Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/337/5672

From The Socialist newspaper, 6 March 2004

Comment

European Greens Unite - But Are They A Radical Alternative?

Die GRNEN, Les Verts, the Green Party - the German, French and UK Green Parties, along with 29 other European Green parties, are now one party standing on one platform. This move comes ahead of the European Parliament elections in June, in which the Greens hope to make gains.

Tim Lessells, Leicester

The unification of the Greens into a continental fighting force will not be straightforward. Whilst they now have one party hymn (by film music composer Ennio Morricone) there are significant differences between the various national components, not least on the question of the EU itself and its forthcoming enlargement.

In the UK, the Green Party are still a relatively radical party. For example, they were opposed to the recent invasion of Iraq and they put forward a number of progressive reforms that as socialists we would critically support. They are easily to the left of the Liberal Democrats and New Labour - although all three support the continuation of the capitalist system.

Necessary conclusions

The two Green MEPs (one for London and one for the South East) were both active in the anti-war movement. However, they failed to draw the necessary conclusions.

Firstly, that war is inherent in the nature of capitalism due to the continual drive for profits and resources and the failure of the system to overcome national divisions. Secondly, that to actually stop the war would have required a movement that put the continued rule of the capitalist class in Britain in danger. Thirdly, that to stop future wars the capitalist system must be overthrown and replaced by a democratic socialist society internationally.

However, their consistent anti-war stance is markedly to the left of Die Grnen, the German Greens who prop up the Social Democratic government. While it is true that they opposed the last war in Iraq (along with practically the whole of Germany), they supported the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999.

Because of this, their capitulation on nuclear transportation and their propping up of the SDP government carrying out Thatcherite anti-working class reforms, Die Grnen have been exposed. This rightward shift is not accidental and it is not an isolated example. In a number of other European countries the Greens have also propped up Social Democratic governments.

There are a number of reasons why the Greens start out as 'radical' but then rapidly drift to the right once they get an ounce of governmental influence or a few ministerial positions.

Fundamentally, these reasons all come back to their lack of a clear programme to change society. They propose the impossible - that capitalism becomes an environmentally sound system. Capitalism exploits labour and the environment for profit. This is an unalterable fact they refuse to accept.

System

Whilst in opposition the Greens propose a number of good reforms that socialists would most likely support whilst pointing out their limitations. However, because they accept the constraints of the system they are forced to adopt more 'practical', less radical politics when in power. In other words, they abandon their principles.

In order to justify this they argue that "baby steps are best". Of course it is true, access to political power can force through some minor changes. However, in order to protect the environment and ensure the future existence of humanity what are needed are fundamental changes.

Only by bringing the important sectors of the economy into public ownership, under democratic control, can a serious start be made at protecting the environment. Whilst they remain in private hands they will be run in the interests of private profit.

In the game of Monopoly, players do not volunteer to miss a turn in order to conserve energy by not moving their counter round the board. Nor do they all agree to not throw the dice and only move along one space at a time!

For the time being, the UK Greens remain far more radical than their European friends. Once they get any measure of power however, their capitulation is almost guaranteed - unless of course they break with capitalism.

Because of the lack of a mass working class socialist party to the left of Labour, some people will continue to look towards the Greens as a radical alternative.

The question of the environment necessitates fundamental and far reaching answers. The Greens have no such answers. When the Greens capitulate to the constraints of the system and adopt a more 'realpolitik' approach however, it is possible that more radical elements will be won over to the struggle for a socialist society.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 6 March 2004:

March Against Liars And Occupiers

Strike Against Low Pay

Iraq War Continues To Haunt Blair

Fascists Threaten Socialist Party Stall


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fees UP Teaching hours DOWN Students ANGRY

NUS / AUT nation day of action 25 Feb

Activists Say Build A New Workers' Party

How Socialist Councillors Fought The Cuts

What Socialism Would Mean For Women

Council Tax - Unfair And Regressive


International socialist news and analysis

Haiti: Aristide Forced Out As Us Sends Troops

European Greens Unite - But Are They A Radical Alternative?


 

Facebook   Twitter



Home   |   The Socialist 6 March 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Bookshop






Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter



Related links:

Green:

triangleRCT/Caerphilly Socialist Party: Do you have to be Red to be Green?

triangleBrighton Green referendum offers no alternative to cuts

triangleBig business lines its pockets from nuclear power

triangleSSE: So Sodding Expensive!

triangleBrighton Socialist Party: Ecological crisis - Can capitalism turn green?

War:

triangleLancaster public meeting: a century of war

triangleLondon Socialist Party: How can the war on Gaza be stopped?

Environment:

triangleFracking: short-term profit before safety

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can we save the environment under capitalism?

triangleCambridgeshire Socialist Party: Socialism and the Environment

Capitalism:

triangleBritain's non-investing, cheap wage bosses

triangleJunk Juncker, Cameron and the anti-worker EU

Green Party:

triangleShould socialists support the Green Party?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

23/7/14

Gaza

Hull: demo against war on Gaza

21/7/14

Hove

Hands off Hove Park school!

20/7/14

Gaza

Stop the war on Gaza - London meetings

20/7/14

Gaza

London: huge show of solidarity

19/7/14

First World War

Lancaster public meeting: a century of war

18/7/14

Socialist

To comrades and friends of Dave Boyes,

16/7/14

Tyneside

Tyneside Safety Glass strikers' stunning victory

16/7/14

BBC

Protest outside BBC over Gaza war

16/7/14

Leicester

Leicester anti-cuts councillors join up with TUSC

16/7/14

Hackney

Eve-of-strike success for Look Ahead Unite members

16/7/14

Napo

Napo election: militant strategy can defeat privatisation

16/7/14

Ferries

Condor Ferries: Fight for a living wage

16/7/14

NUT

"Gove's a Gonner" - Striking works!

16/7/14

SWP

SWP's Marxism: absence of serious debate and strategy

16/7/14

Strike

Workplace news in brief

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Channel 4 reported that it took them over 30 minutes to pass Nelson's column.

triangle20 Jul London: huge show of solidarity

Tyneside Safety Glass workers celebrate pay dispute victory, July 2014, photo Elaine Brunskill

triangle16 Jul Tyneside Safety Glass strikers' stunning victory

Picketing Hackney Town Hall on 10 July 2014, photo Paul Mattsson

triangle16 Jul J10 strike success: Now build movement to end low pay

Leicester councillors Wayne Naylor and Barbara Potter, photo Leicester TUSC

triangle16 Jul Leicester anti-cuts councillors join up with TUSC

triangle16 Jul Eve-of-strike success for Look Ahead Unite members

triangle16 Jul Abuse scandals reveal abusive system

Protesting outside the Israeli embassy in London, 11.7.14, photo Paula Mitchell

triangle15 Jul No more onslaught on Gaza!

More ...

triangle23 Jul Hackney & Islington Socialist Party: Origins of the Middle East and Gaza today

triangle23 Jul Peterborough & Huntingdon TUSC meeting

triangle23 Jul West London Socialist Party: Stop the war in Gaza!

More ...

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Find us on Facebook

Archive

Categories

1-9 

1-9 


Archives:

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice