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Global Green Party history - 'Time, Space and the Greens'

By Christine Dann, Green Party of Aeteorea/New Zealand.

Chapter one, from her Ph.D. thesis, ''From Earth's last islands. The global origins of Green politics'' (Lincoln University, NZ, 1999)

Auf Erdballs letztem Inselriff Begreif' ich, was ich nie begriff.'
(At the farthest island reef of Earth I grasp what I never understood before.) - Karl Wolfskehl 1

In 1938 the poet Karl Wolfskehl came to New Zealand, seeking refuge from the horrors of Europe descending into war. Sixty-nine years old, he entered a strange new world, very different both physically and culturally from the urbane nineteenth century Germany in which he was socialised. He characterised his experience as a dream - ‘Bin ich noch Ich? Ich traue kaum/ Dem Spiegel, alles wird mir Traum.' (Am I still me? I scarcely trust the mirror, everything seems to me a dream). Part of his dreaming was a green dreaming - ‘Traumwandernden Traum-Grün erfrischt' (Dream wanderings in a green dream refresh me).

One imagines the lonely, aging exile finding his way to the Waitakere ranges to the west of the city of Auckland, and wandering dreamily along muddy tracks among the great tree ferns, nikau palms and the many broadleaf evergreens which dominate the northern New Zealand flora. He would then return to the city refreshed by this contact with living green things.

Wolfskehl's Antipodean dreaming did not include a vision of the Green parties which were to be created there three and a half decades later, yet his story provides a link between the European past and Australasian present which resonates in many ways with the themes of the age.

Karl Wolfskehl was a German national who lived in Germany for most of his life. He thought and spoke and wrote in German. Yet he saw himself as ‘...einen Bürger der Welt, einen Sohn unseres Planeten' (a citizen of the world, a son of our planet), ‘jüdisch, römisch, deutsch zugleich' (Jewish, Roman, German equally) (Asher, 1956, 65-66). The inscriptions on his tombstone in Auckland are not in German (or English) but in two ancient ‘world' languages - Hebrew and Latin.

A descendent of the people of the first recorded diaspora, Wolfskehl's life and death epitomise the dominant theme of world history in the past half-century - globalisation. New Zealand was a refuge from the imperialist designs of Hitler's Reich, (which had no place for ‘world citizens' like Jews and gypsies). Paradoxically, however, New Zealand existed as a modern nation-state, able to offer refuge from Hitler's global expansionism, only by virtue of the imperialist designs and economic expansionism of Britain in the previous century.

Yet it was in this place, unlikely as it may seem, that the world's first national-level Green party, the New Zealand Values Party, was founded in May 1972, closely following the world's first state-level Green party, the United Tasmania Group, which was founded in March 1972.

Most people who know anything about global Green politics at all are usually under the impression that the world's first Green party was the German party, Die Grünen. Die Grünen came together in West Germany in 1979, contested its first federal election in 1980, and was successful in 1983, when twenty-six Greens took their places in the Bundestag and became the world's first national level Green elected political representatives. Die Grünen certainly was the first political party to use the name Green, and it has undoubtedly been the most significant of the Green parties in terms of gaining parliamentary representation, political influence, international profile and scholarly documentation.2

Indeed, in acknowledging the formation of Die Grünen, the Values Party hoped that it would become ‘a useful model'. Values Party officeholder John Horrocks (1980) went on to say that Die Grünen was ‘the overseas party nearest in character to Values'. He noted the difficulties (as Values knew from experience) of sustaining a group made up of diverse political elements, and he commented favourably that Die Grünen was further to the Left than other ‘Values-type' parties, such as Britain's Ecology Party and the Australian Democrats. This meant, he thought, that Die Grünen held the promise of becoming ‘more than just a coalition of protest groups.'3

So Die Grünen was first in name but not in kind - the first place in world Green party history goes jointly to the two parties from ‘Earth's last islands'. The dreaming of Green politics is a world dreaming, and this is where it first took party form.

In this work, I examine salient aspects of the global economic, political and social context in which Green politics arose, and then go on to look at the specifically local origins and characteristics of the Values Party and the United Tasmania Group.

I conclude with a discussion about what the origins of Green politics, and the evolving global context, may tell us about how Green politics is likely to develop in the twenty-first century. But to begin with, it is necessary to consider the meanings of the term ‘Green', and how the term will be defined for the purposes of this study.

What do we mean by ‘Green'? The term ‘Green' has been in political currency since the late 1970s, and has acquired many shades of meaning. It is commonly used to encompass a wide and diverse range of political and social activities and lifestyle practices. A collector of ‘Green' literature can soon amass a shelf of books with titles like The Greening of Medicine, The Green Family Cookbook, The Green Cleaner, The Green Alternative Guide to Good Living, The Little New Zealand Green Book, The Green Consumer Guide and It's Easy Being Green. They are more numerous than overtly political volumes such as A Green Manifesto and Green Parties An International Guide.4

The common thread running through the popular usage of the term ‘Green', as evidenced by these examples, is an awareness of the physical environment and an advocacy of the protection and enhancement of that environment. Farmers, homeowners, doctors and citizens at large are exhorted to become ‘Green' in their work and play, and in Australasia the epithet ‘clean and green' is perceived - and contested - as a prime marketing tool for attracting tourists, and for trading in agricultural produce.

In this sense ‘Green' appears to be a-political, and to resemble common sense beliefs and practices (rather like personal hygiene), which are universal and not connected with any particular political theory or practice. Political parties of all kinds now talk about their ‘green' policies, meaning their explicitly environmental policies. Does this mean that when it comes to defining Green, anything goes?

Stephen Young (1992) has attempted to capture the range of political meanings in the term ‘green' within a flow chart entitled ‘Different Dimensions of Green Politics'. This is ‘...designed to separate deep ecology ideas from shallow ecology approaches; and to identify the dimensions of study and action that each gives rise to.' (Young, 1992, 12-13). Everything starts with Box 1 (‘From the Industrial Revolution to the late twentieth century: population growth; economic growth; and industrial expansion'). In response to this situation comes Box 2 (‘Criticisms of industrialisation and limitless growth from a green perspective - the emergence of Green Politics'). Then the chart divides into the ‘Deep Ecology' side (‘Solutions based on dark Green ideas aimed at radical economic and social change') and the ‘Environmental Reformism' side (‘light green shallow ecology ideas based on mitigating the effects of industrialisation and continued growth').

The rest of the chart elaborates on the different inputs and outputs contributing to and stemming from these divergent responses to the environmental ‘crisis'. On the ‘deep' side these include spiritual dimensions, eco-feminism, Green parties, extra-parliamentary strategies, different forms of democracy, and the principles and practice of sustainability. On the ‘shallow' side are getting environmental issues on to political agendas at different levels, environmental projects by non-profit groups, private sector responses such as ‘green' consumerism, environmental pressure groups, and policy making and implementation (See Figure 1).

Young's typology shows that even when looking at just the ‘ecology' dimension (and if this work does nothing else, it will at least show that there is more to ‘Green' politics than a single-minded focus on the physical environment), there is a wide divergence of theory and practice. In the rest of his paper he unpacks his boxes to show the complexity of green politics in its many facets, and how some parts just don't fit together snugly, or even at all. The gulf between those who believe that radical change of a rotten system is necessary, and those who think that tinkering with a basically sound system will suffice, is often impassable.

Young locates Green parties (correctly) on the ‘deep' side of the divide. However this must be principally because they advocate a radical analysis of the environmental crisis and radical solutions to it, rather than because they necessarily believe or fully endorse the eco-philosophies of ‘deep ecologists' (such as Arne Naess), or the practice of deep ecologist militants, (such as Earth First!).

So just what does the ‘deepness' of Green parties consist of, and where does it come from? In limiting my compass in this study to Green parties - their programmes, policies and actual practices - I do not deny the existence or relevance of all those other forms of green politics. However, in narrowing my focus to the more manageable consideration of structured Green political organisations, I avoid the confusing plethora of environmental and lifestyle groups and practices which are considered (or consider themselves) to be ‘Green'. Paradoxically, I also extend the definition of Green, since Green parties do not restrict their programmes to environmental and lifestyle concerns, nor their practices to conventional forms of participation in existing political structures.

Further, while Green parties were the first political parties to build their party platforms on an explicitly environmental plank, and the environmental dimension is certainly fundamental to them, the environmental plank is only one of four foundational principles common to Green parties. The fundamental importance of the other dimensions of Green politics as defined by Green parties is perfectly illustrated by events at the foundational conference of Die Grünen.

