State of the left in Aotearoa/NZ

Written By: - Date published: 1:21 pm, July 26th, 2014 - 112 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, class war, democratic participation, equality, Left, political alternatives - Tags:

Sue Bradford’s PhD thesis went online this week.  I have had a skim through it, and it looks to me like it will be a valuable resource for left wing activism in Aotearoa/NZ for some time to come.  I aim to read it in full.  I think only some of us will do that, as academic writing has appeal to only some who are interested in politics.

Sue Bradford speaking at protest outside WINZ Henderson office

Sue Bradford speaking at protest outside WINZ Henderson office

The main strength of the thesis seems to be that it paints a pretty comprehensive picture of the Left in NZ. Bradford seems to conclude that more analysis and left think-tanks will help to counter what many see as the fragmented, and rudderless state of the country’s activist Left at the moment.

Simon Collin’s review in today’s NZ Herald, says this:

[Bradford’s] doctoral thesis, published this week by AUT University, says many of the 51 activists and academics she interviewed see “a rise in mindless activism, actions undertaken without sufficient collective analysis and planning”.

She believes the answer is a left-wing think-tank – or perhaps several of them – to develop well-researched policies for the left in the same way that the business-funded New Zealand Initiative and the Christian-based Maxim Institute do for the right.

Bradford NZ Herald thesis review

The thesis is available online hereA major left wing think tank in Aotearoa — an impossible dream or a call to action?

The research takes an approach that I prefer: one in which the researcher acknowledges their underlying values and political positions.  It means that perspective is part of the research and open to critique.  Bradford uses and “ethnographic” approach, based mostly in interviews with academics and political activists.  She identifies her approach as that of  “political activist ethnography”.

Bradford defines the Left thus [p.18]:

Left: a commitment to working for a world based on values of fairness, inclusion, participatory democracy, solidarity and equality, and to transforming Aotearoa into a society grounded in economic, social, environmental and Tiriti justice.
Note on ‘progressive’
Later in the thesis the term ‘progressive’ is used at times as a synonym for ‘left’, particularly when discussing left wing think tanks internationally, as in some countries this is the preferred terminology.

She quotes Bryce Edwards, who claims that in NZ, civil society is relatively “thin”.  The state, political parties, and the media are very dominant, while, in contrast, participation in things like “politics, protest, community organisation” is weak [p.122].

Towards the end, Bradford lays out a way forward [p.226]

1.Take the decision to proceed

ie. to set up one or more Left think tanks.

2.Strengthen effective union and community-based left activism

Currently this is pretty weak in NZ.  Bardford argues that a strong community base is necessary to enable the development of ideas, innovations and direction in conjunction with think tanks.

3. Do more to find each other

Bradford concludes that her research shows that the Left in NZ is

potentially far more powerful than any of us individually realises.
But we need to connect with each other more across a range of spaces.
.
4.Build organisations we truly believe in
.
And this leads to one of the limitations of the study: one Bradford acknowledges and explains [p10]. Online activism arose a lot in the research, but Bradford chose not to focus on it as the extensive material would require a full study on its own.
.
However, online activism (blogs, websites, notices of events, streaming of political debates and actions) are a significant part of left wing activity these days.  And it is an important channel through which left wingers can connect with each other. The focus on offline activism does mirror the main arena of Bradford’s own activism, even though she does make some use of social media and blogs.
.
A couple of other definitions in the thesis that is worth noting.  She uses David Harvey’s very important definition of “neoliberalism”, and also includes “class” as a social identity [p.11]:
.
Intersectionality
.
“Intersectionality, the assertion that social identity categories such as race, gender, class, sexuality, and ability are interconnected and operate simultaneously to produce experiences of both privilege and marginalization . . . ” (Smooth, p. 11).
.
Neoliberalism
.
“My view is that it refers to a class project that coalesced in the crisis of the 1970s. Masked by a lot of rhetoric about individual freedom, liberty, personal responsibility and the virtues of privatisation, the free market and free trade, it legitimised draconian policies designed to restore and consolidate capitalist class power” (Harvey, 2010, p.10).
.
stop robbing poor to feast rich
The Left in Aotearoa is a broad and diverse.  I would expect Bradford’s thesis to come in for criticism from some on the Left.  But that is to be expected in forging a new, strong, and well coordinated direction for the Left in this country: necessary for coordinating ideas, strategies, policies, actions and political practice.
people b4 profit

112 comments on “State of the left in Aotearoa/NZ”

  1. disturbed 1

    Thanks for the subject Karol, & Sue,
    When our family came home from ten years living in Canada & US we strangely invited to a Alliance Party meeting in Napier.
    Canada was a socialist Country to us, and US was more left than we are in N.Z now with this lot.

    So we saw a rundown rail system in Napier we grew up with supporting the whole town when we were kids.
    We started a all party NGO to get rail moving again, and during the dying days of the last National mobsters they failed to even respond to us calling to save the rail and the Napier region.
    below Sue Bradford was saying “do more to find each other”
    So by the time we had Aunty Helen take over we immediately had Ministers responding to our request to meet to discuss the rail and truck problems.
    We had every Minister courteously write us back or offer to meet our NGO.

    We went a long way to solving the community’s social issues had had asked to advocate for them.
    Now National’s record after 6yrs, was only one Minister had responded once to meet after eight attempts then a call to the House whip to get him to respond.
    Other than the one Minister responding all other seven Ministers we requested no less in 54 emails for feedback or a meeting we got nothing in return.
    So we need a radical change in a partnership between a citizens and NGO’s such as ours now 13yrs old.

    National will never claim they were “working for you”?

    They will not in six years even respond to emails or requests to meet groups or community members. We need to move left of this point.

    1. Do more to find each other
      Bradford concludes that her research shows that the Left in NZ is
      potentially far more powerful than any of us individually realises.
      But we need to connect with each other more across a range of spaces.

    .

    • theus 1.1

      US more left than we are now? Joking? mad as a march hare.

      • Puddleglum 1.1.1

        I stand to be corrected, but disturbed could be referring to the much more layered democratic opportunities in the U.S..

        As I understand it (and I have no direct experience of the U.S. in this sense), states, municipalities and counties have considerable autonomy (for good or ill) and social activism, perhaps because of efficiencies of scale, can have a widespread impact – in places – at the lower levels of these layers (once again, for good or ill).

        To the extent that ‘the left’ is partly about participatory democracy (as Bradford suggests and defines it) my understanding is that the U.S. does have more opportunities for this than does New Zealand.

        disturbed’s involvement with an NGO suggests this might be the kind of experience of the U.S. (and Canada) being referred to – but I could be wrong.

        Of course, at the Federal level elite interests appear to dominate completely.

  2. RedLogix 2

    Excellent and refreshing.

