“Richard Di Natale, I am a member of Left Renewal and I hope you can hear this because the Greens are my party too,” a woman said to great applause at a meeting of Left Renewal (LR) on January 25.
More than 100 people, including from Newcastle and Wollongong, came to the first public meeting of LR, an anti-capitalist grouping within The Greens, to hear about its aims and objectives.
Three LR representatives spoke about why they had helped form the socialist tendency announced last December, its politics and how they were proposing to organise. This was followed by questions and comments from the floor.
LR has come under fire from former Greens leaders Bob Brown and Christine Milne, and current leader Richard di Natale.
Brown, on January 27, repeated his call for LR members to be proscribed. The three senior Greens insist that the Greens are not anti-capitalist and that the politics of LR are inimical to The Greens.
LR describes itself as “a socialist tendency comprised of rank and file members of the NSW Greens”. Its positions are closer to the NSW Greens of the early 1990s, which formed around the four principles of the German Greens — ecological sustainability, grassroots democracy, social justice and equality and non-violence.
LR’s Chris Andrew said those four pillars “are fundamentally counterposed to capitalism” and he outlined the multi-tendency history of the early Greens.
He called for a united front against the undeclared right-wing of the Greens Party saying as they are organising, so too must the left.
Dylan Griffiths asked why when the socialism popularised by US Democrat Bernie Sanders and British Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn had engaged so many people, especially young ones, the Greens here want to shift to “an ideology free” centre.
He said that LR would abide by the party’s democratic structures and rules governing various elected bodies.
Holly Brooke said The Greens were at a point where it needed to make a decision about whether the party was primarily about getting more parliamentary seats or wanted to build the movements for long-lasting change.
“It is necessary for a Greens project which is principled and engages in social movements. Parliamentary success is a means, not an end”, the LR charter said.
NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon and NSW MLCs Mehreen Faruqi and David Shoebridge have publicly defended LR.