Boots Theory: Move left to win? Move left to win!

Written By: - Date published: 11:46 am, January 13th, 2016 - 77 comments
Categories: blogs, capitalism, class war, International, Media, Politics, us politics - Tags: ,

Republished with permission from Stephanie Rodgers at Boots Theory.

Via my personal idol Anat Shenker-Osorio, an interesting article from The Atlantic on the Working Families Party, who are finding fascinating new ways to drag the political conversation back to the left left-of-centre vaguely non-fascist end of the spectrum in the USA:

The Working Families Party’s agenda—frankly redistributionist and devoted to social equality—targets a class of Democratic elected officials who, in the view of many liberals, seem to listen more to their moneyed donors than to the left-wing rank and file. Aggressive, tactical, and dedicated to winning, the WFP would like to force Democrats—and the country—to become more liberal by mobilizing the party base, changing the terms of the debate, and taking out centrist incumbents in primaries.

If there’s ever been a moment for this, it is now. Four years after Occupy Wall Street, with the socialist Bernie Sanders pushing Hillary Clinton leftward in the Democratic presidential primaries, liberal frustration with national politics has reached a boiling point. Enter the WFP: Since its founding nearly two decades ago, it’s become an influential fixture of Democratic politics in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Now, the party is going national. By mid-2016, the WFP plans to be in 11 states, with more on the horizon. Last month, the WFP endorsed Sanders after an online vote of its national membership. They may not yet be a household name, but a few years from now, they aim to be a national force.

Kinda inspiring stuff, though obviously the voting system the WFP is using to get leverage over the Democrats doesn’t apply to NZ and MMP. This predicament in particular resonates with me:

In New Mexico, Benavidez said, labor and community groups had a good relationship. “But when it came to taking on corporate Democrats, there was a lot of hesitation.”

Analilia Mejia, the crusading director of New Jersey Working Families, jumped in from across the table. “Here is what you say to them, verbatim: ‘Let us be the “crazy” left,’” she said. “‘Let us be the voice that creates the space that allows you to negotiate for more of what you want.’ You can’t be for raising taxes? Let us say, ‘Tax the rich,’ and then you can push harder.”

There have been many attempts to create a more leftwing alternative in New Zealand, and they’ve failed for any number of reasons. One problem is probably our size – the pool of activists isn’t that huge, and when it’s the same people leading the charge time and time again the politics can become secondary to the personalities involved, whether they intend it or not.

Another is probably our love of tearing ourselves apart. I’m not talking about inter-blog sniping or Twitter kerfuffles – like the dudes of the left are so fond of saying, a few people sniping in blog comments doesn’t change the course of elections. But the big political left hasn’t been a happy family for a very long time, and our enemies see it – that’s why you can’t move for rightwing sockpuppets trying to sow discord about the Greens moving to the right, or constantly bringing up Kim Dotcom, or pretending to have “sources inside Fraser House” spreading rubbish about the Labour leadership.

I don’t know what the answers are. But what we can take from the WFP in the States, or Podemos in Spain, or yes, from the successes of people like Jeremy Corbyn, is that going left is not the end.

If a “frankly redistributionist and devoted to social equality” protest party can shift the discourse in the United States of America, it can’t be that mindblowing a prospect to get our own political discussions here in NZ back into the realms of fairness, and solidarity, and justice, and seeing the best in people not the bogeymen of bludgers or foreigners or parasites.

77 comments on “Boots Theory: Move left to win? Move left to win!”

  1. Wayne 1

    There is a left wing alternative in New Zealand under MMP. It is the Green Party.

    MMP means the two major parties need to cleave to the centre to be successful, since the more left wing (Greens, Mana) or ring wing (Act) or populist (NZF) alternatives have their own parties.

    At least that is how I see it.

    If Labour activists want to turn Labour into a Corbynite party, good luck to them. But it means the center voters will find a moderate National Party (which it is at present) a more sensible fit for their aspirations.

    However, many commenters here seem to see National as a neo-liberal quasi-fascist party out to crush New Zealand, and the only reason they win is because they fool middle voters using the memes devised by Crosby Textor. If that is what you believe, well, that is what you believe.

    But is it connected to reality?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      Why does the National Party use Crosby Textor if not for propaganda purposes.