More than environmentalism

In October 1979, at a tense and drawn out congress in Offenbach, Germany, the ‘four pillars' of Green party politics were decided upon by the proto-party which was to be come Die Grünen, the first party to use the name ‘Green'. While none of these principles were politically novel in themselves, their combination into the basis of a party platform certainly was. As August Haussleiter described the fraught and historic moment:

" Although agreement seemed impossible, I took a piece of paper and wrote four words on it: ecology, social responsibility, grassroots democracy, and non-violence. Then I called Gruhl (leader of the conservatives) and Reents (leader of the left) into the room where the journalists were and said ‘Sign'. We then went back into the convention hall and announced ‘We have a programme.' (Parkin, 1989, 120).

Within a year (and after two more foundational and programmatic conferences) individuals and groups with past or present right-wing connections and/or programmes (including Haussleiter himself) were no longer in Die Grünen (Hülsberg, 1988, 94-96). But the four foundational principles agreed to at Offenbach were entrenched as the original and defining Green party principles.

These principles have been translated into many languages in the succeeding years, and were the inspiration for the Green Charter formulated by the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand at its foundational conference in March 1990 (see Appendix A). They were also prefigured in 1974 in ‘The New Ethic' of the United Tasmania Group (see Appendix B).

What do they mean?

Under the heading ecology comes the Green concern for ecological sustainability. This means that the quality, quantity and diversity of life on planet Earth (and the physical environmental elements on which it depends, such as soil, air and water) are not further compromised by pollution, degradation, extinctions and so on. Also that where possible habitats and ecosystems are restored and/or enhanced to improve already compromised quality, quantity and diversity. By social responsibility Greens mean that both individuals and social institutions are under obligations of mutual respect and aid. Both must play their part in ensuring that every member of society is accorded the rights and the means to realise their full potential both as an individual and as a contributor to society. Grass-roots democracy is a Green ideal, involving extending democratic participation beyond formal and token activities at the representative parliamentary level through to equal participation at community level, in the tradition of the ancient Athenian assemblies or the contemporary New England town meeting. Finally, non-violence is not just the absence of armed conflict and a commitment to national and international disarmament, but includes positive alternative ways of resolving conflicts at international, national, local and even domestic levels.

As defined by Green parties, therefore, Green politics means more than environmentalism; it means a foundational linkage of environmentalism with the three great goals of ‘progressive' politics in the West since the eighteenth century - justice, democracy and peace. In choosing to focus on Green politics as defined by its practitioners and theorists in Green parties, and in choosing to exclude the wealth of Green theorising conducted by a wide range of philosophers, and the practice of people in the broader social movements who would consider themselves ‘green',

I do not deny the salience of either academic theorising or lifestyle practice to Green politics. On the contrary, much of what the non-party philosophers and practitioners come up with ultimately finds its way on to Green party platforms. Practitioners working in the areas of sustainable production, appropriate technology, human rights, species conservation, co-operative enterprises, local scale economies, energy conservation, alternative health care, animal welfare and so on frequently provide the real working models on which Green policies presented to the electorate can be based.

However, it is Green parties which have taken on the job of attempting to make a coherent political programme out of these seemingly disparate areas of interest and expertise, and of offering it as a package to fellow citizens as a democratic choice. Two terms one frequently encounters when researching Green politics are ‘rainbow' and ‘holistic'. Green parties have set themselves the probably impossible task of reconciling the rainbow of new social and environmental politics into an holistic philosophy and a coherent political programme.

Without denying the important role of non-party Greens, therefore, it is to Green parties that we must turn to explore the full meaning of Green politics as it is played out in today's world. To understand the role played by Green parties globally it is necessary to understand the context within which they take their place on the stage of world politics. In the rest of this chapter I consider the ways in which we might gain that understanding, and how I came to prioritise certain routes over others. As part of that process it is necessary to begin by clarifying and correcting some common misconceptions about the origins of Green politics.

Case studies in conceptualising the origins of Green politicsIn trying to select the most salient factors that have precipitated and influenced Green politics as a global phenomenon, one is faced with what seems like a bewildering array of choice. There are Green voices arguing for a variety of precipitating factors. These include a loss of wilderness (Hay and Haward, 1988), industrialism (Porritt, 1984), spiritual malaise (Spretnak and Capra, 1984) and just about every other ill of modern global society, including over-population, the energy crisis, resource depletion, consumerism, pollution, structural unemployment, exploitation in the Third World, and nuclear energy and weapons.

Theorists within the Green movement are supplemented by academics who emphasise the role of the subject matter of their discipline. These include sociologists looking at new social and political movements (Boggs, 1986), political scientists examining ‘value change' in voting publics (Inglehart, 1977; 1990) and political economists considering changes in the world economy (Lipietz, 1988, 1992). The arguments from the activists are generally limited to special and partial pleading based on a restricted selection of data, and sometimes an ideological bias.

The academic accounts, even where free of overt ideological bias, can also be limited, often taking on the aspect of being little more than an effect of the methodologies typically employed by the discipline (see, for example, Levine, 1975, on the limitations of Rokeach's value dimension scale). How is it possible, therefore, to select what has real explanatory value, and what warrants further investigation, from the range of possibilities?

I decided that it was necessary to start by investigating the ‘assumptions behind the assumptions'. Behind the assumption that Green politics is a radical form of environmentalism lie two further assumptions about what constitutes and/or precipitates environmentalism or ecology as a politics. In heavily urbanised and heavily populated Western Europe the discourse of environmentalism is largely around the pollution and degradation of human living and working space and the depletion of the natural resources used for industry. In equally urbanised but not quite so heavily populated North America and Australasia there is an additional (and sometimes dominant) concern about the degradation and depletion of ‘Nature' and ‘wilderness'. The European position is sometimes characterised as ‘anthropocentric' or ‘shallow', being concerned primarily with protecting human standards of living; the Europeans can easily riposte that the preservation of ‘Nature' position is riddled with philosophical and practical contradictions.

Both these positions are canvassed below, via case studies in which I attempted to tease out just why neither approach is able to answer fundamental questions about the timing, location and actual content of Green politics. For a ‘common sense' attempt to derive environmentalism as a politics generally, or Green parties specifically, from either industrial pollution and depletion or attacks on nature/wilderness would surely conclude that Green politics would (should) have started in Great Britain in the mid-nineteenth century, not New Zealand in the late-twentieth. Obviously just what we mean by ‘industrialisation' and ‘nature' therefore require further examination.

Against Growth?

The trashing of the immediate environment is as old as human history (I still remember with wry pleasure that inspirational marine ecologist Professor John Morton quoting to me - in the original Latin - Horace's complaint at the pollution of the Tiber by the effluent of ancient Rome). But it is only in the last two centuries that human beings have developed the technological capacities and the commercial imperative to lay waste to and deplete the resources of an entire planet (not to mention exploit or destroy literally millions of themselves). The Industrial Revolution, based on the new technologies of steam power and industrial chemistry, and with its associated depopulation of the countryside and rapid urbanisation of Western Europe, was responsible for the acceleration and exacerbation of existing environmental problems such as water and air pollution and over-crowding. Also for the creation of new ones, such as the toxic processing and adulteration of food on a mass scale.

In the twentieth century breakthroughs in physics (especially the jet engine and nuclear fission) further increased the range of environmental hazards and rendered them globally ubiquitous, creating a ‘risk society' (Beck, 1995). The science of the twentyfirst century, which is already upon us, is biology. The genetic codes of life are being cracked and shuffled between species with as much care - and as little thought - as nuclear tests were conducted in the American, Australian and Soviet ‘desert' lands in the 1950s and 60s.( Accounts of just how much (usually terminal) damage those tests did to people who were never told that they were being experimented upon, and the places where they lived, can be found in Alcalay (1988; 1995); Alcalay and Todd (1994); Dibblin (1988); Johnson (1984); Kerr et al (1984); McClelland (1985); Miliken (1986); Smith (1985) and Tame and Robotham (1982).

It gives me no pleasure to contemplate providing a similar listing for genetic engineering experimental damage on unsuspecting and non-consenting human subjects and other species twenty years hence.)

The enormity of the environmental impacts of the widespread application of these technologies has certainly created environmentalism or ‘political ecology' as a politics of resistance to the destruction. But environmentalism is essentially a reactive politics, addressing symptoms rather than causes. This is not to say that it is a useless or futile politics, since it is generally worthwhile to ameliorate distressing symptoms, even as one searches for a cure. But it is not the same as Green politics, which has theories of causation that Green parties develop and address in their platforms and policies.
The causes of ecological and social distress and dysfunction most often cited in the early Green literature are ‘industrialism' and ‘consumerism' - two forms of highly organised social behaviour which are both the means and the ends of ‘economic growth'. Economic growth is a goal which Greens reject both as an end it itself, and as a means to achieving ‘the good life'. While not opposed to economic growth in principle, when it is achieved in ways which are ecologically and socially benign, the Green critique of economic growth rests on its reification, by other political tendencies, into a sacred cow of national and international economic management.

