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Whatever it takes.

By   /  January 2, 2014  /  13 Comments

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So the crunch year has now arrived – the year where we must ensure the demise of the National led government. All else must be secondary to this.

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So the crunch year has now arrived – the year where we must ensure the demise of the National led government. All else must be secondary to this.

This means that all who are working to ensure this are on the same side. While there will be, and clearly are, ideological, philosophical and methodological differences between political parties, politicians, commentators, and bloggers, this must not result in sideshows that distract attention from the prime goal.

QOT writing in The Standard ‘It’s 2014 and we have a job to do’ expresses this very well.

 ‘We’re all in this together, guys.  We’re all aiming for the same thing.  We all want that better New Zealand and that strong leftwing government.  And you know what, we’re here on the left because we’re fighting in the same war: the war against the powerful elites standing on our necks.’

 Yes indeed.

The adage ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ is very applicable. As I’ve followed, with increasing despair, the recent online wars between people whom by this adage should be considered ‘friends,’ I’ve found myself wondering if I really want to be even a very minor part of this blog. Would my limited energies be better spent working in other ways to change the government? Something I will be considering.

I shouldn’t need to explain why the present regime must not be re-elected. Anyone who has a modicum of awareness should be au fait with this. Ensuring the election of a centre left government is the absolute bare minimum (I’d prefer a much more left wing government) in order to stop the destruction of New Zealand that we’ve seen over the last few years. Three more years of populist and vacuous smile and shrug policies that feed increasingly more of our country to overseas interests will be disastrous for this country.

History suggests that should a National led government be re-elected, it will likely be their last term, and therefore they have nothing to lose by unleashing the full force of their neoliberal policies. The further National moves in this direction, the harder it will be for the following government to undo things – the sale of state owned assets being one example, as will be any opening up of the conservation estate to mining.

Abbot’s move in Australia to change the hard won heritage status of Tasmanian forests shows what we could possibly expect here. After all, Abbott is working for the same behind the scenes string pullers as are Key in New Zealand, Cameron in the UK, and Harper in Canada, all clearly produced from the same mould.

But the election of a more socially democratic government is only the start. The issues facing this country are far greater than that, and way beyond the tired left/right wing political ideologies. In the end both corporate capitalism and state capitalism will fail, and for the same reasons.

The countries of the world can not keep on with the same economic, social and environmental policies. The goal of solving economic problems through continual growth is unsustainable. The bubble must burst. Exponential growth forever is impossible – the finite limit of resources being a major limiting factor. Energy is another immediate problem, as we move into or past peak oil. Running concurrently with that is climate change and the increase in global temperatures, even if this is kept to a fraction of a degree per year. In the end, that makes no difference. We just cannot drill, dig and intensively farm our way into the future. Basing our future on that is a fools errand, just postponing the inevitable and handing the problem on to our grand children. We can’t put this in the ‘too hard’ basket and just keep on turning the treadmill faster and faster until it breaks, hoping that we won’t be around when this happens.

If you’ve never watched this video of Professor Al Bartlett  “Arithmetic, Populations and Energy” then you must.

“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function”

It’s not exciting, nor full of Jacksonian style special effects, its just a lecture, but the content should cause you to reflect on the blinkered vision of our politicians and especially the pronouncements of economists. As Bartlett makes so clear through his explanation of exponential mathematics, planning for a future based on continual growth is a nonsense.  Want to know why Auckland has an unsolvable housing problem? You’ll understand after watching this video.

The time has come when a new economic paradigm must take over from the present growth at all costs ideologies.

Sustainable economics must become the focus; there is no other option. If you’d like an example, check out Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability.

 “We take it as given that sustainability must benefit everyone in a society, rather than merely those who are financially or otherwise privileged. We consider a society to be sustainable if it can expect to survive for several hundreds of years without being forced to change because it is currently destroying or undermining something on which its survival crucially depends.”

 We can’t expect right wing politicians to appreciate this as their imperatives are driven by unrestrained capitalism, very well explained in this blog posting:

Adam Smith and the Left and Right of Moral Sentiment – A Christmas Tale.

 “I think it says something about the changes in New Zealand society over the last 30 years that the Right’s rhetorical emphasis on ‘self-command’ has come to dominate political debate. To advocate, at the political level, for compassion or humanity is now seen as a thinly disguised appeal to ‘envy’ or ‘entitlement’. To suggest that the “exquisite” and refined sentiment of humanity should govern our collective political decision making is seen, at best, as naive.”

 This year must be the year we reclaim this country for all its citizens, and take it away from the corporate elite and their lackeys who want to increase their profit streams at the cost of our people,  our environment, our country and our planet.

If this means that the leftish parties have to play the same ‘cup of tea’ arrangements to ensure that they get a better foothold in parliament, so be it. There’s no point bemoaning any deal that Key pulls with Colin Craig, Peter Dunne, and whoever represents the ACT party, in order to get re-elected.

