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Where to now for the left?

Written By: - Date published: 10:43 am, February 26th, 2017 - 114 comments
Categories: australian politics, capitalism, class war, disaster, Economy, Environment, Europe, International, Media, uk politics, us politics - Tags:

There is an interesting recent column in the Guardian where Josh Bernstein theorises that although neo liberalism is in decline so are the fortunes of the left.  And with right wing administrations being in control throughout the western world including Europe, the United States, Australia and Aotearoa he may have a point.

The 10th anniversary of the global financial crisis looms this year, which means it’s almost a decade since neoliberal economics began to fall apart. The crisis spawned a global recession, the near collapse of global finance and the subsequent eurozone crisis as governments incurred huge debts amid efforts to rescue the hapless banking industry.

The then Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, observed in the immediate aftermath:

The current crisis is the culmination of a 30-year domination of economic policy by a free-market ideology that has been variously called neoliberalism, economic liberalism, economic fundamentalism, Thatcherism or the Washington consensus. The central thrust of this ideology has been that government activity should be constrained, and ultimately replaced, by market forces.

The global recession that followed was the worst in 70 years and its effects continue to be felt in many developed countries. Australia was one of the fortunate few to avoid a recession, thanks to enormous government-funded stimulus packages and the continuation of an unprecedented mining boom. Nevertheless, economic activity has been sluggish ever since, job growth has stalled, wage growth has collapsed and inequality is on the rise.

The reasons why?  Bernstein is brutal in his analysis and says that incompetence is a major factor.  The neoliberal right has  sold off assets and produced no discernible result apart from a decrease in government services, an increase in prices and an increasing gap between rich and poor not to mention environmental degradation.

He captures recent developments in this passage:

Ideological commitment to small government and cutting red tape did not rob George W Bush of any sleep when he administered a massive US$152bn stimulus to the American economy in the form of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. The Conservative British prime minister, Theresa May, did not pine for Margaret Thatcher when she proclaimed that “there is more to life than individualism and self-interest” and that government must correct “injustice and unfairness wherever it is found”.

In contrast, the left has been leaden.

Among progressives, the financial crisis and the climate change crisis should have spawned a broad debate and a reimagining of the role of regulation, a robust and dynamic state working alongside the private sector. Even more fundamentally, the political and economic events of recent decades compel an evaluation of the gaming of the political system by vested interests manifested by the alarming influence of vast sums of dark money.

Democracy and the institutions that support it need an overhaul. When any system is gamed, the rules must change. The left needs to promote new protections to restore integrity and protect information, transparency and accountability.

He is somewhat overly brutal.  He does not factor in the huge imbalance in resources that the right has compared to the left.  But he is correct that the left fails when it lacks passion.

The crises of the past decade, both economic and ecological, have been accompanied by other remarkable phenomena that have engendered enormous anxiety and anger. The combination of dysfunctional economic inequality, a business and technological tsunami that is perceived to threaten secure employment, an unprecedented global refugee crisis and the spectre of Islamofascist terrorism has offered political reward for a ruthless, agile and unprincipled conservatism.

The right’s capacity to jettison its principles, exploit racism and xenophobia, and to attack other minority groups, cannot be matched. This era is throwing up popular firebrand rightwingers, including Nigel Farage and Trump.

By contrast, for many in the electorate, listening to a modern progressive politician is like taking a tepid bath. The era of technocrats seeking to impress and persuade by their mild-mannered mastery of evidence-based policy is well and truly redundant.

Asher Woolf analysed the article and using the medium of twitter, something she is very good at, critiqued the article.  Some of her more pertinent tweets follow:

114 comments on “Where to now for the left?”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    part of it is structural–the Reserve Bank Act, SOEs, continued penetration of state infrastructure by private capital–Serco, asset sales etc. “mine mine mine” thinking is the default, institutional memory of national awards and overtime pay long gone

    but the street marches a year ago about the TPPA gave a glimmer of what can be roused among the people with the right organising approach; Parliamentary politics is but one area of political struggle, though the establishment makes out it is the only one, to frame the process into a sports team group think scenario of winners and especially–losers

    anyone describing themselves as left and or for social justice standing for parliament needs to adopt more the socialist platform Joe Carolan had in the Mt Albert by-election–rent control, free public transport, end the war on drugs, living wage ($20.20ph) to be the minimum wage, abolish WINZ/MSD for a UBI etc. and chuck in an independent foreign policy and bi-lateral mutually beneficial fair trade with other countries

    • weka 1.1

      Honestly, I don’t think people are going to rally around groups like Socialist Aotearoa. Some of the policies are good, but the execution is just way off. We need politics that are inclusive, not pitting the liberals against the working classes, or vice versa.

      • Bill 1.1.1

        We need politics that are inclusive, not pitting the liberals against the working classes, or vice versa.

        So you want to get in bed with or accommodate proponents of free trade and (this as a direct consequence of that) fans of deregulation and mutterers of ‘equal opportunity’ mantas?

        You have to fucking joking, right?

        The now “establishment left” accommodated and played footsie with those bastards and their repugnant ideology and came away smelling of shite…and all you’re proposing is ‘more of the same’ – except that rather than the already irrelevant establishment left doing it, you want them to stand still while ‘we’ move to where they’re standing.

        There can’t be an accommodation with or of liberalism if people aim to achieve anything even half decent for themselves, their families and future generations.

        I’d agree that Socialist Aotearoa isn’t a desirable answer, but their rhetoric and analysis is probably about right.

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          Fuck off Bill. I’m in no way interested in my point being misused to run a separate agenda. If you really wanted to know what I mean, you could have just asked.

          I’m not proposing more of the same, and I really have to wonder what is going on that you still are trying to run that line.

          btw, if you want all liberals in NZ to fuck off and die, by all means go that way, but I think you will find there are very few people left to talk to. And no, I am no using the term liberal in the way that you do. As you well know.

          • Bill 1.1.1.1.1

            Okay then. Please explain to me what sense liberal has in your comment that was in response to one that revolved around descriptions of market and state economics?

            If and when you do that, can you then show me any comment that I’ve made at any time on ‘thestandard’ where I’ve indicated that I’d wish individual people (ie – social liberals) to “fuck off and die”?

            Cheers.

            • weka 1.1.1.1.1.1

              “Please explain to me what sense liberal has in your comment that was in response to one that revolved around descriptions of market and state economics?”

              I wasn’t talking about “descriptions of market and state economics”, I was talking about the platform of Joe Carolan. Reference here,

              http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/01/16/q-a-with-joe-carolan-socialist-candidate-for-the-auckland-electorate-of-mt-albert-beware-eco-fascism-lovely-liberals/

              There’s lots of good stuff in what he is saying. My point was that once you start in with positioning liberal vs working class, or calling natural allies eco-fascists, then it’s hard to see how those liberals or eco-facists are going to support your cause. The implication being they’re not necessary. I think they are, and that in a place like NZ it’s the working together across diversity that has the best chance.

              “If and when you do that, can you then show me any comment that I’ve made at any time on ‘thestandard’ where I’ve indicated that I’d wish individual people (ie – social liberals) to “fuck off and die”?”

              Apologies, a bit of hyperbole to match your own, but here’s a couple of examples of close enough,

              Liberals need to understand that they need to go somewhere and stop trying to cling to power. (And I don’t really give two fucks where they go – as long as they are out of the way)

              Watching the journalists

              There is no crisis on the left. The faux left…the former left…the liberal fucks who ‘cleansed’ the left… they’re all but washed up now. I just hope the bastards have gills.

              Where to now for the left?

              • Bill

                That interview offers the opinion that “sustainable immigration” is a route to eco-fascism. In other words, he’s speaking to the direction of travel of a policy. He didn’t say Greens are eco-fascists.

                There was also nothing pitting social liberals against the working class. From your comments it would appear you see a divide between social liberalism and working class – I don’t understand. I’m working class. But I’m not a bigot (illiberal).

                There is mention of “lovely liberal people” in reference to politicians that people can vote for, and sure, perhaps that’s a bit of a dig at their ineffectual politics insofar as they embrace economic liberalism…and there’s the contention that “the extreme centre – which is what we’re calling liberals now – cannot hold because it has no answers for the working class.” (I’m slightly puzzled at the ‘s’ and am putting it down to a mistake in the transcribing and picking it should read “which we’re calling liberal now”. Whatever and regardless, it’s not some reference to a divide among people or any attempt to pitch one imagined set of people against another imagined set of people – it’s against the political orthodoxy known as liberalism.

                Bar the header (and who knows who penned that) there are only those two uses of the word ‘liberal’ sans a ‘neo’ suffix. And yeah. If you really want to run with the odd premise that NZ should be a special case in point regarding the use of the word ‘liberal’ (because it means something different here to the rest of the world or whatever) then you might want to reflect that Joe Carolan is Irish…

                Anyway, my supposed call for liberals to “fuck off and die” and bearing in mind that I’m probably far more socially liberal than most – in the first quote you reproduce, it should be obvious I’m refering to a certain amorphous entity given ‘life’ and agency by adherents to and practitioners of economic liberalism – not social liberals. Same for the second.

                Given the context, I can’t see a reasonable interpretation of the phraseology which would hold I’m suggesting people, who are much like myself ,should “fuck off and die”….not by any stretch of any longest bow.

              • weka

                You can make an argument about a whole bunch of stuff that isn’t what I was talking about, but where does that get us exactly?

                Are you saying that you don’t think there is any political positioning going on along the lines of the working class vs liberals/Liberals? Seriously?

                There was also nothing pitting social liberals against the working class. From your comments it would appear you see a divide between social liberalism and working class – I don’t understand. I’m working class. But I’m not a bigot (illiberal).

