Friday 20 August 2010

The Greens get amongst the real dirt

With The Greens likely to hold the balance of the power in a major political upset in the new Government, veteran community activist Bryan Law, heeds a warning to those feeling a dilemma and wanting to avoid the Labor and Liberal parties at tomorrow's election.

He asks if The Greens are problem-free, and to be careful of the corrupting influence of 'machine politics' in The Greens.

The Greens are number 2 for Labor in Leichhardt.

In my Saturday SoapBlog last month on the Far North Greens, and the 2010 election in Leichhardt, I encouraged folk to vote Green on principle, but to beware the corrupting influence of machine politics – much of it transmitted by the Australian Labor Party.

I warned about the abuse of the constitution by key office-bearers, in particular Jon Metcalf. I made allegations about disrespect to members and potential members. I predicted that these malign forces would find full expression in the decision about which major party the Greens would preference in Leichhardt in 2010. I predicted preferences would go the ALP by hook or by crook.

Guess what, I was right.

The first attempt to allocate preferences to the ALP came around 4 weeks ago, from Jon Metcalf. He simply asserted that preferences should go to Jim Turnour, and expected that would be an end to the matter.

Many members expressed concern, even amounting to opposition to this plan. One common expression was to preference neither party, but to hold the Greens out as a new, credible third force.

Jon gets angry at anyone who disputes his thinking, and he wrote some controversial emails to one member - who recently transferred here from interstate - in which he made threats to expel this man from membership of the Far North Greens. The member has lodged a complaint with The Greens state management committee, and there will now be a conflict resolution process with mediation and investigation.

Those local Greens members, such as Steven Nowakowski and Syd Walker, who asked me earlier to cite examples via CairnsBlog, should follow this member’s progress if they want factual evidence for the charges of bullying and bad process in the executive of the Far North Greens.

In any event a decision had to be made by the local management Committee, which met around ten days ago, by which time Jon’s strategy had changed. The numbers didn’t exist in the local management committee to preference the ALP.

The executive recommendation was to transfer the decision “to Brisbane”. Jon ruled out a vote by local members – arguing time and the important leverage that “Brisbane” might be able to gain immediately through preference negotiation. Brisbane duly decided to do what the local branch wouldn’t, and make Jim Turnour no 2 on the voting ticket.

I told you it would happen.

And that it would be sleazy, bullying, “realistic” politics as usual. Machine politics.

The Greens can do better than this.

When I met Bob Brown in 1984 he carried a vision of transforming Australian politics with a new set of tools, based on and including the non-violence of Gandhi and King. He has not wavered from that vision, and all of Australia notices the conviction, integrity and wisdom that Greens Senator Bob Brown embodies. That’s why I’ll give an effective vote to the Greens – even when some of their local representatives are such arseholes.

Metcalfism can be transcended, contained, and put back into perspective by purposive application of the positive program. Take positive action using whatever resources are available to influence outcomes that matter to you. Creativity in how you do it is the best resource of all. You’ll soon be well free of Metcalfism.

But the levels of cynicism and disrespect shown by this preference deal in Leichhardt surely can’t go unrewarded. What vote would best send a message to local Greens?

An imp inside me says that we should mimic The Greens themselves, and put them number 2 in the ticket.

In the House of Representatives we should put The Greens behind Jen Sackley and/or Yodie Batzke. In the Senate, put The Greens behind Sam Watson, the socialist Aboriginal candidate.

Putting The Greens number 2 serves a few purposes:

1/ It deprives the Greens of $4 or so (per vote) public funding. I don’t want you getting my money so you can support the ALP, fuckers.

2/ It reduces the statistical presentation of Green votes.

Both these are done to sanction the outrageous bullshit we’re being fed on preferences.

3/ It delivers an effective vote for Larissa Waters in the Senate, so we still get a good result where it counts. The only way this wouldn’t happen is if Sam Watson was elected. That would be alright for me.

4/ You still get to decide who you put last. Jim Turnour for me.

I’m settled on numbers 3 and 4. I’m open to persuasion on numbers 1 and 2.


A Real Green said...

Thanks for that information Bryan, it tells me a lot about internal Greens politics in Cairns. It also explains why their candidate in Leichhardt, Neville St John-Wood is quoted in the Cairns Post today saying "I'm feeling positive that Jim (Turnour) will win".

It's really hard to tell whether that's an early concession or the actual Greens electoral goal.

Didn't Jon Metcalf used to be a member of the ALP?

Thaddeus said...

Bryan's rant is typical of the last minute hysteria amongst the LNP that latest polls give the Greens the controlling numbers in the Senate. Trying to stop the surge of dissafected voters is a bit too little, too late.

MaryO said...

Dear Bryan,

I must say that I am now exceedingly confused as to your motivations, and deepest desires.

If you wish to damage the Green's prospects tomorrow with this article. Well, you may have left it just a tad too late.

And earlier, in comment to a recent article titled “Neville is Green alright…” on Tuesday, August 03, 2010 , you said...
"I hope Larissa waters IS elected as a Greens Senator in Queensland, and I’ve taken every public opportunity to support that view. Likewise I’ve known Neville St John Wood since 1993 when we worked together on energy and development issues in the Daintree. He is a nice guy, and a good Green, and I will vote him no 1 on August 21…"

So what is it that you really want???

nocturnal congress said...

Agreed. Bryan's rant is a last minute feverish attempt to try and stop the snowballing Greens vote. I've been out and about a fair bit this last week, and everyone but everyone I talk to is going to vote for the Greens in the Senate.
My bloody oath, it looks like a clean sweep for the three lady Greens Senators in Queensland.

Bryan Law said...

Please notice that my recommendation is now and always has been to "delivers an effective vote for Larissa Waters in the Senate". I want a Greens Senator in Queensland.

The second part of the question is how to keep the Greens on track for the transformative politics espoused by Bob Brown, as distinct from the corrupt and ineffective politics of Jon Metcalf. Look at the local branch politics of Labor and LNP, and their slavish relationship to the “fixers” in the Metropolis. I don’t want the same thing happening in the Greens just as they step into some real parliamentary power.

Mary O, the information is published late, and selectively, because I DON’T want to harm the Green vote. I think that Larissa’s election is beyond the ability of the Far North Greens to fuck it up, but I’m not taking any chances.

MaryO said...

OK – and thanks for the explanation, Bryan.

I do understand and sympathise with your ULTIMATE objectives, but surely there must exist better, more CREATIVE and effective strategies - than the ones you have currently utilizing - in order to successfully achieve:

1. "an effective vote for Larissa Waters in the Senate. I want a Greens Senator in Queensland."

2. keeping "the Greens on track for the transformative politics espoused by Bob Brown... just as they step into some real parliamentary power."


Cameron U. said...

Cairnsblog - stop giving this guy oxygen. He is an irrelevant self promoter. Cairns' version of Mark Latham - full of bile, piss and wind.

Bryan Law - until you can get more than 4 "activists" in a room at any given time to join you in your "ploughshares" operation - sit down and shut up.

I suspect the Greens - who he now spy's and publishes on - regret ever seeing him. Join the party!

Jon Meta Calf said...

Well done Cameron, you tick ALL the boxes for ALP/Green politics. Attack the person rather than address the issue. Make emotive and excessive blather about some irrelevant issue (spying's a good one). Fill the ether with distraction.

I'm proud of you, son!