The Jobs Summit and how we respond to the Nat’s strategy

March 22, 2009

Philip Ferguson

Misjudging the Nats

Most of the left, both organised groups and the wider milieu of individual leftists, still really believe there is a fundamental difference between Labour and National.  While the Workers Party have never argued that they are exactly the same, we’re probably the only people who really believe - and act in accordance with the belief - that they are fundamentally the same.  They are liberal bourgeois parties; largely made up of urban, socially-liberal, middle class individuals.  Their goal is to manage the capitalist system.  Politically they’ve converged around liberal economics and liberal social policy, although both have some more blatantly right-wing social policies around issues like law and order.

 For much of the left, however, the Nats remain seen as some backwoods social reactionaries, a la Piggy Muldoon era.  And, economically, they are seen as unchanged since the 1990-93 period.  An especially crude representation of this view of the Nats was summed up in Socialist Aotearoa’s response to last November’s election: that a Nat-Act junta was now in power.

 We have always challenged this demonisation of the Nats and done so for three reasons:  one is that it always lets Labour off the hook; the second is that it’s just not an accurate analysis of what the National Party is in the twenty-first century.  The third reason is that it is devoid of any Marxist analysis of modern NZ capitalist society and the politics that the economic system requires.  Read the rest of this entry »


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