Monday, 22 December 2008

Red and Green

Paulie directs his readers to a Liberal Conspiracy debate over the car bail outs. Is the difference between Left and Green simply over the the relative importance they attach to jobs per se, rather than a wider sense of 'the good life'? Does the green movement have a tin-ear for workers' concerns? Conversely: has the Labour Movement, and most especially it's left, lost all touch with the difference between sectional interests, albeit those of the oppressed and disadvantaged, and the broader good ? (even if that 'broader good' is expressed in classic terms of 'the working class as a whole' in some more traditional quarters....or even if the more jargon ridden amongst them might describe a Left vision of the 'broader good' as being a 'hegemonic aspiration'. ).

The answer to every one of these questions, it seems to me, is a 'yes' with a variety of different qualifiers. Therein lies the problem for anyone with a spark of radicalism in them.

Leftism surely can't mean conservatism. It can't mean, to take a non-ecologically relevant example, supporting the absurd 'People's Woolworth's' campaign. Woolworths was a crap store selling crap things. I do not mourn its passing. The issue is finding a quick transition into new work for its employees, not pretending it should be saved for the nation. Calls for TU action beyond this are blinkered in my view. Socialism has to mean progress of some sort, surely?

Yet the Greens need to find of a way of concretising their call for industrial and commercial transformation. The Green New Deal is fine as far as it goes - but it's high level Keynesianism at root. Even if it was a adequate programme to confront the crisis - and, remember, it was designed before the worst of the credit crunch - it is an inherently top-down series of measures. People - workers and their organisations - need to be able to contribute.

At this point, lets remember not just Mike Cooley and his fellow Shop Stewards at Lucas Areospace, but also what came out of it: a Centre for Alternative Industrial and Technological Systems (CAITS). I can't find it on Google any more - perhaps it's folded, which would be very sad. Instead we have the purely Green Centre for Alternative Technology, which even boasts of being visited by the Duke of Edinburgh....

The Left and the Greens need each other, and need each other badly. Neither has a workable vision of the future without the other.

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