“Freedom of expression is often one of the first victims of a successful socialist revolution”

The source of that headline quote might surprise some people.

Nándor Tánczos is probably best known as a rasta Green MP  from 1999 to 2008 – he lost his place in Parliament after the 2005 election, but as next on the list got back in soon after as Rod Donald died just before the new Parliament  met for the first time.

His current Twitter profile: Rastafarian social ecologist with anarchic tendencies

Nandor Tanczos

So this tweet is interesting.

This prompted a series of tweets from @LewSOS:

The trouble with revolution, socialist and otherwise, is that it *requires* suppression of free expression to prevent counter-revolution. Such repression is not merely a side-effect of revolution, but is intrinsic, and must be backed by violence if the revolution is to persist.

Lenin and Mussolini and Castro and Mao and Franco were all perfectly clear on this point. A revolution without repression and violence isn’t a revolution. It’s just an advisory campaign.

A democratic revolution is no such thing. It’s a nonsense. What the people vote for, the people can vote against, if they are allowed to vote again. So for the new regime to persist, they must not be allowed to do so. This is why I am neither a socialist nor a revolutionary.

At a basic functional level, it isn’t really. But the specifics matter. Popper was about very specific lined restrictions to safeguard the open society, but the revolutionary praxis in real life has tended to involve a great deal more murdering of dissidents

If socialist policies are adopted freely and maintained democratically, then at a regime level, for me there’s no very meaningful difference with any other democracy. The socialism bit is incidental and nearly irrelevant as it can be reversed at any time by a change of government.

(Whether it could be reversed in practice is another matter, because in principle capitalism could be reversed in the same way, and yet it has not been, because norms and institutions have power of a sort)

Some interesting and thought provoking stuff there.

So is it possible to have a revolution while retaining democracy?

Perhaps revolutionary change without having a revolution is possible.  Jacinda Ardern’s idea of government is revolutionary perhaps?

Too revolutionary for some. Not enough of a revolution for others. (Some thing it is little more than a softer same old).

Viva Jacinda?

Greens return leftward, away from National

Green’s sole leader over the last eight months, James Shaw, is seen as relatively moderate, almost centrist-ish (in some ways at least). He is regarded as business friendly, not a particularly NZ green attribute.

The Green Party has just chosen a new co-leader, Marama Davidson, by a wide margin of 110 delegate votes to 34 over the more business savvy centris-ish Julie Anne Genter.

Davidson has been active on left wing issues as an MP. She is likely to remain so. And she has much more scope than Shaw to promote her more radical views and policy positions – while not in Cabinet Shaw has some responsibility as a Minister not to rock the Government boat too much

As she doesn’t have any ministerial responsibilities Davidson is not so constrained, and without a ministerial workload she will have much more time to work on issues of interest to her and the Green membership.

Both Shaw and Genter are learning the realities and compromises of working in a Government. Davidson doesn’t have this, she is firmly in the Green idealist activist bubble.

And that bubble is staunchly anti-National.

Henry Cooke at Stuff: Greens swing left with Marama Davidson in the co-pilot seat

This should finally and completely end the notion that the Green Party could consider going into Government with National. It was never going to happen under James Shaw and it is really never going to happen with Davidson, who took care in her victory speech to trash-talk the former National-led Government for the massive problems at Middlemore Hospital.

Just as some Green Party members threatened to leave the party if Davidson didn’t get selected, similar threats have been made in the past when any suggestion of a Green-National deal.

By supporting Davidson so strongly the membership of the Green Party have shown their desire to make the party more than just a junior partner in Government, pushing Labour to the left in the areas its ministers are responsible for.

We just have to accept that the Greens are two parties in one – a strongly pro-environment party, and a staunch hard left social issue socialist-type party. They claim that the two are co-dependent, but that’s more of an attempt to justify their more hard-left policies.

Environmental issues are acknowledged across the political spectrum, to different degrees, but both National and the business world know they have to work more on sustainable practices and lowering pollution. They do differ with the Greens on the preferred levels of socialisation and socialism.

Big business and big money are going to be important influences in New Zealand, especially with farming practices.

In tone, tactics, and perception, however, Davidson was always the left candidate, even if she prefers to say “progressive”.

