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Solidarity forever …

Written By: - Date published: 9:27 am, August 25th, 2013 - 36 comments
Categories: labour, Politics - Tags:

Micky Savage crowd

The Labour Party has a proud history.

The Party was formed because the Labour Movement realised that political as well as industrial action was needed if they were to deliver a better quality of life for ordinary New Zealanders. After the battering the Labour Movement took in 1913 under the onslaught of the employers and farmers and Massey and his Cossacks, and the inability of the Liberal Party to do anything about it people such as Peter Fraser and Bob Semple saw that the power of the vote was a weapon that was too important not to use.

From its inception Labour was a coalition of various groups including the Labour movement, Republicans, Catholics, Methodists, and progressives of all sorts who opposed the tyranny of the Massey Reform Government.  Over the years Labour has continued to unite with other groups. Maori were an important inclusion.  Savage’s friendship with Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana was one whose effect lasted for ages.  The Women’s movement, the peace movement, Pacifica and other Ethnic groups, advocates for Gay and Lesbian rights and the Enviromental movement to name a few have over the decades coalesced with the Labour Party to form a union of movements. The Socialist principle of strength in unity has clearly been important.

During its time in Government it has achieved a great deal of good.  The first fundamentally changed New Zealand for the better, the second and third ended too quickly, the fourth was hijacked and nearly destroyed the party as well as the country and the period of the fifth Labour Government was a period of stability and advance on issues of importance.  Helen was an inspirational Prime Minister especially compared to the current one.

It is no secret that the party has had its recent problems.  David Shearer’s resignation has highlighted these.

We are now in the midst of a leadership contest and my own personal views on who should be leader will not surprise anyone.  But there is a growing sense on the need of unity within the party.

Members of the ABC faction should review their behaviour.  If there is an ABG (anyone but Grant) grouping they need to decide on if they are in the right party because social liberalism and tolerance are vital principles the party believes in.

Following the current leadership contest the party has to unite and move forward.  There is nothing more important for the future of the party.

Members are not really interested in the career options of individual MPs.  We want our MPs to work collaboratively and collectively.  We want them united.  We also want a grassroots democratic party that is able to battle on issues that matter.  The current government is causing tremendous damage to Aotearoa and the Government needs to be changed.

So all together now …

36 comments on “Solidarity forever … ”

  1. lurgee 1

    Arise, you workers from your slumber,
    Arise, you prisoners of want.
    For reason in revolt now thunders,
    and at last ends the age of cant!
    Away with all your superstitions,
    Servile masses, arise, arise!

  2. tc 2

    Well said mickey, my concern is the ABC group have shown a group of MP’s to care more about the trough than fulfilling the vision that created the party as they appear to fear DC being leader, which says something about their ability and history IMO.

    Time these MP’s consider if they want to be remembered for doing the right thing eventually and backing a leader who can deliver them into government, get behind them and see what happens next by working hard now.

  3. ak 3

    One of the men just out of shot in that photo told us in 1984: “No. He’s a swivel-eyed lawyer and look at the rabble he has round him. Salesmen and spivs the lot, they’ll ruin the party mark my words.”

    We smiled bemusedly, shortly afterwards he died, and thirty ruined years later it’s time for restoration.

    Look us hard and straight in the eye at all times Cunners old lad; never flinch and we’ll back you to the grave and way beyond.

  4. Treetop 4

    The ABC stalwarts have had their moment and the poll ratings did not improve. Driving essential policy depends on the ability of the leader and the deputy. There needs to be analysis on how effective Robertson was in supporting Shearer as I want to know what Robertson did before I would give him another chance of being deputy.

    The division within the Labour caucus will heal it self once the poll ratings improve.

    I predicted on open mike on 12 February 2013 in August that Shearer would get the chop or he would resign. I am going to make the following prediction that by the end of the year Cunliffe as leader and Ardern as deputy, the poll rating will get to 39 – 40 %.

    Now that the distraction Shearer is going, there will be more focus on how sneaky Key is. The timing of a new leader is so now.

    • 40% Labour would be brilliant, that would mean an outright Labour-Greens coalition. But one step at a time, I think, Labour needs to fix its own house before it worries about the polls.

  5. Anne 5

    From the Vernon Small link:

    Mr Cunliffe has knuckled down and taken the public edge off his self-evident ego. His supposed favouritism among party members may not be as clear cut as some commentators believe. He certainly has a loud and enthusiastic following in West Auckland and on social media, but party insiders say that presents a distorted picture of the true state of play.

