significant, however, is the appearance of new ecologically-orientated political parties that are committed to the abandonment of economic growth as the goal of economic policy, and its replacement by the achievement of a steady-state society.
One such party is Ecologie et Survie i n Alsace. I t put up one candidate for the French Legislative Elections i n 1973, at Mulhouse, and obtained a littl e over one per cent of the votes cast, just as Rene Dumont did, shortly before, when he contested the Presidential election. A t the beginning of this year the party contested the Cantonal elections fielding nine candidates i n the Haut Rhin and one i n the Bas Rhin, and obtained an average of 10 per cent of the votes.
I n Britain, the Ecology Party was formed several years ago, under the name 'People'. I t first contested the February 1974 Parliamentary Election, putting up six candidates and obtaining an average of 1.3 per cent of the votes i n the constituencies where they were standing. I n the October 1974 election they only succeeded i n putting up two candidates, mainly for want of mnds, but i n the local elections this year two members of the Ecology party were returned; one, John Luck, at Rye won a seat on the Rother District Council and their Campaign Secretary, John Davenport gained a seat on the Kempsey Worcestershire Parish Council. The new Chairman of the party, Jonathan Tyler, a lecturer at Birmingham University, is standing at the Walsall by-election on November 4th for the seat vacated by John Stonehouse.
I n New Zealand the Values Party, with a programme very similar to that of Ecologie et Survie has now contested two general elections. I t obtained about two per cent of the vote i n the first, and at the last, i n November 1975, obtained as much as six per cent of the total vote, thereby becoming the thir d biggest party i n New Zealand. Ecological parties have also been formed i n Australia (the Australia Party) and Tasmania (the United Tasmania Party).
Particularly impressive is the great similarity i n the political programmes these various parties have drawn up. So much so, i n fact, that they are all beginning to work together, the United Tasmania Party has already changed its name to the Values Party of Tasmania and the Australia Party is thinking of becoming the Values Party of Australia, while our own Ecology party is seriously considering adopting the New Zealand Values Party's superb manifesto 'Beyond Tomorrow'. What is more, a World Conference of ecologically orientated no-growth political parties is being organised for next year, which should set i n motion more co-operation and more support.
Clearly the reason for the similarity i n their party programmes is that they reflect the same basic ideology. The rationale for this ideology is briefly that industrial society is not only unsustainable, but i t is not worth sustaining. The industrial way of life is squalid, mediocre and unfulfilling. Progress is an illusion.
I t is not a new philosophy. Indeed i t is basically that of Kropotkin, Tolstoy, William Morris and Mahatma Gandhi. The difference is that when these great teachers lived — either at the dawn of the industrial era or during its euphoric heyday, the vast mass of the
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people was totally blinded by the miracles of science, the wonders of technology and the might and opulence of industrial civilisation, and to suggest, as they did, that these benefits were largely illusory and that their costs, i n the long term, would prove quite insupportable, could only fall on the deafest of ears. To oppose industrialism was indeed purposefully to swim against the flow of a mighty river. Today, however, the flow of that river has been reversed. Disillusionment has set i n against the benefits of industrialism while the cost of obtaining them, i n terms of biological, social and ecological disruption, is only too plain. Indeed i t is no longer political suicide to oppose nuclear programmes, not even, i n fact, to oppose the industrialisation process itself, even though we have for so long been led to identify i t with 'progress'.
Present political ideologies have worn a little thin . I n this country the Conservatives and Socialists may make different noises, but once i n power their behaviour is very similar. The reason is that their basic ideology is also the same. Implicit is the belief that the world is imperfect and that by means of science, technology and industry we can improve it , and create an earthly paradise from which all the problems that have afflicted man, during the course of his long tenancy of this planet, such as poverty, unemployment, homelessness, disease, ignorance and even war, wil l be eliminated once and for all .
Al l political parties, including the Communists are committed to moving towards this earthly paradise (that is what they mean by progress) regardless of the consequences that this might have on our health, on the fabric of our society, on our physical environment and i n general on the quality of our lives. I t is because they are committed to it , and because i n conditions that are ever less favourable only one basic course of action appears to favour its achievement that their options have become so limited.
The Ecology Movement is the only one that rejects the philosophy of industrialism; and is thereby virtually free to apply a really different policy, the need for which must be increasingly apparent with the growing ineffectiveness of current ones to solve our worsening problems.
What is more, i t is the only policy that, among other things, is not dependent for its success on: — the use of increasing quantities of energy and non-renewable resources, that wil l be ever less available to us — the associated generation of increasing quantities of pollutants, which our environment is eVer less capable of absorbing — ever more massive and ever less feasible Government expenditure to maintain, i n ever less propitious conditions, the already crumbhng infrastructure of our industrial society.
On these grounds alone, i t is the only policy that begins to face up to world realities — to provide us with temporary insulation from which, is stil l the only policy of our major political parties.
*See: Nuclear Power: The Fifth Horseman. Worldwatch Institute Papers
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