‘Progressive’ is a left wing populist attempt at deception.

Many Green members don’t want to put more women in the boardroom, they want to destroy it. Davidson made clear in her acceptance speech her distaste for the fact that two men held more wealth than the poorest 30 per cent of New Zealanders. In our debate she professed support for a new top tax rate on higher earners and free dental care for all Kiwis.

Davidson-Green is to a large extent anti-business (and pro socialism). Shaw-Green promotes more responsible business.

Of course, the Green Party hasn’t lost the more suit-and-tie Shaw as co-leader. There will be plenty of members who voted for Davidson because they want balance at the top, with the environmentally focused climate change minister fighting besides the new co-leader for a holistic Green vision.

It’s impossible to know how many Green members and Green branches preferred the far more left wing leanings of Davidson, or chose her for balance. The Māori  factor can’t be discounted either.

But for the next wee while –  at least –  Davidson has the mandate to make some real change to how the Green Party operates in Government. Ardern and Winston Peters should expect some well-publicised disagreements – which will be particularly biting as non-Minister Davidson isn’t bound by Cabinet collective responsibility.

The party now enters into a somewhat strange two-year period, where the Green ministers actually making change arguably represent the wing of the party just rejected by the membership.

It will be interesting to compare the so far moderate ministerial missives of Shaw, Genter and the third Green minister, Eugenie Sage, and the more radical activism of Davidson and her activist Green supporters.

Genter has been seeking attention during the two month leadership contest but may well retreat to her ministerial responsibilities. She probably won’t want to compete with Davidson for attention now.

Shaw has been fairly anonymous as he gets to grips with working in Government. Sage would have also been barely noticed except for her embarrassing involvement in publicity over allegations of interference in state agencies, and her changing claims due to ‘poor memory’.

So Davidson may well get a disproportionate amount of attention. This will please the activist socialist Greens, but how will this affect wider green support?

But there are over a hundred thousand more Green Party voters than there are members. For that number to keep steady or properly increase both wings of the party will need to rack up some decent wins in the real world, not just the tiny landscape of internal party politics. Everyone in the party will be watching the next poll with a whole lot of interest. It’ll be what makes this whole thing finally real.

It will take more than the next poll, it will take several months and several polls to see how things pan out. It will also take that long to see how the Green Ministers perform and get attention, versus Davidson’s freedom to promote a more radical agenda.

“Can I still call myself conservative?”

Simplistic labels can be problematic when applied with the complexities of both human nature and politics are involved.

What sort of person calls themselves a conservative?

How conflicted are they? Ask those who supported Colin Craig and his Conservative Party in New Zealand, or Roy Moore in the recent election in Alabama in the USA.

In a column at NY Times Bret Stephens asks: Can I still call myself conservative?

The answer depends on your definition.
Here’s one I’ve always liked: “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” said the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. To which he added: “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”
Conservatives used to believe in their truth. Want to “solve” poverty? All the welfare dollars in the world won’t help if two-parent families aren’t intact. Want to foster democracy abroad? It’s going to be rough going if too many voters reject the foundational concept of minority rights.

And want to preserve your own republican institutions? Then pay attention to the character of your leaders, the culture of governance and the political health of the public. It matters a lot more than lowering the top marginal income tax rate by a couple of percentage points.

What is ‘a conservative’? It depends on how it is applied – in general or as a political leaning, or as a member of a political party.
Oxford defines it:

1 Averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values.

‘they were very conservative in their outlook’

So theoretically someone who held on the traditional socialists  values and was averse to change could be described as conservative.

1.1 (of dress or taste) sober and conventional.

‘a conservative suit’

Again that could apply to anyone across the political spectrum. James Shaw dresses quite conservatively (as do just about all male MPs and most female MPs in the New Zealand Parliament).

2 (in a political context) favouring free enterprise, private ownership, and socially conservative ideas.

That combines two distinctly different attributes. Someone who favours free enterprise and private ownership may not have socially conservative ideas. Roger Douglas and David Lange’s government from the 1980s were quite radical in the way they introduced free enterprise and private ownership policies, and were supposedly a left wing government.

‘Conservative’ can be applied as a description of someone’s specific opposition to change, but as a political label I think it’s far too fuzzy to be very useful.

