[Marxism] The Democratic Socialist Perspective ¹ s dirty laundry

John johnedmundson at paradise.net.nz
Sat Apr 18 02:24:38 MDT 2009

On Sat, 2009-04-18 at 17:53 +1000, Nick Fredman wrote:

> This insight is very much related to the question of cadre organisation.
> There are real question of the reproduction of the ideas of Marxism ans
> militant working class politics generally which some partisans of broad
> parties too flippantly dismiss. Someone with a lot more experience in this
> regard than Louis, namely the impressive working class Maori leader Matt
> McCarten, came to just about every DSP conference in the 90s and bemoaned
> the lack of a cadre organisation that could help cement the gains of the
> NewLabour and then Alliance mass left parties. All the way up to the
> collapse of the latter in 2001, with if I recall right ten out of 11
> parliamentarians voting for NZ troops to help invade Afghanistan.

For those who don't realise, Nick has abruptly jumped the Tasman here to
refer to New Zealand. Matt McCarten was the chief strategist for the
Alliance, a briefly successful SocDem coalition of the Green Party, the
New Labour Party, a left split from the NZ Labour Party, and a couple of
insignificant other groups. It won seats in parliament but as Nick notes
here, voted to support the invasion of Afghanistan. The Alliance is now
a tiny organisation with no parliamentary representation but working in
pro-worker struggles and the like. The Greens have just reached an
understanding with the current National led government . . .

So while I'm not qualified to comment on the DSP stuff, I will say that
Nick has a point about the need to develop cadre. The Alliance got
itself a place in a Labour led government, got ministerial positions and
ended up voting for imperialist war.

Matt McCarten is now one of the key figures behind Unite, a dynamic and
militant new union which has had some success organising low paid
workers in high turnover jobs like fast food, hotel work and call
centres. It is by far the most inspiring thing on the union scene in NZ,
where things have been at a very low ebb for a long time. They still are
but Unite has led some excellent actions by previously ununionised
workers and they've had some very clear victories along the way.

I just don't think that it was clear from Nick's post that he suddenly
wasn't talking bout the Australian Socialist Alliance but NZ's Alliance.

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