web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

The Only Vision….Left.

Written By: - Date published: 7:09 pm, March 24th, 2012 - 53 comments
Categories: Left, political alternatives, vision - Tags: ,

Is it not strange and a bit disquieting that the parliamentary left, or more precisely, the Labour Party, is all at sea with regards vision? The vision of the left…the only vision there is for the left… is the same now as it always was. So why is the Labour Party struggling to articulate a vision? We know that the labour Party has lost touch. And we know that people are more or less disengaged from parliamentary politics. Why this should be isn’t very difficult to figure out. How to rectify the situation isn’t very difficult either.

But first, it might be useful to point to where it all went wrong for the parliamentary left. Many people think that the 1980’s marked a parting of the ways for Labour and its core values and support base. I don’t think that’s correct. I think the wrong step was taken years before that.

Across the English speaking world, Labour Parties adopted a platform that was underpinned or informed by something distinctly anti-left. That doesn’t mean they didn’t enact policies that led to vast and laudable improvements for many people. And it doesn’t mean those policies didn’t express or contain some genuine leftist sentiments. But the basic contradiction of espousing leftism from an anti-left platform meant that the parliamentary left was never going to be able to bring any leftist programme to full fruition. And with the benefit of hindsight it becomes fairly clear that the parliamentary left was always set on auto destruct.

And this is why. By 1921 the Russian Revolution had been well and truly defeated and the promise of a socialist revolution had degenerated into the nightmare of a dictatorship. Where socialism had sought to empower ordinary people in their daily life through the establishment of democratic workers councils, community councils and the like, by 1921 the Bolsheviks had laid waste to nascent structures of empowerment and secured themselves in a position of absolute power. It was they who claimed, through the Party structure to express the true will of the people. And so to speak against them was to be marked down as a counter revolutionary and punished accordingly.

And it was that Bolshevik model of socialism (if the term can be meaningfully applied to Bolshevik rule) that the Labour Party looked to for inspiration as it sought to bring about socialist transformations here. Put simply, the Labour Party view was that the state would provide and the matter of a bureaucratic dictatorship was quietly swept under the carpet.

I don’t mean to suggest that Labour Party leaders secretly nurtured fantasies of having dictatorial powers, the like as exercised by Lenin or Stalin. But there was an article of faith operating for many people of the left; a belief that things would improve in the USSR and a belief that the state would somehow (magically?) wither and a socialist world appear in the space formally occupied by the state. And that belief might go someway to explain the fact that there were apologists by the truckload in the broader left ready to justify or explain away such events as Stalins treacherous interference in the Spanish Revolution, his peace treaty with Hitler’s Germany, the invasion of Hungary and so on and so on.

What we know is that when the dictatorial edifice that was the USSR crumbled, it was the market that rushed to fill the vacuum. And we also know that across the English speaking world, many professed leftists lost their point of reference and succumbed to market ideology too.

Prior to the collapse of the Bolshevik dictatorship, there existed a tension between state and corporate dynamics in some ‘western’ countries. That led to a mixed economy and allowed social democracies to develop in the years following WW2. Suffice to say, given the realities on the ground, compromise was the order of the day for both sides and we, ordinary people, benefitted from policies emanating from the tension generated between the two antagonistic poles of political/economic attraction.

But even with one of those poles gone now, we are getting on close to a hundred years of much of the left adhering to the notion that the rightful repository of power, from a leftist perspective, is the state. One effect of that misguided notion is that the only other possible repository of power is somewhere within the private or corporate sector. And so the left today withers because socialist aspirations cannot be developed when corporate/private sector control is accommodated. And the left has felt compelled to accommodate the corporate/private sector ever since its ‘one trick pony’ of state control was discredited with the death of Bolshevism.

But as I said at the beginning of the post, Bolshevism – or state control – was never an authentic expression of leftism and was in fact what brought the socialist revolution in Russia to a dead halt.

So what are the options for the parliamentary left today? On the one hand they can continue to merely slow the rate of the ascendency of private/corporate control if and when they gain a parliamentary majority. Or they can espouse the only vision there ever really was for the left and use any time in office to devolve the power of the state to the hands of the ordinary citizen.

At present, huge chunks of the state are being consumed or appropriated by the private/corporate sector. And with the parliamentary left adrift and lost, it’s only a matter of time before we arrive at the point where a ‘zero welfare’ state exists as a tool under the guiding hand of the private/corporate sector. And that’s not going to be nice. A brief glance at history – at Italy or Germany during the 1930’s – should give us distaste enough of that possibility.

So it’s incumbent upon any parliamentary presence that deserves to be identified as ‘of the left’ to play its part in offering and developing an alternative to that scenario. To be really clear, the sun is setting on the vestiges of the ‘old left’ – the ‘traditional left’ of this past 100 years – and I don’t believe for a second that I am the only one who perceives something very unpleasant on the horizon.

And so it is no longer of any use for the parliamentary left to say that it will not privatise ‘a, b or c’ if it gets into power. And it’s also pointless for the parliamentary left to promise to round off the more egregious edges of already enacted right wing policies. Because when the right gets into power it can get its hands on ‘a, b and c’ and privatise it anyway. And those blunted edges can be honed all over again. Also, when the right gouges state assets or services and places them in private hands, it takes longer (if ever) to reverse the privatisation process than it did to implement it. And so our society drifts ever further into a corporate future. And to halt or reverse that drift, the only worthwhile strategy available to the parliamentary left is one that will move assets and services beyond the reach of ‘the right’. And that means removing those things from state control.

It’s past the time when the parliamentary left should have got over the habit of investing power in state bureaucracies. It’s past the time when the parliamentary left should have faced up to the fact that strategies that focus on empowering the state are ‘dead as dead ducks can be’.  And it’s past the time for the parliamentary left to use what time it might have in power to invest in a genuinely empowering and resurgent left through enacting policies that devolve power and decision making to ordinary people in their daily lives as citizens and workers.

Politics is about the exercise of power. And although it’s devoid of substance, Whanau Ora provides a signpost to some parliamentary possibilities. The reality of Whanau Ora is that funding and expertise will be channelled to private providers and so nothing much will change in relation to where power resides. But there is another model for community health care that contains substance. And there is no reason why that model can’t be looked to and no reason why Whanau Ora can’t be pushed in that inclusive and empowering direction. The Venezuelan state launched a programme called Barrio Adentro. Unlike Whanau Ora, Barrio Adentro provides for (among other measures) full and free medical training to people from the communities where the services are located and places the power for managing the services squarely within the communities.

And it’s not the only community based programme the state is encouraging. Across the social spectrum, the state is empowering individuals and communities by developing parallel, community controlled structures to stand alongside the ‘traditional’ bureaucratic state models and existing private models

And that, for the parliamentary left, is the whole thing in a nutshell. Either it acknowledges that the old power dichotomy of private versus state was a false one and encourage the development of a new ‘pole of attraction’; one that is based on an empowered citizenry. Or it accepts its complicity in the formation of a corporate/private fascism and its place on the receiving end of any backlash that may be unleashed.

Sadly, to date, it would seem that the parliamentary left in the form of the Labour Party, is taking the second option and hiding behind a fig leaf of protestation that would declare the world void of meaningful leftist vision. Which is odd, because as said, the leftist vision – the vision that would empower ordinary citizens, was and is the only vision the left ever had. And that vision is at least as relevant today as it ever was (perhaps more so) and, what’s more, far easier to translate into reality now that the stone wall to progress on the left, the presence of the Bolshevik dictatorship, is no longer around and the ideas it espoused so thoroughly discredited.  I find it difficult to believe that the Labour Party is so blind to leftist history as to claim there is nought but a vacuum where vision should be.  But then, maybe Labour politicians (or should I say ‘careerists’… as surely only a party of careerists could be as ignorant of political history as the current Labour Party appears to be) are happy enough to play handmaiden to a corporate agenda and pocket the proverbial 30 pieces of silver for their troubles? Who knows.

53 comments on “The Only Vision….Left.”

  1. RedLogix 1

    We often disagree Bill… but hell I do value your contributions.

    Society consists of three counter-poised components; authority, community and the individual.

    Authority in the form of the Corporates and their lackey State have reserved the right to act collectively for themselves, while telling us individuals we had ‘freedom’.

    Neglected and diminished has been the entire notion of community.

    Barrio Adentro provides for (among other measures) full and free medical training to people from the communities where the services are located and places the power for managing the services squarely within the communities.

    Empowering communities is the last thing the state wants, and us ‘liberated’ individuals now too enfeebled to achieve it for ourselves.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Authority in the form of the Corporates and their lackey State have reserved the right to act collectively for themselves, while telling us individuals we had ‘freedom’.

      QFT

      Also, the concept of freedom has been lost and replaced by the delusion of choice. Choice in flavours of milk, choice in which manufacturer you prefer, which brand but no ability, for the majority, to actually govern their community. That freedom, the true freedom, has been removed and replaced by an elected dictatorship that kowtows to the capitalists. That freedom has been removed by the simple act of privatising the communities wealth.

    • Bill 1.2

      Well. We’re going to disagree again. ;-)

      Society is composed of many facets or counter poised components…far more than the three you highlight. And authority is multi faceted and resides in many places at some level or another at any given moment.

      But for the sake of the post, it makes sense to distinquish between corporate power, state power and individual power (as exercised or realised through democratic mechanisms embedded in ‘the community’). And that’s because the post attempts to focus on ‘the left’ and more particularily the parliamentary left and where it has placed the power at its disposal in the past; why it has placed it where it placed it; and what options, more in keeping with a vision of the left, it has when it comes to deciding where to vest the power it has in the future.

      And while the example of Venezuela gives the lie to any assertion that ‘Empowering communities is the last thing the state wants’ it’s true that the bureaucracy is loath to relinquish the power vested in it by the state…which is almost an agreement, no? :-)

      • RedLogix 1.2.1

        Well I’ve spent the day hammering hard out in the Tararua’s and I’m not of a mood to quibble with you over how we agree to slice and dice this. I can see where you are coming from and we both saying much the same thing…. just packaged somewhat differently.

        It is of course the sense of belonging and community that has been most battered by the neo-liberal madness. It’s one reason why I actually enjoy living in a relatively modest provincial town, after a while you do get to know people, local business’, the clubs, the cliques and hob-nobbers. It’s all a lot more congenial … and human….than living in the cities where I grew up.

          • Bill 1.2.1.1.1

            Thanks for that RL. Not wholly convinced by all the analysis, but a basic income would definately be a step in the right direction. I particularily like his overview of vision. I think it’s important to avoid hard and fast prescriptive ‘programmes’…for obvious reasons.

            It is like going on a journey with a compass that tells us the direction we are moving but without a road map which lays out the entire route from the point of departure to the final destination. This has perils, of course: we may encounter chasms which we cannot cross, unforeseen obstacles which force us to move in a direction we had not planned. But it may also be the case that if we want to leave the social world in which we currently live we have no better device than principles of direction rather than known-in-advance destinations.

  2. Dr Terry 2

    If all that spiel was “in a nutshell” how much more will be needed for a coconut shell? Sorry to be cynical, I am sure it all comes right in the end!

  3. jen 3

    great post

  4. Tc 4

    Shearer has proven to be a huge disappointment, you have to ask yourself would Labour be so rudderless with a Cunliffe/mahuta leadership galvanising the troops and dispensing with those not up for the fight.

    It’s a fight for core values and what Labour has out front is what the Nats wanted and the caucus only has itself to blame for the guns being in the inside….pull the trigger and see what happens.

  5. Jan 5

    The history lesson is interesting – and I think that you are right that we are living in dangerous times – although I wonder whether for most people there is yet but a dim awareness of this. However I find the article to be a depressing vision (used here on purpose) of leftist real-politick . Happliy and surely though there is a rather big gap. The left is not all about the struggle between the Bolshevik strong state and communitarian power. Social democracy isn’t a temporary post 2ww accident in the power struggle between capital and labour. The real danger lies in taking social democracy for granted because it’s not sexy or utopian and because it has been our lived experience for much of the last 80 ro so years it appears invisible.

    There is plenty in our traditions that is about developing an empowered citizenry, the campaign for universal suffrage, the United Nations, mutualism and the cooperative movement, trade unions, community activism of all kinds, the Fabian tradition and the liberalism of the 19th century, liberation theologians as well as the kinds of initiatives that you write about in Venezuela are all elements of the traditions of the left.

    Having a problem with a “vision” is a safey net against both utopian or dystopian extremes. As has been said of Helen Clark and Michael Cullen’s unwillingness to engage with ‘vision’.. “Hitler had a vision” This article by Colin James discusses the issue http://www.colinjames.co.nz/herald/Herald_2005/Herald_column_05Apr05.htm. Utopian visions of left or right can lead to some terrible stuff and i think that it’s this problem that the current discssion in the Labour party hinges on. With a media focussed on gloss, glamour and trivia, beholden to the owners of capital how to make thoughtful progessive politics based on left principles attractive.

    As for capitalism filling the gap in Russia that is true but as an aside I’m yet to meet anyone who, lacking the moral certainty provided by the USSR, who rushed off to become venture capitalist or a currency traders.

    Thought provoking article – thanks

    • Bill 5.1

      Sadly jan, in the english speaking world at least, it seems that the left has been dominated by the influence of the Bolsheviks. The Labour Party and the unions spring instantly to mind. The Labour Party offered statist solutions and the unions were awash with Leninists, or whatever other stripe or hue of Bolshevism, eager to appropriate the state in the name of the people or whatever.

      Having said that, I’m aware of of people from the left who were around in the time prior to the collapse of the USSR who just had no time whatsoever for any of that shit. But they and their ideas were marginalised by the mainstream (of course) but also vigorously suppressed by a broader left that was dominated by Bolshevism and this idea that everything should be brought under the control of a bureaucracy…a bureaucracy dominated by Bolsheviks of course…or at least one that could one day be ‘captured’ by them.

      And I don’t think social democracy was an accident from a struggle between capital and labour. I think it arose from the tension between those advocating for state and corporate centers of power….a kind of extention or result of ‘the cold war’ as it were.

      Anyway. Vision. What’s wrong with proposing a framework an outline and having ideas about the broad nature of results you’d wish to see or achieve? And what’s wrong with exploring that outline or framework and seeing if it does in fact deliver what’s desired? And changing things if need be?

      That’s a world away from either Clark’s managerial approach (that Shearer seems to have adopted) or the highly prescriptive ‘visions’…or programmes… that your Hitlers or Lenins would roll out. See, them’s guys knows best. Them’s guys knows whats good for you. And thems guy’s is gonna deliver…over your dead body if need be.

      • dave brownz 5.1.1

        “Having said that, I’m aware of of people from the left who were around in the time prior to the collapse of the USSR who just had no time whatsoever for any of that shit. But they and their ideas were marginalised by the mainstream (of course) but also vigorously suppressed by a broader left that was dominated by Bolshevism and this idea that everything should be brought under the control of a bureaucracy…a bureaucracy dominated by Bolsheviks of course…or at least one that could one day be ‘captured’ by them.”

        Yes, in particular Trotsky and the Left Opposition inside the revolution itself fighting for its life, for which most of them paid with their lives, whereas your cheap sideline demagogy echoes the bourgeois hysteria of the day, damning Bolshevism as usurping the democratic rights of the people.

        There is a good reason why the left has been dominated by Bolshevism as you put it, since for that left the Bolshevik revolution represented the flowering of proletarian democracy only to be poisoned by bourgeois reaction and the rise of the Stalinist regime. Unlike you, most leftists can make a distinction between a proletarian revolution and a bourgeois counter-revolution.

        Perhaps you should adopt the openness of the Occupy movement where ‘visions’ of the future are being put to the test of a reality of the fight against capitalism today. Here, liberals, social democrats, anarchists, feminists, autonomists, Leninists and many other self-styled political currents, are debating among themselves and finding their respective ideas challenged in the heat of the struggles.
        http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2011/07/draft-action-program-for-europe-rising.html

        • Bill 5.1.1.1

          Dave. The dictatorship was locked in place while Lenin was still around ie, pre Stalin. And in 1921 it was Trotsky who headed the ‘Red Army’ and executed the order for the sailors at Kronstadt to be butchered. Now I know you’re going to peddle the official Bolshevik propaganda line of the time and claim that the sailors at Kronstadt were counter revolutionaries and essentailly bourgeois. And I know you will claim they were not the same sailors who a few years previously had been lauded as revolutionary heroes. And I know you’ll throw in that the navy at Kronstadt was on the side of the ‘White Army’. It’s a tiresome argument, but go ahead if you must.

          Meanwhile. Where are you picking up this notion that I’m close minded? I mean, that’s what your saying when you write

          Perhaps you should adopt the openness of…

          Okay Dave. Here is the one and only thing I will not concience and that I will never be open to. Political movements that embody or promote dynamics of oppression or those who would prosyletise those political movements or cults. Aside from that, I’m open to hearing and exploring whatever. I have no ‘book of truth’ and no ‘hard and fast’ doctrine I adhere to.

  6. Reagan Cline 6

    last year the manager of the firm that employs me called a meeting of employees and said that we would not get a wage rise because it would prevent the owners of the business getting a good enough return on their investment. He said something along the lines of “how would you feel if you had put all that money into buying a business and you got too little back to justify the risk that the business could fail and you, the owner could lose the money you had put in to buy it”
    This made me feel a bit guilty and it has been on my mind a lot lately. I am still trying to figure it out. So I am working for a firm that is managed to maximise profits for the owners, who I have never met and do not even know the names of ? I understand they are a private equity group and when I googled them I found out they own hundreds (yes hundreds) of firms.
    I would rather be working for a firm that was owned by myself and the others who worked there and that we all had a say in how it was run.
    I and the other people at my workplace get on well together and enjoy working together, but it is because we enjoy the work and doing it together. No one ever talks about the things the manager was talking about at that meeting.
    There is a big disconnect betwen the manager and the owners of the firm and us the employees. I still don’t know if this is the best way of arranging things or not, but it leaves me (and probably the others) with this constant background feeling that I don’t matter all that much in the greater scheme of things and that somehow the manager and owners matter more than us and that is how it will be.
    I wonder how many other people feel as I do and have had a similar message from their manager ?Is this the way of things now in New Zealand ? Should we be trying to change it ? How could we do this without the suffering of a “russian revolution” and its aftermath ?

    • thatguynz 6.1

      Yes, yes, yes and yes. 
       
      Sorry to sound overly enthusiastic RC but you have identified the reality of the current corporate/business world but more importantly you have answered a number of thoughts that I’ve been kicking around recently – namely creation of another company that is in effect actively managed and part-owned by the staff.  In essence it introduces management/leadership by merit as the staff determine who within their ranks is best placed to manage or lead them.  I also see tremendous value in the staff having significant voice in determining the strategy and direction of the business.
       
      Utopian perhaps?  Theoretical – at this stage certainly.  I have a lot more research to do into where this approach has been enacted successfully but it strikes me that when people have empowerment or “skin in the game” and have a voice in their destiny, it makes for an infinitely more enjoyable workplace for all, and harnesses everyone’s collective knowledge and experience.
       
      Just my 2c of course :)

      • AAMC 6.1.1

        Believe Naomi Klein made a doco about factories in Argentina that started operating like this when the owners walked out bankrupt, also cases recently in the US when I think it was glass factories being “rationalized” and the workers have occupied and continued to produce.

        • thatguynz 6.1.1.1

          Thanks for the pointer AAMC – I’ll look into that.  I’m somewhat familiar with Naomi Klein having read one of her books.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2

        The word you’re looking for is cooperatives and, yes, they can be very successful.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.3

        The owners provided initial capital but probably add no value to the business and have likely never even set foot on premises. They just extract from the added value that your labour and expertise adds to their provided capital. The firm you are in could do just as well if the workers within it had provided the capital instead of them, which would mean that the workers would all be shareholders, and own a controlling stake in the company.

        Through principles of democratic enterprise (democratic socialism) you could then choose how much profit the company needed to make and retain, how much to pay yourselves as worker-owners, and even democratically select who the senior management team is.

        A lot of these ideas are described by Prof Richard Wolff

        http://www.rdwolff.com/

        • Bill 6.1.3.1

          meh. Screw the ‘senior management team’. There is no requirement for peopleto occupy such positions. If a ‘senior management team’ is formed, then the vertical division of labour and all that entails in terms of empowerment, access to information and decision makeng is re-created.

          For example, accounts need to be dealt to. But that doesn’t mean that someone has to be appointed to a permanent role or position of accountant. Far better to find out who is interested in such stuff and train them BUT have them execute that role only as a part of their overall duties or for a proscribed duration. Otherwise, information…or access to or understanding of…gets concentrated into too few hands. And information is critical in the decision making processes.

          There’s a lot I could say about this stuff. But I won’t….for the moment ;-)

          • Colonial Viper 6.1.3.1.1

            I don’t think you can get away from all hierarchical decision making in a business enterprise. Just like you cannot get away from it in the running a country. The creation of a highly democratic and merit based process for selecting that hierarchy is important and needed IMO.

            If a ‘senior management team’ is formed, then the vertical division of labour and all that entails in terms of empowerment, access to information and decision makeng is re-created.

            Remember that the management team reports to a Board of Directors populated with worker-shareholders.

            To address your concerns, policies around access to information and how democratically decision making is carried out day to day and month to month can be set by workers themselves, at the Board level, and carried out by the management team.

            • Bill 6.1.3.1.1.1

              It actually is possible to organise the running of a business in ways – including procedures for decision making – that are non-hierarchical.

              But putting that aside, the problem I see with the scenario you suggest is that the BoD will be operating (sometimes to a greater degree and sometimes to a lesser degree) on information provided by the management team…who may or may not disclose all the information they have. And they will definately have interpreted the information at their disposal in a particular and partial fashion and present it accordingly.

              Also, even given full disclosure of information, what about the worker-shareholders who are not on the BoD?

              And then there is the issue of the BoD issuing directives to the management team and the management team using their better familiarity with the full gamut of information to ‘spin’ policy or decisions towards their own preferred agenda or way of operating.

              Add to that, that it’s a tall order to ask a poorly informed person to first of all, identify the information they need to request and secondly to fit it into a meaningful context built from other information that they may or may not be a party to.

              At the end of the day, your scenario empowers some and leaves others disengaged to a greater or lesser degree. Which is what we have in workplaces at the moment.

              • Non-hierarchical systems are up against arguments that rely on the presumed efficiency advantages of a division of labour (see Adam Smith’s enumeration of the advantages to see what needs to be countered).

                Personally, even if division of labour is (in a narrow sense) more efficient in terms of production than a ‘jack of all trades’ familiarity, it is extremely inefficient as a social system. It creates technocratic elites (within their own specialisms) and, inevitably, room for the kind of hoodwinking you mention and, conversely, the ‘production’ of suspicion and mistrust on the part of those who are not the specialists. (Who hasn’t wondered about whether they really need all that work on their car that their mechanic suggests?)

                I worked on a Kibbutz for a while and they seemed to have no problem with a policy in which everyone did a range of the jobs (especially the range of manual and service jobs on the kibbutz) while, for jobs requiring prolonged specialised training, they always had a number of people they rotated through them (e.g., your example of accountants), though not everyone.

                This was done for precisely the reason you describe: No-one gained such an advantage over information or over particular areas of decision making that they could concentrate power in their hands (and therefore effectively gain excessive control over the collective efforts – and rewards – of the kibbutzniks).

                Seemed very viable: At the time they were going to open a second irrigation pipe factory – in the Caribbean. 

                • Bill

                  Is there a link to an on line version of the Adam Smith piece you mention?

                  I’m curious as to whether he was referring to a simple division of labour whereby some people undertake or focus on some operations in a production process or whether he was referring to a vertical division of labour.

                  For me, it’s only the vertical division of labour that is problematic.

                  If I run the printing press and you run the collator and somebody else focusses on the dark room etc, I don’t see that any problems necessarily arise from that scenario.

                  And if you want to learn how to run the press then as long as we have a system of skill sharing in place, then that’s fine. And if you have no interest in running the press, then that’s fine too. And so on for everyone across all the stages of production.

                  But the vertical division of labour is a different matter. One that the kibbutz you mention seemed to deal with adequately.

              • RedLogix

                There is one corporation I can think of that has made an step in the direction away from hierarchy.. Oticon. Back in 1987 the new CEO Lars Kolind took over a classic company that had suffered a dramatic fall in it’s market share. Faced with big competitors like Seimens and Phillips whom they couldn’t beat on financial terms, Kolind undertook a radical change:

                We could never beat them on technology, so
                we had to find something that we could do in a
                unique fashion. That led me to believe that if we
                could design a uniquely innovative, fast moving,
                efficient organisation, then this is something they
                could never replicate.”

                Kolind’s response to this problem was a radical
                new organisational model with no formal
                hierarchical reporting relationships, a resource
                allocation system built around self-organised
                project teams, and an entirely open-plan physical
                layout. He called it the spaghetti organisation, to
                symbolise the organic and non-formal structure he
                was trying to create.

                http://www.managementlab.org/files/u2/pdf/case%20studies/OticonCaseStudy_.pdf

              • Colonial Viper

                that the BoD will be operating (sometimes to a greater degree and sometimes to a lesser degree) on information provided by the management team…who may or may not disclose all the information they have. And they will definately have interpreted the information at their disposal in a particular and partial fashion and present it accordingly.

                Yes this could be a problem, granted. However it would be quite difficult for a management team to spin the wool over the eyes this particular BoD because the directors also live on the frontline of the business every day as coal-face workers. Eg. its hard for management to spin how much product is being shipped every month and where it is going to, when one of the Directors loads the trucks in outwards goods himself.

                At the end of the day, your scenario empowers some and leaves others disengaged to a greater or lesser degree. Which is what we have in workplaces at the moment.

                My scenario is not perfect eg. as you point out there won’t necessarily be a perfectly efficient spread of information across the company. However, policies can be set eg. to ensure that all workers receive a copy of the monthly financial statements etc since the workers are also shareholders, or to rotate through roles and depts as Puddleglum suggested.

                So I’d assert that this kind of democratic workplace is completely different than almost all which exist today. Workers can democratically choose from amongst themselves who their supervisors and managers are, and front line workers can serve on the Board of Directors. Both management and the BoD are directly answerable to the body of worker-shareholders on a regular basis.

                Last thing I’ll add – I’m very confident that this set up will work and work well whether a work place has 6 people or whether it has 6,000.

                Democratic hierarchical systems are very very scalable and can be implemented very very fast.

  7. McFlock 7

    I think the issue of state power vs individual power is tangental to the issue of whether a society cares for and protects its weakest members. Defintely valid, but I think the issue with “labour” parties over the last 30 years or so has been that the vision of assisting the poor has been coopted by both the religion of “individual choice leads to individual consequence” and the lack of a leftist economic base.
        
    In NZ, the reason Douglas&co could dictate to the party was because Keynesian economics was perceived as eventually resulting in stagflation. Thus the Chicago School provided the tories with a TINA solution. Now we are trapped by politicians who cannot visualise solutions outside of what the NBR thinks should be done – or at least they are too poll-shy to express themselves.
        
    That philosophical weakness means that “left” political parties have been concentrating on symptoms (child poverty, environment, GINI) but still haven’t described the cure, rather than a treatment. Which they then try and puff up by copying tory postmodern “branding” vacuities.
        
    Until we have a party that will publicly propose a top tax bracket of around – or in excess of – the 50% mark for the Dotcoms of the country, then they’re playing the same old tory game. And if the Dotcoms want to leave because of it, then we’d be better off for Atlas having shrugged.

  8. bad12 8

    Did we read here the name David Shearer and the words ”leftist vision” delivered in the same breath???,

    We have been up to now loath to show criticism of the ”Party,s” choice of leader, but, we believe that Sir,(spit),Roger Douglas has been heard to state he is not unhappy with the choice,

    Private armies???not unhappy with Slippery Key and company,s latest bash a benni legislation???are Labour trying to emulate Bill English,s 20% of the vote perhaps???…

  9. Mark 9

    Bill, I like a lot of what you have to say, but to say that the Russian Revolution was over by 1921 is just so wrong. Under the extreme domestic and external stresses the Bolsheviks were placed under they had little choice but to resort to a more ‘command’ way of doing things in order to advance socialism. Without it the revolution would have been utterly destroyed, not only by domestic enemies, but also by the Western interventionists. The triumph of the 1917 revolution was perhaps the greatest event in world history. The achievements of the Soviet Union over its 70 years of existence were huge. Without the Soviet Union, hundreds of millions of Asians and Africans would still be in colonial bondage (many still are, but of course not to the same extent of 100 years ago). The Soviet Union saved the world from the fascist menace of Nazi Germany.

    Under Stalin, a backward, illiterate, people were transformed into one of the most educated and culturally sophisticated people in the world. And the Soviet Union became a superpower with a mighty war machine which served as a bulwark against Western imperialism. Revolutions succeeded in China, Cuba, all over Africa, Latin America, Vietnam….with the comforting presence of the Soviet Union on the world stage.

    The Soviet Union was far from perfect. But without the 1917 Revolution, much of the world would be in a far worse shape than she is today.

    Whatever the ‘crimes’ or mistakes of the Soviets, these were more excesses committed in the heat of the moment, under extreme circumstances, and often in cases where the regime had good reason to worry about the actual continued survival of the Soviet state.

    This is totally unlike the vicious, and evil true holocausts that the Western colonialists visited on Africans, Chinese, and Indians. The only excuse being sheer greed. Along these lines I would recommend Mike Davies “Late Victorian Holocausts” about genocidal British policies in India late 19th Century – which were basically nazi like.
    http://www.amazon.com/Late-Victorian-Holocausts-Famines-Making/dp/1859843824/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332459299&sr=8-1

  10. ak 10

    Fracking cracker Bill, and beautifully articulated. It’s the answer, the holy grail, the way ahead alright, and exactly what Sandra Lee tried to stimulate with the 2002 Local govt amendment Bill and which, as Red so timelyly (pardon the neoligism) notes, will always be resisted by the Right. Timely, because Nick the Mess just disembowelled her bill the other day on his way out.

    But methinks it was a Nick of time too late. Because ae, Whanau Ora for Maori, Bill – but also and more pertinently our environment: there were an awful lot of Tories on the Mining march; and all over the motu cockies, greenies, bennies, goldcardies, chippies, stoners, teachers, dentists, surfers, fitters, turners, workers, shirkers, perkers, stoners, boners, disempowered body-worshippers and rich-as-sin nobodies have been coming together on PROJECTS. To stop the bully bulldozer, save the lesbian whale, stompt the stoat, SAVE THE KIWI.

    (Only the bird, of course: to hell with the children of the poor, or Maori, FFS: they can continue to die seven years early, and as for the 30k-a-day overseas sprogs dying for want of cents – pfffftttt )

    But it’s a start: and a bloody good one. And yep, Bill, the way to go. Depends entirely on individuals in every community standing up and taking on board the lessons of those sterling individuals in the Coromandel, of course, but I’m confident they’re up to it. You’re either a kiwi proud of our heritage or a lazy nonentity: content to crawl to your grave on your knees.

  11. AAMC 11

    h/t Bill, a cat that needs to be put amongst the pigeons, I wish I had the grasp on history with which to articulate it as well.

    Way I see it, we have a problem of bigness, on the Right of business, on the Left the State.

    David Graeber talks about how we all, inlcluding our libertarian and conservative adversaries, act as communists in our daily lives, towards our family, our neighbours, our friends. When we bring things back to the small, the immediate, the local, it becomes much easier to act with compassion toward our surrounding community.

    Currently both sides of the political spectrum fall victim to their hierarchies, and hierarchies to the seduction of power.

    It is time for a new post Cold War vision for the Left, unified in the fight against the ecological, environmental and Totalitariam future confronting us.

  12. You don’t want a left ‘vision’ but a left ‘program’.

    A program is a set of goals that the mass of working people vote on democratically to meet their needs. If its not that its a bosses agenda, hidden or otherwise. Like Auckland’s plan for profit.

    By definition the bourgeois state serves the interests of capital which is antagonistic to peoples needs.

    That’s why we have an ‘inequality’ problem. And a human ‘survival’ problem.

    So the left has to sort out what must be done to meet out needs and find vehicles for it. You don’t have to look far. Only organisations of workers independent of the state and all its agencies can fulfil these tasks. Occupy is rapidly discovering what this means in practice. So…

    Jobs. Their system is in crisis and they are casualising jobs to increase the surplus they pump out of us. So demand jobs for all on a living wage. We will only get it by occupying and putting under workers control all firms that sack us, and share all work equitably among us. Bosses are incompetent workers can run the economy without them.
    Housing. nuff said. Occupy under workers control all vacant housing suitable for accommodation.
    Health. Socialise private health. Sack all managers and put public health under the control of health workers and consumers councils.
    Ditto Education.
    Industry etc. Socialise land, banks, food production, energy, transport etc under workers councils.
    Foreign policy. Don’t fight wars on behalf of any capitalist power or its lackeys.
    Government. For a Government of Workers and small farmers that can implement this program.

    We don’t waste time begging bosses to pay for all of this, we simply expropriate them in all these acts of socialisation and decide collectively how to share societies resources equitably.

    Strangely enough that was the Bolshevik program roughly speaking in the brief period before Russia was invaded by about 10 imperialist armies, its economy devastated its revolutionary fighters decimated in the civil war and the Soviet government forced to resort to a policy of war communism to defend the revolution. Of course the social democratic parties were complicit in this counter-revolution.

    Not surprisingly, that revolution was pushed back and became a Stalinist dictatorship, which despite all its fascist-like politics owed its economic power to the revolution which explains why the USSR was decisive in the defeat of fascism in Europe and not the so-called ‘democracies’ who were were ready to appease fascism and more interested in smashing the working class than the Nazis.

    The lesson we should draw from all this is that Bolshevism is not the bogey, capitalism is, and so is the ‘left’ that compromises with capitalism in sowing illusions in social democracy.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      Jobs. Their system is in crisis and they are casualising jobs to increase the surplus they pump out of us. So demand jobs for all on a living wage.

      It’s not about jobs, it’s never been about jobs, but about the distribution of the communities wealth and the capitalist system leaves that distribution to the capitalists who give everything to themselves.

    • Tiger Mountain 12.2

      Agree Dave,
      “Strangely enough that was the Bolshevik program roughly speaking in the brief period before Russia was invaded by about 10 imperialist armies, its economy devastated its revolutionary fighters decimated in the civil war and the Soviet government forced to resort to a policy of war communism to defend the revolution. Of course the social democratic parties were complicit in this counter-revolution.”

      The social democrats broadly portray them selves as cuddly wuddly class collaborators but when it hits the fan what do we get? 1951 waterfront lockout-neither for nor against, POAL lockout-Labour Mayor Lenslide with low to zero class analysis, drops his bundle. Totally unable to cope.

      I maintain now historical anti sovietism particularly when invoked nowadays regarding the paucity of the NZLP is anti worker and anti communist, marxist left arguments over other matters not withstanding. Bill’s post is a steaming pile unfortunately. Labour is a social democratic party with a declining membership and significant internal democracy issues.

      • Bill 12.2.1

        Hmm. You do know that many communists, autonomous Marxists, anarchists and others who have no attraction to Labour or any other parliamentary party regard the ‘Soviet experiment’ as anti-communist Tiger?

        That aside, care to explain why you regard the post as a ‘steaming pile’? Is there something fundamentally flawed in the proposition that if the parliamentary left wish to be of any relevance, then it is going to have to move beyond variations of statist based ‘solutions’?

        See, I’m not saying that they will use their position to aid and abet a better future. I’m arguing that they ought to. And those are two different things. If they don’t then they will become utterly irrelevent and viewed as being complicit in the formation of a corporate future. And I don’t have any real problem with that, except for the fact that should all that come to pass we will be in deep, deep shit and hardly in a position to do 5/8ths of fuck all to alleviate our situation.

  13. Uturn 13

    Excellent post, Bill. I’d like to read more like it published here. It’s the perspective that matters to me: Human efforts contributing to the wider good of communities, not pockets of poverty and pockets of extreme riches, with the richest attacking and looting any group it can find, legally or otherwise.

  14. LynW 14

    Interesting and stimulating discussion everyone. Love the reference to David Graeber’s take on communism AAMC. All contributions very thought provoking. Thank you.

  15. The theory of a lot of this sounds fine. The practical realities can be different.

    Some corporations crap on people and on societies. But do the negatives really outweigh the positives?

    What we are using here, the Internet (and computers) are what they are today to a large extent due to corporations.

    Health technology and drugs are significantly driven by corporations – this has impacted hugely on quaklity and length of lives. Sure, poor people may have less life expectancy than people who are better off and we shoulkd endeavour to improve that, but the life expectancy of the poor is generally much improved on what it was a century ago. In part thanks to corporations.

    • Bill 15.1

      Some corporations crap on people and on societies.

      Would you care to name a few…even just one or two, that don’t?

      But do the negatives really outweigh the positives?

      Where to start?! Lets get one basic thing out of the way. Technology and advances in medicine etc are not predicated on the existence of corporations. So all the positives (and probably more) are possible without them. As for the negatives. Hmm, lets see. What about just two negatives as ‘headliners’ that contain very long lists of examples and knock-on effects….environmental destruction and undermining democracy

      • Pete George 15.1.1

        Technology and advances in medicine etc are not predicated on the existence of corporations.

        No, of course not. But corporations have been major contributors. They also contribute quite a bit to employment – and many people choose to work for them.

        undermining democracy

        You’re right if you mean special interest groups have more influence on governance, and money is a major factor.

        But the biggest thing that undermines democracy is apathy and non-involvement. No point in grizzling about those who do organise their lobbying – eg business groups and unions – when most people don’t take part most of the time.

        • RedLogix 15.1.1.1

          All corporates are fuedal autocracies.

          When you work for one, your life belongs to them. They will tell you what you will do with most of your life, they will tell you what to wear, they will tell you how to think, how to behave. You will have no say over who orders you about minute to minute, you cannot say no to any of their directives, you cannot organise your own work in the way you know will work best, you have no choice about being forced to work with people you cannot abide… you are their slave.

          Your only choice is to resign and go and work for another one. Which isn’t really a choice at all… just the illusion of one.

          But the biggest thing that undermines democracy is apathy and non-involvement.

          Becuase people know perfectly well that they are slaves and there is not a lot of point in getting ‘involved’.

          • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.1.1

            All corporate are fuedal autocracies.

            Capitalism itself is a system of feudal autocracy and democracy is anathema to it.

        • Bill 15.1.1.2

          You got that list of benevolent corporations drawn up yet Pete? Take your time.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.2

      But there was nothing preventing any of that from coming about anyway PG. In fact, the state protected monopolies that capitalism requires probably prevented even more and better advances.

  16. randal 16

    as long as some of the left claim that socialism is scientific and historically inevitable then the left will always reside in mumbo jumbo land.
    the only way to fight a class war is to call a spade a spade.
    capitalism is wrecking the planet so wanting to usurp its privileges and expropriate the goods is just not going to cut it.

  17. Conal 17

    Barrio Adentro and other Venezuelan social programs are of course paid for out of the income of a very large, state-owned company: Petroleos de Venezuela. If the Venezuelan right were to get their hands on it again, turning off that money tap would put paid to a lot of that development. So I think you are wrong to cast it as a dichotomy, with the State in the role of the villain.

    • Bill 17.1

      So I think you are wrong to cast it as a dichotomy, with the State in the role of the villain.

      I didn’t. What I’ve said is that the state can undercut itself and in doing so contribute towards the building of a better future. Barrio Adentro is an example of that dynamic.

      And what I’ve said is, that as long as the left sees the only repository for power to be the state, then we are going to drift inexorably towards a corporate dominated future. I outlined and signposted some reasons as to why I believe that to be the case.

      What I also said was that where the state is seen as the only counter point to private/corporate power, and where the state gains ascendency, we get a bureaucratic dictatorship. Again, I outlined and signposted that dynamic using historical facts/events.

      It’s true that initiatives like Barrio Adrento are vulnerable in the short/medium term to roll back. But (as far as I understand it) the idea is to ‘sponsor’ and promote such initiatives with the goal that they should be self sustaining and independent. And from that point on, they are not subject to roll back.

      • Conal 17.1.1

        With respect, I think you are splashing the term “the state” around quite loosely, and in an article like this you have to use your terms more scientifically. I don’t want to get into a stupid argument about what terms “really mean” but I do think that some terms can be used incorrectly in that they serve to conflate things that are actually different, and hence they are ultimately confusing. It seems to me you are presenting the state as something which independent of society which can be “held” (alternatively) by “left” and “right”. You present the idea that some things can be “removed” from the reach of the state. You talk about building an alternative locus of power within society, but you counterpose that absolutely to “the state”. I don’t agree with any of this; I think it’s confused and confusing.

        In reality the state is nothing more than the actual structure of power within a given society (or “social formation” more accurately). The state is the means by which the dominant class or classes of that society maintain their dominant status. In transitional cases, where no social class enjoys an absolute pre-eminence, there will be dual state apparatuses. But a revolutionary class can’t just “seize” a state and use it against its former oppressors; every ruling class must have a state of its own, just as it must have a ruling ideology of its own. If an alternative locus of power is successfully established in a society, then that apparatus IS the state. Because that’s what “state” means.

        So what does it mean to “remove assets and resources from the reach of the … state”? It’s not as if you can just choose to “opt out” of the repressive power of the state. If something is actually removed from the reach of the state, it can only be done by asserting a new power which is ipso facto a new state power.

        If the Right actually do have control of the state then they can seize and privatise assets. Look at what happened in Yugoslavia! In socialist Yugoslavia there were state-owned enterprises and there were also worker-owned enterprises, but after the fall of the socialist regime those worker-owned enterprises were privatised, too, never mind that the state didn’t have the legal right to do so; they had the power. So to remove something from the reach of the state actually means to challenge the de facto power of the state; the legalities are really only superficial trimmings.

        So it comes down to: how to challenge and actually defeat the organisation of the rich? Can that ultimately be done without making use of centralised political power, as anarchists believe? I don’t see any evidence that it can. What did Hugo Chavez do? He first tried to overthrow the Venezuelan “Punto Fijo” state by armed force, and then through a mass electoral movement and a centralised socialist party (The Venezuelan United Socialist Party) and a mass popular front (the Polo Patriotico). This is precisely what his political opponents characterise as an attempt to establish a Bolshevik dictatorship. Do you agree with them?

        • Bill 17.1.1.1

          Well Conal, if you’re going to hold that any power being excercised anywhere by people in a society is ‘the state’, then discussion about where power might best reside and how to shift power from where it lies presently to somewhere else becomes highly problematic.

          But lets go with what you saying for a second. So power cannot be removed from the state. And resources and assets cannot be removed from the state. Okay. Using your definitions then, what I’m arguing is that assets and resources can be moved beyond the reaches of the actors who operate within the current state configuration.

          That means creating a nascent alternative in the process ie a state where people and their communities have direct access to assets and resources and manage them according to substantive democratic processes.

          And the medium that could ‘oil the wheels’ of such a transition remains current parliamentary left parties (centralised political power) who could utilise the power and resources of the current state to bolster the alternative and in the process, weaken the current configuration. Just as is happening in Venezuela.

          You ask if I think a Bolshevik dictatorship is being created in Venezuela. No. I don’t think that’s the case at present. Far from it. But maybe it could become the case at some point in the future depending on any number of unforseeable factors. And at what point will the Bolivarian Revolution be irreversable? I don’t know.

          As for the example you give of the Yugoslavian socialist regime retaining power that was used to roll back any progress made with regards worker management, is that not as good an argument as any for agreeing with the framework for progress I’ve attempted to outline in the post? One where (to use your terminology) a new state gains ascendancy over the old state…where a fundamental shift in power occurs that empowers the (current) periphery while it similtaneously disempowers the (current) centre. Or put differently, where there is no longer a concentration of power into a few hands but where power is decentralised…spread throughout society.

  18. AAMC 18

    “The armies of anti-public intellectuals, who appear daily on television, radio talk shows, and other platforms, work hard to create a fortress of indifference and manufactured stupidity. Public life is reduced to a host of babbling politicians and pundits, ranging from …” insert usual suspects here .. “all of whom should have their high school diplomas revoked. Much more than providing idiot spectacles and fodder for late-night comics, the assault waged by the warriors of rule enforcement and gated thought poses a dire threat to those vital public spheres that provide the minimal conditions for citizens who can think critically and act responsibly.”

    Henry A. Giroux on Pedagogy required for a new Left

    http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/8009-gated-intellectuals-and-ignorance-in-political-life-toward-a-borderless-pedagogy-in-the-occupy-movement

  19. Interesting discussion, Conal and Bill.

    Reminds me that we all are assuming that the current ‘state’ is not a democratic one – despite claims to the contrary.

    Democracy, so far as my understanding goes, means rule by the people.

    Yet just about everyone you talk to refers to ‘the government’ as somewhere else (than where they are). It is ‘other’. So, clearly, most people still feel they are being governed rather than that they are governing. Hence, it’s hard to see how we can claim that we are a democracy.

    Partly this is probably a result of ‘scale’ as AAMC noted in comment 10. But partly it’s also a result of the system of representation rather than participation.

    Linking to my previous comment (above), representation is generally advocated for the fact that it is efficient – through a ‘division of labour’. The problems of division of labour, however, become very clear in representative political systems since it can result in a ‘careerist’ approach in which politicians themselves become a ‘class’. 

    So, while representative democracies have inherent problems involving loss of actual ‘government by the people’, this is exacerbated by the ‘division of labour’ imperative exerting itself – from the increasingly all-econmpassing dynamics of what passes for our capitalist, market system – over the political process. In short, people realise they can earn a living by being politicians.

    Division of labour has a lot to answer for, when you think about it. When translated into the political world it has far more in common with a monarchy or technocracy than it does with a democracy (i.e., specialisation of the governance role). 

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • @akltransport – Please fill in a form
    Social media has become an important tool for many organisations in how they engage with their customers. It’s become a tool for both marketing and customer service, and there are a number of examples organisations who do it right. Some...
    Transport Blog | 21-10
  • Alpaca Metropolitan – On The Left Special!
    ...
    On the Left | 21-10
  • Video Against Poverty
    Schoolgirls in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India.  Photo / Julie Zhu This is week two of my givealittle.co.nz campaign Video Against Poverty and I'm more than 2/3 of the way to my goal of $2600.00.  This has been totally unexpected and is a really...
    Notes from the edge | 21-10
  • Why I’m Left
    I’m Left all the way down to my bones. My bone marrow is made up of lots of microscopic Karl Marx mustaches. It’s partly why I’m so curmudgeonly. When I was born I was brought home from the hospital to...
    Tangerina | 21-10
  • Don’t cough on me
    It used to be acceptable to go to work or travel with a cough or the flu. That’s been changing over the last 10-20 years, and people who cough and sniffle in public are increasingly treated like people who smoke in the...
    Lance Wiggs | 21-10
  • Some might just come by train.
        As a Waikato girl by birth, Aucklander by nature, and living in Hamilton by choice, I’ve long being a supporter a regular train gig chugging the willing and the weary between the hustle and pace of Auckland and...
    Politically Corrected | 21-10
  • Why I’m Left: happiness, solidarity and community
    (For our opening week, we asked all our contributors to think about why they’re On The Left, and what the next three years holds for the left, the government, and New Zealand.) I’m Left all the way down to my...
    On the Left | 21-10
  • Curiosity’s historic comet photo
    Photo Credit: Curiosity on Mars – NASA Rover Opportunity Views Comet Near Mars. According to NASA: NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured images of a comet passing much closer to Mars than any previous known comet flyby of Earth or Mars....
    Open Parachute | 21-10
  • Ireland in the 21st century – Christchurch WEA course, Sat, Nov 1, 1-4.30...
    One of Ireland’s many ‘ghost estates’, built during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ fake-boom; these buildings are a haunting symbol of early 21st century Ireland Saturday 1 November, 1 – 4.30 pm The twenty-first century began with, officially at least, a great...
    Redline | 21-10
  • Ireland in the 21st century – Christchurch WEA course, Sat, Nov 1, 1-4.30...
    One of Ireland’s many ‘ghost estates’, built during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ fake-boom; these buildings are a haunting symbol of early 21st century Ireland Saturday 1 November, 1 – 4.30 pm The twenty-first century began with, officially at least, a great...
    Redline | 21-10
  • Gough Whitlam: 1916 – 2014
    A Mighty Totara has Fallen: Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam paying his respects to the late NZ PM, Rt. Hon. Norman Kirk, during his Lying-in-State at Parliament Buildings, Wellington. Wednesday, 4th September, 1974. (Photo by John Miller.) A BIG MAN IN EVERY...
    Bowalley Road | 21-10
  • DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014
    Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin, Invercargill. Need a reason to march on 8 November? Check out Professor Jane Kelsey’s latest blog. Updates on what is on where: Auckland – speakers include...
    NZ – Not for sale | 21-10
  • The Security Council and free trade
    Last week, New Zealand won a seat on the United Nations Security Council. And over the weekend the New Zealand business community made it clear what they wanted from the position:A business director says New Zealand's new seat on the...
    No Right Turn | 21-10
  • World News Brief, Tuesday October 21
    Top of the AgendaU.S. Army Drops Weapons to Kurdish Forces...
    Pundit | 20-10
  • National’s failure on housing
    A year ago National passed the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013. In his speech introducing the bill, then-Housing Minister Nick Smith laid down some clear targets: It is an ambitious agreement, and sets out a plan to...
    No Right Turn | 20-10
  • ECAN, Fed Farmers and Dairy NZ – Plotting to reduce water quality
    What does National’s resounding election win mean for our rivers? As we found in our review of the Government’s water quality framework, we have serious reasons to doubt their commitment to ‘maintain or improve our waterways’. Our concerns are growing...
    Gareth’s World | 20-10
  • A new left-leaning blog
    I am pleased to announce the launch of a new blogsite catering for those who want something more than the fare currently being offered by left-leaning sites like The Daily Blog and The Standard....
    Imperator Fish | 20-10
  • Ebola and the criminal passivity of the Great Powers
    The presidents of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, three Ebola-stricken West African nations, made urgent pleas for money, doctors and hospital beds.  The UN Ebola envoy said 20 times more was needed to counter the epidemic.  The U.S. director of...
    Redline | 20-10
  • New Zealand, ISIL, and suspicious behaviour
    The government has announced a review of how New Zealand might deal with foreign fighters in the future in response to what is happening currently in Iraq and Syria. There are some interesting titbits in the press release in terms...
    On the Left | 20-10
  • Out of Zionism: interview with Israeli anti-Zionist historian Ilan Pappé
    One of our links is to the excellent Le Mur des Oreilles site, which contains interviews with Palestinian figures, Israeli anti-Zionists and a range of cultural and political figures talking about the Palestinian cause and the importance of actions such...
    Redline | 20-10
  • Out of Zionism: interview with Israeli anti-Zionist historian Ilan Pappé
    One of our links is to the excellent Le Mur des Oreilles site, which contains interviews with Palestinian figures, Israeli anti-Zionists and a range of cultural and political figures talking about the Palestinian cause and the importance of actions such...
    Redline | 20-10
  • Swearing about swearing the oath
    Yesterday, I was swearing. Swearing the Parliamentary oath, that is. But, under my breath, I was also quietly swearing about the archaic, colonial form of that oath and its inappropriateness for today’s Aotearoa New Zealand. To be permitted to speak...
    frogblog | 20-10
  • Gordon Campbell on the latest TPP leaks
    The release by Julian Assange on Wikileaks of the draft Trands Pacific Partnership chapter on intellectual property – including drug patents – contains some pretty disturbing evidence about what’s still on the table. The leaked drafts pertain to the May...
    Gordon Campbell | 20-10
  • Access: Art and disability: a festival
    The three-day InterACT 2014 Disability Arts Festival kicks off tomorrow at Auckland's Corban Estate and, in its fourth year, provides an intriguing mix of established artists and joyous, unbridled inclusion.One one hand, there are the gala nights on Thursday and...
    Public Address | 20-10
  • Prison abolition – part of creating a just, equal, peaceful society
    Protest at Paremoremo in 2012 over what lawyer Peter Williams described as ‘inhumane’ conditions by Val Morse I want to acknowledge all the people who have done time inside, been arrested or assaulted by the police, whether here or elsewhere....
    Redline | 20-10
  • Prison abolition – part of creating a just, equal, peaceful society
    Protest at Paremoremo in 2012 over what lawyer Peter Williams described as ‘inhumane’ conditions by Val Morse I want to acknowledge all the people who have done time inside, been arrested or assaulted by the police, whether here or elsewhere....
    Redline | 20-10
  • Members of the public stop donating to the SPCA over position on 1080
    Steve Atwood that posted this letter to the SPCA on Facebook the other day. Steve is a great guy and takes some brilliant wildlife photos. We have republished Steve’s letter to the SPCA with his permission. Dear SPCA, I write...
    Gareth’s World | 20-10
  • The struggles of everyday life
    A photo of Asher (right) face-to-face with a cop, taken at a protest outside the Labour Party Conference in 2007, following the so-called “terror raids”, taken by Simon Oosterman. (For our opening week, we asked all our contributors to think...
    On the Left | 20-10
  • West Auckland new network consultation
    Consultation for the West Auckland portion of the new network is now underway. This follows the consultations for Pukekohe/Waiuku, Warkworth, Hibiscus Coast and South Auckland. The consultation runs from today till Monday 1st December. It’s a consultation I’ll be following...
    Transport Blog | 20-10
  • The gerrymanders and National’s 2017 constraints
    Parliament is back in business with National in charge to a degree not seen since first-past-the-post “parliamentary dictatorship” days — thanks to three successful gerrymanders and one failed one. Two of the successful gerrymanders were National’s contrivances to get its...
    Colin James | 20-10
  • Ocean heat storage: a particularly lousy policy target
    The New York Times, 12 December 2027: After 12 years of debate and negotiation, kicked off in Paris in 2015, world leaders have finally agreed to ditch the goal of limiting global warming to below 2 °C. Instead, they have...
    Real Climate | 20-10
  • Sanctions and bombs: how the UN and western powers committed mass murder in...
    This article first appeared in revolution magazine’s Middle East bulletin MidEast Solidarity, issue #1, Spring 2001. It looks at the division of labour between the United Nations and western imperialist powers in committing mass murder in Iraq in the 1990s;...
    Redline | 20-10
  • Sanctions and bombs: how the UN and western powers committed mass murder in...
    This article first appeared in revolution magazine’s Middle East bulletin MidEast Solidarity, issue #1, Spring 2001. It looks at the division of labour between the United Nations and western imperialist powers in committing mass murder in Iraq in the 1990s;...
    Redline | 20-10
  • Luke Harding and the spy as editor
    Originally published at Overland I was writing a chapter on the NSA’s close, and largely hidden, relationship with Silicon Valley. I wrote that Snowden’s revelations had damaged US tech companies and their bottom line. Something odd happened. The paragraph I...
    Bat bean beam | 20-10
  • I quite like beer, the rugby no so much
    Phil Quin put a post up yesterday chiding Grant Robertson for what he sees as an overly cautious approach to political messaging and urging him to be more warlike in his phraseology because New Zealanders clearly have a deep, deep...
    Pundit | 20-10
  • Speech from the Throne: State Opening of Parliament, 21 Oct
    Speech – Governor General Following the General Election, a National-led Government has been formed with a majority in the House on confidence and supply. Confidence and supply agreements have been signed between the National Party and, respectively, the ACT Party...
    Its our future | 20-10
  • Gordon Campbell on the latest TPP leaks
    Column – Gordon Campbell The release by Julian Assange on Wikileaks of the draft Trands Pacific Partnership chapter on intellectual property including drug patents – contains some pretty disturbing evidence about whats still on the table.Gordon Campbell on the latest...
    Its our future | 20-10
  • United Nations: friend or foe?
    Many well-intentioned people still see the United Nations as some kind of alternative to imperialism. Below we’re reprinting an article that first appeared in issue #2 of MidEast Solidarity (Autumn 2002), the Middle East bulletin of revolution magazine. The anti-imperialist...
    Redline | 20-10
  • United Nations: friend or foe?
    Many well-intentioned people still see the United Nations as some kind of alternative to imperialism. Below we’re reprinting an article that first appeared in issue #2 of MidEast Solidarity (Autumn 2002), the Middle East bulletin of revolution magazine. The anti-imperialist...
    Redline | 20-10
  • Every day’s a rainy day
    Sarah’s cat, Carina *nb* This is a repost from Sarah’s site writehanded.org. This week, my best friend – otherwise known as a slightly rotund adopted moggy called Carina – decided that she would enjoy no less than three visits to...
    On the Left | 20-10
  • 10 Key Facts about Labour’s Leadership Election
    Plans are proceeding for the Leadership Election, and at this stage I thought it might be useful to have a heads-up on some of the key aspects from the perspective of members:...
    Labour campaign | 20-10
  • SellShed shedding money?
    This is not how you are meant to do it: Online seller SellShed starts up The seven-person firm has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars building a website and free iPhone app and was now on the hunt for “smart...
    Lance Wiggs | 20-10
  • John Key on Iraq: A timeline
    No New Zealand forces to Iraq, says Key. Stuff, 18 June 2014: Prime Minister John Key has ruled out sending special forces soldiers to Iraq as the United States mulls options in response to the unfolding crisis there. Speaking in...
    No Right Turn | 20-10
  • New Fisk
    With US-led strikes on Isis intensifying, it’s a good time to be a shareholder in the merchants of death...
    No Right Turn | 20-10
  • Carbon News 20/10/14: Chile’s carbon tax, soil SOS and more pressure on d...
    Chile’s new tax could open carbon doors for NZ Chile’s new carbon tax potentially offers New Zealand an opportunity to offset some of its own agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, says economist Dr Suzi Kerr. The $US5-a-tonne carbon tax slipped into...
    Hot Topic | 20-10
  • National doesn’t care about crime by the rich
    National likes to make a lot of noise about benefit fraud. Meanwhile, they've buried a report into the social costs of economic crime:At the beginning of last year the then Minister for the SFO, Anne Tolley, was reported as saying...
    No Right Turn | 20-10
  • New kiwi blog
    On The Left - a collective of lefties....
    No Right Turn | 20-10
  • Habemus Parliament
