I was going through a few old books the other day and I came across a little number called Alternatives: Socialist Essays for the 1980's, first published in 1986.

It's co-edited by old Mr Third Way himself, Steve Maharey. He is, of course, now Vice-Chancellor at Massey University.

The former Labour minister pens a few thoughts of his own and they make for interesting reading over twenty years later.

Maharey argues that socialists should orientate themselves to parliamentary politics and, not surprisingly, support the Labour Party. Says Maharey:'...socialists will need to work within mass institutions like the Labour Party.'

This is, apparently, what Steve was doing. Who would have guessed?

But here's the real gem. According to Maharey ',..it is possible for the Labour Party to be socialist and to be in government.'

The massive decline in Labour Pray membership since then totally refutes Maharey's first claim and some nine years of Maharey's version of 'socialist government' clearly exposes the absurdity of his second claim.

Unfortunately there are still people today peddling the same discredited ideas. Step up Chris Trotter, The Standard bloggers, etc.

It seems that this lot have learnt nothing at all from recent history.

They are intent on repeating the same old mistakes.


  1. No Steve, it's you who refuses to learn the lessons of our recent political history.

    It was the presence of so many socialists in the Labour Party - especially in its trade union affiliates - which forced the followers of Rogernomics to first attack and then undermine their own political organisation.

    It was the refusal of Labour's Parliamentary Right to be governed by their own constitution which saw so many disillusioned Labour Party members vote against the likes of Douglas, Caygill, Bassett and Prebble with their feet.

    The socialists, however, remained within Labour's ranks long enough to split the party and form the NLP, and later the Alliance.

    This was crucial historically, because it was the presence of the Alliance to Labour's left which not only prevented the Rogernomes from regaining power, but allowed the more moderate social-democrats who'd stuck with Labour to drive the Far-Right out of the party, and thereafter reposition it as a more centrist political organisation.

    Had Labour's socialists and social-democrats heeded your advice, Steve, and wasted their energies on the political fringe, there is every chance that the NZ Labour Party would have succumbed to the same fate as the British Labour Party - or, perhaps, become something much worse.

    So, you see, dear old Steve Maharey was right after all. If you are of the Left, and you want to engage in effective (rather than symbolic) politics, there are only two parties worth belonging to: Labour and (if you must!) the Greens.

  2. A more 'centrist' organisation? Is Labour a neoliberal party or not, Chris? If it is, how exactly does that make it 'centrist'?

    It's not the socialist left which is wasting its energies - its people like you.

    If you have made your peace with neoliberalism then you should say so and stop masquerading as a progessive commentator.


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