|Martyn Bradbury discovers a member of the Precariat.|
Martyn Bradbury and his guests on Waatea Fifth Estate (Face TV, Sky 83) discuss Labour's Future of Work conference and agree its great. How surprising.
WHEN ALL FOUR participants on Waatea Fifth Estate (including the host) more or less agree with each other you don't get so much a lively discussion - certainly not a debate - but rather four people basically admiring each other for their far-sighted views.
Martyn 'socialists are unhappy people' Bradbury invited on to the studio set normally used by the The Beat Goes On, Labour's David Parker, union boss Robert Reid and Green MP Denise Roche so they could all agree with each other about what a good thing Labour's Future of Work conference was. Perhaps they should have left it at that and done magic tricks for the next twenty minutes or so, but the show must go on. And it did. Slowly.
Bradbury, who you might remember called on us all to vote for a right wing Labour-led government at the last election, wanted to know if 'the left' had failed to do enough to oppose the right wing Labour Government's of the 1980s and 1990s that ushered in the same neoliberal policies that he continues to support now. Confused?
The way Bradbury described it you would of thought the entire left had raised the white flag of surrender to the forces of neoliberalism. That certainly isn't true. The socialist left, for example, consistently opposed Labour and campaigned for political action against its policies - only to be obstructed by the union bureaucracy and the so-called Labour left.
As he is a loyal supporter of these very same neoliberal policies, David Parker had nothing to contribute at this point.
But Robert Reid, not known for his union militancy, conceded that maybe he and his mates got it badly wrong. Indeed. Reid was a high ranking and loyal member of a union bureaucracy that played footsy with Labour while it shafted the workers whose interests it was supposed to defend.
While Reid claimed that Labour is trying to make up for its mistakes of the past, nothing has really changed. The union bureaucracy - of which Reid is still a high ranking member - remains loyal to Labour and will again, predictably, be calling for a Labour vote next year.
People like Robert Reid - and Martyn Bradbury -don't need an excuse to keep on supporting Labour, but I doubt that the electorate are going to get excited about Labour's hype that it has the policies to lead us all into some 'post-capitalist' utopia.
Nothing that Labour is proposing represents a threat to the rule of capital. What its Future of Work conference does not admit - because it would be politically inconvenient to do so - is that our economic system is overseen by the wealthy 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. That's you and me, blue collar, white collar, the unemployed and so on.
For the left - the proper left as opposed to the left represented by the likes of Martyn Bradbury and Robert Reid - the goal is the establishment of the democratic control by the 99 percent of our economic and political life. This is what we understand as socialism.
Labour isn't proposing socialism, far from it. What its Future of Work conference confirms - again - is that it views 'the market' and capitalism as the only viable economic and political system. While someone like Bernie Sanders might be talking about a 'political revolution', David Parker wanted it to be known that what Labour was proposing was in no way 'revolutionary'.
Labour's spokesperson on 'entrepreneurship' is dead right about that.