Defend MMP in the 2011 referendum

This article by Jared Phillips will appear in the June 2011 issue of The Spark

This year New Zealand electors will vote in a national referendum, held as part of the general elections, asking them firstly to indicate whether they want to change from MMP, and secondly to indicate their preferred electoral system. The other options are First Past the Post (FPP), Preferential Voting (PV), Single Transferable Vote (STV), and Supplementary Member (SM). If a majority votes in favour of retaining MMP that decision will be binding. However, if a majority votes against retaining MMP, there will be a further referendum in 2014 whereby electors will decide between MMP and whichever alternative procedure gains the most support in the 2011 referendum. If a new system is selected in 2014 it will come into effect at the 2017 election.

Real advanced democracy can only be imposed and administered by the majority of working people through a workers‘ government. In the current period though, in which the working class has clearly not yet recovered organisationally or politically from the onslaught of neo-liberalism, it is important to ensure that the electoral system offering the most democratic electoral procedure prevails. From this point of view it is in the best interests of the working people and oppressed groups to retain MMP.

The capitalist state and elections

Marxists refer to ‘bourgeois democracy’ to describe the current form of state rule in advanced capitalist countries such as New Zealand. Marxist theory accepts that capitalism allows a form of national political democracy, and it is labelled bourgeois democracy because it is the sort of democracy which was given birth by the development of capitalism and operates in the interests of the capitalist class (the bourgeoisie).

In Europe bourgeois democracy was established by revolutions, led politically by the emerging capitalist class against feudalism and the accompanying rule by monarchy. In other cases bourgeois democracy was transferred by colonial forces (i.e., Australia, New Zealand), or brought into being by the monarchy itself so as to remove barriers to the development of a capitalist economy (Japan).

The emergence of the capitalist system brought about bourgeois democracy by introducing constitutions and parliaments to limit or overthrow the political monopoly maintained by monarchies. Just as monarchical rule was attached to feudal relations of property and production, bourgeois democracy arose from the development of capitalist property relations and capitalist production.

Outside of advanced capitalist countries, in semi-colonial countries, the development of bourgeois democracy is restricted by the interference of imperialist countries which operate against the interests of local democracy and against the accumulation of local capital. This is not to say that local capitalists play a progressive role in semi-colonial countries, but rather that the development of bourgeois democracy in such countries has become impossible after the development of monopoly capitalism / imperialism in the countries of advanced capitalism.

New Zealand is an advanced capitalist country with a comparably entrenched bourgeois democracy. This was established by British colonial forces from the mid-1800s. Capitalist property relations and capitalist production were transplanted into Aotearoa / New Zealand, predominantly by settlers and the British Crown. The political form of this democracy is the Westminster system which is a representative democracy, within which people (at first excluding women and Maori) can vote for Members or Parliament (MPs) who then have the power to make and administer law. This form of government was placed into New Zealand with great dedication by the British Crown, as this institution and its laws were used to further smash up Maori custom and property relations.

Within New Zealand’s representative democracy, the voting procedure from 1853 when the first parliament was elected through to 1993 had been First-Past-the-Post (FPP).

Consequences beyond vote-counts

As is well known to voters who replaced FPP with MMP by referendum in 1992, FPP produced parliaments that were not representative of the proportion of votes attributed to candidates by party and yet parliament was completely dominated by party politics, which were the politics of National and Labour. When National was elected in 1951 it was the last FPP election at which the party whose candidates collectively gained more votes than candidates of another party came to power.

While FPP distorted the majority vote for and between the two major parties, it also ensured that smaller parties, whose candidates throughout the country may have achieved a reasonable percentage collectively, could not gain corresponding representation in parliament and were marginalised. In 1981 for example, Social Credit Party candidates drew over 20% of the vote nationally but were only able to win two electorates and therefore two seats in parliament.

The type of electoral procedure used has wider implications than how the votes count up and distribute MPs. The electoral procedure also impacts on the way parliament is able to pass legislation. Under FPP New Zealand was known as an executive paradise because of the way in which cabinet – comprised solely of one party – was able to dominate policy by keeping its MPs beholden to it through party discipline.

Within the fourth Labour government, the cabinet dominated by Richard Prebble, Roger Douglas and David Lange (though Lange tried to distance himself from its actions), and backed by powerful business interests, was able to enact sweeping neo-liberal changes, sold large parts of the state sector and started the deregulation of the labour market. It did so through undemocratic measures afforded to cabinet; skipping Select Committees, allowing debate on only minor details, keeping proposals in-house to cabinet, and generally isolating the rest of parliament.

