Vote smart: The micro parties

Written By: - Date published: 11:58 am, November 1st, 2008 - 101 comments
Categories: election 2008, progressives, vote smart - Tags:

Last election, 7,000 people gave their votes to very small left-wing parties that never had any chance of winning a seat in Parliament. That’s 0.3% of the vote; a small but not insignificant amount. If those votes to the Alliance and Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis had gone to the Greens instead (who, after all, have 99% of their policies in common), the Greens would have won another seat. 

This election, there are two more micro left wing parties – the Workers’ Party and the Residents Action Movement. Two parties with, as far as I can tell, identical policies and ideology that sit comfortably within the ideals of the Greens and Labour, just more extreme, but have no hope of getting elected (RAM came last or nearly last among the organised candidate blocs in every local council election that it contested last year).

I have a lot of sympathy for these parties and their policies. It is important to have groups that pulling the political spectrum left. But that is no reason for voters to waste their votes on them.

Last election, the micro parties and the Progressive took a combined 33,000 votes, each one of them wasted when they could have been contributing to more seats for the Left. If that happens again, it may be the difference between keeping the Left in power and a National-led government. Which leads to a sad but inescapable conclusion – voting for a micro party rather than a party that will return to Parliament is like voting for a National-led government.

101 comments on “Vote smart: The micro parties”

  1. T-rex 1

    “voting for a micro party rather than a party that will return to Parliament is like voting for a National-led government.”

    The tragic conflict between intent and outcome.

    To people who might be offended by Steves comment above: there is no suggestion that your vote is given as an endorsement of National, or that voting for a minor party implies a philosophical alignment with National on any level.

    Just that doing so will help National win.

    .

    You can remain ideologically untarnished if you like, but at the cost of the reality you desire. If you want your ideals to be realised, have a think about compromising them very slightly 🙂

    There should be a better way to handle this, like a transferrable vote, but for now there’s not, and now is what we’re working with.

  2. higherstandard 2

    So the message is if you’re a total numpty please vote for the Labour or Greens.

    On amore serious note wouldn’t STV (from a party and a local candidate perspective) have alleviated this as an issue ?

  3. jaymam 3

    In a similar way, Epsom voters who vote for a minor party’s candidate instead of National MP Richard Worth is like voting for a National-led government.
    Isn’t it strange that the best way to keep National out of power is to vote for their own candidate. Votes for the Green or Labour candidates are completely wasted and the wrong thing to do for Epsom Green or Labour supporters.

    For those who don’t understand, if Worth beats Hide then ACT is out of parliament, and thus National don’t get ACT as a coalition partner. Labour and National would then each get an extra couple of MPs, which is better for Labour than ACT having four MPs including Roger Douglas.

    If we had STV we wouldn’t have to vote in this crazy way. But we don’t have STV, so everybody in Epsom should vote for Richard Worth. He doesn’t like Hide anyway!

  4. Felix 4

    jay,

    Steve covered this here:

    Vote smart: Epsom

  5. Anita 5

    But but but but!!

    If you’re in a safe electorate seat (for either Labour or National) give your electorate vote to a micro party. They are not wealthy parties or people and every $300 deposit they get back makes a real difference. They need 5% of the electorate vote to get their deposit back, so pick your favourite micro party and give them a chance it won’t affect the outcome of the election but it will make sure they’re able to keep expressing their voices!

  6. lprent 6

    Anita: I agree Steve needs to distinguish between Electorate and Party vote.

    The party vote is the only one that is really important countrywide. Treat your party vote as gold and spend it wisely.

    The electorate vote only really important to MP’s/candidates in each electorate – use that as your conscience vote. Countrywide it is only important in a few electorates like the Maori seats. Wigram, Tauranga, Ohiria-Belmont, and Epsom. Voters in those electorates should treat both votes as gold.

    As Anita says if you can’t find someone to vote for, then use your electorate vote to give the deposit back to the smaller candidates that you despise the least. That way you keep grassroots activists from losing too much from campaigning.

  7. infused 7

    The Herald writes:

    On October 13, an anonymous blogger posted to Labour Party-affiliated website The Standard. The blogger, calling himself Batman, is believed to be a senior official, most likely party president Mike Williams, although he has denied it was him.

    nice.

    [lprent: Link? ]

  8. Ianmac 8

    Maybe the very minor parties get their message across knowing that they have no chance of getting in. It is their message that is being sent during a campaign while they can, but do not vote for them to prevent a wasted vote. How are the Christian Parties like Taito Phillip Fields doing?

  9. KiwiGirl 9

    “Last election, the micro parties and the Progressive took a combined 33,000 votes, each one of them wasted”

    Isn’t it wonderful that we still have a country free enough to allow us to vote for who ever we wish WITHOUT compromising our beliefs.

    Long may it last; and thank goodness there is still a few rebels in our midst.

  10. This is what you get with MMP.

  11. max@gmail.com 11

    Its called a democracy guys – those 33,000 didnt vote for labour because they dont want to.

    But your right, they should actually just vote national and at least be on the winnning side.

    🙂

  12. John Edmundson 12

    Steve Pierson advises people who support the Workers Party or RAM to vote against them and cast their vote for Labour instead. He attempts to paint the Labour Party as a similarly left wing party, but just a bit less radical.

    Of course the Workers Party doesn’t see itself as having “policies and ideology that sit comfortably within the ideals of the Greens and Labour” at all. Parties like Labour are capitalist parties. Their function is to manage capitalism and save it from its tendency to crisis. They differ from National primarily in the degree to which they want to redistribute some of the wealth the workers have created, and to whom. The Workers Party does not support capitalism. We want to overthrow capitalism and replace it with socialism – production on the basis of need, not profit.That is not even close to what the Labour Party wants.

    The WP offers voters a real choice, even though we know we won’t be elected because our attempt to rebuild a movement for socialism is in its infancy. Labour is an obstacle to that process. We believe voters deserve something better than what Labour and National offer, and certainly better than the “a vote for anyone else is a vote for National” bogey. If people want to cast a vote for capitalism, they’ve got a full spectrum of choice, from NZFirst and the Greens on the Left through to Labour and National and Act plus a multitude of others. Labour itself is now of course far to the right of the National Party of Muldoon or Jack Marshall. So sure, Key “might” be worse than Clark, but both promise a continuity of the capitalist system in perpetuity. If voters want to keep capitalism, they can feel free to vote Labour. If they want to work towards getting rid of capitalism, they can vote WP.
    Cheers,
    John

  13. Francois 13

    I used to be like John Edmundson, living in my fantasty world where the overthrow of capitalism was a seemingly accomplishable feat. Then I realized that you needed to work within the system if you wanted to help the workers at all.

  14. Joshua 14

    Please stop telling people not to vote progressive.

    Quite frankly, the Progressive Party has done a lot in government to make sure that Labour continues with Left policies. Dental care and the heating of houses are really good policies they’ve got this time round. Having them in coalition with Labour is much better for this country than giving those votes to the Greens, who are less concerned with these social issues than the Progressives.

  15. Francois 15

    “Maybe the very minor parties get their message across knowing that they have no chance of getting in. It is their message that is being sent during a campaign while they can, but do not vote for them to prevent a wasted vote. How are the Christian Parties like Taito Phillip Fields doing?”

    I think Phlip Fields and his Pacific party have a very real chance at doing damage to Labour’s prospects this year. If they manage to get even 1% of the party vote, that’s 1% that Labour wont get that it might’ve. I dont think the Kiwi Party or the Family Party have the potential to do damage to National in the same way…

  16. Anita 16

    Joshua,

    Do you think that a party vote for the Progressives will increase the size of the LPG bloc? Are you really expecting to get Matt Robson back?

  17. Byron 17

    The problem with voting for Labour is that if we do that we keep getting Labour governments, this may be better than National governments, but we’ll never see real change in our society if we keep voting for the status quo.

    Steve describes RAM and the Workers Party as “Two parties with, as far as I can tell, identical policies and ideology” this shows a real lack of knowledge, if this were the case don’t you think RAM and the Workers Party would have merged into one party? the reformist social democratic policies and ideology of RAM has more in common with the Alliance than with the revolutionary socialism of the Workers Party.

  18. John Edmundson 18

    Francois wrote:
    “I used to be like John Edmundson, living in my fantasty world where the overthrow of capitalism was a seemingly accomplishable feat. Then I realized that you needed to work within the system if you wanted to help the workers at all.”

    A lot of people take this approach – if you lower your horizons far enough, you’ll take pleasure in the crumbs. Luckily a bunch of French people didn’t think that way and now Europe doesn’t live under absolute monarchy. What is it that makes the overthrow of capitalism unaccomplishable? No other socio-economic system has proved immune to the passage of history. Slavery and feudalism both seemed permanent but both have vanished as predominant economic systems. A belief that capitalism is somehow indestructible is the real fantasy, as is the idea that “working within the system” will bring lasting progress. Every reform that was won during the 1930s proved expendable when another (Labour as it turned out) government decided capitalism needed to be saved.

    Issuing a fundamental challenge to the system (rather than the Labourite non challenge) may seem like a fantasy but a great many Latin Americans seem to be disproving that assertion at this very moment.

    More importantly for us here, rationalising your lowered horizons by trying “to help the workers” from “within the system” is just a cop out. The Labour Party has presided over some of the greatest redistributions of wealth from the poor to the rich that this country has ever seen. Just check out how well the rich list have done during the last couple of decades, most of which has been under Labour.

    When Rosa Luxembourg posed the choice as being one between reform and revolution, she was 100% right. Reform (which Labour barely even adheres to these days) is about protecting, strengthening and preserving capitalism. And Labour’s German Social Democratic allies had her murdered for pointing that out.
    Cheers,
    John

  19. Ari 19

    HS- yes and no. STV alleviates (mostly) the issue of votes not counting. However, it introduces the issue that sometimes the order that would be most helpful to a given candidate is not necessarily the same as the order that places that candidate as high as possible. (ie. sometimes you need to vote someone higher than your preferred candidate in order to prevent your preferred candidate from being eliminated)

    Much better are systems that allow you to register multiple independent votes for candidates, such as approval (tick any number of candidates) and range (rate any number of candidates from 0-99)

    Byron- So why not vote for the Greens? If RAM really does have a lot in common with the Alliance, I can assure you that Alliance policy is virtually a subset of Green policy.

    Of course, keep in mind- no matter what anyone tells you about voting strategically, your vote is YOURS, and you shouldn’t feel pressured to do anything with it but what you feel is right. If you disapprove of a party, or of strategic voting in general- vote where your head and your heart lead you. Even if that’s a no-vote. 🙂

  20. DeeDub 20

    John, You can hardly use Rosa Luxemburg as an example. Without the context of WW1 and post-WW1 Germany the whole ‘choice’ between reform and revolution makes no sense at all. Rosa somehow now is a potent martyr of the extreme left and I personally admire much of what I have read about her – but when push came to shove she did not support the so-called ‘Sparticist’ revolution in 1919 until it was presented to her as fait acompli. She thought it was actually a big mistake. It cost her her life. If I know my history (and I do) there were an awful lot of myths and legends (from both left and right) created around this time in early Weimar Germany – but to perpetuate them today seems ludicrous and a little simplistic given the differences in time and place.

  21. Byron 21

    “So why not vote for the Greens? If RAM really does have a lot in common with the Alliance, I can assure you that Alliance policy is virtually a subset of Green policy.”

    Well, I’m not voting RAM or Alliance anyway, I’m voting Workers Party, but just to call your bluff, there are significant differences between Alliance and the Greens.

  22. John Edmundson 22

    I’m not using her as an example and I don’t worship the ground upon which she walked. I’d be the first person to argue that you can’t simply import a template for here and now from another time and place. I’m simply pointing out that the choice she posed then is even more clear now. When she criticised the German Social Democrats then, they at least claimed that their programme would bring about socialism – one reform at a time. The current Labour parties, such as the New Zealand one, don’t even pretend to have a goal of socialism except perhaps (when they dare utter the word) in a way where it is no different to capitalism. A Social Democrat of the type Rosa critiqued would find the Labour Party a very uncomfortable place indeed. Yet people like Francois present the possibility of “helping the workers” by reform within the system. That is in my opinion a fantasy, and I believe the record of eroded conditions for workers (despite some reforms) over the decades proves my point. Labour may offer more crumbs than National, but if we want more than crumbs, we need to shed our illusions in that choice. It shouldn’t be too hard: just listen to the Labour Party and they make it perfectly clear that they are not advocating socialism.
    Cheers,
    John

  23. rave 23

    John and Byron:

    The Workers Party position means a vote for it is one less vote for Labour or a party that Labour can ally with in a Government that would have the support of the majority of unionised workers. It becomes a vote for National.

    There are two types of democracy, bourgeois and workers. Bourgeois elections are elections where workers participate as citizens. Workers democracy is based on majority rule in working class organisations. Left parties that call for the votes of individuals against the majority of unionised workers are therefore sectarian.

    The tactics of revolutionary groups in the past avoided this danger and stood in seats where they would not split the workers vote and allow the right to win. In other words they did not impose their minority revolutionary status upon the majority of reformist workers and fought for recognition of their program by holding the majority (usually a social democratic) party to account through struggle outside parliament.

    In today’s conditions this would mean asking for a candidate vote but saying to workers vote for the party that the majority of workers support but expect to fight to defend your jobs and conditions whatever party is elected.

    This would allow the Workers Party to get its program heard and judge how successful it was by counting its candidate votes. It would not take away party votes for a LPG coalition and hand power to NACT.

  24. infused 24

    Here’s the link

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-election-2008/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501799&objectid=10540463&pnum=0

    [lprent: Thank you. I could have looked it up, but you shouldn’t quote without a context. Around here that usually means that the quote without a link is immediately discounted as trolling.

    Interesting that the reporter thinks that IrishBill is a labour supporter. I have no idea myself, and I’m more likely to know than a reporter. But Irish does attack Labour more than the other posters so maybe, maybe not.]

  25. John Edmundson 25

    Dave I’m pretty sure people used the same argument to keep people voting Liberal in the early days of the Labour Party. What I’m prepared to do is credit the people I discuss politics with in the street with intelligence. I think they realise that if they vote WP they are doing so in the knowledge that it isn’t a vote for Labour. You may think giving them that choice is a sectarian act of betrayal. I think it’s just basic respect for people’s ability to make their own decisions. By definition, anyone who votes WP has already decided they don’t have any faith in Labour. I’m not about to insult those people’s intelligence by telling them they should vote for a party they’ve already decided has betrayed them and the working class.
    Cheers,
    John

  26. Quoth the Raven 26

    Anita – Thanks for that comment above I didn’t know that. So much to learn. I live in a strong National electorate so now I think I might give my electorate vote to one of the “micro” parties. Aoteoroa Legalise Cannabis party maybe.

    Legalise It

  27. Chris G 27

    John,

    I think you avoid that there (speculation from myself) a number of Labour people who support socialism. eg. 20th on Labours list and running for Waikato is Jacinda Arden who is a past president of the international socialist organisation as far as I’m aware.

    Perhaps they dont adhere to the “revolutionary socialism” that Byron suggests the WP have. But more importantly they are probably going on the premise that Francois suggested: “Then I realized that you needed to work within the system if you wanted to help the workers at all.”

    I believe Noam Chomsky has stated similar things along those lines, bringing down the system by joining it, hes a staunch libertarian-socialist.

    Plus I amen what rave said. A vote for WP is REALISTICALLY going to empower the national party more than the left bloc. Dont for a second think I dont support what the WP are doing, infact I voted for Tim Bowron for Dunedin Mayor., but you just have to be realistic with how the votes will pan out.

  28. Francois 28


    A lot of people take this approach – if you lower your horizons far enough, you’ll take pleasure in the crumbs. Luckily a bunch of French people didn’t think that way and now Europe doesn’t live under absolute monarchy. What is it that makes the overthrow of capitalism unaccomplishable? No other socio-economic system has proved immune to the passage of history. Slavery and feudalism both seemed permanent but both have vanished as predominant economic systems. A belief that capitalism is somehow indestructible is the real fantasy, as is the idea that “working within the system’ will bring lasting progress. Every reform that was won during the 1930s proved expendable when another (Labour as it turned out) government decided capitalism needed to be saved.

    Issuing a fundamental challenge to the system (rather than the Labourite non challenge) may seem like a fantasy but a great many Latin Americans seem to be disproving that assertion at this very moment.

    More importantly for us here, rationalising your lowered horizons by trying “to help the workers’ from “within the system’ is just a cop out. The Labour Party has presided over some of the greatest redistributions of wealth from the poor to the rich that this country has ever seen. Just check out how well the rich list have done during the last couple of decades, most of which has been under Labour.

    When Rosa Luxembourg posed the choice as being one between reform and revolution, she was 100% right. Reform (which Labour barely even adheres to these days) is about protecting, strengthening and preserving capitalism. And Labour’s German Social Democratic allies had her murdered for pointing that out.
    Cheers,
    John

    Remind me again what happened to Luxembourg and the Spartacists? They were crushed underfoot beneath a wave of reaction and their radicalism ultimately gave birth to the fears which led to the rise of Hitler and the National Socialists.

    Your examples of the French Monarchy etc are totally irrelevant as they have occured under a totally different context, changing the system from within was not a viable option for the oppressed masses.

    The fact of the matter is, without Labour, workers would be far worse off. The fact of the matter is, the abolition of the capitalist system is impossible without creating a dictatorship and causing mass chaos, death and destrcution. The fact of the matter is, the so-called ‘reformists’ that you so unfairly deride have won rights, gained more power for the workers and more importanty have been able defend these gains. Your “Latin American” countries will be swept away in a wave of reaction, you cannot, I repeat, you cannot alienate the middle and elite classes to the point where they attempt to undermine the state, this is a conflict which any democratic socialist party cannot win. We need to strike a balance between worker’s rights and the very possibility of a reactionary backlash. Labour may not be as left as some of use think it should be put it’s left enough to be clearly distinguishable from the National Party.

    Cheers,
    Francois

  29. Quoth the Raven 29

    I agree with Chris here. If National gets into power they’ll enact their anti worker, anti-union policies and extend corporate ascendancy undermining our democracy and furthering their power over the working man. That’ll be of much greater harm to the working man than labour holding power again. Wouldn’t the best thing to do be to work together (the enemy of my enemy is my friend) to keep National out of power.
    One question doesn’t standing in an election kinda conflict with your principles?

  30. Cameron 30

    I’m never going to vote Labour ever. This was the Party who put in place the highly repressive Terrorism Suppression Act. Helen Clark condoned the October 15 police raids last year. During the raids a whole community was blockaded by paramilitary style police and whole families, including young children, (who were not even related at all to those arrested) ordered out of their homes in the early hours of the morning at gunpoint and detained in sheds in the freezing cold.

    Labour also sent SAS troops to support th US led slaughter in Afghanistan. I get really angry when Helen Clark goes on TV saying Labour kept out of the war on Iraq. Between October 2003 and October 2004 the Labour government sent Army engineers to support the British occupation forces in Basra.

    I think a vote for the Greens or the Workers Party is much better than voting for a party that supports all this terrible stuff.

  31. Ianmac 31

    Infused: Thanks for the tip. Read that story in the Herald by Eugene. Apart from suspecting Williams as Batman, ( the mind boggles with the image of Mr Williams in a Batman suit!!) it was a surprisingly good story, but I have e-mailed Eugene about the curious ending. It seems to mean that Key was part of discussions in Aug 1988??? But he knew nothing esp the other day when he was told for the “first time” about the millions early in 88.???? Anyway there are doubts about John’s hazy recollections???

  32. lprent 32

    I was mainly amused that Eugene thought that IrishBill was a labour supporter. I’d have picked him as probably voting Green because he likes their employment relations policy better. He does like attacking Labour. But maybe that is just trying to reform the party.

    As for batman – who in the hell knows? But the ‘possums’ style doesn’t sound like him. He is more of a bull in a china shop….

  33. toad 33

    Speaking of micro-parties, let’s hope ACT soon becomes one!

    They are on the right track for that with their election advertising screened tonight.

    Blatant theft of intellectual property by ACT – despite them purporting the be the party safeguarding property rights!

  34. Quoth the Raven 34

    toad – Sue them! God knows they love litigation.

  35. toad 35

    Cameron said I think a vote for the Greens or the Workers Party is much better than voting for a party that supports all this terrible stuff.

    Pick the Greens please Cameron. At least the Greens have a chance of addressing some of the worst authoritarian excesses against civil liberties like the Terrorism Suppression Act that Labour and National have together conspired to impose upon us.

    A vote for the Workers’ Party is a wasted vote (at least for this election) – not that I don’t support a lot of their policy, I might add.

  36. Chris G 36

    amen toad,

    go green cameron.

  37. Ianmac 37

    Toad: Have to make up my mind Green or Labour?
    Thinking on about modifying YouTube ads. 08 Wire has a beautiful
    ad “correcting” the John/John ad. My guess is that Nats might wish that they had kept quiet rather than draw attention to it!!!!

    http://08wire.org/2008/10/31/video-an-abject-apology/

  38. Felix 38

    Speaking of micro-party ACT:

    RNZ has audio from Key and Hide this evening which is a little more revealing than the very short clip from the TVNZ news.

    Key again ruled out any possibility of having Roger Douglas as a Minister. Hide (standing right next to Key) says just get them into parliament and “we’ll work on that” after the election.

    When pressed, Key fumbles that he can’t “see a change” in his position but stops short of actually confirming it.

    It all sounds far from convincing.

  39. rave 39

    John I notice you using words like “people” in the street, “choice”, “making decisions” etc.

    This is all language of bourgeois individualism which serves bourgeois democracy. Workers Party works in unions and you havnt managed to get workers to take a collective vote against Labour and for WP, so why not respect workers democracy instead of pandering to bourgeois individualism?

    Time comes and you can get workers to vote collectively to stand union candidates against Labour I will listen to you with a new interest – a class interest.

  40. Pascal's bookie 40

    Ianmac

    Apart from suspecting Williams as Batman,

    lprent

    As for batman – who in the hell knows? But the ‘possums’ style doesn’t sound like him.

    I really really really hate, yes really I do, the use of the bloody passive voice “believed to be Mike Williams”. Believed by sodding who? Based on fncking what? Unless that is made clear there is no there there, just a BS insinuation. Journalistic copout.

    GW Bush is believed to be behind 9/11. John Key is believed to be a lying sack of shit. Napoleon, Jesus H Christ and various incarnations of Satan’s minions are believed to be spending their days in tight white overcoats in secure hospitals all around the world. SFW.

  41. Gustavo Trellis 41

    Will probably vote RAM. I don’t think they came last in every single position they contested, and they’ve had more than the lion’s share of publicity compared to the other micro-parties. If anything, blame the media for ignoring up and comers, which MMP is supposed to value.

    Seems odd though, considering Labour’s bashing of JK for talking about an MMP referendum, the standard would then go and attempt to tell voters that their democratic right doesn’t matter unless they cast it in a certain way. Almost sounds like you’re advocating FPP, doesn’t it?

    [lprent: The Standard is a program running on a computer.
    It doesn’t have opinions and doesn’t advocate anything.
    Look at the name of the author on the post and address the person who wrote it.
    Read the About. The posters have differing opinions]

  42. Hi Steve,

    Your comment about our performance in the local council elections in 2007 is a flat out lie.

    I am extremely concerned that you are spreading falsehoods about RAM’s electoral performance on your blog, constituting a misleading statement to voters.

    Spreading lies about political opponents is, in my understanding, pathetic and deserves nothing but utter derision.

    You said: “RAM came dead last in every local council election that it contested last year”

    I invite you to examine the election results online in 2007 at http://www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/council/members/elections/results2007.asp .

    We did not come dead last in every local council election we contested.

    In Mount Roskill, I stood for the community board for RAM and I received more votes than three other candidates – including one from the Labour-anointed City Vision ticket. That’s not dead last.

    Our candidate for Avondale-Roskill Council, Valerie Alexander-Vui, received more votes than c. eight candidates out of a contest of seventeen – beating Labour-anointed people too! That’s not dead last.

    Our candidate for the Tamaki-Maungakiekie Council position, Rachel Asher, received more votes than four other candidates out of a field of thirteen. That’s not dead last.

    Please alter the text according to reality, Steve, and stop distorting RAM’s record to intimidate people out of voting for us. There was a swing to the right in the Council elections in 2007 that delivered left-leaning City Vision a wipeout. Where was the mention of that?

    Kindest regards,
    Oliver Woods
    RAM Candidates Co-Leader

  43. John Edmundson 43

    I doubt Francois will find very many historians who agree with the thesis that Rosa Luxemburg caused fascism. Interestingly though, while I’ve insisted that I was not trying to draw parallels between her time and our own (only noting that her characterisation of reformist parties was more true now than then), others have proceeded to do exactly that.

    Even more interesting is that everything in Francois’s rationalisation for voting Labour 100% supports what I said. I find that a very depressing outlook. According to Francois, the only way workers can get anything is by “not alienating” the rich. Certainly the Labour Party agree with that. Whereas Trotsky posed a choice of Socialism or Barbarism, Francois poses an equally clear choice; Capitalism or mass destruction, chaos, death and dictatorship. It really comes back to my original point. The WP wants to build socialism, the Labour Party wants to protect capitalism. We’re not just slightly more radical versions of Labour, we have completely opposing objectives.
    Cheers,
    John

  44. RedLogix 44

    The WP wants to build socialism, the Labour Party wants to protect capitalism. We’re not just slightly more radical versions of Labour, we have completely opposing objectives.

    Well done. Your defense of the WP’s objectives has clarity and passion. But the choice we face in a few weeks time is not between capitalism and socialism… it is between a National or a Labour led coalition govt. The primary question is, which would you prefer? The secondary question is, does a vote for the WP assist or detract from that?

    Besides capitalism appears to be crumbling under the weight of it’s own monstrous hubris ….regardless of how we cast our votes.

  45. DSC 08 45

    Every voter that casts their vote “strategically” according to some pundit instead of what they support or believe in, is a wasted vote and another sign of democracy defeated at the source, which is no surprise to see being promoted in the main stream, like here.

  46. DSC 08 46

    Every voter that casts their vote “strategically” according to some pundit instead of what they support or believe in, is a wasted vote and another sign of democracy defeated at the source, which is no surprise to see being promoted in the main stream-like here.

  47. Ari 47

    Well, I’m not voting RAM or Alliance anyway, I’m voting Workers Party, but just to call your bluff, there are significant differences between Alliance and the Greens.

    Not really. Most of our new taxes introduced will have a disproportionate effect on the very wealthy- but we associate them directly with negative behaviour, so that those who’ve earned their money through productive enterprise actually get a tax break.

    Taxation is really the only area of significant difference. The Alliance wants to tax wealth, and the Greens want to tax waste. Both approaches should end up with significant reductions to the burden of lower-income earners.

    The Workers Party position means a vote for it is one less vote for Labour or a party that Labour can ally with in a Government that would have the support of the majority of unionised workers. It becomes a vote for National.

    No, it does not. It becomes a “no vote” by virtue of not counting towards any parliament. That’s not to say it’s a waste of time- it certainly sends its own message that you would rather your vote didn’t count than that you handed it to someone more moderate- but it does mean you leave yourself more open to a National government than if you voted for someone who voted for one of the parties likely to pass the threshold or win an electorate.

    Well done. Your defense of the WP’s objectives has clarity and passion. But the choice we face in a few weeks time is not between capitalism and socialism it is between a National or a Labour led coalition govt. The primary question is, which would you prefer? The secondary question is, does a vote for the WP assist or detract from that?

    Voting is about personal expression as much as choosing a government, Red. If that expression matters more to someone than that their vote counts to “swing” the government more in their direction, then that is their choice.

    We can advise. We can argue. But I think that there are a few on the Left- and I’m looking at Steve/Clint here, in addition to say, Chris Trotter- that forget that a person’s vote is their own to cast as they choose, even if you view that choice as a “waste”. There is no “duty” to support someone who’ll do better for them, or who you think they may broadly agree with. Down that road lies entitlement, which we often criticise the Right about. That sort of support has to be earned. If the Labour Party loses out on forming a coalition because it is too moderate, or because it is too leftist, because it can’t promise enough, or because it’s lost our trust, or because of any other reason involving genuine appeal to voters, that is the fault of the Labour Party, and nobody else.

    Not to say that we shouldn’t aggressively try to convince people of the merits of our parties. We should. But we should do it without blaming people who we should be trying to get on-side.

  48. RedLogix 48

    DSC08,

    If we had a pure proportional representation system, then you would be correct, every vote would count. But we do not, we have an MMP system. The reality is that all votes cast for parties that do not reach the 5% threshold, or lack a charismatic candidate who can win an electorate seat… are wasted.

    That is a fact that cannot be sheeted home to any of the authors or posters here at the Standard. Come election day we get to choose between a National or Labour-led coalition govt. Welcome to reality… now pick a lane.

    PS. If you really cannot bring yourself to vote Labour (and I can live with your reasons why) then how about the Greens? A vote for them is most unlikely to be wasted.

  49. RedLogix 49

    Ari,

    Well written and well thought out. I entirely agree with you.

    But MMP’s 5% threshold does not.

  50. Michael Walker 50

    “I believe Noam Chomsky has stated similar things along those lines, bringing down the system by joining it, hes a staunch libertarian-socialist.”

    I have been reading Chomsky for years. The mere insinuation that he would advocate this is rediciulous.
    From his book “Failed States”:

    Subversion of democracy by concentrations of private power, of course, familiar:mainstream commentators casually observe that “business is in complete control of the machinery of government” (Robert Reich), echoing Woodrow Wilson’s observation, days before taking office, that “the masters of the government of the United States are the combined Capitalists and Manufacturers of the United States”. America’s leading twentieth-century social philosopher, John Dewey, concluded that “politics is the shadow cast on society by big business” and will remain so as long as power resides in “business for private profit through private control of backing, land, industry, reinforced by command of the press, press agents and other means of publicity and propaganda.” Accordingly, reforms will not suffice. Fundamental social change is necessary to bring menaingful democracy.

    This is just one example of Chomsky displaying he does not beleive in Capitalism of reforming capitalism (i.e the Labour party and the Green’s)…..

    I will be voting for the WP and beleive that my vote could change the world.
    Voting Labour or the Greens will certainly never do that. Just ask the people of Ruatoki, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Palestine!

  51. RedLogix 51

    I will be voting for the WP and beleive that my vote could change the world.

    But in reality you may as well not bother getting out of bed come 8th November.

    Fundamental social change will happen, when the the people fundamentally change what they believe in and place value on. We have been seduced into worshipping money and power, but on the day we begin to place a greater value on justice and service to others… then the world will change. This may happen sooner than expected, and on that day the 5% MMP threshold will matter not a jot.

    Unfortunately next Saturday is too soon.

  52. DSC 08 52

    RedLogix.
    Not one election EVER has been won by the margin of one vote. It is a false premise, voting by the individual is a purely symbolic act, it always will be.

    All the bloodshed that has been spilt ad. infinitum for this symbolic act to be availabe to the individuals in society un-tampered with, has been about the complete opposite direction of trying to control others at it’s core, which is the rubbish rational being brought into here with “strategic voting”, only got a few lanes as counting etc

    Much like rubbish rational that justifies the accounting fault in the current financial system.

    And without addressing this fault(or addressing it in a manner in which the majority of the benefit goes to the state and not the individual) as to different degrees RAM, The Alliance or the Workers party want to do, will lead to this again, and again, and again:

    Latin American’s ‘New Left’ In Crises As the ‘Free Market’ Collapses

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article21104.htm

  53. RedLogix 53

    Not one election EVER has been won by the margin of one vote. It is a false premise, voting by the individual is a purely symbolic act, it always will be.

    I do get it. The right to vote, and the right to cast that vote untrammelled by the will of others is both vital and fundamental. As is the right to throw it away if you wish.

    But at the same time all those individual acts of voting get added up, and the big numbers at the end determine who gets to form our government. You cannot evade that either.

    On Nov 8th the rest of us are participating in an election, that for better or worse, will determine whether we get a National or Labour led coalition govt. It is that simple.

    Please answer this simple question. Which outcome would you prefer?

    (And neither is not an option.)

  54. DSC 08 54

    I reject your self-imposed limitations as i do of the current financial system’s accounting flaw,

  55. RedLogix 55

    DSC08,

    It is not me that is imposing the restriction here.

    1. On Nov 8th there is an election.

    2. The outcome of that election will be the formation of a government.

    3. That govt will be led by either the Labour or National parties.

    Now I fully appreciate that there are some people who do not want either of those parties to lead the government. But that is not one of the choices on offer next Saturday. (And I had nothing to do with setting these parameters… don’t blame me for reality.)

    You are perfectly free to cast your vote for WP, DSC, or RAM. They represent worthy and useful causes…. but please do not delude yourselves into thinking that by doing so you are actually participating in the election in any meaningful way.

  56. rave 56

    M Walker:

    Chomsky votes Democrat. You can find him on youtube somewhere endorsing Obama.
    He wants and end to capitalism, but he hasnt sold enough books to make that happen yet.

    Ari and DSC08:

    It seems that voting for you is a “personal choice”. How nice for youselves.

    No-one here has the faintest idea about what is meant by ‘workers democracy’ (even at the most miserable level exercised in unions today) and its bearing on bourgeois elections.

    But Ari: your “personal choice” approach means you overlook the reality that those who “choose” to vote WP or RAM in the belief that it is a personal act of “anti-capitalism” are acting as a MINORITY of petty bourgeois individuals, against the MAJORITY expression of union collective support for a Labour-led government.

    Like I said before, when those to the left of Labour who claim to speak in behalf of workers interests have taken the trouble to win support for their positions in the unions and can creditably put up candidates with strong union support, then there is a case for putting them above the 5% threshold so they can get into parliament and vote against going to war, for nationalising the banks, and overthrowing parliament etc.

    In the meantime posturing as alternatives to Labour when party votes cast for you contribute to putting National into power is a petty bourgeois indulgence.

    Why? Because you turn your backs on the defence of the victories and concessions won by organised labour in the past and present, which are really important as a platform for labour to rebuild its class strength against the right, and indulge yourselves in “personal choices” that are only possible on the basis of those collective gains of past struggles.

    You have another “choice” which is to give up on bourgeois democracy where citizens vote as individuals and adhere to the norms of workers democracy.

    Stand your candidates on your program to win support for your program, but respect the interests of organised labour and call for party votes to a Labour led government.

  57. DSC 08 57

    The way i participate with my vote, which won’t be for RAM, WP, Alliance, Labour, Green or National, for reasons outlined above, will be no less meaningful than your vote RedLogix.
    And you can build up as many artificial constructions as you need to comfort yourself in what you personally derive out of your single vote, but it will remain no less or more “meaningful” than mine or anyone elses in the physical world.

  58. Ari 58

    Ari,

    Well written and well thought out. I entirely agree with you.

    But MMP’s 5% threshold does not.

    I’m not sure you entirely got me with that last comment- the threshold doesn’t relate to what I said at all. Expressing yourself is a key component of elections, and doing it in the knowledge that you are not effecting the outcome is still a powerful act.

    As for the threshold: Anyone who wins even one list seat outright deserves it in my opinion. Even nutters like Rodney Hide, and the utterly corrupt like Winston. 😉

    but please do not delude yourselves into thinking that by doing so you are actually participating in the election in any meaningful way.

    Yeah, you definitely didn’t get my point. Let me put it this way:

    I’m a believer. Not in Christ, not in Islam, but in Democracy. The way other people get when you defile their temples? Yeah, I get that way when people try to deny the idea that votes are an earnest expression of your beliefs and hopes, and are valuable enough for that alone regardless of their actual effect on the election.

    Don’t fuck with democracy. 😉

    But Ari: your “personal choice’ approach means you overlook the reality that those who “choose’ to vote WP or RAM in the belief that it is a personal act of “anti-capitalism’ are acting as a MINORITY of petty bourgeois individuals, against the MAJORITY expression of union collective support for a Labour-led government.

    No, I acknowledge that as reality. My point is that voting is a message even if you don’t actually effect the outcome. For one, the youth vote was largely ignored in the country because of terrible statistics on turnout of young voters. Even showing up to vote is a message, and until Labour realised it could achieve a dramatic swing in the youth vote, it didn’t bother with too much student-friendly policy.

    You’ll also have to excuse me for not believing in the collective. I am an individualist at heart and believe that the collective derives its legitimacy from the support of individuals alone, and that no amount of bullying or “toe the line!” type messages will ever add to that legitimacy. They might stifle organised dissention- but in Labour’s case that would not get them the extra enthusiastic support they will need for a fourth term, even with their highly motivated activist core. The only reason to say “You CAN’T vote for RAM/WP/Alliance” is because you want to destroy potential competitors. To me, that’s a betrayal of what leftism is about. We celebrate many voices and build each other up and work together. We’ve learned from the failures of states like the USSR, and won’t fall into authoritarianism again, no matter how much the right tries to push us in that direction.

    You can tell I’m a Green when I talk about grassroots support, right? 😉

    edit: I should point out that I have a lot of sympathy with class-warfare type ideology. That said, I view communism/marxism as a post-economic utopia that’s not really relevant to today’s political environment, so… if you really want to talk to me in earnest, I suggest we talk in neutral language instead of marxist terms. 🙂

  59. RedLogix 59

    DSC,

    I am sure that when you cast your vote on Saturday it will have significant personal meaning for you. I have no intention or desire to take that away from you.

    But if the party you vote for fails to reach MMP’s 5% threshold, it will have no direct meaning in terms of the election outcome.

    But as a wasted left-wing vote it will indirectly make it easier for the National party to form a government. That is the actual meaning your vote will have.

    In reality you will be voting in support of National. Is that what you intended?

  60. ondine green 60

    Labour’s not “left-wing”. National, Labour, there’s no freakin’ difference, they all “shoot to kill” working families with their neo-liberal poision. The Greens used to be a bit different, but then they accepted “emissions trading” – bribing big business not to wreck the planet quite so quickly. So what’s the alternative?

    None of the parliamentary parties stand for anything actually different – with the exception of the Maori Party, and since I’m not on the Maori roll they’re not an option for me. So, what – choose which variety of vampire you want to suck your blood for three years, or start building the alternative, right here, right now?

    What is particularly interesting about this post is that the author felt the need to tell an outright lie about RAM’s local body electoral performance (neglecting, for example, the 3-year term won by Cr. Robyn Hughes). This shows where the author sees the real threat to be.

  61. RedLogix 61

    Ari,

    Again I totally agree. You state your case eloquently … but sadly the ideal that you are committed to is undone by the pragmatism of MMP’s 5% threshold.

    It’s not me trying to bully anyone into “toeing the line”… it is the hard cold reality of the voting system that will be used to count the votes on Saturday night.

  62. DSC 08 62

    DUH, i intend who i vote for, and which as i pointed out doesn’t include National.
    My individual vote will remain what it is, a symbolic act grounded in the physical universe, your single vote it seems will be a “real politik” vote grounded in abstract theory that it is somehow more significant because of your “chosen” approach, and that people who don’t feel the same way about their choice are actually voting for something they didn’t, despite clearly in the physical world that is not the case.

    END OF STORY.

  63. Ari 63

    Okay, thanks RedLogix. I had got the impression you were essentially beating people over the head with the threshold- obviously that was personal bias 🙂 No big deal, I should probably trust you better than that. 😉

    I certainly agree with you that while we continue to have a 5% threshold, small parties who are below that point should really focus on electorate votes first, then build up their party votes, strategically speaking. Once they’ve got an electorate in the bag, they’re a lot safer of a bet.

    Ondine- We only very barely accepted the ETS, and we’ve done a lot of work trying to show the public how deeply flawed it is and why we need stronger measures- and also on preventing National from trying to backslide it.

    I’m not sure where you can say we betrayed our principles- it was a choice between doing nothing proudly, and doing something reluctantly. Both choices were “wrong” choices for us in some respects. As a pragmatic party we got offered a couple of key concessions at the last minute that made signing up just good enough to put votes on paper, including the insulation fund and a national biodiversity strategy to help ensure carbon-offsetting doesn’t cover the entire country in bloody pinus radiata 😛

    If you want to support the Greens otherwise but have concerns about the (very hard) decision to support the ETS, I highly suggest you get in contact with someone from the party and see if your exact concerns are being addressed. I’m pretty confident that’s the case. 🙂

  64. RedLogix 64

    DSC,

    This discussion has nothing to do with “real politik” or “grounded in the physical universe”… it is the result of the MMP 5% threshold. That you cannot idealise away, it is real, and will be applied to the result on Saturday night.

    Go ahead and vote for your micro party.. but you will be voting in support of National.

    In the meantime real life calls. Enjoy your Sunday.

  65. Michael Walker – In “What We Say Goes” Chomsky declares that every radical must be a reformer. He goes on to talk about using any opportunity to make positive change you can.

  66. Ari 66

    Go ahead and vote for your micro party.. but you will be voting in support of National.

    That’s not even mathematically true. Voting for a party that doesn’t pass the threshold doesn’t support National in the slightest- it has absolutely no impact on who gets what seats. The only difference between that and not voting is that it makes it harder for OTHER parties to get over the threshold. The only way that National could possibly benefit from this is if it edges out NZ First from the threshold. And with polling what it is in New Zealand, I don’t think we even know whether it’ll be that close.

    Have fun with real life 😉 I’m off soon too.

  67. Again, I want the Standard to stop outright lying on their blog. I knew that you would make a facetious change to the comment, but I didn’t realise you would continue to spread misinformation about RAM’s electoral performance.

    The comment implies we did far worse than we really did in the local elections. We received more than 100,000 votes overall and although we lost our elected ARC councilor Robyn Hughes narrowly in Manukau City, we improved on our overall performance since the 2004 elections.

    As I stated above, many of our candidates did very well performance wise – Robyn Hughes in the ARC elections in Manukau City, Rachel Asher for Council in Maungakiekie who beat candidates from organised candidate blocs, Valerie Alexander-Vui for Council in Avondale-Roskill who beat a number of people from ‘organised candidate blocs’ and even me for Mount Roskill Community Board where I beat two or three candidates from the ‘organised candidate bloc’ you say.

    So can you please make the changes to the comment that make the comment factually correct and stop spreading outright falsehoods about RAM’s electoral performance in the 2007 local elections in Auckland?

    Your readers may want the context of our vote performance as well, considering your favoured ticket City Vision got decimated all over the city. City Vision’s ticket, which did well in the 2004 elections, was decimated as part of the swing to the right in 2007 that seriously affected RAM as well.

    How about writing up how many Labour and Green affiliated Councilors lost their seats in 2007 to National Party clones? I guess that wouldn’t fit within your narrative of falsehoods of trying to run RAM down would it?

    Kindest regards,
    Oliver Woods
    RAM Candidates Co-Leader

    [Oliver, I have nothing against RAM and I care about it too little to try to run it down. My concern is that if people vote for RAM (or the WP or whoever) rather than the Greens or Labour, they are increasing the likelihood of a National government. Even you can acknowledge that is the reality of the matter. A person thinking of voting RAM is more opposed to a National government than they are to a Labour one, despite the simplistic rhetoric that they’re ‘both the same’. Given that, they should vote for the lesser of two evils rather than throw their vote away, empowering the Right. SP]

  68. Chris G 68

    “National, Labour, there’s no freakin’ difference, they all “shoot to kill’ working families with their neo-liberal poision”

    You mean like the Working for Families package? (National voted against that, by the way) Is that poison to working families?

  69. dave 69

    each one of them wasted when they could have been contributing to more seats for the Left

    You cant say each one of them wasn’t wasted without substantiating it. You may be right, but you may be wrong.

    Some of them were reallocated to the right, others reallocated to the left.Some of them may well have contributed to more seats to the left- and if more of them were from right leaning parties many right leaning voters contributed to the left through reallocation.

  70. Chris G 70

    That makes no sense and doesnt sound like you ‘substantiated’ what you were saying, dave. Sounded like speculation to me.

  71. Ari 71

    That makes no sense and doesnt sound like you ‘substantiated’ what you were saying, dave. Sounded like speculation to me.

    Let me put it this way:

    Suppose we have 50 people vote for labour, and 60 for national, out of 150 votes. We will get the same result as if 5 people voted for labour, and 6 for national out of 15 votes. I assume you can accept that easily enough.

    Well, what if Labour gets 5 votes and national gets 6, but labour gets allocated 45 “wasted” votes and national gets allocated 54? Why, we get the same result. That’s effectively how the MMP seats allocation algorithm works.

    Sure, it’s not as good as if an extra ten people voted for Labour, but it’s also not as bad as if those ten voted for National.

  72. dave 72

    That will work if there only two parties that got elected.but it is not so simple if a manner of minor parties are also be given reallocated votes. What if a minor party – say the Greens – was 30 votes short of an extra seat – and National were 1500 votes short of an extra seat -the reallocation would be proportionately fair but the left will be more likely to get an extra seat because – so Chris G can understand – its initial party votes were just short of getting an extra seat than Nationals and such a party will benefit more from extra votes.

  73. Chris G 73

    ah your talking reallocation of seats via mmp. well thanks but we digress, mind.

  74. Ari 74

    Dave- It’s almost impossible to tell ahead of time who’d most benefit from the redistribution, but the race has to be REALLY close- and I mean within a seat or two- for it to matter. I’d say it looks increasingly like the deciding factor will be who the Maori Party favours, and whether NZF gets in.

  75. Felix 75

    ondine green,

    None of the parliamentary parties stand for anything actually different – with the exception of the Maori Party, and since I’m not on the Maori roll they’re not an option for me.

    Not so.

    There is nothing stopping you voting for the maori party, which roll you’re on is not an issue.

  76. dave 76

    I’d say it looks increasingly like the deciding factor will be who the Maori Party favours, and whether NZF gets in.

    True, but wouldn’t it be funny if the wasted vote was 25% and the Maori Party got enough reallocated votes to reduce the overhang….

  77. Interesting discussion,

    I can’t vote yet so all I can do is try to influence voters with as much info as I can spread.

    In my quest to learn about the NZ system I found only one party who would actually really change the system radically yet it’s on the fringe of the spectrum.

    That’s probably because they point out that our imploding financial system is a fraud and the implosion the result of the action of a small group of very greedy psychopaths who own the Federal Reserve system which if you tell people that inevitably results in a Conspiracy theorist stigma.

    Yet, this party is the only party who have kept alive an ideal inherited from their NZ worker forebears based on the all to sharp memories of the workers who had to live trough the hell of the first great recession “the deprivatisation of the money and credit.” You see in the first great depression most workers were acutely aware of what the source of their misery was. They called it the “money trust”

    My father in law (82) told me that as a young man he voted for the party for Social Credit. Today that party is called the Democrats for Social credit.

    You’ll probably won’t vote for them this time because most Kiwi’s still have no idea what their heading for but as you loose your job, your house, your savings and in the next two years or so and you wonder where the next meal is coming from and if John Key gets elected and it becomes horribly clear why he did come back to this hicks in the sticks country and after three years we are left holding bag after what will be the biggest plunder this country has ever seen and all of youse finally realise that we’ve been had by the biggest criminals this world has ever seen: The private investment bankers and their oil cronies, perhaps you should give them a thought.

    Because sometimes a “micro” party has a big idea whose time has come.

    Hia DSC 08 good to see you here.

  78. Felix 78

    Ev, back in the 70s people laughed at Social Credit and called their policies “funny money” (compared to what, I have no idea).

    Turns out they were probably quite correct all along but no-one was listening.

    Interesting times.

  79. Felix,

    Yep, interesting times indeed.

  80. Felix,

    Have you seen the writing on the National John Key billboard on the left side of the road as you enter Raglan? Hilarious. It seems people are actually catching on.

  81. Felix 81

    Wasn’t me 😉

  82. Anita 82

    Felix,

    There is nothing stopping you voting for the maori party, which roll you’re on is not an issue.

    Kinda 🙂

    If I were on the Māori roll I would be in Te Tai Tonga and could vote for a Māori Party candidate. My general electorate, Wellington Central, does not have a Māori Party candidate so I don’t have that option (although I do have the party vote option).

  83. Felix 83

    Anita,

    Thanks for clarifying that, it was the party vote I was really thinking of. Sometimes I is writing lazy.

  84. Anita 84

    Felix,

    Sometimes I iz raiting pedint 🙂

  85. Felix 85

    Heh. I am sometimes accused of pedantry myself. I usually reply that I may be particular but that doesn’t necessarily make me pedantic and there is a difference. 😉

  86. As I have commented on Frogblog a ranking system for candidate and party votes would overcome the ‘wasted vote’ problem, and be fairer for the candidate vote too.

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2008/11/01/counting-your-vote/

  87. Anita 87

    Quentin,

    Yes 🙂 A preferential system for electorates, and open party lists would make MMP even better 🙂

  88. Tim B 88

    RedLogix wrote in response to WP supporter Mike:

    “But in reality you may as well not bother getting out of bed come 8th November.

