Tag Archives: class struggle

“Tories on bikes”: the Green Party in power

Bin men in Brighton on strike against Green pay cuts, 2014

The AF take a look at the Green Party’s record where they have had power to evaluate whether they really represent an “alternative” to business as usual in the election.

“F***ing Tories on bikes” – that’s how one Brighton bin worker describes the Green Party. As the largest party on the local council, with 23 seats at the 2011 election, Brighton is the only place in the UK where the Greens have had so much as a sniff of power. And look what they’ve done with it.

Despite trumpeting a commitment to the living wage (£7.85 an hour outside London, compared to a National Minimum Wage of £6.50), they tried to impose a “pay modernisation” scheme on low-paid council workers with the support of the Conservative group on the council. It meant that refuse and recycling staff at Hollingdean depot faced a paycut of up to £4,000 a year.

Acting like the worst kind of union-busting boss, the council threatened the workers that if they refused to accept the new terms, they would sack them and re-employ them ‘on a worse contract, without compensation’. Binworkers responded with a wildcat occupation of their depot, and there have been numerous strikes and wildcat stoppages since. And the attacks on the binworkers’ terms and conditions of employment continue.

Litter picking

Green MP, Caroline Lucas claims to have made her opposition to the proposals clear, and even said that she would “join the picket line if the Council forces a pay cut on low paid staff.” Well, we haven’t seen her on any picket lines. We did see her picking up litter during the strike of June 2013, despite a statement from the bin-workers asking people not to, because as they say, “any attempts to lessen the impact of a strike [by picking up litter] completely undermines our action.”

No doubt the Greens in Brighton have made “tough choices,” with their “hands tied” by central government. So is that all there is to politics – “tough choices” and a world of perpetual disappointment when your elected representatives betray you? As anarchists, we say that the problem is not with who is in power, and how they exercise that power. The problem is political power itself. As anarchist Noam Chomsky points out, “the smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” The Greens might be on the fringes of that spectrum, but they’re still part of the party political system, established to keep us quiet.

The class struggle continues

I spotted the quote below in the comments section of this article on LibCom and thought it was apt to repost in the wake of Nelson Mandela’s passing:

 “In 1993 uTata Nelson Mandela said that “If the ANC does to you what the Apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the Apartheid government.” We are being evicted by the ANC. We are being put into transit camps by the ANC. When we organise we are also being beaten, tortured, jailed and killed by the ANC. We will not give in to tyranny. We will continue to resist. Stand with us in the struggle for freedom and justice. Stand with us in the struggle for a country where everyone can organise freely and land, cities, wealth and power are shared.”

– from the Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement on assassination of Nkululeko Gwala, 27/06/2013.