    I’ve always rather admired Sue Bradford for her courage and tenacity.

    • Chooky 2.1

      +100…and her anti globalisation stance…plus I was very sorry when she left the Greens ( i did think they could have 3 leaders)

  3. ianmac 3

    It does make sense to collect the like minded (and diverse we may be) into a group who focus on a few key areas. We have no answer to the few but powerful utterances of say the Maxim Institute. Instead we beat at a lot of little fires and miss the really big fire well worth fighting for. Prioritise I guess.
    Get reps from Labour, Green, IMP, and even NZF to short list 3 major issues that are winnable.
    Water.
    Jobs.
    Housing.
    It is not too late.

    I am still not sure precisely what each person might value enough to cast a vote.

    • Tracey 3.1

      The unions are one way to coordinate this which might explain the almost pathological dislike of unions by the right notwithstanding the ever diminishing membership.

      • karol 3.1.1

        Yes agreed.

        I was also interested in the quote from Bryce Edwards – that NZ’s civil society is “thin”. And a robust civil society is necessary for the left to thrive and be less fragmented.

        I think the left would benefit from building new grass roots communities and associations.

        I have read that, int he 19th and early 20th centuries, in the UK and colonies (and probably elsewhere, there was a concerted effort to build various kinds of associations – maybe to replace the local communities damaged by industrialisation and urbanisation.

        In NZ, various kinds of associations were nurtured by settlers – national/ethnic (Irish, Scot, Dalmation, etc), masons, work-based ones, religious/church groups, sports clubs, and others.

        I think that “neoliberalism” and the shift to an individualistic, consumerist society has damaged the affiliations that knit communities together.

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          Absolutely this kind of thing has to be done. The unions and other civil society groups put in large sums of money to build union halls, union libraries, print periodicals and set up other infrastructure for the left.

          Problem is, no one has organised the money and resources to do anything similar now. Could the Left raise a $10M fund as the foundation for a couple of think tanks and media organisations? Maybe. It would take the right people to back and lead the endeavour.

        • Tracey 3.1.1.2

          The damage done to the left was begun in the eighties. Far more damaging than, say, the emergence of ACT is to national. Mostly because many are in national to get the power to do what ACT cant get traction for. However, the douglas govt and to a lesser extent, Clarks, split the left because it was suddenly right. Ironically without the clark govt we would have NO unions left today, but membership is crazy compared to the clear benefits to membership.

    • karol 3.2

      I think we need some rallying points/ideas that are wider than any one election campaign.

      Look at the ways neoliberalism has kept pushing certain core ideas and values: free markets; individual responsibility, etc.

      The Occupy concept of the 99% and 1% got quite wide currency.

      The left’s core ideas should be around fairness for all, and collective, collaborative participation, etc.

      • Tracey 3.2.1

        Was the Labour Party silent on the occupy movement? Part of me wonders if what is needed is the total collapse of the Labour Party

        • karol 3.2.1.1

          Does the Occupy movement discourage party political involvement?

          Just wondering – going back to Bryce Edwards’ quote that NZ politics is dominated by the state, political parties and the media.

          This means making connections between grassroots movements and political parties is problematic, unless the movement is strong enough to counter the dominance of the parties, and the parties’ subservience to the media.

          • Tracey 3.2.1.1.1

            Well, ultimately the “easier” path to change is via a political party which ought to be in occupy and unions favour but it isnt because the main parties see their job as gaining power as opposed to gaing power on behalf of…

            You see it written here all the time… Dont say that, dont do this cos orherwise you wont get power. Problem is when you get power you want to keep it so still dont do those “other” things.

            It also presupposes that people would be turned off certain policies. National is clever, they work out how to frame something to create an imaginary problem that only they, hey presto, can solve.

            The Left still appear to operate from a perspective of doing what they think is “right” but fail in the “selling”.

            Occupy type movements can work to allow a left party to appear moderate by comparisson but i dont think it was used by labour to frame a shift by itself and the electorate toward a kinder or less capitalist system.

            I have no idea if any of that clearly states what i was trying to express.

          • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1.2

            The best description I have seen of Occupy is that it was a tactic, not a movement, though a very effective one. It scared the power elite/0.1% in the USA, big time. AFAIK the ‘true’ Occupy movement has no interest per se in communicating with the MSM or with political parties; it is only interested in communicating with other ordinary people.

            Just wondering – going back to Bryce Edwards’ quote that NZ politics is dominated by the state, political parties and the media.

            This is true, and in NZ party politics had reached a kind of severe impasse. Without MMP (thanks Bolger) we’d still be stuck between a fiercely neolib National Party and a moderately neolib but somewhat socially aware Labour Party.

            • Tracey 3.2.1.1.2.1

              Certainly it seems to me that more people, including journalist frame things including references to ” 1%” than before Occupy?

          • phillip ure 3.2.1.1.3

            sounds like you should vote internet/mana..karol…

            ..as the political grouping nearest to those ideals you espouse..

    • disturbed 3.3

      Good one Ianmac,
      We have tonight sent an open letter to all opposition “like minded” parties to get together and form a plank for showing democracy, and we offer this first plank excuse and hope it flies, what do you all think?
      “Constant vigilance is the price of freedom & democracy.”
      That is why we need to preserve our workers institutions such as the collective unions and their Council of trade unions etc.’ otherwise we will loose all our long fought for freedoms.

      We sent this letter through on internet email separately outside of the blog sites, and it also belongs here on The Standard a very good medium.

      Sent to Labour, Greens, NZ First, & Mana/Internet Party.

      Subject: ELECTION PLANK ? ANTI-TPPA WITHOUT DEMOCRACY OPPOSITION PARTNERING ?

      New Zealand First opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. level of secrecy and the refusal to show the text of the agreement, means that the public is entitled to be suspicious
      Importance: High

      cleangreen says:. July 26, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      New Zealand First opposes the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. The level of secrecy and the refusal to show the text of the agreement, means that the public is entitled to be suspicious.

      Labour Greens NZ First, & Mana/Internet party all could all unite and run on the NO VOTE TPPA Platform without first ratifying it with clear loopback public partnership input first.

      Then order a referendum. This would make the Opposition looking like a real true democracy at work, whereas National will be seen as the draconian animal it really is.

      This may grow to be an election plank, and a clear way for a potential interest by voters for a rise in voter preference. That way the opposition get a bob each way, while the voters will see a clear attempt has been made by the opposition to have an open transparent process first before signing onto a monster lie a TPPA.

      Come on opposition parties what have you and us got to loose?

  4. just saying 4

    Thanks for this Karol,
    I look forward to reading more detail or her suggested course of action.

    Are comments down on the Standard?