    Yet he has been endorsed as the best option by significant players among the commentariat, including Brian Edwards, who may be channelling former prime minister Helen Clark.

    And who does this Beltway journo think he’s kidding?

    Sentence 1. Mr Cunliffe has knuckled down and taken the public edge off his ego.

    That’s a statement of non fact for starters because his ego is no different to his caucus opponents.

    Sentence 2. His supposed favouritism among party members may not be as clear cut as some commentators believe.

    Oh yeah? He only took some 80 to 90% of the votes of the party members during the lead up to the 2011 contest. But at that stage it was merely an indication of the view of members and not enshrined in the constitution.

    Sentence 3. He certainly has a loud and enthusiastic following in West Auckland and on social media, but party insiders say that presents a distorted picture of the true state of play.

    Party insiders? He means the ABC club or the remnants thereof…

    And finally: Yet he has been endorsed as the best option by significant players among the commentariat, including Brian Edwards, who may be channelling former prime minister Helen Clark.

    Really? Brian Edwards channelling Helen Clark? Now there’s a laughable conspiracy for you. I think Brian Edwards will take umbrage at that because he’s well able to make up his own mind and doesn’t ‘channel’ anyone.

    • QoT 5.1

      I know that the NZ-politics-social-media sphere isn’t representative, but fuck it’s funny to see Vernon Small assuming that “party insiders” who clearly have a vested interest in talking down Cunliffe’s chances are any more representative.

    • Tracey 5.2

      “and taken the public edge off his ego”

      I seriously doubt the public has any perception of his ego edgy or otherwise

    • Murray Olsen 5.3

      Do any of the ABC lot have a close following anywhere? Are they recognised for anything except being too timid to join ACT? Mallard seems to think social media is for scalping tickets, whereas Cunliffe uses Facebook very well. In fact, much better than any of the Tories with their sycophant pages.

      Solidarity will reappear once the troughers have gone. I have no solidarity with anyone who can make that stupid roof speech. I felt a bit sad when Shearer stepped down, thinking for a minute that he might have been a nice guy. On reflection, I felt sympathy for him just because he’s so hopelessly out of touch with any remnant Labour movement. It was like feeling sorry for Eddie the Eagle at the Olympics. He wasn’t nice. He was weak in all things except attacking the poor and silencing Cunliffe. Now that he’s gone, some sort of solidarity might just be possible.

  6. Tanz 6

    Just watched the panel on Marae re this. Agree with Prebble (of all people), Labour needs a leader who will match and better Key Or NZ will continue to be trampled upon. (Cunliffe, in my view, is the only one who can take Key on and beat him, just saying)/

    • Tangled up 6.1

      Yep. It’s painfully obvious that Cunliffe is the best choice to lead Labour.

      I’m just worried that Labour will stuff it up (again) and go with someone else.

      • Rhinocrates 6.1.1

        Labour has a long and entrenched history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Front Trough knows that Bellamy’s matters more to them than the Treasury benches, more than the party, more than the people.

        Now Mumblefuck is gone, Robertson epitomises this corruption.

        Really I don’t think that they realy want to lose the next election – I just think that they think that it’s owed to them and they’re genuinely baffled by the fact that the plebeians refuse to see that.

    • Tracey 6.2

      Prebble said that? Wow no one has thought that before.

      Beware believing a mere change in leader will be enough.

      • Rhinocrates 6.2.1

        That’s the danger – the ABC club would rather lose and see Key and his cronies strip-mining the country than win with David Cunliffe so long as they have their subsidised meals at Bellamy’s.

        Good venison I hear. Thanks Goff, King, Duck, Fenton, Hipkins et al – I hope you enjoy your meals, you arsewipes. You appointed yourselves as heroes and sold us all out for a menu.

  7. Bill 7

    You know how when the good guy cuts the bad guy some slack and the bad guy just takes the slack and wraps it around the neck of the good guy?

    I’m not a bastard or into revenge for revenge sake. But I recognise that sometimes the bad guy needs much more than a ticking off or conditional forgiveness. Sometimes (and purely metaphorically) the bad guy needs to mercilessly kicked to the ground and buried six feet down – dug up again so a stake can be driven through them and then dragged off, cut into pieces, burned and blown away on the wind.

