Green Party & the Green Left

blogDavid Smith, the campaigns officer for the Leeds Green party and a member of the Green left offers some personal views on the state of left politics.

UKIP

192 councillors (but there are ongoing defections)

11 MEPs (but again possible defections)

Parish councillors?

 

Green Party

141 principle authority Councillors

14 Scottish Councillors

2 MSP

2 AM

2 MEP

1 MP

Numerous parish Councillors

So we have the rise of UKIP but the last BNP councillor did lose their seat in Burnley. In reality, the right wing voters have simply switched to UKIP or Tory.  I have been told this at street stalls for different campaign groups. In the 2012 Leeds local elections generally the UKIP split the Tory vote but perhaps 10-20% of their vote appeared to be protest? However if the battle becomes between centre right and right then the country will suffer. Whilst the 3 main parties are very similar, has the moral political centre actually moved OR are people simply not voting? Have we morally as a country lurched further right through the 00s ?  The lowest turnout in Leeds is about 12% but most local elections get above 20%. This increases with if regional, national or euro elections are held on the same day. The Euro elections are next year, this may encourage people to vote twice for UKIP. In 2009 the Greens narrowly got beaten by the BNP in both Yorkshire and Lancashire. The bigger question is whether Respect, No 2 EU or any other green left group will stand in Yorkshire? The Euro Green Party campaign is “Yes, Yes, Yes”- yes to a referendum, yes to EU reform and yes to staying in the EU. But it does leave us exposed to the question: What happens if you can’t get reform?..No?

And is the rise in the UKIP vote due to migration, Europe or desperation? One thing that does annoy me is when people assume Labour is the party of ‘the working class’. The reality is that in certain areas, it is the Tories and UKIP who pick up the ‘working class’ vote. You have to accept this to do something about it! There also is the assumption about class consciousness. Our whole state is drifting further right, our NHS is been privatised, the rich are getting richer and yet some people would rather talk about ‘class’ for hours. In the modern era do people know what ‘class’ is? Or do they associate ‘socialism’ or ‘class’ with repressive totalitarian regimes eg. Stalin, North Korea? It may take many decades before ‘socialism’ loses the association with dictatorships? But people do care about inequality, the environment, NHS etc.

Divided Left?

Of course beyond Labour, Libdems, Tories and UKIP there is a whole raft of Liberals, Stalinists, Trotskyists, Internationalists, Communists, Anarchists and Libertarians. Whilst some are ‘left’, others appear to support totalitarian regimes /methods. So how many groups are there? Well the EPSR reckons there are ‘57 varieties’ of far left groups. If we add Labour Left, Greens and perhaps the very odd Lib Dem then we might get 60 ish? If you then add all the campaign groups then you are easily in the hundreds. In fact it is increasingly becoming a crowded ‘marketplace’ (to use business parlance). Some people are looking for a group for like-minded people, some to campaign and some people are looking for simple solutions. In fact it would appear that some people enjoy centralism deciding for them what is ‘ethical’ and just. Perhaps the world has become too complicated and people seek direction, although this can border on blind faith? Remember

 ‘no one holds a monopoly on the truth’

Amen

The Greens have a Federal/Decentralised structure so parties are free to concentrate on local issues, greens issues and social justice. And some candidates choose to focus on 2 of the 3, I can’t deny that. Parties are free to decide where to stand and create campaigns. The Green Party is generally ‘bottom up’.  Certain Green parties have made arrangements with independents or Liberals. I would happily support a strong local indie in an area we do poorly, but some in the party constantly want a ‘full slate’ to give people the ‘option to vote green’. Again it should be on a case by case basis. But this is what Will Duckworth, the deputy party leader said about the formation of a new Left Unity party:

 “There is no need to reinvent the wheel, Just get behind it and push.”

 Every Green knows that since 1990 our emissions haven’t gone down. They have actually increased by 10%: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22267231 Every Green councillor will know this, they are doing all they can but fundamentally they know that our current capitalist system is not green.

CAC

 So far 25 Labour councillors have signed the Labour Left/Labour Representation Committee pledgeathttp://councillorsagainstcuts.org/A number have been kicked out of the Labour party for signing the pledge.A number of Green Party councillors have signed the pledge but CAC will not publish them. They argue that if they put non labour councillors on the petition then they will alienate the party. To be fair Labour do not like the Greens and I sometimes get patronised by them. That’s not to say there aren’t individual good members. But I have heard of people joining a local Labour Party to “keep an eye on them” !

