Did you see it? Did you hear? Brian Jones just might be running for Lieutenant Governor of the state of New York! On the Green Party ticket! I know what you’re thinking. I thought it myself. Brian Jones? The late Rolling Stone? He died in 1969! Just weeks before Lance Armstong’s father – Neil – landed on the moon. But you know I’m just kidding, right? Lance Armstrong’s dad’s not Neil. Lance Armstrong’s name isn’t even Lance Armstrong. It’s Lance Gunderson. True fact. According to Wikipedia, his father’s name is Eddie – worked for The Dallas Morning News. Just a little bit of… what would you call that? Americana?
At any event… No, Brian Jones has not returned from the hereafter. It’s a fairly common name, Jones. Derived from John. And Brian, well, that’s common, too. Yes, so Brian Jones, a committed activist and public school teacher here in New York, announced he’d like to run. And you know how I found this out? I read about it on the Jacobin website. You know Jacobin, right? They call themselves Jacobin, but don’t worry, they won’t be guillotining any necks anytime soon. Their name, like so many things these days, is merely ironical. Indeed, rather than threatening anyone, their editor-in-chief and publisher, Bhaskar Sunkara, according to The New Statesman, is positioning his publication to be, as Doug Henwood phrased it, “the reasonable alternative to some more threatening force” – you know, like how Martin Luther King, Jr. (before he was radicalized) was supposed to be the “reasonable alternative” to Malcolm X (who wanted to actually, forcefully, redistribute land and whatnot).
So, when I saw this thing about the Greens in this ostensibly Red publication, like any reasonable person I couldn’t help but wonder what it all meant. Was this an instance of the Red-green alliance? Could it mean that the Greens and the Reds, in spite of their differences, are beginning to recognize their common destiny? Or did it, rather, have something to do with that “reasonable alternative” angle? Or was it something else entirely? And then, after considering the various shortcomings of the Reds and the Greens, it occurred to me that it could portend something bigger – in vulgar Hegelese: the overcoming and sublation of their respective limitations in a new unity. That was my first thought. My second thought was: Green and Red Makes Brown – a notion that, pretty much all by itself, suggests… a Brown Party. Brown, like the Earth. Not just plants, trees, vegetables, but land. Brown.
Although I’m partially kidding, this should neither distract nor detract from the fact that Brown raises serious questions. For instance, a Brown Party would have to confront the problem (latent, perhaps, in all Parties) of that which manifested, notably, in the murderous, racist Brownshirts – the Nazi Sturmabteilung, or SA. With racism and xenophobia on the rise (just look at last month’s US Supreme Court ruling in Schuette), a Brown Party would have to critically root out such tendencies. It would not be able to ignore opinions that, for instance, are found among some Greens these days. For who’s unaware of the fact that quite a few people who identify as Greens harbor implicitly genocidal opinions regarding population control (in spite of the fact that most of the world’s pollution and resource extraction is committed by the US, which comprises only 5% of the global population)? To put it mildly, that’s something of a problem – one that manifests in, among other places, the issue of immigration (remember the Sierra Club’s position?). Unlike the Greens, though, a Brown Party would have to explicitly rectify this disturbing phenomenon. And then, of course, there’s green’s other troubling association: money. As mentioned earlier, a “green economy” is not necessarily incompatible with systemic exploitation, poverty, disease, and misery. The Greens need that infusion of Red to rid them of their market-economy shortsightedness and prejudice. Likewise, the Reds need the Greens’ sensitivity to environmental and ecological issues. And both of them are in need of a serious makeover. Vote Brown!
Peter Berllios is a writer and teacher. He can be reached at email@example.com