The last days before a NZ general election are a busy time as politicians make their pitch and party activists prepare to get out the vote.
It is sort of weird watching from the distance of Europe the strangest election campaign in living memory.
But stripped of the sideshows, what is being played out in NZ is a local political fight for rights and democracy.
These fights are global but it is piece by piece in local communities that these rights are fought and won.
The tragedy of modern day NZ is that with 4 and a bit million people it is small enough for people to have a real say over political decision making and to control their destiny. But too many people have been numbed and dumbed by consumerism and corporate controlled entertainment and by news and politics that makes an art of avoiding the real issues of economic, social and environmental importance.
At the risk of oversimplification the NZ election can be seen in the context of the struggle for universal human rights against the more exclusive demands for property and investor rights. Universal human rights as defined over time in the various instruments of the UN include the rights to food, shelter, education and healthcare. They are collective rights in their applicability and also include the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
The OECD, IMF, WTO and other institutions of the dominant world economic system uphold the supremacy of individual rights such as investor rights that maintain privilege, over the collective rights that should guarantee that we can all live in dignity.
Increasingly people feel disconnected, even alienated, from institutions in democracies that conform to the financialised world economic order. Our fight is also against alienation and apathy. It is to convince citizens that real change is possible and to integrate more people into the political process.
The NZ election is not the only important ballot this week.
The people of Scotland are deciding if they wish to gain full independence and this ballot is hugely significant whatever the outcome. This is not a nationalist ballot driven by xenophobia or race hatred. The Scots are among the most tolerant people in the world. The independence vote is driven by a desire for greater democracy and a desire to break from a corrupt financialised state driven by corporate greed and self-serving institutions dedicated to inequality and the erosion of public services.
On Saturday New Zealanders also have an opportunity to vote for a much more independent nation
The corrupt autocratic regimes in many parts of the world suppress human rights and protect local and corporate vested interests to obstruct the democratic will of the people. Corrupt autocratic rulers propped up by the West or barbaric jihadists? There is another option!
The NZ election is the local manifestation of the global fight against all that is contributing to militarism and massive inequality.
- There is espionage by the Government on its own people (GSCB)
- There is a massive investor push to prevent democracies from legislating to promote and protect the interests of its citizens (TPPA)
- There are vested interests who define sustainability as sustainability of the current economic system (Climate change deniers and those who advocate capitalist methods to mitigate climate change)
Furthermore, it is not in the interests of those in power for citizens to have the information that would allow them to consider alternative policies. The trivialisation of politics and the politics of scandal is a deliberate anti-democratic strategy. In this the Left in NZ is prone to fall into carefully set traps.
Point scoring and name calling is not just an affliction of the Right. If we want people to be treated with dignity and respect we should show consistent leadership in this.
The election on Saturday is just a marker in the ongoing fight for economic and social justice. Do not let the result get you too up or too down. Take a small nap and start again.
I have voted- I hope you will too- and spend some time on Saturday getting out the vote
Get involved in local fights for social justice.
Stand up for your rights.
These are the struggles of peoples everywhere.