Roger Douglas

The shift to a neo-liberal regime was of course based on the requirement of capitalism to restore profitability, and was socially possible because of union-alignment to a traditional bourgeois workers party (Labour) and activist focus on non-economic reforms often to the exclusion of economic concerns. However, the experience of the fourth Labour government shows how a party could completely capture policy under FPP. The Labour Party’s rank-and-file membership declined rapidly as a result of the changes carried out by its cabinet, changes that only a tiny minority of New Zealand’s electors supported.

As well as increasing the ability of electors to vote ideologically (through party votes) and abating the marginalisation of small parties, the introduction of MMP has also enabled a degree of constraint against one-party capture of cabinet (the negative impact of such capture made obvious under the fourth Labour government). Under MMP it is likely that governments can only be formed through coalitions. This usually leads to a multi-party cabinet, meaning that cabinet supremacy is restricted and cabinet secrecy broken down.

Left strategy and alternative vote procedures offered in 2011

Political alternatives of the left are currently being put forward from a position of weakness. Therefore the left needs to argue for the maintenance of a vote procedure that can accommodate both a) drawing upon ideological support for left alternatives through nation-wide party voting, and b) drawing upon support from supporters and progressive voters in local electorates where left alternatives are able to be established on the grounds of genuine working class and community leadership in practice.

If PV is to be introduced parliament will remain the same size and there will be 120 electorates. In each electorate voters will rank the candidates in order of preference. The candidate with over 50% of votes is elected. If there is no such candidate then first preference votes for the last-ranked candidate are recounted with the second ranked candidate as first preference. This is repeated until a candidate holds more than 50% of the vote. All things being equal (i.e. that there is no structural political or social change between now and such an election) this system would be likely to return strength to the two-party system. Minor party candidates with strong electorate constituency support can still be elected, but that is already the case with electorate voting under MMP.

A change from MMP to SM would produce a decline in the share of seats gained through party votes and reduce the proportionality established by MMP. Essentially the number of seats derived from party votes would reduce from 50 down to 30 and increase the number of electorate votes (parliament would still consist of 120 seats). Overall, this procedure would also tend towards restrengthening the two-party system.

STV would have the effect of limiting the ability of electors to cast a vote on ideological grounds. There would be no party vote through which electors could express pure political preference. The number of MPs would stay the same but each would be an electorate MP, and there would be multiple MPs per electorate. While the use of STV would avoid disproportionate correspondence of votes and seats, and would likely result in coalitions and not reinforce a two-party system, the danger is – all things being equal – that it could also influence electors to vote for likely winners and scale down voting (or at least high preference voting) for alternative politics.

The workers’ movement and democracy

At the present time and at first glance independent participation in general elections and preferences of electoral system do not appear to be the burning questions for the far-left in New Zealand. Moreover, the far-left does not uphold bourgeois democracy / representative democracy as a source of change in favour of the working class. The New Zealand parliament is the machinery of the ruling class and, upon any electoral success, the left would be required to treat it as such.

There are two reasons as to why the far-left needs to be clear in its position on the electoral system. Firstly, any section of the far-left embarking on rebuilding a workers party and the radical workers movement needs to take a tactical view. Of the electoral systems available, MMP is the one that offers more scope for future initiation of electoral interventions or campaigns of the far-left.

Second, socialists need to make explicit the connection between socialism and democracy. Openly struggling for democracy is essential for rebuilding fighting unions, for short-term building of far-left organisations, for forging any organisation that will ever be capable of properly challenging capitalist power and establishing workers’ democracy. Championing democracy is also neccessary for rearticulating the ideas of genuine socialism in contrast to Stalinist methods. As well as articulating a view of post-capitalism, the far-left has to support the electoral system which offers the most democratic space.

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Comments

  1. Philip Ferguson says:

    You say that Labour in 1984 was a “traditional bourgeois workers party”. This is quite different from the characterisation made up to now by WP, which always argued that Labour has long been a capitalist party. This is also the position taken in the WP pamphlet on Labour, written by Daphna Whitmore and myself.

    So if you think Labour was a “traditional bourgoeis workers party” as late as 1984, when after 1984 do you think Labour stopped being that and became a straight bourgoeis party?

    And what about the political implications of your new characterisation? If Labour really was a bourgeois-workers party in 1984, it would have been quite principled for left groups to call for people to vote for it!

    Philip Ferguson

    • Jared Phillips says:

      I would not classify LP as having been a bourgeois workers party in 1984. I think it’s fair to say that in 1984 it could have been considered as the ‘traditional’ bourgeois workers party in New Zealand. That’s why I purposefully included the word traditional.

      I don’t understand some of the rest of your comment. I would agree that it had long been a bourgeois party because in essence it was just that. I wouldn’t be confident to point out an exact time at which went from being a bourgeois workers party to becoming a straight bourgeois party. But the two most obvious points would seem to me to be A) coming into its first term in government and therefore having control of the levers of a bourgeois state, and B) the actions of the fourth LP government which I’d think probably completed the process. In between was a period including all the treachery outlined in your pamphlet, but I think in structural terms the key periods would have been those I mention. And I disagree that defining them as trad bourgeois workers party would give reason to have advanced a call to vote for them.

      Another thing is it’s important to assess the return to LP by workers organizations. Last year MUNZ, who are upheld by some as the most militant and also rank-and-file directed union in the country reaffiliated to LP. As I say I think LP is fundamentally bourgeois in both essence and appearance but surely this is evidence that it still today even retains some (though very few) ‘elements’ of what comprises a bourgeois workers party.

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Philip Ferguson says:

        If you think it could have been considered the “traditional bourgeois-workers party” in 1984, then there wouldn’t be a question of principle re voting for it. It would have simply been a tactical question.

        I’m not sure why you would say “it could have been considered” such a party. I mean it could be considered that pigs can fly too. So what is the point of the point of this “it could have been considered”. It wasn’t a bourgeois-workers party in 1984, in the sense that Marxists (following form Lenin) used that term.

        The contradiction between the bourgeois and workers part of that formulation was resolved when Labour came into power and began administering capitalism – ie 1935 onwards. that’s also the period when workers began dropping out in large numbers.

        The WP position on that wasn’t lightly developed. Both the original WP group and the Revo mag circle had that view and it developed out of a great deal of experience and work, including substantial empirical work. In the Revo case we were able to access this through the people who did that empirical work being around in Christchurch at the time we started producing Revo.

        Your point about MUNZ re-affiliation seems odd to me. I understand that there was strong opposition within MUNZ to reaffiliation and, in any case, as Don notes, it was the product of a lack of alternatives. The unions have no significant say at all in the Labour Party and, in any case, Lenin specifically argued against the formulation that Labour parties were “parties of the unions” (and therefore could be critically supported) because of the bourgeois political content of that notion.

        Philip Ferguson

  2. Don Franks says:

    ” Last year MUNZ, who are upheld by some as the most militant and also rank-and-file directed union in the country reaffiliated to LP… surely this is evidence that it still today even retains some (though very few) ‘elements’ of what comprises a bourgeois workers party.”

    No Jared, its not.

    I believe its evidence of the lack of political options for militant workers. When it was in its most militant and best organised state a few years back, the SFWU maintained its Labour party connections. In the absence of a strong united union movement, they were seeking wider options than their own union to advance their members interests. MUNZ is doing the same thing today. They hope they can have more influence over the Labour party by being an affiliate.
    If I were a member of MUNZ I would have argued against the decision to affiliate. I think its a mistake for unions to make that move. If you really do think LP is fundamentally bourgeois in both essence and appearance, why wobble in the face of one union’s mistaken decision?

    • Jared Phillips says:

      It’s not that one union’s mistaken decision has caused me to ‘wobble’. The fact that arguably the most militant and rank-and-file-directed union in the country has made an ‘informed decision’ despite some small opposition within and joined in with four or five of the most dominant major private sector unions in the Labour Party is part of the concrete conditions which lead me to believe that the analysis – if it is a sophisticated one rather than a blunt one – must reflect that. It is taking facts to inform the analysis, rather than just defending a prior analysis through thick and thin. And please don’t pretend that this analysis is that Labour is a bourgeois workers party. I said it displays some though few characteristics of a bourgeois workers party.

      I agree with the part of your post about lack of options and lack of a strong united union movement, and that this is part of the explanation of the trend back to the Labour Party.

      Cheers, Jared.

  3. Jared Phillips says:

    “If you think it could have been considered the “traditional bourgeois-workers party” in 1984, then there wouldn’t be a question of principle re voting for it. It would have simply been a tactical question.

