Why socialists should join the Green Party #9: Greens recognise that the climate and economic crises are fundamentally interlinked
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 weekly column setting out why disaffected socialists should join the Green Party.
Greens recognise that the climate, economic and social crises are fundamentally interlinked
The economic crisis and the climate crisis are two sides of the same coin. There can be no climate justice without social justice. These phrases are oft repeated, to the extent they are close to becoming cliché. But these phrases nonetheless indicate the values that are coded into the Green Party’s DNA and are fundamental to the Greens’ analysis of the world.
Indeed, point one of the Greens’ core values – a collectively agreed summary of the party’s principles – reads: “The Green Party is a party of social and environmental justice, which supports a radical transformation of society for the benefit of all, and for the planet as a whole. We understand that the threats to economic, social and environmental wellbeing are part of the same problem, and recognise that solving one of these crises cannot be achieved without solving the others.”
These principles are unique to the Greens. It is only the Green Party that recognises that the economic and political structures which are driving the climate emergency are the same structures of exploitation and oppression that create an unequal, unhappy and unjust society. Naturally, it is also only the Greens that understand that overhauling these structures is central to addressing social injustice and the climate crisis.
In the mainstream of politics, the Tories exist to defend these structures, the Liberal Democrats provide no meaningful criticism of them, and the Labour Party consistently stops short of a radical programme that would see them eradicated.
Within fringe left groups, the climate crisis and wider environmental issues are marginalised or worse maligned. The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), for example, despite claiming in its 2023 local election platform that it would “reduce emissions and improve air quality and the local environment”, has consistently opposed local measures that would effectively deliver this, such as traffic filters and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
Of course there are groups, organisers and activists within the Labour Party and within smaller radical left parties that do get it, and are pushing for the parties they are a part of to cotton on too. Groups like Labour for a Green New Deal, for example, continue to organise within the Labour Party around a socialist solution to the climate crisis. But as we’ve looked at earlier in this series, Labour members on the left are increasingly marginalised within the party, and it has been proven time and time again that the fringe parties can’t win elections.
It is only the Green Party that has this analysis permanently carved into it. So if you are a socialist who recognises the urgency of the climate crisis, or if you’re an environmentalist that recognises the planet will only be saved by dismantling the systems and structures capitalism underpins, the Greens are the party for you.
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Image credit: Rob Browne – Creative Commons