Is Marama Davidson's 'radicalism' just useful camouflage for a centre-right Labour-led Government?
MARAMA DAVIDSON IS WIDELY regarded as the progressive or radical voice of the Green Party. This is not a description that Davidson herself disagrees with. She told Alex Brae of Spin Off earlier this year that she wore the radical badge with pride.
“What I do find radical is an economic system where the City Mission is full, but two men have more wealth than the bottom 30% of the country. So if that’s what I’m going to be labelled with because of the visions of life we can all have here, then I’m fine with that.”
If you trawl through the Green Party co-leader's Facebook or Twitter feeds you will find her supporting and identifying with many and varied progressive issues. Whether its poverty or climate change, Davidson's heart could well be said to be in the right place.
The difficulty is that while she might be against poverty and inequality and climate change there's no real indication on how she thinks we can move on to a qualitatively better world. While someone like American congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - who Davidson identifies with - is clear in her anti-capitalist politics and her socialist alternative, we get nothing similar from Davidson.
Since she doesn't profess to be an ecosocialist this beggars the question: What is her political and economic alternative? While Ocasio-Cortez talks of 'the crisis of late capitalism' Davidson doesn't appear to think that the crisis isn't so severe that we can't just jiggle the levers of the machine a bit.
|Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez : 'Capitalism is in crisis.'|
When it is evidently clear that we can't combat climate change without a radical transformation of an economy premised on profit and growth, Davidson only goes as far as to say that we have to keep the increase in the global temperature below 1.5c. It hasn't seem to have occurred to her that even this limited objective will be impossible under capitalism. Or does she, like her fellow co-leader James Shaw, believe in the myth that is 'green capitalism'?
Similarly her answer to poverty and inequality is not to upset the economic system that is causing that poverty and inequality in the first place but to reform the welfare system in order to ameliorate the adverse social impact of neoliberalism. While no one can argue with reforms that will directly improve the lives of ordinary people, it doesn't go far enough.
In fact Marama Davidson's radical politics don't extend to the cocooned world of parliamentary politics. It doesn't matter what market outrages this Labour-led Government imposes,Marama Davidson and her fellow Green MP's sit in silence in Parliament.
Indeed Davidson, the woman strenuously opposed to poverty and inequality, stood up in Parliament and wholeheartedly endorsed Grant Robertson's first budget. Despite the fact that it was little more than the continuation of neoliberalism, Davidson described it 'as a good start'.
She and her fellow Green MP's also supported the draconian Electoral Integrity Bill, slammed by former Green Party leader Jeanette Fitzsimons as "unethical and an example of coalition trade-offs of the worst kind."
In 2012 and before she entered Parliament ,Davidson said that "resistance to neoliberal capitalism is a movement that I have supported in principle." There's precious little evidence of that resistance evident now, either in principle or practice. These days she seems at ease being part of the political establishment. I imagine Jacinda and co find her a pleasure to work with.