In their 1996 manifesto, The Greens, Bob Brown and Peter Singer identify the origins of the Australian greens movement in two strands....................... .......
The modern Greens party however had an earlier origin in the green bans applied by the Builders Labourers Federation in the 1970s in New South Wales. Indeed the visit to Australia by the German activist Petra Kelly in 1977 was influential in the foundation of the German Greens. The then leader of the BLF, Jack Mundey, was subsequently invited to conferences in Europe and North America. Mundey, a Communist Party official and candidate, who led the militant New South Wales Builders Labourers Federation, described himself as “an ecological Marxist”. Speaking years after the Communist Party folded, and a New Left party failed to gain support beyond Trotskyist and anarchist groupings, Mundey prophesied that “in the future there is a possibility of … what I’d call a Green Red future of socialism”. In addition to Marx and Engels, Mundey was influenced by the overpopulation jeremiad of Paul Ehrlich............................... .
The Greens operate out of a set of ideological principles and beliefs that extend beyond the warm, cuddly environmentalism they wrap themselves in. While “environmentalism” lies at the core of the Greens’ ideology, their policies, if ever enacted, would radically change the economic and social culture of Australia..................... ..................
John Black has analysed Green voters over a series of elections. In a recent report, he categorises Green voters. First, those who vote Green as their primary vote:
This is the Don’s Party group that used to be in the ALP in the sixties and seventies: young university students or graduates, frequently working or still studying in academia, no kids, often gay, arts and drama type degrees or architecture where they specialise is designing environmentally friendly suburbs, agnostic or atheist, often US or Canadian refugees from capitalism, but well paid in professional consulting or media jobs.
These groups swung more heavily to the Greens in 2010:
They were led by arts, media or architectural graduate twenty-somethings, atheists and agnostics, Kiwis, the highly mobile university student groups, gays and the Green family group, which is a professional or admin consulting couple with one child attending expensive private schools............................... ...............
Many descriptions could be applied to the Greens, but none seems more accurate than Jack Mundey’s own description of “ecological Marxism”, which sums up the two core beliefs of the Greens. First, the environment or the ecology is to be placed before all else. This is spelt out in the first principle in the Greens Global Charter, to which the Australian Greens are subscribers: “We acknowledge that human beings are part of the natural world and we respect the specific values of all forms of life, including non-human species.”
Second, the Greens are Marxist in their philosophy, and display the same totalitarian tendencies of all previous forms of Marxism as a political movement. By totalitarian, I mean the subordination of the individual in the impulse to rid society of all elements that, in the eyes of the adherent, mar its perfection.................... ........................
Let me expand. According to the Greens’ ideology, human dignity is neither inherent nor absolute, but relative. Humans are only one species amongst others. As Brown and Singer write: “We hold that the dominant ethic is indefensible because it focuses only on human beings and on human beings who are living now, leaving out the interests of others who are not of our species, or not of our generation.” Elsewhere, they equate humans with animals:
The revolutionary element in Green ethics is its challenge to us to see ourselves in universal terms ... I must take into account the interests of others, on the same footing as my own. This is true, whether these others are Victorians or Queenslanders, Australians or Rwandans, or even the nonhuman animals whose habitat is destroyed when a forest is destroyed.
What is revolutionary about this statement is not that the interests of another should be considered in an ethical judgment. Judeo-Christian belief extols consideration of others, as does Kant’s Golden Rule. Burke wrote of society being a compact across generations. What is revolutionary is the equation of humans and animals.
Peter Singer expands these notions in his other works on animal liberation. He charges that humans are guilty of “speciesism”, that is, preferring their own species over all others. It leads him to argue in favour of infanticide and doctor-assisted suicide on one hand; and bestiality on the other, provided there is mutual consent!
Peter Singer’s influence is evident in the Greens’ ideology. The author of a series of books, including Animal Liberation, Singer not only co-authored the Greens’ manifesto with Bob Brown, but stood as a candidate for the party in the Kooyong in 1994, and subsequently as a Senate candidate.
The Green movement projects the whole planet with a spiritual dimension. The British chemist James Lovelock described the Earth as a complex living organism, of which humans are merely parts. He named this planetary organism after the Greek goddess who personified the earth—Gaia—and described “Her” as “alive”.
Singer and Brown are correct to describe this as revolutionary. It involves the creation of a new pagan belief system, concerned not with the relationship between humans and a creator, but based on a deification of the environment.
For the Greens, a pristine global environment represents earthly perfection. It underpins their “ecological wisdom” and is at the core of the new ethic. It is to be protected and promoted at all costs. Hence, all old growth forests are to be locked up; logging is to be prohibited; wealth is to be scorned; economic growth is opposed; exclusive ownership of property is questioned; there should be a moratorium of fossil fuels exploration; dam construction should be discouraged; genetic engineering and agricultural monoculture is rejected; world trade should be reduced; and a barter economy encouraged.
It explains why the Greens believe the world’s population is excessive and should be reduced, and why human consumption should be cut.
The Greens also call for “the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to be amended to include rights to a healthy natural environment and intergenerational rights to natural and cultural resources”. In turn, the Greens would be able to rely on international courts and fora to press their agenda. It also explains their concept of “intergenerational rights”: a concept squarely aimed at the defence of their belief in “Gaia”, or the perfect pristine earthly environment
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