Why I left The Greens

The first of two articles I wrote when I left the Australian Greens back in 2009. My thinking has advanced since then, but they might be of interest to people curious as to why I left The Greens and moved towards far left politics.

See also, Part 2: Racism in the Environmental Movement.

Moving on from the Australian GreensRoblox Hack Free Robux

Until recently I was active within the Australian Greens.

I was drawn to the Greens because:

there is no social justice without environmental justice, and no environmental justice without social justice. – Global Greens, Sydney 2001.

After seven years involvement with the Australian Greens I recently decided to move on.

I remain committed to the ideals of the Australian Greens, urgent action is needed now more than ever. The problem for me is, that no matter how I look at it, I cannot see how a sole focus on winning seats in the Australian parliament can achieve these goals.

The discussion within the Greens is so often “how to we win the next ten percent”. I’m as guilty as anyone else, we sat around and discussed what we needed to do in order to not offend people so they would vote for us.

I now recognise that this process, brought about by an exclusive focus on electoral politics, means that by the time the Greens achieve a position of power within the Australian parliament, they will no longer be a body that is ideologically and politically able to undertake the radical action that will be required.

Achieving a global system of democracy “in which all citizens … are able to directly participate in the environmental, economic, social and political decisions which affect their lives” (Global Greens, Sydney 2001) is needed now more than ever.

I don’t want to offend the good people I have worked with at all levels of the Greens. I still consider you all my friends, and I still share the ideas that brought us together.

But achieving “equitable distribution of social and natural resources both locally and globally” (ibid) will require so much more than an extra two senate seats.

A further question…

Does our participation in parliament offer cover for a fundamentally flawed system?

“The system is dirty, but don’t lose faith, Bob and his Greens are slugging away…”

And a further question:

Even if we could achieve a radical Green majority in parliament, would it be able to act as needed? Bob loves to quote Machiavelli:

BOB BROWN: Yes, Machiavelli said centuries ago if you’re going to change the world get ready to be squashed by those with most to lose. – Lateline

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.

Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. – Machiavelli, The Prince

What will be the instrument of power available to a Green majority in parliament, faced with the absolute opposition of all who “have done well under the old conditions?”

I do not believe votes alone will be enough, we will need the determined collective action of a good segment of society.

A mass movement, and not a mere electoral party, is what is called for.


John Passant points out that the environmental crisis is a product of our capitalist economic system:

Capitalism is based on a fundamental rupture between humanity and production.

Reinventing that rupture don’t address the essential and systemic problem – the profit system is fundamentally anti-nature and hence anti-human.

Global warming: the failure of capitalism

And on the problem with the Green’s current focus:

they see negotiation, discussion and the like in Parliament as the ultimate goal and the failure to win parliamentary support the end of the story.



Hattip to slackbastard.

Song and Dance:

The classic wobbly song, criticizing the ALP for losing their way a hundred years ago, alas I couldn’t find a vid of this one:

Come listen, all kind friends of mine
I want to move a motion,
To build an El Dorado here,
I’ve got a bonzer notion.

Bump me into Parliament,
Bounce me any way,
Bang me into Parliament,
On next election day.

– by Bill Casey, Melbourne Wob

Post Script:
Tony Harris published this little re-working of Bump Me Into Parliament a couple of months ago:

Come gather ‘round Green friends of mine
Consensus I am seeking,
A seat in parliament to find,
The numbers I am tweaking.

Bump me into Parliament
Bounce me any way,
Bang me into Parliament,
On next election day.

As a Greenie activist
I really am quite frightening,
But now I’m off to parliament,
I’ll try to be enlightening.


The carbon tax was my idea
All the party’s for it,
But whether it will work or not,
Well that’s up to the market.


In Peace and Love I do believe
They’re principles inspiring,
But when it comes to Palestine,
It’s really just too tiring.


“Yankee Doodle” Danby is
A Labor man annoying,
He’s after us on BDS,
It’s an issue we’re avoiding.


Barak Obama came to town
Riding on Alliance,
With few demurs and grins all ‘round,
We gave him our compliance.


Inheritance and private schools
Our policies are causing fear!
But in the MP’s caucus room,
We can simply make them disappear.


New parliamentary friends of mine
They think I’m quite reliable,
And now my bum’s upon the bench,
I want to be called Honourable.

So bump them into Parliament
Bounce them any way,
Bung them into Parliament,
It’s the “Professional’ way.

The process of “professionalising” continues at full speed in The Greens, just last month at a national policy conference The Greens ditched the last remnants of a progressive tax policy.

At the time I left, the decision to move on from The Greens was heart wrenching. The follys of a regressive and ineffective carbon tax, and an ongoing trend towards technocratic conservatism have long since removed any remenant sentiment, and made the decision to embrace a revolutionary outlook all the easier.


See also, Part 2: Racism in the Environmental Movement.

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