    So, a month after the election, we finally have a Parliament. Good. meanwhile, people seem to be noticing that the associated ceremony - white wigs, fancy dress, oaths of allegiance to a foreign monarch - isn't very kiwi (and tomorrow,...
    No Right Turn | 20-10
  • Damning report on Ruataniwha dam numbers
    When I presented my submission to the Board of Inquiry on the Tukituki Catchment Proposal I compared the proposed 83 metre high Ruataniwha dam with the Clyde Dam and noted the risk of cost blowouts in the construction process.  The...
    frogblog | 20-10
  • NZ elite win seat at UN Security Council – don’t celebrate, organise!
    Among its past services at the top table of the UN, New Zealand chaired the sanctions committee on Iraq; their sanctions killed at least a million Iraqis, half of them children by Philip Ferguson The New Zealand elite is slapping...
    Redline | 20-10
  • A mighty totara has fallen across the Tasman
    The New Zealand Labour Party expresses deep sadness at the death of former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, aged 98. “Today a great totara has fallen across the Tasman,” Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says....
    Labour | 21-10
  • Note to National: Must deliver on child poverty
    John Key and his Government will be held to its promise to make child poverty a priority, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “In its priority-setting speech today the Government stated child poverty would be a major focus for...
    Labour | 21-10
  • New Analysis show Government cut tertiary education funding
    New analysis done by the Green Party today shows the Government has made cuts to funding of tertiary education since 2008.Figures compiled by the Parliamentary Library show that between 2009 and 2015 Government funding to Tertiary Institutions dropped by 4...
    Greens | 21-10
  • Students doing it tough as fees rise again
    The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Steven Joyce is shutting a generation...
    Labour | 20-10
  • Key misled New Zealand on Iraq deployment
      John Key was misleading New Zealanders prior to the election when he ruled out New Zealand special forces being deployed to Iraq, says Labour Defence Spokesperson Phil Goff.  “Post-election he has cynically disregarded that by saying that deployment of...
    Labour | 20-10
  • Swearing about swearing the oath
    Yesterday, I was swearing. Swearing the Parliamentary oath, that is. But, under my breath, I was also quietly swearing about the archaic, colonial form of that oath and its inappropriateness for today’s Aotearoa New Zealand. To be permitted to speak...
    Greens | 20-10
  • Damning report on Ruataniwha dam numbers
    When I presented my submission to the Board of Inquiry on the Tukituki Catchment Proposal I compared the proposed 83 metre high Ruataniwha dam with the Clyde Dam and noted the risk of cost blowouts in the construction process.  The...
    Greens | 20-10
  • Church congratulated on child poverty stand
    The efforts by the bishops of the Anglican Church to ensure that the issue of child poverty is not forgotten is a call to all New Zealanders to take action, says Labour’s Interfaith-Dialogue Spokesperson, Su’a William Sio.   “I think...
    Labour | 19-10
  • Labour names Review Team
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review.  He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban (see further biographical details here). The Review Team...
    Labour | 19-10
  • Labour backs urban development plans
    Auckland Council’s plan to set up an urban development agency is to be applauded and central government should get behind it to make it a success, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town has indicated plans...
    Labour | 18-10
  • New Zealand can be rightly proud of seat on Security Council
    Gaining a seat on the United Nation’s Security Council shows the sort of standing that New Zealand has in the world and the quality of the long campaign that we ran over nearly a decade, says Foreign Affairs spokesperson David...
    Labour | 16-10
  • NZ has opportunity on UN Security Council
    New Zealand has an opportunity to make a major contribution to the strengthening of international law and institutional capacity through its upcoming two-year tenure on the United Nations Security Council, Green Party spokesperson on global affairs, Dr Kennedy Graham said...
    Greens | 16-10
  • MPI still dragging the chain over causes of food bug
    The Ministry of Primary Industries’ release of Environmental Science and Research’s initial reports regarding the sources of a nasty stomach bug will be little comfort to the 127 people affected by it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “This...
    Labour | 16-10
  • Treasury officials should try working without food
    The Green Party is challenging Treasury officials to work for a week without eating properly, in light of their advice to Government that a food in schools programme is not needed."Treasury's advice was that providing food for children in schools...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Councils need to better protect our drinking water
    Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing several variations to its regional land and water plan that will allow for increased nutrient and other pollution from irrigation and intensive agriculture on the Canterbury Plains. Commissioners are hearing submissions on Variation 1 to...
    Greens | 15-10
  • National needs to commit to making NZ workers safe
    The National Government must do more to help make New Zealand workplaces a safer place to work in, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Data released by Statistics New Zealand today showed that workers in the fishing and...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Key commits to deployment before consultation or analysis
    John Key’s offer to consult Opposition parties on whether to deploy New Zealand forces against ISIS looks increasingly like a PR exercise only, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson, Phil Goff. “The presence of New Zealand’s Chief of Defence Force at a...
    Labour | 15-10
  • National must end ideological opposition to raising income
    If John Key is serious about tackling child poverty he must approach it with an open mind, and overcome his ideological block to raising incomes as a solution, the Green Party said today.Papers released to Radio New Zealand today show...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Pentagon links climate change and terrorism
    Yesterday the Pentagon launched a plan to deal with a threat that “poses immediate risks to national security”; one that “will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the nation”. It wasn’t referring to Ebola or ISIS. It was...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Four Nominees for Labour’s Leadership
    As at 5pm today four valid nominations had been received for the position of Labour Leader, as follows: Andrew Little(nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway) Nanaia Mahuta(nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio) David Parker(nominated by Damien O’Connor...
    Labour | 14-10
  • Green Party calls for consultation over terrorism law changes
    The Green Party has today written to the Prime Minister asking him to engage in wider consultation prior to changing any laws as a result of the recently announced terrorism law reviews, said the Green Party today. In a letter...
    Greens | 14-10
  • MPI must name product and supermarket chain
    The Ministry of Primary Industries must name the product responsible for severe gastroenteritis affecting people around the country, and the supermarket chain distributing it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The Ministry seems to be more concerned about protecting...
    Labour | 13-10
  • John Key dishonest about reasons for wanting to change terrorism law
    John Key is misleading the public to push through terrorism law changes under urgency, the Green Party said today. On Sunday, John Key stated that it is not illegal for someone to fight overseas for a terrorist group, such as...
    Greens | 12-10
  • Law changes shaping up to be worse than first thought
    The Prime Minister needs to be up front about exactly what changes he is planning to make to the Employment Relations  Amendment Bill, Labour's spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.Interviewed on Q&A yesterday John Key said he did not...
    Labour | 12-10
  • Rapists, not Tinder, the threat to women
    Blame for rape and sexual assault should only ever be laid at the door of the perpetrator, not dating services or the actions of women themselves, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “Tinder is not the problem and women...
    Labour | 09-10
  • Safer Journeys For People Who Cycle
    You have a rare opportunity to tell the people who are making the decisions on cycling how to make it better. The Cycling Safety Panel is seeking feedback on their draft recommendations for improving the safety of cycling in New...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Subsidising more pollution will undermine water clean-up plan at Te Waihora...
    In 2010, NIWA found Canterbury’s Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere had the worst nutrient status of 140 lakes around New Zealand that it measured. In 2011, the National Government committed to spending $15 million across the country through the Fresh Start for...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Adding value not herbicides
    The HT swedes, and other brassicas, might seem like a good idea to farmers struggling against weeds but like the GE road, is this the path we want our agriculture to be treading? The Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston...
    Greens | 07-10
  • ‘Blame the Planner’ bizarre approach to child poverty
    The National Government is stooping to a bizarre new low in blaming "planning processes" for poverty and inequality, after spending six years doing nothing about either the housing market or child poverty, the Green Party said today. Finance Minister Bill...
    Greens | 07-10
  • Media Advisory
    MANA Leader, Hone Harawira will not be available to speak with media today regarding his release “Recount Just One Step To restoring Credibility”. He is however available for media comment tomorrow, Tuesday the 8th of October, all media arrangements are...
    Mana | 07-10
  • RECOUNT JUST ONE STEP TO RESTORING CREDIBILITY
    “I have applied for a judicial recount of the votes in the Tai Tokerau election because it is one step in trying to restore credibility to the electoral process in the north, and, I suspect, in all other Maori electorates...
    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA SEEKS TAI TOKERAU RECOUNT
    The MANA Movement is supporting Leader Hone Harawira’s application for a judicial re-count in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate for the 2014 general election. President Lisa McNab says there are a number of serious issues of concern regarding the ability...
    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA to fight mass privatisation of state housing
    Announcements over the past 12 hours from the Minister responsible for Housing New Zealand, Bill English, and Minister for Social Housing, Paula Bennett, make clear the government’s intention for the mass privatisation of state housing. This comes during the middle...
    Mana | 07-10
  • Journalists have right to protect sources
    Legal authorities must respect the right of journalist Nicky Hager to protect the source of his material for his Dirty Politics book under Section 68 of the Evidence Act, Acting Labour Leader David Parker says. “It is crucial in an...
    Labour | 06-10
  • It shouldn’t take the Army to house the homeless
    National’s move to speed up its state house sell-off shows it is bankrupt of new ideas, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National has been in office for six years, yet the housing crisis has got worse every month and...
    Labour | 06-10
  • Government must lift social housing supply, not shuffle the deck chairs
    National's decision to shift the state provision of housing to third parties is a smokescreen for the Government decreasing the provision of affordable housing, the Green Party said today."What National should be doing is increasing the supply of both social...
    Greens | 06-10
  • Election 2014 – the final count
    While we have to wait for the final booth level counts we can now see how well we did in the specials and look at electorate level data. First off special votes (and disallowed/recounted votes etc). There was a change...
    Greens | 06-10
  • We need more houses, not Ministers
    The Government’s decision to have three housing Ministers will create a dog’s breakfast of the portfolio and doesn’t bode well for fixing the country’s housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New Zealanders need more houses, not more Ministers....
    Labour | 05-10
  • MANA’S CHALLENGE TO THE 51st PARLIAMENT
    Ten years ago I led 50,000 Maori on the historic FORESHORE AND SEABED MARCH from Te Rerenga Wairua to the very steps of this parliament, in a march against the greatest land grab in the history of this country –...
    Mana | 03-10
  • Is this really necessary?
    No one denies chief executives should be well paid for their skills and experience, but it is the efforts of all employees which contribute to company profits, Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker says. “Salaries paid to chief executives come at...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Lyttelton Port workers also deserve pay rises
    Hard slog by Lyttelton Port workers contributed to strong financial growth for the company and they deserve to be rewarded for their work as much as its chief executive, says Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker. “Lyttelton Port chief executive Peter...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Māori Party must seek guarantees on Māori seats
    Labour is calling on the Māori Party to ensure protection of the Māori seats is part of its coalition deal with National which is being considering this weekend, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “For the third consecutive term,...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Donaghys job losses another blow to Dunedin
    The loss of 30 jobs from Donaghys rope and twine factory is yet another blow to the people and economy of Dunedin, says Dunedin South Labour MP Clare Curran. “Donaghys was founded in 1876; the company has survived two world...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Dairy price fall shows urgent need to diversify
    The overnight drop in milk prices shows New Zealand’s overreliance on the dairy industry puts our economy in a vulnerable position, says Acting Labour Leader David Parker. “Dairy prices fell 7.3 per cent overnight and have almost halved since February....
    Labour | 02-10
  • Tasks aplenty for new Health Minister
    One of the first jobs for the new Minister of Health must be to provide an honest and transparent report into surgery waiting times and exactly how many Kiwis are not having their health needs met, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette...
