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Issue #1903      February 17, 2020



Two weeks ago, Greens MP Adam Bandt assumed leadership of the Australian Greens. In the aftermath of the shock resignation of Richard Di Natale it left many wondering: what will a Bandt-led Greens look like?

It didn’t take long before conservative pundits foamed at the mouth upon Bandt’s ascension. Andrew Bolt qualified Bandt as the “angriest, nastiest and maybe most stupid” Greens leader yet.

Scare-tactics from the Murdoch press aside, what does Bandt’s leadership mean for the future of the Greens? Bandt’s vision for the party is centred upon a “Green New Deal.” According to Bandt his “Green New Deal” incorporates “free education, dental into Medicare, more mental health services, and rent control.”

These are all great policies and shift Australia into being a fairer and more equal nation. However, at this stage the “Green New Deal” is largely rhetoric and it remains to be seen how committed they are to creating “a fairer deal for everyone.”

The Greens, on the whole, have supported and pushed for the right policies. Supporting marriage equality and raising the rate of unemployment to $75 (although AUWU and ACOSS suggest the rate be raised to $95) are indicators that the party is and has been ahead of the others when it comes to policy.

This leads us to re-examine an important task we always set ourselves when discussing other, and namely bourgeois, political parties: the formation of united fronts.

On the question of united fronts, our party’s program notes that we must be “prepared to work with other political organisations and individuals willing to advance the cause of the working people irrespective of other differences. [...] The united front can be facilitated by agreements between working class organisations and parties to achieve certain policies. It is desirable that agreements lead to joint action by the workers.”

These statements didn’t materialise out of thin air, they are the standard principles of any Marxist-Leninist organisation. They are tried principles that have won revolutions. Here, our party follows Lenin’s words:

“Capitalism would not be capitalism if the proletariat pur sang were not surrounded by a large number of exceedingly motley types intermediate between the proletarian and the semi-proletarian [...], between the semi-proletarian and the small peasant [...], between the small peasant and the middle peasant, and so on, and if the proletariat itself were not divided into more developed and less developed strata, if it were not divided according to territorial origin, trade, sometimes according to religion, and so on. From all this follows the necessity, the absolute necessity, for the Communist Party, the vanguard of the proletariat, its class-conscious section, to resort to changes of tack, to conciliation and compromises with the various groups of proletarians, with the various parties of the workers and small masters.”

Thus, while it is important for us to remember that the Greens are a bourgeois party of the social-democratic type (and indeed, Bandt’s words enforce this as he expressed his desire to form a coalition government with the ALP), we must not forget that we are fighting for the working-class, to secure their interests, in the most material ways possible.

This does not mean that we shouldn’t criticise these parties, that we should accept bad legislation. It is important to call-out policy that does not meet the standards of the working-class and as the vanguard of the proletariat this is our duty. We must also highlight the class character of these parties when it is necessary.

However, it is only through our work, through our commitment to securing better conditions for the working-class, that the working-class will see our party as a people’s party. If we stand on the sidelines and pontificate, deal with politics in abstract, we will, to quote Lenin, run the risk of “turning into nothing but windbags.”

CORRECTION Above it was noted that the Greens are campaigning to raise the rate of the unemployment benefit to $75. This was incorrect. The Greens passed a motion in the Senate to increase Newstart to $95 per week.

Next article – Government, Banks, And Super

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