As hard as it is to conceive for those of us labouring under the Green yoke, we’re probably lucky. Because as Hall Greenland recently wrote,
[…] the federal Greens leadership, not to mention the Greens membership as a whole, are veering to the right, driven by electoralism and an attachment to neoliberalism. They are, to coin a phrase, “neoliberals on bikes”.
Yes, that’s right. There is a Left wing of the Greens, and right now they don’t feel like they are in charge. Sadly for us, they do seem to be in NSW. As Greenland pointed out, at the recent National Policy Conference in Adelaide:
The only votes cast against the dropping of the [inheritance] tax came from the entire NSW delegation.
When criticism like that comes from Hall Greenland, you can take the label with a grain of salt. Because Hall, nice guy though he is, is the quintessence of a Leftwing wrecker fixated on purity. Just skim through Tony Harris’ surprisingly honest book about the self-immolation of Inner West Labor in the seventies and early eighties, and you will see Hall Greenland’s central role in the ‘splitism’ of the times. All centred on Annandale, and also involving Harris.
Oddly enough, later ructions involved former ALP Left Alderman and current (long term) Manager of Legal Services for Leichhardt Council, Margaret Lyons (also featured in Harris’ book).
So now the old Pabloist, counter-culture revolutionary, failed 1974 and successful 1980, 1999 Leichhardt Council candidate has re-emerged, this time on the Greens’ Leichhardt Council ticket behind sitting Mayor Rochelle Porteous. The best part of 40 years later, and still pitching the same tired stuff.
That the Leichhardt Greens have gone back to the future with Hall Greenland is both absurd and unsurprising.
Absurd in that it shows an embrace of a rigid, dead ideology that is fundamentally rooted in the Communist debates from the 1920s to the 1950s. Unsurprising in that it shows an embrace of a rigid, dead ideology that is just fundamentally rooted.
Indeed, the Green fixation on stopping higher density housing seems to have begun back in late seventies with Greenland and his loonier Labor Left mates, the precursors and creators of the Greens. Greenland was expelled from the ALP in 1984.
There was mounting concern over town planning issues, in particular the growth of town house developments, often on former industrial sites (Harris, p37-8).
…Greenland…[took an] approach of staunch opposition to these new developments…to back the Council up in limiting development through density controls…(Harris, p118).
Origlass and Greenland were basically arguing for a new town plan with a blanket density control of 125 people per hectare and a two storey floor limit on development…
Ahh. Finally we see the source of the appalling and arbitrary FSRs applied across Leichhardt, and why Ms Lyons is so willing to spend so much of ratepayers’ money on legal action against residents who want an extra bedroom or dormer window.
Of course, if Hall wins there may be entertainment benefits:
[…] for the first two years of the council [1980 Leichhardt], its deliberations were characterised by a split within the eight, Left aldermen; with Greenland of Annandale regularly in conflict with the other seven.(Harris, p115)
…The division between the rest of them and Hall was simply that no-one could work with him…(Harris, p119)
…speak very effectively and on any issue, but he didn’t really do much more than that…and he was very often in a minority of one (Deputy Mayor O’Neill, quoted in Harris, p 120).
If ever anything revealed just what the Greens are, just how rigid their dogma, and how little scrutiny they have really been put under, it’s the fact that Hall’s return has elicited so little comment.
Beware you capitalist, economicist mainroaders (Mr Parker, I’m looking at you), the real revolution is coming. Again.
A reader has summed it up nicely, if sarcastically: “Hall Greenland. The Great Leap Forward.”