It's been encouraging to see the forces of the left swing in behind Matt McCarten's election campaign in the Mana electorate. The level of solidarity has been inspiring and one that, of course, has been completely ignored by the mainstream media and most of the blogosphere.
Groups like Socialist Aotearoa, the Workers Party and the Alliance have all lent their support to Matt's campaign. This has included the Alliance withdrawing its candidate and members of the Workers Party supplying food and moral support to some of McCarten's activists occupying an empty state house in Cannon's Creek.
They were both subsequently arrested along with two of Matt's people.
As McCarten commented : 'The State will let working class people wait on housing lists for seven years. Occupy an empty house and they’ll arrest you in seven minutes.'
It is in McCarten's campaign that we can see the emergence of a new New Zealand left, one that isn't beholden to the political expediencies of the politically bankrupt Labour Party and its allies in the trade union bureaucracy.
As Joe Carolan wrote recently in the Australian Green Left Weekly:' Labour has had this seat (Mana) since the 1930s and has done little to alleviate the poverty there. The escalating attacks on the working class in New Zealand requires the serious left to look for political as well as industrial solutions. The Labour Party just won't cut it. '
This emerging left has been around in some shape or form for several years but McCarten's campaign has brought it into sharper focus - which, I think, was always his intention.
It may well be that the old sectarian divisions have been put to rest against the backdrop of a local and global crisis, a long wave of recession, and the realisation that there are massive political struggles ahead. This will include a long and bitter struggle against a do-nothing trade union bureaucracy.
Matt's campaign has brought into focus the reality that the Labour Party and the CTU hierarchy are no friends of the left and the working class - however much its cheerleaders in the media try to peddle this particular fiction.
Labour Party President and aspiring MP Andrew Little, in his capacity as the national secretary of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), was quick to swing the resources of the EPMU behind's Labour's dreary candidate Kris Fa'afoi.
'Clearly we need to get out there and mobilise our support.' he told the NZ Herald.
I think that when he said 'we' Little actually meant 'I' because there has been no consultation with EPMU members as to whether they actually support Fa'afoi. Just like the EPMU's affiliation to the Labour Party, the EPMU's support for Fa'afoi has not been a subject for wider discussion.
Little also took the time to belittle McCarten's campaign.
Little, a union 'leader' who has betrayed numerous industrial struggles, described Matt's campaign as 'entertaining'- as if he was some kind of cheap vaudeville act. People should remember that the dismal and gutless Andrew Little is the future of the Labour Party.
McCarten has been in the national media about the issues of poverty and inequality - issues apparently not on Kris Fa'afoi's radar - and Little has nothing to offer but cheap insults. What a disgrace.