Approaching The Edge: The huge problem facing the Greens is that no matter how loudly they trumpet their latest round of “concessions” from Labour and NZ First, in their heart-of-hearts they know they’re not making the slightest difference to the pace and extent of what is looking more-and-more like runaway climate change.
GREEN POLITICS has never been about business-as-usual. Green politics has always been about the salvation of the planet and the reclamation of the human soul from the talons of the Capitalist death-machine. To reduce Green politics to mere environmentalism is to betray a complete misunderstanding of its raison d’être.
Sadly and predictably, however, that is exactly what the majority of New Zealand’s political commentators are doing. They are heaping their praise upon the Green caucus for taking the party back-to-basics with wonderful new policies about re-cycling car tyres and paying ten bucks to whoever before dumping your rubbish.
As if New Zealanders (or, at least, those New Zealanders with a still-functioning brain) aren’t aware that even if the entire nation voluntarily reverted to a stone-age existence, then the rest of the planet would struggle to measure the environmental impact of its sacrifice. New Zealand’s contribution to Anthropogenic Global Warming, by way of CO2 and Methane emissions, comes in at approximately 1 percent of the total. So the best we could hope for, capitalist-death-machine-wise, is to maybe knock just a tiny chip or two off its talons. Nothing more.
This is, of course, a huge problem for the Greens. No matter how loudly they trumpet their latest round of “concessions” from Labour and NZ First, in their heart-of-hearts they know they’re not making the slightest difference to the pace and extent of what is looking more-and-more like runaway climate change.
Alright! Alright! Calm down! I know it’s probably better to do something than nothing. But, really, isn’t that all about polishing our armour before riding out to certain death? We’re not going to win, but hey, at least we’ll look suitably heroic as we lose!
Except, the self-inflicted psychic violence required for this political strategy to work will very quickly destroy the Green Party. If “being in government” means accepting that climate change will continue to run amok before their helpless eyes, while in caucus-room and cabinet committee they argue about whether or not to exclude methane from the greenhouse gasses the agricultural sector should be expected to pay for, then, seriously, they’re nuts. Pretending white is black and up is down is injurious to people’s physical and emotional health. A political party which willingly engages in such Orwellian “doublethink” is bound to become very sick, very fast.
Before you know it, they’ll be attempting to rehabilitate the word “cunt”.
Or, failing to understand the need for legislation designed to keep every member of the Green Party’s caucus focused on how best to address the looming climatic apocalypse. Tender consciences should alight from the bus immediately.
Far from striving to remain in government, the Greens should be taking themselves out of it. By all means vote down every attempt by the National Party and Act to unseat the Labour-NZ First coalition, but don’t dissipate your energies in an unseemly scramble for a handful of sticky crumbs. Those New Zealanders who understand how serious the threat of runaway climate change has become want to know that the Greens get it too.
There’s a chilling track from Laurie Anderson’s Big Science album in which the lines “This is your captain /We are going down” are repeated over and over. That’s what it feels like now, whenever we read the latest grim findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “We are going down.” When we study photographs of vast holes in the Siberian tundra caused by the explosive release of tons of methane gas: gas trapped for thousands of years beneath the frozen soil; soil which is relentlessly thawing. “This is your captain /We are going down.”
What the Greens need to be telling us, both here and all over the planet, is how humanity can rush the cockpit, seize the plane’s controls and pull it out of its current death-dive. Does that amount to a revolution? Of course it does! How could it not? Is there any truly sentient individual who doesn’t believe that only a global revolution in the way human-beings interact with this planet’s biosphere can save them – along with the tens-of-thousands of other species threatened by rapidly rising global temperatures?
A Green Party bent on saving the planet cannot be satisfied with a mere 5 percent of the votes. It’s target must be 99 percent. No deals, no coalitions, no memorandums of understanding: nothing less than complete control of humanity’s stricken aircraft.
What does that mean for a tiny country at the bottom of the world? It means remaining clear and consistent. It means waiting for people to hear through all the static the Greens’ uncompromising message. It means transforming this country into a megaphone of sufficient volume to reach the ears of every human-being ready to listen. It means turning New Zealand into the home of a Green “Comintern”. A place to which people come to receive the message of planetary salvation and the soul’s reclamation, and then head back out to spread it to everyone who is willing to listen.
With every passing year, the number of willing listeners will grow. It’s a race now, between humanity in the cockpit fighting to prise capitalism’s hands from the controls – and the ground.
This is your Green captain …..
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 21 August 2018.