    I’m not sure why you would say “it could have been considered” such a party. I mean it could be considered that pigs can fly too. So what is the point of the point of this “it could have been considered”. It wasn’t a bourgeois-workers party in 1984, in the sense that Marxists (following form Lenin) used that term.”

    Re pigs flying, I know it is beyond you to debate civilly. Go get a dictionary, look up the meaning of traditional, and stop pretending there is any implication by me that a genuine socialist group should have urged an LP vote in 1984.

    “The contradiction between the bourgeois and workers part of that formulation was resolved when Labour came into power and began administering capitalism – ie 1935 onwards. that’s also the period when workers began dropping out in large numbers.”

    Yeah, as indicated I think that was central. However, in the subjective sense it is not the case. Historically working class progressives – who are not convinced of Marxism – uphold that period as *an example of socialism being implemented by Labour* rather than Labour becoming a brougeois party. I’m ofcourse not saying that a Marxist analysis should adopt that view, but rather that in terms of ideas being a material force that period contributed to working class support for Labour. The CP reached its highest membership numbers *before* the first LP government came to power.

    “The WP position on that wasn’t lightly developed. Both the original WP group and the Revo mag circle had that view and it developed out of a great deal of experience and work, including substantial empirical work. In the Revo case we were able to access this through the people who did that empirical work being around in Christchurch at the time we started producing Revo.”

    Yeah, I’m not disrespecting it, I just wrote an article on MMP in which I reffered to Labour as being trationally the bourgeois workers party in New Zealand. I wasn’t saying it was a bourgeois workers party in 1984. Largely you are relying on semantics here.

    “Your point about MUNZ re-affiliation seems odd to me. I understand that there was strong opposition within MUNZ to reaffiliation and, in any case, as Don notes, it was the product of a lack of alternatives. The unions have no significant say at all in the Labour Party and, in any case, Lenin specifically argued against the formulation that Labour parties were “parties of the unions” (and therefore could be critically supported) because of the bourgeois political content of that notion.”

    No disagreement with most of what you say here (I wouldn’t argue that Labour parties should be formulated as parties of the union movement or that they should be given critical support). I am resolutely opposed to critical support for the LP and resolutely opposed to trade union affiliation to the LP, and reoslutley opposed to unaffiliated trade unions giving any favours to the LP.

    I just don’t see how, like Don, you think it is odd to rely analytically on events such as a trend towards reaffiliation to inform an analysis. A lot of WP anaylsis on the flight from the LP has focussed on union withdrawal. So one would hope union re-entry would also play a part in informing the analysis.

    It is not odd. It’s a concrete fact that arguably the most militant and rank-and-file union in the country has gone back to the arms of Labour. Not only does Labour have a poltical hold on two of the largest private sector trade unions, it is also beginning to take hold one of the most militant.

    I would think it odd to ignore this in order to sleep safe on your analysis.

    Cheers, Jared.

    • Philip Ferguson says:

      Jared wrote:
      “and stop pretending there is any implication by me that a genuine socialist group should have urged an LP vote in 1984.”

      I never pretended you were implying a socialist group in 1984 “should have urged an LP vote”. I said that if Labour could be considered a bourgeois-workers party in 1984 then there could be no principled reason not to vote for it, it would simply be a tactical question.

      You still haven’t really answered what the *political point* is of saying something like “I think it’s fair to say that in 1984 it could have been considered as the ‘traditional’ bourgeois workers party in New Zealand.”

      In fact, in the article you said: “The shift to a neo-liberal regime was of course based on the requirement of capitalism to restore profitability, and was socially possible because of union-alignment to a traditional bourgeois workers party (Labour). . .”

      Perhaps you could change it when you put it in The Spark, so that you refer to Labour in 1984 as a party that had once been a bourgeois-workers party.

      On union reaffiliation, we’ve all noticed that, since the demise of the Alliance as a significant force, several unions have reaffiliated to Labour. But in doing so, they are reaffiliating to a capitalist party, not changing Labour in any way so that it has any elements of being a bourgeois-workers party.

      Phil

  4. Don Franks says:

    “Labour … displays some though few characteristics of a bourgeois workers party.”

    What are they?

  5. Jared Phillips says:

    Oh come on, my argument is apparent in the text previoulsy written in this thread, the deepening and expanding affiliation of unions is the example I have given.

    The sentence “Labour … displays some though few characteristics of a bourgeois workers party.” is to distinguish from any possible view that they are a bourgeois workers party, not to back up any view that they are one. As is obvious from the comments I wouldn’t have held them to be a BWP in 1984.

