Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Marrickville council motion on boycotting Israel: Greens real agendas behind it

Again and again. We were hit with Greens cheap moves designed for political score pointing with no practical commitments or record of achievements.

The Greens has successfully put motion to the Marrickville council to “support the principles of the BDS global campaign”. And as expected, the move attracted huge media attention. And the community took notice too.

Before we go further into the issue, let us ask few questions:
1- Why now: 3 months before state election?
2- Why Marrickville: we know that the Greens are hoping to win Marrickville state seat?
3- What are the practical implications of this motion?
4- Why the Greens councillors, despite the total support from ALL Labor councillors, are attacking the Labor state and federal members of the area?

And before we go further into exploring the issue, let us hear the opinion of the motion initiator, Greens councillor Cathy Peters. In early interview with 2SER radio station (you can hear the interview on http://2ser.podomatic.com/entry/index/2010-12-17T21_34_06-08_00), Ms Peters admitted that:
1- The council does not urge residents to boycott Israeli products.
2- The practical implications of this motion are still unknown, and possibly nil on local government level.
3- The conflict in the Middle East because of Israeli occupation was going for long time.
4- It would be more practical for Federal and State governments to act on this issue.

Now let us start from the points we extract from Ms Peters interview:
1- While the issue of Israeli brutal occupation of Palestine was going for more than 6 decades, the Greens did not discover this issue but in recent years. The Greens never talked about this issue or had any idea about this issue until after 2002.
2- Even after the Greens discovered that there is Israeli brutal occupation, the Greens history on taking practical steps to oppose Israeli brutality is nil (you can read on this issue my early piece on http://jamaldaoud.blogspot.com/2009/01/rallies-business-enough-trading-with.html)
3- If the council is not advocating residents to boycott Israel and there is no known relationships between the council and Israeli companies and companies trade with Israel, it is very clear that he Marrickville Greens put this motion just for political score pointing for the coming state election.
4- Marrickville Greens should first write to their federal politicians to lobby them to start talking about the Israeli brutal occupation, before asking Labor state and Federal politicians to do so. We understand that Mr Tony Albanese has good track record on this issue, more than Bob Brown or any Greens federal politicians. Mr Albanese paid solidarity visit to Palestinian territories at the beginning of 90s of the last century, while the Greens politicians are still refusing to make such visit until now.

Then let us ask few other questions in this regard:
1- While the BDS campaign started long time ago, why the Greens put this motion just now. We should remember that the NSW election is on 26 March 2011 (3 months from now).
2- Why Marrickville: The Greens have councillors in other local government areas that are more suitable to introduce similar motion. For example, there is Greens councillor in Auburn, where the support for such motion is overwhelming as Muslims account for more than 50% of the residents. On the council, there are at least 4 Muslim councillors on the council. The answer is very simple: the Greens did not get more than 4% in the last state election (2007) in Auburn seat. While in Marrickville there is real chance for the Greens to win the seat from Labor (while I do not think that this will happen). So the story of the motion is not more than an item part of early election campaign in Marrickville area.
We know that the Greens will accuse us of attacking Palestine friends here. But as usual, the Greens gave themselves the right to attack everyone, but block such right from rivals to attack them (read my piece on this on http://jamaldaoud.blogspot.com/2010/11/greens-unique-attitude-we-can-dig-dirt.html). The Greens are attacking the Labor Federal members who has strong record of supporting Palestine and opposing Israeli brutality (Tony Albanese and Tanya Plibersek, for example), but would lead vicious attack against our criticism of them on this issue.

We are now very aware that the Greens is a party about nothing. They are just power hungry for the sake of accumulating power. The Greens Federal senate-elect in NSW, Ms Lee Rhiannon, has no credibility on any issue (read my early piece on http://jamaldaoud.blogspot.com/2010/07/story-of-greens-mp-lee-rhiannon-lies.html). So we, as strong advocate of Palestinian rights, do not take the latest motion as serious step to achieve anything. The motion, along with the NSW Greens motion on the issue earlier, will have one fate: the rubbish bin. The Greens has long track of passing motion after motion, adopt policy after policy, but practically they honoured none. (example of this could be read on http://jamaldaoud.blogspot.com/2010/07/bob-browns-press-club-address-what.html, http://jamaldaoud.blogspot.com/2008/12/greens-blocking-of-action-on-climate.html and http://sjpmediacentre.blogspot.com/2009/09/submission-in-regard-to-discussion.html)

The Greens think that they achieved a lot by attracting media attention. They think that they are closer now to win Marrickville seat in the next state election, March 2011.

We think that this is not accurate. The community will hear from others, before they will cast their votes.

As before the Greens seek community vote, they should convince us why the NSW (and Australian) Greens were absent from all solidarity aid missions to Gaza and West Bank.

We deeply believe that actions are louder than talks (and motions). But the Greens insist to be the mountain that always gets into labour, but always give birth to mouse. (From Arabic proverb)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Victorian Election results: The winners and the losers!

We can claim safely and comfortably that the Victorian election came with unexpected results that have significant importance. The Victorian election, while saw the Labor lose heavily and unexpectedly, could benefit progressive forces and voters if results analysed carefully and courageous steps taken promptly to avoid future similar results.

The immediate impact of possible repeat of Victorian results in other elections, if serious steps not taken, could see similar scenarios happened in NSW March next year.

In this election there were some big winners and some big losers.