In fact the increasing negative articles on the Greens by Labour only shows how worried they are. Yet if any big party completely adopted our policies then many, many greens would join them. Yet they are still stuck on the pro-growth, mythical political centre. In fact during one labour conference there was a discussion called “how to combat the green peril”! The reality is of course that I see little difference between Labour, Lib and Tory cabinets. In fact at a local level you can easily get Labour councillors who are right of Conservative and vice versa.

 Labour and Cooperative party

 Recently a motion at a southern co-op AGM asked the co-op to disaffiliate from the Labour Party. Until Labour changes I would encourage more members of the co-op to ask this question. It would be interesting to see what an independent “Cooperative Party” would do. If their main aim was to create and encourage ethical transparent worker owned co-operatives then things could get very interesting. I would recommend everyone goes to the regular 6 monthly co-op meetings. You even get dividends and free snacks! And they can have influence. A motion last year forced the co-op to stop buying food from the Israeli occupied territories and members must have been one of the reasons they stopped using ATOS. However the co-op does seem to be taking on supermarkets by copying some of their methods. But in the process are the becoming exactly the same? The co-op should be more radical and if enough people went to meetings then it really could be.

 There are analogies between the above and Labour’s relationship with the unions.

 Respect

 Initially after George Galloway’s election the far left was really excited but sadly George Galloway is both their biggest asset and biggest liability. Perhaps with ‘personalities’ you always get issues? So I personally will not support North Korea or the Cuban government (they are dictatorships/monarchies). But would support any (non violent) action to stop the US blockade of Cuba, end the use of Guantamano Bay and reduce nuclear weapons. The logic of the G8 doesn’t work:

 ‘you can’t have Weapons of Mass Destruction as we already have them’

I keep hearing mixed reports from Bradford and it remains to be seen how they do in next years local elections. In the past the Greens and Respect have had arrangements. I get the impression that a lot of the left have started to ignore Respect?

TUSC

This has been going for nearly 3 years and so far have only elected 1 parish councillor (against the only opposition of an indie candidate). Unofficially they also have a SWP councillor in Preston but he stood as an independent, possibly on purpose? Interestingly, I don’t think the SWP can stand under the name “SWP” so the TUSC label gives them options. The Socialist Party can only stand as Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW) so again TUSC is useful. I couldn’t also help notice that ‘CAC’ and ‘SPEW’ have ‘well sic’ names….TUSC in electoral terms have been poor but as a ?pressure? group they have had some influence. Last in year in Leeds the Alliance for Green Socialism, Socialist Party and ?SWP? in Leeds came up with an ant-cuts pledge. They asked candidates to agree to the pledge. It was somewhat secretive and I was the only Green Party candidate. In reality it should have been sent to every single candidate, regardless of party. Now here is where left unity could be useful. They could publish the pledges loud and clear for everyone to see. The signing could be a big event and could get local press? If you contact your local Green Party then you will be guaranteed a reply.

Green Vs Left

Now I believe the two can be resolved but sometimes they clash. Over the past 2 years I have been in and out of temporary work and seen top down, mixed and bottom up groups. They all might have their place but you can generally boil them down to:

A)Campaigns against inequality

B)Campaigns against environmental destruction

However if you resolve A then B becomes much easier. I am a member of ‘Green Left’ the Ecosocialist group within the Green Party. And I also have personal ideals which if the Green Party crosses, then I will leave. One thing that Labour particularly doesn’t get is the idea that ‘growth’ isn’t really the answer. Growth in science, equality, health and life expectancy are great but growth for the sake of growth is pointless. Eternal growth in a finite world is impossible. So are MPs really that stupid or do they knowingly lying to us? Consumption and inequality are the problem not population. But if we continue to consume more and more under our current system then you simply cannot ignore population. One day we might have ‘open borders’ but I feel we are a long way off that? Yet time and again it is shown to be an important issue to a significant proportion of the population. Science offers no ‘correct’ answer on the topic. So if I am ever elected then I will simply defer my opinion on population to the electorate (I know, I know I can hear the far left muttering already) whilst talking about Europe and population in a simple progressive respectful way. Otherwise the people who have issues about population and Europe will vote far right. Don’t let only the far right have monopoly on talking about population and Europe.  It is not a taboo subject. Remember:

 

‘There is no such thing as a stupid question’

 Brighton & Bristol

 Generally the left doesn’t have major issues with our policies. And in 2010 we had a fully budgeted alternative.  Alas we didn’t get any press as figures which add up are a ‘non-story’. But they do have a go over our anti-cuts stance. Out all of the councils, again and again they bring up Brighton and Bristol.

