Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Greens thirst for Palestinian blood: never ending game to gain some votes!!!

Tomorrow is the time for harvest of the latest Palestinian blood auction. NSW Greens senator is appearing to vend more lies about her party’s political prostitution on the continued Palestinian blood spells. And we know the cliché “The lies” about the Greens continued support for ... who ... Nobody knows. But she will open the auction: how much Palestinian blood in return for each vote to the Greens!!!

The Greens line is very clear: follow the safe line to win votes from all sides.
Let us concentrate on Palestinian issue.

The Greens refused to officially participate in Australian fact-finding mission to West Bank in the aftermath of Jenin and Ramallah massacres, 2002. The mission organised by Australian unions, who sent official invitation to the Greens to lead the mission. The Greens refused the invitation utterly because the Greens do not want to be seen in the media as “Pro-Palestinian” party (as I was personally told by Kerry Nettle, the Greens senator then). But the Greens would not miss this opportunity for political prostitution to win some Palestinian and pro-Palestine votes. They convinced someone from the Greens to participate in the mission, on individual basis.

As the mission visited West Bank, the Greens member presence gave indication that the Greens are a progressive party. When the mission returned back to Australia, the Greens member appeared in media and hence won the Greens a lot of votes among progressive voters. But at the same time, when the media contacted the Greens hierarchy, they were told that the Greens member went as individual, and not representative of the Greens.

The Greens killed too many birds with one stone.

The same is happening now.

The Greens never participated in Palestinian solidarity missions. This year, they wanted to kill too many birds with one stone, again. They convinced retired Greens MP to participate in the Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza. The Greens want the media to mention the Greens name on media outlets, so that many progressive voters could be deceived by this mentioning. But at the same time, the Greens official stance is that “this is individual participation from former MP”.

Otherwise, why the Greens:
1- Did not send one of its sitting MPs?
2- Why the Greens did not promote the flotilla and its mission on the Greens official sites?
3- Why the Greens did not announce its endorsement of the flotilla mission?

Bob Brown was very clear few months ago “I am the Greens leader, and I am the one who speak on foreign affairs”. The media knows this. The other politicians know this. But the public, especially desperate progressive public who is struggling to find any progressive politician to trust, do not know this.

It is our mission to let them know.

If the Greens support the mission of Ms Hale, former Greens MP, let Mr Brown tell us this. Not only this. Let them publish endorsement and progress of the mission on the Greens sites and in public papers and literature.

We know that the Greens cannot do this. We challenge them to do this.

We say now that it is enough playing with Palestinian blood. As one of the Palestinians whose blood on sale, please stop.

So fellow Greens politicians, please keep

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Why the Greens are not rushing on boat people issue!!!

It will be so naive and unrealistic for anyone to deny the unique situation in Australian politics at the moment. It will also equally unrealistic to deny the Greens influence on the the current government, when they wish to use such influence.

The political influence is very clear on achievements on many fronts. Such achievements would not happen in normal situation, even if the Greens will continue to hold the balance of power in the senate.

The Greens political luck is double, at the moment:
1- The Greens are lucky to have the most naive unexperienced and inflexible government Australia had in recent decades.
2- The Greens are holding the balance of power with Labor government, and not Liberal-National.

The unique situation is that we are having minority government for the first time in the last few decades. This situation enables the Greens to be crucial in both houses. And this is why they could have crucial power if they wish.

The political power is displayed in the Greens successful in enforcing the minority government to introduce legislations or move Labor to change its stance on issues, that would not be possible in normal circumstances.

Some examples on this:
1- The Greens enforced Labor to introduce Carbon Tax, against clear commitments before the last election made by Julia Gillard’s government of “never ever under my government”.
2- The Labor change of heart on re-opening of the debate within the party on the same-sex marriage. This is against all commitments by Rudd’s government on the basis of religious commitment and Gillard’s refusal on the basis of anti-marriage stance she personally took.
3- The immediate ban of live cattle export to Indonesia.

While we think that the Greens luck would be short lived, as all indications suggest conservative tsunami in the next election. Such tsunami which would put the Greens face to face with their reality. Not only this. We would love to see the Greens continue to hold balance of power in the senate under conservative government, with their philosophy of being “cooperative opposition” that uses its control of balance of power “sensibly” as Bob Brown loves to put it.