      Running a rat-fucking operation out of the Prime Minister’s office, selling legislation in exchange for donations, “lucrative business careers” for MPs, intolerance of dissent, undermining human rights and the rule of law…quasi-fascist? Or just plain old National Party incompetence and corruption, motivated by fear and hate.

    • b waghorn 1.2

      I now a green voter whos social beliefs align more with act but vote green because of thier advocating for the planet and animals. I would be surprised if they are the only one.

      “But is it connected to reality?”
      If your trying to say that nationals methods of manipulating the press hasn’t played a big role in keeping them in government ,then you’re either thick or a liar.

      • Macro 1.2.1

        They may be a Green Voter – but they couldn’t in all honesty be a Green Party Member with right wing social beliefs.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          I’ve come across a few ACT turned GP voters.

          There are also apolitical libertarians in NZ who vote GP. They don’t realise their politics are so closely aligned with ACT, or they do but don’t realise how proto-fascist ACT really are.

          • Macro 1.2.1.1.1

            I must confess I haven’t – but then I’m in the Coromandel. The Act lot are over on the plains around Morrinsville and there is not much support for them around these parts. Mind you, my circle are very active Green members ( my daughter is a regional co-convener – I act as her secretary 🙂 ).
            The Greens are by nature a very liberal as opposed to authoritarian party whereas Act on the other hand is the opposite. So I suppose those who are attracted to a liberal (as distinct from libertarian) values would tend to drift towards the Greens.

            • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Then there’s the idea that only a real zealot insists that a party’s policy platform agrees with their personal ideas 100%. And then the zealots and up in a little party all on their own.

              Most people join parties that match their main priorities, but might have some room for compromise on other issues.

              The Greens’ main priority is the environment. That leaves some wriggle room on economic management – but not so much as farblue/greens might hope for, because a fair number of Green members also have social and economic justice as their main priorities.

              But an ACT-oriented individual who cares about environmental issues could well choose to support the greens over moving to epsom just to vote for Rimmer.

              • Macro

                Actually there is a great deal of debate in Green circles on economic policy – particularly with regards sustainability and environmental protection. Many conventional economists see the environment as a subset of the economy (fix the economy then you can fix the environment) if they think about the environment at all. But of course, this is the wrong way round because the economy is obviously a subset of the environment – as we are now seeing in Canterbury with massive pollution of waterways and ground water. The limits of growth of dairying in the region is rapidly approaching if not already surpassed – even farmers can’t raise cows on polluted water, or if there is no water to be had.
                From the stand point of the Greens the question is “How does one achieve prosperity without growth?” One of the obvious corollaries to that question is how to achieve a more equitable distribution of wealth within society – which then leads in to the consideration of welfare and health programmes that fit within the parameters of the new economic environment.
                There is obviously more to being a Green than tree hugging, although that is important.

                • weka

                  Likewise, the new Green politics don’t differentiate between social good and environmental good, so social and environmental policies not only both need to be addressed, but they need to be addressed together.

                  Old school thinking sees them as being two separate things that need to be prioritised. New thinking sees them as intrinsically interconnected (sorry to be all hippy there McFlock).

                  • McFlock

                    Lol a certain amount of hippiness is appropriate, given the topic.

                    And I’d certainly suggest that anyone with inclinations towards ACT economic philosophy is “old school” to the point of Smith or Ricardo. 🙂

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      And I’d certainly suggest that anyone with inclinations towards ACT economic philosophy is “old school” to the point of Smith or Ricardo.

                      Ricardo maybe but Smith was a philosopher and he brought that to his study of economics. His comparison in Wealth of Nations between how the French treated their slaves and how Americans treated there’s was instructive.

                      In France owning a slave was a status symbol. You truly had to be rich to afford one because the laws required them to be well clothed, well treated, well fed and work only a few hours per day and that only in the mansion.

                      In the US slaves were property and the owner could do anything they liked to them. This resulted in huge abuse of the slaves both mentally and physically.

                      He mostly rejected Acts philosophy of property rights on this basis.

                      Things is, those sorts of abuse still happen today under the guise of property rights. Farmers who abuse their animals and developers who will cut down trees with no thought to how that will damage the land and people. Pretty sure that business owners who abuse their staff are thinking along the lines of: It’s my business and I’ll do what I like.

                      The one thing we should have learned by now is that when some people get hold of property they start abusing it contrary to what the libertarians and conservatives believe.

