The rumours about the formation of a new left party have been circulating in the mainstream media for weeks now.
Generally the stories have been insubstantial and limited to speculating who might be involved in such a party. There has been very little discussion about why such a party might be formed and what kind of policies it might be offering.
This is not altogether surprising since the corporate media would like us all to believe that there is no alternative to the neoliberal orthodoxy that has been strangling this country for well over two decades.
From all the reports such a party would be left social democratic in orientation but such is the reactionary nature of New Zealand mainstream politics and the servile nature of the corporate media, its easy for someone like Phil Goff to get away with describing such a party as 'hard left'.
Of course a party occupying the social democratic left of the political spectrum would be an embarrassment to Goff's Labour Party which is still peddling the fiction that it is 'centre left'.
Labour is only a centre left party if you think that means fulfilling the demands of capital and pursuing 'market friendly' policies.
Given the rhetoric we've heard from Goff of late you just know Labour will be promoting itself as the party of 'change' and ' a fresh start'.
But, in reality, all Labour is promising is to 'manage' the economy better than National. That might be enough to get the Labour hacks who write for The Standard all in a lather, but its certainly not about real economic and political change.
The Standard bloggers might be waving their Labour flags and singing 'Things Can Only Get Better' but Labour 's agenda still involves the majority paying for the blunders and greed of a few.
The existence of a new left party would also highlight the right wing policies of the Green Party.
Under the co-leadership of former socialist Russel Norman and former unemployed rights activist Metiria Turei, the party has adopted a conservative 'market friendly environmentalism', pitched at winning support from conservative voters.
The eco-socialist movement says that you can't save capitalism and save the planet. But any attempt to embrace eco-socialism within the Green Party has been stymied by the Green leadership.
So its little wonder that Russel Norman has been less than supportive of the idea of a new left party, declaring it would not attract sufficient voter support.
Norman is still insisting that the Green Party is 'progressive'.
He said recently : “We're very confident that our policies both look after social justice and fairness, but also look after the environment and the economy,”
But in fact the issues of social justice and fairness are not even addressed, never mind solved, by the Green Party's preoccupations with things like the labelling of food, the use of energy-efficient light bulbs and using public transport to get to work.
The scale of the crisis is such that we require deep and radical changes that are simply not on the Green's pro-capitalist agenda.
Any demands for environmental justice must include far reaching changes in the economy, workplaces, and infrastructure. Individual lifestyle changes (that might appeal to the middle class voter) are simply not enough.
Sue Bradford was entirely correct when she recently said that the 'deliberate appeal' of the Green Party is '...around the theme of clean green prosperity and I don't think that's something that resonates with beneficiaries and working people.'
So the mere rumours of a new left party have helped to highlight both Labour and the Green's role as defenders of an neoliberal orthodoxy that has plunged both the world and the New Zealand economies into an ever-deepening crisis. And not uncoincidentally both Phil Goff and Russel Norman have already fired a number of critical shots at a party that is still on the drawing board.
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