GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Mana 2.0 Rebooted



Internationally the news is that Evo Morales of Bolivia won big with Left Wing policies

But what are the chances that the Left will make a resurgence in this country?

As the internecine struggles between the Left and the Right continue to relentlessly rage inside the Labour Party just as they have for the past year. The recent defeat of Internet/Mana in the elections, is held up as a proof by the Right that adopting Left wing policies is not a winning strategy. And that Labour need to move more to the Right and away from Left Wing policies and strategies.

A recent history:
Hone Harawira has been universally criticised by both the Left and Right for seeking the backing of internet billionaire, Kim Dotcom, who had been the victim of illegal armed state persecution and spying by the New Zealand authorities and is currently facing extradition hearings seeking custody to place him into the hands of the NSA for trial in the US for alleged copy right infringement.

The accepted wisdom, (of Both Left and Right), is that Harawira’s strategic alliance with Dotcom is the reason that Internet/Mana experiment failed.

Harawira with the traction he hoped to gain with the backing of Dotcom was trying to raise many of the issues and practical solutions to poverty and inequality championed by Evo Morales in Bolivia.

In my opinion Internet/Mana alliance did not fail because of the above reason it failed because it gave the system a big fright and they reacted as such.

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The reason that Internet/Mana did not get the chance (this time), to raise the sorts of ideas and programs promoted by Evo Morales in Bolivia, in our parliament; Is that in New Zealand, the whole political establishment, every established political party, whether electronic, or printed, plus every official media outlet and franchise, and every single commentator and alleged expert, and every single vested interest and government bureaucrat of the combined body politic all united together against the common enemy as if in one body. Thet responded to the challenge of Internet/Mana with an extreme auto immune response. Not unlike the extreme allergic reaction that the human body has to the introduction of a dangerous virus.

Just like a virus Internet/Mana may have been small but it was seen as a threat to the way the whole system operates.
As Hone said at the beginning of the campaign;

“We are trying to bring change to a system that resists change.”

Just as predicted they resisted it with a fury.

But this resistance may not last.

A lot may depend on the outcome of the struggle going on inside the Labour Party.

The Right Wing inside the Labour Party were the spearhead of the establishment’s campaign to isolate and destroy Internet/Mana. Ultimately to their dismay Labour found that far from being a winner, this Right sectarian strategy cost Labour the election.

Obviously this Right Wing outcome resulting from Labour’s Right Wing strategies and polices did not go down well with the Labour Party membership.

If in the event the Right are defeated inside the Labour Party, the ideas that Internet Mana and Hone Harawira personally gave voice too, will gain currency, and a major road block preventing the wider Left cohesively working together to remove the Nats from office may gain the traction and acceptance that has so far been missing on the Left, and the Morales type ideas and programs will be raised in this country for the first time since the1930s.

Already the remaining Left Wing contender for the leadership of the Labour Party Andrew Little is talking about a broad campaign against the government’s attack on work rights.

Such a campaign can not be fought, just by the Labour Party, to succeed it will need the support and participation of the Greens and Mana. This will particularly important for any supporting extraparliamentary protests or rallies.

What ever happens inside the Labour Party or out in society, on the eve of war and massive economic upheaval and climatic distress, Business As Usual is not an option.


PAT O’DEA is the Mana Movement spokesperson for climate change and a long time social justice activist and trade unionist.



  1. Since coming to Government National has implemented some of Labour’s policies e.g. free doctors visits up to 13 years old. The rationale for this is not to take National left but shore up its occupation of the middle ground, without which under MMP elections cannot be won.

  2. You forgot the influence of the evil US Empire Pat. It has a very insidious but real impact on the politics of every nation even Bolivia given half the chance. Wait and see what happens there soon.

  3. From what I know of Mana Movement it is 99.9% volunteer based and now likely 100%. So it can continue doing what it does at community level. The establishment was agin Internet Mana alright, and a strong Mana is necessary for future struggles incorporating left cadres as it does. The KDC experiment was a one off for the 2014 election and it is time to “move on”.

    One thing lacking for the left forces is an up to date Class Analysis of NZ society. Who does and owns what and how many of them are there.
    This could incorporate psychological memes such as “last place aversion” that see the employed crapping on unemployed and not actively supporting minimum wage rises. The role of racism in retarding solidarity etc.