The rejection of economic growth as a major focus and function of contemporary state-craft remains the original and abiding difference between Green politics and other forms of party politics, of both the left and the right. Hence the Green scepticism towards both socialism and capitalism, where these are touted as superior ways of achieving economic growth, and Green neutrality towards both planning and markets as economic tools for organising production and distribution. The Green approach is to assess particular plans and particular markets with regard to their ability to deliver ecologically sustainable and socially equitable production and distribution outcomes.

If the unquestioning, unchecked drive towards economic growth is a primary cause of environmental destruction then the roots of Green politics can be found anywhere where expansionist industry and commerce have made their mark on environments, and also on societies where the mass of people have been deprived of land and of sustainable, equitable, secure livelihoods. What better place to examine this thesis than a country which only came into as existence as a nation-state by means of its new found role as a participant in the expanding world economy?

In a case study entitled ‘Colonisation and Alienation: the origins of Green politics in the world market economy and industrial agriculture in the nineteenth century' (Dann, 1995a) I cast a critical eye over the ‘discovery' of New Zealand, and its later development. New Zealand was given its current name in 1642 by the leader of a Dutch trade expedition. Abel Tasman's expedition was a commercial failure, but James Cook's late eighteenth century explorations identified several ‘natural resources' which had become important items of world commerce at that time. Seals, whales (for oil), fibre (for ropes and sails) and timber (for masts and ships' planking) were valued principally because they provided raw materials for the industries which produced the growing fleet of ships that made the expansion of global trade possible. The first, and purely exploitative, phase of New Zealand's economic ‘development' began on a beach in a remote fiord of southern New Zealand in 1792. There a gang of sealers constructed a rude barracks and began an escalating regime of slaughter that was to culminate in the destruction of an estimated 90% of the New Zealand fur seal population (Clark, 1949, 49-50). (The sealskins were in demand as a fashion clothing commodity for the growing European and American middle classes.)

Pure exploitation of natural resources was followed by a settlement phase, where the chief commodity traded (in England as well as in New Zealand) was land. The creation of markets in land, which had taken centuries to come to pass in Europe, (Polanyi, 1980) was well established as standard practice in Britain by the nineteenth century.
This system was rapidly superimposed on the non-market land acquisition and utilisation systems of the indigenous Maori people, eclipsing their systems completely (not without creating gross injustices and major grievances which are only finally being rectified via a special tribunal set up for the purpose over one hundred years later).

The third phase in New Zealand's economic development was that of industrialised primary production, which secured its ongoing participation in the world economy. At first this was based on grazing sheep on extensive range-lands, which were converted from native grasses and shrubs to more palatable albeit less stable exotic species by widespread burning, repeated annually (Stephens, 1965). Wool was removed from the sheep in large shearing factories, known as woolsheds, where up to two hundred workers at a time carried out the labour in a highly compartmentalised fashion. There was (and is) rigid separation of the tasks in and around the woolshed. The jobs were split into herding and handling the sheep before and after shearing; shearing itself (where the tasks are further divided into the relatively unskilled removal of dirty wool from the hindquarters only, and the highly skilled rapid removal of a whole, clean fleece); trimming, pressing and baling the fleeces; and keeping the shed tidy. This organisation of labour was the epitome of ‘Taylorist' or ‘Fordist' assembly line industrial production - John Martin (1990) provides a good account of industrial work practices on large farms in New Zealand in the nineteenth century.

With the invention of refrigeration technology in the late nineteenth century meat processed in ‘freezing works' and butter and cheese made in ‘dairy factories' were added to New Zealand's export commodities. The dairy products sounded the final death knell for the once-extensive lowland podocarp and mixed broadleaf forests, which grew in damper areas more suitable for conversion to dairying (Petersen, 1965). The wool went straight to the textile mills that were contributing to the pollution of northern British towns (and creating urban labour markets therein); the meat and dairy produce to the mouths of the growing urban population of Britain.

Both economies grew - and slumped - and grew - and slumped throughout the nineteenth century - mutually dependent on an increasingly internationalised economic framework. The title of Simkin's (1951) history of the New Zealand economy says it all - The Instability of a Dependent Economy. Farmers (and their economic interests) dominated New Zealand politics in numbers and influence right up until the 1960s, with labour politics being equally tied to the international economy (as we shall see in Chapter Three). Indeed, ‘labour' itself was a product of the mode of industrialised development of New Zealand, being unknown to the Maori and not much favoured by them when they were first introduced to the concept. First sealers and whalers, then farm labourers, freezing workers, dairy workers and so on worked for low wages in conditions which were conducive to developing a politics of labour which contested the recently established ‘fact' of economic life - the creation of markets in labour (Polanyi, 1980, 72-73).

The ‘naturalness' of markets in land and labour (and capital), and their relative importance, is taken for granted by late twentieth century participants in the world economy. So much so that it comes as a shock to read contemporary accounts from the nineteenth century that show how the new system had to be explicitly promoted and defended, and its claims to dominance reinforced, by all manner of apologists and advocates. These included the shipping reporter of the Lyttelton Times in 1858. His report in the November 24 issue of the paper on the arrival of the barque Indiana, (which brought my assisted immigrant great-grandparents John and Jane Lee from Sunderland in north-east England to New Zealand), was telling. It included the words ‘There are not a few also of that class, the first and second cabin passengers, who help to maintain the balance of capital against labour.'

With the imposition of markets in land and the application of marketised labour, and with the concomitant failure to recognise for purposes of necessary conservation and wise investment something that is readily recognised for the purposes of profiteering - namely that natural resources within a capitalist context constitute a form of capital - the natural environment in New Zealand suffered grievous blow after grievous blow.5 A descriptive audit of the carnage was undertaken by Andrew Hill Clark (1949) in the mid-twentieth century, and it was found to be extensive. Generation after generation of ‘nature lovers' lamented it and attempted to redress it, via legislation, lobbying, and the purchase of reserves (Dalmer, 1983; Lochhead, 1994; Potts, 1882).

The preservation and planting of forests even became an issue capable of triggering a major reformation of New Zealand's political structures (Wynn, 1977). In the mid-twentieth century a new profession of soil and water conservators (Roche, 1994) was created. Their mandate was to try and turn around the frightening loss of soil and water resources that came in the wake of the deforestation, overgrazing and proliferation of pest plants and animals which was attendant upon the imposition of industrialised agriculture.

New Zealand, as a nation state, has never known anything other than a fully industrial, commercial, capitalist approach to land and other ‘natural resources'.

It has always been conscious that its ‘standard of living' (which, as Greens were to argue, is not necessarily synonymous with its ‘quality of life') is directly related to its successful supply of primary produce to the global economy. Devoid of the ameliorating legacies of previous economic and social systems that prevailed in Europe, or the capacity to be economically self-sufficient like the USA, New Zealand is a particularly clear example of the interplay between industrialised methods of production, the expansion of the world capitalist economy, and the destruction of the natural environment. The negative results of these interactions are identical to those identified and excoriated by the American green farmer-philosopher Wendell Berry (1977) and are thus an unsurprising seedbed for the growth of Green politics.

For Nature?

But is this explanation of Green origins the only one, or the definitive one? In my exploration of the assumptions that conflate environmentalism with Green politics, I came across another major explanatory strand of thinking on the origins of the Green political impulse. In this perspective primary attention is paid to the psycho-social dimension in the history of humanity, to the functioning of structures of dominance and subordination, oppression and exploitation. In this telling of history, ‘Culture' is opposed to ‘Nature', and Nature is invariably the loser. Some accounts (see, for example, Griffin, 1980; Gray, 1981) make explicit connections between forms of human exploitation/oppression and the exploitation of Nature generally.

The ‘Nature' perspective on Green politics has a much longer history and a far greater literature (both polemical and scholarly) than economic approaches.

For every Alain Lipietz (1995) wooing a nervous left-wing friend with accounts of why the Greens have a better analysis of the world's economic, social and environmental ills and better proposals for addressing them than socialist parties, there are dozens of appeals to a love of and concern for Nature as a (self-evident) basis for Green political action.