Firstly I don’t really understand Bristol (I can’t be an expert in every Green Party!) but there appears to be some form of rainbow alliance. Gus also has the full backing of his local party. Here is what Cllr Gus Hoyt said:

Then there are the cuts. As a Green (and personally) I am fundamentally against the cuts that Westminster is forcing on the country. I believe they are ideologically driven and that the money can be found elsewhere (clamping down on irresponsible corporations and tax avoiders, for example).

This does not change the fact that as a local authority we have no alternative but to accept the financial situation which has been imposed upon us. Savings of £34m have to be found, but I will do my best to ameliorate the effects on the most vulnerable. Clearly this is not a position I ever wanted to be in, but with power comes responsibility. We have to rise to this challenge and put the needs of the people of the city before short-term political gain.

I can see the Labour leaflets already. “Greens deliver coalition cuts!” But hopefully Bristolians will see through this shallow taunt. We all know that Labour mayoral candidate Marvin Rees would have had to do exactly the same, had he won. We will be helping forge a new way of doing things here in Bristol, and I genuinely believe it will work.

Hopefully it might also serve to stop the childish pantomime that has dominated local politics for so long.’

I wince at the Thatcherite ‘There is no Alternative’ (TINA) but interestingly in the 2013 elections the Green party in Bristol gained extra councillors. Make of that what you will.

And finally Brighton. Now firstly Labour and Conservatives always vote down the minority administration government. So we never get a full Green Budget. Secondly every year at least 1 green councillor votes against or does not vote for the Brighton green budget. Council Leader Jason Kitkat stated that amongst local authorities:

 ‘I have picked up no appetite at all for any of them setting “illegal” anti-cuts budgets’

 And

 ‘I am utterly opposed to the government’s austerity agenda, which Labour say they would continue with if elected in 2015’

 The Greens are therefore looking for long term sustainable forms of funding. They have mentioned ‘illegal budgets’ in their leaflets and Jason has called on Brighton to reject right wing politicians. On a pragmatic level if Greens refuse to set a budget then Labour and others happily will. But the Greens will likely gain more councillors in next years local elections and they can no longer use this as an excuse. Ultimately the decision lies with Brighton voters. Brighton Green party should instead of dismissing illegal budgets as ‘this is not the 1980s’, should actually be putting the open question to their voters on a ward by ward basis. There are various ways they could ask their voters. Ultimately it would then be up to the people of Brighton. Brighton is fairly radical city but I cannot pretend to speak for Brighton.

However a principled stand as indicated by their local voters would almost certainly guarantee re-election (I believe this happened in 1980s Liverpool).  If the Greens had a majority it is very unlikely that 1 authority would damage the government much. In fact the government would seize it, privatise, cut jobs and introduce various schemes such as workfare. You would need a number of authorities to simultaneously set an anti-cuts budget. This is again where left unity could do some work? Everyone forgets:

 “If no one will implement a government decision then it would simply not happen”

 Recently there has been a ‘dispute’ between Brighton refuse workers and the council. It would appear the Greens have had to resolve something which the Conservatives and Labour failed to sort and voted against the tax rise which could have resolved it. Jason KitKat wrote:

‘I make no apology for seeking to introduce fair pay and allowances for all staff from care workers, social workers to gardeners and waste operatives. Since Greens formed the administration our lowest paid all have and will retain bigger pay packets through our introduction of the Living Wage, where we have led the way in local government. Senior management pay is at its lowest level in over a decade. As a result we’ve closed the gap between highest and lowest paid in the council meaning it’s far more equal than when Labour ran the council…………………………………………We have to resolve these allowances now. To do so without any detriment to any member of staff would sadly be totally unaffordable, even with Council Tax rises that would certainly not be supported by Labour and Conservative councillors. It is also important to remember that Brighton & Hove is the second worst-cut council of its type in the country. Being simply against any detriment to anyone might be ideologically pure, but doesn’t offer any solutions to the immediate situation the city council finds itself in. The Labour Party are not interested in the rights and wrongs of this important issue, and are cynically using it as a stick to beat the Green administration whilst knowingly not telling people the whole story.’

