Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Tory Green Revolution??????

Today's reading - The Morning Star and The Daily Express, The Independent and Guardian web pages, a few pages of Finnegans Wake, Urban 75 and web pages on Joel Kovel and Murray Bookchin.
Today's listening - The Stone Roses
Today's viewing - BBC 6 O'Clock News

Apparently Dave "I'm not the Tory Blair, honest" Cameron's latest wheeze is to proclaim that the Tories are the party of the "Green Revolution". Well, well, well. We are always pleased to see a sinner repent here at Greenman's Organ. But forgive me if I do not rip up my GPEW (Green Party of England and Wales) membership card just yet. While it is very easy for Dave to appoint Zac "Silver Spoon" Goldsmith to his toothless policy body, and to fit micro-renewables generating equipment on his house, and be seen riding his bike, and make noises about how seriously he takes climate change, and repeat old Tory pledges about clearing up litter and protecting parks.......one tends to think it will be a little more difficult to convert those in his party of a less green tinge to his new found faith, still more difficult to convert a party wedded to the motoring lobby, big business, free market zealotry and funding from some of the least environmentally and socially responsible elements to actually agree to any meaningful policy that does more than urge business to be "responsible". John "Vulcan" Redwood, for example, may be rumoured to have the same green blood as Spock, but he is about as "green" or amenable to green arguments as the oil industry sponsored american neo-con propagandists he is fond of quoting. And Redwood, whatever the new green, caring, socially responsible Tory leadership may think, is not totally unrepresentative of the Tory grassroots.
This is where, as ecosocialists, many of us can see the wood for the trees. You can urge businesses to be as ecofriendly as you like, but the nature of current capitalism is that the CHIEF duty of CEOs and directors is to MAXIMISE PROFIT. If they do not,( in the absence of the unlikely event of all their competitors following the same voluntary ecological path), they are likely not to be CEOs or Directors very long. Environmental sustainability, like social justice, is not a case of persuading bad enterprises to be good, or even educating ignorant enterprises to be wise - it is a structural matter. Bad money will drive out good. Cheap labour will replace expensive. Dodgy practice will drive out good. UNLESS action is taken, either by consumers or workers where this is possible, or governments/legislation where it is not, then capitalist enterprises are not going to throw away their competitive advantage just to "feel good" (though CEOs may throw a few scraps of good practice that do not affect overall profitability to feel good about themselves or for PR)
Modern conservativism (indeed modern liberalism and new labourism too, all representations of globalist neoliberal politics) is based on-
1/ A rejection, indeed demonisation, of radical and effective workers organisation and union action.
2/ An affirmation that you "cannot buck the market", which is always king and will punish you if you do not succumb to its' every demand.
3/ Almost complete capitulation (with the odd defence of some residual politically strategic sectors) to the ideology of neoliberal globalisation that accepts that industry will relocate to a more favourable location unless all its' demands are met.
and
4/ A rejection of an interventionist state in any other roles than greasing the palms of corporations, policing internally and externally and deconstructing any remaining obstacles to the creation of a world of economically liberalised, heavily policed, oligarchically run trading blocs.
This being the case, the main parties are forbidden to approach the ecological and social demands of the day, even if they honestly wanted to in any other way than politeley asking for better behaviour - workers action being beyond the pale, consumer action being accused (as with GM for example) of damaging competetive advantage, international co-operation being difficult given the commitment of so many other countries to neo-liberalism, public ownership of provision ruled out as inherently inferior to private as well as punishable in the strongest terms by international finance capital, and legislative action being seen as a cardinal sin of big government akin to the dreaded S word.
So, until proved otherwise, I will treat Dave's "green" project as at best something likely to run up against the obstacles listed above, and at worst simply another bit of meaningless media management and tomfoolery, what we old cynics have come to know as greenwash.

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