If you can’t ‘beat ‘em, join ‘em’ and play by the same rules. Labour and Mana doing deals over targeted Maori electorates? Why not? Plan strategically with the prime goal in mind and set petty politics and personality attacks aside.

We must do whatever it takes.

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13 Comments

  1. Aaron says:

    Good Call Allan,

    I woke up thinking about this issue this morning. Ten years ago I used to enjoy finger pointing and slamming people in flame wars online but I’ve learned since then that that behaviour was a symptom of my own dysfunction.

    Every single one of us has been born into a very dysfunctional culture and while the general selfishness of the right is readily apparent to us we need to recognise that we didn’t escape unscathed from a childhood of being raised in a culture so demented that it’s destroying the only planet we’ve got.

    I’m seemed to use my entire twenties and a lot of my thirties venting a lot of anger and frustration – and I’m not talking anything exceptional, it’s the same stuff I see all around here.

    The other thing I can see looking back, is how incredibly off-putting that is to other people. A witty cartoon poking fun at the government is all good but as soon as things get a bit malicious (as happens often) we’ve ruined our ability to connect with people – why do you think John Key keeps smiling all the time?

    It’s a PR war out there and while feeling angry about what’s happening to this country at the moment is perfectly natural we need to recognise that spraying that anger around the place plays directly into the hands of those on the right who will (very calmly) point out the latest round of left-wing infighting.

    Like a good sportsperson we need to be disciplined enought to take that anger and channel it into effective action.

  2. Countryboy says:

    The most important financial strategy for any opposition to jonky so as to oust the bastard is to court the favours of the agricultural sector , our main export earning ‘ industry ‘ . Take away the farmer and you cut jonky off at the knees .
    Rich urban elitists have hijacked that cash flow after manipulating the farmer into believing the few , Blue , good old boy politicians are there in Auckland Land were acting in the farmers best interests . An excellent example of such skulduggery is little billy english . Western Southland Farmer and traitor .
    Further more , I don’t think the general population in New Zealand have much of a concept left of a political Right versus Left anymore . People remember when Labour committed those terrible acts of treachery back in the 1980’s .
    Were the 800,000 people who didn’t vote last election more angry and ‘fed up’ perhaps than simply not bothered ?
    Did they have a viable opposition to jonky in shearer to vote for ? The answer to my own question is no . They did not .
    This year however … This year is going to be interesting .
    The most important political strategy …
    There are many , many pissed off sheep and beef cattle farmers out there feeling as though they’ve been abandoned by jonky for the cowsploitative nature of farmland-production-line industrialization . An extremely dangerous concept to follow I might add because just one decent bought of foot and mouth and there goes the ability to service all that debt jonky and his mates sold us for to our off shore masters .
    It’s my humble view that if we are to purge jonky from our lives the politicians who could achieve that on our behalf must keep it simple so as to engage the confused , the dissatisfied and frankly the dumbed down , untrained thinkers . The numbers needed to send jonky packing are there , in there . In the hearts and minds of the Great Unwashed . The Masses . The common Man . ( And of course woman x )

    • Francis says:

      “Did they have a viable opposition to jonky in shearer to vote for?”

      Just a small correction: Phil Goff was the leader of the Labour Party leading into the 2011 election. Having said that, he was quite supportive in the 1980s of Rogernomics policies, so I’m sure having that memory hanging over the heads of voters did not help at all…

      • Ovicula says:

        The fact that Goff, Mallard, Jones, and most of the caucus have never publicly dissociated themselves from Rogernomics, but continue to propose policies from the ACT manual certainly is not helping. Jones with mining and slave labour, Goff and Parker with a few more years before pension eligibility, their masochistic desires for the TPPA, the bludger painting his roof………

        We do have a viable opposition in Mana and the Greens, but these two are still small and rely on a high Labour vote to get in a position where they can do anything. It’s a weird situation, relying on NAct lite, which has organic roots in the working class, to get enough votes that the two parties to the left of them, which do not have these roots, can do something for the working class. It’s so weird that I am even wondering whether we can trust Winston First more than we can trust Labour.

  3. Stuart Munro says:

    You will have a struggle until you parse your definitions of growth – and so you should.

    We want growth in prosperity, in quality of life, in some kinds of efficiency. We want growth in light-handed and sustainable technologies. We want growth in diversity to create an experiencially richer and more robust society.

    We don’t want technical growth which benefits only bankers and impoverishes everyone else. We don’t want growth in gross commodity consumption. We don’t want population growth without commensurate growth in infrastructure and social services.

    Lumping the two together is fatal. But we do still need to grow and progress.

  4. Iris says:

    If Labour and Mana don’t get together over a cup of Kava over the marginal Maori seats, then the election will move from a possible landslide to a narrow margin. I hope their strategists understand the stakes.

  5. ““The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function”” aint that the truth !