    Now, I guess we have our opinions on whether the bad guy in this instance requires oblivion. And also whether they are a person(s), an attitude/behaviour, a cultural norm or some combination thereof. But I see no reason to uncritically adopt a stance of magnanimosity as though that was some intrinsic marker of ‘being left’.

  8. Tracey 8

    unfettered free markets don’t work any more than unfettered communism.. I’m sick of being told that strong employment is soon… like the carrot dangling in front of the beats of burden .

    enough

  9. Pete 9

    I think having a vote and having the wider party endorse a leader would give whoever wins a greater degree of legitimacy and will compel caucus to fall in line.

  10. Colonial Viper 10

    This is an unnecessary reminder for most here but I would like to make it anyway…IMO Cunliffe is absolutely the only choice to lead Labour today. But even if he becomes Leader that is merely the start.

    From the day that Cunliffe gets the Leader’s office, corporate, big business and big farming interests are going to realise that Labour may very well become Government. And the CEOs, the lobbyists, the media talking heads, etc. are going to start lining up en masse outside the offices of Labour MPs, Labour spokespeople, and particularly, outside Cunliffe’s office.

    THEREFORE continuous pressure from a rebuilt labour movement must be brought to bear on Labour as Opposition, and then on Labour as Government to DO THE RIGHT THING. To see the facts, apply true Labour values, make the right commitments, and then to politically, artfully and practically follow through and execute as far as is possible. Any politician, no matter how gifted, can only get as much done as their political capital allows.

    Winning the Treasury benches is just the beginning.

    • Saarbo 10.1

      +1

      It was reassuring to hear Hipkin’s on q&a stating that UNITY after selection of the leader is critical to Labour’s success, I imagine that he has learnt an awful lot since November 2012.

      When making decisions I try to use a broad base of criteria, rather than jumping to a conclusion based on one factor, but when Chris Hipkin’s spewed out his tirade on the Tuesday after the November conference I made the decision to not renew my membership to the Labour Party until I had seen some real changes in this party.

      The way many in the caucus treated Cunliffe after the November conference was atrocious, bordering on feral. But since Shearer’s resignation I feel that the ABC’ers have sorted themselves out, they are not spreading terrible rumours amongst their friend journo mates like they did after that conference.

      It is reasonably easy to see who in the caucus is supplying which journo with their information, i.e if a journo is supporting Jones, then they are probably being supplied with inside info from Jones, and the same goes for Robertson, who my guess is supplying info to Vernon Small and John Armstrong. But I wonder if one of David Cunliffe’s issues is that he has too much integrity to get heavily involved with being an “insider”, he simply doesn’t seem to have many “friends” in the media. In the end of the day, if he becomes leader and the caucus unifies, then it wont matter, because clearly many within the Labour caucus are “insiders”. Maybe he just feels that he shouldn’t go down to this gutter level of politics…

    • Tracey 10.2

      yup, if they are a fair (by universal standards) and value their employees they have nothing to fear from Labour…that’s the message to BIG corporates. Small businesses understand and practice this far better than the juggernauts.

  11. Well for over 25 years the little LP branch of Cambridge put in remits to conference to make the party leadership,a part vote .Each year the same remit .At last perseverance won the day ,The present law is the exactly as our first remit 25 years ago. A proud moment for this small branch that has survived for 40 years in the most rank Tory town in Aotearoa.

    Lets make this historic event a great success. Beware of the dirty tricks brigade Textor Crosby . The hard Right bloggers and the likes of Garner and his mates who will try their utmost to wreck the procedure . Key will be making public announcement non stop ,Be prepared to answer them all.

  12. Tim 12

    Solidarity – a hard ask for many after damn near 3 decades of individualistic me-me-me greed, blind ambition at its harshest and a generation that has now grown up knowing nothing else in terms of the society in which they live.
    I’ve always worried that JUST as the tide was turning – as it is now – the Labour party wouldn’t have its shit together to return to its roots (something they should never have been allowed to ditch).
    We’ll see whether self-interest and that blind ambition trumps. I’m not sure Robertson is yet equipped with the necessary. There are still too many that have forgotten that they are actually our servants, but instead they often have that “I paid my dues” attitude, and they therefore think they’re ‘entitled!
    The ABC club fit that description (as do many of their suppotas – Mal and Scott for example – who appear to be offering an opinion based on a VERY narrow view – 3 NEWS).

