|Katrin Jakobsdottir: "Capitalism works against our ecological interests."|
While the Green Party's James Shaw has noted the election success of ecosocialist Katrín Jakobsdóttir and her Left Green party in Iceland, his own party this week reneged on its election commitment to oppose all benefit sanctions.
ICELAND'S NEW Prime Minister took office last week. Katrín Jakobsdóttir leads the Left Green Movement, an ecosocialist party.
Formed in 1999 in opposition to the centrist polices of the Social Democratic Alliance, the party stood on a election platform of defending the welfare state and introducing more direct democracy and more popular control over the economy.
The outgoing prime minister, Bjarni Benediktsson’s Independence party narrowly won the 28 October election – the country’s second snap poll in less than a year – but lost a quarter of its seats, paving the way for Jakobsdóttir to form a left-led coalition.
Jakobsdóttir recently told the left wing Jacobin magazine:
"When we were founded in 1999 the Left-Greens were focused on protecting the resources of Iceland in the highlands and so on, but we have been expanding our environmentalism over the years since. Clearly, the issue of climate change is crucial today and we have campaigned with a pledge to make Iceland carbon neutral by 2040. But environmentalism is not just about this, it is also about changing the system we are living in. Capitalism works against our ecological interests — it revolves around increasing consumption and growth, but sustainability requires that we reduce these things."
While New Zealand Green Party co leader James Shaw has noted Jakobsdóttir's victory, he is no supporter of ecosocialist politics. His continued loyalty to a so-called environmentally-friendly capitalism means that the Green Party continues to travel in a centrist direction. The latest evidence for that is its abrupt policy reversal on benefit sanctions. While it strongly opposed such sanctions during its election campaign it now says it supports a sanctions regime that can be imposed on welfare beneficiaries.
James Shaw told Newshub: ""Our policy is what the Government's policy is. So now we're in Government, we need to do what Government policy says. We only want to get rid of the most excessive sanctions."
This now clears the way for the Green's to support any sanctions that the government plans to impose on young people if they decline to work on Shane Jones exploitative and dead end work programs planting trees and shovelling dirt on the railways. We've come a long way from the Green's election commitment to creating positive and meaningful jobs that contribute to people's "self esteem, physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and for a sense of contributing to society."
The Green's lurch backwards has prompted welfare activist Sue Bradford to tweet:
"What are the Greens going to do about welfare over the next three years? Anything? In the wake of this (Newshub's) report we need a clear statement from the party ... or don't unemployed people & beneficiaries matter now Greens are finally in govt?