    Is New Zealand really made up of 48% selfish, aspirational Key Lovers, some 1%er moneybags and 51% losers and benefit scroungers? Because that is the way it is spun. Cashed up tradies and rural Helensville block dwellers are joined by higher paid workers that will que up to buy state houses for renters.

    The old marxist question–does one’s social being determine your thinking or vice versa.

  4. “Every established political party etc …. all united together against the common enemy as if in one body.”

    The Greens didn’t attack IMP during the election – even when Laila Hairre ditched the Greens only months after joining and being privy to its campaign strategy – over and above campaigning in the normal way of promoting one’s own’s policies during an election. And really, the two parties’ policies were extremely similar.

    I make this point because the Greens are often lazily lumped in with other parties and their policies/behaviour in political commentaries.

    Personally, I voted Green but supported IMP’s existence and would have liked to see them do well as well.

  5. So are you blaming the people then, Pat? If I wanted to support Mana’s policies, but didn’t vote for Mana because I saw what would happen with DotComs money and influence in the mix (did you not hear him speak about his internet party plans? Were they not incompatible with Mana’s?), but the Mana reps didn’t or ignored the obvious, who was wrong? You, me, or both? I have no doubt that if I were Hone, I would be grabbing at any opportunity to right the wrongs he sees everyday, has seen everyday since forever. But I have an alternative perspective as a voter. I see the tendencies of the kind of money Dotcom offered destroying any short term gains. We don’t need another business party.

    The problem with the left is they seem to think that, if they’re “poor”, then everyone wants to be middle class. I really couldn’t give a fuck what middle NZ wants for me. I don’t want their life. I want a life where the girl down the road doesn’t have to come begging to me using the language of defeat the way she did. Fuckssake, I have nothing to give (I’m broke most days) and we’re divided by fear and the always hovering goddamn class-consciousness-meets-street-life.

    Hone isn’t in my hood feeding the kids, no one is, and I’m fucked if I know how to start. But I look to groups like Mana to show me how and if all they have is telling me I should suck up to the bastard attitudes (hack a german corp then sell your crime to the government – if he can do it… anyone can! One size fits all! Sound familiar? Are you people STUPID?!) then who needs Mana?

    Let go of Labour and give the people Mana. Show them a way to a life where this nightmare of of the past thirty years doesn’t continue – and it’s been happening much longer for the people Hone directly represents – and more importantly, where we don’t go round thinking of ourselves as Lumpen/proletariat, Bourgeois, upper middle or anything else. Fuck class structure.

  6. as I turn on CNN, I see fear in ‘the markets’ being down; a Steve Keene piece on their website, I see the Golden boy Fonterra looking a bit sick; I see a disillusioned and disinterested electorate; already I see various folks unwilling to admit they voted for National and for trying to kick the can down the road (somebody must have – like maybe the trady that’s about to get his last job painting the house, or the owner driver courier who just delivered a passport).
    It reminds me a little of the post-Muldoon era when I couldn’t find a single person amongst friends and family that voted for the prick – some of them must have!
    I hope the bugger’s muddle that is post-neoliberal Labour is poised to clean up the mess. I’m not sure they’re up to it though. After 30 years of this shite we’ve had a press (can’t really call them a 4th Estate anymore), a public service, and a fair few other ‘institutions’ that seek to justify their borderline fascist leanings by prefixing the term ‘right’ with the word ‘centre dash’ .
    Thankfully I will probably/hopefully not be here to witness it all. I’m not sure how NZ (by any measure) continues to claim 1st World status. I will be taking my chances in the 3rd.
    Kiwis are innovative (#8 wire and al that): NO – not anymore.
    Kiwis are ‘fair minded’: NO not anymore. The Aussies claim the same as do many others.
    Kiwis love democracy: NO not anymore. Whilst others lay their lives on the line for it, a good many here can’t even be stuffed to vote, and EVEN when they do, they’re confronted with politicians that don’t even respect hard-fought-for wins (OIA for example, but also basic Welfare State principles)

    I could go on …. but. Yea Nah

  7. Internet Mana 2.0 is a most relevant strategic option.

    The trends that could be observed during the last elections in NZ can be detected in an international context, too, and by taking up such perspective, one may realize that similar developments are shaping politics across the globe, especially in industrialized or industrializing counties with representational parliamentary systems (exceptionally, South America still being a bit out of pace with the rest of the world).