 In fact the wage bill of Brighton council will actually go up. The party and MP take a different view:

http://www.brightonhovegreens.org/news/greens-oppose-council-staff-pay-cuts.html

http://www.redpepper.org.uk/the-pay-dispute-at-brighton-council-a-green-view/

At the last Green Party Conference a motion asking Brighton to take a lead in organising a anti-cuts conference was lost by about 40% to 60%. The party is split on the issue and we are all watching Brighton. A anti-cuts budget could turn Brighton into a ‘sacrificial lamb’ or be the beginning of the end of ‘wealth before health’.

It will also impact the debate about whether the Green Party should change its name? But whatever label you attach you are almost guaranteed to alienate someone.

Unions & anti-cuts groups

 As a Green I support unions but worry I might be indirectly helping re-elect ‘New Labour’. The Unite Community branch for those not in work, shows that there are at least a few modernisers in unions. Sadly of course they rang around the local Unite Community membership asking if they wanted to join the Labour Party. Generally union membership is low in the private sector and you cannot soley blame the public and MPS, you also have to have a good long look in the mirror. Interestingly GMB is constantly having a go at Brighton council yet surely they should also be having a go at all the cuts happening in Labour run councils? In Leeds the GMB has only recently set up a petition against care home closures. In 2012 they didn’t do much when they closed homes in South Leeds. Our Green councillors set up their own petition but they are only 2 out of 99 councillors (yes you could make a Jay-Z cover about 99 councillors).

A few unions do not support any party eg. PCS. And there isn’t good branches or shop stewards in other unions. Ultimately unions should be bottom up and allowed at a local level to follow any general progressive campaign. Currently I am trying to join IWW but at this rate maybe I should form ‘Leeds Green Left Union’?

 Others ways to organise

 That’s right as a member of a political party I accept that elections cannot solve everything. They can only provide the fair ethical framework and inspire people to think differently. But they cannot and should not run everything. There are numerous ways to organise campaigns. Here are 198 methods of nonviolent action: http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations103a.html

All though I do remember a Labour Party officer saying that Greens should organise co-ops and leave politics to them. I wouldn’t want to repeat the same mistake!

 Personal ethics

 This came up at a party gathering, a big problem is that:

 ‘ people cannot live without hope and it can be easier for them to change/bury their personal values than live in the knowledge that they are economically forced to do unethical things’

 This is really gets to the nub of why the principles of neoliberalism are so debilitating to human progress. Yes things could be worse but they could also be a lot better. We cannot end all problems but we should at least try! We are now in the position of been stewards of the planet AKA Anthropocene.

Useful example Values:

Any campaign to reduce wage inequality .

Any campaign to get more ethical co-ops (yes it is possible for co-ops can be unethical).

Anti-‘growth for sake of growth’.

Anti-nuclear weapons.

Citizen’s income/stipend  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaranteed_minimum_income).

Health before wealth (yes to NHS).

Local democracy and referendums if required (yes the Green Party supports an EU referendum) Stand up to ‘experts’ and ‘officers’ if required. They can be worse than MPs and Councillors.

Peace but we cannot stand back and let genocide happen. Debate about whether we should ever get involved in other people’s civil wars.

People before profit.

To appreciate and try to understand Scientific principles.

Remember to Laugh

Certain campaigners appeared very happy about Margaret Thatcher’s death but this is not good if this is the only time you are really happy! Remember to celebrate any ‘victories’ and show you can achieve things. I would also like to add that in reality there is little difference between Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron (look at the rising inequality and carbon emissions). But then again I was born in the 1980s, which someone in Bradford once said makes me:

 “One of Thatcher’s children”

 In fact at the moment there is a massive gap in political satire, another possibility for Left unity? Take the best bits from Bird, Bremner & Fortune, Deadringers, Fast Show, Mitchell & Web, Monkey Dust, Smack the Pony and Spitting Image and make it political. Get in touch if your within striking (pun not intended) distance of Leeds J

 

David/wastedfood.co.uk

 


12 comments

12 responses to “Green Party & the Green Left”

  1. Ben McCall says:

    It just goes to show, it is not just the old left that witter on!