    Labour | 02-10
  • OIA protocols and official advice ignored to hide Child Poverty
    It might not seem so now, but child poverty was a major election issue. What a pity we did not have the full debate. In that debate it would have been very helpful to have seen the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 20-10
  • Previewing the 4 candidates for Leader of the Labour Party
    The extraordinary outbursts by Shearer last week highlights just how toxic that Caucus is. Shearer was on every major media platform as the ABC attack dog tearing into Cunliffe in the hope of diminishing Cunliffe’s support of Little by tearing...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – the sudden explosion of ‘left’ blogs
    Time to Teach or more people will suffer from P.A.I.D. Political And Intellectual Dysmorphia.I was on the Twitter and a guy followed me so of course I did the polite thing and followed him back. He wrote a blog so...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Ego vs Eco
    Ego vs Eco...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • We can’t let the Roastbuster case slip away
    Those of us (like me) left with hope that the police would aggressively follow through on the large amount of evidence on offer to them (let’s not forget they forgot they even had some at one point) in the Roastbusters...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Food, shelter and medicine instead of bombs and bullets
    The on-going conflict across the Middle East – due in large part to the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq – has created another humanitarian crisis of biblical proportion. The essentials of life are desperately needed in Iraq and Syria...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • The politics of electorate accommodations
    National’s electorate accommodations with ACT and United Future were a big factor in it winning re-election. Interestingly, there is another electorate accommodation scenario whereby the centre-left could have come out on top, even with the same distribution of party votes....
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Why you should join the TPPA Action on 8 November
    On 8 November 2014, thousands of Kiwis will take part in the International Day of Action to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The rally cry for us is TPPA – Corporate Trap, Kiwis Fight Back. Why should you join...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG – Patrick O’Dea: no new coal mines
    Green Party and Mana Party policy is “NO NEW COAL MINES!” Auckland Coal Action is trying to put this policy into action on the ground. ACA after a hard fought two year campaign waged alongside local residents and Iwi, in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Comparing Police action – Hager raid vs Roast Buster case
    This satire had the NZ Police contact TDB and threaten us with 6months in prison for using their logo.   The plight of Nicky Hager and the draconian Police actions against him has generated over  $53 000 in donations so...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Malala Yousafzai, White Saviour Complexes and Local Resistance
    Last week, Malala Yousafzai was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Since her exposure to the worldwide spotlight, her spirit, wisdom and strength have touched the hearts of people everywhere. However, there have been cynics who have argued that...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Jason Ede is back – but no media can interview him?
    Well, well, well. Jason Ede, the main figure connected to John Key’s office and the Dirty Politics black ops is back with a company with deep ties to the National Party. One thing you can say about the right –...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Leadership Transitions In Other Parties: A ...
    As cannot have escaped anyone’s attention by now, the country is presently in the grips of an election and campaign that will help determine the fate of the nation for years to come. It’s gripping stuff – with clear divides...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • SkyCity worker says she faces losing her house
    SkyCity worker Carolyn Alpine told the company annual shareholder’s meeting today that she faced the prospect of losing her house because the company had cut her shifts from two a week to one without consultation. The solo mother, has worked...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • Greg O’Connor’s latest push to arm cops & 5 reasons not to
    I was wondering at what point within a 3rd term of National that Police Cheerleader Greg O’Connor would start trying to demand cops be armed. O’Connor must have thought to himself, ‘if bloody Key can get us and the GCSB vast new...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • You can’t have crisis without ISIS
    So the new scary bogeyman ISIS might have chemical weapons that the US secretly found in Iraq, but America didn’t want to expose this find because the WMDs were actually built and made by the US and Europe, the two powers...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • NZ WINS UN SPIN THE BOTTLE! Privately sucking up to America for a decade me...
    Oh, we are loved! Little old NZ, the 53rd state of America after Israel and Australia, gets to sit at the adults table for the special dinner party that is the UN Security Council. How delightful, a decade of privately...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • MEDIA BLOG – Myles Thomas – A World Without Advertising
    Non-commercial broadcasting and media. It’s a solution for all manner of problems ailing our tender nation… voter engagement, unaccountable governance, apathy, stupefaction, public education, science in schools, arts appreciation, cultural cringe… But no-one could’ve guessed that non-commercial media might solve...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October
    March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • Whack a mole as US govt foreign policy
    Whack-A-Mole was a popular arcade game from my youth.  It consisted of a waist high cabinet with holes in the top. Plastic moles seemingly randomly pop out of these holes. The purpose of the game was to hit as many...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • In Paean of Debt
    This week is ‘Money Week’. It’s an opportunity to promote to the middle classes, and anyone else who will listen, the virtues of wise ‘investment’. The aims are to promote the mystical (and indeed mythical) virtues of saving for the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • The last 48 hours – Poverty denial, war denial and unapologetic abuse of ...
    The bewildering speed of events that simply end in Key shrugging and proclaiming he doesn’t really give a shit is coming think and fast as the Government suddenly appreciate the full spectrum dominance they now enjoy. Here is Radio NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Mana 2.0 Rebooted
    Internationally the news is that Evo Morales of Bolivia won big with Left Wing policies But what are the chances that the Left will make a resurgence in this country? As the internecine struggles between the Left and the Right...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Blomfield IPCA letter – Has Dirty Politics leaked into the NZ Police ...
    It’s difficult to know what to make of the IPCA letter to Matthew Blomfield over Slater’s continued insistence that the hard drive taken from Matthew wasn’t stolen.  Slater has selectively cherry picked the Police referring back to his claim that Blomfeild perjured...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • ​Media release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union – Auckland move for K...
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is questioning a KiwiRail proposal to progressively relocate its Zero Harm personnel from Wellington to Auckland. “The purpose of the Zero Harm team is to drive KiwiRail’s performance in health and safety.  Rail is a...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Amnesty International – Friend request from an IS militant
    There’s always that one person, that one Facebook friend, usually a musician or event promoter, who, when you so foolishly accept their friend request, will completely inundate your news feed with copious event invitations and promotions. The person who, despite...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • NZ should follow the UK and recognize the Palestinian state
    Over the past two weeks, the United Kingdom and Sweden have made headlines through their decisions to recognize the state of Palestine. They are hardly the first nations to do so. Indeed, 134 countries have, in various ways, given formal...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Discordant Chimes of Freedom: Why Labour has yet to be forgiven.
    WHY DOES THE ELECTORATE routinely punish Labour and the Greens for their alleged “political correctness” but not National? It just doesn’t seem fair. Consider, for example, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 – the so-called “anti-smacking legislation” –...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Hosking or Henry – Which right wing crypto fascist clown do you want to w...
    So Mediaworks are finally going to make some actual money from their eye watering contract with Paul Henry by launching a new multi-platform Breakfast show over TV, Radio and internet. This is great news for Campbell Live who have dodged...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Families need more money to reduce child poverty
    Prime Minister John Key is mistaken to rule out extending the In Work Tax Credit to all poor children (The Nation 11th Oct) and Child Poverty Action Group challenges government advisors to come up with a more cost effective way...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Don’t shit on my dream
    Once were dreamers. A large man, walks down the road and, even from 200 yards there’s light showing between his big arms and bigger body. It’s as if he’s put tennis balls under his arms. Two parking wardens walk out...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Labour and ‘special interests’
    The media narrative of Labour is that it is unpopular because it’s controlled by ‘special interests’. This ‘special interests’ garbage is code for gays, Maoris, wimin and unionists. We should show that argument the contempt it deserves. The next Labour...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Ru...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Tahi) . National’s housing development project: ‘Gateway’ to confusion . Perhaps nothing better illustrates National’s lack of a coherent housing programme than the ‘circus’ that is...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Here’s what WINZ are patronisingly saying to people on welfare when they ...
    Yesterday, a case manager from WINZ called to tell me that I needed to “imagine what I would do if I did not have welfare”. I replied “Well, I guess if I couldn’t live at home, I would be homeless.”...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • David Shearer’s ‘no feminist chicks’ mentality highlights all that is...
    Mr Nasty pays a visit Shearer’s extraordinary outburst last night on NZs favourite redneck TV, The Paul Henry Show, is a reminder of all that is wrong within the Labour Caucus right now… He said the current calls for a female or...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0
    Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – A Tale Of Two Cities
    Sunday was surreal. I went for a drive and ended up in a different country. It wasn’t intentional but those days of too many literally intertextual references seldom are. There is no doubt that the Sunday drive this week had...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Key raises terror threat level to justify war in Iraq and now the SIS need ...
    Have we learned nothing from rushing into war? It’s embarrassing Key has raised our terror threat from ‘very low’ to ‘low’ so he can justify military action in Iraq. Watching him pimp for an American war is as sick as...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Socialism? in France; Austerity in Europe
    On Sunday I stumbled upon this recent New York Times column The Fall of France by Paul Krugman. Then I caught BBC’s Newsnight interview with France’s ‘Socialist’ Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Krugman notes that the Socialists came to power on an anti-austerity mandate, but completely squandered their opportunity...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • So Snowden and Greenwald were right – again – NZ Embassies spying for A...
    Well, well, well. What do we have here… NZ embassies involved in covert intelligence work for US – reportsNew Zealand’s embassies have been involved in covert intelligence gathering work on behalf of the United States, a fresh batch of classified...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Why David Parker *isn’t* a credible choic...
    The one electoral contest this year that a Labour leader is sure to win heated up over the weekend with the late entry of Finance Spokesman (and interim caretaker leader) David Parker into Labour’s leadership race. I’d blogged late last...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Fran O’Sullivan’s extraordinary column
    Note how the carefully constructed flow chart above ignores the mainstream media’s complicity with Slater and Dirty Politics    I am no fan of Fran O’Sullivan’s politics and would argue long into the day against her on many of the...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Final salute to Cunliffe
    Final salute to Cunliffe...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • David Cunliffe’s statement
    I am today announcing that I have decided not to nominate for the 2014 Labour Party leadership contest. It has been a hard decision to make but it is one that I believe is in the best interests of the...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Cunliffe to quit leadership race – the losers are the Labour Party member...
    That’s all folks   And so ends the first ever Labour Party member/affiliates choice for leadership. David Cunliffe is standing down at 2pm and is supporting Andrew Little instead. What a perverse turn of events. Cunliffe was punished by an angry Labour leadership forced...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Want to see new Nu Zilind? Read the comments section of Andrea Vance’s co...
    Andrea Vance is no stooge. She is one of the few mainstream media voices who has challenged power and authority, her latest column on the outrageous attempts by Key to use fear mongering to  spook the sleepy hobbits into war...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • Humanity calling Government – anyone with empathy home?
    On Friday night groups of Invercargill activists and plain ole people who care took part in the 14 Hours Homeless event – sleeping out in the balmy southern climate on cardboard and couches at our Salvation Army Citadel. It’s a...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • Labour, leadership and White blokes
