Monday, September 14, 2009

Time for a United Front on the Left


Our busdrivers are threatened with lockout. Our firefighters who risk their lives for us have to strike for a pittance. Our Telecom engineers are forced to give up their sick pay and holidays and become private contractors at the very time we need a decent broadband system. And those who work the hardest and dirtiest jobs are paid the lowest- hundreds of thousands of workers try to make ends meet on a minimum wage of $12.50, or not much more.


The anger is building noticably in the last few weeks, and this time, it's not just socialists or revolutionaries or the usual suspects on the Left who are talking about it. There's a real mood in Auckland city to unite these struggles, and there's a lot of people talking to each other again about making something happen.


Socialist Aotearoa activists have been out talking to people in other unions and in other parties of the Left. Initatives such as the Campaign for a Living Wage are seeing the beginnings of a United Front effort to organise the working poor. Of course, in a United Front, the different political and social organisations will maintain their individual identities and viewpoints. But the need for the Left to unite and begin organising the fightback against this rotten government and its policies takes precedence.

  1. Socialist Aotearoa would like to see the Campaign for a Living Wage achieve its target of 300,000 plus signatures to initiate a Citizen's Referendum to increase the minimum wage.
  2. We would also like to see the struggles of the busdrivers, firefighters, telecom engineers, dairy workers and others unite in one union led mass protest on the streets- joint strike action would send the National led government an even stronger message.
  3. The need for the Left to overthrow John Banks and the right wing Supercity agenda in Auckland is also urgent.

We would welcome debate and discussion from others on the Left and in the Trade union movements about these three theatres of class struggle.

Solidarity
Joe Carolan- Socialist Aotearoa

1 comment:

David said...

Joe’s three points for unity are good ones, although they are not the end of the list. Here’s three more:

* Socialist Worker’s Auckland branch has initiated a Bad Banks campaign, but is inviting others on the Left to join in.
http://www.badbanks.co.nz/

* Climate change threatens all who live on this planet, and a pollution market(whether the National-Maori Party version or the Labour-Green version) is a completely inadequate response. We need an eco-socialist alternative.

* The Government is considering increasing GST, while Maori Party MP Rahui Katene is has put forward a Bill to remove GST from food. These events have RAM considering a revival of its popular campaign on the issue.

http://unityaotearoa.blogspot.com/2009/08/gst-dont-raise-it-take-it-off-food.html

It’s probably a bit optimistic to imagine that everyone on the “left” or even every socialist would unite around all these issues, but it should be possible to form broad coalitions around each issue.

One thing that you would hope everyone who considers themselves “on the left” would be able to agree on would be supporting the various groups of workers currently under attack.

The next question is how can socialists work together to promote a millitant response, such as united mass protest and strike action by unions, which may not necissarily be the prefered option of the union leaders involved?