Thursday, 28 April 2011

A New Left Party? An invitation

by Bob van Ruyssevelt
Auckland Regional Chairperson

There has been talk, fuelled mainly by media speculation, about the possible formation of a new left wing party. Denials by the main suspects that they are or have been involved in any such talks have not ended the discussion but the facts are plain.

Hone Harawira is doing his own thing and while it may well turn out to be more progressive than the Maori Party it is not going to be the democratic socialist party that is needed. The other two names that are brought up are Matt McCarten and Sue Bradford. Both spoke on this subject in a public session at the last Unite Union national conference and each made it clear that while they were sympathetic to the idea neither thought that the conditions existed now for such a move.

The need for a parliamentary party to the left of Labour has never been more clear. The National led government's attacks on the working class are being stepped up and Labour's opposition is weak and ineffective. The Green Party does not offer a coherent alternative.

There is a need for a party that can show voters that there is an alternative to the “solutions” being offered by National and labour. The Alliance Party has been doing this since 1989. Clearly it does not now have the influence it had in the days when membership numbered tens of thousands and it had ten MPs. The principled stand the party took against its then leader Jim Anderton over the Afghanistan invasion cost it any representation in parliament without which any party struggles.

We think it important that the voters be offered a clear left alternative and invite all left wing organisations and individuals to join the Alliance as full members to help this happen. We envisage that people will continue to carry on with their membership of and participation in any left wing party or group which is not standing candidates against the Alliance.

Who do we think will support this approach? Members of organisations that believe that parliamentary struggle is an important strategy (obviously not the only one) in the fight for progressive changes. Who won't? People who think that parliament is irrelevant or that we can't change what happens there.

What are we offering? Full membership of the Alliance Party and the opportunity to stand under its banner in the upcoming election (length of membership qualifications are able to be waived if necessary). Electorates are able to choose their own candidates with national endorsements so opportunities do exist.

We believe the Alliance has a good set of progressive policies which would serve for this election. Obviously they will not go far enough for some and one or two may need updating but broad agreement should be possible. There will be nationally agreed themes for this election but there will be the possibility for people to push special interests so long as they are not in direct contradiction to existing policies. There will be limited scope for major policy debates before this election but after that there will be time aplenty.

Should there be some major new genuinely popular initiative for a different new left party the Alliance party will not be an obstacle but in the meantime we are here and call for your support.

To view the Alliance Party's membership form click here.

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