And at times it is quite contradictory – Craig’s and Moore’s behaviour was at odds with their conservative label. Leader of the Conservative Party British Theresa May acted unconservatively in calling for an ill-fated snap election, and the UK exit from the European Union is not conservative, it will mean a large amount of change for the UK.

Specific behaviour can be described as conservative. Views on a specific policy can be conservative – I have more conservative views on law and order (in particular sentencing) and the use of binding referenda than Craig’s Conservative Party.

But anyone who labels themselves a ‘Conservative’ will soon find their ideals compromised. Much like a ‘Socialist’ would, especially in a country like New Zealand where most political views tend to be quite moderate – a pragmatic blend of conservatism, socialism and a few other isms.

I see myself as conservative in some ways, for example I willingly and happily got married – but as it was my second marriage after the first became practically untenable some conservative people may frown.

Maybe I could agree with one label – antilabelism.

 

Socialist standing in Mt Albert by-election

Joe Carolan is standing as a ‘Socialist’ in the Mt Albert by-election. This should give those who think that socialism is the answer to the country’s and the world’s problems an idea of how popular the ideal is.

Carolan asks himself some questions at The Daily Blog – Q & A with Joe Carolan, Socialist candidate for the Auckland electorate of Mt Albert – beware eco-fascism & lovely liberals – and then gives himself some very long answers.

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Here’s some highlights.

Q. You stood in the 2014 election for the Mana movement and are now standing on a socialist platform. So why do you think the time is right now for a socialist agenda?

What made me think about standing as a socialist was seeing the rise of the left in other major western countries over the past year. The Labour Party in Britain had an election that resulted in John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn coming to the leadership there, who are explicitly socialist, very pro-union, pro-worker – which is not what we’ve had from the British Labour party for a number of decades. It’s very exciting.

And not very popular – Labour closes gap on Tories according to latest opinion poll – “The party’s overall poll rating is up two points from last month at 31%, while the Conservatives are down three points at 38%.  However, Labour still languishes behind the Conservatives on a range of important issues despite its modest improvement.”

Q: What is the goal of your campaign?

A movement of people outside parliament. We have no illusions in parliament, you get people elected to parliament like the Alliance party did, like the Greens have, like Mana did, but there is no guarantee that will change things. My experience as a trade unionist organising workers to go on strike and lead themselves has seen real victories for workers under a Tory government. That’s without putting people in parliament, you can organise and win yourself.

For a lot of socialists their default party was Green. I voted Green for a long time. But it’s time to try something different.

A very vague goal.

Q: So you’re a place for people who are disillusioned with mainstream politics to go?

Yes and to actually to start that discussion about a new party of the left. Learning the lessons of past experiments.

We are explicitly clear that it’s a movement of the people, and of workers in the workplaces that will change things. We can change things ourselves.

NZ First is also a place for people who are disillusioned with mainstream politics, but not of the left. Both Labour and Greens, who will compete with each other in the by-election, try to appeal to the left.

Q: There has been a lot of coverage in the media about, and international surveys showing, rising inequality in NZ. How does that manifest in this electorate and, on a wider scale, what would you do to address it nationally?

He gives a long answer about how it manifests itself in Mt Albert, but makes no attempt to say how he would address it in the electorate let alone nationally.

Q: …What would you like to see to give people access to home ownership? What is your vision for a more equitable housing situation?

We need to plan society. I think what we need is 100,000 state houses. We need that huge vision that the left used to have.

That’s current Labour Party policy, and I’m sure Jacinda Ardern will be campaigning on housing..

We need good city living and you can build up. You can have nice apartments to live in, if we have enough green spaces so we reduce the carbon footprint as well. We need a huge vision.

I don’t see any vision in his answer.

Q: When you mention vision, at the last election there was about 1 million Kiwis who didn’t vote. It seems you don’t hear mainstream politicians talking about big visions, and people feel let down. Will that be your point of difference, that you are laying out a much bigger picture for voters, a vision that goes beyond just the electoral term?

I stand for a different kind of politics, based on people power and social movements themselves: Palestinian solidarity, Rent Control Now, State housing action coalition, unions that have won pay increases and defeated zero hours for workers in this area.

I think we need to have an alternative to that political class, that elite, and it needs to be led by working people themselves, the community themselves.