We will explain such scenarios in next article.

But here, and after explaining the great influence of the Greens on Australian weak minority government, we need to ask a question: Why the Greens was successful on many issues, but stands impotent on stopping the Labor gross inhumane treatment of asylum seekers?

Before we answer this simple question, let us follow the Greens success story recently.

The Greens party started its political activism early 70s of the last century. Then a political party was formed in the mid of 70s of the last century. But since then, the Greens had no real political success or influence, apart from success in Tasmanian state election in late 80s. In all states, the Greens influence never exceeded one or two members of state parliaments in NSW and WA, only.

It was not until Tampa, that the Greens star started to shine. Again, the Greens were very lucky politically. At that time, the Democrats were losing its popularity because they held balance of power during very conservative government. Howard’s far right government could squeeze the Democrats on many issues, including especially the introduction of GST. So the only opposition voice the voters could hear during Tampa was the voice of the Greens.

So the rise of the Greens political success was on the back of the suffering of boat people. The Greens could double their popularity in 2001 election, from 2.5% to 4.96%. Such achievement that they could not achieve within more than 25 years of political existence. All this was because of Tampa.

The following election, 2004, the debate on boat people treatment was still raging. The Howard’s government was still campaigning on racism and Islamophobia. The Labor was not giving any real alternative. And the Democrats were already on boiling point with deep divisions and infightings. Again, the only alternative on issues of racism, Islamophobia and refugees (which were the main issue for the election) was the Greens. The Greens could again increase its voting by more than third (from 5% to 7.2%).

The issues of boat people, refugees and migration were negligible issues during the 2007 election. The only election item in that election was Work Choices. Surprisingly, The Greens voting stalled on 7.7%.

But when the boat people, refugees and migration became central issue for the last 2010 election, the Greens popularity jumped to historically high record of 11.76%. During the election, the only pressing issue was the boat people, border protection and fighting against people smugglers.

After this analysis, can anyone be doubt about the importance of raging racism, Islamophobia and boat people bashing in the Greens success story?

The Greens leadership and politicians know very well that without the debate on refugees and asylum seekers, their popularity will sink again.

This is why they keep talking on the issue, but no decisive actions or ultimatum to the minority government.

How ironic that the Greens did not include demands on asylum seekers to find humane solution to boat people bashing in the memorandum to form the minority government?

The Greens put 8 demands on Labor to support Julia Gillard to form minority government. No item was on boat people.

We deeply believe that the Greens wish the boat people continue to suffer, to keep this issue alive for the next election. Without this deafening racist debate, the Greens will have not much to be distinct from the Labor. Especially the Labor had agreed to introduce Carbon Tax scheme.

The only other issue where Labor has different stance from the Greens is on same-sex marriage. But we are sure that this issue will not make many Australians change their pattern of vote.

So the only hope for the Greens to keep this historic record voting is for the boat people’s issue to continue raging, regardless of blood spelt because of this.

Again and before anyone accuses us of Anti-Greens hysteria, we are open for the Greens to answer our questions. On the top of these questions is: Why the Greens is impotent to make changes in government’s policies only on boat people’s?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Lee Rhiannon in the senate: the best chance to destabilise the Greens!!!

Before we go in depth with the issue of Greens control of balance of power in the senate, we should mention few issues here.

We campaigned in the last election against the election of Lee Rhiannon as Greens candidate in NSW, and we were very close to deny her a seat in the senate. Against the odds and all expectations, Lee Rhiannon got the least votes amongst Greens candidates in all states and territories. The Greens candidates in all states got between 12.76 – 14.7% in all states (except Tasmania), except Lee Rhiannon who got around 10.5%.

Now and against all our campaigns, we are more than happy that Lee was elected. We will argue the details of the reasons of this joy later, but we should summarise all these reasons in one sentence: Lee is the best chance of all Greens’ opponents to see this party destabilised as a first step to send them back to political wilderness.

