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Electoral fallout, the Australian Greens and the street

by Dave Riley

Many commentators on November 24th are forgetting that the core tactical decision at this poll for "us" was by the Greens who decided to forgo their usually eclectic preference game and allow their preferences to flow to the ALP before the Coalition. To do otherwise would have been political suicide. As well, if they had not aggressively embraced an option to Rudd's Work Choices Lite their vote would have collapsed across the country.

So thats' realpolitick kicking in I suggest.

That's the conjuncture of the protest vote and "our" collective problem is that it was still constrained by an ALP presence. People chose the handiest tool on hand -- Rudd Labor -- to do away with Howard.Even the Get Up approach hasn't succeeded despite the numbers who were aligned to it.

But heres' a bit of news folks: the election was last Saturday -- there's another 364 days over the next 12 months and Greens or no Greens it will still be capitalist business as usual and if we keep to the Greens agenda it will be another 4 years before 'we' can advance the platform they align to.

What we want to know from the Greens now is whether they want to actively fill that time up with a bit of slap and tackle outside parliament because, if we were considerate of global warming rates -- another 4 years plus another 4 and another 4 is a very piecemeal way of cooling the planet. So there has to be a merging between what happens outside parliament with what goes on within.

That's the challenge as far as I can see it. And it's a bit hypothetical to get caught up in polling upmanship when its patently obvious that there's this elephant in the room. Even if the Greens got 10 senators up -- we'd still be in a pickle because they'd probably come to some accommodation with Labor. And besides, The Greens environment platform is engineered to allow at least for 2 degrees of warming.

That's realpolitick too.

So I'm suggesting that hereon in it has to be a tactical discussion because voting -- and even voting Green -- isn't good enough. That's the problem at this election in terms of the other voice that was not uttered. The environment actually suffered because there was not the break out around Work Choices from ACTU constraints well before November 24th. And if there is a new Greens senator for WA or what have you, it was the Your Rights at Work mobilisations that did occur that put him there.

If there had been more of that in free form there would have been a bigger and better vote for the likes of the Greens and sundries --and hereon in a stronger guarantee or chance that Rudd would be called to account..more outside parliament than in. That's the underlying reality.

Its not a crime to say that is it? But that's what the Socialist Alliance has been saying, you see. Thats' our brutally frank argument.

Bob Brown patted the Greens back on Saturday night -- and so very obscenely, John Howard's -- but he was missing the context that buoyed him up. To a significant degree, the Greens were passive receptors of what other people did outside parliament just as the ALP was a passive receptor of what others did away from Capital Hill.

Until such time as the Greens or a section of the Greens embrace that relationship aggressively and actively engage with it on a consistent basis then the best of all possible election platforms won't mean very much at all except on polling day -- one day out of 365 in four twelve month years.

At some point you have to face up to how change occurs and we've just had something like 35 years of The Democrats in parliamentary array sitting on those cross benches and I don't remember anything at all to be excited about.

And in Tasmania -- where does our political alignment kick in if not among the mobilisations against the Pulp Mill rather than in state parliament--regardless of the number of Greens resident there.

So new Greens senators or no there's a crisis of tactics bearing down on us and many are running to the comfort of parliament to assuage their angst. Even many times more effort was put into polling day than was invested the Walk Against Warming for instance--and that is a resource allocation we need to aggressively address.

But that's where we're at. It's skewed politics.

The great advantage of the ALP victory is that it buoys us up in our millions because "we" (not Kevin Rudd but "we") got rid of Howard. So we'll go into 2008 more confident than for many a year.

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