Demand a better future and don't vote. 

I WON'T BE voting this year. I'll be joining the 800,000 or so folk that decided not to vote at the last election and, more than likely, most won't vote again this year.

This will come as a  big disappointment to one Samantha  Anderson, a Labour Party supporter,  who thinks that by not voting I will be displaying unseemly apathy and must be whipped into shape immediately.  I will come to love David Cunliffe! I will pull my electoral socks up! She writes:

If we can motivate and encourage even half of the 800,000 to vote this time, then the left will have a damn good chance of winning.  Talk to your neighbours talk to your workmates, encourage them to vote, educate them, if we want change then we have to be the change.  We the people have the power, do not be fooled into thinking we don’t. People throughout history fought and died for your right to vote, and still to this day people fight and die to have this right, so to choose not to vote is at the very least disrespectful to their memory.

This is  condescending and insulting  stuff - right up there with Martyn Bradbury's  proposal to brainwash  school children  to accept that representative democracy is the next best thing to sliced bread, and not the failed and corrupt political system that it really is.

According to Anderson we can bring about 'change' by voting  for another  right-wing Labour Government. Only an idiot can't work out that 'change'  is more than merely changing the personnel running the country on behalf of the rich and powerful.

So, Samantha, if you want to vote for business-friendly David 'socialism is not a word I use' Cunliffe then good luck to you - but don't pretend that you are somehow politically or morally  superior to all of us who won't  participate in your charade.

A vote for the  so-called 'Coalition of the Left'  will be a vote for the continuation of the neoliberal policies that have dominated this country for over three decades.  It will be a vote for Labour-led government that will be just as enthusiastic about promoting  and defending the interests  of capitalism as a National-led government. 

Remember this is also  what  the union bureaucracy are promoting - and will be spending rank and file money on trying to achieve.  All the crimes that Labour government's have committed since 1984  have been conveniently swept under the carpet by dirty union bosses that have refused to fight - ever. They now want you to vote Labour or one of its fellow travellers. Show them the door.

But I'm not promoting cynicism or passivity in the face of these dismal 'choices'. As I've written many times before, we need to begin the work of building a genuine left wing and independent  electoral alternative. I'd vote for that and, I think, so would many other people.

But I won't be voting for a Labour-led government that will inevitably demonstrate its loyalty to the system of profit rather than people's needs.

As the great American socialist Eugene Debs said, “I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it, than vote for something I don’t want, and get it.“


  1. I am always supportive of arguments in favour of not voting, since non-voters get such a patronising treatment from liberals and conservatives alike (as you note). I wonder though about the smoothness of the connection between a political class that palpably doesn't represent the interests of a large and growing minority of voters, and the genuine ignorance of the political that exists and grows alongside it. One feeds into the other, no doubt, yet I think it would be simplistic to say "working class people don't vote because left wing parties don't represent them", and segue into "hence we need to build an independent electoral alternative that does, and they'll vote for it".

    Having listened to Hone Harawira talk about what that apathy looks like in his electorate (people who don't know who he is, who don't know who the PM is, who don't know what an MP is) I wonder how we go about reconstructing the categories of the political three decades after the New Right reforms, and if building a socialist alternative is the most urgent task in a society that not only has no appetite for socialism, but it has no appetite for politics.

  2. I'm not advocating an explicitly socialist party but one with broad left aspirations. Perhaps similar to Die Linke (New Left) in Germany or Left Unity in Britain or Syriza in Greece. But such is the right wing nature of New Zealand politics any party that advocates policies that are not based on the assumptions of neoliberalism, will be treated as 'radical'.

    This is what we are confronted with in 2014 with a discredited and failed social democracy, as elsewhere, having actively collaborated with the neoliberal offensive. Unfortunately 2014 will also see so-called 'socialists' openly campaigning for the election of another neoliberal Labour-led government on the basis it is the 'lesser evil'.

    I'm not going to try and discuss your other reasonable considerations here except to say that ordinary folk may not have an appetite for politics as it is conducted today.

    I might have more time for Hone Harawira's observations if he didn't lead a Mana Party that has now made it abundantly clear it will support Labour. I certainly don't tink this strategy will stem the apathy and cynicsim he has observed in his community and, indeed, will probably contribute to it.

  3. The decision to go into a coalition with Labour has not been decided. That decision will be made by the members, not Hone or the other leaders. I've spoken to a lot of Mana members and they don't want to go into coalition with Labour. I'm a member and I don't want to either.
    I read everything John Moore posts on Bryce's page (as you suggested in a previous comment), but its simplistic political analysis which fails to grasp the complexity of our colonial history. His writing on Mana's identity has been particularly average and shortsighted.
    I don't mean to suggest personal responsibility, but maybe you should join Mana and help us to shape it the way we both want. Sure, we might fail, and if they get used by Labour, then I'll be walking away too.
    The one thing I'd never advocate doing at this election is not vote. Mana will become your prediction only if people follow this idea of not voting.
    You should stop believing how the reporters portray Hone, because he doesn't choose if Mana goes into coalition...we the members do

  4. I accept that no decision has been made as yet on Mana's electoral relationship with Labour. But I would be alarmed - and annoyed - that people like Annette Sykes seem to be pre-empting that decision. Her comments about McCarten's appointment to the Labour Party opening up the opportunity for a 'Coalition of the Left' was, I thought, worthy of rebuke from the Mana leadership. Nothing has been said.

    Similarly Mike Treen of the Unite Union (closely connected to Mana) also made comments about ' a coalition of the left'. I didn't see Treen consulting with the Unite rank and file before making this statement. His column has been posted to the Unite website as well. I don't expect a contrary position to appear.

    The clear agenda has been set - although, in an attempt to deflect criticism, it may be presented as an 'agreement of understanding' with Labour or some other similar nonsense.

    Frankly, i think Mana is a lot cause so I'll decline your invitation to join.


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