The most erudite scholarship and bewitching literary style has certainly, and no doubt fittingly, been brought to bear on the subject. From Thoreau's Walden (1854) to Annie Dillard's (1974) Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, through Gary Snyder's poetry and essays (1970, 1974, 1992, 1995), not to mention accounts of specific areas such as Barry Lopez (1986) on the Arctic, this is a literature where reading can give almost as much pleasure as being there, and probably a lot more insight. Academic approaches can even reach the same heights - between the pinnacles of Leo Marx (1964) and Simon Schama (1995) there is a wealth of other almost as well-written explanations and evocations of the landscape/culture connection, and what it means to live in, with and by ‘Nature'.6

The low threnody that one hears running through and behind this literature rises to a shrill pitch in the Nature polemicists. Taking as their text Thoreau's ‘In wildness is the preservation of the world', writer after writer (representative exemplars include Burton, 1990; Grumbine, 1995; McKibben, 1990; Shepard, 1992; Sessions, 1995 - most of the writers on this subject are male and North American or Australian) bemoans the moral, material and spiritual calamity of the destruction of Nature in general and Wilderness in particular. They also advocate the necessity of protecting ‘wild' places and ‘wild' creatures. A case has even been made (Hay and Haward, 1988) for the philosophy and practice of protecting wilderness as an historically anterior and philosophically superior basis for Green politics.

The idea that the protection of wild Nature is both the major cause and the major goal of Green politics is certainly plausible. Can we therefore stop reading here? Not yet, for there is still another literature - one which examines the Nature literature from a new critical perspective. Fortunately or unfortunately for the Nature writers, in the 1980s they received the attention of readers influenced by the deconstructionist approach of the intellectual trend of ‘post-structuralism' or ‘post-modernism'. In their rejection of the ‘Grand Narratives' of modernity, these theorists included a rejection of the posited antithesis of ‘innocent Nature' with ‘corrupt Civilisation'. They set out to demonstrate that ‘wilderness' is a construct of the very Western ‘civilisation' which was primarily responsible for destroying or damaging the species and lands on which the geography and ecology of wilderness is physically based. (The debates and their protagonists are covered in a variety of ways in Dansereau (1975), Evernden (1992), McLaughlin (1993), Oelschlaeger (1991), Plumwood (1993), Simmons (1993), Soper (1995), Worster (1979) and Young (1985), to name but a few of the excellent works which uncover the specific historical links between ‘Nature' thinking and practices.)

Nor was the ‘naturist' position seen as more fundamental or coherent philosophically, or more likely to lead to Green (or even environmental) politics than an ‘anti-naturist' one. ‘Nature' and ‘natural' have always been politically loaded terms, carrying a negative or positive change depending on who uses them. Jonathan Dollimore (1991, 3-18) documents the persistent efforts of the writer Gide to justify and promote the ‘naturalness' of homosexuality as part of his survival strategy as a writer and an individual. This was certainly more successful than Oscar Wilde's intellectual and personal refusal to accept any normalisation or naturalisation of his behaviour. Robert Pois (1986) discusses the way in which the Nazis used the concept of ‘natural' in order to justify a number of unpleasant activities. These included the extermination of ‘inferior' humans and the promulgation of rigid sex roles which kept ‘superior' women breeding more ‘superior' men to conquer more territory for the ‘superior' race to expand. Simon Schama (1995, 67-70) documents the tender protection which Hermann Göring bestowed on the primeval Polish forest of Bialowieza, where in the midst of war every natural leaf and animal was to be preserved - and every Jew who lived there to be destroyed. It is not difficult to show that ‘doing what comes naturally' is not as straightforward as it seems, and appeals to Nature are at least as often (probably more often) used to justify regimes of domination and scarcity as those of liberty and plenty.

Paradoxically, as Neil Levy (1998) points out through a comparison of the positions of the ‘naturist' philosopher Heidegger and the ‘anti-naturist' Foucault, a just and democratic environmental politics may well be more safely built on an ‘anti-naturist' foundation. This is the point Donna Haraway chooses to make in her ‘Cyborg Manifesto' (Haraway, 1991, 149-182). She urges the ‘grand narrative' politics of socialism and feminism (which she espouses) to loosen up a little and understand the positive political implications of embracing the ‘non-natural' in the form of the part-animal/part-machine identity of the cyborg, who will be the ‘normal' political actor of the twenty-first century. Moving from the philosophical to the practical, the desirability and possibilities of a technics of nature (specifically, sustainable forestry) based on a postmodernist re-conceptualisation of the scientific project are canvassed by Dean Walker (1996) in his study of New Zealand native beech forest management.

Finally, to complete the rout of Nature as a basis for politics, there has been a revolt of ‘the natives'. The ‘Noble Savages', whom the Romantic imagination fondly believed to dwell in rude simplicity and harmony in ‘the Wilderness', began to fight back in academic fora. The march of Western ‘civilisation' across the rest of the globe had largely dispossessed their ancestors from whatever simalcrums of Arcadia they had managed to occupy and/or create. They were deprived of the opportunities to make a ‘natural' living in ‘the wilderness' by. deforestation, other ecological damage, and the institutions of private property and markets in land. They were reduced to a precarious relationship with the labour market, and decimated by the ill health consequent on introduced diseases, poor diet, alcohol, and enforced overcrowding. To add further insult to injury they were even driven out of ‘the wilderness' in order to make it more ‘wild' (the fate of the Ahwahneechee Indians of Yosemite - see Schama, 1995, 186). Thus rendered into natural paupers, the only further thing the original inhabitants of the Americas and Australasia appeared to have to offer Western culture was a form of ‘nature spirituality' which placed great emphasis on conservation of resources and reverence for other species. But alas, even that has been exploited - to the point of trickery - by the politicking over Nature being fought out within Western paradigms. (For the sadly disillusioning tale of the manufacture of Chief Seattle's much-reprinted inspirational statement of a right relationship with nature see ‘The Gospel of Chief Seattle is a Hoax' by Hargrove (1989).

When ‘the natives' do get to speak for themselves, a key point they are insistent upon is that what Westernised people called wilderness, they called home. (‘Anyone who claims that land where Aboriginal people lived for thousands of years is ‘wilderness' ignores that behind each rock, each gully, each cave, each river lies a story, a legend. From those legends Aboriginal people were guided in their movement. How can you get lost in your own home?') (Mansell, 1990, 104) (See also the example given by McLaughlin, (1993, 10), regarding the inability of a contemporary Asian hunter-gatherer to translate - or even comprehend - the sentence ‘I am lost in the jungle.')

The primary political interest of indigenous peoples ever since their expropriation by wilderness-loving and wilderness-destroying Westerners has been getting back the title to their erstwhile homes. This has been a long project, with many and various tactics employed. In 1887 in New Zealand the leadership of the Ngati Tuwharetoa tribe even managed to parlay the nascent Western passion for ‘wilderness' into a way of protecting their ancestral mountains and securing tribal title to them. This was done by incorporating them into what became Tongariro National Park - the world's fourth national park (Harris, 1974). Other indigenous peoples - and other Maori tribes - have not fared so well. Hence we have the ‘nation within a nation' politics of indigenous peoples in Australasia and the Americas, as they struggle to right the severe environmental and other wrongs that have been and are being done to them (Johnston, 1994). A Green politics built upon the relationship of indigenous peoples to ‘Nature' is therefore not one that romanticises that relationship in the past, but rather one that seeks to rebuild it on the basis of secure title in the future.

In Australia this has been expressed in practice by unwavering support from
the Australian Greens for the provision and extension of Native Title legislation; in New Zealand by Green Party support for the land restitution processes of the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal.

Despite these reservations about wilderness discourse and practice, however, and the salutary corrections to colonialist assumptions from indigenous perspectives, plus all the debunking and deconstruction of simplistic notions of an a-historical, essential ‘Nature', writers like Bill McKibben (1990) in The end of nature still seem to have a valid point. Radical changes have taken place in the natural environment in the past two centuries, and the pace of change appears to be accelerating. Some of those changes are now either irreversible, or so difficult to turn around it may take generations of human lifetimes to do so. This must surely have a deep impact on human consciousness, and hence on politics?

I investigated this possibility with a case study entitled ‘Wildness in the West: has Nature become an Agent of History?' (Dann, 1996). I began by studying the major changes in the natural environment which have indeed taken place in the twentieth century. They include:

(1) the burden of nuclear radiation from weapon explosions and nuclear accidents, which causes genetic mutation and other damaging effects long after the original event;

(2) the destruction of natural habitat, the proliferation of environmental toxins, and the lack of proper protection which has led to an extinction rate for mammals, birds and flowering plants that is now more than 1000 times above the natural geological base rate - this means that as many as one third of the species of this planet will be extinct by the mid twenty-first century, and that vertebrate evolution may have already ended in North America;

(3) the impact of the accelerating production and application of ever greater numbers of synthetic chemicals in agriculture and manufacturing, which is known to be a major contributor to wildlife mortality and morbidity, and has recently been shown to affect humans in similar ways;

(4) the industrialisation of primary production, with first machinery, then chemicals, and finally biological technologies, such as genetic engineering, has in the words of Goodman, Sorj and Wilkinson (1987, 153) ‘eliminated land and nature'. Open air farms have been replaced by inhumane animal factories, with animals engineered to grow faster and give more of their ‘products'. Genetic engineering is at the service of transnational corporations, whose primary concern is profitability and who are not much interested in downstream environmental effects (Coghlan, 1998);

(5) the destruction of the ozone layer, and climate change associated with global warming, which both have major impacts on nature on earth, as species struggle and sometimes fail to adapt to altered conditions, and humans substitute dubious ‘cures' (sunscreen and insurance) for more-difficult-to-achieve preventative measures. We may also speculate on what impact an increase in the frequency and ferocity of hurricanes, to the scale of Hurricane Mitch, which devastated parts of Central America in 1998, will have on the global economy and on local politics.

