Over the past few weeks a position has crystallised at Redline in terms of not voting in the 2014 election and advocating that others make a positive decision not to vote. This position is shared by a layer of comrades in AWSM (Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement) and a layer of independent left and liberal people such as Richard Jackson of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University.
The alternative put forward by the ostensibly far left groups seems to be getting involved in reformist parties, like Mana / InternetMana, although gratifyingly there seems to be a serious debate within one of these three groups, namely the International Socialist Organisation, about the contradiction between espousing class politics and endorsing the Internet/Mana lash-up.
A big problem with far left endorsement of reformist parties is that it virtually always leads to prettifying the politics of such parties as if they are somehow on the same road as us. To give two recent instances. There is an interview with Miriam Pierard in the latest issue of Fightback, which is largely liberal, personalised gush – one Redline contributor described it as being like a “puff piece in an in-flight magazine” – and there is no challenge by the interviewer to the views Ms Pierard puts forward. For instance, about how supposedly awesome a Labour/Greens/InternetMana government would be or a comment such as “how special New Zealand is and how important it is to take back our proud history of leading the world in progressive change”.
Ms Pierard also talks about how Laila Harre is a particular hero of hers, citing Harre’s role in extending paid parental leave and fighting against NZ military intervention in Afghanistan. But John Key’s government has also extended paid parental leave and Laila, as an Alliance MP, voted for the government motion supporting the invasion of Afghanistan. It was the revolt by the rank-and-file that forced Alliance MPs to change their minds on that one.
Another article in the same issue refers to “veteran unionist Laila Harre”. But this, too, is at best misleading and at worst a disingenuous Read the rest of this entry »