The Green Party must reject the extreme politics of James Shaw.

ALTHOUGH GREEN PARTY members had the numbers to effectively topple James Shaw as co-leader and launch a leadership contest, only Shaw has put his name forward. The failure to stand a candidate  against him means that Shaw could well be re-elected unopposed. However Green Party delegates could again choose to reject Shaw and re-open nominations. Given the amount of acrimony within the Green's its unlikely to be guided by co-leader Marama Davidson's attempt to adopt a more conciliatory tone, suggesting the Green's had to take the opportunity to reflect on  'where we're going to be in 2023'. 

But Davidson is not an neutral observer. She has taken sides. She has consistently supported Shaw and denied that the Green's have become increasingly centrist. And the fact that Davidson has not been challenged as co-leader should not be taken as evidence that there's not a significant level of dissatisfaction with her leadership as well.

Whatever the outcome of this particular leadership tussle, James Shaw is damaged goods. With a large swathe of the Green Party membership opposed to his continued leadership role, the danger is that a disunited Green Party will limp to next year's general election. Shaw's authority to speak on behalf of the Green Party has been severely undermined.

The first salvo has been fired in what amounts to a war over the political direction of the Green Party. It has been coming for years and yet both Shaw and Davidson have ignored it to the point of contemptuousness. Seemingly entranced by their ministerial positions they have forgotten that, in the end, the grassroots of the party still has the power to rein them in.

But funny what a leadership challenge can do to the recalcitrant. Ever since he was elected co-leader in 2015, James Shaw has dismissed out of hand the concerns of the progressive wing of the Green Party. But now he wants his political opponents to think that he was always on their side. Really.

In a pointed attack on Shaw's corporate environmentalism, the Green Left have described 'sustainable capitalism' as an 'oxymoron' and that they are opposed to the 'inherent violence of capitalism'. In calmer times Shaw would have brushed aside such criticisms but not now. In response he has commented:

'I've often said that climate change is an economic problem with environmental consequences. I know we need to change our economic system in order to fix our climate and restore our natural environment...I absolutely share the impatience for radical change to our society and our economy right now.'

But while Shaw might identify the symptons of the climate crisis he has consistently failed to acknowledge that our present economic system is the root cause of those symptoms. Shaw continues to harbour liberal delusions of a 'green capitalism'. So even when we know that one hundred corporations have been responsible for 71 percent of global carbon emissions since 1988, Shaw still stands up in Parliament and declares that its 'people' who are responsible for the planet warming up.  Yes, its you're fault. And mine. 

While the mainstream media are happy to promote the 'sensibly moderate' views of James Shaw in stark contrast to the 'radical' views of some 'fringe activists', Shaw represents a very dangerous form of climate change denialism. British Labour MP Zarah Sultana identifies it as an ideology 'that does not deny the science: it denies the politics. It pretends that tweaking the system here, or modifying it there, is enough to avert disaster.'

The Green Party must reject the reactionary politics of James Shaw. 


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