From the evidence from all sides, then, there is no doubt that damage to the natural environment, both locally and globally, is so severe, and so widespread, that a Green politics based on redressing and preventing it, and it alone, makes perfect sense. Even if we have base ‘anthropocentric' motives (such as having healthy children, eating safe food, avoiding cancer, using ‘wilderness' for recreation, and saving on insurance premiums), we can see how taking an ‘ecocentric' approach to political programmes will help us achieve these goals, while providing positive spin-offs for other species as well.

But what is the motor force behind all the destruction? Simon Schama (1995) provides example after example of nature appreciation and protection or preservation going hand in hand with, and even being practised by, the very individuals and classes who were driving the economic expansionism and exploitation which was destroying the nature they purported to love. The American paper magnate Zenas Crane, for example, who in what Schama calls ‘the most remarkable case of unembarrassed cultural schizophrenia' (Schama, 1995, 207) actually commissioned a superb painted elegy to the giant redwoods to grace his walls - trees which in the business context were just so much proto-pulp. First aristocrats, and then industrialists and merchants (and as we have seen, even Nazis) preserved the great forests of Europe, with ‘the poor' cast in the villain role of ‘destroying the environment' in their need to personally cut down trees and kill animals for fuel, housing, food and clothing.

The same arguments regarding the greater environmental destructiveness of the poor are tediously advanced today. They are generally presented in the benevolent guise of accelerating the ‘development' of the Third World so that the people there will spend less time scratching a living directly from the land. They will then presumably pass their days like their Western counterparts, ‘sustainably' in air-conditioned offices, perhaps trading in ‘futures' in the commodities of world commerce such as oil, minerals, grain, etc. Which could once again be produced (to the detriment of the local environment) in the erstwhile First World countries?

It is in exploring this ridiculous false contradiction between the supposedly wilful desire of the majority to make a living, at whatever cost to the environment, and the seemingly benevolent inclination of the few to get rich, in order to better appreciate Nature, that we reach the limits of finding the roots of Green politics in attitudes and practices towards Nature. Nature is not an independent variable; it is a highly dependent and contested battleground. Green parties can not derive their politics and policies from a ‘Nature' which is in itself a politically charged concept, not an eternal verity.

I therefore concluded my investigation into Nature politics with the view that there was no getting away from human agency. Rather than projecting our good and bad sides on to ‘Nature', and thence into politics, and seeking to derive explanations for political behaviours at a remove, it was more useful to focus on historically specific trends and events. In particular, it is important to examine the global expansion of capitalism, for better explanations as to why and how the environment is being damaged on an historically unprecedented scale and at an equally unprecedented rate, and how this is connected with social and political change. This required a proper theorisation of world political phenomena, to which I now turn.

The historical structure of world politics

Green politics, like its internationalist nineteenth century predecessors socialist politics and feminist politics, is a world historical phenomenon. It first manifested itself in party form in Australasia in 1972, but within twenty years it was observable right around the globe, with Green parties appearing in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. By the late 1990s, these Green parties were linked via the Internet, were holding regional and international congresses, and were undertaking joint regional and global initiatives on issues of mutual concern, such as nuclear testing and nuclear waste disposal.

The vast majority of previous accounts of Green party politics have concentrated on it as a national or at most as a regional phenomenon. The most extensive literature is on the Green parties of Western Europe. This includes works which focus on one country alone, especially Germany, but the other countries of Western Europe are also considered separately, or are compared with the German scene.7

One work (Parkin, 1989) covers all of the then existing Green parties in the world, giving a brief description of the history, structure and achievements of each one, but it is now well out of date, and does not attempt an analysis of Green politics as a global phenomenon. Two works which use the German Greens as the main object of study (Markovits and Gorski, 1993; Spretnak and Capra, 1984) also contain attempts to assess the wider international significance of Green politics. However, they are both flawed by the author's biases towards explaining certain features at the expense of others. In Markovits and Gorski's case the over-emphasis is on the ‘leftism' of the German Greens, while Spretnak and Capra claim a universality for the ‘spiritual' dimension of Green politics, which they emphasise heavily. Neither work considers Die Grünen as an exemplar of the global political trends that have brought forth Green parties on all continents. Stephen Rainbow's thesis (1991) gives an account of Green politics in New Zealand (principally the Values Party) which is contrasted with Scandinavian Green party politics, but again Rainbow does not analyse Green politics as a global phenomenon, but concentrates on criticising its shortcomings, both theoretically and in specific nation-state contexts.

The study of Green party politics to date, therefore, has been largely confined within the conventional boundaries and concepts of the discipline of political science, where the nation-state is taken as the prime organising structure for politics, and parties are studied chiefly as actors within that structure. International comparisons are precisely that - inter-national - and give primacy to nation-state level structures. This state-centred approach to political analysis is now being contested by some political scientists (see for example, Magnusson, 1996), and it has always had limited utility to those wishing to analyse the other levels and dimensions of the exercise of power. While national and regional level accounts of Green party politics are both necessary and useful, even if they are all added together they fail to address the driving forces behind Green politics as a global phenomenon. They are a collection of trees that obscure one's view of the wood. They can not answer basic questions about Green politics as a global and historical phenomenon, including the questions which I began this study by asking.

A different theoretical approach to understanding global political phenomena is therefore required. There is already an existing and highly developed literature on world or global political activities which falls under the general rubric of ‘International Relations'. As it deals principally with the interactions between nation-states and their governmental representatives and military forces, it is of little theoretical or practical use for examining Green politics as a global activity conducted largely by non-governmental actors. In the preface to her book

The Retreat of the State The Diffusion of Power in the World Economy Susan Strange (1996) discusses what the state-centred approach leaves out, and why the discipline of international relations is inadequate to the task of analysing and comprehending the multiplicity of forces at work in global politics today.

The study of non-governmental global political actors is just one important facet of world politics that is conducted outside the international relations theoretical framework, mainly by sociologists, geographers, historians and political economists. They have developed alternatives to the international relations approach, as it is summarised here by Barry Gills and Ronen Palan

‘ Formerly, the dominant theories of state transformation took each state to be an ontologically distinct and organic entity. The preponderance of theoretical work during the post-war period was unilinear and evolutionary, privileging endogenous factors of change over exogenous or "external", "international" stimuli of transformation.' (Gills and Palan, 1994, 3)

Contrasting this with the structuralist approach represented by dependency theory (whose major theorist is André Gunder Frank), and world-systems theory (whose major theorist is Immanuel Wallerstein), Gills and Palan claim that while the shift to understanding that there are global as well as national forces was welcome, there was a tendency to ‘over-correct'. This occurred by focussing ‘...too intently on the governing processes on a world scale without always sufficiently problematizing the domestic level of response and transformation.' (Gills and Palan, 1994, 3).

In describing a neostructuralist approach, Gills and Palan advocate putting the transformative processes themselves at the centre of analysis (Gills and Palan, 1994, 3), rather than merely the relations between the governments of states. Neostructuralism is an attempt to provide a more rigorous and useful theoretical base for the analysis of global politics. Like dependency theory and world-systems analysis, it is more of an approach than a definitive method. The key features that distinguish structuralist approaches from the international relations approach relate to the way in which the historical, economic and social dimensions of global activity are integrated with the formal political realm. Specifically, there is a different conceptualisation of political space and time, of political actors and agents, and of political economy, and there is a much greater emphasis on the politically transformative role of science and technology. The main differences are set out briefly below.