    I totally agree about growth. LU must get its collective head around this issue and not find itself arguing (i) for an expansion of capitalist consumption and (ii) for no cuts, when some cuts are obviously desirable.

    Your point about the Co-op Party is a good one and a mischievous suggestion that would be very useful to creatively destabilise Labour and the social economy. The recent over-stretch and pfut of the Co-op Bank, which tried desperately to be just a boring private sector bank ‘with ethics’ (check out “Co-operative Radio!” kids and their cringe-worthy magazine: a ‘negro-free zone, apart from the stereotypes’ as someone accurately described it).

    And what about anti-nuclear power?!

    Lastly and most importantly: “Peace but we cannot stand back and let genocide happen. Debate about whether we should ever get involved in other people’s civil wars.” Utter garbage – an internationalist principled position is to never, ever intervene anywhere militarily. Name me one place – apart from perhaps Cambodia, when our Vietnamese comrades stopped the Western and China-backed Kmer Rouge carnage – that this has ever been for the good?

    A progressive international policy would be to totally renounce the intention and capacity to “project power oversees” as the Labour spokespeople insist on describing it; to recall our troops from wherever they are, counsel and retrain them in socially useful jobs and integrate them into a full-employment (in its widest, socialist society, sense) and train the general population in total passive resistance to any external or internal threat to peaceful democracy.

    This should obviously be done with a major international ‘offensive’ to win partners in this cause (and a lot of preparation beforehand, but the ‘element of surprise’ is worth considering!) and a determined attack on the trans-national military-industrial complex, undermining their amoral position and economic base.

    Imagine the UK and global resources this would save, the socially useful labour and production it could liberate and the child murders it would prevent. That is a real alternative to the current consensus – and is well worth struggling for.

  2. John Collingwood says:

    Thanks to David Smith for a very helpful article, with enough detail to give a really good feel for how the Greens try to operate within the political landscape, as well as how the party regards its core values, and the range of particular issues it engages with, recognising the importance of local circumstances in relation to central government powers.

    One gets a real sense of how they see themselves as the focus for a very broad movement, rather than as campaigners for a particular segment of the population.

    For me, in relation to Left Unity, the article points up two big questions:

    Firstly, how does one find an effective balance between (a) taking up the traditional political struggle within the system as it exists now, and (b) concentrating effort on changing the public mood and perceptions such that the capitalist establishment loses the apathetic consent that currently allows its crazy career to continue. The Green Party obviously recognises the limitations of fighting unwinnable skirmishes, and thereby losing overall support however valiantly one tries to fight for the right things. But that could be a very long game.

    Secondly, with it being so widely understood – in the sense of believing it to be true – that the capitalist model cannot function at all without growth at the macroeconomic level, how do we give people the confidence that our approach to improving their lot makes economic sense? In the absence of any mass desire for revolution – which seems a pretty safe bet unless things get a hell of a lot worse – we have to be able describe a transition from modern capitalism to a better alternative without just conjuring up visions of failed experiments from the past. Vested interests still hold back the economics community, but there is good technical stuff going on, and increasing evidence to debunk the current ideological insanities, and provide better ideas as to how to focus spending and jobs on socially useful production.

    Interesting that the Greens Party’s deputy leader should say “There is no need to reinvent the wheel, Just get behind it and push.” But that presupposes that you know what sort of road you have in front of you, and whether the wheel you have got is fit for that purpose. I’m not sure we’re anywhere near that stage yet.

  3. Micky D says:

    A fantastic example of the madness of green thought. Anti growth …anti consumption …you may as well say anti growth …and pro austerity … If this is the kind of lunacy LU is going to indulge in , then it will be as irrelevant to most peoples lives and concerns as other fringe left parties. The Green party in Brighton has shown where its sympathies lie with its attempt to steal money off hard working bin men. Population growth is not a problem , its Malthusian nonsense at its worst , but is the direct outcome of embracing anti growth policies . LU should be anti cuts and pro growth , the green alternative looks to be anti growth , pro austerity , pro cuts , anti popluation growth , pro interceding in other countries affairs …this is a recipie for disaster .