    There seem to be less people participating less often in the conversations here lately which seems odd in the run-up to an election. I’ve wondered if it is part of a general demoralisation and disillusionmnent on the left. I used to talk here, but now I seldom have anything (constructive) to say. I pop in to keep up with the news and views and as much as I appreciate the stellar work by the Standard community, we are still isolated from each other. That’s not a criticism – I haven’t made much headway and I’m sure my own personal failings are a big factor in my case.

    On the bright side I walked past a young man waving the Mana flag with a skate -board tucked under one arm, this afternoon. Green shoot?

    • karol 4.1

      Thanks, js.

      Looking at the stats, it doesn’t look to me that page views or comments are low. There have been a huge amount of comments on some posts (ABs’ Jersey, Hosking).

      But other posts have only had a few comments.

      Issues that generate criticism probably are more likely to get comments & debate going.

      Also, some people are involved with flax roots campaigning – can be time consuming.

      Posts on policies – maybe if everyone agrees with them, will get fewer comments….?

      UNITEC’s winter series in Henderson of lectures includes some by Bradford.

      Link here.

      The one next week on radical social work, and later ones on collaboration in community development, and advocacy in the social sector might be useful.

    • lprent 4.2

      Are comments down on the Standard?

      Not really. They were very high in May/June due to several political controversies.


      year mth posts words bytes cmt cmt/post
      2013 9 171 817064 4985169 13855 81.0234
      2013 10 175 770718 4721985 13864 79.2229
      2013 11 159 855133 5244215 13796 86.7673
      2013 12 152 810158 4957072 13469 88.6118
      2014 1 140 1018799 6278434 14635 104.5357
      2014 2 140 827454 5035803 12853 91.8071
      2014 3 180 833409 5079579 12281 68.2278
      2014 4 160 900434 5454563 14109 88.1813
      2014 5 175 950081 5881127 15745 89.9714
      2014 6 189 1112939 6722476 18606 98.4444
      2014 7 155 808211 4981497 13192 85.1097

      Note that July still has 5 and bit days in it which means it will easily exceed May, but is unlikely to get into Junes levels. But also have a look at the the December January levels.

      By way of comparison, here is the block around the 2011 election

      2011 6 206 751547 4512942 10647 51.6845
      2011 7 210 767487 4634068 11265 53.6429
      2011 8 207 757728 4568360 10736 51.8647
      2011 9 199 642558 3887910 9461 47.5427
      2011 10 247 796578 4862477 12848 52.0162
      2011 11 266 926036 5593372 15428 58 < --- election
      2011 12 169 722460 4324660 10903 64.5148
      2012 1 132 614225 3733474 8660 65.6061
      2012 2 183 694532 4243130 10603 57.9399
      2012 3 224 758958 4599530 11247 50.2098

      and 2008


      2008 6 159 513680 3040916 5797 36.4591
      2008 7 187 562453 3325986 6570 35.1337
      2008 8 165 465044 2748540 5487 33.2545
      2008 9 181 515060 3039369 6894 38.0884
      2008 10 219 572803 3355295 7290 33.2877
      2008 11 185 629552 3681073 7550 40.8108 < --- election
      2008 12 144 369673 2189120 3817 26.5069
      2009 1 82 196041 1178124 2154 26.2683
      2009 2 141 302473 1790099 3724 26.4113
      2009 3 191 361857 2133090 5259 27.534

      We’re probably down on posts in comparison with previous election cycles. But we’re running on the typical pattern for an election for 2014.

      SQL for that was (note the crude word counter)

      SELECT *, comments/posts AS avg FROM
      (SELECT year(comment_date) as year, month(comment_date) as month, count(distinct(comment_post_id)) AS posts,
      sum(length(comment_content) - length(replace(comment_content, ' ', '')) +1) as words, sum(length(comment_content)) as bytes, count(*) as comments
      FROM wp_comments
      WHERE comment_approved=1 AND comment_type=""
      GROUP BY year(comment_date), month(comment_date)
      ORDER BY year(comment_date), month(comment_date)
      ) as A

  5. Tracey 5

    I wonder where the idea of a kind of funded private radio station, suggested by some on here, fit within bradfords vision?

    • karol 5.1

      It’s a way of making connections. And Triangle/Stratos community TV channels were great in their time. We need to get some of those back up.

      Such things don’t need to be in Bradford’s current vision for others on the left to advocate for them.

      • Tracey 5.1.1

        More tertiarys have music, sound, radio courses, perhaps its about tapping into some young folks… To “project” setting up and running a radio station, as a “practicum”.

  6. Mike 6

    Some people are not utopians. They see morally liberal policies as destroying the strength of the working class. Some are seen as down right perverse.

    It’s time to get this group on side. People who are not interested in the utopian ideas of left and right, and see a mixed economy as being our future. People who are morally conservative, but who are for protective economic policy, to rejuvenate our industries. Non interventionists in imperialist wars.

    The working class is destroyed by bourgeois liberal ideas as badly as it is by bourgeois libertarian ideas. Premiere Putin makes great strides in removing the promoters of perversion from society.

    Perhaps Labour could pick up the standard of the conservative working class. Those who are sick of the freemarketeers, but who are not interested in liberal excess.

    This standard will be picked up at some point. The question is who will do it.

    • karol 6.1

      Why do you assume all working class people are bigots?

      Why do you want to improve the lives of many working class people, by oppressing others – including working class “perverts” (as you seem to be characterising them)?

      The success of the “neoliberal revolution” involved knitting together some pretty diverse groups – socially and religiously conservative neocons, and free market social liberals.

      A broad left, in my view, is one that is inclusive and accepts differences between people, and supports those different from us – even when we disagree.

      It’s about a caring, and inclusive society, where everyone has access to resources necessary for living a sustainable and satisfying life.

      • Mike 6.1.1

        This proves in practice to be too costly.

        A Trotsky always gives way to a Stalin.

        Every time.

        • karol 6.1.1.1

          I’m not sure how this comment answers some of my questions – it doesn’t as far as I can see.

          What proves too costly?

          What kind of broad movement will lead to Stalinism?

          You rightly don’t want Stalinsm, yet, you want to begin by persecuting those different from you?

          • Mike 6.1.1.1.1

            I in no way besmirched the memory of Great Leader and Patriot Joseph Stalin.

            I’m suggesting we cut to the chase. Tends to be less purging required that way.

            • karol 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Excuse me?!

              So you want to send me to a concentration camp?

              • Mike

                What I want is irrelevant.

                The wants and needs of tomorrow’s proletarians are the only ones that should be considered.

                • karol

                  And LGBTI proletarians?

                  • Murray Olsen

                    I strongly suspect someone has escaped from under their bridge, Karol.

                    • Mike

                      I strongly suspect that no one has studied their Hegelian Dialectic properly. How on earth anyone could think that capitalism plus socialism is to equal communism, or anarchy, is beyond me.

