It’s 2014 and we have a job to do

… and I’m worried we’re not going to do it.

It’s not just about winning an election.  It’s not just about getting Labour, or Labour/Greens, or Labour/Greens/Mana etc over the line.

It’s about getting the people of New Zealand to turn out and vote for a different kind of country.  Not a country where Paula Bennett gets to pull the ladder up behind her.  Not a country where finance companies get bailed out while rail workshops have to close their doors.  Not a country that uses material wealth as a moral yardstick, blaming the poor for being poor and assuming the wealthy should be listened to.  Not a country which points a finger at those who have no power and makes them the scapegoat for our failures.

But we may be our own worst enemies.

This isn’t me telling people to shut up for the sake of unity.  It’s not labelling my ideological enemies as Redneck Stormtroopers.

It’s a plea for understanding the difference between strategy and tactics.

To get to the New Zealand we want to live in, from the New Zealand we have now, is going to take a huge amount of work.  We need to change how our economy works, our whole system of industrial relations, our social welfare systems, how we support vulnerable people, how businesses invest and create real jobs, how families and communities are able to support each other, our criminal and justice systems, our attitude towards our natural environment, our position on the international stage

Every aspect of that work is important, and interconnected.  And we can work on more than one thing at a time.  We can have tactics like a capital gains tax and amending the Reserve Bank Act and we can push for a living wage and we can discuss sexual discrimination in the workplace and we can increase paid parental leave.  We can create financial disincentives on property speculators and implement environment and accessibility standards for new builds and demand rental properties are fit to live in and build more state houses.

We can do the big serious economic policies and give a fuck about people’s day-to-day lives, because all of it will feed into the brighter future big picture.

In 2014 the New Zealand Left must have more on its agenda than “win power”.  We should want to create a better New Zealand, and doing that is about so much more than economic policy (which is also, obviously, important).  It has to touch everything.  And it’s going to take people working in different areas on different parts of the plan to make it all happen.

It may sound all a bit Pollyanna, but I absolutely believe we can do it … if the heterosexual leftwing dudes could please just stop complaining every time we spend five minutes on issues which don’t purely benefit them.

We’re all in this together, guys.  We’re all aiming for the same thing.  We all want that better New Zealand and that strong leftwing government.  And you know what, we’re here on the left because we’re fighting in the same war: the war against the powerful elites standing on our necks.

Now give me some fucking cookies for saying all that without using the word “vision” once.

8 comments

  1. Jenny

    “It’s 2014 and we have a job to do”

    Kia ora QOT, I couldn’t agree more.

    “… if the heterosexual leftwing dudes could please just stop complaining every time we spend five minutes on issues which don’t purely benefit them.”
    Queen Of Thorns

    I agree.

    “We’re all in this together, guys. We’re all aiming for the same thing. We all want that better New Zealand and that strong leftwing government. And you know what, we’re here on the left because we’re fighting in the same war: the war against the powerful elites standing on our necks.”
    Queen Of Thorns

    I doubly agree.

    These are very similar sentiments expressed by Naomi Klein who charges that the Left, “has failed to grapple with the seriousness and urgency of the climate crisis.”

    “So it’s time to come together, for real, and fight to preserve and extend what you care most about — which means engaging in the climate fight, really engaging, as if your life and your life’s work, even life itself, depended on it. Because they do.”
    Naomi Klein

    “I’d rather fight like hell” Naomi Klein’s fierce new resolve

    If, as you QOT, and Naomi Klein say, “every aspect of our work is important and interconnected. And we can work on more than one thing at a time”. How is it that you oppose and misrepresent <a href='http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-05102013/#comment-706031
    my honest attempts to put demands on the Labour Party to address climate change, and my pleas for the Labour Party (and the Greens under Labour pressure) not to ignore climate change as an election issue?

    After all, apart from their terrible response to inequality and poverty, climate change is the government’s worst performing portfolio.

    Climate Change is where the Nats could take some real hits. Polls show that over 60% of the population want the government to do more on climate change, this is a huge majority just waiting to be tapped into, but generally being ignored.

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/12/27/predictions-2014-snowden-oil-leaks-who-wins-the-election/#comment-167906

    QOT, though unfortunately, Left Unity in the face of the the common enemy, has in the immortal words of Shakespeare, “been more honoured in the breach than the observance” I fully support your calls for Left Unity.

    Kia kaha,

    • QoT

      Thank you for linking to that two-month-old Open Mike thread, Jenny. That saves me the trouble to digging it up myself, since it quite clearly shows you saying “Labour stays silent on this issue”, and me pointing out that you’re lying. This was not an isolated incident, as the discussion thread shows.

      For the millionth time, this isn’t a “call for unity”, it’s a call for strategy and understanding the different things all parts of the movement bring. But if it was a call for unity, your perpetual misrepresentation of the Greens, and Labour, and anyone who points out the holes in your arguments, would be a great example of what not to do.

  2. Trianon

    The thing is, voting for Labour or the Greens is not voting for a different kind of NZ. It’s just about voting for the B team who will come in and tweak a few things to keep capitalism and kyriarchy rolling on unchallenged.

    • QoT

      A Labour/Greens or even Labour/Greens/Mana government definitely isn’t going to change the world. On the other hand, I think we can push them (particularly Labour) to do a lot better. And if we’re going to have the B Team in charge, we can at least demand they hear our voices.