Why socialists should join the Green Party #1: Greens want to end the privatisation rip-off
Where should socialists put their energy in 2023? This is a question facing many on the left.
There are some obvious answers. The wave of industrial militancy that has swept across the country has necessitated a solidarity movement alongside it. Campaign groups like Enough is Enough have provided a space for people to begin organising for the economic transformations the country needs. With the climate crisis getting ever more urgent and a socialist solution to it ever more necessary – leftists have an important role to play within the climate movement.
These are all vital movements for the left to be organising within. But most socialists accept that while the collective struggle of social movements and of organised labour are crucial to building a new society, these movements also need a political expression. They need a political organisation able to fight elections, assume political office and – ultimately – wield state power. Since Keir Starmer’s ascension to the top of his party, it is abundantly clear that political expression will not and cannot come from Labour.
Instead, it must come from elsewhere. For a growing number of people – including more than a dozen left wing ex-Labour Councillors, Jeremy Corbyn’s former spokesperson, and outriders and influencers of the Corbyn era – that political expression of the tsunami of rebellion sweeping across the country, the political expression of socialism, will come through the Green Party.
In light of that, our editor Chris Jarvis is writing a new weekly column setting out why disaffected socialists should join the Green Party.
The Green Party wants to end the privatisation rip off
Central to socialism is the understanding that the primary purpose of production in an economy should not be the accumulation of private profit. Instead, it should be to meet the needs of people and the creation of social good – through collective ownership of the means of production.
Since the 1980s, the last vestiges of an economic model oriented towards social good and public need have been extinguished. Now, the scourge of profit-seeking has infected every corner of the economy.
Our public services have been privatised and sold off to companies which syphon billions off to their shareholders while giving us extortionate bills and fares. Social housing has been decimated leaving millions of people exploited by rip-off rents, while landlords laugh all the way to the bank.
The Green Party is the only mainstream party seeking to change this. Greens want to bring all our public services back into public ownership, including public transport, energy, water and the Royal Mail. Green Party health policy would see the NHS reinstated as a fully public service and a publicly funded, free at the point of use system of social care based on the principles of the NHS.
Under the Greens’ vision the disastrous right to buy policy would be ended, allowing Councils to replenish their social housing stock, while rent controls would be imposed on landlords. Proposals from Green London Assembly member Sian Berry would see private renters given the right to transform their homes into cooperatives.
These policies alone would constitute an overwhelming transfer of wealth and assets from private ownership to the public sector, allowing public services and housing to be oriented towards service provision, rather than profit making. Combined with the Greens’ proposals to enable and empower workers to transform their workplaces into worker owned cooperatives, the Greens have a vision for an economy transformed – an economy where those who are recipients of a service or who are producers of a product are placed at the heart of production – not the billionaires, the ultra-wealthy and the private shareholders.
By contrast to the Green Party’s position, Labour’s offer is tepid at best. Yes, they say they will bring the railways into public ownership. As for water? Energy? Royal Mail? Not a chance. On the NHS, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has talked up his pro-market credentials, repeatedly making the case for reliance on the private sector in the health service. Labour don’t have the radical proposals we need on housing. And they have nothing to say about democratising the rest of the economy.
The truth is that Keir Starmer would leave the balance of economic ownership almost wholly unchanged. He is a free-marketeer in a red rosette.
PS. We hope you enjoyed this article. Bright Green has got big plans for the future to publish many more articles like this. You can help make that happen. Please donate to Bright Green now donate to Bright Green now.
Image credit: Rob Browne – Creative Commons