                      The utopian dreams of the right and the left end in the same place, anarchy. The only difference is their view of human nature.

                      The withering away of the state is championed by the Act party, is it not?

    • “Premiere Putin makes great strides in removing the promoters of perversion from society.”

      Got any examples? Including expanding upon

      “the promotion of perverse lifestyles to children.”

      • Mike 6.2.1

        Putin has banned homosexual propaganda.

        An excellent start.

        • The Al1en 6.2.1.1

          So you’re agreeing with a homophobic bigot. Tell you what, just vote conservative and pray your soul be spared… Numb nuts. 🙄

          • Mike 6.2.1.1.1

            The Free Market is most injurious to the health of the Working Class, comrade. The National Party was a vocal supporter of the Marriage Equality bill.

            Think about the long term benefit, as opposed to short term pleasure. It is hard to do, I admit, steeped as we are in “individual liberty” and “self expression”.

            • karol 6.2.1.1.1.1

              And arch neoliberal Margaret Thatcher was responsible for a law that made it illegal to “promote ” homosexuality. It actually proved unworkable, and was repealed by a later government.

              Bigotry and non-bigotry can be found all over the political spectrum.

              • Colonial Viper

                Putin’s law will likely prove unworkable as well. And there probably won’t ever be more than a handful of prosecutions. But it is part of his strategy to generate a massive wave of popularity for himself under the rubric of making Mother Russia morally stronger in the face of overt foreign pressure.

                TL:DR the more that the western power elite pressure Russia, the more Putin will find using these political tricks very helpful.

                • McFlock

                  The prosecutions will be against anyone who pisses off any level of government.

                  The law also gives encouragement to those who beat and kill lgbt people. It normalises bigotry.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yep. Which doesn’t change anything I said about it. The more the west moralises, pressures and manoeuvres against Russia, the more these kinds of steps will increase Putin’s popularity.

                    The Pussy Riot prosecution was also a perfect example of this dynamic.

                    • McFlock

                      ok, so let’s say you’ve framed the problem. What’s the solution?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Who claimed that there is a solution?

                      I don’t have any power to influence Putin or Nato or the WH, neither do I have the power to influence the mostly conservative Russian public, nor the mostly ignorant of Russian culture western public. Do you, or do you know anyone who does?

                    • McFlock

                      k, sorry.

                      Thought you might be contributing something other than just minimising the effects of the law and saying nothing can be done.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I’m doing plenty of political things, including putting up Labour signs this weekend, but absolutely zero which is going to touch Russia-Western relations or internal Russian popular politics one iota.

                • karol

                  Interesting.

                  In the case of Thatcher’s government, their morality appears to have been pretty flexible. Recent revelations indicate senior members of her government squashed any investigations into alleged pedophile activities by some of their MPs.

                  In retrospect, while some UK Tories were anti-gay, the legislation against promoting homosexuality probably had a lot to do with Thatcher’s aim to destroy the organised left. The grass roots left was pretty strong in supporting moves to end anti-gay discrimination and prejudice.

                  So maybe not so different from Putin’s motives.

                  • Tom Jackson

                    Can’t say I agree with this bloke on the gays or Putin, but he is right that Labour would be more electable if not being dominated by a bunch of annoying Public Address type liberals. 🙂

                    • Mike

                      Or those that despise Anglo Saxons and Celts. Being the largest constituent of the vote, the Anglo Saxon and Celtic working class may feel forced to vote for parties that do not have their best interests at heart, as their traditional cultures are rubbished by those on the left.

                      It is time for a healing of our people. This will only be achieved by a swing back towards the Anglo Saxon and Celtic culture that once united the people of this land. At the moment, Anglo Saxon is almost a dirty word, and Celts are only mentioned in association with paganism and debauchery.

                      Any party on the left taking a stronger morally conservative stance will see them gather these two peoples, and destroy all other parties with ease.

                      Demographics, people. They exist. The idea is to capture them, not alienate them.

                      Less social engineering, more attention to the working class and their concerns, such as providing a safe, hierarchical society in which to raise children, and plenty of well paid blue collar jobs for them to do when they grow up. Respect for one’s parents, respect for one’s own country and people, and respect for the law are part of the foundations of a successful society.

        • karol 6.2.1.2

          What exactly counts as “homosexual propaganda”?

          • The Al1en 6.2.1.2.1

            You have way more patience than I have Karol, or a vindictive streak that enjoys worms baiting themselves on a hook.

            I’m guessing an act on campus type politics 101 student who swallowed the textbook mummy and daddy tax avoided to buy.

            • Puddleglum 6.2.1.2.1.1

              That would be my guess – or similar.

              The rhetoric is a transparent caricature probably primarily aimed at driving a wedge between so-called ‘old left’ and ‘identity politics’ approaches (apparently successfully). Seeing what can be stirred up.

              Mike’s just playing. (“I fear you are not ready comrades” – give me a break. I fear that I’m in a poorly scripted Mel Brooks Cold War sitcom).

              The facts are that working class people – like people of all other classes – have increasingly improved attitudes towards gay people. In fact, if Pinker’s correct in his book ‘Better Angels”, then it’s also true globally – though the exceptions like Russia become cases that prove (i.e., ‘test’) the rule.

              There’s less and less electoral gain to be had out of homophobia.

              If there’s blue collar, working class people of the type that Mike seems to be referring to who are resentful of the last Labour-led government’s focus on liberal causes then that resentment probably has less to do with what has been done for marginalised groups than what they perceive had not been done for working class people in general (including the members of marginalised groups who are also working class).

          • Mike 6.2.1.2.2

            I fear you are not ready comrades. This generation, and the one before it are sated with their petite bourgeois lifestyle. As long as the tap of pleasure remains on, they will turn a blind eye to the suffering of the Proletariat, and the even worse sufferings to come.

            The impoverished generations of the future, whose country has been destroyed by excesses of the right and left will be quite receptive to the path forged by Premiere Putin, leader of the Free World.

            “The anti-propaganda law introduces fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($156) for citizens who disseminate information aimed at minors “directed at forming nontraditional sexual setup” or which may cause a “distorted understanding” that gay and heterosexual relations are “socially equivalent”, the official publication of the bill showed.”

            • karol 6.2.1.2.2.1

              Are you going to vote for the Conservative Party?

              You’re not doing the working class much of a favour by making them out to be willing to persecute and damage the lives of people a little different from them – which is what your
              anti-propaganda” will achieve.

              And you want to persecute working class LGBTI people as well?

              How are LGBTI people, living free from persecution, going to prevent getting fid of poverty and income/wealth inequalities?

              Again, I ask, how can you claim out working class LGBTI people are living an excessive and petite bourgeois lifestyle?

