The capitalists are murdering towns, suburbs, farms, rivers and seas. They are killing people in wars and through environmental destruction. Against all criteria governments’ state of the environment reports declare that the natural world is losing in the war with capitalist exploiters.
The ALP-Greens alliance will not stop this assault by capitalism but was inevitable nonetheless.
Just think where Peter Garret would have been today had he stuck with the Greens. He would have a seat in parliament and might even have been a minister for the environment.
The Greens should learn from Garrett’s opportunism and use the power that millions have given them to stop destruction of the natural world and to stop the sale of public assets. Put People before Profit!
See ‘PM’s high-risk Greens embrace’ @ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/natio…
The Town that was Murdered”
A friend has lent me a book called “The Town that was Murdered” by Ellen Wilkinson, published by the Left Book Club in the 1930s. It is the story of a town in the north of England called Jarrow. The introduction reads:
The poverty of the poor is not an accident, a temporary difficulty, a personal fault.
It is the permanent state in which the majority of citizens of any capitalist country have to live. That is the basic fact of the class struggle, which not all the well-meant efforts of Personal Services Leagues and Social Service Councils can gloss over.
Class antagonism cuts as deeply to the roots of capitalist society as ever it did. Mean are regarded as mere instruments of production, their labour is a commodity to be bought and sold. In capitalist society vast changes can be made which sweep away the livelihood of a whole town overnight, in the interest of some powerful group, who need take no account of the social consequences of their decisions. These are the facts at the base of the modern labour movement.
Generalisations are not proof…
You can view this article on YouTube below or read on:
In the 1970s there was a group of workers in Sydney, they were builders labourers and were in the BLF. Traditionally, in union parlance, a black ban is a refusal by trade unions to supply or buy goods or services . So in 1973 Jack Mundy coined the term ‘Green Ban’. to describe the withdrawal of Labour for social and environmental reasons.
So by 1974 the NSW BLF had listed 49 Greens Bans in the Sydney Metropolitan area.
Joe Owens, a member of the BLF, explained: “The Green bans were a peculiar phenomenon. The BLF do demolition work, which are the first requirements before any construction can take place This gave us extraordinary power over construction we were able to control areas which other unions could not. Any way you can read about this in a book by Greg Mallory called ‘Unchartered Waters’. Anyway this kind of movement was possible because that was a period when people were wiling to take action outside the institutions of capitalism – institutions like the courts, the parliament, the mass media – people were seeking control over their workplaces. Nearly all of that (kind of action) has disappeared now. There are pockets of it here and there but it has mainly gone.
So while the Qld State Labor Premier has re-affirmed her support for selling all the assets like Queensland Rail, Ports, electricity and water to capitalists there is little opposition to it on the ground. The Labor Party has lost its social democratic roots.
At the same time as the green bans in Australia there was a strong anti-nuclear power and ecological movement in Europe based upon anarchist principles of self management. In Germany in particular – this social and ecological movement of the 1970s was formed into a Green Party in 1980 by Petra Kelly and Jurgen Maier. Kelly was impressed by the Green Bans in NSW. The German Green Party, founded on anti-centralist and pacifist values, was the first such party to gain national prominence. Unfortunately, in government, the German Green Party traded off it pacifist goals by supporting the NATO bombing of Kosovo and the Afghan war for environmental gains such as a reduction of reliance on nuclear power.
Imperialist wars had spread from Europe and the Americas to the Middle East and Asia. Soon after the Vietnam War there were civil wars in Yugoslavia and Lebanon and military dictatorships in Latin America (in Chile ). Green parties were set up in many parts of the world. In Australia they were strong in Tasmania and Western Australia. They were largely middle class parties strong in inner cities but had grown with the help of working class action like that of the BLF.
After the fall of communism there were imperialist wars in the Gulf, in Iraq and also in Afghanistan. On the back of popular resentment at the continuance of these wars and because of environmental disasters like the Exxon Valdez and the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, these parties have formed alliances with social democratic parties [called Red-Green alliances, although there is doubt how red these alliances are [ALP-Greens alliance (sic)].
Having anti-capitalist origins the Greens are to the left of capitalist parties like the Australian Labor Party. Their anti-capitalist nature is ambiguous as they support local small capitalists so they will not embrace socialism.
Unlike the Australian Democrats that had their origin from the Liberal party, the Greens are to the left of the Australian Labor Party.
The Australian Greens want to put a price on carbon to make sure renewal energy grows in Australia. They have a mandate from the Australian people to do that so long as it does not cost too much. People tend to support renewables until it costs them personally. But they are for social justice wanting to permit the entry of asylum seekers into Australia and support free hospitals and education from pre-school to university. They support aborignal land rights.
In the current debate about privatisation the Queensland government is trying to sell off assets like water, electricity, ports and rail. Only the unions have been able to build any meaningful opposition on the ground outside the capitalist institutions. Nevertheless Unions like the Electrical Trades Union (ETU)* are capable of running independent labour candidates in the state election. This could provide resources for real opposition to the sell off.
Putting people before profits may become real again as it was in the 1970s. Out of this we may be able to rebuild workers political organisation and once again build the movement against capitalism.
* In Brisbane the ETU have formed the Communications Workers Union Qld (CWU) together with the Plumbers, Australia Post and Telecommunications workers (the old ATEA). This was formerly called the Communications Electrical and Plumbers Union (CEPU).
The Town That Was Murdered (1939), By Ellen Wilkinson, an account of the Jarrow March.