March 22, 2008

Green leadership, Stop the War Coalition and Ken Livingstone

Posted in british greens at 3:00 pm by Mira Vogel

Stop the War is an exceptionally bad, exceptionally immature critique of the War on Terror. For a better one, go and listen to Dan Hind speaking at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts on How Enlightenment was Hijacked and How We Can Reclaim It.

Critiques don’t come nicely packaged. Just because the war for Iraq was wrongly-premised, it doesn’t mean we should pull out of Afghanistan. It doesn’t mean that Hesbollah are heros.

Why is our speaker Caroline Lucas associating with StWC in such a desperately populist way? Why, in this video, does her bid for the mainstream sound so much like the futile, robot anti-Imperialism of the Socialist Worker Party and RESPECT? Where is the environmental critique? Where, since she has stepped up to the podium in her capacity as a politician, a policy-maker, are the answers? Her only answers: demand justice for the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. Suspend the EU agreement with Israel. There has never been a time like the present time for British Greens, but Caroline Lucas is looking vaguely abroad without insight.

StWC is a bad association. It is an organisation that suppresses dissent, whitewashes Iran – indeed Caroline Lucas whitewashes Baathist Iraq before 2003 as a “proud country” – which invites speakers from antisemitic terrorist organisation Hesbollah, and one of whose central personalities is George Galloway, a demagogue who supports lying, upholds the values of Stalin and courts the votes of ultra-conservative Muslims by selling out on gay people and evolutionary theory.

StWC, Respect, Respect Renewal, the Socialist Workers Party and Caroline on behalf of the Greens all blame UK foreign policy for the London bombings (while neglecting to consider the role of, say, Saudi Arabia and its funding of hard Islam for September 11th, Madrid or London acts of terror to name only three). Here’s what Hassan Butt, former Al Quaeda member who now works to argue young men out of Al Quaeda, has to say about people who do this:

‘How we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy,’ Butt recalled in an outburst that stuck in my mind. ‘By blaming the government for our actions, those who pushed the “Blair’s bombs” line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamist theology.’

[I decided that my comment on London Greens recommendation about the mayoral elections was out of my remit for this site. MV]



  1. greased up chicken said,

    ahh a right wing green party member, tell me you 2nd preferencing Boris? 🙂

  2. miravogel said,

    Nah. Not BoJo. Don’t forget, the list of candidates isn’t going to be published until 2nd April.

  3. Leigh said,

    i think you’ll find ‘greased up chicken’ that the right wingers are in the jew hating wife beaters of hamas, or the gay murdering trade union busters in Tehran! Those are the sort of scum caroline regretably appears to be allying herself with these days!

  4. Aled Dilwyn Fisher said,


    The decision to give the 2nd preference to Ken was taken in a vote of all members present at a democratic meeting of the London Federation of Green Parties. As a party, we of course believe in decentralism, with regional and local parties making decisions on issues that affect their area.

    Many people seem to misunderstand the voting system. It doesn’t matter who is published in the list of candidates. Only 2 candidates proceed to the final round, therefore only 2nd preferences cast for those 2 candidates will count – and the two highest will, short of a minor miracle, be Ken and Boris. So we have a choice of two to back.

    It would be a disaster for green politics in London to have Boris as Mayor – therefore, we must back Ken to keep Boris out, as backing Boris would be disgraceful and backing nobody would leave the possibility of Boris getting in and wrecking London. Boris is a racist, homophobic, pro-war right-winger who would be completely anathema to green politics and the best things about the city.

    I disagree with much of what this site says. However, I support your right to have this site, make objections and possibly try to overturn those policies. One of the reasons why I’m in the party is because of the open internal debates we can have together in a comradely manner, so good luck and I look forward to a fair, balanced and friendly discussion with you all.

    Nonetheless, I hope you will support us in London is trying to get more Greens elected on May 1st, respect our democratic decisions and give us support, rather than publicly criticising our sensible and carefully considered choices here. By backing Ken 2nd, we haven’t dampened our criticism of his politics or personality, but I think we should all focus on the positives of our campaign – for a green, affordable London – and the merits of our fantastic Mayoral candidates, Sian Berry.


    Aled Dilwyn Fisher
    Green Party London Assembly Candidate

  5. miravogel said,

    I changed the post slightly just now – no deletions, just added the reference to Hassan Butt and the final paragraph – and made it attributable to me.

  6. miravogel said,

    Aled, thanks for your comment. I would be interested to hear more about what aspects of this site you disagree with.

    The London Green PArty pages are here:

    It would be good to know more about the meeting, Aled.

    As a candidate – and this is a question we need to ask Sian too – could you tell us your policy on boycotting Israel? If you gained a seat on the Assembly, would you be actively pursuing this?

  7. miravogel said,

    And does ‘reddening the greens’ mean allying with organisations like the SWP and its various fronts (including the StWC) with a scapegoaty approach to Israel as part of the unifying glue?

  8. Jack Hughes said,

    Aled wrote:

    However, I support your right to have this site,

    Is this dude for real ?

  9. Jack Hughes said,

    It would be a disaster for green politics in London to have Boris as Mayor – therefore, we must back Ken …

    Are we supposed to be helping the environment or thinking about “green politics” ?

    Good luck guys with your effort to re-focus the green party on the environment and away from the “trendy lefty issue du jour”.

  10. thegonzokid said,

    As a supporter of the Euston Manifesto, I agree with all the points in the main post. I joined the Greens because I thought it represented a truly progressive, radical alternative to the orthodox Left and the Lib/Lab parties. The last thing the Greens should be doing is tagging along with authoritarian socialists and Islamists. The public gave up on the Stop the War coalition soon after the huge march on February 15th 2003, seeing it as ineffectual and essentially a recruitment/paper-selling campaign for the SWP and its various front organisations.

    Might I suggest the development of a formal Euston Manifesto platform within the party to challenge these occasional lunges towards looneyism?

  11. Raphael said,

    Jack wrote: “Is this dude for real ?”

    Jack, don’t make fun of Aled, he is one of the main ecosocialists of the universe:


  12. This Site is well overdue. I live in Brighton am a green party member and have met caroline lucas a number of times. These views regarding Hezbollah and the like, following the line of Galloway is quite frankly a turn-off and makes me question my membership of the party and support for caroline . They are uninteresting and predictable.

    For a much more Green perspective people should check out the FOE middle east website and also the Greenpeace Middle East website-
    They’re much more interesting. For example I read that the part of the River Jordan where John the Baptist baptised Jesus is a mere trickle due to Isreali and Jordanian water extraction and is als used to dump sewage and industrial waste.

  13. greensstoptheboycott said,

    Got some links, Brighton?


    (FOE – middle East)

    Try these – otherwise just google!!

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