              • Colonial Viper

                karol. The pattern internationally is always the same. When the middle class and working class fail to be listened to, engaged and protected by the major political parties, they will begin to support other more insidious political forces. The rise of these forces will tend to target and scapegoat vulnerable minority groups in society. Immigrants, LGBT, Muslims, unemployed etc.

                Whether you consider the Tea Party, the Golden Dawn, or previous incarnations of NZ First, the pattern is the same.

                • I didn’t realise “the middle class” never contains queer, migrant, Muslim, or not-in-paid-employment people.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Just giving you a few real life examples, Stephanie. Le Penne, UKIP are two more. And there are many more examples developing in various ‘advanced’ western/European/Scandanavian countries at the moment. We ignore these dynamics at our peril.

                    • And you ignore my point of your own free will.

                      ETA: And actually, no, I have more to say: the UKIP is a terrible example to use if you’re trying to prove anything about a wide middle-class retreat to extremism. The reason UKIP were so successful in the European elections is because no one votes in European elections. You can argue that a large number of people are disengaged, which allows extremist minorities to gain more power, but you simply cannot threaten progressives with a spectre of widespread middle-class defecting to extremist parties.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You may dismiss UKIP’s MEP wins but don’t forget they have also scored dozens of local council wins as well.

                      Yes I am talking about political power, and yes I am talking about extremist minorities like the Tea Party and like UKIP getting more energised even as mainstream turnout falls and falls.

                      What I don’t get is you talking as if these are two separate dynamics when you attempt to say that the latter should not be confused with the former. They are part of the same dynamic of the disengagement and demotivation of ordinary reasonable voters who feel like mainstream parties have less and less to offer them, and the increased engagement of people who are pissed off enough to keep voting and usually for one of the smaller extremist parties who just love to scapegoat the weak and the vulnerable, albeit in very reasonable sounding dulcet terms.

                      I only partially agree with your point that a majority of the middle class will never defect to extremist politics. Firstly, as you well know, you don’t need a majority of people to start supporting extremist politics for it to actually take hold. It might only takes a 10% shift in voting patterns to completely alter the political makeup of a country. Secondly, I feel that you’re ignoring the reality of recent political economic history yet again.

                      Many of the middle class have supported extremist politics previously. More than enouhg middle class voters supported the extremist likes of Margaret Thatcher, Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson when it was working class people on the other side of the railway tracks getting smashed (physically, socially and economically), merely so that they could have tax cuts and other financial benefits for themselves.

                      And plenty of that middle class supported Bill Clinton when he signed into law the omnibus bill which eventually helped put an extra million blacks into US prisons and allowed private prison corporations to profit off this institutional racism.

                    • I think you need to figure out what you’re arguing, CV. Is it that we need to pander more to your particular ideas of what the middle-class want because (a) if we don’t they will start voting for extremist minority parties, or (b) if we don’t they’ll all start voting National?

                      Because your first comments referenced the Tea Party (not actually a majority party despite their ties to the Republicans), Golden Dawn and UKIP, and now you’re talking about Thatcher.

                      In any case, you seem to be the person ignoring recent political history, because aside from a few issues which have been high-profile successes for Labour, the “appeal to middle-class white conservative men” tactic has been extensively tried by two Labour leaders and failed to deliver.

                  • greywarbler

                    @ Stephanie R 8.47
                    Why not develop understanding through discussion without your sneering critique of CV comments as you sieve opinion through your narrow PC grid?

                    Merely referring to middle class, and minority groups as separate groups is enough to set you off on the correct PC way of addressing certain groups with exaggerated respect. This seems to be your weakness, and results in your having difficulty in seeing the bigger picture.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      It’s worthwhile considering the Labour Party “disconnect” that I occasionally refer to. The party truly believes that its policies and approaches serve the best interests of 95%+ of NZers. And gets quite confused and puzzled when 2/3 of those same people consistently disagree.

                      Whereas National mainly serves the interests of the top 5% of society. They don’t even try to particularly hide it. Yet often poll at 10x that rate.

                    • It’s got nothing to do with “exaggerated respect” or whatever imagined “PC ways” you presume I have.

                      When a person says “stop engaging with X and engage more with Y” – no matter who X and Y are – the clear implication is that they are distinct and exclusive groups with distinct and exclusive interests and priorities. And that’s a very silly thing to do if there’s significant overlap and you’re trying to reach a broad range of people.

              • um..!..karol..

                ..’mike’ is a piss-take..eh..?

                • Mike

                  I merely present a point of view. I understand your intolerance of it, for liberalism is to gradually tolerate everything except for intolerance.

                  This reminds me of my upcoming species re-alignment surgery. I have always felt that I was never really a person, and when I met Rex, he helped me realise who I truly was. My rottweiler and I have a love stronger than you ignorant people can ever understand.

                  I hope one day you will grasp that love is the most important thing of all, and his love for me is unconditional – who are you to judge?

                  I believe my surgery should be funded completely by the working class. I do not think they have anything better to spend their money on, than improving me and my dog’s chances of happiness.

                  Of course, the judgmental amongst you will find this idea abominable. But in the future, you will be remembered as the bigots you are.

                  • swordfish

                    Brilliant stuff, Mike. Quite possibly the funniest comment I’ve read in a long time.

                    Mind you, the “I in no way besmirched the memory of Great Leader and Patriot Joseph Stalin” comes a very close second.

                    • Mike

                      I must confess swordfish, I stole it from a Rabbi.

                      There are a growing number of people out here, who have seen wages decline over the years, only to witness the affections of the two main parties turn not towards them, but away from them, and towards issues that are injurious to the working class as a whole.

                      They see foreign workers (diversity, multiculturalism) come in and undercut them, force up house prices, all the while New Zealand accumulates debt in their names, and not only legally enforces all kinds of perversion (tolerance, acceptance) on their youth, that they were not subjected to as children, but forces the working class to pay homage to deviancy. One must smile when presented with something one does not like, in case the Politically Correct police swoop, and the Offender is out of a job.

                      The decent, hard working proletarians await their Stalin. Only he will purge the dead weight from the left, and the traitors from the right. The correct “political correctness” is a nurturing of the proletariat.

                      It is hard for many “Communists” to understand how socialism terminates in a dictator. That is because they are not Working Class.

                      But comrades, I am glad that in the name of tolerance that I am allowed to post here, without threat of violence or censure, so far.

                      My viewpoint is inevitable, as proven by Dialectical Materialism. Anyone having read both Marx and Hegel will perhaps understand where I am coming from.

                    • bad12

                      Mike, re the comics you allude to as reading above, Marx and Hegel, where can a copy of such ‘comic books’ be obtained…

                    • swordfish

                      @ Mike

                      Nyet, Comrade, Nyet !!!

                      You’re heading wayyyyy off into disturbing Black-Red alliance territory, there.