One obvious flaw with this is how much membership and interest in unions has declined in New Zealand over the last three decades.

Q: There’s been a lot of talk about immigration – especially as regards the growth of Auckland and pressure on housing. What have you got to say about that. Do you believe in immigration controls of any sort.

First, I think we need pro-migrant and pro-refugee voices on the left. There’s a dangerous game that’s going on, with scapegoating by both the Greens and Labour.

I am explicitly internationalist, pro migrant – I am a migrant myself. I believe we should have free movement for all… I believe we should have free movement for all, and that includes the Kiwi workers who have gone to Australia who are treated like second class citizens. We should have free and open travel for families. Part of that is repayment for the colonial legacy. Workers move to where they need work. Kiwis move to the UK for work and so on.

It’s highly unlikely New Zealand could obtain totally free movement with Australia and the UK. Brexit is in large part a reaction against freedom of movement of immigrants there.

Q: It’s not just an economic divide that is growing. Surveys have found Kiwi kids from poorer communities fare up to six times worse than other kids in some important subjects like maths. That’s opened up debate about an educational divide that’s also happening. How would you address that, to level the educational playing field?

First we need to reverse all of the attacks on social welfare, on benefits which have allowed people to go back in to training.

We need to restore free education for all, up to and including university.

Karl Marx talked about fishing in the morning, doing a bit of work here, and then be a student at night time.I think a lot of our schools could be hubs of cultural and learning activity, they don’t need to be limited to a 9pm-4pm existence.

We need to make war with the political class, to reverse these neo liberal attacks and start putting free education on the map.

Kids tend to go to bed at night. Getting them to do their homework can be a big enough challenge.

Q: Where will the resources come from?

We need to tax the rich … 50 60, 70 percent. I think we need to go back to that.

We need to tax multinationals that are making hundreds of millions of dollars.

Tax the rich more is not an unusual policy from the hard left, except for socialists. I thought they wanted the state to own and run everything.

What about personal taxation? Should we have higher rates of income tax?

I think workers pay too much tax and we should reduce tax for workers. We should abolish GST and you could abolish tax on lower paid workers, abolish secondary tax for people who doing two or more jobs.

You could get rid of all of those taxes, with one simple tax we’d call the Robin Hood tax, the Tobin tax, the financial transaction tax FTT. That’s a 1% tax on every financial transaction that is done digitally. For individuals, a 1% tax on everything would be a reduction in tax as we’re already paying 15%. But for the corporations that move around millions or billions around, they’ll start to have their ticket clipped.

We don’t pay GST on everything, only for goods and services.

If companies have their tax rates doubled plus have a transaction tax, as Carolan seems to be suggesting, then the cost of goods and services will rise by a lot more than 15%.

I asked a friend, a local solo mum in your electorate, what she’d like to see. She said more community initiatives – like a community centre where other mums could meet and support one another. Also she was made redundant when she went back to work after maternity leave and, like many of us as you’ve said, she lives in fear that her rent will go up or that she’ll have to move from her rental unit, which she’s happy in.

A statement, not a question, but Joe goes on to respond to himself, at great length. Abbreviated somewhat:

As to how to build a sense of community, I think this electoral campaign is part of that process. It is not about ‘vote for Joe’ or even ‘vote for the socialists’ as an abstract political philosophy. It’s here’s a group of people who live in the area, who care about these issues, who are out fighting for them, whether we get elected or not.

We want to see if there’s a thousand people out here who believe in socialism together. If there is, they’re a more important network together, coming together to fight for these causes, because that’s how you’ll get change.

A thousand votes won’t come close to winning the by-election, but it would be a sign of improvement. Carolan got 290 votes standing for Mana in Mt Albert in 2014.

So we have small networks of people, but we want to make those networks bigger, we don’t want them to be tokenistic, we want to actually change the world.

What we’re actually asking people to do is get involved in movements. If you want to fight for rent control, then join the housing movement. If you’re concerned about low pay, join a union. We’ll come and show you how to organise your workplace, how to fight back, get a big pay increase. These things are possible without politicians but it IS politics. Working class politics.

He seems to be confusing his union role with the role of a member of Parliament. Unless he is standing to promote his union work. He doesn’t sound confident any providing any serious challenge in the by-election.

