Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Watermelon Environmentalists get a new recruit

My friends, remember those Watermelon environmentalists - green on the surface but red when you delve deeper? You know, the one's wanting to use green politics as a means to a socialist end? Well they've a new recruit.

Beatrix Campbell, the journalist, author, broadcaster, campaigner and playwright, now has a new title to add to her list of achievements - the Green Party's prospective parliamentary candidate for Hampstead & Kilburn.

So what has her journey been, the route she travelled to reach her Green destination? In her own words ("Why I turned from red to Green", The Guardian, Wednesday 18th November 2009):

The communist states of the 20th century did for socialism. I was a dynastic communist – my parents were British Bolsheviks, they were good citizens, and became better when Khrushchev gave permission to criticise Stalinism. All that crashed with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. They could not relinquish the Soviet Union, and thereafter our family rows were on the terrain of Russia. The worst insult my father could hurl was: "You're just a social democrat!"

I remained a communist until 1989, when it was all over. I was part of the anti-Stalinist, Euro-communist wing. We were clever, caused trouble, caught the imagination, but we lost. Or maybe we failed.

But it was feminism that clarified the unsustainability of state communism. Macho, manic productionism relies on force, it valorises conquest of nature and other humans. It marginalises the means of reproduction – how societies sustain themselves, breathe, give birth, grow and rest, clean up; how people take care, give pleasure and co-operate. Barbara Taylor's revelatory book, Eve and the New Jerusalem, published on the crest of women's liberation, told the story of industrialisation and socialist politics, utopianism and the co-operative movement. And it tells the story of these radical movements' defeat – by working men organised in their own interests as men.

The sexism – and destructiveness – of modernity was not evolutionary, it was a bitter political struggle. The outcome: men's movements masquerading as egalitarian and socialist.

Green ideology represents the reconciliation of production and reproduction – that is what yields sustainability.

So in fact there's been no journey, it's merely that Green politics offer her the same way to achieve what she always wanted to achieve via her "dynastic communism".

Well, at least she's honest about it.


  1. With the greatest possible respect, Orator,

    I would rather be the same colour as a watermelon than the same colour as a baboon's bottom.

    best wishes


  2. The interesting thing with this move, is that someone can become a Green Party candidate without jettisoning her ideological baggage as a "dynastic communist". I can't think of another political party (RESPECT Unity Coalition accepted, though they aren't a real party) which could accomodate that. I wonder why...