Jared Phillips, coordinating editor of The Spark
In early September Gisborne City District councillor Manu Caddie hit back against a local figure who is critical of socialism and who was attempting to discredit Caddie by labelling him a socialist. This occurred within a debate over rates differentials. In an opinion piece in The Gisborne Herald (3/9/11) Caddie wrote:
… an aspiring mayoral candidate blamed socialists on Gisborne District Council for the increase in his rates demand, which he thinks is a form of wealth tax. Of course, he failed to mention his properties are collectively worth millions of dollars and the proportion of his rates to property is less than one tenth of what the vast majority of us contribute.
Instead of shrinking from his critic and acting as centrist and apologist, and denying the principles of socialism, Caddie defended the core principles of socialism. He stated that ‘The core notion of traditional socialism is that working people have to be in control of their own lives”. He went on to distinguish socialism from Stalinism and highlighted the importance of local and industrial democracy. He then summarised:
Socialism is the idea that people should be in control of their own destiny and lives, including the institutions within which they work and the communities within which they live. This is the potential and my vision for local government.
Caddie has been a hard-working youth-worker and community campaigner in Gisborne for a number of years. Whilst our organisation doesn’t agree with every sentiment in his article (which is viewable here) it is highly refreshing to see local representatives step up for their constituents and speak the truth about the types of changes needed to make a democratic and equitable world.