                      Mind you, I do have some sympathy for the far less OTT points made by both CV and Tom Jackson (above).

                      While I consider myself very much both liberal and Left, I have to say that some APLLs (Affluent Pakeha Liberal Luvvies) – living in up-market enclaves, where they’re divorced from day-to-day realities – need to spend a little less time dictating from on-high the official we-know-best-because-we-have-unusually-refined-sensibilities dogma and a little more time listening to the views and concerns of ordinary people.

                    • Mike

                      bad 12, your comment is unhelpful.

                      A good comrade points out where another comrade has gone wrong. Merely saying something is bad, without positing your own theory is negative, and far too easy for someone of your undoubtedly towering intellect.

                      To my thesis, add your antithesis, so that we may get a synthesis beneficial to both of us.

                      Though no expert in Marxism or the Hegelian dialectic, let me attempt to explain my understanding of it.

                      For class warfare to occur, there must be two distinct classes. Traditionally New Zealand, with it’s strong Blue Collar base, did not have this. Even blue collar men were able to support their families on a single income, leaving women free to raise a large number of children. This was once considered a good thing. The working class thought themselves to be good, and thus the enlarging of the working class was viewed positively.

                      Free market economies have caused the decline of our working class, as jobs are sent overseas. Thus the blue collar becomes increasingly divided. Some leave to join the white collar (capitalist), who believe that poor people are poor because they are lazy. Others leave to become part time workers, eternal students or unemployed (socialist), who believe poor people are poor because they are oppressed.

                      This is the beginning of class warfare. Two distinct, fringe classes.

                      As the warfare heats up, middle New Zealand seethes. They are not interested in abstract, utopian concepts. They have children to raise, food to put on the table. They wish in short for the survival of their family line. They think children are a good thing, in particular, their own children. As the utopians destroy our country, economically through free trade, and morally through the legal enforcement of licentiousness, middle New Zealand begins to look for a Strong Man ™, someone who can Get Busses Running On Time ™, someone to end the war.

                      Thesis – Capitalism

                      Antithesis – Socialism

                      Synthesis – Fascism.

                      Only someone who does not understand the Dialectic would think that the synthesis of capitalism and socialism would be anarchy, or communism.

                      It is obviously a mixed economy, or State Capitalism.

                      The working class will eventually elect a dictator to execute or imprison the two warring factions.

                      “The word originated as the title of a magistrate in ancient Rome appointed by the Senate to rule the republic in times of emergency (see Roman dictator and justitium).[1]”

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictator

                      Joseph Stalin was much loved by the Working Class. He undid the damage of the utopians, re-criminalising homosexuality, abortion, re-opening the churches and bringing back pride in being Russian. President Putin, his ideological heir, begins the process anew. From the extreme capitalism and debauchery of Post Soviet Russia, and the savaging of the working class by oligarchs, Putin reforges a strong working class anew.

                      Liberals and Libertarians all over the world, those enemies of the working class, are united as they howl in outrage.

                    • karol

                      Many in the skilled working class (trades people, etc) have often aligned themselves more with the middle classes from 19th century onwards, in the UK and NZ.

                      The “undeserving” poor have often been split off from the rest of the working classes – this includes a lot of the semi & unskilled precariat.

                      in recent times the precariat has grown much larger. they are the ones that have suffered the most from the neoliberal scam.

                      The working class, as defined by Marx and other 19th century theorists, was always pretty much a male working class, with women as unpaid domestic labour supporting them.

                    • Mike

                      Thank you Karol, you have repeated my point.

                      Traditionally the blue collars were aligned to the white collars.

                      Due to freemarketeering, the middle class been converted increasingly to the poles of Left and Right.

                      You speak of a housewife as though it were a dirty word. Gone are the large families of the past, as the Malthusians take over the left and the right. Women have been convinced that working is the best thing for them. Why not leave that to men, who are more expendable?

                      I don’t blame modern women for being lesbians at all.

                      Much like the working class has fractured into left and right, men have fractured somewhat into two groups – hyper masculine and effeminate. Women must lower themselves to couple with either type.

                      Gone are the strong, but gentle men. Instead we have louts and fops.

                      Women realise that these men care less and less about the future of their offspring, and that the women must now take over all roles, not just their own, but the ones previously held by men. In short, wage earner, home maker and disciplinarian. Gone are the days when “wait till your father gets home” would cause unruly children to instantly cease their disrespect of their mother and plead for undeserved forgiveness.

                      Child rearing becomes more and more difficult as a result.

                      Men have deluded themselves into thinking they are the equal of a woman. Anyone with brains realises that women are more important than men. Women can now do all jobs that men do. Men commit much more crime. Why do you keep us around?

                      I see very little need to.

                      A larger and larger proportion of our young men laze about, play counterstrike and other gun related games and smoke drugs using the tax money of hard working women who defend our Free Land physically in our armed forces, and economically in our offices.

                      I agree with Christopher Hitchens on this one.

                    • bad12

                      Seriously Mike @ 12.51pm, unhelpful? you make a parody of ‘class struggle’ when by the very essence of your discourse you advertise the revolution on behalf of the proletariat in diction that the vast majority of that proletariat would fail to understand,

                      ”My viewpoint is inevitable as proven by dialectical materialism” being simply the words of a professorial comic book character, try using them on the proletariat as they sup their beers in a Porirua pub on a Friday night and the comic nature of such discourse is exposed,

                      This then becomes the conversation of either the elitist who with deliberation talks above the heads of the proletariat, or, the conversation of the clown perhaps unwittingly advertising a parody as revolution,

                      Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist revolution frees no-one, in fact the opposite is shown to occur,

                      For the proletariat it matters not who the Dictator is, King or Communist, neither free the proletariat from the drudgery of their daily servitude…

                • karol

                  Heh. It’s hard to tell the piss take from the real thing.

            • Adele 6.2.1.2.2.2

              Kiaora Mike

              Are you channeling Stalin?

              Some seriously distorted thinking on your part. I suggest you book in for an exorcism at St Mathews in the City.

                • Adele

                  Mike

                  Again, you are thinking crazy. The Anglican Church will only be losing the blind in faith. The dogma you walk obviously depends on blind obedience.

                  Bro (Māori for comrade) – before plucking out your eyeballs – you really should have taken stock of your surroundings – Aotearoa New Zealand.

                  The people at the sharp end of the blade here are not the Celts or the Anglo Saxons – its Māori and Pasifika.

                  Do yourself a favour: re-bury the mangy dogma; put Stalin back in his mausoleum; buy a new set of eyes; stop using Vodka to wash down the Prozac, wear a Polynesian inspired shirt, and think Positive.

            • Tracey 6.2.1.2.2.3

              Comrade, gather atop the mountain at midnight on the 8th night of the 8th month and await the awakening.