Political space and time

Political space (i.e. the boundaries of nation or other states, and of regional blocs) is considered within the framework of political time (i.e. the historical economic, political and social factors which have led to these spatial political phenomena). Political spaces are essentially transitory and contestable, and should not be used as the base unit of analysis for understanding global processes. (For an outline of this conceptualisation of political time/space see Wallerstein, 1991)8

Political actors and agents

If the geographically-based state is not the base unit of global political analysis, then it follows that such analysis is not confined to state-based actors and agents, and can and should include actors and organisations within what is quaintly but perhaps inadequately named ‘civil society'. Indeed, neostructuralist approaches are frequently more interested in the actions of these individuals and organisations as agents of global historical change, since they are arguably more significant than the majority of nation-state actors. Studies of such agents range from those of powerful transnational corporations, some of which are larger and wealthier than many nation states (see, for example, Barnet and Cavanagh, 1994; Korten, 1996), through to citizen-based environmental and anti-nuclear global movements (see, for example, Falk, 1982; McCormick. 1989; Wapner, 1996)

Political economy

Neostructuralist approaches to world politics are not necessarily (or even usually) economic determinist approaches, but they sometimes attract this criticism from the international relations camp because of the greater emphasis given to the effects of changes in economic theory and practice on global politics. Political space and time, and political actors and agents, are certainly heavily influenced, even if not completely determined, by economic factors. It would be impossible to understand where many of the nation- states existing in the world today came from, for example, without reference to the phenomenon of European economic expansionism, and associated colonisation and de-colonisation. Nation-states were and are economic actors in their own right, and move politically to gain economic advantage. However, they are not the only economic/political actors on the global stage, and a neostructuralist approach seeks to encompass the political effects of all economic activities.

Political sciences

Weaving through the historical, economic and social strands in neostructuralist approaches to world politics is a strong consideration of the role of science and technology, harnessed to economic and political ends, in determining political outcomes. Again, the approach seeks to avoid determinism while still giving proper weight to the way in which new scientific technologies open up new global political possibilities, from nuclear holocaust through to cloning humans and animals to fulfil certain roles. Global politics in itself effectively began with modern transport and communications technologies, and every change in those technologies, from the steam train to Concorde, from the telegraph to the Internet, has had the effect of ‘shrinking' the globe as a political space (Leyshon, 1995). Some theorists make explicit links between the dominant technological mode and the dominant political mode - an example being Donna Haraway's quasi-mathematical statement of proportion on the shift from nuclear to gene technology with its associated political shifts:

(Haraway, 1997, 52).

Manuel Castells (1997, 123) sees in the ambiguous and deep connection of science and technology with Green politics the opportunity to develop a true science of life rather than life under science.

Technology is certainly not politically neutral in the global context, and when considering the global role of Green politics, in particular, it must be given greater consideration than it would receive using an international relations approach.

Without committing itself to any particular (neo)structuralist approach, therefore, this study of Green politics in its global context definitely draws on the strengths of developing more sophisticated concepts of the matrix of influential global political factors, and of focussing on transformative processes rather than on discrete entities. It seeks to understand Green politics as a global political phenomenon that both acts and is acted upon by world historical social, economic and technological changes.

Subsidiary explanationsAlthough it is in my view necessary to go beyond current ways of theorising politics in order to understand the Green phenomenon, it is still necessary to look at what existing approaches have contributed to our knowledge of the subject, before attempting to extend that knowledge. The literatures on the industrialisation of primary production, on Nature and wilderness, on economic globalisation, on the rise and decline of social democracy, on new social movements and on contemporary Green parties do not exhaust all the possible sources of causation theories for Green politics. After deliberately leaving aside the possibly influential role of the new communications technologies, and the changes that are occurring in the concept and function of the nation state in a globalised world, there are at least two other major avenues that have to be explored for possible explanatory value.

The first of these is the thesis first promoted by Ronald Inglehart (1977), that voting publics in Western democracies were showing signs of a ‘value shift', from ‘materialist' to post-materialist' reasons for voting. Considerable further work has been done on Inglehart's hypothesis, both to extend and follow up on his particular surveys. Such studies include Dunlap and Van Liere (1978); Flanagan and Inglehart (1987); Inglehart (1981, 1990); Knutsen (1990); Kreuzer (1990) Milbrath (1984) and Van Liere and Dunlap (1980). Further investigations and analysis of election results in specific countries within a ‘post-materialist' framework has also been done. Australasian examples of such work include Bean et al (1990); Vowles (1991, 1993) and Vowles and Aimer (1993). Does this point us to the true origins of Green politics?

Fortunately an extensive investigation of the connection between ‘post-materialism' as an electoral hypothesis and the actual theories and practices of Green politics has already been done. Tim Tenbensel (1994, 1995) has explored the content and boundaries of the ‘value change' approach and concluded that it is of limited explanatory and predictive value in understanding Green politics as a global (or even a national) political phenomenon. He found it impossible to pin down a set of consistently related ‘values' and policy orientations even for bona fide Greens, let alone for a wider voting public. He further noted that while it may be highly significant to show that Green voters and supporters tend to come from the ‘new' middle classes, this is not because all or even most members of these classes exhibit ‘post-materialist' or ‘Green' values. In fact an equally significant grouping of them are supporters of economic rationalist policies, and other ‘values' which are antithetical to ‘Green' values. In brief, he concluded that this approach was a dead end when it comes to understanding where Green politics is coming from, let alone where it is going. Nevertheless, it continues to be used by political scientists interested in voting behaviour, and in the course of the surveys they conduct there are occasional valuable snippets of information about Green politics. (Any such information relevant to this study can be found in Chapters Five and Six.)

If the quantitative survey approach to uncovering the origins of Green politics is unhelpful, is the qualitative assessment of ideas more useful? While many people have advanced ‘Green' theories about how the world works, and how it needs to change, most of them have been at the level of polemic and pop philosophy - engaging and even inspirational though some of them may be. Good examples of the genre include Bahro (1984); Brown (1990); Capra (1985); Kelly (1984); Porritt and Winner (1988) and Tokar (1987).

A few theorists have gone more deeply into ‘ecopolitics', and Robyn Eckersley (1992) has made a critical examination of their contribution to environmentalism as a political theory. She assesses the work of political/environmental theorists coming from a leftist position, such as André Gorz, Jürgen Habermas, Murray Bookchin and Herbert Marcuse, and compares it with the work of theorists claiming to be ‘ecocentric' rather than ‘anthropocentric' in their approach , such asWarwick Fox and various ecofeminists, and finds the leftists lacking from an ecocentric perspective. However the ecocentrics are vulnerable to the criticism that they neglect or fudge equally important Green political principles, and especially the principle of democratic decision-making - a criticism elaborated by Albert Weale (1993) in his review of Eckersley.

The subject of the connection between democracy and other Green political ideals is such a critical one that Green theorists are now developing critiques and new formulations on the matter. Examples can be found in the volume edited by Brian Doherty and Marius de Geus (1996), to which Eckersley contributes a chapter on Greening liberal democracy. The debate around this issue as conducted by its activist protagonists is further canvassed in Chapter Four - it is sufficiently divisive and unresolved to show that Green politics is not simply based on being more rather than less ecocentric in orientation. Nor, indeed, on any one particular philosophical or theoretical underpinning, as the diversity of approaches taken in the volume Ecopolitical theory: essays from Australia (Hay and Eckersley, 1992) underscores. This is developed further by Andrew McLaughlin (1993) in his discussion of anthropocentrism and deep ecology. Work on and by green theorists is helpful for assessing which strands of green thinking do (or do not) contribute to Green party programmes. But there is no way in which Green politics as it was and is actually practised can be ‘read off' from any particular theorist or group of theorists.

The deep roots of Green politicsIf global Green party politics is not a direct result of the pollution and degradation of the physical environment, the destruction of ‘Nature', a shift in voter preferences, or an over-arching political theory - how much deeper do we have to dig to find the true roots? I now had four absolutely basic questions to address:

(1) What was causing the global environmental and social degradation and destruction that Greens were reacting to in their distinctive fashion, and when did it start operating?
(2) Why were no other party political tendencies coming up with a ‘Green' response?
(3) Who (which individuals and groups) actually created Green politics, and who were their direct political antecedents?
(4) What were the connections between the locally specific creation of the first Green parties and the global factors that give rise to Green politics?

As I had discovered via the case studies and literature reviews outlined above, there was no literature that directly addressed these questions, let alone answered them in ways that I thought were satisfactory. With the honourable exception of Alain Lipietz (1988, 1992, 1995), and the India-based analysis of Bandyopadhyay and Shiva (1989), very little writing on Green politics, by Greens or others, pays much attention to the global economic framework within which nation-state and international politics has been conducted in the late twentieth century. Indeed, the overwhelming impression one gains from an overview of the literature on Green politics, as it has been developed by both Greens and academics, is of an endless debate around ecology and ethics, with remarkably little attention paid to the power of economic forces to direct and shape that debate.

