Friday, April 14, 2017

Labor Left should be forced to eat its Greens

One of the sad ironies of current official politics in Australia is the venom shown towards the Greens by the Labor Left.

With carefully scripted social media talking points and dodgy homespun memes, they decry the Greens as fakes and sellouts. They call the Greens the party that (for example) voted against carbon trading (a strange rewriting of history, the Greens dragged Gillard to the table on carbon trading.). The Greens allegedly destroyed democracy by agreeing to Senate voting reform (it's hard to see how that changed much at all, but probably dashed the hopes of a few of Labor's preference-harvesting dummy tickets).

This anonymous pro-Labor anti-Green twitter account is "Learning to ignore hatred & anonymous reverse racists & bigots" but still hasn't learned about irony apparently.
It all gets a bit silly sometimes. One pro-Labor keyboard warrior (who has now blocked me) called me as bad as Hanson because I said I didn't care if the Greens voted against emissions trading, as I don't support emissions trading anyway.


But the substance of the criticisms is not the point; on some Labor may even be right (pension reform for example). It's the strategic blindness that reveals the Labor left's role.

The irony is that Labor's slightly improved performance on environmental issues would not have occurred without the threat of the Greens taking their environmental voters (and members) away from them, including what used to be safe ALP seats. You would think the ALP left would be thanking the Greens for giving them leverage within their party, and even making alliance with the Greens to win more!

The fact they choose instead to attack the Greens viciously suggests that the ALP left remains captive to the ALP right, more loyal to the institution of the ALP, despite its lacklustre record, than they are to being left (or supporting environmental causes).

Which brings us full circle. While the Greens are a threat to Labor, primarily (but not exclusively) on issues of the environment and human rights, the Labor left and internal lobby groups like LEAN have more weight in the Labor leadership as they are needed to present Labor as a more environmentally friendly party. But if they are successful in this, and claw back the electorates taken from them by the Greens, they will destroy the basis of their own success. The mining-loving, SDA-supporting right of the party will no longer need to humour them and it's doubtful whether they will maintain as much influence over party policy.

Fortunately most members of both parties who are activists (as opposed to pure social media keyboard warriors) tend to collaborate with each other (and third parties like me) on real campaigns. Maybe the social media talking-points and slurs are just there to mobilise an insecure sector of Labor's passive support base.

Let's get everyone on board, on the streets, to stop the Adani mine and push through to 100% renewable energy, whichever party you vote or tweet for.

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