While socialists talk big ideals – “we want to actually change the world” – they sound resigned to small victories at best.

If Carolan doubles his 2014 vote, standing on a socialist ticket without getting party support, he will be doing very well – but it won’t come close to being world changing.

I suggest he tries a more concise and more clearly defined message, but I suspect there isn’t a big market for his socialist ideals.

 

Is ‘socialism’ a dirty word?

Mark Dawson, editor of the Wanganui Chronicle, has written about Socialism alive and kicking. 

…here in NZ, socialism seems to be a dirty word, those tagged with it presumably having no table manners and bad body odour.

It depends entirely on how the term is used, and where – Cameron Slater tends to refer to socialism differently to Chris Trotter.

Dawson is obviously a fan of some sort of socialism.

Yet, in reality, socialism is about some sense of equality and fairness in society, some sense of the people – via a democratically elected government – having control over the economy and the services which the country provides by means of taxation, and having some counter-balance to the power of private wealth.

In other words, we might regard New Zealand as a fairly socialist country, and John Key as, at least, a fellow traveller.

It is interesting how words are used and invested with meaning, often for political ends.

Other writers in the Chronicle have noted attempts to turn “activist” into an offensive and derogatory term. It is usually done by those in power who fear they may be the targets of that activism.

Those opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership have been called activists as though it was a bad thing. Some of them are probably socialists, too.

Yes they are – there were socialist banners at last weekend’s Dunedin protest meeting, and on the International Socialist Organisation of Aotearoa/New Zealand website Andrew Tait wrote a post about it – Dunedin Protests the TPPA.

“Socialist”: Someone concerned with the greater good of society, rather than their own personal gain.

Sounds great – and most people have some concern about the greater good of society, although almost everyone also have thoughts about personal gain as well.

“Activist”: Someone who takes action to change aspects of their society which they believe are wrong.

That’s fine too, if the action is reasonable and doesn’t impinge too much on the rights of others.

But I presume those are Dawson’s definitions. Here’s Oxford’s take on it:

socialist

noun: A person who advocates or practises socialism

adjective: Adhering to or based on the principles of socialism

So it’s necessary to check our socialism, and that says that the term has had quite different meanings, from anarchism to social democracy.

socialism

A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

Policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.

(In Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.

Here’s where the International Socialist Organisation of Aotearoa/New Zealand stand on it.

Socialism

Capitalism is a system of crisis, exploitation and war in which production is for profit – not for human need. Although workers create society’s wealth, they have no control over its production or distribution. A new society can only be built when workers collectively seize control of that wealth and create a new state in which they will make the decisions about the economy, social life and the environment.

Workers’ Power

Only the working class has the power to create a society free from exploitation, oppression and want. Liberation can be won only through the struggles of workers themselves, organised independently of other classes and fighting for real workers’ power – a new kind of state based on democratically elected workers’ councils. China and Cuba, like the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, have nothing to do with socialism. They are repressive state capitalist regimes. We support the struggles of workers against every ruling class.

Liberation From Oppression

We fight for democratic rights. We are opposed to all forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. These forms of oppression are used to divide the working class. We support the rights of all oppressed groups to organise for their own defence. All forms of liberation are essential to socialism and impossible without it.

Revolution Not Reformism

Despite the claims of the Labour party and trade union leaders, the structures of the present parliament, army, police, and judiciary cannot be taken over and used by the working class. They grew up under capitalism and are designed to protect the ruling class against workers. There is no parliamentary road to socialism.

Internationalism

Workers in every country are exploited by capitalism, so the struggle for socialism is part of a worldwide struggle. We oppose everything that divides workers of different countries, We oppose all immigration controls. We campaign for solidarity with workers in other countries. We oppose imperialism and support all genuine national liberation struggles.

Revolutionary Organisation

To achieve socialism, the most militant sections of the working class have to be organised into a revolutionary socialist party. Such a party can only be built by day-to-day activity in the mass organisations of the working class. We have to prove in practise that reformist leaders and reformist ideas are opposed to their own interests. We have to build a rank and file movement within the unions.

That’s quite different to Dawson’s slant, far more extreme, revolutionary, than “someone concerned with the greater good of society”.

