Independent MP, Tony Windsor, was spot-on when he said that there is no difference in philosophy between the ALP and the Coalition. “It’s a choice between two conservative parties,” he said. Despite a healthy cynicism towards par-liaments and mainstream politicians, people everywhere have been following the melodrama arising from the dead-heat result. Most importantly people have been talking politics with passion and interest for weeks on end.
What’s needed now is to translate that passionate talk into action on the streets and in workplaces. Precisely because Windsor is correct, it’s important to remember that the parliamentary majority — Labor plus the Coalition — will be able to block any repeal of reactionary legislation and to pass laws that further erode our rights. The only way to block this is to organise. The sole Green MP and the independents can do nothing to stop a bloc of the major parties. That task falls to us. As we always have, we will only win concessions from capitalism and its parliaments by fighting for them.
The swing towards The Greens is clearly a response to the ALP’s backing away from any action on climate change. It’s also a measure of voters’ revulsion at yet more anti-worker, neoliberal policies. Like the failure to really abolish WorkChoices and not just mouth words. Like the Northern Territory “intervention,” which is a genocidal grab for In-digenous country. Like the trashing of essential services in the name of the “free” market. Like the refusal of politi-cians to stand up against the religious right and repeal laws that criminalise women’s reproductive choices and allow same-sex couples the choice to wed.
But already Greens leader, Bob Brown, seems to have fallen into the “responsibility” trap. Responsibility, in the con-text of parliament, means managing the capitalist State and supporting profit rather than the will of the people. Elec-tors in this federal poll have made it clear that they want a shift from 30 years of Gordon Gekko style “greed is good” policies towards action that builds communities, protects the sick and the vulnerable, guarantees rights at work and takes real steps to reverse or mitigate the effects of global warming. So they voted for The Greens platform, which has good things to say about all of these. A century of working class anger and frustration at ALP governments that say good things and then act in other ways has taught us a vital lesson. It’s this: treat any party whose strategy relies on parliamentary reform very warily. This is not to question the motives of Greens MPs. But, as always, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
We need to remember that The Greens party was formed out one of the most important environmental struggles in the country’s history — the fight to stop the Gordon below Franklin dam and preserve the irreplaceable wilderness of south western Tasmania. People put their bodies on the line, in incredibly difficult circumstances, to fight for what they believed in. And hey, guess what? They won! The wilderness is still there.
It is that part of The Greens history that shows what to do when under attack – fight back! The FSP aims to be at the forefront of the inevitable battles in the next period. We’re about building the struggle for a better world. If the lesson you’ve taken away from this year’s poll is that voting changes very little, then we’d like to hear from you. Because, whoever you voted for, or if you didn’t vote at all, the old union slogan still rings true: if you don’t fight, you lose!