The public tension between Bob Brown, the historical founding figure of the Greens, and Ms Rhiannon began very early even in the lead to the election campaign, 2010. Ms Lee was caught in a scandal of misusing parliamentary privileges, against all her rhetoric during her political career. Bob Brown publicly demanded that she resigns from the state parliament, and focus on federal campaign, to kill these allegations and avoid negative impact. Her response was swift of refusing to budge to her leader’s call and demand. We feel that she was feeling that her chances to win a seat are slim, so she wanted to keep her political career alive. Bob wanted to gamble of ending her political career before she starts to give him leadership headaches at Federal level. Such headache that was expected by Ian Cohen as early as 2005 when we met privately in his office to discuss many relevant issues.

The tension was very clear recently when Bob Brown appeared on several national media outlets condemning Lee’s political opportunist move to use Marrickville council as a tool to increase her popularity among progressive voters on the back of Palestinian people’s suffering. Mr Brown was very clear in indicating that “I am the leader of the Greens party, and not Lee Rhiannon”.

Before we go to the possible impact of the high tension between Lee and Bob on the stability and hence the future of the Greens, we should mention few observations.

Ms Lee wants to put the tension with Bob in the context of ideological differences, while in fact it is only about power thirst. Ms Lee is very notorious to be very thirsty to grab power regardless of any consequencies, including betraying principles or ideological setbacks.

Ms Lee campaigned for long time to destabilise Bob Brown environmental faction’s control of the Greens. She did not hesitate to use all clean and dirty tricks to achieve this goal.

In NSW, she was active to target Bob Brown’s strong ally, Ian Cohen and his faction. She did not hesitate to use all possible tricks to end Mr Cohen’s strong presence inside NSW Greens.

First trick was to conduct vicious campaign to limit the time in parliament to 8 years to end Mr Cohen’s bid for re-election in 2003 state election. Her campaign to enforce limited tenure failed miserably and Mr Cohen emerged victorious. And he did campaign to discredit her when she decided to run again for office in 2007 state election (in clear defiance of her demands and teachings that politicians should not stay in office for long time to prevent political corruption and power abuse).

Then, and after she failed to convince her party to implement limited tenure principle, she resorted to campaigns of political assassination nature, to stop Cohen’s re-election.

Even during last election, Ms Lee used these tactics of ideological differences to distance herself from Brown’s leadership and faction. One of Ms Lee’s supporter posted public email to blame Brown and his environmental faction for the limited campaigns during the election on Multiculturalism and against racism and Islamophobia.

There are many clear evidences that Ms Lee’s fight with Bob Brown and his influential environmental faction is only about power grab and control of the Greens.

If we assume that Lee wants to destabilise Bob’s leadership as an ideological struggle between “Socialist-Left” of Lee and “no-ideology” of Brown and his environmentalists, but how can we understand Lee’s attack on Lefties inside the party.

Ms Lee (and her long-time partner) systematically cleansed any potential threat to their absolute control of NSW Greens, using very dirty tricks most of the times.

This is what happened to Inner-West Greens. When respected active member could garner enough support to defeat Lee and her faction (2005) to impose their candidate for local government election, 2004. Lee did not hesitate to do all in her power to plot against the local group’s leadership even if this could have resulted in dissolving the group.

If Lee is really progressive and “lefties”, can she and her supporters explain to us why:
- She (and her “Greens Terrigal” faction) blocked any change to Greens constitution and procedure to see more people from marginalised groups (Indigenous, non-English, people with disabilities,..) elected to parliament to improve the very low representation of these marginalised groups in decision making bodies. She was quoted saying that “lack of English and ethnic background do not constitute barrier to participation in political leadership”.
- She (and her faction of opportunists) did not take any practical steps on social justice issues (like treatment of boat people, growing racism and Islamophobia, wars on developing nations like Iraq and Afghanistan,...). Apart from media releases and speeches at rallies, no practical steps were taken. Lee refused to participate in any solidarity missions to Palestine or Lebanon in the aftermath of Israeli aggressions. Lee participated in organising forums spreading Islamophobia. Lee blocked appointing Non-English speaking persons in the Greens hierarchy. Lee blocked preselecting Non-English speaking persons as candidates in safe seats.
- Lee did not oppose draconian “Anti-Terrorism laws” and the attacks on Muslim communities. On the contrary. She was active on participating in these attacks, as we mentioned above.

