Open Letter to a leading Green Socialist

Dear Dimitri Lascaris,

You waged an amazing campaign that rallied thousands of people to Eco-socialist ideas.  That is a testament to your consummate skills as a superb organizer and an articulate proponent of radical socio-economic change.

In the end, the GP selected one of the most conservative, pro-capitalist candidates who contended to be its next Leader.  In her post-victory statement, and in interviews with the mass media, Annamie Paul emphasized her identity and her personal zeal for politics, instead of highlighting her specific policy ideas.  That is because her ideas conform to the tired old GP outlook on private ownership of the economy, not to mention its somewhat mixed but general support for Ottawa’s pro-imperialist foreign policy.

Paul, a liberal-minded civil liberties lawyer, won with 12,090 votes against your 10,081 votes, after eight rounds of ballot counting.

The result highlights the sharp divide in the Green Party between right and left.  The magnitude of the left therein reflects the mass radicalization, especially of young workers, stemming from the combined economic, health and environmental crises of late capitalism. 

The gap between Annamie Paul and you, in policy terms, seems huge.  Moreover, at one stage in the leadership race, Paul stated that you should not be allowed to remain in the contest.  She denounced your position on Palestine as redolent of anti-Semitism, a trope of the Zionist apartheid camp in world politics.

Socialist Action, of which you are a member, believes that pro-capitalist policies are a toxic dead end.  The election of Paul re-affirms the pro-capitalist character of the Green Party of Canada.  It will never be a socialist, ecologist, working class party.

The working class, in order to rescue humanity and the environment from the imminent global capitalist catastrophe, requires a revolutionary socialist party to help to organize and lead the fundamental change that is so urgently necessary.

What is to be done now? 

Dimitri, I respectfully submit that you should not squander what your energetic campaign accomplished by staying in the GP and by serving as a ‘loyal’ opposition to Annamie Paul and the embattled, ethically-challenged establishment within it.  They will exert every effort to control and to mute you.  It is hard to imagine, for example, how you could continue to lead the work of the Disruption Network while remaining a prominent member of the bourgeois electoral GPC.

I strongly believe that now is the time to call on your radical support base to leave the bourgeois Green Party and join in the construction of a genuine revolutionary socialist party.  This can be done by appealing, in concert with Socialist Action, to the most progressive sections of the labour movement and the radical socialist public.  Together, let’s host a big conference to discuss how to launch a revolutionary Eco-socialist workers’ party.
What do you say?

comradely yours,

Barry Weisleder,

Federal Secretary, Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste

An important post-script:

The Green Party establishment recently changed the rules governing internal policy debate — severely limiting the scope and substance of what can be discussed at GP conventions.  That was done to prevent a recurrence of the process that in 2016 resulted in adoption of a pro-BDS policy.  Those who joined the GP to vote for you, Dimitri, will not stay to engage in a long, bitter, grinding war against the conservative elite of a capitalist party. And any Green Party member who advocates a vote for NDP, independent, or Liberal candidates, ‘Eco-socialist’ or otherwise, is likely to be expelled.  Remember, Maryam Haddad was briefly removed from the GPC leadership race simply because she criticized the Green Party of British Columbia.  Annamie Paul, who did not even acknowledge the sizeable vote attained by you and Maryam, shows that she will be even less tolerant of the left than former leader Elizabeth May who denounced and blocked the BDS policy, and openly raised funds for Paul’s leadership bid.

There is no denying that the fight for socialist policies in the NDP is difficult.  What makes it worthwhile is the fact that it matters.  The NDP is a mass, working class party, strongly linked to the labour movement in English Canada.  Without the leadership of class-conscious workers, there can be no socialist transformation of society.  The Green Party, with no organic ties to workers’ organizations, does not represent a break with Bay Street and the corporate establishment.  It constitutes a retreat from independent working class politics, at best a populist diversion, even if led by left wing social democrats who seek to re-regulate Capital and shift the tax burden.  A revolutionary Eco-socialist workers’ party, one committed to the expropriation of Big Oil and Gas, big business and the banks, under democratic workers’ control, is urgently needed.  Time is very short to effect the radical change essential to the survival of nature and civilization.  Those who recognize that fact should strive now to bring together Eco-socialists to discuss how we can go forward together.