                • McFlock

                  well, that’s your perspective. But that just means that the prevailing green discussions don’t interest folk who woud be ok with DoC being privatised.

                  • Macro

                    I can’t see how those folk who would be happy with DoC being privatised could ever consider voting Green! Well we would be happy with their vote – but they would be very disappointed if they ever thought that the Greens would be instrumental in Privatising an already run down organisation. That would be the last thing on a Green agenda, and is certainly not Green Policy.

                    • McFlock

                      Like I said, they might be prepared to put the privatisation issue aside if their lifestyle-block creek is full of cowshit and didymo.

                    • Macro

                      Ah Yes! I see what your saying. These of course are the people who support the current regime of “voluntary water quality measures” so favoured by National.

                      eg
                      ” Environment Minister Nick Smith has had a report since January that recommends tough rules to protect waterways.

                      Federated Farmers is lobbying him not to adopt the policy, saying its own voluntary and “innovative” measures are helping clean up rivers.

                      Conservationists say New Zealand’s polluted rivers – one international report said the Manawatu was among the most polluted in the world – are in a disgusting state.

                      But Dr Smith said there was no “magic bullet” to improving water quality. ”
                      my bold

                    • Ad

                      Maybe DoC would be safer as a Trust.Just contract out from the state to service the Parks.

                      Much easier if Forest and Bird, QE2 and Morgan Foundation just got together for the whole thing.

                    • Macro

                      NO!
                      I’m an active member of Forest and Bird – we have enough on our plate already without having to do DoC’s work for them.

        • b waghorn 1.2.1.2

          Most people are barely politically aware until election time I just know that on a couple of those what party do you Aline with sites, act romped home and it was due to their beliefs around people looking after themselves in stead of depending on the government.
          Btw We’ve had a few heated conversations about how the system we’re running makes it next to impossible for some of their simplistic beliefs to work.

    • Lanthanide 1.3

      “However, many commenters here seem to see National as a neo-liberal quasi-fascist party out to crush New Zealand”

      I don’t see them as being out to ‘crush New Zealand’. Merely to enrich themselves and their mates and not looking out fairly for those with less resources. Also a lot of National’s social / criminal policies are distinctly short-sighted: insulating houses, properly rehabilitating criminals with skills and jobs and alleviating poverty to get rid of 3rd world diseases such as rheumatic fever are definitely expensive things to fund up-front right now, but they will pay off in the future in reduced expenditure. Unfortunately those proceeds are very difficult to measure, and so National chooses not to do the sensible thing and invest now for gains later.

      “and the only reason they win is because they fool middle voters using the memes devised by Crosby Textor.”

      And because the MSM do a very poor job of anything other than repeating what the government has said.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.3.1

        I don’t see them as being out to ‘crush New Zealand’. Merely to enrich themselves and their mates and not looking out fairly for those with less resources.

        Enriching themselves and their rich mates is crushing NZ.

      • weka 1.3.2

        “I don’t see them as being out to ‘crush New Zealand’.”

        Neither do I. It’s just a side effect of what they really want, and they don’t care if NZ gets crushed.

        • McFlock 1.3.2.1

          +1

        • Draco T Bastard 1.3.2.2

          I’d almost be willing to agree with that if National didn’t keep doing stuff that makes NZ subservient to the US – especially US corporations.

          • weka 1.3.2.2.1

            Yes, I was thinking of things like keeping wages low too. But they can still probably be filed under how do we get what we want/we don’t give a shit.

            Hmm, pretty odd conversation this, how much of National’s evil is intentional vs a by-product, makes my head hurt.

            • Chris 1.3.2.2.1.1

              There’s also the need to quell dissent. Dumbing down in media, education. Deliberate feeding of values underpinning neo-liberal agenda. All very deliberate. Can’t be anything but deliberate.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      moderate National Party

      National hasn’t been moderate since Muldoon left the Premiership and nobody would call him moderate either.

      However, many commenters here seem to see National as a neo-liberal quasi-fascist party out to crush New Zealand, and the only reason they win is because they fool middle voters using the memes devised by Crosby Textor.

      That would be because that’s what they are and that’s what they’re doing.

      But is it connected to reality?

      Yes it is. National isn’t.