    If you want to turn this into some little use of language test then how about answering my repsonse to you in full?

    A militant union joining the LP as ‘a mistake’. It’s just totally farcical.

  6. Don Franks says:

    I don’t want to turn anything into a little use of language question at all Jared.
    I just genuinely wanted to know concretely what what the “some but few” characteristics are.

  7. Jared Phillips says:

    As per above, “the deepening and expanding affiliation of unions is the example I have given”. I am not evading your question.

    Now, if you don’t mind, unless you want to engage in some proper debate and address the points I have raised back then I am done with this particular aspect.

    You guys currently really remind of the early days of ACA when the IBT used to scour our literature looking for faults. You should really have a think about it eh.

    Cheers, Jared.

  8. Don Franks says:

    I’m not scouring your site for faults Jared. I was moved to post on this subject because I was taken aback to see an obvious reversal of a sound political position. There is no need for the IBT jibe.

    Three points.

    I honestly don’t see the move back to Labour affiliation by one small union as conferring on the Labour party any characteristics of a bourgeoise Labour party.
    As you have shown me no other characteristic, I remain unconvinced.

    Second, I think its high time to reconsider what a union actually is and the implications of that for revolutionaries.
    Unionism is acceptance – however grudging- of capitalism. To survive in capitalism’s hostile environment unions are forced to keep the law and do deals with capitalists. It reflects no automatic shame or disgrace on a union if it does a deal with capitalists to further the interest of its members. I understand the Unite Kiwi saver deal with Hulich involved a degree of distant cooperation with some extreme rightwingers. That didn’t make the deal wrong, or the capitalists somehow ‘progressive’.
    Just because a union affiliates to it in the hope of some benefit for its members does not confer ‘bourgeois worker’ status on that party. Unions are part of the working class, but they are not the sum of the working class, neither are they the pathway to socialism that some leftists treat them as.

    In conclusion, consistent revolutionary opponents of the Labour party are very few and their job is mostly difficult and thankless. I once entertained fond hopes that the heaps of unpleasant shit I got opposing Labour as an anti worker capitalist party over years of union meetings were worth it because the torch had been passed down to the next generation. Right now I have a horrid aprehension that some supposedly fresh air is poised to blow the flame right out.

  9. John Edmundson says:

    When I was proofing this article for publication I should have picked up on the reference to Labour as a bourgeois workers’ party, but I was focussing on grammar, spelling etc and did not pick that up. I don’t agree with Jared’s use of the term because as far as I’m concerned the Labour Party has been a capitalist party since before was first in government.

    I also have an issue with the implication that since unions leaving Labour was part of the WP’s evidence for its degeneration, their returning should in some way be seen as more or less the inverse process. If that is the implication, then it shouls be changed. When Labour was formed, it was largely the creation of the union movement. Therefore for many unions, affiliation to it made perfect sense. As the party shifted to the right, the logic of continued affiliation was increasingly absent, although it took a long time for that reality to be acted upon.

    Unions returning to the Labour Party, regardless of how radical those unions might be on the industrial front, is no indication of anything at all in respect of the nature of the Labour Party. It is simply a decision (a poor decision in my opniion) by those unions based on their belief that the Labour Party in government would be the lesser of two evils for their members and, to the extent that they think about it, the working class as a whole. Even if they do turn out to be the lesser evil (which I doubt in terms of the big picture) that in itself does not in any way change the nature of the party. It simply suggests that those unions think that affiliation to the Labour Party will benefit their members.
    Cheers,
    John

  10. Jared Phillips says:

    http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/780/making.php

    This CPGB article here looks at whether the British Labour Party is still a bourgeois workers party an answers with a definite yes.

    Now ofcourse the NZ LP requires a different analysis according to local history, but I think the article points out some of the major criteria both external and internal to the bourgeois workers party which are very usefull to the discussion. I’m not using this to help to justify LP in NZ as bourgeois workers party because, as I note, I don’t view it as such.

    There are points remade that I am not going to re-argue points here, especially those I don’t think worth arguing such as whether or not New Zealand unions have affiliated becuase they think it would help their members. That is barely a subject that can be debated, as there is no debate to it.

    For now I want to pick up on a couple of John’s points (and I’m not surprised he missed it in his proof, because the articel is harldy a reassessment or ‘reversal’ of a ‘position’ on the LP, it’s an article about electoral systems and the way I see it the debate about the timeline of the LP is a matter of ‘degree’ i.e. a quantitative question more than a qualitative question).