                Nice switch. Obviously I’m not talking about whether one is progressive or not. Can I take it from your comment that you think that social liberals and Liberalism liberals are two distinct groups with no overlaps.

                Anyway, my supposed call for liberals to “fuck off and die” and bearing in mind that I’m probably far more socially liberal than most – in the first quote you reproduce, it should be obvious I’m refering to a certain amorphous entity given ‘life’ and agency by adherents to and practitioners of economic liberalism – not social liberals. Same for the second.

                Yeah, but they’re not two completely separate groups, and as I’ve pointed out down thread, you won’t actually say who you are talking about except in the abstract. It’s easy enough to want a group of people to fuck off if they are abstracted. I’d like you to be more specific so I know in the NZ context which people you think should be politically nullified.

                “it should be obvious…”

                But it’s not, which is why we keep going round and round in this.

                “… I’m refering to a certain amorphous entity given ‘life’ and agency by adherents to and practitioners of economic liberalism”

                I don’t know what that means. I mean, I can try and parse it, because I understand what economic liberalism is, but I still don’t know who the fuck you are talking about. Michael Cullen? Helen Clark? All the people that voted for them? Some of the people that voted for them? Which ones? Who?

                • Bill

                  You referenced a specific piece of writing to make a point (My point was that once you start in with positioning liberal vs working class, or calling natural allies eco-fascists, then it’s hard to see how those liberals or eco-facists are going to support your cause) and when I read the piece I saw it simply wasn’t backing up your contentions. (ie – Eco-fascists and liberal/working class divide). And I attempted to show, by using the piece, how and why what you were saying wasn’t the case.

                  And now you’re saying that that wasn’t what you were talking about?

                  Are you saying that you don’t think there is any political positioning going on along the lines of the working class vs liberals/Liberals? Seriously?

                  There are lines being drawn against liberalism. All manner of people from the left and from the right are on the same side of that line. Their subsequent preferred direction of travel varies enormously.

                  Can an adherent to economic liberalism can be socially liberal? Obviously. (Look to the extreme non-authoritarian right and you’ll see plenty of examples)

                  As for writing in the abstract, live with it or ignore it. If I was wanting to write something specific to an individual..to attack an individual… then I’d have focused my comment accordingly. (See below for my general feelings on that)

                  Did Michael Cullen espouse liberalism? (Yes) Did Helen Clark? (Yes) Did some of the people who voted for them? (Yes) Did all of them?(No.) Do I need to know anything more than that? (No.)

                  Anyway. I’m off. Enjoy the pond and good luck in finding someone to occupy the stool.

                  • weka

                    Whereas I’m just noting that despite my having said I’m not interested in someone else debating against points I’m not making you continue to talk to me about your interpretations not mine.

                    “And now you’re saying that that wasn’t what you were talking about?”

                    I’m saying that you’ve missed my point, yes.

                    I notice that you’ve side stepped my direct question about whether there is a positioning of working class vs liberal going on.


                    Did Michael Cullen espouse liberalism? (Yes) Did Helen Clark? (Yes) Did some of the people who voted for them? (Yes) Did all of them?(No.) Do I need to know anything more than that? (No.)

                    Right. So we know the general gist of it in political terms (e.g. which past politicians), but when you position liberals in NZ as the enemy you make implications about people today, not just politicians, but people you talk to here. These are the people who you want to just fuck off.

                    Myself, I think they’re needed, we need them to change and urgently, so the point of pushing you on all this is to look at strategy in the NZ context. I know you don’t like doing that, but it’s a pretty high priority for me, and given the numbers of people on the left attacking each other I can’t see your comments out of that context. And, you know, you did reply to my comment here so it seems reasonable to me to argue on those grounds.

                    • Bill

                      Why don’t you do a rough count of the people hereabouts who argue in favour of liberalism? Maybe do a long trawl through post topics? I’m suspecting your net will come up empty. Then count the people hereabouts who argue against liberalism…I’m picking you’ll run out of fingers and toes in no time.

                      The only positioning I see of ‘liberal against working class’ (ie – social liberals and working classes) is that which is being promoted by you off the back of an implied notion that liberal and working class are somehow mutually exclusive descriptors.

                      I stated very fucking clearly, that as I see it, there is a line being drawn against liberalism. End. And that people from all across the political spectrum are standing on the same side of that line despite having very different ideas about any subsequent direction of travel.

                      For my money, what’s unfolding is a fissure between authoritarians and non-authoritarians. Which might prove to be a rather interesting development/change in the political landscape.

                      You want to get people on board and yet you’ve spent days and numerous comments spouting arguments of alienation and condemnation towards someone who doesn’t and has never had a bar for liberalism. Odd.

                      If you want to find fans and supporters of liberalism and seek to change their minds, then you’re going to have to go out into the real world or onto other platforms or forums to engage with them (they’re very thin on the ground around here).

                      Actually, when it comes down to it, I don’t think very many people support liberalism at all – that people are simply waiting for an alternative to be offered to them. That could be a Trump MkII or worse that they take a punt on, or it could be something much more positive.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      bi-lateral mutually beneficial fair trade with other countries

      No, that is something that we most definitely do not do.

      Set standards for labour and environmental protection. Standards for wages, standards for access to health services and more. Standards on democracy.

      Set the exchange rate as a function of trade. The more we import from a country the more our dollar drops against that countries currency.

      Make it so that a country’s population must have the same access to modern services as ours do before we’ll trade with them.

      If a country reaches those standards then we trade with them. If they don’t then there’s no trade.

    • anyone describing themselves as left and or for social justice standing for parliament needs to adopt more the socialist platform Joe Carolan had in the Mt Albert by-election…

      Is that so they can emulate his lack of electoral success? Or, so that they can revel in their ideological purity while the right continues to govern? NZ’s voters have conclusively filed Carolan’s version of socialism under DO NOT WANT, so that’s not a good path to take.

      • Wainwright 1.3.1

        Only thing Joe Carolan’s loss shows is you can have all the good socialist policies on paper, but people don’t want to vote for a hopeless dickhead supported by a mob of dickheads.

        • adam 1.3.1.1

          I think you have a bit of the point Wainwright, but Psycho Milt has a point as well. No one I know wants any form of authoritarian socialism, no matter how good it looks on paper.

          We had the 20th century to remind us how fubar that idea is. We still have China as a reminder, that it really is not much chop.

          Sheesh we even have a current national government to remind us what happens when ideology over rules good governance.

          Fix imputable ideology helps no one, mind you neither does the post modern lack of truth as well.

  2. weka 2

    I’d argue that in NZ we don’t really have a political left at the moment. Labour are solidly centre-left and as far as I can tell still rebuilding from their own neoliberal take over (more power to them). I see potential here, but nothing soon.

    The Greens, while many of their policies are pretty solidly left wing, have been forced to foreground things that the mainstream can cope with. I think this is in part because people that would otherwise vote for them have been hesitant. Some of that has been misunderstanding of MMP and panic voting Labour, some of it is the hatchet jobs from the right (they’re flakes, don’t trust them), and the Greens missteps in the past (Morris Dancing). But I also think that the Greens are not traditionally left wing and that many in NZ inducing on the left simply don’t understand yet how a party can position themselves off the traditional left/right axis. They support social justice obviously, but they’re not the natural home of what many lefties are yearning for.

    Mana of course blew it and/or got hobbled by the centrists and RWers.

    TOP are RW centrist IMO, but a modern day version of the old conservatives who care about people.

    NZF are centrist/populist.

    In that sense there is no-one there to engage with the grass roots movements.

    On the right, we no longer have old school conservatism, but instead a large RW party with a few tag ons, that is essentially proto-fascist. Why bother with all that Tr*mpville palava when you have a she’ll be right population that let’s you dismantle democracy a a piece at a time over 3 terms? Government by corporate strategy, taking advantage of populism.

    • BM 2.1

      NZ hasn’t had a political left government for 40 + years (Norman Kirk, guessing here a bit?).

      Muldoon wasn’t left
      Lange wasn’t left
      Bolger/Shiply wasn’t left
      Clark was centre left
      Key was centre right

      I really can’t see NZ turning left anytime soon, it’s just not who we are.

      • weka 2.1.1

        “it’s just not who we are”

        How would you know that? I don’t think general elections tell us that. They tell us what the enfranchised voters are willing to make the best of. They don’t tell us what the missing million would do. Nor what voters would do if they had a real choice. Nor what they would have done if Labour hadn’t been hijacked. Lots of variables there that counter your fantasy BM.

        We know that the Overton Window has moved. But again, there are more variables there that belie superficial characterisations of the NZ political psyche.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          btw, have a read of r0b’s post on the JK popularity myth, seems apposite given what you just said.

      • Ad 2.1.2

        Muldoon was the most socialist Prime Minister we’ve ever had.

        • weka 2.1.2.1

          Not left wing socialist though. Nor progressive.

          • Ad 2.1.2.1.1

            I’m not sure what you mean by left wing socialist, but to me, he had a really strong state, strived to make us more economically independent, was incredibly patriotic, had a real good political nose for ordinary people, substituted our ambit away from Britain and towards Australia, kept taxes on the rich really high, required as much local production as possible, and everyone got the same cheap and relatively poor service as everyone else from the telephone (!) to butter to television to cars.

            Presumably you mean ‘progressive’ meaning ‘good to oppressed minorities’. Agreed.

            • weka 2.1.2.1.1.1

              Yeah, but NZ was politically socialist then, so it was normal to have a left and right that fitted into that. I doubt that Muldoon would have continued as socialist in a neoliberal era, he’d have adapted like all the others.

              “Presumably you mean ‘progressive’ meaning ‘good to oppressed minorities’.”

              You really are the master of implied denigration.

        • Skeptic 2.1.2.2

          The hell he was – he was a populist rabble-rouser who favoured a controlled/command economy. He was by education a cost accountant and ran the country like that. He tagged the strongest leader we ever had with the nickname “mouse” (by strongest I mean the leader who had the best control of his cabinet) and won by introducing NZ to gutter politics with his “reds under the bed” cartoons in the 78 election. He was a Nat – not Labour. He stuck us with the infamous wage/price freeze of 82-84 and he used the 81 Springbok Tour to steal that election. Please educate yourself about NZ political history – I lived it!!!

      • Skinny 2.1.3

        Bill Rowling was the last truly Left leader of the Labour party.

      • locus 2.1.4

        BM – when you say “turning left” what do you mean?

        NZers are already ‘left’.

        This is what makes us ‘left’
        – We have a deep ingrained respect for giving everyone a fair go.
        – We believe in everyone paying a fair share to support a social safety net.
        – A fair few of us are pissed off by the sale of state assets.
        – We like public schooling, public roads, public toilets, public hospitals and ACC
        – We want state housing (so families don’t have to sleep in cars),
        – We pay our fair share through progressive taxation, so we can have:
        – accountable state funded agencies protecting our safety,
        – democratic institutions
        – laws preventing shysters from running dangerous workplaces and polluting our environment.

        What an increasing number of people don’t like is what we’ve seen happening over the past 8 years – increasingly divisive and dirty politics, the growing income gap, the poorest people in our country getting poorer, increasing crime, dismantling of public services.

        Supporting a change in government is not “turning left”. It’s about a growing number of NZers seeing that amongst the Greens and Labour there are more spirited, determined and capable people wanting to put things right than in the increasingly flaccid National party

  3. greywarshark 3

    Hi r0b another good thought provoking piece. I wonder if what was in this one is relevant, and whether you think it is coherent. If you have time to review.

    Open Mike 24/02/2017

    [Its mine 🙂 but interesting comment. Develop it a bit further and submit it as a guest post if you want to – MS]

  4. Ad 4

    I think the better question is: “why have a left?”

    I don’t agree with Asher Wolf that a political left popular enough to take power again will be revived by hanging out with activist groups. You don’t trash them, and it’s encouraging to find common ground, but they are the rocks upon which the broader left tumble around. They are not the river.

    In New Zealand, under MMP there are never going to be fast or radical changes to anything in the pubic sector. The ideological cooling and buffering is built in.

    The left will never gain a majority of votes again in OECD countries unless they can say that global labour mobility is almost as damaging as global capital mobility. That means limiting immigration pretty hard – hard enough to take the wind out of the sails of the Brexit/Trump/anti-Islamic parties that are rising.

    Immigration is the basic corollary of international capital flow controls. We need to recolonise the immigration language that the right now commands and wields with astonishing ease. The political right are so popular on immigration that the left should listen and agree that they are partly right.

    While it’s not the only step, immigration, not economic redistributive issues, is the initial way to stop the right’s ascendancy against the left in Europe, Australia, and the US.

    • weka 4.1

      “I think the better question is: “why have a left?”

      Because the left traditionally has held both progressive politics and compassion. Without those things we’re pretty much fucked. Even better questions is “why have a left/right divide”?

      “I don’t agree with Asher Wolf that a political left popular enough to take power again will be revived by hanging out with activist groups. You don’t trash them, and it’s encouraging to find common ground, but they are the rocks upon which the broader left tumble around. They are not the river.”

      But it’s ok to patronise them and put them in their place? Wolf isn’t telling leftish politicians to hang out with activists, she’s saying work with the movements that are already connecting into the public sphere over the issues that really matter. And stop trying to be like the people that are fucking over the planet, align yourself with the people that are doing the right things.

      BLM, NoDAPL, even Occupy aren’t essentially left wing movements. They’re progressive for sure, but not tied into traditional left/right politics.

      If those movements aren’t the river, what is? (your analogy failed a bit).

      I agree with you on immigration, and the challenge is to walk past the accusations of bigotry and develop a position that is both progressive and protective.

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Anyone who thinks the left has a lock on compassion needs to go talk to the other side for a while.

        Very, very few people are going to hang out with activists. Those old groups aren’t going to grow because they are talking to the same people, joining with the same people, and achieving about the same as ever.

        Asher was talking about “the unwillingness of establishment types to work with ppl at grassroots”, like it’s their fault. It’s not. For the most part the activist groups we have now are stale and have failed to connect broadly. Asher should pull the log out of her own eye.

        She’s all a-flutter about successful rightist politicians who “don’t care about messaging; they only care about populism.” Like that’s a bad thing.

        She would do well to study why the opposition are kicking the left’s ass rather than fanning the dull coals of her own political virtue.

        • greywarshark 4.1.1.1

          Ad
          The answer is money, and sitting firmly in the driving seats of the political vehicle that controls it, that’s why the opposition are kicking the left’s ass.
          And your own hot air brightens the dull coals of your political virtue.

          I don’t see you showing clearly what the opposition can do to alter this stalemate that the left is in. You talk about being stale but what fresh approaches can offer something hopeful and achievable to masses brought up on the Simpsons who are lower middle class and yet can live in their own two-storey house and have a satisfactory life which they can just bumble through. Active measures have been taken to strip the certainties of livable wages for reasonable levels of work from them. Most have to have a new dream sold so that part of the polity can form a reality that enables them to have a basic life. This if one is being objective and looks at reality.

          So what can the left do to get a better future for ordinary citizens, cut down on the cream that builds isolated, uninterested individuals with affluenza. How can the left offer a decent, lower standard of living with adequate wages, time for some relaxation, home time, stability, reasonable housing and good services? I think that using the business and work of government itself, they can find jobs to utilise the idle unemployed and bring life and living to NZ, put some heart into the large lower population and pump money into the social areas where votes are wanting. That would go a long way to advance the Labour left to their proper place as government.

          • Ad 4.1.1.1.1

            I stated it in black and white.
            You just skipped the bit involving thought.

            IMHO if the left keep restating economic arguments like you suggest, and don’t deal with immigration and refugees first, they will get the same results as they are now. The canary in the coalmine of the left, the union movement, have been fighting for better wages and conditions for quite some time. They are shrinking across the OECD faster than a Jellytip sitting at the Kaitaia RSA bar.

            Case in point: Copeland by-election.

            The left is following union decline. And there is only one issue to address first. Which I stated above.

          • greywarshark 4.1.1.1.2

            Ad
            No doubt immigration has to be put on a quota basis I think. Really controlled. And that definitely is not a stale point, it is constantly refreshing itself as a problem.

            But that’s process that any old dog could sniff out and the young ones also if they cared to stand up and make a point, even if controversial.

            But you risk seeming like a one-trick pony. Start turning some of that dole money, which is little enough, into work subsidies for councils etc. and pay the guys and girls the minimum wage to do the Task Force Green work. We have a nation of stunted lives of people who have slipped between the flagstones just trying to exist without any great rainbow to run towards.

            Give NZ young a promise to get things moving and also start limiting immigrant workers, and as more young workers get in their stride, limit quota again. Let employers have what they need from overseas, and ensure that many NZs are also being employed as well. We know that seasonal work is a godsend for many Pacific Islanders so look after fair contracts for them, and limit other nations.

            The housing balloon would start to subside, the flow of money from transfer payments from government would subside, and flow of tax rise, things seen to be happening. Then National would have to start looking for things to fault Labour with, wearing the wrong-coloured tie or something. They would get desperate and the rest of us would be smiling. Let’s go for getting work done in Conservation, Councils, etc etc, start small. Builders, tradesmen next, green jobs, get the country moving, not just jaw about it.

        • Morrissey 4.1.1.2

          Asher Wolf sums up what we need to do perfectly….

          “My advice is quit taking advice from outsourced contractors and pollsters dialling landlines and start working with movements.”

          As for you, Ad, where are you getting these half-baked ideas about “populism”— i.e., racism, Xenophobia, hatred of Muslims and “gypsies” today but quite possibly Jews in the near future—from? You sound like Bruce Springsteen.

          • Ad 4.1.1.2.1

            Fortunately I was not Born To Run.
            I tend to get these half-baked ideas about populism from every election in Europe, the UK, Australia, and the US in the last decade. You clearly forget, Morrissey, democracy is a popularity contest.

        • weka 4.1.1.3

          “Anyone who thinks the left has a lock on compassion needs to go talk to the other side for a while”

          Just as well I didn’t say that then. We’re talking about the political party left right? By all means compare both policies and implementation of by various NZ parties and governments and make a case of RW ones holding the ground for compassion. I don’t see it myself. Even amongst the old school conservatives social issues take a back seat to economic ones, so the compassion operates personally but not politically.

          Very, very few people are going to hang out with activists.

          As I said, it’s nothing to do with hanging out. And for someone like yourself with a fair amount of antipathy for those outside the mainstream, as well as the moisties as you put it, I can understand why you don’t.

          Those old groups aren’t going to grow because they are talking to the same people, joining with the same people, and achieving about the same as ever.

          Lol. BLM is an old group and not growing?

          Asher was talking about “the unwillingness of establishment types to work with ppl at grassroots”, like it’s their fault. It’s not.

          Course it is. You have a pretty narrow definition of activist groups. Maybe you should get out more Ad. Seriously,

          Asher should pull the log out of her own eye.

          She’s all a-flutter about successful rightist politicians who “don’t care about messaging; they only care about populism.” Like that’s a bad thing.

          She would do well to study why the opposition are kicking the left’s ass rather than fanning the dull coals of her own political virtue.

          Well that’s a dull and superficial analysis. The left aren’t one amorphous lump, and she’s talking about the US, where the issues aren’t as simple as left/right.

          So, you think that ‘only caring about populism’ is a good thing. Vote for Peters then. Myself, I think there is a lots of assertion and rhetoric and your trademark nasty in your comment but I’m not really getting what the point is other than that you don’t like what she said. For instance, you’ve just reframed her position that left wing politicians should be engaging with a range of progressive movements on their terms, as all activist groups are old and boring and small and no-one wants to talk to them. Hubris much? Or just a really loaded agenda.

    • Bill 4.2

      The left will never gain a majority of votes again in OECD countries unless they can say that global labour mobility is almost as damaging as global capital mobility. That means limiting immigration pretty hard – hard enough to take the wind out of the sails of the Brexit/Trump/anti-Islamic parties that are rising.

      SNP. Term number three (?) , four (?) of forming the government? Solidly pro-immigration. The country voted against BREXIT. And the party, in government, is way to the left of Scottish Labour that trails the Tories in the parliament and is currently sitting around 14% in the polls with local body elections only a couple of months away.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    The reasons why?

    Because the Left have been implementing the same failed policies as the RWNJs for so long that no one believes them any more. Especially when they’re coming out with just slight alterations of the same failed policies.

    Among progressives, the financial crisis and the climate change crisis should have spawned a broad debate and a reimagining of the role of regulation, a robust and dynamic state working alongside the private sector.

    No, it should have spawned the realisation that capitalism doesn’t work and never has. It should have brought people to the realisation the reason that all major religions ban usury is because it destroys civilisations by causing massive poverty.

    Usury = capitalism.

    The fact is that we’ve known that capitalism doesn’t work for thousands of years but a few of us want to be rich and powerful and as they reach for that goal and we allow them to have it they destroy any sort of social stability and common weal through their greed and narcissism.

    By contrast, for many in the electorate, listening to a modern progressive politician is like taking a tepid bath. The era of technocrats seeking to impress and persuade by their mild-mannered mastery of evidence-based policy is well and truly redundant.

    Yep, we need to show passion for a better world rather than the dog-eat-dog world of the RWNJs.

    Unfortunately, all we get from our ‘leaders’ is more of the same failure that we’ve had for the last 30+ years.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Sorry micky savage for thinking this was r0bs work. Both of you are so good.
    I don’t know if you are able to comment on what I wrote I would appreciate your opinion as to whether its flakey or gets to the nub of our need for caring interactive human society.

    I have come across this Adam Curtis Hypernormalisation vid made in 2016. It stems from when NY city could no longer cover its debts by borrowing from the banks and the banks decided to take over. Seems to be relevant to this question of what is happening and what could, should be happening.

    And see Trump when he was young and know more about him. People say he must be a knucklehead because he has gone bankrupt a number of times. Those people do not understand the workings of high finance and game playing.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fny99f8amM

    [Flattery will get you everywhere! I commented above about your suggestion. Develop it into a post and add the comments here and submit it as a guest post. Happy to analyse further – MS]

  7. Steve Alfreds 7

    The right continues to exploit naive New Zealanders and their belief they too can be wealthy like John Key, etc. When the reality is National is there to represent Big Business and Federated Farmers. But the left needs to show the average Kiwi it’s there to represent them and not a liberal elite of Chardonnay Socialists. Seafood anyone? There’s a real echo in this room.

  8. Tamati Tautuhi 8

    Looks like NZF is the only party which promotes a mixed economy, both centre left and centre right, only alternative for the critical thinking New Zealander.

    The neoliberal right wing National and Labour Governments over the past 40 years have been an abject failure and the majority of New Zealanders have suffered under these regimes. NZF will keep both National or Labour in check.

  9. Steve Alfreds 9

    But a vote for NZF could be a vote for a fourth term for National. Winston didn’t do much last time he supported National.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 9.1

      Winston and NZF got shafted big time by National after the first MMP Election, I think Winston will be very careful before getting back into bed with National.

      If you read NZF policies they are quite practical and socially responsible.

      Winston and NZF have worked constructively with Labour before and I think they look more kindly on the Green Party these days, only time will tell?

  10. Skeptic 10

    A lot of this article is oh so nearly correct, and a lot of the comments are oh so nearly dead accurate. What does motivate voters to get out and vote for a Party? The same thing that always has – money. Specifically, money in the wage packet, along with the perception that the Party they are going to vote for is going to deliver fairness. Since the Great Betrayal of 1984 (when the 1st ACT government got into power under Lange, followed by the 2nd ACT government under Bolger), neither National nor Labour has successfully addressed both motivators. Clark did address the fairness concerns and held power for six years, while Key successfully addressed the back pocket issue with tax cuts and held power for nine.
    Demographics and statistics could and should tell the parties of the left where their voter strength lies – wages and salaries. What % earns the minimum wage or less? What % earns the living wage or less? What % earns the average wage or less? What % is fed up and disgusted at the greed and avarice of the 1% who own 45% of NZ wealth and earn more money in a month than most will in a lifetime – more money than they’d ever need to live a comfortable life here in NZ? This is where and these are the people Labour and the Greens need to get on their side. They are certainly much, much more than the 51% needed to get into Government. So why aren’t they voting for us?
    Could it be because our policies are an admission that we accept the status quo – not the trivial superficial surface stuff, but the deep seated underlying basis for the unfairness? Talk to the cleaners on early shift, the labourers doing 50 hrs/wk, the temps and casuals on labour only contracts. They’ll tell you straight what’s wrong. It comes down to four basic things they want fixed:
    (a) Outlaw all temp and casual employment and force employers to a max 40 hr week with mandatory double OT pay – no exceptions at all!
    (b) All wages and salaries to be a matter of Public Record – no more “commercial confidentiality” bullshit.
    (c) an entrenched wage system based of the minimum wage being a livable wage and that amount being pegged BY LAW to the average of the top 10% income bracket.
    (d) Public ownership of all those assets sold off cheap BY CONFISCATION – not one cent to be paid in reparation for theft of tax payer funded assets.

    When we have a Party of the Left that clearly and unequivocally enunciates those policies, then we’ll get a left wing government – not before.

    • Wayne 10.1

      There is a zero chance that a party with such a platform would get a significant share of the vote. And if this became Labour policy, it would go under 20%.

      If you think your fellow New Zealanders (say north of 35%) think like that, then all I can say is that you don’t know your fellow New Zealanders.

      A set of policies as above and all the associated policies would be easy to characterise as hard left socialist. New Zealanders might be mildly left, but they are not hard left socialist.

      I would say most New Zealanders believe in private enterprise tempered by social justice. The current package of policies run by National appeals to nearly 50% of all New Zealanders. The set of policies run by Labour 1999 to 2008 appeals to a large number New Zealand, most of Labour and a fair chunk of National. That is why National left many of them in place (interest free loans, WWF, slightly modified employment law). NZ First is a traditional nationalist expression of the same broad package of policies.

      But those who want to go much more left toward more of a socialist alternative are a small minority, probably less than 20% of the population.

      Look at what is happening with Corbyn, he does not have broad appeal, his appeal is confined to left wing activists. They are no where near the opinions of your average voter.

      • Skeptic 10.1.1

        Spoken like a true intellectual who hasn’t been out and talked to real working people. Like I said above – do your homework on demographics and stats – all of what I’ve said above is sourced from Dept of Stats – income brackets, wealth gap etc. Voting motivation is standard knowledge from anyone who’s done Pols 101.
        When you get out and talk to the people, Wayne, you’ll get a nasty/pleasant surprise at how far left the minimum wage workers really are. They feel left out because the current left is far, far to centre-left. If you do follow up as I’ve suggested, you’ll find those policies I’ve put out are by no means the most radical you’ll hear. Believe you me, Wayne – there is a growing underclass of NZ who are just about ready to do what their ancestors did in 1913 and again in 1933 – if you need a hint – read up on NZ Political violence. The people I’m referring to have had three decades of marginalisation, denigration and plain old fashioned oppression. Having worked in all three sectors of NZ employment (Public, private and voluntary) and having gone back to varsity as a mature student and getting an MA completed, and most importantly – having kept current and in touch, I think you argument smacks horribly of a “middle-class centre-left wine sipper” mentality. In fact you’re part of the problem with the left as it is at the moment – no guts!

  11. ian 11

    We don’t even know what we want or how to get there. And let’s be frank, the ‘success’ of the ‘left’ during the settlement (post-WW2 though to the late 1970s) was more by accident than by design.

    What caused the settlement? Government having to rely on unions during WW2, plus a coalition government in the UK. During that time, it was simply too easy for business to comply with the requests of organised labour.

    What unseated the settlement? The Powell Memorandum of 1971 which became the blueprint for the American conservative movement beginning in the 1970s and 1980s. The idea was for wealthy investors to set up right-wing think tanks and give money to universities in return for an influence on the selection of academic staff, with a bias towards right-leaning academics, influencing the schools by providing resources to them. “In the memorandum, Powell advocated “constant surveillance” of textbook and television content, as well as a purge of left-wing elements. He named consumer advocate Nader as the chief antagonist of American business. Powell urged conservatives to take a sustained media-outreach program; including funding scholars who believe in the free enterprise system, publishing books and papers from popular magazines to scholarly journals and influencing public opinion.”

    It was pervasive and caused the undoing of the post-war settlement through subversive campaign by business that started working on influencing the roots of societal thought.

    I reckon the way around it all is through the media. The media was one of the key avenues used by business to propagandise us into voting our society away and to keep us in place.

    The current system (roughly, I think) is that broadcasters and news distributors are only required to present stories in an unbiased and accurate way. There is no requirement for them to cover all parts of society that have a huge impact on us. Consistently ignoring the goings on of parts society that people should be educated about is almost as bad as unbalanced or inaccurate coverage of them.

    My proposal would be to broaden the requirements from simply reporting the news in a balanced and accurate way, to one where several aspects of civil society are required to be reported on in an accurate and balanced way. Not only would this increase the public’s awareness of what’s going on, it will likely get them more involved.

    • greywarshark 11.1

      Ian as someone interested in radio you may have heard about this, but please anybody who can go along and support these bods.

      Coalition for Better Broadcasting
      Just a quick invite to makeourmediabetter.org.nz
      CBB and ActionStation

      This is an invite to the People’s Commission on Public Broadcasting and Media.
      We’ve teamed up with ActionStation and selected a panel of six Kiwis who care about media and broadcasting, to travel New Zealand for the next six Sundays, taking submissions from the public.
      Our panellists are:
      Lizzie Marvelly – Writer, Musician and Commentator
      Lance Wiggs – Investor and Business Blogger
      Bill Ralston – Columnist, Commentator and ex-Head of OneNews
      Kay Ellmers – Television Producer and Director
      Mark Jennings – Journalist and ex-Head of 3News/NewsHub
      Shamubeel Eaqub – Economist and Author

      The People’s Commission is all about the public’s view, so please come along – bring your anger, your passion, your hopes and your ideas.
      Please come along and tell the panel what’s wrong with broadcasting and media? What’s right with broadcasting and media? And what needs to be done?
      The Public Meetings:
      Wellington – this Sunday 19th Feb, 11am-2pm (sorry about the short notice), at Meow Café and Bar, Edward Street
      Dunedin – Sunday 26th Feb, 12.30-3.30pm, at Dunedin City Library, 4th floor, Moray Place

      Tauranga – Sunday 5th March, 11am-2pm, at Papamoa Community Centre
      Christchurch – Sunday 12th March, 11am-2pm, at XCHC Exchange, 376 Wilsons Rd, Waltham
      Nelson – Sunday 19th March, 11am-2pm, at NMIT, G104 Auditorium, 322 Hardy Street
      Auckland – Sunday 26th March, 1pm-4pm, at Mt Eden Normal Primary School Hall, cnr Valley and Sherbourne Roads
      If you can’t make a meeting, there’s a website for submissions too – http://www.makeourmediabetter.org.nz

      What’s the point of a People’s Commission on Public Broadcasting and Media?
      The aim is to present government and policy-makers across Parliament with a comprehensive report, including recommendations for how to improve public broadcasting and media in New Zealand.
      The panel will use the public submissions, evidence from experts and international research to come up with strong, workable and inspiring recommendations.
      This is our big chance to talk about broadcasting, get people thinking about it and come up with some strong recommendations for the future of public media – so there actually is a future for public media.
      Myles Thomas
      Director
      Coalition for Better Broadcasting
      © Coalition for Better Broadcasting, All rights reserved.

    • Nic the NZer 11.2

      “We don’t even know what we want or how to get there. And let’s be frank, the ‘success’ of the ‘left’ during the settlement (post-WW2 though to the late 1970s) was more by accident than by design.”

      This attitude is part of the problem. The Left’s success was no accident over the period you suggest, it was a product of the Keynesian macro-economics understood at the time and the implication of that, that a government could produce consistent full employment outcomes from the economy (if it chose to do so). On the other hand the alternative use of unemployment as a policy to control inflation and the accompanying abandonment of full-employment as a government policy objective have greatly contributed to rising income in-equality since the 4th Labour government. If you find the NZ documentary film ‘In the land of Plenty’ you will see many sides of this policy shift (at inception), including a Labour party MP saying clearly that ‘full-employment’ would be a top policy objective of the Labour party (in so far as he believed). Now days I don’t think Grant Robertson even knows what that means, and probably doesn’t think that Labour could ever achieve that in government.

      Further a movement like the Powell Memorandum was anticipated by a 1943 essay by one M.Kalecki. Discussion of this http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=11127
      Original article here http://delong.typepad.com/kalecki43.pdf

      What was surprising in both NZ (and Australia) is that it was Labour parties who first grabbed Neo-Liberalism (at the time also known as Monetarism) and really ran with it, to their detriment.

      • McFlock 11.2.1

        I suspect it was because nzlabour lost a lot of economic knowledge, and couldn’t figure out how to prevent stagflation. In walk treasury wonks from the chicago school…

        • Nic the NZer 11.2.1.1

          Doesn’t add up, though. NZ Treasury definitely influenced Douglas thinking, but there was a lot of suppression of academic economists who opposed the simplistic and un-proven economic theories being pushed as verified fact at the time (this is also in the documentary referred to above).

          Even Muldoon was well on top of the economics side of Stagflation of course. The inflation was triggered by Oil Price hikes (which were a political Opec retaliation for middle east wars). Muldoon setup the ‘think-big’ projects as a way to create energy independence for New Zealand from external energy prices. This was hardly a secret, this was his public rational for these public works projects.

          • McFlock 11.2.1.1.1

            Yeah, but the entire thing about policy capture is to capture the policy makers. Far more important that the suppression & sidelining of academics was the “efficiency gain” in government of recommending and achieving the eradication of other departments’ economic analysis units so that treasury was the only source of economic advice to government.

            Muldoon put in place many projects that we still benefit from today, but of course that was moot in the short term (especially after the convenient foreign exchange crisis). Couple that with a chunk of cabinet having a tenuous grasp of even basic economics (worse than me, even) and not even knowing who to ask (other than the smug men in suits in the department that’s supposed to know all about this shit), and it’s a pretty dire situation.

        • Tamati Tautuhi 11.2.1.2

          Labour got suckered by Roger Douglas and the neoliberal merchant bankers who had their eyes on NZ’s State Assets which were asset rich with great cash lows, these were sold for deep discounts to their true values and we the taxpayers got rorted.

        • Bill 11.2.1.3

          No-one figured out how to deal with stagflation. It was predicted to happen back in the 40s by (I think) a Polish economist who was criticising or evaluating Keyne’s economic theory at the time…

          Yup. Kalecki.

          “While Kalecki was generally enthusiastic about the Keynesian Revolution, in his article Political Aspects of Full Employment, which Anatole Kaletsky called one of the most prescient economic papers ever published, he predicted it would not endure.”

          • Nic the NZer 11.2.1.3.1

            “No-one figured out how to deal with stagflation. It was predicted to happen back in the 40s by (I think) a Polish economist who was criticising or evaluating Keyne’s economic theory at the time…”

            This is quite an incorrect reading, Kalecki does not suggest in any way that ‘Stagflation’ will be an outcome of ‘Keynesian’ full employment policies. He suggests that certain sectors are likely to oppose it politically.

            Also there is still debate suggesting in fact Kalecki published much of Keynes ideas prior to the general theory, and Keynes was actually following Kalecki in his writing in General Theory. The opposing position to both Keynes and Kalecki, and one later reverted to by Monetarism, was that public sector spending could only in the long run cause inflation and could not actually in the long run reduce unemployment. Some prediction like this would on this basis be a strange argument for Kalecki to make considering (in brief show me where that argument is made).

            • Bill 11.2.1.3.1.1

              Some prediction like this would on this basis be a strange argument for Kalecki to make considering (in brief show me where that argument is made).

              From 2 minutes 40 secs. (The entire clip is only 5 min)

              • Nic the NZer

                Well here is what Kalecki actually wrote,

                “3. It may be objected that government expenditure financed by borrowing
                will cause inflation. To this it may be replied that the effective demand
                created by the government acts like any other increase in demand. If
                labour, plants, and foreign raw materials are in ample supply, the increase
                in demand is met by an increase in production. But if the point of full
                employment of resources is reached and effective demand continues to
                increase, prices will rise so as to equilibrate the demand for and the supply
                of goods and services. (In the state of over-employment of resources such as we witness at present in the war economy, an inflationary rise in prices has been avoided only to the extent to which effective demand for consumer goods has been curtailed by rationing and direct taxation.) It follows that if the government intervention aims at achieving full employment but stops short of increasing effective demand over the full employment mark, there is no need to be afraid of inflation.”

                Your not wrong in your understanding of what Blyth is saying however, its just not actually what Kalecki had to say (Its the neo-classical consensus version of Keynes interpretation of it).

                • Bill

                  Okay, as far as applying that snippet to Blyth, am I wrong to see Blyth as simply extrapolating from Kalecki?

                  I mean, Kalecki says if the point of full employment of resources is reached and effective demand continues to increase, prices will rise so as to equilibrate the demand for and the supply of goods and services.

                  And it seems to me that Blyth is quite reasonably pointing out that prices rise to maintain or increase profit rather than balance supply and demand- ie, a different way of saying the same thing.

                  Maybe I need to read the nine pages very slowly, but on the face of it I’m just not seeing how Blyth is mis-representing Kalecki, which if I understand your comment, is what you’re kind of implying.

                  btw. Can you clarify the it and the it’s in your brackets? I’m not following what you’re saying. What’s the neo-classical consensus version of it – what Blyth is saying in regards to what Kalecki wrote? And what is the it you refer to Keynes having interpreted?

                  • Nic the NZer

                    At the end of it, yes I think Blyth is quite wrong to read Kalecki in the manner portrayed in the video. First off Kalecki premises his statements about inflation with a big ‘if’, he then goes on to explain that ‘full employment’ is sustainable without triggering that condition with policies which prevent aggregate demand rising over and above full employment levels. His conclusion is quite clear here, ‘full employment’ is both desirable, but also achievable and sustainable. Kalecki is in fact writing this during the second world war, where the economy is if anything over-employed, but even here able to avoid massive inflation via a combination of taxation and price controls. The other question around what Kalecki is suggesting there is that its about demand lead inflation, which is supposed to happen at ‘full employment’, so Kalecki is hardly predicting ‘Stagflation’ in that discussion.

                    As to how Blyth reaches his conclusions, I think its probably related to his interpretation of Keynes General Theory. Shortly after its publication it was shoehorned by John Hicks into an essentially neo-classical framework (called IS/LM, yes the one Paul Krugman talks about). Later in life the author of that model suggested it was basically trivial and useless when applied to real world problems. But I suggest Blyth is basically interpreting Keynes through the filter of the school of economics following on from this (which has an interesting history, but basically assumes a position of people Keynes was arguing against in his General Theory). Unfortunately that represents the far left of (acceptable) economic thought these days. That is roughly what I was alluding to in my last sentence above.

                    • Bill

                      Hmm. Seems we’re reading Kalecki differently. I know nothing about the historical interpretations of Keynes or Kalecki, but In the following from Kalecki (same doc as above) I’ve highlighted the bits I read as showing that permanent full employment would lead to industrial unrest and inflation as bosses sought to protect or enhance profit margins resulting in uncertain (or dropping) returns for rentiers (investors) who then pull their productive investments = unemployment. (And of course, as Kalecki also says, the dynamics of political power help to drive or underpin the whole the whole shebang)

                      under a regime of permanent full employment, the ‘sack’ would cease to play its role as a disciplinary measure. The social position of the boss would be undermined, and the self-assurance and class-consciousness of the working class would grow. Strikes for wage increases and improvements in conditions of work would create political tension. It is true that profits would be higher under a regime of full employment than they are on the average under laissez-faire; and even the rise in wage rates resulting from the stronger bargaining power of the workers is less likely to reduce profits than to increase prices, and thus adversely affects only the rentier interests. But ‘discipline in the factories’ and ‘political stability’ are more appreciated than profits by business leaders. Their class instinct tells them that lasting full employment is unsound from their point of view, and that unemployment is an integral part of the ‘normal’ capitalist system

          • Nic the NZer 11.2.1.3.2

            I do not read it with those implications no. Kalecki was saying that full employment may lead to a higher inflation rate, but the problem in the 70s was not a higher inflation rate it was an unstable accelerating inflation rate. Also obviously from his other paragraph he is discussing cases where demand has been over stimulated not just stimulated to full employment and again that requires that there actually be full employment.

            Also (and Blyth makes no mention of this) what happened in the 70s is that Oil Price hikes caused the available incomes of both labour and capital to fall. This is what triggered the wage price spiral over the income not needed to pay for imported Oil. Without this un-mentioned factor its as if full employment caused the inflation, but clearly Opecs political move is important here. Kalecki may have even understood this possibility in 1943, and so the possibility of Stagflation but its more sophisticated than what he is saying in that short essay. Its also, not a full employment based outcome. Stagflation of that type can be triggered by any kind of large enough unavoidable price hikes (even internal ones).

            The key point here to me are that
            A) the argument doesnt really fit what happened.
            B) the authors on full employment should not be telling only half the facts (and were not)
            C) if we understand it better then the kinds of problems triggered in the 70s can probably be avoided (eg a job guarantee employs the unemployed so does not risk a similar outcome)

  12. Bill 12

    I admit to being amused by all the hand-wringing and teeth gnashing about the supposed state of the left from people who are no more left than fly or, to pin it somewhat, from those who accepted as ‘left’ the self promotion of various Labour Parties into positions of bit part player in a ghastly liberal realignment of politics and economics.

    That’s where the crisis is. And fuck them I say. They punted for power using (we might say) false advertising. They were not Labour. They stopped giving a fuck about labour. And now that it’s coming crashing down around their ears we’re meant to be concerned because…why? Suddenly they’re Labour and all about labour again?

    Tell that to Jeremy Corbyn. Or tell it to yourself after reading the almost daily headlines from the likes of The Guardian that would happily see Corbyn hung, drawn and quartered so that UK Labour could get back to servicing the fucking over of labour. Just quietly reflect on your own level of conviction with regards the authenticity of this ‘crisis on the left’ coming from those that threw all and sundry under the bus of liberalism.

    There is no crisis on the left. The faux left…the former left…the liberal fucks who ‘cleansed’ the left… they’re all but washed up now. I just hope the bastards have gills. 👿

    • halfcrown 12.1

      2000%

    • Nic the NZer 12.2

      I understand the Democratic party has initiated a ‘reform’ movement to re-rehabilitate the party, unfortunately they are getting their advice from a third-way think tank. Effectively the mainstream left party is allowing themselves to be bought for the piddly sum of about 20 million dollars. At this rate Trump will be sure to get a second term.

    • weka 12.3

      “I admit to being amused by all the hand-wringing and teeth gnashing about the supposed state of the left from people who are no more left than fly or…”

      Just because it’s not clear, who are you meaning exactly? Micky savage? Commenters in this thread? I’m genuinely curious.

      “There is no crisis on the left. The faux left…the former left…the liberal fucks who ‘cleansed’ the left… they’re all but washed up now. I just hope the bastards have gills”

      Likewise, in NZ who are the real left? Chris Trotter? Giovanni Tiso? Joe Carolan? Jane Kelsey? Sue Bradford? Metiria Turei? Lynn Prentice? Carolyn? Gsays? Swordfish? McFlock? CV? You? Me? To have meaning I really think your analysis needs better definition, otherwise I’m just sitting here wondering who you are throwing bombs at. Not saying the bombs aren’t justified, just confused. Wouldn’t mind knowing who the liberal fucks are either.

      • Bill 12.3.1

        I mean liberals – ie, adherents to the economic and political ideology who worked very hard to take the left out of parliamentary parties as they strived to ensure that those parties served capital and/or finance rather than labour.

        There’s nothing very difficult or hard to understand about it (unless one insists that socially liberal attitudes ought to define (in part or in whole) all definitions of the word liberal in all contexts it appears in)

        Imagine if I was in a physics environment insisting that ‘work’ meant some variation of “9 to 5” rather than force multiplied by distance. Would it be in any way reasonable for me to insist that physicists change their nomenclature? Or would the onus be on me to simply accept that a word can have different meanings and accept the appropriate meaning for a given context?

        • weka 12.3.1.1

          I still don’t know who you think you are referring to specifically.

          I’m not asking you to change your nomenclature, I’m asking you to work with the fact that some words have multiple meanings and if we want to communicate well we need to take the into account and not assume that everyone understands what we mean. You might think you are in a physics class, I think we are in a pub.

          But they were pretty simple questions, no need for anything about the meaning of liberal/Liberal, just asking you to make yourself clearer. For instance, is the post written by a Liberal or a Leftie? Who are the people that are hand wringing if not the author of the post or the people responding to it? Do you mean the people being quoted in the post? What’s the problem with being clear?

          • Bill 12.3.1.1.1

            Specifically? Even though my comment is quite clearly a broad sweep?

            Well okay, any number of politicians from Labour Parties or Tory Parties or Liberal Democratic Parties who not only cling to notions of liberalism but seek to destroy any non-liberal or left iteration of politics/economics. I’m not going to go pulling out names – the list is bloody exhaustive.

            Add in any number of columnists and journalists writing for such ‘esteemed’ publications as ‘The Guardian’ or ‘Washington Post’ or ‘NYT’ or ‘Independent’ among others (including their editorials). I’m not going to trawl through the sites pulling out names or linking to articles.

            You could add whatever fellow travelers of the above that you care to identify for yourself.

            Hope that’s clear enough to allow for you to drop the somewhat inquisitorial and accusatory positioning. My preferred focus is the things that people say or offer support to and their ideas; not the people themselves. (There would have been no gulags or camps in any imaginary world that – not quite incidentally – I’d have refused to rule over)

            • Carolyn_nth 12.3.1.1.1.1

              My tendency in the past has been to use the work “liberal” in relation to politics, as referring to a fairly centrist focus: one that focuses on the individual and individualism, within our existing political system.

              My inclination now is to stop using the word “liberal” as it seems to be causing confusing and people talking across each other.

              Generally, wikipedia defines a liberal as someone supporting liberalism, which is based on notions of liberty and equality.

              In general, IMO, criticism of current (allegedly) “left” wing parties is that they have embraced too much classical liberalism.

              Classical liberalism, a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties

              and/or economic liberalism

              Economic liberalism, the ideological belief in organizing the economy on individualist lines, such that the greatest possible number of economic decisions are made by private individuals and not by collective institutions

              While others like weka, who use the word “liberal” positively, seem to focus on social liberalism:

              Social liberalism, the belief that liberalism should include social justice and that the legitimate role of the state includes addressing issues such as unemployment, health care, education, and the expansion of civil rights

              This seems to me to be a step towards socialism and/or social democracy – as much as is possible within our current system.

              For myself, I now prefer to just drop “liberal” and focus on economic and social justice.

              The problem with “liberal” is that NZ and western European forms of government generally, are usually described as “liberal democracies”

              This means that some degree of liberalism is in-built into our current political structure, and would be very hard to eliminate. However, it does provide a platform from which to campaign for more strongly socialist and/or social democratic forms of governance and policies.

              My view of the “left” is that it embraces collective approaches to organisation and politics, rather than being based in individualistic values.

              Economic and social justice work for me as better terms.

              In my view, with this comes with a need to move away from the extreme individualism of the neoliberal era (an era that has seen an upsurge in, and revitalisation of, classic and economic liberalism).

              Individualism presupposes a level playing field, and does not take into account they way some sections of society (often understood with the use of terms of collective identity, focusing on collective characteristics such as those of ‘race’, gender, socioeconomics class, sexuality, ethnicity etc) are marginalised, exploited and/or oppressed.

              • Karen

                I agree Carolyn. I stopped using the word “liberal” a while ago as it has become a term that has too many interpretations to be useful. For instance it is understood differently in Britain, Australia and in the US, and of course there is a historic meaning that is quite different from many contemporary definitions. I find the same with ‘anti-establshment’ – it has morphed into a concept that is no longer clear.

                Labels are tricky – when people have different interpretations they cease to be an effective way of communicating IMO.

                • Carolyn_nth

                  Thanks, Karen.

                  yep. It’s about effective communication. And that is part of organising collectively and/or collaboratively with diverse groups of people.

              • Bill

                I get and see where you’re coming from. Sure, the term ‘liberal’ could be dropped and terms like laissez faire or classical used instead. But all across the English speaking world, in journals and newspapers and articles, the term liberal is being used to denote a set of economic circumstances and the inevitable politics that flow from those economics.

                I really don’t think there’s much confusion or difficulty about that. To date, comments from Weka and a comment from KJT is about all I can think of off-hand as comments that have presented the term back as somehow hugely problematic or confusing.

                Meanwhile, it seems the whole damned world (English speaking) is comfortable with the term, its meaning and its use.

                • weka

                  Ok, good to know you think there is actually no problem at all except for me and KJT around using the term liberal in NZ to refer to Liberalism and not being clear about it.

                  I see plenty of people who disagree with that /shrug. If you don’t want to elicit clarity I guess that’s up to you. Interestingly though, my arguing with you in this thread hasn’t been about the semantics but I note in the conversation above about Joe Carolan that the semantics is exactly what is getting in the way of understanding.

                  • Bill

                    No-one has expressed anything like the level of confusion over the use of the term over the time that you have. When I do use it, I use it in obvious and stated contexts.

                    Apart from the to-ing and fro-ing with you, I don’t think I’ve ever had cause to use it in relation to “jesus sandle wearing Guardian readers with glasses and bad beards with maybe a really bad wooly jumper with unidentifiable crust stains on it’s frayed cuffs, presiding over a plate of marmalade and toast with a cup of tea at a bare, yet not shabby, wooden table with the newspaper spread out before them of a Sunday or Monday or Thursday morning” – that being the typical, gendered, and slightly unkind though not unhumouress characterisation of social liberals that’s probably still pretty much in vogue around the UK. (Makes this liberally minded individual smile anyway. I don’t know what the kiwi version of that is, though I daresay one exists)

                    But back to the comments, both Karen and Carolyn_nth have, it seems, utilised the term in the way I do. Both have chosen to drop it from their terminology. That’s fine. And I think I’ve outlined why I disagree with that – ie, the use of the term is well nigh ubiquitous these days. And to substitute it out would lead to a lessening of clarity and understanding.

                    I mean, when was the last time you came across the word “classical” in political discourse? And if you did, would you be clear about what it was referring to? What about laissez faire? Does that capture the political nature of a particular economic ideology?

                    Think ‘liberal’ (or tack the ‘neo’ on if you really must) and the concepts of austerity and cut backs and individualism are at ones finger tips. I doubt the same quick connections exist around the terms ‘classical’ or laissez faire. I could be wrong.

                    Way back when (some weeks ago) your initial objection was simply to the omission of ‘neo’ before the word ‘liberal’. Seems things have developed a tad since then, aye?

                    Joe Carolan. You commented below that ‘Tiger Mountain’ shouldn’t have named him nor the political entity he represents. Hardly semantics.

                    You linked to a Q&A with Joe Carolan where (you said) he was calling people eco-fascists and pitting sections of labour against one another. He wasn’t. Again. Hardly semantics.

                    • weka

                      Carolyn has a long history that shows she has the kind of education in politics that means she can parse what you are talking about. I don’t think that is true of most NZers.

                      Karen said, “I stopped using the word “liberal” a while ago as it has become a term that has too many interpretations to be useful.”

                      “When I do use it, I use it in obvious and stated contexts.”

                      I know that’s what you think you are doing, but I don’t believe that is true. I think often you are talking at political theory level that won’t be entirely clear to many readers. Obviously there are a fair few people here that can parse what you mean, but they’re politicos.

                      Pretty much all of my comments on ‘liberal’ have been in the NZ context with some references to what I’m seeing in the US. So I fully accept that in what *you are reading (internationally) the word is being used in certain ways. I still think there are issues (which is why I bring in the US examples) in attacking liberals without being really bloody clear about who is in the sights.

                      I think you use the term liberal instead of neoliberal in a place (TS) where neoliberal is well understood and liberal is confusing, and I think you do this deliberately to push your political view, I just think there are problems with that, and I keep trying to point them out.

                      “Think ‘liberal’ (or tack the ‘neo’ on if you really must)”

                      Yeah, but most people in NZ would use neoliberal to mean neoliberal, and liberal to mean a range of things.

                      “Way back when (some weeks ago) your initial objection was simply to the omission of ‘neo’ before the word ‘liberal’. Seems things have developed a tad since then, aye?”

                      Have a look at the link below. I’ve had this critique for a long time, and no, it’s not just about neoliberal vs liberal as semantics. I truly think even after all this time you still don’t know what I am getting at.

                      And just to knock the marginalisation of it’s just weka and KJT on the head,

                      A fighting liberal

                      Read the comments.

                      btw, one of the reasons I’m pushing you on this is that people like Trotter are running anti-liberal lines alongside anti-identity politics ones. If you think that attacks on liberals are not also attacks on progressives then I think you are missing part of the picture. This doesn’t mean your analysis of classical Liberalism is wrong. It means that after a year of CV running round fucking with the place and us never getting to the real conversations, I’m inclined to push for more clarity and less confusion.

                      As I point out elsewhere in the thread, when you attack liberals in the way you do, you are on the face of it attacking lefties (in the NZ context). It might not be your intention, but that’s how it comes across. I just can’t see how this is going to lead to something good, but am open to having the strategy explained to me.

                    • Bill

                      My ire is aimed at liberalism. If I was angling at fascism then sure, I’d be (incidentally or otherwise) taking in adherents and promoters of that ideology in my criticism. And that’s much the way it is with my criticism of liberalism – it includes the adherents and promoters of the ideology…not social liberals who’ve no time for liberalism.

                      You want to keep on with trying to shoe-horn “liberal minded” or “social liberal” into that mix and then use it as a weapon against those who are agin liberalism? Then that’s your business.

                      The linked post is very much about a social liberal (nothing wrong with that) standing up and calling a spade a spade. I noticed the comments were messy, but also that it was written in the days before BREXIT (2016) , before the resurgence of social democracy off the back of the independence referendum (2014), before Corbyn (2015) and long before any Trump nonsense (2016)…in other words, at least a good year before the word and its meaning in relation to liberalism began to gather widespread use to the point of being ubiquitous across the English speaking world.

                      And as an aside, I noticed the author of the post reckoned “Fighting Liberal” was more catchy than “Fighting Social Democrat” – which is true.

                      As for Trotter and others pushing illiberal lines (is that what you’re saying?) – meh. As you’d have to say if your going to be consistent, only politicos read his stuff and they’d presumably see through him (being politicos and all).

            • weka 12.3.1.1.1.2

              “Specifically? Even though my comment is quite clearly a broad sweep?”

              Yes, because I wasn’t clear who you were referring to in NZ, given that the post was written by a NZer, most of the comments are by NZers, and NZ faces the same general issues.

              When you say,

              I admit to being amused by all the hand-wringing and teeth gnashing about the supposed state of the left from people who are no more left than fly or, to pin it somewhat, from those who accepted as ‘left’ the self promotion of various Labour Parties into positions of bit part player in a ghastly liberal realignment of politics and economics.

              why would I not assume you were talking about us all here as well? (well the ones inferred to be included, but we don’t really know).

              That paragraph is entirely accusatory btw, so I’m just following the tone.

              If you won’t be specific about the NZ situation, then we’re all left guessing who you are lobbing bombs at. I still don’t know. You appeared in your first comment to be talking about people that consider NZ Labour on the left of the spectrum, have voted for them, are members of that party, and probably the same for the GP too. Not naming individuals but implying them instead, but because we don’t know we can’t really discuss your ideas.

              For instance, I don’t know if you would consider Andrew Little as that faux left. I actually think that’s a pretty important distinction, given the nature of this site and that it’s an election year, and I can’t see how naming him one way or other would be setting up a gulag.

              • Bill

                My very first comment referenced “various Labour Parties”. That’s more than enough of a pointer to the fact I was talking in terms broader than just NZ.

                The NZ Labour Party are a liberal party (witness the past 30 years or so). Andrew Little has said that NZ Labour has always supported free trade.

                Make of it what you will. Support or don’t support them on that or whatever other front you might choose to accentuate.

                • weka

                  “Make of it what you will.”

                  Ok, I’ll now take it that you want all the Labour Party members and voters here to fuck off. Good to know. See my comment above about strategy.

                  • Bill

                    Do pull your head out of your arse weka.

                    Nowhere – absolutely nowhere – did I say or imply that “all the Labour Party members and voters” who are present around thestandard should fuck off.

                    What I said was that people can make up their own minds about who or what they want to support politically on the basis of what they know or choose to acknowledge.

                    • weka

                      You have said that liberals can fuck off, and you have just defined liberals as people who support Labour. Now you might be starting to get the gist of what I am on about. When you attack liberals you are talking about people in the same room as yourself, people who should be your natural allies. I think it’s a losing strategy, and the reason I’m being so bloody minded about it is that we don’t have time for this.

                    • Bill

                      Where did I define as adherents to liberalism those who support Labour? I didn’t do that. But feel free to provide the quote.

                      Fact is, many people who will vote for, who have voted Labour, don’t support liberalism.

                      Here’s a part of the problem. For 30 odd years in NZ, as far as the two main parties go, the choice has been to vote for a roll out of liberalism or vote for a roll out of liberalism. That doesn’t mean that voters support liberalism. It just means there’s been no other viable option at the ballot box.

  13. gsays 13

    great post and discussion in comments.

    i would ask, nowadays what is the left?

    ask 5 ‘lefties’ for 5 different answers.
    (stand back though, it will get heated.)

    is the priority social justice?
    is it personal sexual/gender politics?
    environment/climate issues?
    housing?
    employment?
    child poverty?
    inequality?

    it occurs to me we have a period of tory rule, the messes build up, (see list above),
    the electorate realises we can not continue in this vein, and votes in some socialists to clean the mess up.
    six years later we fancy a tax cut and the tory wrecking ball ism off again.

    as to where now for the left, baby steps.
    while you may disagree about a certain view from a fellow lefty, keep your powder dry, practice empathy, and think of all the other things (less important perhaps) that yoy have in common.

    • Bill 13.1

      It’s all of things gsays (and more) but with no constant priority.

      Maybe better to ask what the left isn’t or can’t be. I just did, and…

      It can’t be authoritarianism insofar as that strangles or cuts the oxygen to the most basic of leftist principles/ideals.

      And it can’t be individualism because that simply ignores the most basic of leftist principles/ideals.

      So if someone stands up and suggests that solid leftism can be served by putting them in charge, be very skeptical – they aren’t left. (The best any such person could offer would be a direction of travel.)

      And anyone going on about equal opportunities should also be treated with the greatest of skepticism…actually, probably utter disdain given the toxicity of the proposal.

      Anyway…

      • gsays 13.1.1

        forgive the ignorance/naiveity, is authoritarianism the ‘follow me i know what is good for you.’
        if so, then yes, stuff that.

        however if someone is asked to lead, surely that is a different position.

        we desperately need the rule of the wise, the philosopher king, a pure aristoicracy.
        unfortunately, i can’t see that happening shortly with everybody’s individual ‘needs’.

        • Bill 13.1.1.1

          Aren’t you and your peers wise enough, philosophical enough, knowledgeable enough or of adequate breeding stock (just trying to fit the ‘blue blood thing in here 😉 ) to care for one another’s needs in a context of social cohesion and overlap where everyone and their peers are doing the same?

          I’m thinking you might be selling yourself and them short.

          • gsays 13.1.1.1.1

            “Aren’t you and your peers wise enough, philosophical enough, knowledgeable enough or of adequate breeding stock (just trying to fit the ‘blue blood thing in here 😉 ) to care for one another’s needs in a context of social cohesion and overlap where everyone and their peers are doing the same? ”

            yes.
            i, however, am not seeking office.

            i believe the above paragraph of most people, its just greed and whatever else has happened in aotearoa, that make too many not care and vote tory.

  14. Siobhan 14

    ” the left fails when it lacks passion”…ell, I guess its inherently hard to be passionate about ‘friendly neoliberalism and free market economics”.
    And then anytime someone dares to lift their head above the parapet with any sort of passion..ie Bernie and Corbyn…they get promptly knee capped by the so called ‘Left’..

    And that includes here on the Standard.

    Why even Mickeysavage regularly calls the Socialists, and those proposing a fair and equal society, ‘Dreamers’

    • gsays 14.1

      hit it on the head siobhan.
      it constantly dismays me that the left saves the worst of it’s ire for it’s ‘own.’

      there never seems to be a lack of passion, eg, to criticise penny bright.

    • mickysavage 14.2

      “Why even Mickeysavage regularly calls the Socialists, and those proposing a fair and equal society, ‘Dreamers’”

      Citation please.

      • Adrian Thornton 14.2.1

        I will answer this if you don’t mind.

        Open mike 15/1/17

        after a little toing and froing between us, I said…

        “No, I put up the proposal that Labour stand for a fair and equal society for all New Zealanders, as their central platform, and their economic policies should reflect that position…you don’t like that?
        What is catastrophic is people like you, who don’t seem to understand that the centre left project is over…strange that you can’t seem see this obvious truth?”

        to which you responded..
        “Can you advise on one election where a radical left platform has worked?”
        my bolds.

        I think most impartial readers would agree, by inserting the phrase “radical left platform” that you implied that my position was unreasonable..thus by extension I could or should be considered a ‘dreamer’

        • mickysavage 14.2.1.1

          Your original comment in that post proposed a “fair Socialist democratic New Zealand”. Labour gave up socialism as a platform in the early 1930s.

          • Poission 14.2.1.1.1

            Indeed

            soft-spoken Savage personified Labour’s diluted socialism, or ‘applied Christianity’. As one historian said, Savage ‘smelt of the church bazaar, not at all of the barricades

            https://nzhistory.govt.nz/people/michael-joseph-savage-biography

            • Adrian Thornton 14.2.1.1.1.1

              I think that is a very unfair appraisal of Savage and his 1935-49 Labour government, it has been described as Keynesian, but looks a lot like Socialism from where I am sitting.
              Sure savage is flawed, and I or you, could easily critique him, but the fact remains, that best of what most kiwis still romanticize about ourselves as New Zealander’s, was created under that government, under Savage.

              Unlike most politicians since, his legacy is enduring, and made a real positive and substantive difference for all the citizens of the country, something which National will never do, and unfortunately Labour can’t do in any meaningful way while it’s policies are directed by it’s adherence free market economics.

          • Adrian Thornton 14.2.1.1.2

            Maybe for you.
            I am reading John A Lee’s ‘Socialism in New Zealand’ (1938) at the moment, seems there was quite a bit of Socialist power within in NZ Labour when that was written.

    • Ad 14.3

      That’s the spirit.
      Someone else’s fault.
      Election after election, continent after continent.

  15. Adrian Thornton 15

    Is this article some sort of joke? or is it a parody of fake news?

    1, Josh Bernstein fails to explain or maybe just ignores the fact that is was the very same”social democrats” who had ’embraced’ neoliberalism that set forth with a zealous passion rarely seen in modern western politics, and without mandate, to ram this hideous ideology down all our throats, all in a way the Right could only dream of, and probably hadn’t even thought of (in NZ anyway).

    2, Bernstein…’The reasons why? Bernstein is brutal in his analysis and says that incompetence is a major factor’ this coming from a guy writing for The Guardian!, the same Guardian that has, for the last 12 months constantly and unashamedly undermined and any legitimate left wing alternative to this fiasco, re Bernie sanders and Jeremy Corbyn.
    An example of The Guardians distaste for a Left wing alternative…
    https://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2016/jul/19/yes-jeremy-corbyn-has-suffered-a-bad-press-but-wheres-the-harm
    If Bernstein wants to start pointing the finger at a lack of cohesion and competence in the left, he should start with his own new paper, which completely dropped all pretense at journalistic impartiality by openly supporting Clinton, but only after relentlessly knee capping Sanders campaign.
    And is still actively attacking Corbyn today.

    3,Bernstein…’The neoliberal right has sold off assets and produced no discernible result apart from a decrease in government services’ …. what the fuck is he talking about, it was these same ‘social democrats’ ie Labour NZ that sold most of the major assets, here and in the UK.

    4.’But he is correct that the left fails when it lacks passion.’ What a joke, any time a real progressive socialist left alternative shows up…BAM instantly shut down in nearly all so called liberal media, why?, because they (most liberal media) are just as opposed to, and work to actively disable any real left progressive change, as do the pathetic ‘left’ parties of the west, that are nearly still neoliberal..including Labour NZ.

    What we need in NZ is a revolution in the Labour Party.
    A revolution that clearly defines a demarcation between what Labour has come to represent to most people since 1984…free market neoliberalism..and a new (old) Labour that is truly representative of the working, the poor and the disenfranchised of this country, a party who, when people think of it, instantly think of a party that fights for high minded social principles, equality and fairness for all New Zealander’s, and fights for these principles with the same uncompromising zealous passion that it once brought to free market neoliberalism….. then you would see some real passion from the citizens..yes sir you would.

  16. TIger Mountain 16

    there really are some prize wankers at work in the comments below my #1, I said adopt Joe Carolan’s platform in the by-election not join his group-Socialist Aotearoa

  17. Tanz 17

    Music to my ears. Music to my ears. The right, winning. A sign surely that people everywhere are fed up with being told not only of how to think, but what to think.

    • mickysavage 17.1

      You should read less Whaleoil. You will find that lefties love a good argument.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.2

      Really?

      It was National that was telling their voters to vote for Act.

      See, it’s actually you authoritarians that tell people how and what to think and when they don’t you burn them at the stake.

  18. Steve Alfreds 18

    In response to Adrian, that’s the problem, Labour needs to show it’s there to represent New Zealanders and not just a liberal elite. Unfortunately Poto Williams’ recent PR driven drama showed, she would rather spend three years in opposition on a cushy MP’s salary. But unfortunately a lot of Kiwi families are struggling and don’t want to spend another winter living in a car, let alone three years.

  19. Steve Alfreds 19

    All they need to do is repackage many of the same policies that worked for FDR and Savage and are based on full employment, decent wages and improved employment conditions for Kiwi workers. Throw in a greater for the government in the economy to smooth the business cycle and to regulate and call it Neo-Keynsian Economics. Obviously we couldn’t return to worst of 70s protectionism, but targeted support for key industries works. It just seems that some people in Labour have lost sight of improving things for everyone and have become stuck in the quagmire of identity politics which has been to the rights advantage.

  20. Steve Alfreds 20

    All they need to do is repackage many of the same policies that worked for FDR and Savage and are based on full employment, decent wages and improved employment conditions for Kiwi workers. Throw in a greater role for the government in the economy to smooth the business cycle and to regulate and call it Neo-Keynsian Economics. Obviously we couldn’t return to worst of 70s protectionism, but targeted support for key industries works. It just seems that some people in Labour have lost sight of improving things for everyone and have become stuck in the quagmire of identity politics which has been to the rights advantage.

  21. HDCAFriendlyTroll 21

    We can start by looking at a successful example of leftism and progressiveness, like for example, Venezuela. Oh wait. How about North Korea? Nope. Sweden? France? Um, perhaps last century. How about, um … somebody help me out here.

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