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 GRÜNEN, 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 Grünen, 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 Grünen 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:

triangleBoris hid killer air report

triangleCanada: fire devastates Fort McMurray

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleBristol Green backs cuts

triangleMost diesels emit illegal levels of poison

War:

triangleBlair bombshell

triangleWhat way forward for Tamil rights?

triangleIreland: 100 years since the 1916 Easter rising

triangleSolidarity with refugees: fight for jobs, homes and services for all

Environment:

triangleCardiff West Socialist Party: Socialism and the Environment

triangleSt Austell Socialist Party: The environment

triangleChernobyl nuclear disaster - 30 years on

Capitalism:

triangleVenezuela - on the brink of collapse?

triangleThe EU and the economy - Project Fear steps up

Green Party:

triangleAustria - Hofer defeated, but far-right threat remains

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

27/5/16

Sheffield

BIS office closure: Anger and determination to fight on

27/5/16

EU

June meetings on the EU Referendum

27/5/16

Kazakhstan

Solidarity with protesters in Kazakhstan

25/5/16

UCU

University lecturers strike for fair pay

25/5/16

Wales TUC

Motion passed for no-cuts council budgets

25/5/16

NSSN

Link the strikes - come to the NSSN conference

25/5/16

BMA

Tories forced back in junior doctors' dispute

25/5/16

Union

Workplace news in brief

25/5/16

Conductors

Train conductors strike to keep their role

25/5/16

Them & Us

Them & us

25/5/16

Lancashire

Chorley A&E battle

25/5/16

Coventry

Coventry sees off EDL

25/5/16

Environment

Boris hid killer air report

25/5/16

Socialist Party

Fight to win: join the Socialists!

25/5/16

Waltham Forest

Campaigning for a people's plan for Waltham Forest

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

triangle27 May BIS office closure: Anger and determination to fight on

triangle25 May Austria - Hofer defeated, but far-right threat remains

triangle25 May EU referendum can bring the Tories down

triangle25 May University lecturers strike for fair pay

triangle25 May Motion passed for no-cuts council budgets

triangle25 May Link the strikes - come to the NSSN conference

triangle25 May Tories forced back in junior doctors' dispute

More ...

triangle31 May Bristol TUSC: The socialist case against the EU

triangle31 May Liverpool Socialist Party: The 1916 Easter Rising

triangle31 May Chesterfield Socialist Party: Hillsborough & Orgreave

triangle1 Jun Salford Socialist Party: Leveson, Murdochgate and the press

More ...

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Find us on Facebook

Archive

Categories

1-9 

1-9 


Archives:

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice