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The strength of the left: working together…

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, April 27th, 2014 - 41 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, democratic participation, election 2014, greens, human rights, john key, labour, mana-party, slippery, sustainability, workers' rights - Tags:

The strength of the left: working together

…. from the flaxroots.

Labour green mana left

I agree with the parts of David Cunliffe’s speech to Young Labour where he talks of the importance of working together and mobilising the grass roots left in order to win the election. He is speaking about the Labour Party, but his words are equally true for the wider left:

“We are diverse, but we are one team with one mission and one unity of purpose.”

I would, however, change a couple of words in his next sentence:

“We speak to for and with the vulnerable, and to for and with hard working middle New Zealanders, because we are passionate about people. All our people.”

And I agree with Cunliffe’s conclusion:

“The conversations you will have today are part of hundreds and thousands of personal contacts we are having all around the country.

But we need your ongoing help to win this election.

We need you to commit to vote.

We need you to continue to make phone calls and to knock on doors and talk to neighbours and share your passion and energy and enthusiasm.

That is how we are going to win this election. That is how we are going to change New Zealand

A grassroots movement for change, built on the progressive values that New Zealanders hold dear.

This election is not about what we have done, it is about what we have yet to do.”

I agree with this:

“I believe that our people are a community, not a commodity.”

He stated that National get support from money.

“We have to fight the National Party’s millions of dollars with our thousands of voices. And we have to win.”

This was seen in John Key’s fundraisers, where he did a personal appearance at a dinner to raise funds for the Maori Party.

Last week Key also attended a fundraiser for the ACT Party’s Epsom candidate, David Seymour.

On 1 May he will be attending a lunch at the Auckland Chamber of Commerce where he will

speak to us about a range of current issues.  This promises to be an engaging event and provides the perfect opportunity to attend a memorable luncheon with your clients.”

On the left we disagree among ourselves on various policies. MMP gives us a choice between parties, enabling us to support the one with the policies and values that we most agree with. This doesn’t mean that we need to resort to old First Past the Post tactics of dissing every other party, including parties of the left.

Doing a spiteful Jonesey, is not going to help the left change government this year.

Jones did have some impulses to work for the betterment of Maori, but that seems to have got lost to his own ego. He is reported to have claimed that the “seeds of” his decision to quit Labour goes back to when he was stood down by David Shearer because of the accusations against him over the Billy Liu citizenship case. But his is probably right in judging that he is at odds with the modern Labour Party. He seems more comfortable in right wing company. And reinforces this by claiming that “I was deeply influenced in a positive way by the figures of the Lange Government.”

We can disagree on some points of policy and strategy, while still supporting other left parties and respecting their choices about policies and campaign strategies.

And we can strongly talk up the things we agree on most, and on the outcomes we are aiming to achieve: like building a fairer and more inclusive society; like making life better for NZ’s most vulnerable people – those on low incomes, the unemployed, the disabled, and those without access to affordable homes; like ensuring our environment is sustainable, tackling climate change and resource depletion; and like ensuring our infrastructure, democratic processes and society works equally well for the benefit of all Kiwis.

We can talk for a fairer society, with less of an inequality gap, and truly democratic processes – where the wealthiest people and corporations don’t exert their power in their own interests.

And most importantly of all we can focus on how working together, and from within and across local communities, brings power to the people.

 

41 comments on “The strength of the left: working together… ”

  1. Jim Nald 1

    Some of us around the country would be interested to host fundraising events and meet-and-greet opportunities with David Cunliffe to connect him widely with many voters.
    Trust that his team and office will help schedule these.

    • Rosie 1.1

      Excellent suggestion Jim.

      As for meet and greet opportunities with David Cunliffe, I have been banging on about that idea in regard to a visit to the Ohariu electorate, for several reasons, which I won’t repeat again, as I don’t want to bore readers to tears.

      As for “working together”, something I’ve made my personal mission is to speak to everyone I know who is a non voter, which is many, and find out why they are not voting, and what matters to them. Often folks only think of what’s in for themselves, rather than what’s best for the country. Most people I know wouldn’t care less about the debt that the National Govt has incurred over the last 5 and half years, they can only think about their own mounting debt – they need to know that the policies of the Left are relevant to them, and that the Left has people focused policy.

      A final thought. How about having report backs here on The Standard from different electorates and regions about how campaigning is going? You could be a Green, Labour or Mana volunteer or campaign manager who might want to report back on feedback from door knocking or public meetings etc. It would be a good way for the audience here to feel connected with and encouraged by campaign activities around the country.

      Couple of things though: “Reporters” would need the time to actually do a report and it may be too much of an imposition on them. The other consideration is would it be wise to make such local campaigning information publicly available? Would there be drawbacks in terms of National Party campaigners (and ACT in Epsom, UF in Ohariu and Maori Party in Waiariki)) knowing the business of the opposition?

      Just an idea anyway. As Cunliffe said “we have the voices of thousands”. Lets be heard!

  2. jh 2

    Yesterday on Open Mike:
    RBNZ slams the population ponzi
    http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/04/rbnz-slams-the-population-ponzi/
    you flatly contradicted it and I suppose Cunliffe would too (he did when he was minister). So one for one and all for all…. on different planets.

    • karol 2.1

      We can all learn some things about getting along with those on the left who have different opinions on some policies and strategies. In my post above I acknowledged there will be such differences.

      In my comment yesterday on open mike, I disagreed with you about immigration.

      I didn’t get into name calling or dissing other left wing parties about it. As I said in my post above:

      On the left we disagree among ourselves on various policies. MMP gives us a choice between parties, enabling us to support the one with the policies and values that we most agree with. This doesn’t mean that we need to resort to old First Past the Post tactics of dissing every other party, including parties of the left.

      Doing a spiteful Jonesey, is not going to help the left change government this year.
      […]
      We can disagree on some points of policy and strategy, while still supporting other left parties and respecting their choices about policies and campaign strategies.

      I was meaning not to getting into dissing parties other than the one we are members of, or are voting for – eg not getting into the Jones thing, saying he will never be part of a party tha works with the Greens – and then he gets into attacking the Greens en masse, as well as into some negtaive name calling.

      • jh 2.1.1

        “We can all learn some things about getting along with those on the left who have different opinions on some policies and strategies. In my post above I acknowledged there will be such differences.”
        ……
        But some differences are fundamental e.g
        1. There is plenty for everyone; the problem is that 10% have 90% of the wealth
        2. While 10% control 90% of the wealth, population is a problem. Outsiders are competition for resources.

  3. just saying 3

    Great post Karol,

    Unfortunately working together seems to be the hardest thing to do.

    Was there ever a time in history where the working class was so divided and mistrustful of each other? Where in hard hit communities and even within families, fingers are pointed at those who have been battered and blame is dished out most harshly by those teetering on the edge of falling out themselves?

    The unity of the past was illusory in the sense that it relied on a brutally enforced in-group conformity, but at least it allowed those who saw their neighbours as being in the same boat to work together and trust each other.

    Any practical suggestions about working together would be great to hear. I’m involved in a few of the usual things but the barriers seem to be only semi-permeable, and then only some of the time, and any traction is all too quickly lost. I know there are pockets of unity and support, and people doing fantastic things, but these are tough times for the left.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Was there ever a time in history where the working class was so divided and mistrustful of each other?

      Divide and conqueor.

      In my father’s generation most workers were hourly paid. Then came the ‘knowledge worker’ whose output couldn’t be so readily measured by time, which meant more and more people moved onto salaries. In all my working life I can recall only two jobs where I was hourly paid and both of those a long time ago.

      Certainly one of the big reasons for the decline of traditional unions has been their inability to adapt successfully to this trend. As a result the idea of working class solidarity has almost completely died.

      The second divide has been those in secure full-time employment and the ‘rotationally employed’ (ht bad12). Casualisation, contracting out and internships and the 90-day insecurity law have created a whole class of precarious employment of a quite different nature, a nature that prevents a person planning for a future. If nothing else it makes housing and mortgages very problematic.

      And the third divide has arisen within the workplace itself – between the people who do the work, and an increasingly arrogant, out-of-touch managerial class which has allocated to itself grossly disproportionate incomes.

      Some time back I was talking to a CEO, making the case that our operators (not myself) were significantly underpaid for the level of skill and responsibility we placed on them. His reply “Oh I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve stood before me making out that their job is more important than it is” has rankled with me since. This from an jumped-up town-clerk who was being paid more than the Prime Minister. The divide between us was complete (as was my contempt for him.) I was gone within a month.

      Yet these are just smokescreens. The only divide that matters is between the 50,000 odd uber-wealthy who control most of the wealth in the world and the rest of us. And the last thing they want is all us ordinary people waking up to it.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Ahhh you just made reference to the global 0.1% (actually 0.01%).

        These are the true oligarchs and quasi-oligarchs who apply a masively over-sized influence over the direction of the world. They are enabled of course by the well paid help of the top 1%.

        You may find this article on Zerohedge interesting

        Since the vast majority of us cannot lash out in any satisfying way at the top .01% who own most of the wealth and control the political machinery–in other words, the New Nobility–we seek some other accessible target.

        Expressing anger at the representatives of authority–police, Homeland Security, etc.–is a risky proposition, as being beaten and hauled off to jail or being shot are distinct possibilities.

        Beyond the overwhelming use of raw force, authorities maintain an arsenal of soft weapons such as false public accusations, vague legal charges that keep morphing as the accused demolishes each specific charge, IRS audits, and so on.

        This rage at the dominance of essentially feudal elites and their armies of underlings willing to enforce their rule is increasingly being directed at the elected toadies and lackeys. In response, craven politicos are restricting their exposure to angry serfs.

        That leaves the top 10% as the only accessible target for class envy and the generalized rage of a peasantry that cannot identify the causes of their servitude.This is misdirection, of course; the top 10% of professionals and technocrats have benefited within the New Feudalism, but they are functionaries, not the New Nobility.

        http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-26/are-you-elitist-class-warfare-and-new-nobility

        • RedLogix 3.1.1.1

          Yes I’m privileged to be well within that top 10%. Always been aware of that. And yet if you were to meet me you would be unlikely to see any material sign of it. Not from my car, my clothes, the unit I’m renting, or the fact that I ride a bicycle to work most days.

          My bank account shows a sodding big mortgage that would stop most people’s hearts.

          A very good read at that link. One line popped out at me:

          These accusations are especially irksome because I have been low-income for most of my adult life and have carried far too much lumber on far too many jobsites to tolerate any accusations of elitism. I suspect many others routinely accused of elitism feel the same way.

          Yup.

          This is a tricky place. The 0.1% elites have immense resources to protect, distract and divert attention from themselves. They make themselves very inaccessible. I’m quite aware that us technocrats are the disposable ones who’ll be jettisoned if needed.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1.1

            And it’s interesting in the story you relayed, how even senior executive management can look down on technocrats and engineers like yourself as disposable functionaries.

            Little realising that in this modern world, a middling level sys admin like Edward Snowden might hold far more real power than they themselves do.

  4. Ad 4

    Unmediated and heartfelt is DC as the most inspirational leader New Zealand could have in generations.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Yep.

    • Mainlander 4.2

      Ha Ha Ha thx Ad i needed a good belly laugh today, btw its spelt medicated

      • quartz 4.2.1

        It’s “spelled” you fucking moron. “Spelt” is a kind of grain.

        • Mainlander 4.2.1.1

          Oh know the spelling n azi nows bad words but thx for the grain lesson looks like i learnded summit tday

        • Naturesong 4.2.1.2

          Spelt is not just a kind of grain thank you very much.

          It’s the best tasting most awesome grain of them all!!

          Except for maybe Rye. I tend to vacillate between those two. So good.

          Hmm, hungry now.
          I’m off to make some bread – Spelt Sourdough, hmm mmm!!

          • Rosie 4.2.1.2.1

            Om nom noms Naturesong. You’re bread sounds delicious. I was a consumer of spelt back in the day when I worked in the organic industry, and spelt was new to NZ. It was cheaper then and I got it wholesale. Spelt makes a beautiful cake too, as well as bread.

            I can’t stretch to the cost of spelt these days but sometimes splash out on a load of Breadman Bakery 100% rye sourdough. Really satisfying, kind of a bit tangy but a bit earthy.

    • Rosie 4.3

      +1 Ad. One thing I look forward to is waking up on 21st September with a smile on my face knowing the Blues, figuratively and literally have been banished. In Key’s place will be a compassionate, intelligent and strong leader. That day can’t come soon enough.

  5. Jenny 5

    Alliances are important in any victory even tactical alliances, if they help advance your cause.

  6. Monty 6

    One of the reasons why labour support is so low is the perception that they are. Riddled with in fighting both within their own multiple factions and also fighting the greens for votes.

    Labour seem unprepared to take the control of government.

    Even within labour caucas there are many who do not support Cunliffe as leader. This is made worse by the lack of appeal cunliffe has with the voters ( or non voters as may be the case.)

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Monty seems very concerned.

      Cry us a river of those crocodile tears Monty. Sob sob.

  7. bad12 7

    Karol the fact you thought you had to change the wording in a sentence from Labour leader david Cunliffe’s speech simply says to me that anyone not comfortably ensconced within that deleted middle class should be concerned about their prospects should there be a Labour lead Government in September,

    That one line says it all to me, Labour if able to form the next Government will fight tooth and nail to maintain the privileged position of that middle class and at this point i can only conclude,(until i hear some actual policy), that those further down the economic pecking order can expect little from Labour,

    Business as usual in other words, the same as the Clark Government, leaving those below the comfortable middle class to await the next kicking from the following National Government…

    • MrSmith 7.1

      Or Bad12 is it DC just needs a new speech writer and also some speech training, he has this habit of talking softly some times and at others going into to much detail ( and this applies to the Labour party as a whole), key sounds like a dry drunk but the punters lap it up (maybe because we mostly are), now I’m not suggesting he mimic Key, but he needs to get the peoples attention and hold it the way Winston and Norman do when speaking, he has the skills and speaks very well, maybe it just needs tweaking a little, I hope Labour are working hard on refining it though because I find myself wanting to turn the volume down not up lately when I hear him.

    • karol 7.2

      Well, the point of my post is that while we may disagree on such things, and openly debate it, we don’t need to get into totally dissing that party, and attacking them in very negative and nasty ways.

  8. Notice Green is the dominant colour in the graphic and the Green Party logo is in the central position.

    An unconscious exposure of the truth.

    The Green Party has taken over Labour.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      🙄

      • blue leopard 8.1.1

        …yes Master Baiter appears to be having problems keeping its delusions in check …..+1 One Anonymous Bloke

    • weka 8.2

      lolz. The GP are in the middle because you have Mana on the left and Labour on the right. Of course the GP will be in the middle.

      Green is the colour of co-operation.

      • Tiger Mountain 8.2.1

        Exactly weka.

        “Big Bruv” and “Rod Beater” are back to share their fevered hallucinations–election looking too close for your liking boys?

    • karol 8.3

      Last time I looked for a graphic that represented the main parties of the left, that is the only suitable one I found, and used it. That means it’s now in the Standard gallery.

      This morning, after I started writing this post, TS went down. I finished the post on a Word document. When TS came back online, I only had enough time to do a hasty transfer & format before I started work. I didn’t have any time to look around for a new graphic. I chose that one because it was the first one that came up on TS Gallery.

      I didn’t really have time to think about the colour. Though I may still have chosen it. This election I’m planning to vote Green anyway. If can find a more suitable graphic and colour to represent a Mana-Green-Labour collaboration, I will use it in future.

    • Jenny 8.4

      You still here Bedwetter? I may have to drag up some of the old stuff.

    • lurgee 8.5

      Notice Green is the dominant colour in the graphic and the Green Party logo is in the central position.

      An unconscious exposure of the truth.

      The Green Party has taken over Labour.

      KAROL! You fool! You’ve gone and given it all away. Years of slyly infiltrating the Labour Party, getting our agents in place, distorting the party agenda so our lunatic fringe polices seem mainstream; and now, poised for final victory, some klutz on the interwebs blows our cover with one carelessly designed graphic. You’ll spend the remainder of your days exiled in Eketahuna for this!

  9. One Anonymous Bloke 9

    Yea, the infighting in Labour is terrible. Imagine if the Prime Minister’s chief mouthpiece started using his blog to diss the energy and resources minister, or openly supporting one of the rivals for the leadership over the other.

    Isn’t debate simply awful? We should all learn to be nicer to one another 😈

  10. Clean_power 10

    Labour should be wary of the Greens let alone Mana and its radicals. To be left of centre is one (and sensible) thing, to be extreme left very different (and dangerous) altogether.

    The average NZ voter does not like Harawhira and company. Stay away from them.

    • Jenny 10.1

      Wh-OOOooo, Scarey

    • Stuart Munro 10.2

      Sometimes I wish someone would start an extreme left party, because you ignorant RWNJs have absolutely no freaking idea what one looks like.

      Mandatory retraining for financiers and other speculators into more productive activities like horticulture?

      Nationalising the banks?

      Nationalising the media?

      Workers’ takeovers of large extractive enterprises like the supermarkets and the Warehouse?

      And that’s on the moderate side.

      Public executions of notorious enemies of the state, like asset thieves. This would be VERY popular.

      But no, you just want to whine about anyone who disapproves of your failed neo-liberal model – it’s pitiful. If you wanted the public to support neo-liberalism you would have had to run it scrupulously honestly. The Greens could teach you a thing or two about honesty. And competence.

    • lurgee 10.3

      Weird how Mana and the Greens are painted as radicals, and Labour is cautioned to stay away from them; but crazy right wing fringe parties like ACT and the Conservatives aren’t dangerous, scary and anathema to the average NZ voter.

  11. lurgee 11

    The strength of the left has been its ability to tear itself to pieces more effectively than the right could ever do. This is seen all across the world, not just in New Zealand. I think acceptance of sometimes quite divergent opinion within a unified party is what we need to sort out before we can hope to take the fight to the right. In Britain in the 80s, Thatcherism triumphed because the left was split between Labour and the SDP. Because it was a FPTP system, Thatcher was able to win massive majorities on a declining share of the vote.

    Obviously, things are a bit better under MMP, but I disagree with Karol’s suggestion that the fragmented nature of the left is not really a problem. If nothing else, it makes welding a coalition together more fraught; it also creates the problem of ideological dilution – there are some elements (and voters) of NZ First that are natural left territory, but the party itself is tainted with right wing madness and special interest pleading as to make it toxic; and there is the issue of perception – even if the dog is not being wagged by multiple tails – that the minor parties are getting undue influence and issue of stability will always be a factor for some voters; and the risk of unwise connections, as exampled by the recent dalliance of Mana and the Internet Party.

    So I feel very disappointed when I see people continuing to rave about the supposed malign influence of Mallard-Goff-King, because a) I don’t actually believe it, b) these are some of our most effective and recognisable performers, and c) it shows we still haven’t learned the lesson and learned to accept the idea that people will have somewhat different ideas of what it means to be Labour, or the best ways to achieve leftwing goals.

    This isn’t to say the fault is the minor parties on the left; Mana is looking to Dotcom because it has been systematically excluded by Labour. and the Greens were blocked from coalition throughout the Clark years. To win, Labour needs to accept all strains of reasonable and sane leftism, and all strains of reasonable and sane leftism should be looking to form links with the larger party. Perhaps formal unification is impossible – but more co-operation and development of joint policy is essential. This means Middle New Zealand has to accept that Mana and the Greens are not swivel eyed eco-warriors and racial agitators; and the left needs to accept that Middle New Zealand is also part of Labour.

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