Greens discuss European eco-socialism

Derek Wall and Adam Ostolski

Green Party members from across the globe descended on Liverpool’s waterfront conference centre for a joint congress said to be the largest assembly of Greens ever with two thousand members in attendance.  Jay M reports that England & Wales eco-socialist group Green Left organised a fringe meeting ‘Greens and Eco-Socialist Alliances in Europe?’

The panel featured Derek Wall (England & Wales International coordinator) and Adam Ostolski (Poland co-leader). Discussed were the tactics for advancing eco-socialism in an era of neoliberal crises and radical politics. This article seeks to reflect the views of the speakers and the room.

Derek Wall began by compelling attendees to read the periodical journal Lucha Indigena by Hugo Blanco and learn from the methods of HDP in Turkey and the Rojava Revolution for building alliances between different oppressed groups and bridging ethnic divides. He views the Green Party as essential in the eco-socialist transformation but not sufficient and expressed that greens should not be arrogant about ideology or complacent in viewing themselves as sole representatives of the struggle. The call is for practical politics to build trust and a broad social movement with a radical anti-capitalist and eco-socialist agenda.

Slogans about eco-socialism and left unity are not enough, the strategy in the UK should be to engage with the Progressive Alliance as a positive step to achieve PR elections. Working with Labour and Liberal Democrats depends entirely on local conditions, this is the emphasis on practical politics. He called for working with the new left parties such as Women’s Equality and Keep Our NHS Public and to reach out to the community organising with teachers and parents against the education marketization. This is viewed as a way to build trust in society and normalise the eco-socialism before the problems of inequality allow even greater mobilization by the right.

Adam Ostolski discussed the failings of green capitalism’s Carbon Trading, the ecological credentials of Karl Marx and the old socialist mistrust of ecology as a liberal Trojan with the progressive agenda viewed as secondary to labour conditions. He called on Greens in power to spread alternative economics for post-capitalism.

He discussed the practicalities of the alliances in Poland, where the greens targeted trade unions such as public sector workers, there was some unorthodox ecology by calling for a just transition to protect worker’s jobs before closing coal mines and focus on renewable industry to provide that pathway for a just transition.

Although there are concerns about identity politics in alliances, working with liberals to convey the message of social justice against conservative right wing populism is essential. Some liberal values should be defended and feature in the socialist platform. Ostolski opposes Brexit dismissing it as media manipulated, undemocratic, not ecological and against social justice.

To achieve a just transition to eco-socialism the Lucas Plan workers should be emulated by activists engaging the labour movement with One Million Climate Jobs. Zero Carbon Britain provides us with a pathway for 2050 using proven technology. The transition period can be financed by divesting public funds from fossil fuels and reinstating the energy and utility companies to local municipalities.

The call is for building trust and alliances at the grassroots level for campaigns that reach out beyond partisan politics. There should not be electoral alliances with liberals but alliances of opposition campaigns and protest groups.

Alliances at local grassroots are a means to achieve democratic and electoral reform, paving the way for eco-socialist transformation. Opposition to fracking is viewed as the potential moblilizer against conservative politics in the rural communities with opposition to health and education privatisation viewed as a mobilizer in urban areas.

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