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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Greens weaken their Anti-war Stance over Obama By Tim Anderson

The same weekend that Tasmanian Labor Premier David Bartlett congratulated the Tasmanian Greens on their ‘slick’ electoral campaign - comparing it to that of Barrack Obama - the NSW Greens refused to take part in an anti-war rally, afraid it reflected too heavily on the US President.

Today’s rally in Sydney (and several other cities) was organised by the Stop the War Coalition (STWC) and was timed to commemorate the invasion of Iraq. It was also thought it would coincide with President Obama’s visit to Australia.

As it turned out, troubles at home meant that Obama’s visit did not happen. Nevertheless, pamphlets for the rallies pictured Obama in his role as a Commander in Chief who has doubled the troops in Afghanistan, since the previous Bush regime.

Holding Obama responsible for the US wars is apparently what led the NSW Greens, at their most recent state delegates conference, to refuse to support the Iraq anniversary rally. Green MPs had been invited, but declined. Only a couple of individual Greens members attended the rally, which was rather overshadowed by St Patrick’s Day festivities.

The Greens have previously had good relations with the STWC. According to Australian Greens policies they support “an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq and the expropriation of its resources” and back the “immediately withdraw[al of] Australian forces from Iraq and Afghanistan.” The NSW Greens refusal to hold Obama responsible for the wars he commands casts doubt on the credibility of this policy.

It is frankly bizarre that a supposedly anti-war Australian party would seek to muzzle its members over an important anti-war event, because they felt protective of a US President. It is certainly true that Obama is under attack from the right at home, but no Australian citizen, party or government will change that.

Apart from doubling US troops in Afghanistan, President Obama has sent killer drones into Pakistan, remained silent over the slaughter in Gaza, increased the US military bases in Colombia and supported the 2009 military coup in Honduras.

Solidarity from within the imperial nations remains critical, and in this respect it is encouraging that a 50,000 person anti-war rally was recently held in Washington.

If the Greens give up their independent voices for fear of the corporate media, or from electoral worries, they will be heading down the Australian Democrats path. No-one respects a ‘high-minded’ opportunist.

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