Martyn Bradbury doesn't like the politics of comedian Russell Brand - and he wants to indoctrinate the kids into accepting that there is no alternative to 'representative' democracy.
The Daily Blog's Martyn Bradbury thinks you need to vote for a Labour-led government. He's been saying that monotonously for years and each year that goes by the number of people who are receptive to his call continues to decline. Martyn Bradbury has been told, in no uncertain terms, to go and try sell crazy somewhere else.
But as the lights go out on the failed social democratic project, Martyn Bradbury is back in his best Herb Tarlek suit, trying to sell the same shonky goods he tried to sell at the last election. This time he's trying to sell David Cunliffe as some kind inspirational political leader with a vision - and hoping you won't take the time to read the fine print.
That's right. David Cunliffe. The man who leads a political party that has already assured business interests that it won't be interfering with the neoliberal consensus. He's the man who think 'socialism' is a dirty word - as opposed to 'the free market', a term that he happily employs. He's a man who leads a parliamentary party full of time servers and careerists. There's not a socialist among them.
You don't want any of this unpalatable political gruel you say? You want something more? You're fed up with corrupt and unprincipled electoralism? Tough. Because none of the parliamentary parties are offering anything more. Whether it's Cunliffe's 'neoliberalism lite' or Russel Norman's 'green capitalism' the outcome is more of what we have come to loathe - neoliberal politics and policies.
What about the Mana Party you say? I don't think so. It hasn't ruled out making a deal with Labour and I think that's what it will do.
But Bradbury is as much a part of the present sick system as John Key and he wants you to believe - that by merely voting every three years - you have a real say in the democratic process. Yes, he thinks you are stupid and will believe any old rubbish. He blusters:
In NZ, we have one of the most representative forms of Democracy on the planet, to pretend that engagement here won’t change things is simply absurd and is the reasoning of the lazy. Brand’s defence of apathy is righteous, but not right, engaging in the democratic process and lending our support to those processes that ensure democracy is as representative as possible is our responsibility and acknowledging that social obligation is far harder than the seduction of just giving up.
That's right - Bradbury isn't particularly enamoured with Russell Brand. Last year the English comedian launched a celebrated attack on the failure of representative democracy and called for a new revolutionary politics that isn't beholden to the political failures of the past.
In a way that the old and declining politics of Martyn Bradbury will never achieve, Brand has caught the mood of the times. His famous interview with the BBC's Jeremy Paxman as had over 9 million views. His guest edited issue of the New Statesman, focusing on revolution, sold through the roof.
Perhaps Brand is on to something? That's one of the real failings of people like Bradbury and others of a similar political bent - they don't talk the language of the times. That's why no one is listening to them. Bradbury might like to sneeringly describe Brand's Paxman interview as 'infamous' but it is Brand's politics that are on the ascent while Bradbury's are in a rapid descent.
As I wrote last year:
We have had decades of our so-called 'representatives' doing what they like when they like. There has been no engagement with the public except when they want our vote. Even them our 'representatives' have gone ahead and pursued policies outside of their mandates. Did you vote for increasing social inequality and mass unemployment? Did you vote for austerity cuts? No, neither did I.
There is a severe and growing disconnect between ordinary people and the political decision-making process in both local body politics and in Parliament. More and more people are now realizing that their elected representatives do not represent them. The more that they tell us that they do, the more we don't believe them.
It is not exaggerating to say that we have a crisis of representative democracy. Voting every few years for a new set of oppressors isn't democracy and it is not surprising that more and more people are opting out of this charade.
Crisis? What crisis? Unable and unwilling to recognise that representative democracy has failed, Bradbury thinks the system can be made more 'democratic' through having elections on public holidays and brainwashing the kids into accepting that 'representative' democracy really is 'representative'. Bradbury calls them 'civic education classes'. It all sounds disturbingly Stalinist.
As Brand observed in a recent Guardian column:
The only reason to vote is if the vote represents power or change. I don't think it does. I fervently believe that we deserve more from our democratic system than the few derisory tit-bits tossed from the carousel of the mighty, when they hop a few inches left or right. The lazily duplicitous servants of The City expect us to gratefully participate in what amounts to little more than a political hokey cokey where every four years we get to choose what colour tie the liar who leads us wears.
One thing is for sure. We deserve a helluva lot more than what Bradbury is offering.
Politics needs a complete upheaval and we need democratic renewal. As representative democracy sinks into a deepening crisis we need to fundamentally re-examine what we mean by 'democracy'.
I share the view that a real democracy is a direct and participatory democracy, in which all citizens have the possibility and the right to participate in the decisions that affect their lives and their communities.
Until Bradbury begins talking about this then I have no interest in his fundamentally undemocratic views on democracy. Bradbury makes a living off the present system and has a vested interest in defending it. He assumes that it works for everyone else when it clearly doesn't.
Contrary to what Bradbury thinks, it is our civic responsibility not to support the present system. Power to the people!