by Phil Duncan
In 2014, most of us at Redline favoured not voting in the New Zealand general election. There was simply no party that represented the interests of workers, much less that attempted to politicise and organise workers to represent themselves.
Labour and National are the twin parties of capital in this country and a vote for either is a vote for capitalism.
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 beginnings of democracy in this country lay in pre-conquest Maori society. Without a systematic surplus-product large enough to create a privileged ruling class, living off an oppressed producing class, a key feature of Maori society was a rough egalitarianism. It wasn’t a halcyon golden era of complete equality – indeed, life was often short and hard – but it was a rough equality based essentially on subsistence. Without society being divided into classes where a ruling class expropriates political as well as economic power, there was also a level of decision-making more democratic than what existed in capitalist society before the working class wrested reforms from the ruling class.
Two events yesterday provided a micrcosm of the problem with the NatLabs, and yet more evidence of why workers and progressive people generally shouldn’t support either wing of this party.
One of the most obnoxious events in politics, and in elections in particular, is when capitalist politicians – people dedicated to managing the system that exploits workers – show up at workplaces. They put on hi-viz jackets or hard hats or hair nets or whatever and walk around making absurd chit-chat with workers and posing for photo opportunities. The more obsequious workers agree to be part of the photo opp and the most obsequious even take selfies and stick them on their facebook pages.
FreeFM Hamilton’s community radio station interview with Philip Ferguson
Interview starts at 18.39 min
19.20 Discussing the lesser evil position on Labour vs National. Someone who was generally critical of Labour had said they would vote Labour as it was for light rail in Christchurch. On that basis beneficiaries should vote National as they raised benefits where Labour didn’t; pensioners should vote NZFirst because they are the most pensioner-friendly party!
Support “Not Voting is a Political Act”
People from this blog and people from AWSM (Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement) are currently working together to encourage people not to vote, and do so as a conscious political choice, in the September general election.