    Enforced by the overpowering influence of public media, coupled with diversions trough event staging and organized distractions, and through false or misleading advertisements by political promoters in the political economy, the basic parameter of the representational voting system “one person – one vote” no longer stands to accommodate the balancing of factual socio-economic needs, and diverging or conflicting interests in the society.

    In a one-sided communication process dumped upon the ordinary individual he or she escapes extracted as the final consumer only. As such remaining market corpse (‘the living dead’ might be a suitable analogy), the ultimately reduced participant in the process of capitalist accumulation can hardly afford capacity for making strategic decisions in the best interest of the society as a whole, or even for the individual’s own medium- or long-term benefit.

    Lessons Learnt from NZ 2014 are:
    1. Most important questions for the future of NZ’s socio-economic independence and the country’s natural environment are not resonating with the majority of the voting population despite verifiable evidence – accessible to nearly everyone – that would require urgent remedial action.
    2. The present selection of parliamentary parties (and some of their representatives) is insufficiently capable to deliver the genuine and material political issues and challenges into the intellectual rationalization process of the voting individuals, both in urban and rural areas.
    3. Extra-parliamentary resistance and resilience by NGOs in NZ is facing deterioration up to the point of insignificance or triviality.
    4. Additionally, a proper analytical discourse of NZ politics is often blurred and disguised through a mockery of right wing vs left wing antagonisms.

    A strategic response to the outcome of the NZ 2014 election would have to find answers to the two most important questions:
    • How can the intellectual debate over the Political Economy of NZ be fostered, developed and further organized with a focus on a society embracing “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” for all?, and
    • Which organizational platforms should the civil society in NZ encourage and cultivate to involve the segregated, disadvantaged and marginalized as equivalent stakeholders, eventually becoming a political mass movement?

    From this viewpoint the Internet Mana Party 2.0 is the strategically most advanced and yet inconclusively radical opportunity offered to the NZ electorate, as it touches essential intellectual, socio-economic, technological and cultural challenges not taken up by any other organization in the country.

    It is hoped that this far-reaching transformation does not fade away because of the disappointing election result in 2014. Knowingly (or perhaps unknowingly) the NZ public is looking forward to continued strategic discussion and tangible action, within IMP and others, especially the Greens.

  8. It seems to me that the concerted attack on IMP had multiple anxious sources – among them, the fear of being seen to be giving the finger to the US by supporting KDC, fear on the right of the LP that IMP’s presence would strengthen the left flank, and National’s fear that IMP would push the other lot over the line – they turned on Peters in 2008 for the same reason. Hone and KDC took a calculated risk in uniting, but did not foresee the depth of the panic this would evoke.

    We should remember that 45% of voters did vote for change – that is no small number. However, we on the left still have to find or create a bargaining position for ourselves if we are to have any real impact – at present only the business class is able to exert meaningful political pressure. To this end I think that Mana has the right idea in building active support from the grass roots up. What they are doing needs to become more widespread – a pan-left exercise.

    • I agree with Olwyn about the fear and panic that IMP caused. However I think it was the tie up with KDC who cause the panic (from Labour and Greeens not just National) as could attract middle NZ, the business class and the youth vote and is a media magnet. KDC was the only one who stood up to John Key publicly and was winning the public over. Yes it did cost a seat in parliament when the smear campaign kicked in, but I think the tie up was well worth it for the calculated risk and reward it should have bought. It was Labour and Greens that took IMP down not National. I hope IMP keep the partnership with KDC – he is still a symbol of someone being persecuted and not some down in the dumps type but a foreign millionaire with the type of persecution that one might expect in a corrupt country…. Grass roots is fine but to combine that with money and fame – it could get a lot of votes. 2014 was a test run, learn and rerun. But use real evidence of the success and failures of IMP not the MSM discourses carefully spread for a new strategy. IMP need to fight fire with fire by getting counter discourses out there straight away and having alternate media routes like town halls and Internet streaming which they used last time that worked but not enough.

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