      • Magisterium 1.4.1

        National hasn’t been moderate since Muldoon left the Premiership and nobody would call him moderate either.

        Increased paid parental leave, increased parental tax credit, free doctor visits for under-13s… those black-hearted bastards.

        • savenz 1.4.1.1

          @ Magisterium, free doctor visits for under-13s – not true – took my child and got charged $49 for the visit. That is rip off Auckland though. Doctors can and do charge for the child’s visits.

          My parents got a payment for each child they had in the 1980’s. No credits or paperwork – just some money to spend on their children – that actually helped them get into a house or pay for food.

          There seems to be all these government schemes and marketing slogans on budget day, but they are not necessarily true.

          • J 1.4.1.1.1

            I think by memory that it was roger Douglas that changed the family benefit scheme.
            A labour finance minister.

            • Sirenia 1.4.1.1.1.1

              It was the National Party’s Ruth Richardson’s Mother of All Budgets in 1991 that got rid of the Family Benefit, and slashed benefits etc.

        • Macro 1.4.1.2

          Wow! all of that! and all originally sponsored by other parties. National diluted them all and reluctantly introduced them when it was obvious from popular polling that they were on the loosing side of the argument. Very Progressive those Nats!

        • Draco T Bastard 1.4.1.3

          Beneficiaries kicked off support, solo parents forced to look for work when doing so is detrimental to the children, subsidies to Rio Tinto and other multi-national corporations that simply don’t need any, SkyCity deal to help impoverish Auckland even more, Auckland Super Shitty in an obvious attempt to sell off Auckland’s assets, and the list goes on and on and on.

          National is crushing NZ for the sole purpose of enriching themselves and their rich mates.

    • savenz 1.5

      “But is it connected to reality?”
      yep.

    • Chris 1.6

      Ha! You’re precisely the kind of person Anat Shenker-Osorio and Stephanie Rodgers are talking about.

    • Stuart Munro 1.7

      No, the Gnats are not remotely connected to reality – which is why their grand promises of growth and jobs never amount to anything.

    • lprent 1.8

      However, many commenters here seem to see National as a neo-liberal quasi-fascist party…

      Not me. I view the National party as where the stupid activists go. It particularly shows in their MPs

    • Ad 1.9

      The Greens have 8-10% of political reality.

      I can’t get enthusiastic about this government. They are squandering the most popular leadership since Holyoak doing sweet f.a.

      They won’t get a third term plodding like this.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    “frankly redistributionist and devoted to social equality”

    This is poor framing. Our society is already majorly redistributionist. It takes the wealth of the nation and redistributes it to a few who then get the power to rule the rest of us.

    It’s not redistribution that we need but the taking back of our wealth and power from those who have stolen it from us.

  3. fisiani 3

    In order to win Labour cannot be National-Lite. Honest John Key’s popularity will always outshine any Labour leader. Labour as the biggest Party of the Left have to follow the example of the British Labour Party and eject the Right from Labour. Only then will the missing million return to vote.

    • Puckish Rogue 3.1

      Oh you naughty scamp that’s just being mean 🙂

    • weka 3.2

      lolz, nice one fisiani, I much prefer this concerntrolling.

      btw have you seen the changes to the standard’s commenting policy?

      The political system changed in NZ in 1996 from FPP to MMP. We expect people interested in politics and especially polls here to have caught up with the implications of that change – all governments since 1996 have been coalitions. Arguing on the basis FPP politics for NZ is viewed as evidence of trolling.

      Policy

      😈

    • Chris 3.3

      Can you tell Labour how they do that, too?

    • Stuart Munro 3.4

      Indeed why stop there? Why not eject the right from New Zealand altogether? They are neither use nor ornament.

    • Ad 3.5

      Labour can certainly win being National Lite. And probably will.
      Theyll just get a bit of stick from their members.

      • Chris 3.5.1

        How can Labour do this? For Labour to win properly, not just on the back of a lucky strike like they did in 1999, they need to be Labour-heavy. Competing with National on National’s terms can never bring success that’s real, as opposed to flimsy due of a hiccup in history like a leader with a modicum of charisma up against the likes of Bill English. Heck, Clark nearly went down to Don Brash! 2008 confirmed this all to be very true. (Hi Leftie!)

        • Chris 3.5.1.1

          Think now Ad you might’ve been kidding. Oh well, can never say these things too many times around those who truly believe Labour’s on the right track.