    The tide IS turning. We’ll see whether they are ready or not based on the candidate they select. The self interested still hold a fair bit of sway from what I an see: The bovver boy Mallard; the insipid, treacherous holder of the Whip; the matronly King and others – STILL with that “I paid me dues” attitude. These are the people that will be responsible for Labour’s demise if they aren’t careful. It’s way past time they put the interests of Labour’s future BEFORE their self-interest. Till they do, I, like many others might give them a (1) vote – based on Shearer’s gallant actions, but I’m sure as hell not going to return to membership until they prove themselves. Once/twice bitten …. doing so reminds me a bit of those fuckwits that continually get burned by investing in shady finance company deals over and over again. No – the onus is on the party – NOT the voter longing for a return to moderate, centre left policies.

  13. Craig Y 13

    I’ve declared neutrality on the matter. I accept that the Cunliffe supporters group are clearly not motivated by homophobia (in fact, I would argue that Cunliffe should be appointed Deputy Leader or at least reappointed as Finance spokesperson if Robertson wins, and vica-versa). This contest should be focused squarely on policy development issues- the need for an elaborated capital gains tax policy for 2014, and the urgent need to highlight the Key administration’s destructive and damaging cuts on public service capacity and quality over the last six years (viz the Pike River tragedy, the Rina disaster, Christchurch earthquake emergency response, and now the Fonterra contamination scandals). If I get a chance to interview either or both Cunliffe or Robertson, I fully intend to urge them to resolve their differences once this contest is over.

    In terms of LGBT policies, I would hope that we can all agree on the direct inclusion of gender identity within the Human Rights Act, as well as the question of comprehensive antibullying legislation. I have an article questioning charter schools, given recent interesting developments in the United Kingdom over their equivalent in a not-too-distant Gaynz.Com Politics and Religion column.

    Both Cunliffe and Robertson have merits. Either would make an excellent leader, given those merits.

    Craig Y.

    • Tim 13.1

      Couldn’t agree more Craig. I don’t actually care if Robertson fcuks virtual chickens or barby dolls – its none of my business.
      I also hope Robertson and Cunliffe reconcile. I’d even hope Hipkins is able to see just how Finlayson-like some of his past behaviour has been.
      I’m just suggesting that Cunliffe is better placed to both understand, and espouse the principles on which the Labour Party was founded, and is also better placed to give the Nacts a run for their money.
      As other have pointed out (Georgina most recently), Robertson will face certain prejudices solely based on his sexuality. Right now though – that’s giving detractors an opportunity. I’d rather win a war than be constantly worrying about battles being lost.

      • Rhinocrates 13.1.1

        I too have no interest in Robertson’s sexuality, any more than I have an interest in whether he has freckles.

        My problem with him is that he’s a self-aggrandising careerist who could be equally at home in National or Act.

        He’s been a useless local MP, and he’s a cancer in the Labour party.

        He’s not even a good internal operator, because his “wisdom” on electoral strategy has only ever led to failure.

        Ditch him!

        • Skinny 13.1.1.1

          I hear what your saying crats! I reckon Robertson needs to be held to account for Shearer’s failure ‘they were the team & the team failed.’ GR has thus far managed to sidestep this fact. “But hey Grant I’m giving you the heads up, I will test your debating abilities on this very point at one of the hustling meetings, and the question I asked of you last round of meetings has not been met.” just to give you a clue… Marg Wilson told me it was the best question of the night!

        • Bill 13.1.1.2

          The self-aggrandising careerists are one thing.

          The die-hard neo-liberals are another. And if Labour does cut free from the neo-liberal dogma of the past three decades, then there can be no solidarity with those who adhere to that failed experiment. So, there goes Goff, King, Mallard, Ardern, Parker, Curren, Hipkins…

          When Shearer banished Cunliffe and others to the back benches it was a sign of weakness because Shearer was presiding over a caucus driven by individual’s personal ambitions. By the same token, if Cunliffe was in a position to banish the ‘Old Guard’ and their hanger on’s and didn’t, then that would be a sign of weakness as he would (I suspect) be heading a caucus centered on values rather than individuals.

          And solidarity extends only as far as the bounds of commonality; bounds that individuals, by definition, stand outside of.

          Of course, should Cunliffe become leader, act wisely (imo) and banish the vestiges of those who hold to right wing economic bullshit to the wings, then the msm would round on him as though he was some tyrant (unlike when they applauded Shearer as he demoted and gagged Cunliffe).

          How caucus deals with careerists would, by necessity, be a bit of a balancing act short term. But it needs to be made abundantly clear to them that their motivations need close examination, questioning and reform. Robertson is a separate matter – he has inflicted immense damage via his self interested propping up of Shearer and should not be rewarded for that behaviour.

