it’s time to join the Greens

Mourn progressive Labor and then move on, or your soul will die. If you don’t like the Greens as they are, join and change them.

(Image: Private Media)

So as your correspondent may have suggested once or 50 times recently, Labor has crossed over — and some (well, many) of its supporters from the left are finding it hard to deal with. This is manifesting in a series of not particularly effective attacks on Labor’s determination to be a party of total capital, which work on the false presumption that there are left allies within Labor to join the attack. There’s more than a touch of melancholia to some of these encounters, the inability to end a mourning process and let a dead attachment go.

This may continue for some time. But it would be better if it could be got through quickly and a new strategy formed. That’s easier said than done. Labor is the only progressive party capable of government, and for a long time progressives’ relationship with it has had a mild sleight-of-hand quality: they get in on a mainstream platform, and our program, semi-acceptable to a larger group, comes in with it. Without Labor, the left is face to face with the fact that our program hasn’t busted through for decades, and that it has now retreated pretty much to the boundaries of the knowledge class.

The most obvious course is to join, or to more actively support, the Greens, or a smaller party to the left — although only the Victorian Socialists, in Victoria, offer an option that is not a fairly closed revolutionary party. The Greens remain the main game. But this is where many people long associated with Labor find certain things hard to contemplate — no matter how much one makes the point that the Greens are a social democratic party with a specific environmental concern, but otherwise with a policy framework firmly on the left and to the left of Labor.

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