    • It’s time to get this group on side. People who are not interested in the utopian ideas of left and right, and see a mixed economy as being our future. People who are morally conservative, but who are for protective economic policy, to rejuvenate our industries

      You do know New Zealand First is only polling around 5%, right?

      • Mike 6.3.1

        Yes, the very concept of New Zealand first is abhorrent to both capitalists and communists alike.

        Let us see how the generations to come respond to the utopians on the left and the right that would destroy them in the name of Universalism. I highly suspect that they will destroy the utopians. Its hard to argue with a furious group of young people, young and fit, clad in jackboots and identically colored shirts, who have full State Support.

        It would be like the legalisation of gangs. Gangs authorised to destroy the rootless cosmopolitans among us.

        • The point isn’t whether NZ First are “abhorrent”. The fact is that they almost exactly line up to the values of this imaginary group which you’re claiming needs to be got on side – yet are only polling 5%.

          • Mike 6.3.1.1.1

            Early days yet. We are still enjoying the last fruits of the “Rockstar Economy”.

  7. millsy 7

    Mike – I take it that you think homosexuality should be recriminalised…

    • Mike 7.1

      Let’s at least stop presenting it as an attractive lifestyle to children. Young men, who always like attention, may think coming out is just the thing to do to garner it.

      Once Trotsky had liberalised russia to an incredible degree, Stalin discovered the scourge of Pederasty on the rise. A young boy molested by an older male tends to turn to a life of drug use and crime. Very deleterious to the Working Class.

      • millsy 7.1.1

        It seems to me that the biggest occurance of pederasty was in the Catholic Church.

        • Te Reo Putake 7.1.1.1

          Quite right, millsy! But Mike is best ignored, it’s just autospam with trigger words like Stalin, Trotsky and comrade that are intended to waste people’s time.

        • Mike 7.1.1.2

          Agreed, millsy. Celibacy is unnatural, and depletes the working class.

          Russia is Orthodox, and this once was a Protestant majority country.

          I remember a certain German Chancellor who could not stand Trotsky or Stalin, if you want to play that game.

      • Tiger Mountain 7.1.2

        Mike has spoiled any chance this thread had of a serious take on Sue Bradfords efforts. Tosser.

  8. Sable 8

    Oh God not Sue Bradford. Listen to her and stay in opposition forever….

  9. um..!..isn’t internet/mana coming together into an alliance just a physical-manifestation of what bradford prescribes..?

    .the bringing together of disparate threads for the purpose of achieving real political change..?

    ..so why was she so opposed to that happening..?..in this case..?

    ..opposed to the point of walking..?

    • Sable 9.1

      In my opinion she has been consigned to the political wilderness and I suspect this is an exaggerated case of sour grapes. If anything my view is her thesis is going to cause more harm than good and I wonder if she doesn’t well know that.

      • karol 9.1.1

        Eh? how can her thesis be sour grapes as a result of her withdrawing from Mana. Her thesis was completed before the Internet Party was a gleam in KDC’s eye. It’s the result of several years work, and a continuation from her decades of political activism. At the same time as working on her thesis, she was politically active on the streets, and with Auckland Action Against Poverty.

        The sourness of grapes seem to be all in your comments.

        • Sable 9.1.1.1

          Yes and what interesting timing that it should surface now. Tell me too in what sense is the left “fragmented”. The only left leaning party that fits that description is Labour who are barely left leaning by any definition that matters. There are other alternatives such as the Greens who are gaining ground.

          • karol 9.1.1.1.1

            Again, you are talking about parties, Bradford’s thesis is focused on the broader Left, and the flax roots and community activities and activism.

            A lot of the fragmentation is about a lack of common direction, and well thought out strategies: there’s a lot of actions in response to things that need changing, without proposing practical solutions. There’s a need for stronger flax roots organisations, and for the diverse groups to be able to get behind a common message.

            The thing about the opposition parties is that some, especially Labour, are not in strong enough engagement with the flax roots – Labour MPs deciding for themselves what should be done, against the wishes of the party members. The Greens are in the process of trying to develop and strengthen their links with communities and volunteers on the ground in the current campaign.

            Some of Bradford’s interviewees talked of the fragmented and weak unions.They had provided the community support for Labour in the past, and were the means for developing and circulating the main ideas, solutions and messages of the Labour movement.

            I come back to Bryce Edwards comment that civil society is quite thin in NZ, and that politics is dominated by parties, parliament, etc and the media.

            Their needs to be stronger community and flax roots clubs, associations, organisations that are strongly networked with each other. Through such networks people can work out some common goals, strategies and messages. Bradford has come to the conclusion, through both her activist experience and her research, that Left wing think tank/s are need to fuel the ideas, motivation, strategies etc to be used by such organisations.

      • breath thru yr nose..tiger..

        ..the thesis was written b4 bradford went into self-chosen/imposed ‘exile’..

        • Sable 9.1.2.1

          So what. Its not when you write something but what you then do with it that matters. I do not see how in any way Bradford’s comments are helpful or constructive….

          • karol 9.1.2.1.1

            I’m not yet seeing any constructive discussion from you – only criticisms, which seem to go back to Bradford criticising IMP.

          • Tracey 9.1.2.1.2

            What sort of stuff do you think we should read

    • karol 9.2

      Political parties are only the tip of the broader left. Bradford’s thesis is focused strongly on the broader left, and the ideas and direction that enable it to have some impact on culture, society and parliamentary politics. In short it’s about the Left as a movement, and not about individual parties.

      As I understood it, Bradford didn’t see IMP as bringing together of people in a way that would build a lasting movement. And she was most critical of Dotcom’s values – not seeing them as being of the left. As I recall, she did say they may increase the opposition vote this election, but was sceptical about its value in the medium to longer term.

      I notice she has since not offered any further comment on IMP or given public support to any other party. Her twitter feed shows occasional tweets, and those that focus on the election tend to highlight important election issues, and the kinds of policies or approaches she supports.

      For myself, re-IMP, I’m in wait and see mode. I have my concerns, but, it will be a good thing if they do increase the vote, and/or the longer term political engagement by some who were previously disengaged.

      • Tiger Mountain 9.2.1

        People need to read the whole document to know what they are talking about here. Sue has made a serious attempt that is well worth taking the time to read. If anyone out there wins lotto donate a few mill to setting up a think tank, a left wing media centre and printery!

        Sue has contributed so much over the years particularly with Peoples Centres and beneficiary advocacy. She can be trigger happy with leaving organisations and starting new ones and has been an individualist rather than an enduring natural collectivist in my opinion having been a member of various groups and actions she has been involved with.

        However as the main problem for the NZ left as ever is disunity in theory and action her thesis is a valuable work that serious activists should become acquainted with.