    “Unions returning to the Labour Party, regardless of how radical those unions might be on the industrial front, is no indication of anything at all in respect of the nature of the Labour Party.”

    I don’t for a second think that union affiliation to LP, or reaffliation, will change the fundamentally bourgeois nature of the LP. It is LP affilaition which will change, moderate, and make more respectfull those unions. However, I have understood the meaning of bourgeois workers party to not just be about the nature of the party, or it’s record, but working class identification with that party, and the identificaiton of working class organisations to that party.

    “I don’t agree with Jared’s use of the term because as far as I’m concerned the Labour Party has been a capitalist party since before was first in government.”

    A bourgeois workers party *is* a capitalist party, so I don’t know what this adds to the debate.

    “I also have an issue with the implication that since unions leaving Labour was part of the WP’s evidence for its degeneration, their returning should in some way be seen as more or less the inverse process.”

    Yes, I did not intend for it to sound like I think there is a linear process whereby the contractions of union dissaffilation and reaffiliation determine the core character of the party. Dissafilation and reaffilation though impact on the *total character* of the party, so I would still hold that the implications of this current reaffiliation trend have not been reasonably considered by my opponents in this argument.

    Jared.

    • Philip Ferguson says:

      I have a certain amount of time for the CPGB and regularly read, and occasionally write for, their paper. However they are wrong on the British Labour Party, just as they are wrong with their two-state position on Israel/Palestine and Ireland.

      Indeed, if they were right on the British Labour Party, I think it would be rather difficult to argue that the same case did not apply to the NZLP. The British, NZ and Australian LPs are very much the same kind of beast. After all, there isn’t anything the NZ LP has done that the British Labour Party hasn’t, and vice versa. Same with the Australian Labor Party.

      One of the interesting things about most of the british left and the british LP is that the far left over there continually move the goalposts in relation to Labour. First it’s, well, if Labour does x, then we won’t (critically) support them any more; Labour does x; so then it’s, well, yes, but they haven’t done y – if they do y then we won’t (critically) support them any more; then they do y, and the argument becomes, well, but they haven’t done z yet, if they do z, then we’ll stop (critically) supporting them. Then they do z, and it’s back to the start of the whole circular nonsense again.

      Lenin pointed out not only that a bourgeois workers party is a form of bourgeois party; he also noted that there is a fundamental contradiction between the bourgeois programme of a bourgeois workers party and their working class base. One of the things about contradictions, especially intense political ones, is that they can’t last indefinitely. The contradiction gets resolved and a new, higher contradiction develops.

      What would be the point at which the contradiction inherent in “bourgeois workers party” reaches resolution. I would argue that once these parties get into power and have to administer the system, that contradiction is resolved. In the NZ case, as we point out in the pamphlet, Labour shifted quite dramartically over the course of the 1920s. By the early 1930s it was quite a different party from what it was in 1916. By the early 30s it was supported by the richest capitlaist in NZ, ex-syndicalist militants in the LP leadership in 1916 were now businesspeople and professionals, the party had fully supported and campaigned for the White New Zealand policy, any chatter about socialism was purely a verbal hangover and so on. And once it took power, working class members began leaving in droves.

      Moreover, Lenin *never argued* that trade union affiliation was any sort of key criteria, and specifically argued *against* the formulation which has for so long been used by many Trotskyists and neo-Trotskyists (Labour is the mass party of the unions). So affiliation, disaffiliation and reaffiliation do not have the importance you seem to give them.

      Jared, your positive reference to that particular CPGB article, along with how impressed you are with the fact that a couple of small unions have reaffiliated to NZ Labour, simply reveals your own rightward drift on this question, just as you are drifting rightwards on so much else.

      If you think that the MUNZ reaffiliation impacts on the “total character” of the NZ LP then you really are headed at some speed into the swamp left.

      Phil

  11. Philip Ferguson says:

    The fact that Jared is debating a Labour MP, at the WP conference, on the subject of who workers should support in the November elections rather undermines his claim that he thinks Labour is a purely capitalist party and not a (current) bourgeois-workers party. If Labour is a purtely capitlaist party and not BWP, then why debate them on that subject any more than you’d debate National on the subject?

    Why invite a Labour MP? You may as well invite David Swartz and debate him on the subject “Who should workers support in Islrael/Palestine?”

    Phil

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