|David Shearer and David Cunliffe leaders of Right and Left faction pretending to be friendly at Avondale Market, Auckland.|
(Guest blog - 23 September, 2014)
For people struggling to understand what happened to the Labour Party on Saturday here’s a little bedtime story for the kids. (It’s a bit bloody in parts so best to take it in short reads between ad breaks.)
Once upon a time the workers in NZ who did all the hard work belonged to a Red Fed (because the bosses saw Red) and they would go on strike to demand better wages and working conditions. When they all went on strike the bosses who owned the factories and mines called out the army and the Cossacks (farmers on horseback like in Russia) and recruited scabs (workers who were happy to take striking workers jobs) to take their jobs and attack the workers. In 1913 the army used machine guns to defeat striking workers.
The bosses realised that using the army to defeat strikers could lead to all out class warfare so in 1916 they organised the scab workers to set up a Labour Party to pretend that workers did not need to strike when they could get better jobs and conditions by voting their delegates into parliament where they would make everyone ‘middle class’. That is, the working class and the bosses’ class could all become ‘middle class’ by each getting their ‘fair share’ of the national income. At least that was the theory.
Along came the first World War (better known by Stefan Eldred-Grigg as The Great Wrong War) when the bosses in the big European nations conscripted workers to fight each other to grab and plunder the territories of other nations to make the bosses richer. (My dad was in the Cossacks (Mounted Rifles) but luckily missed out on that war because he was only 4). Those workers who refused to fight to enrich their bosses were put in jail or shot. Millions of workers died for each $Billion that the bosses made out of the war. The war only came to an end when soldiers mutinied and turned their guns on their generals and bosses. (This was quite exciting and better than playing soccer in No Mans Land).
In Russia the workers went further and had a revolution, threw out the bosses and set up their own state. (Workers around the world had street parties and thought it would be a good idea at home too). This horrified the bosses in every country and they attempted to stop more revolutions by agreeing to some demands (but not the important demands like social peace and equality) of Labour parties in parliament. When this failed to pacify the workers they called out the government troops, the Cossacks, and the scab hordes to defeat the workers. This was called fascism – when the angry middle class instead of blaming the bosses for the economic collapse in their life style, saw Red and turned on the working class as the ‘enemy within’.
Then came the Great Depression of the 1920s/30s and the Second World War and to keep workers down fascism spread to most countries. That’s why this war was called the war against fascism, but was really just a continuation of the First world war. (Stefan might call this The Greater Wronger War).