(This post was written and scheduled before the announcement of David Shearer’s resignation – it’s still applicable though, especially as the Labour Party figures out what kind of leader it wants going into 2014.)
The bulk of this comment was originally posted here.
The problem is traditional Labour voters staying at home because their interests are continually put on the back burner in favour of identity politics issues that they don’t really care about, and that don’t affect them personally. Some of these people no doubt wonder whether folks like you are saboteurs funded by National and its business backers.
To which I responded:
Fuck I hate this line.
Class politics have never been put “on the backburner” because of identity politics.
The big gains in identity-politics areas – ignoring weka’s very good point that class politics are identity politics – have almost always been through Private Members’ Bills, not Labour-in-Government Bills.
The reason class politics have been put on the backburner is because some fucking idiot white dudes bought into the idea that class politics weren’t vote-winners. That being More Like John Key was the way to go. That pushing the idea of the “deserving poor” as compared to “bludging beneficiaries” would get the votes of Middle New Zealand.
Don’t fucking blame women and queer folk and people of colour for the consistent, deliberate efforts of the Phil Goff and David Shearer-led Labour Party to paint themselves as “good economic managers” who would be “fiscally responsible”.
The party can’t even design a solid, leftwing state housing policy – they have to make it about encouraging the private sector, framing $300k houses as “affordable”, and then slapping Michael Joseph Savage’s face all over it.
That’s got nothing to do with identity politics and everything to do with a party still in denial about the damage it did to our country and its own soul via Rogernomics.
Seriously, I must have missed the 2011 Labour Party election manifesto which was printed in rainbow colours with a wheelchair-using woman of colour on the cover, entitled: “KILL ALL MEN” with a First 100 Days plan consisting entirely of day spas, pride marches, nurse-ins at Workingmen’s Clubs and nationwide rallies to smash pink penis-pinatas.
Stuart Nash would like you all to know that, despite the fact that harridans like myself have
misrepresented my position – and my values
Still Concentrating On The Issues That Matter
and anyway, the post he’s
come in for a lot of flack
wasn’t actually about Louisa or the Marriage Equality Bill at all
So I apologise. When someone’s post begins talking about Louisa Wall and the Marriage Equality Bill, I assume they’re talking about Louisa Wall and the Marriage Equality Bill. But clearly, Stuart was talking
about the strategy Labour has pursued so far this year
and while you may assume that when a person starts talking about A, then starts talking about B entirely in the context of A, they’re drawing some kind of connection between A and B, you would be wrong. And you should be ashamed. Why, when Stuart starts by saying:
I want to start by saying that I support gay marriage and, if I had been in parliament, I would have had no hesitation in voting in favor of Louisa Wall’s marriage equality bill. It sits perfectly with the Labour values of fairness and equality.
Despite that, I am not happy about it!
And over the next two paragraphs says
… I warned that Labour must not get sidetracked …Labour MUST NOT get sucked into the game of responding to these periphery and/or manufactured issues …
Little did I know that it wasn’t the Nats who would create the side shows … Louisa’s Bill was ill-timed … the fact that it was drawn out of the ballot was unlucky for Labour). For the past month or so this issue has been at the forefront of the mainstream and social media.
And then continues
In the meantime, the state assets sales programme is in trouble, farms have been sold to the Chinese, educationists decry the rise of charter schools, the poverty gap is increasing at an alarming rate, Kiwis are heading to Australia in record numbers, our unemployment rate is climbing, and there is at least one dreadful health story a day that should be in the papers.
Why, in that context, when I say things like
Instead, after Louisa Wall has put in the hard yards and taken shit for something in your own party’s manifesto less than a year ago, what you should really do is buy into the rightwing propaganda machine’s lines about “caring about things that matter”, and what you should really talk about is how, oh sure, a member of your party only brought us one step closer towards our egalitarian ideal, but don’t you wish she hadn’t?
I’m really just misrepresenting Stuart. He didn’t say that Louisa Wall shouldn’t have submitted her Bill, he just thinks … she shouldn’t have submitted her Bill. And he’s not buying into the idea that marriage equality isn’t important, he’s just saying it’s a peripheral sideshow issue distracting from the things that matter. And he’s not bagging her, he just feels the need to write another post talking about the “unlucky” timing of it all on top of his previous insistence that she “hold back” for The Good Of The Party.
But it’s okay, folks. Stuart has good people around him. From his second post:
Anyone that knows me, my family and my politics will know that I value human rights above all else. Equality of opportunity is my guiding philosophy and the reason why I am involved in the Labour party.
And you know that when someone says above all else, that’s a pretty strong statement indicating they won’t compromise on their core principles. Someone who values human rights above all else would never, for example, write something like:
Louisa has to hold back. The vast majority agree that her bill is morally right and should be passed into law, but now it needs to take a back seat and let the issues of health, employment, education and finance come to the fore, otherwise there won’t be anyone left in New Zealand who can afford to get married.
… just like Stuart did in his first post. I do so look forward to hearing about how finance reform will mean same-sex couples stop being treated like second-class citizens. Oh right, because they won’t be able to afford to get married. You know how the queers like to splash out on frocks, we need to avoid another recession for their sakes!
But then we are dealing with somebody who can sincerely type (in his second post):
Labour doesn’t need to convince voters that our values are sound
Which is true, because before voters can ask if your values are sound they have to know what your values are, and for someone who spends a lot of time emphasising that Labour Is A Great Party With Amazing Values And The Left
owns the political space around human rights
… Stuart sure loves acting like those values don’t mean shit unless Labour can convince voters that they are
prudent managers of the economy
… a phrase used twice in his second post.
Sorry, Stuart. I guess I’m just going to keep unwittingly misrepresenting you, because for all you’ve made a second post about how people didn’t understand your first post, all I hear is “waa waa waa shut up minorities” with a coda on the theme of “anyway we don’t need to talk about values, just the economy, so shut up again”.
And when you’re blaming a single, well-supported Private Member’s Bill for an entire party’s inability to get on the telly, you should probably reconsider your political strategy cred.
Please, Stuart. Try to dig up next time.
PS. Doesn’t it absolutely tickle you to see someone waving the Old Left banner talking about “owning political space”? Human rights discussions aren’t a commodity, Stuart. And you don’t get to “dibs” the human rights conversation, especially not when you’re saying some human rights (i.e. the icky gay ones) can go sit in the corner quietly while the real human rights issues (i.e. the ones assumed to affect Waitakere Myths) get some breathing space.