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Sunday, November 28, 2010

The speech I would have given for a new left wing party



Left's utopia must have room for aspiration
OPINION: Another Aotearoa Is Possible - that's the hopeful title of a conference getting under way in Mangere tomorrow morning.

This grand political hui - featuring some of New Zealand's leading leftists - was conceived with not one, but two agendas. Or, to employ the steely jargon of yesterday's revolutionaries: a Maximum Programme and a Minimum Programme.

For the Maximum Programme to prevail, radical Unite Union leader Matt McCarten had to attract 5 to 10 per cent support in last Saturday's Mana by-election. If he'd ended the evening with 1200 to 1500 votes, Te Wananga O Aotearoa's Mangere campus - the conference venue - would almost certainly have witnessed the birth of a "New Left Party".

Unfortunately for the conference organisers, Mr McCarten ended up attracting the support of just 3.6 per cent of Mana voters. This failure to surpass even the 5 per cent MMP threshold means that tomorrow's conference agenda will default to its Minimum Programme: "A day of dialogue with activists against injustice and inequality".


We live in extraordinary times. The current global economic crises is unlike anything since the 1929 stock market collapse which spawned the great depression. We face a crises 'of' capitalism as the unregulated neoliberal greed of corporations has been allowed to replace managed Keynesian economic theory. In the 1970's the real economy and the financial economy were evenly valued but 40 years of deregulation, low tax, free market dogma has seen the real economy valued annually at $8 trillion while the financial economy is valued at $330 trillion, that disconnect between reality and the inflated bubble world of finance has gone pop, we must reconsider the rules of the game because the unsustainable consumer culture of SUV's, plasma TVs and cosmetic surgery all on the credit card game is over.

The decade long credit splurge debt chasm was caused by suppressed wages due to neo-liberal policies in the 80s and 90s creating the illusion of wealth from over inflated house prices.

The stimulus to date has merely prevented an all out collapse and the current policy of slashing public spending is the exact last thing this Government should do because all that will achieve is hurt the poor, make economic recovery even slower and see unemployment rise.

Where do we raise the funds to continue funding those services? There are plenty of ideas, tax evasion controls, a Tobin Tax and a land value tax could all provide the money needed to continue funding public services.

Attempting to use deregulation, low tax, free market Milton Friedman dogma domestically to solve a global crises caused by the same deregulation, low tax, free market Milton Friedman dogma is about as counter productive as a Paul Henry Supporter Book Club.

NZers don't need to have a university qualification in economics to understand what is happening to them, they feel the reality every single week. After the gst tax rise, half say they are worse off now and that imbalance of inequality in society has only a negative impact which bears a terrible harvest in our communities.

We know from our last recession that the suicide rate tripled to the depressing world highs they are today, we know economic stress causes social stress and that the most vulnerable in society bear the brute violence of that damage.

I find it the most disgusting of ethical molestations that the weakest and most vulnerable in society are being asked to do with less because the global economy was crashed by the greedy and corrupt, yet that is exactly what the ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang are proposing with their despicable bennie bashing attack on the welfare state.

It's time to say enough.

There are 338 000 beneficiaries in NZ, 85,000 have severe mental or physical disabilities. 58,000 have been documented by medical professionals as sick, 112,000 are raising children alone, and 65,000 are actively looking for work. The ideologically stacked Welfare Razor Gang are using voodoo math to claim that if every beneficiary never got a job for the rest of their life (something which simply would NEVER happen) Welfare would end up costing us $50 billion. This spin lie is being used to justify
slashing benefits for a crises they had no hand in causing.

The aspiration for an equitable society sort by beneficiaries are the exact same aspirations as those hundreds of thousands who are on the minimum wage. The promise of democracy is that it allows each citizen to look into the face of their child and know their child will get a better deal than they personally have. That promise of democracy is still born under Paula Bennett, a political hypocrite who was happy to have state support when she was a struggling solo mother, but has pulled the ladder up behind her now that she is employed.

These concerns for an equitable society demand political expression. Why shouldn't beneficiaries and those on minimum wage have political expression in the rooms where the decisions that effect them most are decided? This economic crises is unique and the poor will not be represented when the elites decide what must be done and those parties who do lean left need to have a political partner at the table who forces them not to forget the concerns of an equitable society once they are elected.

The next election will be down to the wire as New Zealanders wake up to the privatization agenda National will propose and a Social Equity Party with the welfare of beneficiaries and those on Minimum wage foremost on their agenda would be better placed than at any other time in our political history to force real concessions from major political parties to ensure the concerns of those on the bottom are foremost in decision making.

A new party on the left with social equity at its philosophical heart focused on making sure any changes benefit those on the bottom most would need to tap into every beneficiary support group and every minimum wage organisation to push myopically for the party vote. There are 338 000 beneficiaries in NZ, there were 2 376 480 votes in the 2008 election, those beneficiaries represent 14% of that vote, a new Political Party needs only 5% to gain representation, add those on minimum wage and a clearly defined Party with the concerns of beneficiaries and those on minimum wage foremost at their political manifesto can pass the 5% threshold, it's as simple as that.

To those who would scoff at beneficiaries standing and making their voice heard due to apathy i say this - stand in a welfare line for hours on end to jump through endless hoops purposely imposed to stop any welfare money and tell me beneficiaries are apathetic.

Matt's courageous last minute charge at the windmills in Mana must not be held up as the bench mark to judge the appetite for those with the least having political representation. The anger at how those on the bottom are being asked to do with less while the Sam Morgans of NZ arrange their finances to minimize their tax obligations is ripe for expression from those who must bear the brunt of public service cut backs. Forcing solo mothers, the sick, the mentally unwell and disabled back to work in a 6.4% unemployment environment while those on the minimum wage are disempowered with every passing week should anger every NZer who has a passion for social justice.

