[Marxism] Local Green vs. the bourgeois minister

Nick Fredman srcsra at scu.edu.au
Sat Feb 3 16:57:02 MST 2007

The following might be of interest in regards to the anti-capitalism of 
the Greens, how they are perceived, and how socialists necessarily 
organising outside the Greens should relate to them.

A short letter to our local weekly by the NSW Greens candidate about 
new Australian environment minister Malcolm Turnbull reflected I think 
the healthy anti-business sentiment of the Greens but also, for want of 
a less harsh term , their parliamentary cretinism ("only two years 
parliamentary experience...", that's a plus in my book). It attracted 
this week a response from the paper's former editor, the sort of 
socially liberal, pro-business type who wishes the Greens were nice and 
sensible like the Australian Democrats. This seemed like a good excuse 
for me to get some socialist propaganda into the letters page, which is 
widely read and prints virtually everything sent (there's  some crazy 
shit in there ...)

(Jan 25)
Environmental irony
So there’s John Howard’s commitment to the environment for you, plain 
and clear. Appoint a millionaire merchant banker with only two years 
parliamentary experience as the new Environment & Water Resources 
Minister. What a joke. Unfortunately, the joke is on us.
Andy Gough
Greens NSW candidate for Lismore

(Feb 1)
Politicians make strange bedfellows
Andy Gough (Echo, Jan 25) vents his ideological spleen (or perhaps it’s 
the effects of tofu poisoning...) against the federal government’s new 
Environment and Water Resources Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, for the 
crimes of being a millionaire merchant banker and having only two years 
of experience in parliament. Do the Greens prefer career pollies who’ve 
never cut it in the real world and are only in it for the money and 
The real joke is listening to the Greens squealing from the same hymn 
sheet as the irrigators who’ve squandered this precious resource. 
Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.
So much for the lofty Green ideals of debating ideas rather than 
rolling in the mud of personal attacks. The irony is that Turnbull is 
one of the few who refrains from such political ranting and has instead 
invested his parliamentary time wisely, debating the issues of 
sustainability and our growing water crisis.
If Andy stopped reading his own party’s propaganda for long enough, he 
might see that others in the community also have some ideas, including 
Turnbull, and what everyone would like to see is a decent debate on the 
Is it the constant scratching from the hemp shirts that make the Greens 
so bilious? Are they stuck in a siege mentality that sees no good? Or 
is he just another wannabe politician whose only way of hijacking 
attention during the looming election campaign is to attack everything?
Maybe it’s time for a joint and a good lie down.
Simon Thomsen (former Echo editor)

(For Feb 8)
Is former Echo boss Simon Thomsen seeking employment as a Murdoch 
columnist? His letter attacking Greens candidate Any Gough and praising 
environment minister Malcolm Turnbull (Echo, February 1) had all the 
ingredients, including a string of tediously hackneyed anti-Green 
clichés and a homage to the "real world" of corporate capitalism.

Just like a Murdoch hack, splenetic bluster covers a lack of logic for 
Simon as he tries to argue that a pompous Tory toff who’s spent a life 
in the bourgeois ghetto of Vaucluse and a career growing immensely 
wealthy in the parasitic and utterly socially useless fields of 
corporate law and merchant banking knows anything about the experiences 
and needs of the vast majority of people.

Andy is completely right to question the breadth of Turnbull’s life 
experience and also where the minister’s allegiances and ideological 
assumptions lie. For two centuries the business class has grown fat on 
the systematic desecration of the planet and has undermined efforts at 
change. A single recent example: the February 3 Sydney Morning Herald 
reported that the big oil funded American Enterprise Institute 
attempted to hand out $10 000 bribes to scientists to undermine the 
recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

In contrast the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report 2006 
described socialist Cuba as the world’s only environmentally 
sustainable nation.

Sure along with our scepticism let’s take Howard and Turnbull’s 
proposals on their merits. Their water plan contains some steps 
forward, notably those (non-market) aspects involving better and more 
centralised public planning and improved public infrastructure. However 
there’s a step back in further marketising the cost of water. The 
market is a grossly inefficient and unfair means of rationing a scare 
or polluting resource: those who pollute or use the least are worst 
affected, and those (big business including agri-business) who pollute 
and use the most can most easily absorb costs or more commonly pass 
them on to consumers. There should be planned quotas and fair, 
differential prices for consumers, small business and big business.

Socialist Alliance encourages the Greens to maintain and extend their 
toff-bashing, as this is not at all negative but points to a fairer and 
more sustainable way of running the world. They should in fact go 
further and point out that all politicians are overpaid and hence out 
of touch, and adopt our policies of an average wage and the right of 
recall for politicians. In the NSW elections we’re calling for a vote 
for Andy in the seat of Lismore and for our own upper house ticket.

Nick Fredman,

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