser (a fabulous guy who I've worked with a lot) fairly frequently bemoans losing potential members to the anarchists.

yuda
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Feb 8 2007 08:26
ticking_fool wrote:
Quote:
I would consider a left Green closer to anarchism than someone from the traditional left.

Anecdotally, most of the local Green party here are also involved in some of the same activity as the anarchos and the most active chap and main organiser (a fabulous guy who I've worked with a lot) fairly frequently bemoans losing potential members to the anarchists.

Hmm, in New Zealand the opposite seems to be true, anarchists tend to leave to become green party members

ticking_fool
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Feb 8 2007 08:38
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Hmm, in New Zealand the opposite seems to be true, anarchists tend to leave to become green party members

We are both absolutely microscopic though - you're talking about the circulation of very few people. As I understand it, New Zealand Greens are a bit bigger so there's probably more of a 'results' pull, whereas Greens and anarchos here are absolutely nowhere so you might as well go for the option with the more consistent politics (for pretty low values of consistent politics).

Terry
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Feb 8 2007 14:04

"a vague "small is beatiful" parochial concept of decentralisation"

..bit like me then...

Yeah revol, if we are talking about Ireland circa 2007 I would be much harder on the Green party than you...which I suspect just means the one in the South is much worse...but this phenomenon of Green parties is just not collapsable into one uniform category... for instance apparently the German one in the 80s had a strong anarchist, Trotskyist and Maoist influence and participation, so you would have lots of people to talk to wouldn't you. Likewise today I think we can see the Green Party in the Republic and the Green Party in England are quite different creatures.
I don't think there is a radical element at all to the first one.
A large slice of the libertarian left in Ireland has held with consensus decision making, and the best critique of it was written by Bookchin.

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jason
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Feb 10 2007 04:29
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I think your argument that the left of Green parties have no relationship to, or similarities with rather, the anarchist movement, seems to hinge on seeing the anarchist movement as organically linked to class struggle.

Not seeing, wanting. The current lack of class-struggle means that anarchism is being adopted by all softs of left-liberals as a hobby horse ideology. So it may well be that many Green party people currently share a lot of similarities with self-proclaimed anarchists. However, I would dearly love to see this situation change.