  4. Gristle 4

    I feel that the thread has been derailed at comment 1 by Wayne as what was the quoted article discussed was the ability of WFP as an internal pressure group to move the Democratic leftward.

    The neo-libs inside Labour are my barrier to joining the LP as I don’t understand how big a group they are and how I can work to counter them. CV had a go and from comments here it would appear that he made a big effort, but pissed off a lot people without moving the LP.

    So is there a WFP type opportunity here?

    • weka 4.1

      We’re in limbo, because we’ve yet to see what Little’s Labour will do pre-election. The theory is that he’s taking his time to build certain things with the party and taht nearer to the election it will become clearer what they intend. eg the rumour is that they will be clearer pre-election about coalition partners, but we have no idea what that means.

      IMO the best thing lefties can do now is vote Green, and/or join the GP and/or donate money/time. The bigger the Green vote the more we will have a push leftish. If the GP vote doesn’t reach a certain size then it’s possible that Labour will again sideline the GP and form govt with NZF and that lessens the scarey leftie value considerably. Not that the GP are scarey lefties, but they’re what we have, and if you look at their policies they’re talking about many of the things that people here want for NZ. Let them be the voice that Labour can’t be.

      The other aspect of that is that the bigger the vote the GP get sooner, the slower their own shift to the centre will be, and the more they will be able to influence the Overton window whether in govt or not.

      I’m a GP member, but that’s not really why I am suggesting this. I’m a pragmatic voter and the best strategy I can see for the left is to support the party that holds those values and stands by them.

      • b waghorn 4.1.1

        I think the best strategy for the left is another in you’re face party like mana to come into being . I’m adament they where getting traction and if they hadn’t blown it could have grown in strength.
        The viocless ones in places like Taumarunui will never vote green, I just hope that the implosion of mana hasn’t completely switched some off from politics for ever.

        • Macro 4.1.1.1

          The viocless ones in places like Taumarunui will never vote green,

          Why is that? Is it because the Greens are perceived as anti-forestry?

          ps I have a vested interest in this question as my daughter is a co-convener for the region.

          • b waghorn 4.1.1.1.1

            I should of put IMO but I just can’t see the people who were driving round with mana flags on their cars and tee shirts on identerfying with the green party ,
            hell I’ve voted for them twice but I don’t identify with them its just under MMP labour greens has been the best option for nz as far as I can see.

            • Macro 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks for that – its important to know how to reach people. The old village hall political meeting to present yourself to the people was imo the most democratic and politically successful way – but has been superceded to a large extent by popularity contests on TV.
              Mana had a lot to offer and it was disappointing that it fell away at the last hurdle.
              Meteria took up Honi’s “Feed the Children” bill – but of course it fell short by a Peter Dunne – bless him. So as you can see the Greens were more than willing to work with Mana.

        • greywarshark 4.1.1.2

          It’s time that we decided to take responsibility for our own futures, and stop being the huddled masses who withdrew from politics or thinking and analysing the ‘game’. The voiceless ones haven’t been muted by savagery, they have adopted that approach and given up their opportunity to join in and have a say, an opportunity to vote and think about a better future that they could shape that was so hardly fought for, with great sacrifice by many people, and co-operation from many others who would have lost opportunities and advantages when they dared to rock the boat.

          It’s time to stop being distant from the fray, it’s an ultimate fight, and it’s about the life that you want for yourselves and others. It’s ‘the’ major competition to follow, bigger than All Blacks, or winning the Melbourne Cup. So all those fence sitters, chewing their cud, and keeping quiet about ideas for fear of being laughed at or causing a fuss had better speak up and start examining their and others’ ideas to see if they are reasonable ones.

          The strong silent bloke or blokess is ultimately one who tries to stare down the opposition, and willing to fight physically or legally, but often if things have gone too far and he/she loses out what then.? Is it he walks away, or is involved in a harsh, even deadly fight. We don’t want that in NZ. But some backbone, some hard thinking about what is possible is needed, some discussion with a wider group, like on TS, is needed to get the overview, and then a path and plan to follow that is achievable. We can’t go after the moon, but we can draw up a charter to follow. There’ll be some already circulating that it would be interesting to view and critique towards a general affirmation of the way forward.

