Crisis in the NZ Left

By   /   August 1, 2017  /   12 Comments

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The abysmal polling of Labour at the weekend, barely clearing 26% of the vote, followed today by the resignation of Andrew Little as leader, shows a party in terminal decline.

The abysmal polling of Labour at the weekend, barely clearing 26% of the vote, followed today by the resignation of Andrew Little as leader, shows a party in terminal decline.

The caucus has no discipline, the factions plot against each other, and non entity after non entity gets thrust before the poison chalice of “leadership”.

Vacuous rebrandings, cautious timidity, and a lack of boots on the ground for the issues that are crucifying working people, make toast of the “Fresh Approach” (TM) that is stale as last months bread.

The focus group that decided on the latest rebrand must have been well aware that Approach drips of caution, but we dont need caution- we need a head long attack, a War on Poverty, not on the poor.

Abroad, the Left rises in many countries, not only inspired by dedicated veteran leadership, but also by substance- by a rediscovery of Socialist politics. It has become crystal clear that the NZ Labour Party is in terminal crisis, and those who thought it was a reformable vehicle that could be won back to some golden age social democratic mission see nothing but smoking ruins. Now more than ever, we need a Socialist alternative in Aotearoa- one that fights the evictions, holds the picket lines, and begins the hard work of building a real left alternative in each local community.

Join us for a Socialist Forum on the Crisis in the NZ Left this Thursday 7pm at Unite Union, 6a Western Springs Road, Morningside.

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About the author

Joe Carolan

Unite Union campaigner

Joe Carolan, Unite Union campaigner, Socialist activist.

12 Comments

  1. Richard Christie says:

    It’s amazing that people continue to cling to the corpse.

  2. savenz says:

    Labour in decline and dead was a popular headline at the beginning of the year. Under Little, Labour and Greens signed the MoU and together started to be in position to beat National especially with the collaboration in Northland that bet a safe National seat.

    There was going to be a change of government so they dirty politics in the National machine started churning to disrupt the alliances.

    They have punched a big blow in their harassment of Andrew Little, leading to his resignation.

    Labour Party dead, back in the headlines.

    Wonder who this is helping the most? Yep, National wins again.

    Time for the left whether central, soft or far left, to say, enough is enough and whip National’s arses with their own dirty politics through voting them out.

  3. Michal says:

    Yes clinging to the corpse is so true. Madness to resign in my view, all those billboards and publicity… feel sorry for the members who will be called on to give out more dosh.

  4. Michal says:

    Sorry I and the main man are not there for Thursday nights forum. No longer living in Auckland. Too many neo liberals still in the party and people that truly are interested in their own rise in power rather than the interests of the party.

  5. HC says:

    Sorry Joe, I think the vast majority of voters will not opt for full blown socialism here, you are dreaming.

    Re Labour you are to a fair degree right, they are in crisis.

    But what we may get is a New Zealand version of a Justin Trudeau kind of politician, and in these days, anything is possible. We may get Labour regaining support, not so much from truly progressives, but rather from female former National voters, and some younger ones, who go for the positive image, smiles and charm, rather than hard or naked policy.

    Those that really want change have two options, or rather one, if they are progressives. Vote Greens and boost their votes to get 20 plus percent in late September, or for others, vote TOP to get them into Parliament at least.

  6. Dspare says:

    Speaking of; “a party in terminal decline”, this is a real kick in the teeth for Harawira’s chances in Te Tai Tokerau.

    Against; Kelvin the backbencher, he would have had a decent chance at getting his seat back. Versus Deputy Leader Davis, not so much.

    Which is another nail in the coffin for the resurrection of MANA – a party that was once; “a Socialist alternative in Aotearoa- one that fights the evictions, [and] holds the picket lines”. Carolan himself was in the middle of the IMP party list last election, I don’t know about this time.

  7. Nick Morris says:

    Hey. There aren’t enough “Working People” for the Left to be all about working people any more. That’s why the term “Left” has slowly widened.

    Those who hanker after the Good Old Days will never be able to devise some good new days. days that can be better than the “Good Old Days” ever were.

    We just have to have the existential liberty to look to the unprecedented particularities of today, today’s challenges, and today’s opportunities.

    • Michal says:

      Nick what do you really mean: still plenty of cleaners, road sweepers, those in hospitality, those working for the minimum wage.

      About 50% of Aucklanders earn less than $26,000 these are people on benefits and low incomes. Imagine you and your partner both on these salaries with kids, it is pathetic that this is deemed okay to raise a family on. But then we are prepared to handout corporate welfare which in a way it is, employers are allowed to pay low wages to employees who then have their incomes topped up by the state/taxpayers. It ain’t on.

  8. Kim dandy says:

    …maybe it was all planned this way – sneaky move?

  9. mosa says:

    The closet thing we have to a true socialist alternative the Alliance is in political obscurity.

    Otherwise its the Greens i guess.

    • Danyl Strype says:

      The Alliance ceased to exist a long time ago. The tattered remains struggled on for another couple of elections, but without their original purpose (uniting to take seats of Labour and National in FPP electorate races), they failed to attract any new supporters. At the last Alliance gathering I went along to (about 10 years ago), I was one of the only three people there under 50.

      The party ended as an effective political force when it cracked under the strain of governing with Clark’s centre-right Labour party. The various factions that formed the Alliance either:
      * left with the Greens
      * returned to Labour (Jim Anderton’s lot)
      * went over to NZ First
      * campaigned for various Māori parties (eg Mana Māori), then helped form the Māori Party and/ or Mana

  10. Danyl Strype says:

    I think part of the problem is that we have got used to expecting political parties to fix everything for us. At best, political parties are the head of the arrow. They need social movements to provide the weight and balance that allows them hit and pierce the intended target.

    Under Rod and Jeanette, the Greens used to emphasize that they were merely the parliamentary wing of a much broader green movement. Prior to the 1980s, Labour used to understand themselves as the parliamentary wing of a much broader labour movement. Would be interesting to examine what social movements (if any) NZ First has seen themselves as the parliamentary wing of.

    We need to come up with our own solutions and build the alliances necessary to implement them, with allied political parties doing their best to keep the state from obstructing us, and where possible, to redeploy some public resources to help us bootstrap our constructive efforts. Modern comms technology gives us the means to organise for our own needs more easily than ever before. The left needs to have some serious discussions about breaking its dependence on using corporate (social) media to educate, agitate, and organise, and expecting that electing the right political party (or combo of) will magically turn everything around.