We can give tens of stories to prove that Lee was only interested in power grab, and not any ideological difference with Bob.

Now, Lee will do all in her best to destabilise Bob’s leadership in a bid to replace him. Lee, who has some allies of few other senators who used to spread similar lies about their progressive believes, will work almost immediately to undermine Bob’s position. From her track history in NSW Greens, she will not hesitate to use all tricks under her hat to do this.

We are certain that in the next few years, we will hear a lot about the dirty washings of the Greens on public ropes. As we heard a lot about allegations against Ian Cohen, including sexual harassment claims, we will start to hear a lot about Bob.

Combined efforts with Sarah Hanson-Young, both will do all in their best to destabilise the leadership of Tasmanian and environmentalists’ faction.

The worst mistake of the Greens environmentalist faction was that they did not match Lee and her faction in their dirty campaigns to undermine them. We expect that Bob and his faction will be enforced to resort to hanging the dirty washings of Lee and her opportunist faction, on the basis of “the attack is the best line of defence”.

The next few years will be very interesting in Australian politics. While there are a lot of scenarios in this regard, the best would be either of:
1- Lee and Bob engaging in public fight on leadership that would end them on the same track as the Democrats.
2- The conservative tide will swap Federal politics, as happened in NSW. Then the Greens presence in parliament becomes irrelevant.

Whatever scenario to prevail, we should continue exposing the opportunist nature of the Greens (both factions). Such opportunist nature that is clear in the Greens inability (or more accurately lack of desire) to neutralise the racist “boat people” debate. Such debate that could have been ended very easily if the Greens have the will to do so, the same way the Greens enforced the government to adopt Carbon Tax, against Labor committments.

Unlike the Greens misleading claims, we do not believe that their rise in popularity was due to increased understanding of Greens environmental or social policies. We deeply believe that the increase in Greens popularity is only because the unhappy voters had no other option. And when the real lefties create real alternative, the Greens popularity will return to its original level: 2.5%.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Debate over quotas in Parliament: English speaking women should not be the prime target!

First of all we should stress here that we strongly support the idea of quotas for all sections of society that are marginalised and low represented in decision making bodies. We were advocating for this in the last decade. The so-called progressive forces in the society, namely Left-Labor, Greens and Socialists, wrongly translated these fair campaigns into campaigns to advocate for better representation of groups which are equally represented in the decision making bodies. These forces were focussing on quotas for women (in general terms, as if all women are equally marginalised) and homosexuals.

In the issue of quota, we should be very careful, for two reasons:
1- The perception of marginalisation does not necessarily reflect actual marginalisation.
2- The issue of marginalisation is complex and is not uniformed within the same gender, religious belief or sexual orientation.
3- The quota issue, if there would be consensus on it, should be discussed by experts and not by lobby groups, as some lobby groups are more influential than others.

Let us discuss the above in more details.

There is perception in the society that the women and homosexuals are the only (or at least the most) marginalised groups in the society. This is because the mainstream women (or more frank, the Anglo-Saxon women) and the homosexual lobby groups are very powerful and can make the whole society hear their demands.

Let us take the women representation in Federal Parliament as clear example about the misleading claims (or at least naive claims by these groups) that women (in general) are the only (or at least the worst) marginalised group in the society. On this regard, let us examine the facts (from the official website of FP, as currently states):
- There are 67 women in both houses of the FP, which constitutes around 30% of overall numbers of MPs.
- Out of these, 6 women MPs were born in Non-English speaking countries (around 2.5% of overall MPs numbers).
- There is no woman in parliament from indigenous background.
- There is no woman with disabilities.
- There is no woman whose faith is not Judeo-Christian.
- There are 11 MPs (both male and female) who were born in Non-English speaking courtiers (mainly from Europe).

Taking into account that:
- Women constitute 50% of the society.
- 25% of these women were born in Non-English speaking countries (which means that 12.5% of Australians are women born in Non English speaking countries)
- 3% of society is Indigenous people (half of these are women).
- 25% of Australians were born in Non-English speaking countries.

