The Unite Union's Mike Treen wants you to vote for a Labour government that is still committed to neoliberal policies. But he can't offer any substantial reasons why you should vote for such a government. 

DESPITE  BEING  supposedly opposed to neoliberalism and professing to socialist beliefs, the national director  of the Unite Union  has called for the election of a Labour led government, with the Green's, Mana and maybe (who knows?) the Internet Party tagging along behind.

None of this comes as any surprise. Mike Treen has already indicated his support for such a conglomeration before and, as a senior member of the Mana Party, he'll be supporting the Mana leadership in its desire to go to the electorate  with this  lacklustre line-up. And no doubt his old mate, Matt McCarten, has had a quiet word in his ear.

Mike Treen is linked to  Socialist Aotearoa  but some of its members don't share all of  his Labour friendly views.  On its blog Joe Carolan, who also works for the Unite Union,  writes:

A radical left wing party that is captured in a coalition with Social democracy signs its own suicide note. Social democratic parties profess reforms, but they are committed to managing the capitalist system, not replacing it.  You cannot do both.  Mana will be more effective as an independent, left wing force outside government, pushing Labour and the Greens leftward where successful, organising resistance against any cutbacks and attacks where necessary.  It should not sacrifice this Tino for the sake of being a 2 or 3 MP strong mudguard.  We should be in the vanguard instead.

But even  this view is  entirely misplaced as it promotes illusions about 'pushing' Labour and the Green's to the left. When are people going to wake up and realise  that ANY strategy involving Labour is doomed to failure? It should be abundantly clear by now  that the issues facing left wing  politics in this country have got nothing to do with the Labour Party.

Treen wants people  to vote for a Labour government that has said on more than one occasion that it has no intention  of breaking with the neoliberal policies that have dominated this country for over three decades. But Treen wants people to accept that it'll be 'business as usual'. What an inspiring vision of the future and it highlights all that is wrong about the terribly pessimistic and limited  politics that Treen promotes.

Is this really all that the so-called 'left' in this country can come up with?

Of course Treen is not an idiot and he well  knows this will be a difficult  proposition to sell. This is a bit of problem for  people like him because they somehow need to convince the 800,000 people  who didn't  vote last  time  to deliver their votes to Labour this time round.

The huge  problem for Treen  is that  he hasn't got much to offer. The cupboard is mostly bare.

Without an  alternative to market - led policies  and politics and a new vision of how society could be organised, Treen is left desperately  looking for anything that might convince an angry and  disillusioned  ex-voter  that David 'socialism is not a word I use' Cunliffe is their friend.

His main selling point - if you want to call it that -  is that Labour would  increase  the minimum wage to $15 hour.

But with  the National Government having raised the minimum wage to $14.25 , a raise of 75 cents is small change indeed, especially since real  wages continue to decline.

Frankly I think many people will be telling Treen to go sell crazy elsewhere.

It certainly won't propel people to the polling booths. The tragedy is that none of the obvious real work - to build a genuine left wing party in this country - has been done in favour of supporting a Labour Party that is well past its use-by date.


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