          • b waghorn 4.1.1.2.1

            My defence for staying feely silent publicly is that I’m don’t feel I can confidently voice left leaning opinions with out tripping my self up , if this Little chap proves to be to my likening as he reveals his plan I may become more active.

        • b waghorn 4.1.1.3

          Taumarunui more sheep shearing and under employment although forestry is growing. But with rail and the works gone there is no solid big employer in town.

        • weka 4.1.1.4

          “I think the best strategy for the left is another in you’re face party like mana to come into being . I’m adament they where getting traction and if they hadn’t blown it could have grown in strength.”

          I’m going to respectfully disagree b. It might be the ideal thing, but strategy wise it sucks. It takes energy, time and money to successfully establish a political party and get MPs in parliament. We don’t have that time. Any party that was set up now will take activist energy, money and votes from the left and probably waste them because it can’t get an electorate MP or over the 5%. We simply can’t afford that. Mana had their chance, and I’ll be interested to see what happens at the next election with Harawira, but if they resurrect themselves it will be risky.

          “The viocless ones in places like Taumarunui will never vote green, I just hope that the implosion of mana hasn’t completely switched some off from politics for ever.”

          Yes, but those people shouldn’t be voting GP, they should be voting Labour. I think you have missed my point. The strategy isn’t to get such voters to vote GP, it’s to get the GP enough MPs in government so that they can shift NZ left and they can make the govt more accountable to the voiceless ones in Taumaranui. This isn’t about what people want, and it’s not ideal, but it’s about a strategy that might work given all the constraints we have (little time, no true left wing party, disenfranchised or apathetic voters).

          I’m suggesting that if enough Labour voters, and non-voters voted GP instead, we might actually change things.

          btw, the GP aren’t my ideal party by any means. If there were a party that better suited me, I would probably still vote GP in 2017, because that’s the most effective use of my vote. The strategy I am suggesting is letting go our need to have our personal political needs met by a party, and to vote for the party that can actually do something in 2017-2020.

          • b waghorn 4.1.1.4.1

            http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/mpp/electorates/data/DBHOH_Lib_EP_Rangitīkei_Electoral_Profile/rangitīkei-electoral-profile
            Just to prove how little I know about political strategy mana got bugger all and labour greens did not to bad ,
            Should of looked here before I posted.

            • greywarshark 4.1.1.4.1.1

              B waghorn
              That’s why TS is valuable. Politics is a sea with many currents and reefs and sandbanks, fishers have good charts and training at technical institutes in making their way in their waters. But we splash and stumble along trying to understand what’s going on, are the pronouncement genuine, is there a secret bias that will result in little of the promised action – what are the traps for the unwary?

              Humans are devious. We have to polish our devious sensing devices up for looking at politicians, advisors, funders, others and also ourselves. So I think we should keep coming here, listening to those who have thoughtful comments to make, discuss, allow for occasional rants that are more fire and fury than use, and work at it. It’s a new process for most NZs, we all believed we had the deal covered. So we were trusting and complacent with our unions, our left politicians, our right businesspeople, and frankly they just wouldn’t pass their NCEA levels in what democracy is,. We need now to understand how it can move to deal with real problems that people would prefer to put in the hard basket till they turn into immediate emergencies.
              edited

          • marty mars 4.1.1.4.2

            weka – I, and I suspect many Mana supporters, would need to see some evidence that what you propose would happen – it just seems a little fanciful to me.

            “and to vote for the party that can actually do something in 2017-2020.”

            it’s the actually – will they do something? who knows???

            Mana may come back – the political activism hasn’t diminished just gone back to below the radar levels. The issues that Mana fought for still need to be fought for and the voice that Mana represented is still an unheard voice – labour, the greens nzf, gnats and so on do not represent, they just don’t.

            • weka 4.1.1.4.2.1

              I completely agree marty. I’m not saying that the GP are good representatives for Māori (Mana are far better). But I might say that their policies are worth supporting in 2017, for pragmatic, strategic reasons as outlined above. Even on climate change alone that is true when it’s put up alongside a L/NZF coalition govt.

              “would need to see some evidence that what you propose would happen – it just seems a little fanciful to me.”

              Which bit is fanciful? Do you mean that an increase in Green MPs could shift NZ left? I can’t see how it wouldn’t happen given their policy. If Labour get the chance to form government, and they need the GP because the GP got say 17% of the vote, what do you think would happen over the 3 year term? Do you think that the GP would sell its values out for some baubles of power?