    • John Penney says:

      Yep, Whatever ” pseudo socialist rhetoric” the Greens include in their manifesto, they are root and branch a party determined to operate entirely within the capitalist status quo. In a properous state, and a period of capitalist growth, “Green politics” can appeal to a large section of citizens, particularly the middle classes. Witness the long Green success in Germany. Come the inevitable capitalist Slump after the period of boom however, and the Greens are ideologically pre-programmed to rather like “austerity”, “recession”, the “end of “growth”. They end up, when in office, enthusiastically implementing cuts , no matter that it is the poorest and most vulnerable who get hit hardest. The “socialistic” bit of the Green manifesto is just “window dressing” – the hard core of belief is very dodgy indeed – for population control – the reactionery “neo Malthusian” agenda, attracted to “Austerity” because it might “Save the Planet” – but the poor starve and the Rich continue to prosper.

      Left Unity needs to combine responsible environmental policies with the determination to return to GROWTH, to create jobs for all, and good housing for all . AND we need to undertake a radical transfer of wealth, power, and income from the rich to the majority of citizens. the “Green Movement” is too compromised by its reactionery neo-Malthusian base ideology and chronic reformism to be a consistent ally of the Left.

      • John Collingwood says:

        John, the devil is in the detail here. Growth – as defined by GDP – is more or less synonymous with resource consumption, and its exponential increase will wreck the planet for your children and mine, and everybody elses, regardless of our politics. This is the engine that capitalism relies on. Getting ‘back to growth’ will not on its own solve the jobs problem or the housing problem: just look at the record over the last 40 years to see how much of this so-called growth has benefited any but the top few percent. It is how the resources are used and allocated that matters; that is why we need to have a planned economy and move away from fetishing GDP, which is completely blind to the concept of socially useful consumption and puts as much ‘value’ on fouling things up and clearing up the resulting mess, as it does on housing renewal and better education. Also, one must not confuse conservation with austerity – the latter being an ideologically driven, straw-clutching attempt to preserve a monetary system that is in (probably terminal) crisis, at the expense of the weak, whereas conservation of resources is simply the responsible recognition that we all inhabit a finite planet – something that is now becoming a real, physical problem in a way that hadn’t been so obvious until the mid-twentieth century. I agree that the Greens are trying to work within a bankrupt system, within which one will have great difficulty in doing more good than harm, but there is no getting away from the fact that we share the same planet with the same laws of physics, and if ever there was a need for a properly scientific socialism it is now.

      • jqmark says:

        john the problem with you analysis is that green socialist and marxists exist they have chosen on the whole to operate in socialist parties and green parties rather than create there own organisations. i still recommend as i said in previous thread that you read the rise of the green left by derek wall and follow that with the no-nonsense guide to green politics (sociailist resistance have done a good reader to). you may still feel that green politics does not belong on the left but at least you will understand the arguments of the people who cant choose green or red as they both.

  4. David Smith says:

    Hi
    Despite the length of the article I still neglected to mention Internationalism!

    -Yes its debatable with banking in its current form can ever be sustainable.

    -Yes I am currently against nuclear power in its current form but if we resolve the waste problem and use much safer isotopes/methods AND make the mining sustainable/fairtrade then I would consider nuclear. Also different
    isotopes that cannot be used for nuclear weapons. There is the odd international research project. A minority of GP member support nuclear power as they cannot see how else we can meet the carbon cuts.

    -I used the phrase ‘debate’ because of Rwandan Genocide. It is almost certain that a bigger UN peacekeeping force (which did not take sides) would have saved many lives. Now Rwanda was complicated as a colonial power was also involved. It may even be true that Rwanda’s problems were due to colonialism. I could never agree to the bombing of civilians but if major genocide happens, can we ignore it? Yes it is also hard to decide what “major genocide” is. Yes Iraq and Afghanistan were wrong and I see no reason to touch Iran or Syria. One of the reasons we ‘supported’ the ‘rebels’ in Libya was because it would affect the markets and Southern Europe/Mediterranean trading links. Now whilst I can’t support the bombing of civilians, I also know that the civil war could have rumbled on for years. The world is not black and white.

    I would also add that UN is far from perfect but ultimately in any society you would need some sort of international body.

