35948Re: Gould's double act
- Nov 19 8:25 PM
> Joe writes:have thought that 'left coalitions' might be a more practical and
> Well, Norm, 'left unity' can be a very jealous beast - I would
reasonable aim, especially if we wish to work with Green and Black
groups and individuals. Perhaps there is a time for unity (or at
least consensus) and a time for a bit of give and take (mu God, am I
showing my age, a la Hyndman ??) Otherwise, we can meet in a phone
booth and/or talk to each other in our tight little groups with tin
>can and string.Well coalitions are always a option anytime and I've been involved in
many as thats' how politics is done as a matter of course every other
day. But it is presumptuous to think that coalitions are the same as
'left unity' or regroupment as they don't in themselves beg the
question of taking that amorphous unity further.
I'll take two examples.
The Greens here in Qld grew out of a formation called the Rainbow
Alliance which in the 1991 Brisbane City Council elections was part of
a broad coalition of many formations (including the Democrats, DSP,
CPA,etc) and did very well indeed. But that singular achievement has
not been reprised because the main partners -- especially the Greens
--don't want to follow that electoral tact anymore as, I'm sure they
think correctly, they can stand on their own two feet and don't need
'unity' baggage, especially with the far left or the Dems for that matter.
You refer to blackgroups -- well the Socialist Alliance here in
Brisbane has an ongoing partnership with an activist section of local
Murri community which is being consolidated both through
electioneering and campaigns like this current one over black deaths
in police custody. The 'unity' there is very real and very much give
and take and is something of an ongoing alliance which seems to be
strengthening and is crucial at the moment in terms of an indigenous
See background info here:
So I think it is wrong for you to counterpose a time for unity to a
time of give and take as unity is all about give and take. Take the
example explored in the latest GLW:
where the SA is keen to pitch a broad socialist perspective and united
socialist face for the upcoming Vic poll with other socialist
candidates. (And this pitch follows from other propositions the SA has
made over the past few months in this regard)
I think nonetheless you fail to note a misnomer in the ready use of
the term "left unity" . For left unity in some organisational or
structured form to work the partners must also desire it -- it doesn't
come by default, you see. Otherwise you are being simply idealistic.
You can lead a horse to water but...
Coalitions by their very nature bring together stakeholders who aren't
interested in being in the one outfit. So the essential task of a
coalition is to foster the core consensual agreement around an agreed
to perspective. And that's it -- that's what holds coalitions
together. So Christians can coexist with communists,and liberals with
the far left..formatted by an agreed to task like, for example,
opposition to the Iraq war, refugee rights, etc. These tend to be
single issue formations.
Thats' an essential political tool that drives the campaign agenda
across a wide spectrum of political activity.
Nonetheless, I think it is true that the SA remains at the heart of
any serious discussion about building left unity. I think that's its
core status and particular modest achievement. And in fact the SA's
main task is to prove in action -- before key activist sectors of the
population and not just the far left groupuscules as the audience is
much wider than that -- that the sort of unity it aspires to is worthy
of the effort. So, as you can guess, the Alliance is always on
trail... primarily because it presumes to project another way of doing
politics that runs counter to the reliance on tight little groups
talking with one another "with tin can and string."
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