Class outlook and the Greens Party
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In the recent federal election the Greens Party has provided a parliamentary alternative to the sell-out policies of the Coalition and the gutless collaboration of Labor leaders. How then, do Communists view the growing influence of the Greens?
For many people disillusioned with the traditional parliamentary parties, the Greens Party has provided a degree of leadership and support for grass-roots struggles outside of the parliamentary arena. While this has been particularly true of climate warming and many environmental issues, as well as humanitarian issues such as indigenous rights and the treatment of refugees, it has also joined struggles against imperialist wars and nuclear weapons, and in opposition to US military bases in Australia. Party leaders have also used their parliamentary platform to highlight anti-worker attacks and injustices against the people.
On these and many other issues of concern to the Australian people, the Greens Party and its supporters have generally taken a progressive stand against the outright takeover of Australia by US and other foreign corporate monopolies, objectively opposing imperialism.
Part of the people’s movement
For these reasons, the Greens Party, its leaders and supporters must be considered as important contributors to the people’s movement for national independence. There are many points of unity which should be encouraged and developed.
For Communists who try to look at these things dialectically, the positive aspects of the Greens Party have so far outweighed a tendency to rely on parliamentary manoeuvres to win concessions from the ruling class. With the monopoly media focus on the increased Green representation in parliament, there will be struggle within the Greens Party to maintain the intensity of grass roots activism. Already the monopoly media has started a campaign to pressure the Greens parliamentary representatives to be “pragmatic” and “realistic”, to water down their progressive positions and “cooperate with the pro-imperialist agendas of the major parties.
The Greens are not a working class party. Their policies and leading figures reflect a class base which is predominately petty-bourgeois; professionals, intellectual workers, academics, small business, self-employed producers, skilled workers, art and culture workers and so on.
This class largely accepts the permanence of capitalism. Their position in society cushions them from some of the harsher aspects of exploitation and oppression. Their lifestyles are relatively more comfortable and secure than those of industrial and rural workers. They have options which the great majority of the working class does not.
In reality, the petty-bourgeoisie is also oppressed and marginalised by foreign imperialism and corporate monopoly capital. Their skills and initiative are continually exploited and twisted into serving the ruling class of foreign monopoly interests and local collaborators. While they may see the need to resist this process, as a class they go no further than seeking to reform capitalism and somehow controlling the worst excesses of the multinationals. As a whole, the petty-bourgeoisie seek to bring the working class under their leadership to give weight to their own agenda. At the same time they are fearful of the potential of the working class to go beyond mere reforms and push towards socialism.
Questions of political power
Within their policies and political positions, the Greens make no mention of the dominant role of US imperialism in world trade and international affairs, its manipulation of the United Nations, its nuclear monopoly, its global network of military bases and spies. The fact that key sections of the Australian economy are now owned or controlled by US, European or Japanese monopolies is ignored.
Nor is there any mention of the role of the state apparatus – the army, police and court system designed to uphold and enforce the economic, political and military rule of imperialism over Australia. There is the na�ve expectation that rational debate will bring about the election of a Greens government, and that the super-rich vested interests will surrender their powers and privileges peacefully.
On these fundamental issues of political power, the Greens fall short. While we can respect and learn from their activism in waging struggle against the worst features of capitalism, it only confirms the crying need for working class leadership of the people’s movement.
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