Green/Nader economic policies are not progressive

Brian James hillbily at
Mon Oct 30 16:29:37 MST 2000

If I lived in the United States I would probably vote for Nader for the
same reasons as everyone else. However, I do not think that should
dissuade me or other so-called Marxists from questioning and criticizing
the foundations of his and the Greens' economic policies, which is of
course fundamental to a Marxist analysis.

Reading over the policy platforms of ALL Green Parties I've ever
encountered--and it's perfectly valid to generalize here--leaves me with
a very strong feeling of being in the presence of crackpots with
shallow, incoherent, and somewhat reactionary ideas. But subjective
responses aside, it is fundamental to a Marxist view to make an
objective analysis, going beyond the rhetoric of campaign speeches to
the real substance of the economic platform.

Isn't socialism about collectivizing the means of production once it has
reached a level of efficiency by which it can provide for all the people
while giving them more free time to live fully as human beings? Do Green
economics move towards that end?

The Nader/Green agenda aims to publicize and radically democratize many
industries in America (with not a single shot fired), but at the same
time put the production of the nation's food supply in the hands of
small family-based farmers. Does anybody else get a feeling of cognitive
dissonance here? Wouldn't this result in pitting the interests of the
country folk (high food prices) against the interests of the urban poor
and workers (low food prices)? On top of that, presumably as a way of
preventing buy-outs and monopolies from emerging all over again, the US
Greens propose to pass laws that would enforce localism in the economy,
such as requiring that farm owners actually live in the area of their
farm. Wow, Karl Marx would have started up a hundred Internationals to
celebrate that idea! If this and other Green policies are not a recipe
for increasing rural xenophobia and beggar thy neighbor attitudes then I
don't know what is.

In short, the stated ideals and commitments of the party are not
coherently supported by an objective appraisal of the platform.

I've pasted in some excerpts from a World Socialist Website article
below, which in my opinion expresses a view of the Greens that Marxists
must take very seriously.

Brian James


Extolling the politics of expediency: an interview with US Green Party leaders

By Jerry White
2 September 2000

[In our discussion, he described the Green Party as the defender of
“small, independent entrepreneurs” against “global corporations.”
McLarty elaborated: “We would say it is no longer a question of
socialism versus capitalism, because capitalism has split into two
directions now. There is the level of the local entrepreneur—let me call
that entrepreneurial capitalism. Family farms, mom- and pop-owned shops,
family businesses, small businesses. On the other hand, we face this
increasing rule by global corporations, and that is a much different
kind of capitalism from low-level, entrepreneurial capitalism.”

In this way McLarty spelled out the Greens' basic class standpoint—that
of the petty proprietor who is being crushed by big capital. In reality,
the “free competition” stage of American capitalism was superseded by
monopoly capitalism well over a century ago. And contrary to McLarty's
rose-colored portrayal of what he calls “agrarian capitalism,” the days
of subsistence
farming and rural backwardness were far from a paradise for the masses
of working people.

What McLarty and the Greens are arguing for, in the name of
anti-globalization, is a retrogression to a more primitive stage in the
development of man's productive forces. Their ideal is a reactionary utopia.]

And further on...

[Pragmatism, opportunism, eclecticism are held up as positive goods. In
McLarty's words: “I think what is going on right now is that the Green
Party is getting stronger, and it is getting stronger through Nader's
campaign...We are doing a lot of things without a very clear theory
behind it. I think just the emergence of a strong third party throws
politics into a chaos, in which we are not sure how things are going to
sort out.”

Such an unprincipled and eclectic approach to politics is characteristic
of the social layers upon which the Greens are based. The middle layers
of society exercise no real independence from the two main classes—the
working class and the capitalist class—and swing, sometimes wildly,
between the two. A party based upon such variegated and heterogeneous
elements of the population is incapable of a consistent and scientific
approach to politics.

The Greens may ignore the class struggle, but the class struggle does
not ignore them. The right-wing evolution of the German Greens
demonstrates the bankruptcy of such petty-bourgeois politics. In the
fire of war and class conflict, the German Greens dutifully defended the
interests of their ruling class. If given the chance, their American
counterparts would do likewise.]

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