It seems like a bit of a rite of passage to write a ‘Why I joined The Green Party’ post on a blog after joining The Green Party. I’d guess it’s a rite of passage on joining other parties too. Not having joined any other parties I’ve never felt the need to write a ‘Why I joined another party’ blog post so I guess we’ll have to stick with the Why I joined The Green Party one.
To be honest, the following could probably be summarised in three words: Labour Party activists. I say this before actually having written the following but I suspect it will end up somewhere along those lines.
Righty, on with the shizz.
I’m a trade union rep, I’m a public sector worker and I’m a socialist. I’m fortunate enough to be a member of a trade union which doesn’t fund the Labour party. This is important to me. The Labour party have consistently failed to support unions, whether it’s through their failure to repeal the most stringent anti-union laws in Europe while they were in power or their failure to support industrial action while in opposition.
Labour are pro-austerity, pro-privatisation and anti-union, yet still they are expecting trade union funding and trade union members’ support. Alas, they get a lot of that support. Personally I wouldn’t support a party who’s main selling point was that they’ll cut my toe off rather than the other lot who’ll take my whole leg.
I won’t support, campaign or vote for a party which wants to remove any of my metaphorical body parts. I’m attached to my legs and my toes, much as I’m attached to the principles of public services being provided by the public sector, welfare existing to support those who need it (even if it means a few blaggers rinse it), workers getting a fair share of the profits they make for their employer and the right to fight back when the piss is being taken
The Labour party has done nothing to indicate that they support any of that yet they are still invited to TUC Conference, trade union rallies etc. Socialists campaign for them. The Morning Star carries articles from people saying ‘We have to reclaim Labour’. We can’t reclaim Labour. Labour isn’t ours to reclaim.
Why didn’t I join a socialist party?
My experience of socialist parties is that they are largely campaigning bodies. I respect that and think they have their place but, as a revolution in Britain is unlikely, I think socialists need to engage with the political system we are landed with. I’m a reformist, not a revolutionary. It’s one area where pragmatism outwits my idealism.
I know the above is simplistic but it does bring me on to the actual reason for this post:
Why I joined The Green Party
Labour have failed us. Every time I see a Labour supporter (or an SWP/SP etc member) going on about the ConDem government I think they’re missing the point. The enemy isn’t the ConDem government, the enemy is neoliberalism. It matters not if the rosette is blue, yellow or red. They are all parts of the same neoliberal hegemony.
I’m under no illusions that The Green Party are a wonderful, anti-neolib panacea. I’ve read enough about their decisions in local government, and the alliances their equivalent parties in Europe make, to know that there are issues but of the relatively mainstream parties they are the only one which, to my knowledge:
- has supported the PCS pledges (link is to the PCS website),
- supports rail nationalisation,
- supports the living wage
- supports fair pensions for all
- opposes privatisation of the NHS (and, as far as I’m aware, other public services)
- supports building council houses.
That is all stuff which I support. That is all stuff which, when I read it, made me think ‘Hang on, that’s me that is!’
Labour are relying on the good faith and dedication of their voters and activists to get them elected without doing anything to support those voters and activists. The Green Party are filling the gap Labour opened.
I joined The Green Party because we need a new left wing party, a party that can actually win seats.
I joined The Green Party because I’m fed up of watching the disaffected Tory right going to UKIP while the disaffected Labour left keeps propping up the neoliberal enemy in the hope that they’ll change,
I joined The Green Party because every neoliberal seat lost to the left, beit a Tory, Lib Dem or Labour seat, is a seat gained by the left.
You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned environmental issues yet. Environmental issues are important to me, and the Greens’ environmental policies could help us out of recession, but that isn’t why I joined the Greens. I joined the Greens because they’re the best chance we have of taking seats from neoliberals.
I’d like to think disaffected Labour activists will join me.
I love your subscriptions,
I love your dedication,
I appreciate your efforts,
Helping the weakest in our nation,
I love the Labour badge that you wear,
I love that you fight on despite despair,
That I’m not listening and really don’t care,
Your commitment to the party gives me cheer,
Because your commitment will get us back in power,
The rosettes you wear will bring us our hour,
And when we stab you in the back we’ll do it with pride,
Because we know you’ll stay by our side.
With love, Ed Miliband.
This is not a call to revolution and it’s not much of a hope to be honest:
My hope is that Labour lose a shit load of members over the next few months, enough to make them ask why they’ve been deserted. They get told,
‘It’s because you abandoned the workers you numpties!’
Labour then start listening to the people who are being hardest hit by the Tories, start listening to the trade unions and start listening to folk like Richard Murphy before coming back in a year or so with policies for fair taxation, public services kept public, economic growth and a welfare state that actually supports, rather than demonises, those who need it.
Then their support builds, people rejoin, activists become active again and Labour win the next election by just enough seats to form a majority, preferably in a house without a single Lib Dem MP and plenty of Greens and independents.
That’s what I think I’d like to happen.
I’m just back from the pub following a very productive and interesting Camden United Against Cuts meeting. The productive bits mostly involved plans for building for the 26th March march, leafleting etc. and having a coordinated day of leafleting on Saturday 19th around Camden with the possibility of a little shindig afterwards. I’m very much up for that: my experience campaigning against the BNP in Barking and Dagenham last May was made all the better for the social events after the leafleting. I think they build enthusiasm and make folk more likely to spread the word in the days that follow. Funding and organising could scupper the idea but I hope we can pull it off. › Continue reading
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