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Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand left politics right Labour National the world’

  1. Lefter 74 ~ Ashamed.

    September 21, 2014 by emweb

    The results are in. Not so much that the left was defeated as the floor was wiped with them.

    How does that make me feel?


    Ashamed that so many New Zealanders have so emphatically supported a regime that cares virtually nothing for their New Zealand countrymen with little: low incomes, poor housing, substandard diets and healthcare, little access to education. Cynically, New Zealanders voted in droves – again – for the former currency trader, trusting him despite considerable evidence that he has been deeply involved in misleading New Zealanders (he’d only step down if it was ‘proven’), involved in dirty politicking, involved in character assassination.

    Voted in droves for a party that has no plans for the next three years apart from ‘business as usual’. That ‘usual’ business has been the creation of a whole new class: the Working Poor; bolstering the economic reliance on primary industries beyond everything else, and despite the dramatic recent falls in dairy prices; making it easier for the wealthy to gain ever more wealth while further victimising those desperate for work while taking away their rights; further victimising those struggling on diminishing benefits; making it harder for anyone but the rich to benefit from full tertiary educations; selling off our assets in land and farms and selling off our sovereignty by cuddling up to the TPPA; selling State Houses out from under people’s feet so developers can make fortunes off what used to be Government land built and maintained for the benefit of its peoples.

    To me, the most telling image of the election was Hone Harawira’s distraught expression in a draughty hall up north. The chairs were white plastic; little kids were running around. Then, National’s election HQ on the Auckland waterfront: well-dressed people, descended on the city from Remuera Heights, holding champagne flutes. Self-congratulatory young men with tailored hair, women wearing Zambezi or worse, happily dining on some flash meat I’d never even heard of, basking in their privilege.

    Well done you. How smug you must feel.

    However, the blame can’t be laid only at the feet of the voting population …

    Labour, what the fuck?! I’ve been saying all this for years in these blogs now. If ever there was a time to redesign your party, philosophy, structure – everything –that time is now.

    Actually, that time was a decade ago, but it’s even more needed now.

    Because I was shocked that Helen Clark disappeared off to the UN without even starting to set up a decent evolution in her absence, or the beginnings of a succession plan. I had admired her greatly until three years before. That’s when I started thinking more critically of Labour, because Labour only just won that previous election, but didn’t seem to notice how its support had ebbed, didn’t seem to be mindful of it. Labour’s incumbents seemed oblivious to wanting to do anything about it. It was like they weren’t taking it seriously.

    Now, after six years in opposition, Labour still hasn’t addressed the fundamental issues of what the party means to New Zealand in the 21st Century. It has pole position to do this:

    What is Left?

    How can the Left benefit New Zealand?

    How can Labour encapsulate those benefits so that people can clearly understand them?

    Instead, we get a bellicose Cunliffe yelling that he’s going to lead us into the next election. From where I’m standing, that sounds like the Charge of the Light Brigade – straight down the valley into the fire of the assembled artillery.

    I wasn’t the only one on the left who shuddered, I’m sure.

    Helen Clark polled just under 35% when she stepped down. Goff went down to just under 28%, and moved aside for David Shearer. And Shearer polled at 35% before stepping aside.

    Mr Cunliffe, you said the only poll that mattered was Election Day.

    That poll put you and your party at 24.8%, David … 24.8! Even areas that voted Labour candidates in with healthy majorities were giving their Party Votes to National. How in hell do you work out anyone going ‘Shearer – tick. National – tick’?!

    The future of Labour, if it’s anywhere, is not with David Cunliffe. It’s with Jacinda Adern, Grant Robertson, Stuart Nash who did so well in Napier, and with Kelvin Davis and with other under-50s. You Labour over -50s owe it to New Zealand decency to help guide these people into dominant roles, and to help guide the party not the future. You have, so far, let us down.

    A party I admired would be fostering people like these, not pretending they don’t exist and/or easing them inexorably down the list.

    Labour, it’s time to fundamentally sort out your shit: Philosophy – left-wing and progressive, because National has won the Centrist ground – and look where it’s taking us.



    Media relationships.

    I keep using this phrase and it’s boring even me. But it’s still true: none of this is rocket science … so why in hell can’t you do it?

    Meanwhile, those of the left need to be talking, engaging, demonstrating and collaborating. This is what I charge us with – or we may as well all just leave now.

  2. Lefter 18 ~ I choose

    September 14, 2009 by emweb

    I promised to reveal my own political bent more fully. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I could sum it up in one word, but that word is so often grossly misrepresented that I would be doing myself – and you – an injustice.

    So I do it in several words, and you can draw your own conclusions.

    I place myself on the left, but many who are firmly to the left either do not consider me to be left at all, or consider me deluded. This is due to my having no doctrinaire Marxism or even residual Marxism in my makeup at all. So they find that difficult.

    Even left wingers often choose (or worse, don’t choose) to blindly follow a doctrine.

    I choose not to blindly follow a doctrine.

    I’ve never been a communist. I do agree with many aspects of Socialism – ie, that since the state is a social construct, it should have a regard for the wellbeing of the people inside that state.

    I’ve never been right wing. In other words, I do not consider the common man to be placed there for me to exploit and make financial gains from, and to rule with laws. (And besides, I too am a common man.)

    But here’s where I differ from most left-wingers: I refuse to accept (or try to refuse to accept) any impetus directed at me without examining it first.

    I fundamentally believe in my own right to consider, then accept or reject, any directive that comes my way.

