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BC Green platform: good, but flawed

green party of BC

May 7, 2013

“The Green Party is fiscally responsible, socially progressive, and environmentally conscious. We are committed to a competitive and green economy.” In this description of the BC Green party, from their website, the Greens illustrate the fundamental contradiction at the heart of their politics.
The transition away from fossil fuels will require massive spending on infrastructure and development, as well as a willingness to let capital tied up in oil, coal and gas be written off. Such a transition will forever be out of reach for any party committed to a “competitive economy” and being “fiscally responsible.”
Not on the left or the right?
The Greens offer a politics that they think is neither left nor right, that is an alternative to both the big business Liberals and the 'big union' NDP. However, the trade union movement has been the mechanism by which we got and now defend workplace safety standards, overtime, unemployment insurance, and maternity leave. It was also the recognition benefits for same sex couples in unionized workplaces that paved the way for recognition of same sex marriage. Business and their lobby groups have opposed all of those things.
Unions remain the strongest organization workers have to fight for their interests and that includes their interest in fighting for a habitable planet against Canadian capital's interest in profiting from its destruction.
Unfortunately the NDP is not immune from the same politics of equating capital and labour. The difference is that despite its leadership, the NDP is filled with trade union activists, and the NDP is the party that the unions organize for at election time.
Platform goodies
Despite the problems with their approach, there is a lot to like in the current Green platform. They are in favour of a guaranteed livable income for all to replace the current poverty level income assistance programs. They would improve funding for women's emergency shelters and increase funding to colleges and universities by $200 million. They also support a 20 per cent decrease in tuition fees.
The Green program is compromised by words like “will encourage” and “favours,” and “investigate the feasibility” when they talk about building clean energy and commuter rail. We need to build these alternatives immediately if we are to avert catastrophic climate change. The NDP platform is much more definitive in its promises to spend money in this area.
Keep building green movement
Regardless of who is elected, a strong climate justice movement will be needed after the election. The main issue in this election remains: once we kick out the Liberals, how can we build the movements we need to force the government to transition off of fossil fuels and force them to spend the money we need to rebuild our health care and education systems?
If you like this article, register now for Marxism 2013: Revolution In Our Time, a weekend-long conference of ideas to change the world. Sessions include "Indigenous resistance, Idle No More and the fight against Harper," "What would it take to shut down the tar sands," and "Marx's ecology."

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