              I agree it is a risk, because they’ve never had the opportunity to prove themselves and the fear is that they will do the way of other smaller parties, having to compromise too much. But we’re not used to coalitions between two larger parties either. The Greens on 15 or 17% is a different proposition than 11%. I also think that because the GP use different systems of organising that we can expect to see the coalition negotiation process go differently too. I’m hoping that some of that will happen pre-election.

            • Macro 4.1.1.4.2.2

              Marty – this is the opening statement to the Green Party Charter and Principles

              The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand; recognises Maori as Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand

              I can tell you that when every piece of policy is being discussed someone will ask ( I won’t say who) ” How does this relate … “or “How is the Treaty affected…” by this?
              The issues that particularly affect Maori are of deep concern to the Greens and they take that seriously. The Greens were very keen to work with Mana and took up the “Feed the Children” Bill after the unfortunate exit of Honi from Parliament.

            • lprent 4.1.1.4.2.3

              Agreed. But whatever appears it needs to either ignore politics (and concentrate on driving changes (think greenpeace)) or be somewhat more organised strategically for decades about how they grow themselves to an effective size so they can be in a position to implement change (think Greens).

              They may even do both, but in separate organisations.

            • b waghorn 4.1.1.4.2.4

              Of note mana tripled its vote from 2011 to 2015 in the rangitikei seat,

        • swordfish 4.1.1.5

          Taumarunui on the main trunk line ?

          2014 Green Party-Vote
          (1) Rangitikei (general seat)
          83 Votes 6.8%

          (2) Te Tai Hauauru (maori seat)
          25 Votes 7.9%

          (3) Total
          108 Votes 7.0%

          Not all that bad for a rural town.

      • Ad 4.1.2

        Makes total sense Weka.

    • mickysavage 4.2

      I agree with you Gristle. The post is about what the left should be doing to making sure their elected representatives maintain a left line and Wayne and Co have ignored this and claimed that the left has to be more right to succeed.

  5. millsy 5

    Though the left should keep in mind that it cannot counter the right’s promise of upgrading to Windows 10 by rolling back to Win95.

  6. Michael 6

    I think somewhere like the US or UK with FPTP is much more suitable to a “shift the big party to the left” argument.

    In MMP, it makes sense to have separate parties going for different sections in the electorate. Then after the election, each party works together.

    You can imagine the Democratic Party in the US like a coalition of multiple parties. In Congress, for example, there is the Progressive Caucus which is the party’s sizable left faction. They release their own budgets and shift the debate, introduce progressive bills, etc. There is also the centrist neoliberal ‘New Democrat Coalition’. And then there are a sizable amount of congressional Democrats who are not really in a faction, and more mainstream ‘liberals’ of the centre-left.

    The Working Families Party fits into this model – they are trying to shift the party to the left and pressure individual members of Congress, like the Prog Caucus does within Congress. There are many other progressive organisations like MoveOn – a leftwing group with 8 million+ members. They just endorsed Bernie Sanders. They have raised millions of dollars for progressive members of Congress, and provided grassroots foot soldiers.

    So the aim of groups liek the Working Families Party or MoveOn.org is to provide grassroots members to go out and do doorknocking etc (or, in the case of the 2016 election, mobilise their thousands of members in Iowa to go out and caucus for Bernie Sanders). They will also, for example, provide considerable financial support to the campaigns of left-wingers who are trying to win elections.

    The left in America has built a considerable fundraising and grassroots apparatus to shift the Democratic Party to the left, and get progressives elected. And it’s been successful. Bill Clinton could not be chosen as the Democratic nominee today, for example. While quite recently, mainstream Democrats were calling for raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour, the mainstream is now $12 an hour, and US$15 an hour isn’t seen as an outrageous and unachievable goal. Multiple cities have passed it, and states like New York (with a centrist governor) are moving to $15 an hour.

    Progressive organising has been very successful in the US. While I don’t think a “shift-Labour-to-the-left” strategy would be effective or desirable in NZ, I think a broader “shift-the-debate-to-the-left” strategy would be. Mobilise the left in Labour, Greens, Mana, etc to push for leftwing causes, shift the debate to the left. Make the left wing opinion the mainstream one.

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