And ‘activists’ can range from “someone who takes action to change aspects of their society which they believe are wrong” to “collectively seize control”, with contradictions like “we fight for democratic rights” and “there is no parliamentary road to socialism”.

I think that most people in New Zealand are status quoists rather than revolutionaries, where most battles are over which tweaks to the balance between capitalism socialism will be made.

Socialism is a dirty word only if used in a dirty context.

But socialism with all capitalism rejected is not something many Kiwis aspire to.

Most of us are even happy for international corporations to make it easy for us to find stuff on the Internet with ever cheaper and more powerful devices that only the research and development and manufacturing money of capitalists could have enable.

And most of us are happy for ‘big pharma’ to develop new antibiotics and cancer drugs with their big money. Most of us being able to survive early childhood is kinda nice. Even for socialists.

Perhaps Dawson could write his next on editorial asking if capitalism and corparation really are dirty words.

Environmental Greens versus Socialist Greens

David Hay has blogged J’Accuse: bullying in the Green Party about what he thinks is the real problem he has become the centre of – a classic conflict between environmental Greens and social justice/socialist Greens.

What this is about, actually, is an attempt by a group within the Green Party to stack the next Green caucus with “Left of Labour” MPs. This faction thinks that environmental and ecological issues are secondary to social justice issues; they see the party’s role as “the conscience of government” and our future as a minor coalition partner in a Labour-led government.

I am, very openly, part of the Green Party membership that thinks differently. It is my view that environmental and ecological problems are central to the Green Party’s political position; that we should become a party of government, one day leading the government; and that we can only achieve that by appealing to a broader centre-left constituency. Which means being complementary to Labour, in the short term, but ultimately replacing it as the party of the centre-left.

So the bullies’ agenda is political, not personal.

And…

But now, under Metiria and Russel’s leadership, the “Left of Labour” group has become greedy for power. It controls the key committees, including the candidate selection committee and the party executive. It maintains a pretence of consensus decision-making, but not the substance.

Russel and Metiria’s leadership, by their actions and omissions, is withering the Green Party.

This whole debacle is mostly about politics: the direction and future of the party, and the lack of viable candidates and MPs-in-waiting in Auckland.

I have had an exchange with Marama Davidson today on The Daily Blog starting with someone else’s question being fobbed off  – she is rated as a must have MP in left/green circles and labels herself a “Social justice advocate”. She had done a post promoting herself, dissing David Hay and then when asked questions tried to say “No. Move along”.

Interestingly on a hard leftie blog I was getting thumbs up and Davidson was getting thumbs down. This suggests all is not one happy Green camp on the Green left.

Mana Party and Socialists

Mana is well known as the Hone Harawira party and as a party promoting Maori interests. Not so well known is the strong socialist connections with Mana.

Socialist Mana is not obvious from their website. There are signs of socialist inclinations, but nothing obvious or open.

From the Home page

MANA | Movement of the People | Nau mai haere mai and a Warm Welcome to all.

And a home page slide gives a hint:Mana revolution

From Kaupapa | Vision

Mana, the Movement of the People

MANA, movement of the people, is Aotearoa’s newest political force, led by Hone Harawira, Independent MP for Tai Tokerau.

MANA also speaks to the pride and dignity of workers who built this country into the special place that we all call home.MANA is born from a need/ or desire to be a truly independent Maori voice in parliament.”

MANA is also seen as the natural home to a growing number of ordinary Kiwis cast adrift by this National government, and despairing of Labour’s inability to provide a viable alternative.”

“Government is giving tax breaks to the rich, bailing out failed finance companies, selling off our natural resources, turning prisons into private profit ventures, and spending $36 million on a yacht race on the other side of the world, while ordinary New Zealanders are starving, workers are being forced into slavery by the 90-day bill, and Maori rights are being drowned in the Raukumara Basin.

“In the land of milk and honey, those massive inequalities are unacceptable.

MANA will promote policies that allow all New Zealanders to lead a good life.

MANA will guarantee a measure of people power and accountability from its MPs, that has never been seen before in this country.

MANA is a principle we bring out of our history, to serve us in the present, and to provide us with the platform to transform this nation.

Some general anti rich, anti profit, pro poor, and claiming to represent “the people” and promoting “people power”. But nothing specifically socialist.

