Greens

You asked me why I don’t care for the Greens, and I’d like to give you a fuller answer than I did over the phone.  There are a number of areas in which I object to the Greens

 

The Greens have brought the Republican principle of narrow self-interest into progressive politics.  Left wing politics, in this country, is always based on coalitions.  This is not an ideal situation, but it’s the best we can do in the absence of a revolutionary social movement.  The idea is to broaden the coalition by focusing on the issues that connect the disparate constituencies of the Left.  Howard Dean was absolutely correct when he suggested that rural Southern Whites need to be brought into the Democratic coalition.  Unfortunately, he was booed off the stage when he said that—not a good sign.  The question is can we focus on an issue that makes common cause for rural Southern whites and urban blacks?  The answer is yes we can and must, but don’t look to Jesse Jackson and the pro-affirmative action types to do it. 

 

The Greens have stood outside that coalition, insisting that their agenda is more urgent than the issues that might build a coalition.  The truth is that there are many urgent issues.  The Greens don’t have a monopoly on urgency, but their belief that they do has given us George Bush, the war in Iraq, and the greatest assault on the environment since Teddy Roosevelt identified conservation as a national priority.

 

The Greens support solutions that go against the interests of working people.  It’s not enough to oppose logging.  Lots of people sustain their families in the logging industry.  To stop the predations of the logging industry, you need those people on your side.  They need to see alternatives to logging which they find attractive.  This is difficult but not impossible.  But by framing the issue solely as a confrontation with corporate power and ignoring the social issues, the Greens have forced working people to make common cause with the logging companies—a very unnatural situation that could have been avoided and, ultimately, detrimental to the progressive cause.  It’s the same issue with the fishing industry, which the Greens have also opposed.

 

The Greens are guilty of unsystemic thinking.  If you really want to protect wilderness, the best way is to make cities more livable and affordable so that people have no need to push out and real estate speculators can’t exploit that need.  The Greens’ predilection for confrontation at the point of conflict may be satisfying to the frustrated, but it causes fuzzy thinking, bad ideology, and gives free reign to self-righteousness and moral superiority, the great debilitating disease of the Left.