In our opinion, the biggest winner of the election was the Liberal party, as:
1- The Liberals won unwinnable election according to all opinion polls and strategists’ predictions.
2- The Liberals did not only win the votes, but won morally too. It is the first time since the rise of the Greens that Liberals took principled stance to put the Greens last on its preference voting. The Liberals gambled with its chances of winning the election by preferencing Labor ahead of the Greens, instead of trying to maximise Labor seats’ loss. The Liberals logic was simple and straightforward: if we do not agree with the Greens on many issues especially moral values in the heart of Liberal claimed agendas (like gay marriage, euthanasia, decriminalisation of illicit drug abuse,..), we should not preference them even for pure pragmatic reasons of costing Labor more seats. That is in opposition of the Greens logic of Machiavellian principles of “the End justifies the means”. While the most important thing for the Greens is to win more seats, even if this comes on Liberals or even One Nation preference votes. The Liberals proved that they are more principled than the Greens, hence they won more vote. This explains the core issue missing in Australian politics these days: the need for progressive political force that stays principled to achieve deep socio-economic changes, and not Machiavellian force to use the need of change to accumulate power by any means.

For the above mentioned reason and for other reasons, we believe that the biggest loser in the election was the Greens, as:
1- The Greens voting scrambled from 14.6% just 3 months ago (in Federal election) to 10.6%. Usually the small parties do better in state elections than in Federal ones (unlike major parties). The Greens were expected to get at least 16% of the votes. We believe that the Greens disappointing performance of achieving virtually nothing and acting on no major important issue for the last 3 months within the undeclared coalition government with Labor played major role in this.
2- The Greens deafening uproar that they will win at least 4-5 lower house seats and at least 4-5 Upper House seats, resulted in no Lower house seats won and the same Upper House seats won in the last election (3 seats) (or even may be less than 3).
3- The Greens lost moral basis as they were prostituting the Liberals to give them preferences ahead of Labor, despite their claim of having totally contradictious agendas and ideologies. Not only this. The Greens machine and leadership could not depart its addiction on vending lies and deceptions by claiming that the next time they will adopt open preference cards (leaving the voters to decide how to send their preferences). This suggestion from Bob Brown aimed to enforce the Liberals to consider sealing preference deal with the Greens next time. So far, the Liberals were the ones (in all states) who are refusing to even negotiate with the Greens any preference deals. In contradiction of our expectation that the Greens would be the side that will refuse to consider any deals with the Liberals, who were described by the Greens consistently as regressive, fascist and party from dark ages.
4- The Greens failed to keep its voting level similar to voting they got during last Federal election, despite the media hysterical campaign to groom Greens and advocate voters to vote for them. The media published repeated articles and interviews in the last days of the campaign, portraying the Greens to be the future of Australian politics. I was shocked to read articles like “Inside green zero” (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/state-election-2010/inside-green-zero-20101122-18469.html) and see cartoonist, Ron Tandberg (http://www.theage.com.au/national/letters/no-excuse-for-this-abuse-of-trust-20101123-185kb.html) gave some fantasies that the Greens could get more votes than Labor or Liberals and the future is for “Greens ideology”. Then we read many articles conducting hysterical campaign against Labor (on no real ground). After all this free and extensive propaganda by mainstream media (who are claimed by the Greens to be regressive), the Greens in fact lost grounds and its voting decreased.

The other loser in this election is, of course, the Labor party. The reasons for this are typical among all Labor parties in other states and on Federal level. The reason of the loss could be because:
1- Labor consistent creep towards the centre and right-centre, thinking that the voters will always want to have incompetent Labor government than conservative anti-public services and racist Liberal government.
2- The deterioration of Victorian life-style and the Labor governments inability to find solution for important crises (Housing, employment, health, public transport, energy …)
3- The long incumbency (least important among reasons)
4- The negative impact of other Labor parties (Federal Labor and Labor in other states)
5- The voters’ constant tendency not to keep powers in all states and Federal level in the hands of one party. The clearest example here is the voters’ tendency that gave Labor party power in all states during the Howard Federal Liberal government.

We believe that the Victorian election results should encourage Labor to rethink on its priorities in other states and on Federal level. If they wish to keep power in NSW, Queensland and then on Federal level, they should start to take courageous decisions. And we mean here not courageous decisions on issues that do not concern more than few Australians (same sex marriage or euthanasia), but decisions about finding solutions to crises in: housing, health, multiculturalism, energy supplies and conservative economic vandalism.

Not only this. The other left groups (apart from the Greens who we consider not to be on the left of politics) should start to discuss forming united front to fight for better life style, where resources should be more fairly used to benefit all classes of society. It is alarming that left groups are only talking about the necessity of same-sex marriage and euthanasia, while the society is deeply socio-economically unfair. More efforts and resources should be put into fighting against racism, for human rights, for better public services and for better Australian foreign policy independent from Western super power (currently USA).

We believe that if these results will be repeated on the same scale in NSW, the picture could be:
1- Heavy loss for Labor (we need to remember that all opinion polls in Victoria predicted narrow win for Brumby Labor government, while all opinion polls in NSW predicts big loss of Keneally Labor government).
2- The Greens will get less than 9%, which means that they will not win any lower house seats (Marrickville or Balmain) and no more than 2 Legislative Council seats (in the best scenario with good preference from other minor parties of Socialists, Communists and pro-drugs parties).
3- The Liberals will win comfortably.

Of course in politics time is very precious and things could change dramatically and quickly. The Labor party and other political forces still have time to change direction and take credible steps to restore confidence in politics among voters. But we doubt. Apart from expelling bad names in the Labor, the Labor is not ready to take courageous steps to address the deteriorating life style of NSW residents. We also believe that the Greens is not in better position to change its Machiavellian opportunist approach into more principled stance on issues matter to the majority of NSW residents.