We’ve asked several readers to contribute their thoughts on the way forward for the left after the 2014 elections. The people we invited cover a range of viewpoints from class-struggle anarchist to independent Marxist and include at least one person involved in the Mana Movement. Rather than invite well-known left individuals, who already have plenty of platform space elsewhere, we’ve invited people who have been battling away as much as they can in their own ways across a number of campaigns and groups. This is the second contribution in the series.
by O’Shay Muir
The main reason that I was quickly drawn to Redline was the fact that, compared to the majority of socialist organisations in New Zealand, Redline was not quick to jump on the bandwagon of every local or international protest movement. Instead of the usual left-wing opinionated blog journalism, I found a group of people that actually understood the meaning of materialist analysis. To me this was a breath of fresh air. It had not been since my time as a recent college graduate who was first getting acquainted with Marxism by poking my nose into the meetings of the Workers Party in the Auckland Trades Hall, where I was exposed to The Spark, that I had come across actual Marxian analysis of the situation in New Zealand. Although I was far from the most dedicated cadre, my time spent with the Workers Party was always productive and most importantly educational.
After having lost touch with the Workers Party and returning from a stint in OZ, I decided to once again get involved with socialist politics in New Zealand, but times had changed. The Workers Party that I had once known was a shell of its former self (soon to become Fightback). I was told that people like Phil, Don and Daphna had abandoned the class struggle in New Zealand and instead had chosen to become armchair Marxists. I bothered not to ask too much about the situation, as I thought to myself that it was simply a case of party politics that did not concern me, so instead I decided to just go along with the new Workers Party. However I was quick to find out that this was not the Workers Party I had once known. There was something missing. That something was a strong theoretical base.
Mana Movement and impact on radical left
I first began to notice this through the Workers Party’s/Fightback’s staunch support of the Mana movement. Truth be told, I too thought that supporting Mana was a good idea. This position of mine began to change. Wanting to get back into socialist politics I thought to myself that I better polish up on my Marxist theory and what better way of doing that than trying to tackle the first volume of Capital. The more I began to understand Capital the more sceptical I became of the welfarism of Mana and groups like Fightback and Socialist Aotearoa who had jumped on the social democratic bandwagon. Then I discovered Redline, home of the ‘armchair Marxists’ that I had been warned about. But rather than finding the ramblings of old disgruntled leftists, who should simply shut up and make way for fresh blood (this was a common opinion that I found amongst many of the young activists involved with Socialist Aotearoa), I found a group of people that had the discipline to put their own revolutionary fantasies to one side and instead engage with proper analysis of capital accumulation.
While I still maintained some hope in Mana, that quickly began to change once they teamed up with Read the rest of this entry »