This is not to say that Greens are not interested in or do not write about economics, because there is a considerable literature in which Greens and their sympathisers construct critiques of neo-classical and ‘free' market economics and posit alternatives. (Examples include Eckersley, 1994; Ekins and Max-Neef, 1992; Henderson, 1988; Kemball-Cook et al, 1991; Lutz and Lux, 1988; Rosewarne, 1994; Seabrook, 1990). Greens have also developed new forms of micro-economics (Douthwaite, 1996; Meeker-Lowry, 1988; Partridge, 1987). They have also attempted to develop economic and commercial theories and practices based on the physical realities of energy and ecosystems (Costanza, 1991; Daly, 1977, 1980; Ekins, 1986; Group of Green Economists, 1992; Hawken, 1994; Jacobs, 1991; Peet, 1992; Perrings, 1987).

But there is a gap when it comes to putting politics and economics together, so that much of the writing comes across as hopelessly idealistic, with optimum political scenarios developed without reference to the (existing and potential) economic constraints on achieving them. Conversely, exciting economic alternatives are proposed within a political vacuum. While in this work I am not attempting to write a full-blown political economy of the Green phenomenon, I do make a start on rectifying the huge lacuna in the literature by focussing on both the economic and political dimensions in tandem, and on the play of power between them.

The second area of omission that I address is the remarkable change in left politics that took place in the 1980s, especially with regard to parliamentary leftism. There is one comparative study (Castles et al, 1997) of the changes that took place under the Australian and New Zealand labour party governments of the 1980s, and one international study (Piven, 1992) that looks at the decline in social democrat/labour parties as an artefact of ‘post-industrialism'. However, there are no studies that look at what was happening to social democrat/labour politics on a world scale as a result of globalisation. As I shall document, the changes that took place in the global economy were both part of and more than changes in the industrial mode of production which provided a basis for mass labour politics (Hobsbawm, 1989).

The political changes involved governing parties in the First World democracies, no matter what their ostensible label and orientation, actively imposing ‘structural reform' on their nation-state economies and societies. While all governing parties were prepared to implement these reforms, it is of more interest that social democrat/labour parties were and are prepared to do so. This was in direct contradiction to their previous political strategy of building up and controlling the economy of the nation-state in order to meet the needs of their working class constituency. I could find no analytical studies of why and how this change occurred, yet it seemed to me to be a vital part of the explanation of why and how Green politics came to find a place on the parliamentary political spectrum. Therefore this was another major omission that had to be addressed.

With regard to who created Green politics, and who their political ancestors were, there is a lot more published research available, especially on the New Left and the new social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The books and other material consulted for this work include Anderson (1995), Astin et al (1975), Borkin and Rosenstone (1972), Breines (1989), Campbell (1991), Considine (1992), Frankel (1993), Fraser et al (1988), Gitlin, 1980, 1987), Gombin (1975), Goodman (1970), Gordon (1970), Jamison and Eyerman (1994), Jacobs and Landau (1967), Jennett and Stewart (1989), Lyman (1995), Offe (1985), Pakulski (1990), Piven and Cloward (1977), Scott (1990), Teodori (1970), Touraine (1981) and Whalen and Flacks (1989). However, none of these studies start from the personnel and platforms of particular, historically and geographically specific Green parties, and works backwards to uncover the connections. Carl Boggs (1986a) George Katsiaficas (1987), however, go further than most in developing where the linkages lie, and I make extensive use of their work in Chapter Four. The ‘New Left to Greens connection' is therefore another gap in the historical record that I close in this work, with the first two Green parties providing good sources of genealogical information.

Finally, one uncovers many, many passing references to Green politics being global,
and hence one concludes that this must be an important feature of Green politics - but to date there has been no analysis of what this really means. This is probably due to the lack of attention paid to the motor of globalisation - economic forces. However, it also encompasses the lack of attention paid to the whys and wherefores of Green politics being embedded in certain key artefacts of globalisation, such as the global electronic media and the Internet. This is the fourth under-researched and under-analysed element of Green politics that I start to examine in this work, although I am unable to study it exhaustively.

My approach to these elements, the concerns I try to address, and the way I structure this work accordingly, are outlined below.


It is necessary to take a much closer look at the world economic system, with a view to discovering the ways in which first the internationalisation of economic activity, and latterly the transnationalisation (or globalisation) of such activity has created unprecedented environmental and social effects. These effects are of concern to Greens, and are contested by them.

Therefore in Chapter Two I examine the phenomenon of economic globalisation and its impacts on politics. Some of these are brutally direct, such as the destabilisation of the national control of economies, and hence the partial disenfranchisement and increasing redundancy of citizens (at best) and armed conflict over resources (at worst). Some are less direct, but arguably no less brutal, such as the unprecedented effects which globalising economic activity has had on the natural environment. These include climate change, ozone depletion, global deforestation and accelerating species extinction. On human society the impacts include the widening gap between rich and poor (observable at both the national and the global level) and the severe increase in financial indebtedness at the personal and the national level.

Of major economic and geographical, as well as social impact, are the extensive translocations of economic migrants and refugees from state to state and continent to continent and the consequent social impacts on the ‘host' countries and ‘guest' workers alike. For the first time in history the entire world has come to be dominated by one economic system, with massive and comparable social, political and environmental outcomes which cross nation-state boundaries. As a result, the physical environment and its ‘resources' have become a prime site of global political contestation. It is not possible to understand the political parties which embody a response to the new politics of the environment and society without understanding the underlying forces of economic globalisation which brought the new environmental and social problems into being.

In Chapter Two I give a brief summary of those forces, including their historical development and their geographical reach. I also examine the seeming paradox that Green parties first appeared before the worst negative effects of globalisation became apparent. In fact they and their New Left and new social movement precursors appeared at a time when the world economy was booming, and young people, in the First World at least, had ‘never had it so good'. And yet in the midst of this time of economic ‘progress' and general prosperity there was a world wide ‘revolution' (the protests, strikes and riots of 1968, which occurred right around the world), which was based on the seeds of the Green critique. Why and how this was so is also given further consideration in Chapter Four. The decline of social democracy

A thorough examination of what happened to the parliamentary party politics that arose from and contested some of the harsher features of the first phase of creating an international economy is also necessary. This politics was known generically as ‘social democracy', and parties within this tendency called themselves social democrat or labour parties. These parties were strongly nationalist in their approach to economic management, and the goal of their economic policies was to improve the standard of living of the majority of the citizens in the nation-states of which they were sometimes the government..

I use the past tense in describing these parties, as although parties with these names still exist, and indeed are currently in government in some states, they no longer espouse or practise nationalist economics as a means of improving the lot of citizens. Instead they put their faith in greater participation in the global economy as the route to general national prosperity. This makes their economic policies almost indistinguishable from those of the ‘liberal' or ‘conservative' political parties with whom they share parliamentary power.

This obviously has significant implications for parties which do take a different approach to globalisation, and in Chapter Three I take up the task of contextualising the internationalist and globalist political party scene, within which Green parties locate themselves. Curiously, there are no substantial nationally-based accounts of how Green parties relate to their closest rival and closest ally in the party political spectrum, the social democrat/labour parties, let alone any consideration of social democracy as an internationalist phenomenon, and its relation to Green politics.

This is despite the fact that West European Green parties have shown an overwhelming preference for forming coalitions with social democrat and other ‘left' parties, rather than with conservative and other ‘right' parties. (I use quote marks for the terms ‘left' and ‘right', as their meaning is not as clear cut as it once was. This is explored in Chapter Three with reference to what happened to social democrat/labour parties, and in Chapter Seven with regard to the first two Green parties.)

As well as the evidence from actual coalition formation in Europe there is supporting evidence from voter and party member studies in Australia and New Zealand (Bean et al, 1990; Dann, 1995b; Mackwell, 1977; Miller, 1991; Vowles and Aimer, 1993). This shows quite clearly that Green voters have generally been more likely to give their second preference to Labour than any other party (in Australia), or to vote Labour in the absence of any (or any viable) Green candidate (in New Zealand). Within global party politics, therefore, Green parties and their members are associated more closely with ‘left' parties.

In Chapter Three I therefore provide a brief comparative history of the rise and decline of social democrat/labour politics, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century, and show how a politics founded on (inter)nationalism comes to founder on globalism. It is in their rejection of their formerly successful nationalist methods of achieving socialist economic goals, and their failure to adapt globalist means to socialist ends, that social democrat/labour parties have ceased to be parties of the left in all but a rump of sentiment. In so doing they have created a space in the political spectrum for a Green critique of and opposition to capitalist globalisation.

Understanding why and how this came about is important to understanding the political legacy bequeathed to The Greens from the Left, and what room it gives or takes for their political manoeuvring. New social movements and new politics

Political parties are social institutions. While this may appear to be such a self-evident statement that it is not worth making, in fact in my study of Green politics I have been surprised at how feeble a grasp some commentators appear to have of this basic fact. While Green politics has its fair share of charismatic individuals and daring theorists, these do not, of themselves, a political party make. A successful party politics depends upon literally thousands of unnamed, unsung, ‘ordinary' individuals co-operating to play out prescribed social roles within the party framework, (such as candidate, spokesperson, chairperson, secretary, organiser, publicist, campaign manager, fundraiser, etc.). So many people making such a commitment to what is usually unpaid work do not suddenly spring from nowhere.

