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(en) Ireland, Anarchist journal: Workers Solidarity #98 - July/August 2007 - Greens Show True Colours

Date Wed, 21 Nov 2007 10:57:44 +0200


Contents ----- Greens Show True Colours ---- A Reward for (someone else's!) Hard Work -- Thinking About Anarchism - Property is Theft -- Irish Political Policing Continues ---- That's Capitalism! ---- Anarchism and the WSM ---- An Post Staff to be Dumped? ---- Dare to Win! ---- How it all began: the Stonewall Rebellion
--- Greens Show True Colours ---
For the first time in their history, the Irish Green party is in government. The deal that they struck with Fianna Fail has been criticised in many quarters as a "sell-out" ­ and with some jus tification, since the Greens have changed sides on the issue of Shannon airport's use by the US military, the conflict between Shell and the residents of Rossport and the decision to route the M3 motorway through the lucratively re-zoned lands of Fianna Fail supporters, who happen to live near Tara. On these, and other issues, the Greens switched, overnight, from a position of opposition, to jobs in a government that is implementing them - with force when necessary.
But, it can't be ignored that
many of the cries of sell-out are
coming from members of Fine
Gael and Labour, whose poli-
tics are virtually indistinguish-
able from those of Fianna Fail
­ parties who would be praising
the Greens for their "maturity"
if they had agreed the same
deal with them. The Green de-
cision also wasn't a case of an
undemocratic leadership being
dazzled by the power and pres-
tige of government and doing a
deal to get themselves ministries
and Mercs against the wishes of
their members - the deal was en-
dorsed by 86% of their voting
membership.
In reality, rather than being a
sell-out, the Green entry into
government, where they will
inevitably be used as a green
"mud-guard" by Fianna Fail, is
quite consistent with the par-
ty's politics. Although the me-
dia never tires of mocking the
wacky left-wing environmental-
ism and campaigning zeal of the
Greens, that is simply a stere-
otype which long ago ceased to
be remotely accurate. Although
the Greens started in the envi-
ronmental and pacifist protest
movements of the 1970's, their
politics steadily drifted towards
working within the system. This
meant accepting the broad out-
lines of our social, political and
economic system and limiting
their ambitions to achieving re-
forms that could be accommo-
dated without major changes.
The Greens have had to drop
huge areas of their policy which
would have been deemed "busi-
ness unfriendly". Now, with a
couple of ministries and coali-
tion partners who will immedi-
ately veto any proposals which
harm `competitivity', they will
be limited to imposing environ-
mentally-linked consumer taxes
and offering subsidies for eco-
friendly home-upgrades, that are
realistically available only to the
affluent. This sort of consumer
environmentalism is entirely ac-
ceptable to both capitalism and
the parties of the right.
The trouble is that capitalism de-
pends on a profit-driven econo-
my. It's always more expensive
to produce things in an environ-
mentally friendly manner. It is a
system that is based upon ine-
quality ­ most people don't have
enough time or money to make
meaningful consumer choices.
Such solutions are bound to fail
but the obvious solution of ap-
plying environmental regulation
and taxation to production is
political suicide in a capitalist
`democracy'. By adapting to the
logic of the system, the Greens
have become fully integrated
into it.
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