Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brighton on rocky ground?

The Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW) took control of a local Council recently amidst much euphoria. However, after the councillors tried to deal with the central government cuts onslaught through a 1980s-labour soft left style "dented shield" policy things went a bit pear shaped. Labour and the Tories united to vote down the rise in Council Tax proposed and counter-proposed that the Green group accept Eric Pickles (Local Government Minister) Council Tax Freeze bribe. Whilst some voices argue that the Greens should now step down and allow Labour and the Tories to embarrass themselves in their de-facto establishment coalition the Councillors (with an honourable exception Alex Phillips) decided to go ahead with an "even more dented shield" policy which will likely lead to even more cuts being forced on them next year.

A bit disappointing that people have left the GPEW and internal ecosocialist grouping Green Left over the Brighton situation - while I think what has happened there is unfortunate and damaging to the Party I have always been sceptical about what can be achieved through conventional political channels anyway! For me the GPEW is simply the most convenient political bench to park my political butt on where I can link up with others and actually get people to listen to quite radical arguments that they might dismiss if coming from someone from a group they dismissed as "extremist". Where will those leaving the Party go? Labour? Now that really would be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. The Trotskyist groups (or their political/campaigning fronts?) Though working happily with them in anti-cuts group etc, I can't stomach their methods and attitudes tbh, coming from a libertarian left/syndicalist background, but each to their own. The Communists? Nah! The only group/party even worth considering in England for someone retaining most of the views they had in the Green Party or Green Left would be the Alliance For Green Socialism - and unfortunately they are tiny and appear almost moribund, so in most parts of the country you we be starting from scratch trying to build a Party with almost no public recognition.

So I will be staying with the GPEW for the time being. IMO the most interesting things happening at the moment on the left are not to do with parties but movements and the beginnings of a much needed turn to the workplaces and communities. We will see how it all develops. Anything could happen this year with the situation in the Middle East/Iran and the continuing banking/Sovereign Debt/Euro etc crisis. Small developments could become very big in a short period of time. Interesting times.

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