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    Well I haven’t read the lot yet but I will. Still I think Sue is generally onto something. Think tanks tend to release research and also comment in the press. They also seem to give some funds to universitys presumably to fund the discourses they approve of. That way they get to release the ideas and frame the argument no matter how shonkey the ideas are.

    So left wing think tanks could provide different research but also different framing of the various arguments right from the beginning. Is at an “anti smacking bill” or an “anti child asssault bill” or ‘kiddi bashers”. Is it “revictimising” someone (focus on the recipient) or “reabusing” someone (focus on the perpetrator.)

    There has been a number of instances over the last while of significant social media outrage (the third media stream?) at the actions of some of our institutions police, Mfat etc and these instances seem to be more pronounced, closer together and spanning a greater range of outlets. (twitter, letters to the editor comments on online papers, blogs).
    So a lot of people feel there is an alternative narrative to the one they are being fed, it is powerful and threatens the right fragmented though it is (look how quickly the trolls appear on some issues or ministers try to shut it down) and think tanks could give focus and shape to this type of narrative and preempt it. If we don’t it will be at our own peril.

  11. Olwyn 11

    Nothing points more to the need for left wing think tanks than the disagreement between Mike and several other people on this thread. in fact it’s a pity it didn’t take place before Sue finished her thesis – she might have made use of it.

    Both socially liberal and materially socialist thinking are aspects of the broad left, but we have never really solved the problem of how they fit together at the present time. What both are after is proper social and economic inclusion. That means adequate housing, adequate employment and income, and generally being taken seriously.

    It is worth remembering three things: (1) Up until the eighties, economic dominance and social conservatism went hand in hand – in people’s minds to attack one was more-or-less to attack the other. (2) The initial battle for liberals was to see that people were not imprisoned, sacked or kicked out of houses for being gay, or at odds with a conservative social order in other ways, like living in de facto relationships for example. A similar aim, from a different perspective, to that of the workers, but primarily challenging conservative moral views. (3) Working class people generally do like a level of conservatism, not because they are less enlightened than middle class liberals, but because it offers a standard both to live up to and to hold others to. Broadly accepted convention offers a modicum of protection from the whims of the powerful. Their primary enemy has been the economically dominant rather than the conservatives.

    Now that economic dominance and conservatism no longer go hand in hand it is harder both to hold the forces of the left together and the establishment to account. I do not have an answer to this problem but I do see it as a serious problem for the left to solve.

    • karol 11.1

      A good overview of historical shifts, Olwyn.

      Remember, though, that the “neoliberals”/neocons were able to knit together a workable alliance between the religious and social conservatives, and the economic and social liberals/free marketeers.

      It has been especially noticable in the US, where anti-gays, anti-abortionists, etc, joined forces with the neoliberals under George W Bush’s watch – also under Regan, etc.

      In the UK, Thatcher’s government attacked the grass roots LGBT movement, while also preaching or encouraging liberal cultural values – as long as it could be commodified.

      they did this in part by destroying the grass roots left wing organisations – especially the unions, but also the women’s and gay movements, and black/Maori movements – by a mix of destroying groups and appropriating a very watered-down version of each group’s manifesto.

      There has been a big societal shift towards individualism, and the household as the basic unit of society.

      The Left, therefore, needs to rebuild organsiations at the flax roots.

      Note: in the early neoliberal days of the 80s, a whole range of groups joined together pretty successfully in protest movements. In the UK feminist, gays, black civil rights groups all joined together in support of the miners. In NZ a similar mix of groups protested the 81 Spingbok tour.

      The right set out to destroy such new born collaborations… gradually…. step by step…. meanwhile destroying public broadcasting, and getting sympathetic editors, CEOs and journalists in key media positions, in sufficient numbers to maintain dominance.

      The left’s strength is in numbers working in and across groups and networks. There are plenty of willing people – it’s about connecting, acknowledging differences, engaging in dialogue and debate, but still agreeing to work collaboratively on some key issues, messages and goals.

      • Colonial Viper 11.1.1

        It has been especially noticable in the US, where anti-gays, anti-abortionists, etc, joined forces with the neoliberals under George W Bush’s watch – also under Regan, etc.

        In the UK, Thatcher’s government attacked the grass roots LGBT movement, while also preaching or encouraging liberal cultural values – as long as it could be commodified.

        That was the situation then. Today, neoliberals and the oligarchic elite that they serve are quite happy to join forces with socially liberal parties, in order to continue their programme of moving assets, wealth and control to the 0.1%, as well as to perpetuate economic business as usual. Which ever major party is in power, the interests of the bankers and the financial sector get met.

        The Left, therefore, needs to rebuild organsiations at the flax roots.

        Yes. IMO the people and the ideas are there, for everything from think tanks to media channels to co-operative businesses. Finding funding of a few million dollars (i.e. not much at all) would get everything moving.

      • Olwyn 11.1.2

        Thanks Karol,

        Yes, neo-liberals and neo-cons are allied in their support of the so-called free market, which is neither free nor a market. This has given them flexibility – the wealth transference bit is the important bit for them, and the versions of liberalism and conservatism that they at different times embrace tend to be debased ones. As to …connecting, acknowledging differences, engaging in dialogue and debate, but still agreeing to work collaboratively on some key issues, messages and goals. I wholeheartedly agree. What is important is that we listen to each other and take each other seriously, from either side of this essentially internal debate.

  12. dave 12

    fragmented vote like 1996 will allow this corrupt government to stay in power

  13. disturbed 13

    National uses the “divide & rule” policies to win a dirty campaign.

    Every time it looked like labour were getting their act together the Nat’s would pick on some weak link of labour leadership or policy and go on attack & put Labour on the ropes.

    They are master strategists of Propaganda and using the media to get those issues aired where the opposition cannot get any media leverage.

    The opposition must learn to play it dirty & rough also as strategist’s.

    Put up a false attack as a diversion, while coming behind with another much stronger plank to attack them whilst the Nat’s are off guard and focussed on the first diversion.

    That was how wars were won and used widely with great success through history.

  14. lurgee 14

    How times change.

    Last week, Karol accused Tracey Watkins of bias for suggesting the left was divided …

    Green Party election priorities launch

    • karol 14.1

      And, beyond the similarity of the words “fragmented” and “divided”, can you explain how the content of my 2 pasts are contradictory?

      Hint #1 – broader left & left wing parties election policies are not the same things

      Hint #2 – “fragmented” and “divided” via wedge politics are not the same thing.

      • lurgee 14.1.1

        You’re engaging in Doublethink.

        Watkins says something, and it is ‘media bias.’ Bradford says pretty much the same thing, and it’s “a valuable resource for left wing activism in Aotearoa/NZ for some time to come.”

        Your real error was your attempt to brand Watkins’s piece as biased when it was a pretty reasonable summary of how the left is just now.

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