Saturday 8 March 2008

EDITORIAL: Mob-ilisation

In the last week, UNITYblog's election editorial , The Centre Cannot Hold, has upset and provoked an oppressed minority that your humble editor was previously unaware of. That oppressed minority is, of course, the NZ Rich, and comments such as the following have come in hard and fast- "While I agree with much you stand for I find statements like "tax the rich (till they bleed)", not particuarly constructive. Have you consdidered that not everyone with wealth is born into it or exploits others to gain it? Yes there is an uneven distribution of wealth through society but not all who earn a lot money have trodden on others to get there. Some people have come from nothing, had little education and worked long and hard to improve their lives and the provide for their families." However, the most spirited defence of New Zealand's besieged and quivering capitalists has come from media commentator and Labour Party member Chris Trotter, who last November took an unpopular stance defending the Terror Raids on Maori and anarchist activists. Chris now takes the "remnants" of Aotearoa's revolutionary socialist tradition to task for our wanton bloodlust, for suggesting that corporations and the super wealthy be taxed strongly to provide reforms like free education, free public transport, free broadband, a $20ph minimum wage and an emergency housing programme backed up by rent control. So, once work finished on Friday afternoon, up stormed your trusty UNITYblog editor to the fortress of Auckland's Social Democratic Left, Galbraith's Alehouse, to do (metaphorical) war with the evil microbreweaucrats. And instead of eardrums being assaulted (until they bled), he found that, point for point, Doctor Trotter conceded that each one of the five points made economic sense, even from a traditional Labour Party point of view. Young Kiwi workers are fleeing to Sydney, London and Dublin to escape crippling student debts, a nine billion dollar black hole that will never, ever be recouperated. The political class that inflicts this unjust tax on Generation Y benefitted from free tertiary education themselves, yet have the gall to break intergenerational solidarity and claim that such reforms are impossible in the "modern" economic environment. The same goes with housing, wages and the very planet that we live on. UNITYblog would like to ask, just exactly who is being taxed hardest, and who is bleeding most.... The answer is, as it has always been in this rotten system, the poor and the working poor. Free education has been stolen from them. A house in working class Otara now costs over $400,000. Families such as the Muliaga's struggle to pay electricity bills and rent, whilst paying a disproportionate slice of their minimum wage income in tax. This is the blood of South Auckland that is boiling under the shining chrome veneer of the City of Sails. But small cogs move bigger cogs, as the triumphs of Germany's Die Linke party prove. There is no government in the State of Hesse for the last three months, because a principled left wing party refuses business as usual, and instead promises to be "the resistance inside parliament and the resistance in the streets." And there are stirrings in Auckland's student, union, ecological and community movements that the space to the left of Labour and the Greens, once filled by the Alliance party, could yet be filled in this election year. No one is under any illusions that this will be filled rapidly, but the rapid advances of the New Left in other countries such as Greece and Germany suggest that the mood is contagious. Therefore, UNITYblog would like to thank Doctor Trotter for raising it's humble five point programme with the remnants of the Labour "Left", as the only possible antidote to a Phil Goff palace coup. (There is talk already of New Zealand's railways being nationalised. Good. Now nationalise Stagecoach too.) We promise to continue to push ideas that are "20 years ahead of the mainstream", because that is, well, the job of the of the radical Left! As as no other than Rosa Luxemburg herself said, "Revolutionaries are the best fighters for reforms". Being verbally attacked in NZ's second biggest newspaper, the Dominion Post, meant however, our 5 points got across to a wider audience than usual. Scorn about their economic infeasability under capitalism took second place to concern about the revolutionary left's turn of phrase, that would surely end in labour camps and bullets, not ballots. Historically, the Elites of the world have always had a primordial fear of the masses in motion- what the peasants and poor of the French Revolution called the Mobilisation, the ruling class abbreviated to the Mob. UNITYblog assures its readers that our tongue in cheek playfulness and colourful, sometimes passionate language will continue unabated, now that we have earned the ire of NZ's oppressed super-rich. Read any mainstream newspaper, and you will see how the capitalist media demonises Unionists as dinosaurs and militants, youth as apathetic and lazy, Maori as criminal and violent, and you will hear very little in the way of rebuttal from the liberal chattering classes. UNITYblog promises to be on the side of the poor, and bring back a little bit of the vernacular of the class struggle to make some of the unjust and powerful feel the fear for a change. Mobilising the poor and dispossessed of this land against privilege does not scare us.

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