Greens: Open letter to the ISO

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The following is an open letter to the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) from the Socialist Party. The ISO are the Australian affiliate of the International Socialist Tendency (IST). We have asked that they consider publishing this letter in their newspaper the Socialist Worker and that they accept our challenge to a debate on the question of ‘How should socialists relate to the Greens?’

Dear comrades of the ISO,

The Socialist Party would like to challenge you to a debate about the Greens. At a recent ‘Unity for Peace’ meeting held in Melbourne (13th Sep, 2007) one of your members made a contribution from the floor urging people to support the Greens electoral campaign in the seat of Melbourne. We have also noted that in your paper you are supporting the Greens electoral campaign more broadly.

We are writing to seek clarity about what your position is in relation to socialist candidates at the upcoming federal election. We would have thought that the best possible position for socialist organisations to take would be to call for people to vote for socialist candidates where they can. This is the case in the seat of Melbourne where the Socialist Party will be standing. We think it would be a serious mistake for socialists to call for a vote for the Greens in seats where other socialists are standing.

We urge you to look at the track record of the Greens not only in Australia but internationally. In Ireland the Greens have recently entered a coalition government with the main capitalist party, Fianna Fail. This government allows US military planes to land and refuel at Shannon airport.

Even here in Australia the Greens are not an explicitly anti war party let alone anti capitalist. They support bringing the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan only to redeploy them in the East Timor and the Solomon Islands. The Socialist Party has also written many articles about the Greens when they effectively controlled Yarra Council in Melbourne from 2002-04. The budget that they endorsed was in no way progressive and they still refuse to support modest reforms such as recycling for small businesses.

The Greens are a small capitalist party who like every other capitalist party are forced to bend to the needs of big business when they get into power. The Socialist Party on the other hand is a genuine anti capitalist and anti war party. Our preferences will go to the Greens before Labor or the Liberals.

If this is in fact your position that you support the Greens above socialist candidates in the upcoming election, we would like to have more discussion and debate about this. We would like to challenge you to debate us on the question of ‘How should socialists relate to the Greens?’ It could be held somewhere in the seat of Melbourne with the speaker and chair of your choice. We look forward to your reply.

Yours in unity

Kylie McGregor

Socialist Party candidate for the federal seat of Melbourne