Founding Principles:

MANA Founding Principles

The mission of the MANA Movement is to bring rangatiratanga to the poor, the powerless and the dispossessed.  It is they who carry the brunt of government by the rich and powerful for the rich and powerful.  We will lead the fight against welfare that punishes children, against greed that is rewarded by corporate payouts, against the damage to Papatūānku by pollution and oil drilling and against governments who fill the pockets of foreign companies at our expense.

The MANA Movement will support Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the basis of the New Zealand Constitution and will uphold Te Reo Māori as a taonga and ensure its protection.

We stand for the right to fulfilling work with a decent living wage.

We stand for full employment so that everyone can give back to their communities in a meaningful way and with dignity.

We stand for a tax system that abolishes GST and levies financial transactions, taking away the heavy tax burden that falls on the poor and middle income earners.

We stand for every family’s right to secure, healthy housing.

We stand for every child’s right to a free, high quality education that prepares them for their world.

We will support students’ right to enter the workforce free of the burden of student debt.

In short, we will fight to bring the voice of the poor, the powerless and the dispossessed into Parliament.  And we will fight to give Te Tiriti o Waitangi the mana and life that was envisaged by those tūpuna who signed it in 1840.

A mix of Maori/Treaty and general socialist orientated principles without being specific.

A site search on “socialism” has one hit, a news item by Harawira, and this makes some socialist connections clear.

Posted on April 9, 2013 by admin in Ae MarikaNews

On Saturday night I was privileged to host my first ever citizenship ceremony as a Member of Parliament. The ceremony was for a good friend of mine, Mike Kyriazopoulos and his wife Joanne. Mike is a mix of Greek and Jewish ancestry, and used to live and work in England where he met his wife Joanne.

Their citizenship application was finally approved a couple of weeks ago, and the ceremony was held at the Auckland Trades Hall in Auckland as part of a special tribute evening for Mike who is a committed socialist, a union activist, and chairman of the MANA branch of Te Raki Paewhenua.

Mike gave his oath of allegiance in Maori and followed that with his own personal vow to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the principles of international socialism.

That’s  celebrating a Mana branch chairman who is a committed socialist with his own personal vow to honour the principles of international socialism.

And a search on “socialist” finds: Public meeting about the Mana Movement in Melbourne

Posted on November 13, 2012 by admin in Korero, Speeches
The following speech was given by Grant Brookes who delivered it to people who were interested in the MANA Movement in Australia.  If you want further background to the event, contact Grant Brookes –  grant_brookes@paradise.net.nz.
MANA – A movement of the people in Aotearoa/New Zealand 

Talk to Socialist Alliance public meeting, Melbourne

And in this speech:

I speak also as a socialist, and a member of the Workers Party. And I am a member of MANA.

The three main socialist groups in Aotearoa have also backed MANA and are active within it – Socialist Aotearoa, the International Socialist Organisation and my group, the Workers Party.

And if you look at those groups you find a more open connection between Mana and socialists.

Socialist Aotearoa

What is Socialist Aotearoa?

Socialist Aotearoa is an activist organisation of anti-capitalist workers and students. We are involved in the union movement as activists, delegates, and organisers. We support theAotearoa is Not for Sale coalition against privatisation. We work withGlobal Peace and Justice Auckland against imperialism and war. We are part of the MANA Movement.

International Socialist Organisation of Aotearoa/New Zealand

WHO ARE WE?

The International Socialist Organisation is a group of revolutionaries in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We are active in campaigns, protests, on campuses, and in the trade unions. We are part of the Mana movement.

Workers Party

Fightback (formerly the Workers Party) is a socialist political party active in campaigns nationwide.

We aim to build a new political movement based on the interests of workers in Aotearoa/NZ and internationally.

Our activities include organising in workplaces, campaigning against imperialism and supporting the Mana movement.

Fightback stands on the following platform:

1. Opposition to all New Zealand and Western imperialist intervention in the Third World and all Western imperialist alliances.

2. Secure jobs for all with a living wage and a shorter working week.

3. For the unrestricted right of workers to organise and take industrial action and no limits on workers’ freedom of speech and activity.