    I read somewhere that total money spent on military could lift the world out of absolute poverty or fear of food shortages.

  5. David Smith says:

    @Micky D

    Its a quite a long article but you appear to have missed a few bits.

    RE intervention abroad, see above post

    RE population. This is what I said:

    ‘Consumption and inequality are the problem not population. But if we continue to consume more and more under our current system then you simply cannot ignore population. One day we might have ‘open borders’ but I feel we are a long way off that?’….’Growth in science, equality, health and life expectancy are great but growth for the sake of growth is pointless. Eternal growth in a finite world is impossible.’

    Truly if everyone in the world starts to consumes like us or the US then we are truly stuffed. In this instance you can’t simply ignore the population issue. We currently need 3 or 4 planets worth of ‘stuff’ just to keep us going, clearly unsustainable. UK carbon emissions have gone up since 1990 by 10% due imports. I aim to fight inequality and consumption rather than population. I hope you would agree with that?

    It also sounds like you want to encourage population growth rather than been neutral? I will not be actively encouraging population growth, why would anyone?

    RE pro austerity

    Here is our national alternative budget to the cuts: http://greenparty.org.uk/news/22-03-2011-three-tests-for-budget.html (the only party with a fully costed alternative) Yes I think Brighton GP should ask its voters about cuts, but make no mistake if Brighton alone refused to set a budget then the ‘left’ would be responsible for any central government misery they would inflict on Brighton. We have a handful o MPs and about probably about 50 green, indie and labour councillors who would set illegal budgets or support anti-cuts budgets.

    All the best
    David

    • Micky D says:

      Ah , the old we can’t afford for everyone to have a decent standard of living , because we need to save the planet … This Malthusian approach fails to see that technology does not stand still , that we feed more people using less land each year , in fact there is a report in one of today’s papers citing research which will mean that GM food technology alone will provide a 30% increase in crop yields within the next few years …. Nuclear power along with a mixture of some renewables and fossil fuels will mean we should be able to expand our energy capacity rather than seek to use less… All green ideology does in the end is set artificial limits on what humanity can produce and consume …that’s a recipie for stagnation and unending poverty for all … Socialism is about having abundance for all and if some socialists have abandoned this central idea then they are no longer socialists . The doomsterish proclivities of greens means that the eventual outcome of their trajectory of thought is austerity … Greens in the end really are anti human , they see us as a virus inflicting horrors on Mother Earth as opposed t o a Socialist view which sees humanity as the best thing about this planet , without us it would be a useless hunk of rock floating in space . Population growth ? Yes please , we have the technology the know how and the resources …and remember the more wealthy a society is the less kids they tend to have anyway . David aims to fight consumption , as if consumption were an evil , whereas any decent socialist knows it is LACK of consumption that is the problem …it’s called poverty David …you should try fighting that sometime instead of embracing it as a goal for all of humanity…

  6. George Riches says:

    It strikes me that many green sympathisers are confused about “growth”.

    Doesn’t the Green Party want growth in the number of its supporters?

    Instead of being “anti-growth” they should be for the End of the Consumption of Non-renewable Resources. A bit of a mouthful, but get the thinking clear before worrying about the sound-bite.

  7. There are some errors in your description of TUSC. TUSC has three councillors, (Peter Smith, Walsall (stood as Walsall Democratic Labour Party), Michael Lavalette Preston (member of SWP) – you are right in that he stood as an Independent, and Joe Robinson, Socialist Party member, Maltby (stood as TUSC). Individual parties within TUSC are free to stand on whatever platform they wish, as long as they abide by the core principles of TUSC – http://www.tusc.org.uk/policy.php. The Socialist Party stands as Socialist Alternative in Coventry, but as TUSC in the rest of the country, not as the Socialist Party of England and Wales.

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ACTIVIST CALENDAR

Events and protests from around the movement, and local Left Unity meetings.

Mon 20 Jan, 1.00-3.00
Protect Family Reunion Now

Rally in Parliament Square to call on peers to back an amendment and uphold refugee family reunion.

More info on Facebook

Sat 25 Jan
Global Day of Protest – No War On Iran!

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CAMPAIGNING MATERIALS

Get the latest Left Unity resources.

Leaflet: Johnson is Down, Now Let’s Get Him Out

Broadsheet: Disaster Capitalism

Transform journal

More resources »