Based on the above mentioned facts, we can see that:
- English speaking women (around 37% of population) have strong representation in FP with around 28% of MPs are English speaking women.
- Non English speaking women’s representation in the parliament is less than 2.5% (to represent around 12.5% of population)
- Indigenous women (around 1.5% of population) are totally unrepresented in parliament.
- Women with disabilities (Australian with physical disabilities are around 10% - so the women with disabilities in the society constitutes around 5% of the population) are totally unrepresented in FP.
- Not only this, non-English speaking men (more than 13% of population) is represented by less than 2.5% of MPs.

In this regard, we can safely conclude that English speaking women are approximately equally represented in the Federal Parliament.

Not only this.
We have now English speaking woman Governor General.
We also have English speaking woman PM.
We also have 2 premiers (out of 6) which mean 30% of premiers are English speaking women.
We also have English speaking woman as Chief Minister (out of 2) which means that 50% of Chief Ministers are English speaking women.

All this and we do not have any: Non-English speaking, Indigenous or People with disabilities in one of these powerful positions. Even Marie Bashir, the NSW governor, was born in NSW.

Now for the next issue: the marginalisation is not uniformed across the same gender, religion ...

We can see very clear that English speaking women are not deeply marginalised (as they have enough or near-enough representation on all decision making bodies) while women who speaks English as second language or from other ethnicity (rather than Anglo-Saxon) are deeply marginalised.

So we can conclude safely (even if the information on the federal parliament website is not recently updated) that women are not evenly marginalised. Place of birth, ethnicity, language spoken at home and religious believes are playing more significant role in deciding the marginalisation of women rather than merely gender. We even can safely claim that English speaking women are nearly equally represented in the parliament and in other decision making bodies.

We should note here that in addressing marginalisation and fight to end such marginalisation, sections of society cannot fully understand the issues cause this marginalisation. And the whole debate of enforcing quota is to recognise that marginalised groups are the only groups that can fight for their own rights.

The English speaking women cannot claim that by increasing their representation in parliament, is a positive step to end the marginalisation of Non-English speaking women or women of indigenous background.

The English speaking women was marginalised when the society was homogenously White and Christian. Few decades ago, more than 90% of Australians were white English speaking Christians. At that time, the power struggle was based on gender. White Christian men wanted to grab the whole power.

Now when more than 25% of Australians were born in Non-English speaking countries and around 1/3 of population declared that they are not following Judeo-Christian religions, the situation is different. The oppression has shifted from gender based, to be race-religion based. And we should act accordingly.

If the English speaking women think that men cannot fight for their rights, they should recognise that the same principle applies to the Non-English and Non-Anglo women.

We do not believe that English speaking women born in Australia or speak English as first language can understand the marginalisation of migrant and refugee women.

Not only this. We can safely claim that migrant men, indigenous men and men with disabilities are more marginalised than English speaking women. And definitely these women cannot fight for these men’s rights.

We support the principle of quota. But it should not be naively based on gender quota. It should be assessed by experts and the representatives of these highly marginalised communities. We also should look at the experience of other nations and take good lessons from them. NZ successfully enforced quota, but on indigenous base and not on gender one. The experience of Jordan, a semi-democratic society is different. There are quotas on gender base, on ethnic base and on religious base. There are quotas for Christians because they are religious minority. There are quotas for Chechen and charkas as ethnic minorities. And there is quota for women based on the fact that Jordan is a male dominated society.

Can we learn the lessons? I doubt. As the whites are fiercely fighting against any change in power balance. The facts that the so-called progressive forces like the Greens are fiercely fight against any representation of ethnic and religious minorities in the parliament give us grim picture. The Greens inside reports are proud that they presented high proportion of homosexuals to parliament, as the prime marginalised group. There is no report that supports this claim.
These white and English speaking politicians wants to confuse us by claiming that they are ready to fight for women rights, when the most dividing issues of the society these days are the racisms and Islamophobia.

But if the “left” of the political system has such regressive understanding of marginalisation, do we have strong excuses to be pessimistic?

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