[Marxism] Nature of the Greens (was Re: Last man standing)

Nick Fredman nick.fredman at iinet.net.au
Fri Aug 27 22:41:11 MDT 2010


Gary MacLennan:

> The Libertarians use the Green veto to preclude any discussion of class
> politics in "The most important thing is the ozone layer, climate change,
> etc". 

This is a specifically Queensland phenomena though. I'm just finishing off an academic paper for the Australian Journal of Political Science on the considerable extent to which the Greens represent a form of left social democracy. I look at the views  - of Greens leaders and branch members that I conducted focus groups with and in Greens material - expressing left nationalist ideas of Australia as economically exploited and politically subservient, and compared Greens voters and other voters in the 2007 Australian Election Study (the first such survey to include enough Greens voters to make any sensible claims about), in terms of class composition, left-right self-identification and attitudes towards class (the latter consisting of an index created from responses to questions about union power, big business power and the former government's WorkChoices legislation). As in a lot of academic social science the findings are pretty much what you'd expect, with footnotes, and this is from my unsurprising conclusion: 

> I have found that in relation to two sets of issues — trade, globalisation and the AUSFTA, and the Iraq and Afghan wars and national security — discourse emanating from Greens branch members and leaders seems mainly framed by traditional left nationalism (and to a lesser extent traditional internationalism). I also find that in social composition and attitudes towards class Greens voters are considerably closer to Labor voters than to Coalition supporters (though generally are more middle class and educated than Labor voters), and are more leftist in self-identification than either. Hence, while the “newness” of Green politics is a real phenomenon, Green parties have roots in and similarities to left social democracy that must also be recognised.
> 
>  I would suggest, from general observation and anecdotal evidence, including comments from my focus group participants that the connection between Green politics and left social democracy arises from two interrelated factors. Firstly, that despite the undoubted radical newness of Green politics, these parties were bound from the first to be influenced by extant radical and anti-establishment traditions. Secondly, from the apparent defection of Labor activists and voters into the Green camp due to perceived rightward turns of parties such as the ALP. 

For those interested in class composition, I found the Greens voters (in the workforce) broke down into 51% non-managerial employees, 29% salaried managers and 20% business owners, with corresponding figures for the ALP being 59%-29%-13% and for the Liberal Party 40%-35%-25%. Compared to Labor voters, Greens voters have more degrees, less trade qualifications and on the whole higher incomes. 






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