If you're not angry, you haven't been paying attention.

It is time to turn that anger into political expression.

15 Comments:

At 28/11/10 12:40 pm, Anonymous sdm said...

So after 75 years of a welfare state, the solution to all the problems in the world is government. And what the solution does is it negates the need for charity - why do I need to help, I have abdicated my responsibility to the state.

The welfare state has failed. If we refer to people with disabilities, the problem is that in many respects what welfarism does is it re-enforces for some that the disability rules their life. In otherwords, the paternalistic state is saying that because you have xyz condition, you CANT do this. And people stop caring, because charity disappears as we have forgone that role to the state.

Its ultimately a patronizing approach from a perspective that says 'you can't'.

 
At 28/11/10 4:18 pm, Blogger resumes said...

The next election "down to the wire"eh!,as far as i can see, the next election is going to be a, walk in the park victory, for this present regime,as there is no effective opposistion.

As for a alternative left party nice idea,as for a in house voice not this coming election,outside that of Honi Harewira being party to it,for Honi come the next election will be paddeling a diffrent Waka than the one he is about to jump from.Although it could be said that Honi standing alongside Matt for Mana as support may have cost Matt, a number of votes.

 
At 28/11/10 6:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe a tax for renters who dont pay rates?

Actually abololish rates, make it a uniform charge of $1000 per person per year over the age of 18.

Sweet bombs? Or do you just want others to fund ur utopia?

 
At 28/11/10 6:24 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

lmao @ scott - oh scott does your apologist position for greedy capitalists know no end? How many dirty filthy bennies (whom you are 'helping' by allowing them to stave independently) were spending billions on Wall st in 2007-2008? Just a ball park figure thanks scott.

resumes - check out ipredict for how close the election will be next year.

Anon - what does anything you posted have to do with those on welfare being asked to do with less because of the global economic meltdown caused by american corporate greed?

 
At 28/11/10 6:51 pm, Anonymous Geoff Houtman said...

Anonymous- "renters don't pay rates anonymous I mean"

Are you insane? Are you Michael Barnett? Is that two separate questions even?

Renters pay rent to their landlord, who takes a bit of it out and pays it as rates.

You get it?

You're suggesting a poll tax, and I'm guessing you're not old enough or haven't done enough research to find about Margaret Thatchers great poll tax idea and how well that went down...

 
At 28/11/10 7:19 pm, Anonymous Fantail said...

Ooh, a world without institutionalised suffering and class-political persecution. Shucks, what a utopia, what a dreamer.

Some might call that a functioning democracy.

Worth a shot. A party with a simple message for a significant, targeted constituency. Get in this election, then widen the message of real change and empowerment...

The above comments are irrelevant because they're not your audience.

 
At 28/11/10 8:28 pm, Anonymous sdm said...

Bomber why do you believe disabled people need to be reliant on the state to have any quality of life? Isnt that rather patronising?

 
At 28/11/10 10:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

POLITICS AS A VOCATION

MAX WEBER

Before discussing 'professional politicians' in detail, let us clarify in all its aspects the state of affairs their existence presents.

Politics, just as economic pursuits, may be a mans avocation or his vocation.One may engage in politics, and hence seek to influence the "distribution of power" within and between political structures, as an 'occasional' politician.We are all "occasional politicians" when we cast our ballot or consummate a similar expression of intention, such as applauding or protesting in a political meeting, or delivering a political speech, etc.The whole relation of many people to politics as the topp twins film tonight shows is restricted to this.

 
At 29/11/10 9:41 am, Anonymous sdm said...

Bomber

Why do disabled people need the state to have any quality of life?

 
At 29/11/10 11:33 am, Blogger Bomber said...

This is the second time I've asked you this question scotty, and you don't seem to have an answer - how many disabled people you claim to care about by slashing any state welfare to them were selling and trading on wall street?

 
At 29/11/10 11:34 am, Blogger Bomber said...

Just a rough number would help us proportion blame to those disabled people you want starved of state welfare for their own good

 
At 29/11/10 2:14 pm, Anonymous sdm said...

I have no idea how many people with a disability worked on wall street.

Why do you believe that disabled people need to rely on the state for any quality of life? Wouldn't disabled people feel patronised by your views?

 
At 29/11/10 3:43 pm, Blogger Bomber said...

So as far as you know, no disabled NZers were driving greedy and corrupt stock manipulations on wall st Scott?

So why should they be punished for a global economic collapse they had no hand in making and how in christ's name could possibly asking that question ever be twisted into 'patronizing'.

Perhaps you should stick to apologist posts defending israeli aggression or the 90 day right to sack expansion?

 
At 29/11/10 5:46 pm, Anonymous AAMC said...

"it negates the need for charity"

not holding out a lot of hope for your charity angle sdm,

http://www.economist.com/node/16690659

and please don't wheel out the old Bill Gates argument, don't recall hearing about him giving to mentally disabled in NZ.

My wife's sister is severely Bipolar (in the UK and not here fortunately, although that's all changing as we know). She has been incapable of functioning in society since she was 13 yes old, she is incapable of holding down a job, accommodation or a relationship. Her family are not financially capable of paying for her care. What do you propose we do with her equivalents in NZ? Hope somebody is charitable towards her? Let her live in the local park? Put her in prison? Tell her to stop pissing around and get on with it?

Do you have any experience with mental illness or poverty sdm?

 
At 1/12/10 9:06 am, Blogger Bomber said...

thank you for your comments AAMC, the right wings hatred for the weak, as so expressed by sdm is an insight into the economic darwinism National really espouse.

It would be best scott if you stopped your hate speech towards people with disabilities now before you continue to embarrass yourself, you are starting to sound like Wayne now.

 

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