      • Tim 13.1.2

        ….. or to put it another way:
        Pick an issue. Housing affordability; GCSB surveillance state; economy; the growing divide between rich and poor/the precariat; even Public Service broadcasting/the state of journalism; anything you like …. Who’s most likely to be able to freak the Nats out every time. Would that be David Cunliffe? or Grant Robertson?

  14. Not a PS Staffer 14

    Micky you state:
    ” If there is an ABG (anyone but Grant) grouping they need to decide on if they are in the right party because social liberalism and tolerance are vital principles the party believes in.”

    You have it wrong on this one. There is an anti-Grant thing and very bloody good reasons. And it has nothing to do with a lack of liberalism and tolerance.

    Grant was part of a group that since 2008 hijacked the party from the membership. That group has similar behaviours to the Roger Douglas gang who hijacked the party in the 1980s.
    Grant Robertson was not part of a legitimate political faction inside the Labour Caucus. He was part of a cabal that kept us out of government and enabled Key to wreck havoc.

    Cunliffe should build the future of the party on strong foundations. Having Robertson as a deputy would be Faustian.

    Cunliffe, a church house reared boy, has never compromised himself, hence the shit they put him through since 2008.
    Cunliffe deserves to have them coming on their knees asking for forgiveness. He owes nothing and is in a perfect position to shape the party’s and country’s future using solid and genuine talent.

    • Skinny 14.1

      +1 Actually if Robertson gets to remain deputy I’m reconsidering my position. I would far rather have someone else there, Parker any reasons DP shouldn’t get the tick of approval?

  15. geo 15

    I asked Robertson if he would not stand against Shearer in his first 3 years.The ? was ruled out of the “discussion” meetings of who the membership wanted for leader.And who ruled this out?
    Labours Party president.
    Robertson answered the ? stating that he had been a loyal party member and would do anything the leadership asked him to do.
    Was Shearer rolled?
    Absolutely.
    No loyalty.
    No support.
    We are now asked to show solidarity to the party.
    Shearer had his chance to allow the members to have their say.
    He followed the rules BUT denied the members requests.
    A stitch up will not cut it.
    Let the members have their say.
    I say, no vote, no loyalty.

  16. Neoleftie 16

    Oh the lone mad voices cry from out from the darkness, full of fear and angst…but based on nothing or opinion.
    I for one know grant Robertson of old before even university days. All we did was argue social injustice and social democracy by another name. I was in a pub in old dunners town when my old friend whispered that he was both gay and standing for a political party, one hope he remembers by advise on that day….remember the people and for god sake keep being sqeewky clean.
    My opinion Robertson to run the party and caucus and cunliffe to shake the treasury up and get New Zealand onto another path or way – a paradymial shift is needed cause the people are suffering under the shackles of slavedom.
    Bring on Robertson and cunliffe I say

  17. Huginn 17

    Let no one build walls to divide us
    Walls of hatred nor walls of stone
    Come greet the dawn and stand beside us
    We’ll live together or we’ll die alone

  18. xtasy 18

    Yeah, but reality haunts me, to be honest, as I see very few workers and others in general even dare to think of solidarity. Some real actions are needed, by unions, by other organisations, by Labour and so forth, to send the message out, united we stand, divided we fall. That needs to now reach a bit further than traditional Kiwi nationalism, and include the migrants truly committed to this country and its well being. I think this is a huge challenge, to get that achieved, as the decades of encouraging and enforcing division have left so deep marks and scars, yes changed the social behaviour of most beyond recognition. We must learn to be humans again, and respect and acknowledge each other as such, and for what and who we are. I see this having become nothing but empty sloganised, perhaps politically correct talk.

    A big ask, and the past may be looked upon as ideals, but sadly, we do not live under conditions of the past ages anymore. It is much more serious and challenging now, what needs to be dealt with.

    So culture may help, like music, public events, bonding events, activities, even public broadcasts of commonly appealing social events, just like free viewing life broadcasts of sports, concerts and so, and the magic can be done, I am convinced of that. Throw out the divisive commercialist, commercialised crap system, and bring back collective systems, that will be a game changer.

  19. Jacobin 19

    Not enough young people know the anthems of old.

    Im glad to say Ive taught Solidarity Forever and The World Turned Upside Down by Billy Bragg to quite a few.

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