By the time a politics takes party form it has been through considerable trials and refinements in other social groups.

There has been little attention paid to exactly which social groups gave rise to the Greens, and in what order, and what this means in terms of the political theories and practices adopted by Green parties. Therefore I undertake a detailed examination of the principal political ancestors of Green politics outside the parliamentary arena - the New Left and the new social movements, which fed directly and rapidly into Green parties, but only slowly and incompletely into other parties. Chapter Four consists of an historical investigation into the global development of each of the major new social/political movements that have influenced Green politics. Special attention is paid to the global environmental movement, although this was actually the last of the major new social movements to develop historically, and has contributed the least to the political structure and processes of Green parties, although it has made a major contribution to their political content.Green parties

The influence of the new social movements in the formation of the first two Green parties is clearly discernible in Tasmania and New Zealand. In inspiration, rhetoric and practice these parties both were, and were conscious of being, part of a movement that was global in its range and impact.

Therefore in shifting the focus of the work from the global and general to the local and specific in Chapter Five I pay particular attention to the ways in which global economic, political and social trends were highly significant within the local context of the ‘settler colonies' of Australia and New Zealand. The labour parties in New Zealand and Tasmania were resistant to the ‘new politics' and they supported the industrialisation of the local economy and the pursuit of consumer-led economic growth as keenly as parties to the right. New social movements of all kinds were highly active at this time in Australasia, and provided a seedbed of ideas and personnel for the new Green parties, which were open from the beginning to influencing and being influenced by global trends and changes.

Chapter Six covers the small amount that is known about the group characteristics of the first Green party members that has a bearing on their ability to create a globally-oriented form of politics. Chapter Seven focuses on what differentiates Green parties from both the social movements that fed in to them, and from other ‘left' or ‘progressive' political parties, within the global framework. Following on from the history of ‘new politics' ideas and practice given in Chapter Four, it looks specifically at what differentiates Green party policies from all other party policies, including policies on the environment. This is Green economics, and Chapter Seven discusses the way in which the Values Party developed the world's first recognisably Green economic policies. Since what happened to the definition of Left and Right is one of the key questions of global political theory at present, and since the Greens are deeply implicated in the process of re-definition, it also covers the debates that the first Greens themselves had on the subject.

The future will be Green - or not at all?One of the major criticisms levelled at Green politics - with some justification - is that it lurches between gloom-mongering and doom-saying to idealist Utopianism. Greens can be likened to the White Queen in Through the Looking Glass, reminding Alice that ‘The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday - but never jam today.' (Carroll, 1910, 94). All too often Green tracts read as whinging about how bad society and the environment are today - tiresome even though it may be true. They then make a sudden leap into a glorious future where the lion of industrialism will lie down with the lamb of nature, and all will be well within and between the peaceable federations of independent and co-operative bio-regional communities.

While it is easy to satirise Green visions and methods, the persistence of Green politics for over a quarter of a century shows that the Greens, at least, take themselves and their cause seriously. They also intend to continue to play a part in trying to influence national and international thinking and practice in a Green direction. My subsidiary purpose in investigating the global origins of Green politics, once a fuller and more accurate account had been established, was to see what this account might have to suggest to us about where Green politics might be going.

To know where one is going, it helps to know where one has been, and what baggage one is carrying along the way. Of course not only Green parties are moving on the world stage, and so in considering where Green politics is going it is necessary to look at what is happening in the global economy, and within party politics and social movements as well.

Therefore I conclude with a chapter which considers both the internal and external challenges facing Green parties in the twenty-first century, and the likelihood that they will be able to rise to meet them, given both their past history, and the circumstances in which they find themselves.


1. The full poem reads

Auf Erdballs letztem Inselriff
Begreif' ich, was ich nie begriff.
Ich sehe und ich überseh'
Des Lebens wechselvolle See.
Ob mich auch Frohsinn lange mied,
Einschläft das Weh, das Leid wird Lied.
Bin ich noch ich? Ich traue kaum
Dem Spiegel, alles wird mir Traum.
Traumlächeln lindert meinen Gram,
Traumträne von der Wimper kam.
Traumspeise wird mir aufgetischt,
Traumwandernden Traum-Grün erfrischt,
Hab auf Traumhellen einzig Acht.
So ward der Tag ganz Traumesnacht,
Und wer mir Liebeszeichen gibt,
Der fühle sich, wisse sich traumgeliebt!

The poem and a brief account of Wolfskehl's New Zealand exile (in German) can be found in John Asher (1956) Des Erdballs letztes Inselriff, Deutsche erleben Neuseeland, München: Max Hueber.

2. The works or part-works about the German Greens, originally in English, or in translation, include Frankland and Schoonmaker (1992) Hülsberg (1988), Kolinsky (1989), Langguth (1986), Markovits and Gorski (1993), Müller-Rommel (1989), Papadakis (1984), Poguntke (1993), Sarkar (1994), Spretnak and Capra (1984), while there are also numerous journal articles, and chapters in collections on Green politics, for example Frankland (1995), Poguntke (1992), Pridham (1978) and Wiesenthal and Ferris (1993).

3. The formation of Die Grünen was recorded in the Values Party's monthly newspaper, Vibes (then in its fifth year of publication) early in 1980. John Horrocks wrote:

‘ The German "Greens" have now formed a nation-wide political party. Over 1000 delegates met at Karlsruhe in January to formally establish the Green Party...As in Values, the members of the new movement are drawn from very diverse backgrounds and include dissatisfied liberals, communists, opponents of nuclear power and other environmentalists. A commentator in the Badische Zeitung saw this diversity as a potential source of strength and suggested that the Greens could become a gathering point for the "undogmatic Left" as well as offering an acceptable alternative to the middle class voter who is dissatisfied with traditional parties.

The experience of Values is that this type of grouping is difficult to sustain. The Greens seem, however, to have emerged as the overseas party nearest in character to Values and, if successful, could be a useful model. Most other parties with an ecological bent, such as Britain's Ecology Party...and Australia's New Democrats lack the left-wing thrust of the Greens...their openness to the Left gives a promise that the Greens may become more than just a coalition of protest groups.'(Horrocks, 1980, 2).

4. For full references see Bunyard and Morgan-Grenville (eds) (1987), Davis and Hodge (1991), Elkington and Hailes (1989), Gell and Beeby (1989), Irvine and Ponton (1988), Lord (1989), Parkin (1989), Pietroni (1991), Smith (1991).

5. Most poignant of all, even the ‘progressive' politicians of nineteenth century New Zealand were deeply implicated in the destruction of indigenous ecosystems and their replacement by ersatz European replicas. For example William Pember Reeves, a Liberal politician, friend of labour, and a feminist, sentimentalised and romanticised the replacement ‘old New Zealand' with ‘little England' in verses like ‘A Colonist in his Garden' (1895) and ‘The Passing of the Forest' (1898) (Temple, 1998, 97, 84).
6. Good examples of the genre include Bunce (1995), Halpern (1995), Huth (1972), Nash (1967), Oelschlager (1992), Powell (1977), Runte (1979), Schmitt (1969) and Wilson (1992).

7. Works, part-works and articles about non-German Green parties (and/or comparisons with the German Greens) include Bomberg (1998), Bridgeford (1978), Bennahmias and Roche (1992), Buerklin (1987), Church (1992), Doherty (1992), Eckersley (1992b), Evans (1993), Frankland (1990), Kemp and Walls (1990), Kitschelt (1989), Kitschelt and Hellemans (1990), Kvistad (1987), Maier (1990), Parkin (1989), Porritt and Winner (1988), Prendiville and Chafer (1990), Richardson and Rootes (1995), Rootes (1995), McCulloch (1992), Müller-Rommell (1989, 1995), Pybus and Flanagan (1990), Rüdig et (1991), and Rüdig and Lowe (1986).

8. Wallerstein (1991) builds on the classifications of historical time first postulated by French historian Fernand Braudel, to develop the ideas of ‘phasic' time and ‘ideological' space. L'histoire conjuncturelle or ‘middle term' history is the history of cycles or phases within ‘structural' time. Wallerstein has written a history of the development of world capitalism from its origins in the sixteenth century to the twentieth century, (Wallerstein, 1974, 1980) and identified the ‘conjuctural' shifts that have taken place within this longue durée. One of these is undoubtedly the shift that occurred in the 1970s, which is discussed within the overall context of the history of the twentieth century by Hobsbawm (1994).

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