    I know – I would be useless in an army. That’s as it should be – and as it should be for any thinking individual. No armies, no wars.

    Sometimes I do decide to accede to directives, that’s true. Even to ‘leadership’ for given periods. I am a very loyal person, once I decide to assign that loyalty. I also consider that to be my right. But don’t ever expect me to follow blindly, because I don’t.

    So, often I decide to follow societal or legal directives, but I always try and consider them first. How will they effect me? How will this effect others? What will happen if I don’t? If I do?

    I view the world as a set of systems. Some systems, on the face of it, are ‘legal’ systems and some are not. Each has its advantages and each has its disadvantages. Each can have moral justifications in different circumstances. I believe in examining everything that comes my way and deciding for myself whether I take part or not. In other words, I refuse to accept a ‘legal’ system over an ‘illegal’ system at face value; ‘just because’ one is one, and the other is ‘other’.

    In this way I do not need to suffer guilt if I decide to do something ‘illegal’. I choose, having considered the pluses and minuses and the possible impacts on myself and those around me. And I have to accept any consequences that I am, hopefully, fully aware of.

    Legal systems often have the same array of advantages and disadvantages as illegal systems. For example: if I choose to run a business under the laws of the state, I am accepting certain restraints on how I can trade. Like constraints on profit, since I have to pay taxes (which I do willingly, BTW). I can’t undertake fraud, larceny and indulge in stand-over tactics on competitors if I want to exist inside this system. If I do, I am subject to punitive measures mandated by the state. But I am ‘allowed’ to wreck the business prospects of competitors using the many legal means available, depending on how astute and rapacious I am. (A fact I find disturbing.)

    Or I can decide to do something illegal. Advantages are no taxes and no restraints, and possible instant gratification. Disadvantages include incarceration, and other punishments, if caught, as well as social and societal disapproval.

    (Those are very broad examples.)

    Basically, I believe that I have the ability and the intellect to choose what I do, having considered why I would do it. Do you have this belief?

    This individually human philosophy is considered anathema by many regimes. It has been thoroughly repressed by states both left and right …

    Historically there have been many examples of my philosophy working. When it works, it’s brilliant – no repression. Pure freedom. Thoughtful cooperation.

    Of course, I am also a realist. I choose to live in New Zealand; essentially it’s a centre-conservative nation. I choose what I follow and what I don’t follow. I choose which structures to take part in. In some instances I choose to actively further various societal aims, on committees and in volunteer capacities, for example.

    In other words, my beliefs don’t mean I drive on the wrong side of the road. That would be stupid and dangerous.

    My personal political beliefs are well developed, sound and heartfelt.

    I think; I choose.

  3. Lefter #16: United, we stand. Divided … we stand

    August 2, 2009 by emweb

    I’ve found myself writing a lot more about New Zealand politics and the National Party than I perhaps intended when I started this blog.

    Sorry. There are bigger issues.

    New Zealand’s National Government is not exactly a difficult target – the worrying thing is that it’s pursuing a clearly right-wing agenda and most people seem either blithely ignorant of it (or at least of its long-term ramifications) or just non-caring to the point of stupidity.

    Viva typical New Zealanders and their general greed, then.

    Probably the National Party is best left to the well-informed office of The Standard and Kiwipolitico.

    But I must confess I glance at these but I don’t spend a lot of time reading through the postings.

    Why not? Well, I already know my own politics. And I don’t need to be fed Labour’s party line, or the line of the generically Marxist-influenced. In my opinion, Marx had his place — but that was long ago. We’ve moved on. A long way on.

    My personal politics revolve around self determination. In other words, I like to determine my own beliefs.

    At least, I like to believe that I determine my own beliefs. So I’m not about to tow a party line just because it’s the party line. I’d rather come to my own conclusions, thanks. If I disagree with what you’re saying, I’m not going to support you. And hopefully, I will tell you I disagree.

    So whereas I will assist Labour to get into power if I can, as it’s clearly better than National being in power, I don’t feel Labour is the ideal party for New Zealand.

    Why not? I believe something similar to what the Maori proverb that says, roughly, ‘go into the future walking backwards so you can see the past’.

    I just won’t be walking backwards. But I, too, believe the past is much more significant than most New Zealanders deign to register.

    Labour has, in the past, made some really dumb mistakes I never agreed with:

    Rogernomics … I could never forgive that.

    I think it was wrong to the point of childish stupidity for Labour to alienate the Greens and the Maori Party.

    (That said, it’s equally questionable that the Greens and the Maori Party are still carrying grudges. As are some in Labour.)

    I think it was really dumb to let National set the agenda in the last two elections. It was so painfully obvious – if I could see it, why couldn’t Labour’s advisors? And what were they being paid? And are they still working for the Labour Party?

    And there are many other past issues.

    And for now, I think it’s really extra specially dumb, actually, that Labour isn’t grooming its next generation of leaders.

    Many of these issues come, in my opinion, from suicidally detrimental small-mindedness.

    What do I believe in, then? People co-operating for the common good, and not always putting themselves first. New Zealand creating a place in the world as a beacon of civilisation, no matter how far flung it is geographically. (Lange laid some groundwork for this with our anti-nuclear stance.)

    And New Zealand as a beacon of egalitarianism and ingenuity. And independence from international political coercion. And independence from international business coercion (granted, this often amounts to the same thing).

    None of this can happen under a right-wing government.

    And for my own political position … more on that later.