The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Green politics

Green politics is a body of political ideas informed by environmentalism aimed at developing a sustainable society. It is considered by its advocates to be an alternative to both left and right views and parties, although adherents to both views tend to view Greens as "on the other side." Certainly it is true that Green parties advocate measures that appear to conventional politicians different from those conventionally grouped into "left" (or "labour") and "right" (or "capital") by economic interests.

Some of these views include:

  • a commitment to the methods of consensus decision making, participatory democracy and deliberative democracy wherever feasible
  • a green tax shift that would increase consumption and sales taxes on all resource-intensive items, while reducing income tax and capital gains tax - a position also associated with Libertarianism and seen as extreme by many on the left and right.
  • a cessation of all taxes levied against strictly local production and trade - a position shared only by some advocates of Libertarianism
  • local and moral purchasing provisions for government especially, requiring the source of supply to follow similar environmental and labour standards as those prevailing in the consuming jurisdiction - a position usually associated with liberal religious groups, pacifists, and left-feminism
  • measuring well-being as an alternative to consumer price index based means of measuring economic growth - seen also as a radical left-wing position especially as it would impact the money supply and measures of inflation.
  • full cost accounting and an end to dirty subsidy of pollution by government - another economically neoliberal position, ending corporate welfare and requiring corporations to compete on the basis of energy and waste savings.
  • an end to biological forms of pollution and human health damage via the subsidy of dairy farming and the meat industry - a position that cuts against the tendency of both left and right to support family farms without limit or conditions
  • treating waste as a resource - a commodification of something of negative value, previously dumped into the commons without full cost accounting
  • investing heavily in human capital - usually a left wing position when done by the public sector, and a right wing one if the investment is via the private sector
  • accounting reform that would probably disadvantage both labour and large investors in favor of small investors, customers, and the public at large - more of a left wing position but not considered as a key issue by most left parties
  • an end to the War on Drugs in the United States and Europe - seen as both a radical left wing and Libertarian position.
  • an end to the War on Terrorism and the curtailment of civil rights - focusing instead on growing deliberative democracy in war-torn regions and the construction of a civil society with an increased role for women - this position is seen by many as a somewhat radical position.
  • urban secession by major cities to permit them to shake off control of the suburbs and renew their economies in ways that they cannot do if they require the permission of their surrounding regions, e.g. to tax, ban cars in downtowns, or put money in mass transit instead of highways - this view is usually more associated with Libertarianism and extreme decentralization movements of both left and right.
  • bioregional democracy reflecting ecological boundaries in politics directly - a scale which tends to be smaller than existing nation-states, and thus is a de facto secession movement, favored more by left than right in modern times, although historically the right wing was often defined by ethnic and tribal identities.

Because it lacks clear identification with powerful interest groups, and tends to appeal more to a world-view or mindset, Green politics tends to grow slowly but also not to easily lose ground to other views or parties over time. In developed nations Greens have typically stood at 3-12% of the vote for long periods of time without making breakthroughs, usually participating in government as a minority partner, or working at municipal or regional levels. Most Greens reject radical centrist politics though there is a strong overlap between that perspective and what is occasionally referred to as the "realist" wing of the Greens.

Basic statements of Green political values include the Four Pillars of the Green Party originally adopted by the European Greens, the Ten Key Values of the Global Greens adopted by most English-speaking Greens in the 1990s, and the six core Green principles accepted in 2001.

Greens often refer to productivism, consumerism and scientism as examples of "grey" views, which implies age, ashphalt and obsolete ideas of human social organization, including globalization of economic relations. Many Greens are important players in the anti-globalization movement. This involvement includes the full spectrum from street protesters to those building local alternatives to global economic monoculture.

Green politics is usually said to include the green anarchism, eco-anarchism, anti-nuclear and peace movements - although these often claim not to be aligned with any party. Some claim it also includes feminism, pacifism and the animal rights movements. Most Greens support special policy measures to empower women, especially mothers; to oppose war and de-escalate conflicts and stop proliferating technologies useful in conflict or likely to lead to conflict, and such unusual measures as Great Ape personhood to end ape genocide, which they see as akin to genocide of primitive human populations, e.g. Stone Age Amazon tribes.

See also

External links

Global Greens Charter, Canberra 2001

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