4. For working class unity and solidarity – equality for women, Maori and other ethnic minorities and people of all sexual orientations and identities; open borders and full rights for migrant workers.

5. For a working peoples’ republic.

There are some strong union connections with Mana:

Mana Kaimahi Network established

Syd Keepa (Mana Movement spokesperson on employment and industrial relations) and Mike Treen have agreed to establish a network of unionists who support the Mana Movement. This group will be called the Mana Kaimahi Network and they want to encourage active participation of working people in the Mana Movement leading up to the election on November 26.

In the first instance they would like to invite active unionists and union officials to join an email network and/or facebook group to coordinate activities. Until the election they will focus on distributing Mana election material in workplaces, communities and unions; enrolling potential Mana voters; and identifying Mana supporters within the trade union movement to join Mana.

In the near future this group will look forward to the possibility of forming workplace, union or cross-union branches of Mana members. Their aim is to have an active role in promoting policy that upholds the interests of working people.

Mike Treen has had socialist associations for a long time.

And other prominent Mana members are are also prominent socialists.

John Minto, Mana list candidate last election and Mana Auckland mayoral candidate.

Sue Bradford is known to be very left wing with a socialist past.

Matt McCarten is another unionist/socialist involved with Mana:

McCarten has an interest in New Left and socialist views, calling into question capitalism and the Establishment.

Mana was built on Hone Harawira is more Maori nationalist with socialist tendencies, similar to Annette Sykes who is also prominent in Mana. But strong socialist elements have also been prominent in the establishment of Mana.

It’s curious that the socialists are open about their Mana connections but Mana seems coy.

Deserve

I think one of the key words in current use is ‘deserve’. Not used in the mentor story here but he bloody well deserves his success, having earned it despite a crap start.

The word is more often used in an opposite context. “I deserve better/more”, I don’t deserve this” etc – spoken by people who wish for an easier life to be handed to them by the state, provided by everyone but themselves.

Maybe they deserve some sympathy but mostly they need to get off their backsides get their own act together, and to stop praying for an act of god or government to save them from their predicament.

‘Deserve’ is also used in politics, like ‘everyone deserves a living wage’. The socialist’s dream, everyone else’s nightmare.

‘Deserve’ is the result of effort.

McCarten attempts yet another socialist revolution

Matt McCarten sounds unhappy about “unworthy” non supporters of his causes, and suggests those who can’t be bothered with his politics are “beneath” him.

Our most valuable asset is the right to protest

Those people who feel voting is beneath them can now prove they are worthy citizens, step up and become active members of the protest movement.

If they can’t be bothered and would rather stay home watching the inspiring footage of protesters in other countries putting their lives on the line, they should turn their TVs off. They aren’t worthy.

The election failed for the socialists of last century.

Lanbour lurched left and lost ground on a failed Anti strategy. And then the left of Labour lost the leadership battle.

The Green Party gained ground by playing down it’s more socialist policies and packing itself as a serious contender for the middle ground, knowing their faithful would crucify them if they actually ventured there with government.

The Mana Party held it’s own Hone in parliament but failed to make further gains.

Clearly, the electorate was not inspired by the Anti-Asset Sales election campaign

And Occupy in New Zealand failed to ignite the population once people realised the ‘movement’ was dominated by recycled socialists activists. Worthwhile ideals were clobbered by serial clobberers.

McCarten and Mana tried to use Occupy to promote their cause in the election and failed.

So he tries to talk up yet another revolution.

We couldn’t stop these asset sales at the ballot box last month, but we sure can do it by protesting in the streets.

Democracy isn’t just about ticking a bit of paper every three years. We all know friends who voted National who are opposed to asset sales. I say to them and others who oppose selling our children’s future that they should join a national movement of protest against these sales.

The Anti Asset Sale campaigning is little more than yet another an excuse to promote the ‘us versus them’ class war the socialists still seem to think will win them power over the people. I don’t think many National voters will buy that.

If the McCarten socialists were really interested in power for the people they would accept the democratic mandate delivered by the recent election. And they would have a lot more people actually on their side.

‘Anti Asset Sale’s is like a green hoarding sticker over ‘Socialists for Class War’.

Our most valuable asset is our democracy.

Part of our democracy is a right to protest. Which includes a right to protest about hidden motives in other protests.