    David Shearer said on TV3’s The Nation this weekend that he appreciated the support Labour’s received from Maori and Pacific communities over the last few elections, but that it was important to again, secure the votes of ordinary white blokes...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • Wrong priorities in media coverage of Ebola crisis
    The experts have told us that there is very little likelihood of a serious Ebola outbreak in any Western nation – unless the virus changes so that it can be spread through the air rather than just via bodily fluids....
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • John Key uses the same old warmongering recipe
    Less than three weeks after the election Prime Minister John Key wants New Zealand to join a war in the Middle East and extend the powers of our US-focused spy agencies the SIS (Security Intelligence Service) and the GCSB (Government...
    The Daily Blog | 12-10
  • Speech from the Throne brings welcome focus on children
    Today’s speech from the Throne confirms the Government’s focus on children, youth and their families in the areas of health, education, youth employment, poverty alleviation and Whānau Ora; now the challenge is to ensure every child in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • John’s Job Fairs no fix for unemployment and poverty
    “John Key has clearly been looking to the US for his latest bright idea on dealing with employment issues,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Sue Bradford. “Job fairs where the desperately unemployed queue in their corporate best to compete...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech From the Throne Foreshadows More Corporate Welfare
    Responding to the Governor General’s Speech from the Throne, which outlined that the Government’s intentions for the next Parliamentary term would include further Business Growth Agenda initiatives, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Green MP to speak at panel on Rainbow Mental Health
    Hamilton, New Zealand: Recently re-elected Green Party MP Jan Logie will be a guest speaker at a panel on the mental health of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trangender, Takataapui and Intersex people taking place on November 1st as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Evidence Supports GE Moratorium
    Federated Farmers spokesman Graham Smith's call for a 'rethink' on release of GeneticallyEngineered organisms is misguided, and instead it is time for a formal moratorium on GMOs in the environment.(1)...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Chatham Rise mining could have impact on whales and dolphins
    Wellington, 21 October 2014--Mining phosphate on the Chatham Rise, off the east coast of New Zealand’s south island, could potentially have many impacts on marine mammals like whales and dolphins, the Environmental Protection Agency was told today....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Council endorses Nanaia Mahuta as the next Labour leader
    Te Kaunihera Māori, the Māori Council of the New Zealand Labour Party, have passed a resolution to endorse the Hon Nanaia Mahuta as the next leader of the Labour Party...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Kaumatua to organise petition to end Maori seats
    Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin has announced that he will be organising a nationwide petition to seek support from Maori voters to end the Maori seats. “These seats are patronising”, he says. “They imply we need a special status, and that...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Announcing a New Voice for The Left
    Josh Forman is pleased to announce the creation of a new force on the Left of politics in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Public services held back by poor workplace culture
    A new report by Victoria University’s Centre for Labour, Employment and Work shows that public servants are working significant unpaid overtime to ensure the public services New Zealanders value are able to continue....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Andrew Little’s probability of being the next leader of the Labour Party has reached 70% and Jacinda Ardern is favourite to become his deputy, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Prison Drug Treatment Unit marks a milestone
    Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Drug Treatment Unit (DTU) celebrated the completion of its 50th six month Drug and Alcohol Programme today, with the graduation of a further twelve offenders....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Security Council seat a chance for NZ to empower women
    The UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand (UN Women NCANZ) welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use its position to proactively promote effective implementation of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Waipareira and ACC sign Partnership
    Waipareira and The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Whanau Centre, Henderson – marking a special day for the West Auckland Urban Maori organisation....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Humanitarian aid desperately needed in Iraq and Syria
    Global Peace and Justice Auckland is calling on the government to provide humanitarian funding for non-aligned NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in the Middle East rather than give any support whatever for the US-led military campaign in the area....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Court Judicial Decision: Dotcom v The USA: 17 October 2014
    The United States of America is seeking the extradition of Messrs Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and Van Der Kolk. The matter has been before the Courts on numerous occasions, and no further recitation of the facts is needed....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Marshall Island poet speaks at UN climate summit
    “The fossil fuel industry is the biggest threat to our very existence as Pacific Islanders. We stand to lose our homes, our communities and our culture. But we are fighting back. This coming Friday thirty Pacific Climate Warriors, joined by...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Many tourist car accidents preventable
    Simple steps could dramatically reduce the number of accidents involving tourists, says the car review website dogandlemon.com ....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • RainbowYOUTH: 25 Years, 25 More
    In 1989, a group of young people in Auckland got together to form a support group for LGBTIQ youth. They called it Auckland Lesbian And Gay Youth (ALGY). After 25 years, several location changes, a name change, a brand reboot...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Outdated Oath shows need for Kiwi Head of State
    MPs are sworn in today and New Zealand Republic has written to MPs asking them to talk about why 121 New Zealanders elected by the people of New Zealand and standing in the New Zealand Parliament swear allegiance to another...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Council shouldn’t revenue grab from windfall valuations
    Auckland Council should state clearly they will not try and capture revenue as a result of the latest valuations and needs reminding that the City’s skyrocketing property values doesn’t change the level or cost of Council’s services, says...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • EPMU endorses Andrew Little for Labour leadership
    The National Executive of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union unanimously endorsed Andrew Little for the role of Labour leader, at a meeting held yesterday. “I have been speaking to our workplace delegates at forums across the country over...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • World Food Day promotes Agroecology not GE technology
    The UN has stated that agroecology is a major solution to feeding the world and caring for the earth....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Labour Names Review Team
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Contenders for Labour leadership debate for first time
    The contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party debated for the first time on TV One’s Q+A programme today....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • UN Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme
    New Zealand's United Nations Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully
    Murray McCully says New Zealanders can expect a 5-10 year engagement against Islamic State if we join military action in Iraq and the government will take that “very carefully into account”...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Julia Gillard
    Julia Gillard says there is “sufficient evidence” to fight Islamic State and does not think it will increase the risk of a domestic attack...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • NZ businesses to make child abuse a priority conversation
    Many leading New Zealand businesses have partnered with national child advocacy organisation Child Matters to participate in the fourth annual ‘Buddy Day’ - New Zealand’s only child abuse prevention awareness day....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Tribunal decision significant for SMEs
    The Human Rights Review Tribunal decided this week in favour of an employee’s right not to work on Saturdays for religious reasons. The decision may still be appealed but the Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, Robert Kee,...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • On The Nation this weekend
    This weekend on The Nation… New Zealand has been elected to the United Nations Security Council, but what happens next? Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully from New York about our goals for reform, what America wants from us...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • 1000+ supported by Te Arawa Whanau Ora
    Over 1000 individual whānau members are leading happier, healthier, more successful lives as a result of eight passionate and committed Māori organisations working at the coalface to help whānau find success....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Nomination for Board Members Now Open
    CRF’s objective is to create opportunities for people from refugee backgrounds to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to every area of New Zealand society. It is an organisation that undertakes advocacy work using the strengths-based approach,...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Anglican Family Care Otago staff to take industrial action
    Social workers, family workers and support staff working for Anglican Family Care in Dunedin and South Otago will take industrial action after their employer refused a pay increase that would keep up with the rising cost of living....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Use UN Security Council role to overcome inaction and injust
    Amnesty International welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the UN Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use the role to ensure the body lives up to its role of safeguarding global peace and security....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Grisham’s ‘child porn’ comments ignorant
    World-renowned author John Grisham has come under fire by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation, for comments it says trivialises the global child sex abuse trade....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Latest leak of TPPA intellectual property text confirms risk
    On the eve of the latest (non)round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yet another version of the intellectual property has found its way to Wikileaks ....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • New Zealand awarded UN Security Council seat
    International aid agency Oxfam New Zealand welcomes New Zealand’s election to the United Nations Security Council, saying it gives an extraordinary opportunity to make a lasting contribution to international peace and security and improve the lives...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • 40 more jobs lost to cheap imports
    40 more jobs lost to cheap imports Another New Zealand manufacturer is closing its doors, giving the lie to the idea that we have a “rock star” economy or any strategy for jobs growth. Wellpack is a paper bag manufacturer...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Pink Batts manufacturer to cut Christchurch jobs
    Pink Batts manufacturer to cut Christchurch jobs 29 roles are to be cut at the Christchurch manufacturing facility of Tasman Insulation, the company which manufacturers the iconic Pink Batts brand of products. The company is proposing to consolidate its...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Kellogg cereal donations help the Sallies feed those in need
    Kellogg New Zealand commits 64,000 serves of breakfast cereal during World Food Day Coinciding with World Food Day this year, Kellogg New Zealand and The Salvation Army are reaching out to less fortunate Kiwis with the donation of 64,000 serves...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • National Slips, Labour Hits Lows
    National fail to get post-election bounce but leaderless Labour Party crash to lowest ever support...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • NZ parents hope for more than just happy and healthy babies
    Auckland, 16 October 2014 – What do expectant mums and dads hope for their children? According to new research from Growing Up in New Zealand , a baby’s health and happiness may be high up on the list, but today’s...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • NZPI backs Minister’s affordable housing stance
    NZPI backs Minister’s affordable housing stance NZPI is supportive of Hon. Dr Nick Smith’s, efforts to use the RMA as a mechanism for taking the heat out of the housing affordability challenge in New Zealand. “As Minister for Environment...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Prime Minister’s OIA Admision Disturbing
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling for answers after it was revealed on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report that the Prime Minister’s office routinely flouts its obligations under the Official Information Act. Taxpayers’ Union spokesman, Ben...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • NZDIA forum press release
    NZDIA forum press release Wellington - The New Zealand Defence Industry Association, with the support of the NZ Defence Force and the Ministry of Defence, will be holding a two-day international forum on October 21-22 at the Michael Fowler Centre...
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • BPW NZ calls fashion industry to account
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) joins the call for action on the use of skinny models and mannequins as it is directly affecting the self-esteem and health of many of our young people....
    Scoop politics | 15-10
  • Electoral Commission introduces Extra Touch for Blind NZers
    The Electoral Commission was presented with the Extra Touch Award by the Association of Blind Citizens of New Zealand (Blind Citizens NZ), in recognition of its successful implementation of Telephone Dictation Voting ahead of its commitment to do so by...
    Scoop politics | 15-10
Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere