|Jack McDonald : The Green Party has drifted to the right.|
High profile Green Party member Jack McDonald says that the Green Party has continued its 'centrist drift'under the co-leadership of James Shaw. But fellow co-leader Marama Davidson is equally responsible for the Green's increasingly conservative politics. And while both Shaw and Davidson claim that you can't always get what you want under MMP, their so-called 'pragmatism' merely disguises the fact that when the call is for 'system change not climate change', they merely want to tinker with the system a bit....
I CAN IMAGINE THAT Jack McDonald's decision to effectively resign from any further active participation in the Green Party was not taken lightly. But his decision not to seek re-election as the Greens' policy co-convener as well as withdraw as its Te Tai Hauauru candidate in next year's general election, has underlined his deep discontent with the political direction of the Green Party.
He certainly pulled no punches expressing his dissatisfaction with the Green Party's centrist politics, singling out co-leader James Shaw for special mention:
"As an indigenous ecosocialist the last few years have been tough; the 2017 campaign, Metiria's [Turei] resignation, and the continued centrist drift of the party's direction under James Shaw's co-leadership. When the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] says we have 12 years to save the world from climate catastrophe, we simply don't have time for centrism, moderation or fiscal austerity."
McDonald attaches exactly zero responsibility to Marama Davidson for the Green Party's 'centrist drift'. On Twitter he has commented that 'I've very explicitly said it was James that was shifting the direction to the centre. As one of Marama’s biggest supporters throughout her political career, I have never said the same of her, nor would I.'
But despite McDonald's loyalty to her, the fact remains is that Davidson has said and done little to suggest she is of a different political hue to Shaw. Among other things, it is Davidson who stood up in Parliament and praised Grant Robertson's first budget which announced the continuation of austerity. It was Davidson who supported the Labour-led Government's decision to reject most of the recommendations of its own welfare working group including increasing core benefits. And it is Davidson who is as equally committed as Shaw to supporting the government's disastrous corporate-friendly 'strategy' supposedly designed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. She is not the political angel to Shaw's political devil. To claim that she represents a current of progressivism within the Green Party simply isn't true.
And like Shaw, Davidson likes to portray herself as a 'pragmatist' and a 'realist'. The constant refrain from both is that, hey,we'd like to achieve more but, in a MMP environment, you can't always get what you want. You just have to know when to compromise. 'We recognise the constraints of an MMP government' said Shaw smugly, in response to McDonald's criticisms of him.
|Naomi Klein : Capitalism is destabilisng our planet's life support system.|
But neither James Shaw or Marama Davidson are 'pragmatists'. They are ideologues. Theirs is the ideology of green capitalism, the absurd fantasy that the very economic system that is chewing up the planet can be moulded to actually benefit the planet.
When there is a growing public appetite for transformational change, for system change not climate change, both Shaw and Davidson continue to insist that merely tinkering with the status quo - not overturning it - will be enough to effectively tackle climate change. If both Green co-leaders were serious about taking on the status quo then they would be advocating a Green New Deal, similar to what is being advocated in the United States, It would fundamentally reject market policies and politics. I've challenged James Shaw regularly on this over the past year and I've had no response. He's obviously too busy talking to the business suits advising them on the 'opportunities' that tackling climate change will provide.
But as writer and activist Naomi Klein has commented: “If the only problem with capitalism was this slight temperature increase, we would really be cooked. But the fact is that there are lots of problems with this system, and on top of all of those problems, it is destabilising our planet’s life support system.”
The question can be asked, who is the most deluded? Those who deny climate change altogether or those, like James Shaw and Marama Davidson and the Green Party, who think combating climate change means just tweaking the present economic system?
Although McDonald says we won't be actively involved in the Green Party he'll still vote for them at next year's election. His reason is hardly inspiring, merely that the Green's (and presumably Labour) are better than the other lot. But 'lesser evil' politics are one of the reasons why we find ourselves in our present political predicament. Given the urgency of the crisis that is upon us saying 'no' to the other lot is clearly not enough. Not by a long shot.