    When I first wrote …”If there is one thing John Key is counting on – it’s YOU not voting.” …it was after realising that there is more of us than them ! It is a cliché now but the 1% and those that sycophantically enable them are so small in number.
    That’s why we need to do two major projects this coming year ,
    1) fight at every opportunity to stop the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.
    2) get as many people as you can to turn out to vote ,be it in person or by mail.
    Turn out will always remove right wing party’s from power and the more extreme right wing they are the greater turn out will go against them.
    Right wing party’s are rarely behind “get out and vote” drives and for a reason.

    The graphic at the top of this article (with the “If there is one thing John Key is counting on – it’s YOU not voting.”) should be printed out and displayed everywhere …the rear window of your car is a good place to add a little political comment.

  6. Marc says:

    Yes, I can almost fully agree with the spirit and intentions of this post. Indeed, it is a year of highest importance to all who want to bring about the needed change in the political, social and economical landscape of this country.

    To achieve this, we need INFORMED voters, and that means the TRUTH must be presented, spread, explained to all who may struggle to comprehend it, and this necessitates the use of social and other media. I fear that the biggest hurdle for a left of centre opposition is the fact that the “mainstream media” (MSM) are largely not inclined to give Labour, Greens, Mana or others much “air” or “print” space. Broadcast media has just seen new appointments to jobs in radio and television, where well known right of centre moderators, presenters and other types of “journalistic” professionals have obtained jobs in crucial roles.

    Paul Henry will present a late show on TV3, Guyon Espiner will join Morning Report on National Radio, there are similar new appointments on Radio Live and I suppose on TVNZ programs.

    We are already constantly being inundated by dumbing down infotainment, by endless, aggressive commercials, by one sided host comments on talk back radio and silly TV shows. Actual news are still shown on the main channels, but the emphasis is mostly rather “unpolitical”, more about retail spending, bank interest rates, house prices, other economic data, misleading unemployment and other figures. The rest is made up of traffic accidents, crime news, celebrity scandal or gossip news, VIPs having accidents, and lots of sports, lifestyle and weather.

    Now to get the message across, it seems the MSM will be a poor bet, so there remains to be social media, but only so many bother reading blogs and other sites, to gather alternative information.

    I suggest to use social media as much as possible though, also to have the parties and their candidates hit the streets in all cities, towns and rural centres, to hold meetings (like Winston did to prepare for his “comeback”). Talk to people, listen to people, discuss with them, have members and supporters to the same, network, inform, alert, perhaps stage some special events and marches in public places.

    What is crucial is to get the true information out, that the economic good news is largely based on the Christchurch and Canterbury rebuild, on some belated residential construction going on in Auckland, that the exports are based on growth in low value added milk powder, baby formula, raw logs, raw fish and fruits, for overseas destinations to process them there.

    New Zealand is “growing” largely due to construction activity taking off, and that, like the present export boom to Mainland China will NOT LAST, and that the local economy must be developed in a more diversified and qualitative manner, also of course sustainably, to prepare for the future. People must be told this, made to get the message, and they must learn that the MSM do not properly inform them.

    It will be self defeating, trying to work with the MSM, to please the cunning “journos” like that Pat Gower, who are only out for one liner items to rip the crap out of candidates. Use alternative means of communication, networking, get the unions out to do their bit in full force, and give the government the full frontal attack, based on true figures and data, that must convince.

    If it needs to be, show how other countries, like in Scandinavia, have succeeded in applying smarter, more inclusive and constructive policies. It must be done, and it can be done, the year has just started, and the whole truth must be exposed, about this shallow, dishonest, manipulative, mean spirited government, that looks after a few top percentages, and tries to entice the middle class, to believe that this is the only way, that the “tricle down” will happen this time (a fairytale which never happened before), and keep the country “growing”.

    We must wake up many people, as I fear, too many are simply sleep walking and fooling themselves, that all is fine, which it is not. New Zealand as it is now, is ill prepared for the future. The change must happen this year, or it can lead to a rather rude awakening in the coming few years, that will make many regret they decision they could have made 2014. Let us do our best and share the info, knowledge and our mission for a truly better future.

  7. Lovely Loretta says:

    Go watch the movie “The Spirit of ’45” I highly recommend it for anyone that even has the slightest interest in politics! It was gobsmacking at the way history repeats itself and where we are now within that cycle and also what we need to do to escape this neoliberalism bullshit!

  8. fambo says:

    I don’t think the centre left parties will be able to win over many of the 40 percenters so one of the key parts of their campaign strategy will need to be to get the non voters to vote. These people are more likely to vote Labour etc. Hard work but essential.

  9. Win says:

    Labour need to wake up then! Good communication would help heaps.

  10. Draco T Bastard says:

    The further National moves in this direction, the harder it will be for the following government to undo things

    Actually, I think it will be easier because more people will be both pissed off with this government and worse off because of their policies.

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