Former Green Party of Canada leadership candidate, Dimitri Lascaris has launched the Green Left. The Green Left is a non-partisan Social movement, which denounces capitalism as “the core cause of the climate crisis” and dedicates itself to create an “eco-socialist society grounded in true equality, peace, and a reverence for Mother Earth”. Composed of various members from professional and socially diverse backgrounds, ‘the Green Left’ aims to spread its message across the Canadian territory and across the world to fight for climate and social emergency.
Global Green News sat down with Radhika Desai from the Green Left to discuss the essence and direction of this new social movement. Professors of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba and platform chair of candidate ,Dimitri Lascaris, during his campaign for the Green Party leadership in 2020. Desai explained to Global Green News that the movement emerged from the enthusiasm that followed Lascaris’ campaign. “Many people became inspired by what Dimitri was saying, by the policies we were promoting. When we lost rather narrowly, we thought ‘let’s not look at what we haven’t done, let’s look at what we have done’. We had created a new conception of politics, a new platform, and a new constituency. What was left to do was to mobilize it, so we decided that we would create a non-partisan movement embracing such values: the Green Left”.
A non-partisan movement calling for urgent climate action:
The Green Left differentiates itself from the federal Green Party as it puts emphasis on duality of the movement as both a socialist and green movement. “Compared to the existing Green Party our policies are considerably more progressive, considerably more equal socialist”, said Desai to Global Green News.
“We must have these policies now because our world is literally flooding and burning”.
The pandemic and the end of capitalism:
Their eco-socialist approach has enabled a established focus on three distinct issues according to Desai, which she shared with Global Green News: “One is climate change, the second is pollution, and the third is loss of biodiversity within which since it involves other animals, we also include industrialized agriculture and the unspeakable cruelty that farmed animals suffer”. Desai said to Global Green News that the pandemic contributed highly to show that the era of capitalism should come to an end.
“Even before the pandemic arrived, there was a lot of commentary, a lot of developments which showed that capitalism has reached the end of its era and that time for eco-socialism was here. The pandemic has shown us the ugly underbelly of capitalism like never before, which has made people more conscious and hungrier for the kind of change that we want, both environmentally and socially”.
A new diverse and inclusive platform in Canada:
The Green Left invites people of all parties to join them, as well as people that have never been involved in politics before, to rally around the issues at hand. This includes young people as well. “We welcome with open arms all the young people who feel strongly about the way in which we are essentially destroying the planet. Indigenous people have this wonderful saying about how you think seven generations ahead and we’re not even thinking one generation ahead”.
The Green Left further created a platform specifically created for indigenous rights and peoples entitled indigenous land, indigenous sovereignty, and indigenous rights. “We need to talk about the harm of residential schools, what they have meant, and the fact that children died in these residential schools. For decades and even a century or two, nobody listened to indigenous peoples. Nobody gave them credence and in past weeks we have been confronting the horrific legacy of these unmarked graves that are being discovered”, stated Desai to Global Green News.
“What the federal government has done to date has only continued the tendency to try to bury the settler colonial past and the harm that has done to the indigenous people”.
According to Desai, restitution is a necessary part of reconciliation and it all ties back to putting an end to the capitalist order that we currently live in. “As a social movement, the Green Left represents a current of opinion that believes that restitution must be done. It is not just about making symbolic apologies; it is about material restitution”, stated Desai to Global Green News. “Canada is an extractive economy: it sits on stolen land that it has taken away from other people. The economy has to be productive not for profit, but productive for people’s needs”.
The Green Left also place high emphasis on ethnic and social diversity, both in their constituency and in their policies to best represent the diversity of Canada. “The Green Movement generally has tended to be a little on the white side, I think we need to be a lot more diverse”, said Desai to Global Green News. “Diversity is very important, but it’s also important to make sure that we connect with movements of diverse peoples in struggle. The working class itself is composed of many people who are essentially minorities, whether they be women, non-white peoples, sexual minorities, political minorities, ethnicities etc. This is the vast rainbow coalition that we have to mobilise in favour of equal socialism because it’s in all their interests”.
They hope of the Green Left’s is that their message will echo throughout Canada and to the rest of the world, from places, to people, to other eco-social movements to salvage our planet and our future.