Saturday, 8 March 2008

UNITYblognz - "History calls for a Broad Left party"

The folks over at UNITYblognz (otherwise known as New Zealand Socialist Worker) have hit upon a fact that apparently continues to allude so much of the left - both in Oz and abroad - namely that we need a broad left party. Simply dawdling along in the same-old "we've got the correct program so stuff you" manner that altogether too many far-left outfits use to maintain ideological (as well as numerical - if small = pure) purity is doing nobody any particular good. Except maybe the capitalists.

NZSW are a funny creature anway. While a part of the International Socialist Tendency, they have been engaged in an ongoing tit-for-tat with the IST mothership in the UK over a number of things - Venezuela, RESPECT, and the general question of broader left strategy. Suffice to say that London hasn't been happy, especially as they characterise the RESPECT coalition, and the SWP's approach to it as a
broad-narrow coalition "where a Marxist group forms an alliance with other groups and individuals on the left in a bid to "take control" behind the scenes. "

As with much of their output, this is a valuable and well-written contribution to the question of revolutionary strategy in the 21st Century (not to be confused with the rather shallow and crude attempt at sectarian one-upmanship displayed in the first para of this post from the Socialist Party here in Oz. It reads unfortunately like they meant to attack the rest of the left, then got distracted. Force of habit?).

Read, enjoy, and then let's go do something about it...

SPECIAL FEATURE- History calls for a Broad Left party


In 2006, the neo-liberal maniacs at the World Bank ranked New Zealand as No.1 in the world for doing business, out of 200 countries surveyed. And a recent government report titled "Wealth Disparities in New Zealand" showed that 95% of New Zealand's net wealth is owned by half the population. The other half is left with the crumbs - a mere 5% of the country's wealth. Two decades of neo-liberal polices have seen a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich, increasing the rage, frustration and alienation at the base of New Zealand society.

In recent years Socialist Worker-New Zealand (SW-NZ) has recognised that these discontents are being combined with signs of self-activity amongst grassroots people, which is causing them to be more open to alternative political ideas. The rise of a global social justice movement has been influential. There have been bursts of union militancy, along with mass movements against imperial wars, GE foods and government injustices against Maori. In combination this points towards a political stirring at the grassroots of New Zealand society which socialists must relate to.

It's a basic principle of Marxism that the movement of masses of people is needed to change society. The question for socialists, then, is what can we do today to help turn growing dissatisfactions at the grassroots into something far more politically coherent, organised and confident? In seeking to advance the movement we need to recognise and analyse the barriers in the way of greater working class self-activity.

Read the rest at UNITYblog

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