Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Aotearoa: Mana and Labour

Once again the parliamentary road to nowhere is hitting the election campaign trail, coming to a TV and a public gathering near you. So why should we take it more seriously than the Rugby World Cup?

Lining up to run the treasury benches on behalf of the ruling class, the open capitalist parties spin illusions, “going forward” for the “good of the nation”. While to the capitalist class they promise to make the working class pay for the capitalist crisis; and restore capitalists their profits, to the big majority of voters who are workers they say that only a second National and Act Government can pay down debt and return to nation to economic prosperity.

The NACT regime remains popular despite a major shift in wealth from the very rich from those under the average wage; an anti-democratic move to direct cabinet rule as we have seen over legislation rushed through under urgency, and special legislation to rule by cabinet appointees in Environment Canterbury, CERA in Christchurch, RWC, and most recently the retrospective legislation in reaction to the collapse of the case against 13 of the Urewera 17, to make Police video spying legal. If National is re-elected it will need Act and the Maori Party, both of which have promoted privatisation of public assets, to press ahead with its promise to partially privatise (49%) of the public power generators and Air NZ.

Middle Class Parties

The Green Party doesn’t challenge capitalism. It presents itself as a middle class party able to serve the interests of both the capitalists and the working class majority. It advocates measures to create jobs and build houses and promote a green capitalism. It has been moving right to position itself to put pressure on capitalists. The only two socialist MPs in the Greens have left (Sue Bradford) or are about to leave (Keith Locke). The Greens have no roots in the Unions. Meanwhile the economic motor of capitalism exploits nature to death and the Greens have no social base outside parliament that can take a class stand to save the planet.

The Maori Party was a 2004 split from Labour based on a Maori nationalist kaupapa over the Foreshore and Seabed confiscation. But it was quickly dominated by the petty bourgeois leadership and the corporate capitalist iwi leaders’ forum. Instead of taking direct action on the F&S it chose to form a coalition with the open bourgeois parties National and Act to win control of the Foreshore and Seabed. They have been disappointed but will go back into coalition next time to try again. To prove their loyalty to the capitalists they have thrown out Hone Harawira and a large section of the working class Maori membership. The formation of the Mana Party is the result. Mana is standing to the left of Labour party

Mana’s Program

Mana policy is for Maori, for workers and for the poor. This means that Mana stands for all sections of the working class and workers branches are becoming established.

“Vote Mana for real change; party vote Mana for an independent voice for Maori, for workers and for the poor.” The Mana programme is to “Abolish Goods and Services Tax (GST); establish a Financial Transaction Tax ("Hone Heke" Tax); nationalise monopolies and duopolies”. Mana policy would seem to shift the tax balance onto the rich from the poor. It is more of a challenge to capitalism than the Labour party policies.

Labour is a bourgeois workers party

Labour is a bourgeois party but with a history of links to the labour movement. Labour continues to have the support of better paid workers, and the labour bureaucracy – the trade union officials. Large CTU unions retain their affiliation to Labour (eg. SFWU, EPMU), while former “TUF” (Trade Union Federation) unions, now back in the CTU fold have renewed their affiliation to Labour (eg. MUNZ). The trade union apparatus continues to be used to promote Labour through the CTU. This explains why the Labour Party has lost the support of low paid workers who are overwhelmingly Maori, women and youth. And why Goff is facing no pressure to agree to work with Mana in government.

Our review of the results of the last election showed that the Labour party lost because a large part of the low paid working class did not get out and vote for Labour. It had lost confidence in Labour. Realising this the Labour party tries to attract working class voters again, with promises to defend some workers, and makes left sounding policy to take GST off food and to introduce a 15% capital gains tax, and make the first $5000 tax free. These things are small reforms that would favour the poor rather than the rich. It is likely then that some of these workers who did not vote last time will decide to vote Labour this time. These workers like those who support Mana will be looking for a Labour Government in which Mana MPs pull Labour to the left.

Vote Mana and Labour

Both Mana and the Labour party are bourgeois-workers parties; that is they look like parties for the working class, they have policy that looks like it could be helpful to the working class, they have workers joining them – and in Labour’s case unions affiliated, but we believe that when we put them to the test of being in government, they will just carry on the running of bourgeois society (capitalism).

Because some of the working class believe in Mana &/or Labour, our challenge is to put these parties to the test of being in power. But for that to happen Labour and Mana need the most MPs between them possible so that a Labour-Mana government is elected. This also means defeating the Maori Party and lessening the chances of the re-election of a National coalition. This means tactical voting to get as many Mana Party votes as possible and Maori electorate tactical voting to keep the Maori Party out.

For tactical voting
Mana is calling for its candidates in the General seats to campaign for the Party vote and to vote for Labour electorate candidates. We agree as this will give the best result for a Labour/Mana government. 
In the Maori electorates Mana is calling for a vote for both Mana candidates and Mana Party. In Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira has the best chance to win the seat. If he doesn’t win then Mana will have to get 5% of the Party Vote to get MPs into parliament.
The Mana Party is calling on its supporters to vote for its candidates in all Maori seats. As well as that we think that Mana should invite Labour supporters to vote for Mana candidates to defeat Maori Party MPs Sharples, Turia, Flavell and Katene.

We need a Revolutionary Party

Communist Workers Group has no confidence that parliament can meet the needs of the working class. The state exists to perpetuate the rule of the capitalist class and subjugate the working class: it is a capitalist state.

For a party to really be able to deliver for workers we need to smash the capitalist system and takeover the running of the economy at the point of production. We need to organise outside parliament, away from election campaigning and the political posturing of those suits.
  •  Workers need more than election promises
  • We need Fighting democratic unions
  • Build Workers councils that will lead the fight for:
  • Full employment – reduce the working week (without loss of pay) until everyone is employed.
  • Occupy all workplaces that close or sack workers.
  • Take back state assets under workers control: Telecom, Air NZ, BNZ, ANZ, ASB, Airports, Buses, railways, water services, council services, all the power stations, radio and TV, forestry (where the owner is not working them), under workers control with no compensation.
  • No privatisations; expropriate from the capitalist thieves.
  • Full citizenship rights for migrant workers; free healthcare and free education!
  • For a General Strike against the system that is destroying us all in the name of profit.
  • Revolution! – take all capitalism under workers control – for a national council of workers representatives.
  • For a Workers’ and working Farmers Government!
  • For a Socialist Aotearoa in a United Socialist States of the Pacific!

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