“Victory: The G8 has been blocked in!”

The G8 leaders have been confined inside their own fence. German newspaper Die Zeit has reported that no ships can land at Heiligendamm. With ten thousand protestors currently blocking the two gates into the resort, the heads of state and their baggage are effectively locked in.

This from Derek Wall, “Principal Male Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales.” Greens are playing a important role in the G8 protests and are a model for what the US Green Party could do, when and if it resolves its incapacitating internal struggles.

The US Green Party is alone among the Green Parties of the world in not examining and criticizing capitalism. GP-US mostly takes a “small is better” view of economics which accepts capitalism as a given and is hostile to exploring alternative systems like socialism. In other Green parties, one may or not be socialist, but at least the topic is discussed (and people know what it is, unlike the US where people are mostly ignorant about it.)

This disguised red-baiting does explain some of the attacks on Peter Camejo, who ran for president on the Socialist Workers Party ticket in the 1976. In fact, he titled his brilliant exposure of the rottenness of the two party system The Avocado Declaration because an avocado is green on the inside and on the outside, and not a watermelon, which is green outside and red inside, “watermelon” being European slang for a socialist green. It was his little jest to be sure, but indicative perhaps of the hostility of US Greens to socialism.

Meanwhile, Derek Wall in London says “Ecosocialism or muerte!” as do many other Greens.

  • DJ

    The socialist vs. capitalist “conflict” is overrated. Most industrial democracies, the U.S. included, combine elements of both. The question is, how much of each do we want?

    Both systems have advantages and disadvantages, and no single solution fits every nation or region. In the U.S., which has a long history of (rightly) mistrusting our government, we generally ensure that our government is doomed to fail. Thus, expanding saocialism here is not an option likely to meet with success even if it did meet with voter approval.

    There are of course exceptions: NH’s state-owned liquor stores have helped fund their educational system rather efficiently and without income taxes, while providing booze at cheaper prices than private retail outlets in other states. Though most conservative NH residents would be appalled to hear that called socialist, that’s essentially what it is.

    We also need to come to terms with the fact that while social (or compassionate) economics and green economics both differ from conventional “industrial” economics, they are not the same and lead to quite different conclusions. (See Daly’s book Green Economics for elaboration.) Thus Socialism as a philosophy and Environmentalism as a philosophy have a common enemy in Capitalism as a philosophy (as opposed to capitalism as an economic phenomenon– they are not the same thing), but that doesn’t mean Socialism and Environmentalism are allies.

    Nevertheless, I would welcome the entry of GPUSA into what is essentially a one-party system– the issues and process that GP represents is an important element of our national dialog.

  • Hmm, I think many in the US would be happy to have national health care and a guaranteed retirement, all of which are socialist. Many other countries already have much more of those things, the US stands quite alone in its rejection of anything socialist.

    I mean, Tony Blair has called himself “socialist” (which would make a revolutionary socialist ill, to be sure) but can you imagine a major politician here doing that (well, we do have Bernie Sanders, it’s a start.)

    It’s no mistake that the rabidly anti-socialist US is also the home of the most predatory form of capitalism.

    Ecosocialism is the attempt to bring together socialism and environmentalism.

  • DJ

    Our “rabidly anti-socialist” country has adopted a number of socialist practices, including social security (which works) and welfare (which doesn’t). National parks and other public lands are a socialist enterprise– just ask the rabid economic anarchists who’d like the government to sell them off (to them, of course– at cut-rate prices).

    Prisons are a socialist endeavor when run by the State– as opposed to private prisons, such as those run by the very profitable Wackenhut Corporation, which also reports that it is now providing logistical support to the Border Patrol. (I always loved that name: “You best behave, boy, or we’ll take you out back to the wackenhut!”)

    Price controls are a socialist practice, such as utility rate regulation (present in most states). So are school lunches– and indeed, public education itself, an American innovation now practiced throughout much of the world (but sadly neglected in its country of origin). NPR and PBS… Medicare (one of the most efficient health insurance organizations in the world in terms of administrative overhead)… USPS…

    And socialized liquor in NH, the bastion of conservativism…

    The black-and-white argument doesn’t work. We are not as socialist as the European democracies (and yes, I’d like to see some form of national healthcare compete alongside private healthcare), but neither are we as purely capitalist as both left and right like to believe.

  • Well, socialism is a lot more than a few government-run entities. At heart, it means a managed economy and an end to exploitative class systems where a tiny few prosper at the expense of everyone else.

  • DJ

    I don’t believe there’s been a case in which “pure” socialism has been implemented in which it actually accomplished those goals. It just managed to trade one group of exploiters for another. If there has been a successful case, please enlighten me.

    OTOH, I believe that the best solution, taking into account human nature, is a combination of socialism and capitalism (which, BTW, does not mean economic anarchy, but rather a well-managed economy). But the measure of each must be adjusted realistically to the society to which it is applied.

    Yes, I think the U.S. could use a bit more socialism– but then I also think it has lost its grip on capitalism in favor of a cowboy-style anarchist economy in which the “fastest gun” triumphs. That’s very, very far from what Adam Smith had in mind.

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