yes-reply #08


Earlier this year I left the QLD Greens and gave up my membership, writing in my resignation letter “All parties naturally tend towards hegemony, a necessary cost of democracy, but I believe for my development I need to be entirely dissociated from any party. There was a particularly strong moral calling to fight the Morrison Government, and in the wake of their defeat I believe I can focus on my youth.”

I can tell you I’ve been enjoying my youth, but imagine with me for a moment what a 21 year old man who believes in democracy would be doing right now in Ukraine. It is no artistic liberty to describe my choice to walk away from the political system as a luxury. And this is nothing to say of my compatriots under the rule of military juntas where democracy has already fallen, in nations like Myanmar where boys my age tote AK-47s in the hope they’ll be able to return to university if they prevail.

Senator Jordon Steele-John holding a placard reading '$ for Healthcare not Warfare'

I think artists have a natural tendency to be anti-war, and this is unequivocally a good thing. A democracy needs to be defended by both weapons and criticism of a military industrial complex. But anybody who has been watching the developments in Ukraine can tell you one thing - democracies who are applying sanctions to Russia and supplying advanced military arms are a big part of why Kyiv can continue to resist against the occupiers.

George Orwell has been quoted as saying that in the context of the Second World War “pacifism is objectively pro-fascist.” I would extend this to today and say that denying supplies of high-tech arms to Ukraine is objectively pro-Kremlin.

I think I might not be the only one. Did you know the The Greens have a policy of abolishing the export of all military weapons? Scrolling through Peace & Nuclear Disarmament spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John’s Facebook page gives you an insight in how popular this. Senator Steele-John has got photos of him holding anti-AUKUS and anti-nuclear placards at protests, but notably absent is any mention of arms exports to Ukraine. A natural question arises: does the Senator support exports to Ukraine? And if so, does he not support the policy on The Greens’ own website?

I don’t have a hot-take about what The Greens defence policy should be, after all I resigned my membership. Instead I’m here to share a simple observation. That after the Ukraine Invasion those of us who advocate for peace and equality must have a more nuanced argument than being simply anti-war.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Gillanders

P.S - Feel free to reply to this email, I will be monitoring this mailbox and I’d love to have a conversation. When in doubt, yes-reply.