From Socialist Voice, July 2005

Greens hopelessly lost

In the 1980s the green and environmental lobby burst onto the political scene and was heralded as the force that would transcend the traditional left-right divide and bring politics in a new direction.
    Germany in particular witnessed the emergence of one of the strongest Green Parties, which undoubtedly had an impact on the politics of that country. The growth and influence of the German Greens, as well as organisations such as Greenpeace, also spurred the development of other Green Parties in Europe as millions of people were mobilised to end the nuclear arms race and to replace the Cold War with co-operation and respect, coinciding with a growing awareness of the links between nuclear weapons and nuclear power and of environmental destruction resulting from the untrammelled greed of global corporations.
    The Greens have since lost their radical anti-establishment chic, and for many they are hardly distinguishable from the establishment parties. The German Green Party turned out to be just as bland as the Social Democrats, and they now see themselves as a permanent “party of government” in Germany, making up the numbers in whichever combination of parties makes up the government.
    The German Greens have been the backbone in the establishment of the EU Green Party, which accepts the structures and statutes of the European Union and was one of the strongest supporters of the EU Constitution. They bullied and cajoled Green Parties throughout Europe into supporting this big-business constitution, the militarisation of the European Union, and the imposition of neo-liberal policies on those poor countries that wish to trade with European countries.
    The Irish Green Party are now hopelessly paralysed in relation to the EU Constitution. Unable to make a decision after holding a number of regional events to debate its contents, they abandoned the national meeting to decide their position and then decided that neither those who supported the constitution nor those who rejected it would be allowed to speak or articulate their views. For a party who made a virtue out of non-hierarchical structures and politics, they are now heavily centralised, organisationally and politically controlled and kept “on message.” They can’t wait to get into government, and right now any government will do.
    One of the party’s TDs, in a letter to the Irish Times, embraced the big-business economics of market liberalisation. The Green Party has clearly made the big leap backwards into the same old politics that previously they claimed to oppose. Like so many of the Green Parties throughout Europe, they never really abandoned the ideology of the existing power elites. They have been found wanting, and their anti-capitalism is very shallow indeed. They came from the middle classes and never really made an effort to win working people; if they had, it would have brought them to a much deeper understanding of the nature of our society.

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