    Fundamental social change will happen, when the the people fundamentally change what they believe in and place value on.”

    This last part is certainly true, but then we in the Workers Party have always insisted that our participation in elections is nothing more than an extension of the other campaigning work that we do day-in and day-out as anti-imperialist activists, as campaigners for open borders and full rights for migrant workers and as militant delegates and organisers in the trade unions.

    The elections are simply a chance to highlight these campaigns, to put our anti-capitalist ideas before a wider audience and to offer those who reject zero-sum game of political lesser-evilism a chance to cast a revolutionary protest vote.

    Along the way we also hope to recruit fresh layers of activists to help build a mass movement on the streets and in the workplace for revolutionary social change and genuine freedom.

  89. Felix,

    Wasn’t me either. LOL.

  90. Gustavo Trellis 90

    Is anyone here going to reply to Mr Woods?

  91. Ari 91

    Gustavo- I don’t know how RAM did so I can’t say. But I’m totally sympathetic with the idea of another genuine leftist voice in Parliament. Run a candidate in Ohariu and I’ll vote for you 😉

  92. Gustavo Trellis 92

    Ari, I’m not actually part of RAM, but Oliver is the party Co-Leader and his link pretty thoroughly exposes SP’s irresponsible generalisation, to which he has offered no reply or apology.

  93. Gustavo. I corrected the post. RAM’s candidates came last of the organised candidates, not last of all candidates as I had thought, in nearly all the contests they competed in.

    I’ve got nothing against RAM’s politics, I just don’t want to see people throwing their votes away when that would make a right wing government more likely.

  94. Michael Walker 94

    Labour will never get my vote.
    National will never get my vote.
    Capitalist parties will never get my vote.

    The only reason that I will “get out of bed”, as Redlogix puts it, on Saturday 8th and vote is because there is an openly anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and pro worker revolutionary party on the ballot.

  95. Clinton/Steve Pierson,

    I remain disappointed with your utterly disingenuous ways of trying to make RAM look electorally weak.

    Looking forward to your retrospective analysis of New Zealand political history that questions why people wasted their Liberal Party votes to vote for an emerging minor party called Labour :).

    Yours in democracy and solidarity,
    Oliver Woods
    RAM Candidates Co-Leader
    RAM Auckland Central candidate

    P.S. Looking forward to your endorsement of the radical democratic socialist Judith Tizard in Auckland Central. She’ll doubtlessly lead the next wave of economic transformation in New Zealand! Hahaha.

  96. And Micheal, I totally support the aims of such parties (although a revolutionary party on the ballot is not really revolutionary, oxymoron).

    If a vote for WP or RAM could lead to WP or RAM MPs, I would totally advocate voting for them, But that’s not going to happen this time. Maybe next election things will be different, that would be great.

    But come next Saturday, we face the choice, support the parties that are a step in the right direction or don’t, thereby, empowering the parties that would work against our ideals and against workers.

  97. Oliver, its instructive to have a look at the ancestry of Labour http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Labour_Party#Origins a smattering of parties and independents that failed to win any seats (apart from one in 1905). It wasn’t until they got organised in 1916, that they started to win seats – 8 in 1919, 17 in 1922, and onward.

    now, i think there could be space for a true left party to fill the void left by the collapse of the Alliance. But right now we have four parties fighting over the same little niche and failing to build that niche, much as the Christian Right is fighting over the remainders of the Christian Coalition’s support base. You’ve got these petty ideological and personal disputes, and geographical divides. If you get over them, you can build a vehicle for leftwing politics that could reach 5%. Until that happens, you’ll just be a vehicle for true Left voters to accidentally increase the odds of a National government.

  98. Yeah, and if just one percent of those 33,000 votes had gone to the Progressives, there would have been another Progressive MP. Then a Labour-Green-Progressive government would have been formed, instead of a Labour-Progressive government with United and NZ First support.

    So, actually, Steve, your advice helps take Labour to the right, and risks not getting Labour elected at all.

    One extra party vote for Progressive is just as likely to bring another MP as one extra party vote for Labour.

  99. John Edmundson 99

    Redlogix wrote:
    “But the choice we face in a few weeks time is not between capitalism and socialism it is between a National or a Labour led coalition govt. The primary question is, which would you prefer?”

    You are right; the choice between socialism and capitalism appears to be a long way off. I don’t claim that a Labour-led government would be the same as a National-led one. Labour will, for example, make union organising easier (through access to worksites). However in the light of the current economic turmoil, both Labour and National are returning to Keynesian style spending programmes. I do not believe that the difference between National and Labour would be anything like as stark as many people (including on this forum) claim or imply. Both are parties of the centre-right. Both are wedded to the market but in order to save the market in the face of the current downturn, both have been forced to temper that with a dose of Keynes. The differences are in the detail. I won’t welcome a National win next weekend but I won’t be overcome with despair if it happens. I’ve lived through plenty of Labour and National governments and I’ve seen things get progressively worse under both. I’m more interested in thinking long-term.

    Under Labour, between 2000 and 2004 the proportion of all NZ
    children in severe and significant hardship increased by a third, to 26%. As I’ve said before, the gap between rich and poor has tended to rise regardless of which party has been in office. Yes, working for families has helped *some* of those people (including me; I have 2 kids and bugger all income), but as I’ve said before, this is scrabbling for crumbs. The WP is in for the long haul and we see the election as a time to engage with people and put socialism back on the agenda. I don’t see that ever happening within a programme of calling for a vote for Labour and being motivated by a fear of National.

    Redlogix again:
    “The secondary question is, does a vote for the WP assist or detract from that?”

    I doubt that the WP will get many votes and most of those will be from people who would not have voted otherwise, as they are already disillusioned with the current parties, so it probably won’t make any difference at all. The reason we’re standing is to let people know that the left does still exist, that there is a genuinely left party out there that people can get involved with, and that we are around every day of the year, not just at election time, since we don’t see elections as the key arena of political struggle.

    Redlogix ends with:
    “Besides capitalism appears to be crumbling under the weight of it’s own monstrous hubris .regardless of how we cast our votes.”

    If only it were so easy! The history of industrial capitalism over the last few hundred years shows us that this will never happen. In fact it is this misconception that has led in part to the popularity of reformist ideas. Capitalism will never fall over by itself; many capitalists may (and will) fail, there could well be massive attacks on working people in the process of saving it but there is nothing more certain than that it will be saved unless it is actively overthrown (which doesn’t have to mean violent insurrection BTW). The attacks on the working class that will occur as required to save the system will be carried out by either a Labour or National government, as the events of 1984 (when Helen Clark was a member of the cabinet) should make perfectly clear.
    Cheers,
    John

  100. Felix 100

    One of the main obstacles to a Labour-Green-Progressives govt is Anderton and his arrogant and patronising attitude to working with the Greens.

    The sooner we can do away with that old fool the better for the left.

  101. Rich 101

    How can you suggest that RAM and the Workers Party are the same. That’s like comparing the Peoples Front of Judea to the Judean Peoples Front!

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