Thursday, 25 September 2014

Labour too far to the Left - yeah Right.

My reply to a piece on the Daily Blog 

There’s a lot of moaning from the MSM about being blamed for the election outcome. With a few exceptions, they deserve the slaps but, while they played an important role – we can’t avoid the fact that some members of Labour’s caucus shot Cunliffe in both feet, engaged in a lot of lazy running themselves, and are now blaming him for Labour losing the race.

You could be forgiven for thinking that they threw the election so they could sacrifice him and get back to business as usual – turning the LP into a NZ version of the US Democratic party.

We have a poorly unionised workforce in an increasingly low wage economy that rests on a narrow and precarious base of extractive industry and cash crop agriculture, viticulture and horticulture. A lot of people are doing very nicely – able to afford to live the individualised, digitised lives of Bill Gates’ asocial vision – a lot of others are struggling to stay afloat and some are drowning.

Traditional working class jobs haven’t disappeared from the planet, they’ve been moved to places where the costs of production are lower, i.e. lower wages and conditions, poor H&S and environment controls etc. The only way corporates will bring those jobs back is if those costs are reduced here so they can extract the same levels of profit.

For the corporates, the means to that end are maintaining :
  • a large pool of unemployed;
  • a low paid ‘service’ class;
  • a massively indebted working class (which includes everyone whose only means of living is by exchanging their labour – be that by hand or brain – for a wage); and,
  • an affluent buffer class which includes the upper echelons of the public service and the media, and rightwing professional politicians.
This stratum of people have a vested interest in maintaining the manifestly unfair and unjust status quo and to ensure that the state’s service to the corporates is seamless.

When you drag political discourse back to the Right and redefine the Centre, you also redefine the Left. Moderate, totally unremarkable and easily achievable structural changes that would be as socially beneficial as the Right’s structural changes of the 1980s were destructive, are labelled as ‘far-Left’ and unrealistic. The way that message is conveyed is, for the most part, via the mass media which for the most part is owned and controlled by corporates.

The way forward for Labour is: to challenge that control of the media through support for a non-partisan well funded public broadcasting, and by creating its own voice; and, to rebuild its membership and supporter base. It has too small a membership and lacks National’s big bucks to compensate for that.

The only way Labour would attract the big bucks is by continuing to betray domestic labour in favour of international capital. It simply cannot compete as a Labour Party worthy of the name unless there is mass participation at the base which in turn demands accountability from its democratically elected leaders.

(edited to fix layout)

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