53399Re: The NSW Labor conference
- May 1, 2008Bob writes "There has always been a right wing within the ALP" that's
true of course but never before has a leading figure within the right
come out so openly and praised reactionary figures such as Hayek,
Friedman, Reagan etc. It should also be observed although not
mentioned in the article that if Costa is a supporter of the economic
theories of Hayek and Friedman then he is more than likely a fan of
Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet. After all Pinochet's Chile served
as a laboratory for the ideas of Hayek and Friedman before they were
implemented in Britain by Margaret Thatcher, the US by Ronald Reagan
and here in Australia by Hawke and Keating. For someone who began on
the Trotskyist left in the 1970s to emerge as an admirer of someone
like Pinochet is particularly distasteful.
Another illustration of the point I'm making emerged on 2BL in a
segment last Monday morning. 2BL has a segment on Monday mornings in
which two former political figures from each side of politics is asked
to commentate on contemporary politics. Last Monday morning the two
guests were Gary Punch from the Labor side of politics and John Dowd
from the Tory side of politics. Both were asked about this weekend's
conference and the privatization issue. Punch argued that although any
motion to privatize electricity in NSW would go down to a heavy defeat
Iemma should proceed with the privatization anyway and that this
would make him 'enormously popular' with the people of NSW. Dowd said
that it was disgraceful that the Labor Government had to get the
approval of 'undemocatic' institutions such as the unions and derided
union influence within the ALP. However, at the end of the segment
Dowd said that he personally was opposed to the privatization. Punch
derided Dowd for being an 'old fashioned lefty'.
As to how to proceed or 'What is to be Done' as someone once said.
There is no question that the privatization will be trounced at this
weekend's conference. The real question as I've said before is what
happens afterwards. What happens if Iemma and Costa proceed with the
privatization in defiance of the conference, the rank and file and the
party platform. Then we have a very serious situation. One analogous
with the situation in Queensland in 1957 the result of which was to
consign the ALP to opposition, in a state which had until that point
been a natural Labor state, for a period of 32 years.
Interesting to note that the National Party has come out against the
sale. This makes it almost impossible for O'Farrell and the Liberals
to support it. In any case O'Farrell would seek to embarrass Labor
over the issue. The Liberals will vote against it as will the
independents most of whom are left leaning politically. Thats 38 votes
against the sale so only 9 Labor members have to vote it down. I think
it will be considerably more than that. Iemma and Costa would be
foolish in the extreme to proceed with the privatization in these
circumstances. If in the face of all this the privatization somehow
gets through the parliament probably with the support of twenty or so
Labor members and the Liberals then the matter is one for the
electorate and I would advocate throwing the Labor Government out at
the next election. This scenario is extremely unlikely because it
would mean that both the Labor Government and the Coalition opposition
would be split. O'Farrell and the Liberals will oppose the
The best and most likely scenario for the Labor Government would be
for Iemma to heed the decision of the party conference and for Costa
to resign from the government and from politics altogether.
In private life I would expect Costa to become an outspoken supporter
of Free Market economics and eventually to gravitate to the far right
wing of the Liberal Party. He may even attempt to start an
organization like ACT in NZ and try and get himself elected to the
state's Upper House.
--- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "bobgould987"
> Michael Berrell can't see the wood for the trees
> Some people seem to be almost born sectarians, and Berrell is one. I
> produce a leaftlet, which I'll be giving out in the next two or three
> days, providing a bit of a balance sheet on the battle in the labour
> movement about electricity privatisation, and Berrell, like his mates
> at the World Socialist Web Site, isn't the slightest bit interested in
> any of that sort of strategic analysis. All he can think to say is
> that Mick Costa's shift to the right is further evidence of the
> degeneration of the Labor Party.
> Berrell is so pious, like a Presbyterian parson denouncing sin.
> The important thing about the current struggle is not that there's an
> ideological right wing, of which Costa is the most extreme example in
> the Labor Party at the moment. There has always been a right wing in
> the ALP.
> What is important, in the material world that I inhabit, is that the
> rather battered Labor ranks have been mobilised by the struggle
> against electricity privatisation into a substantial fightback against
> a right-wing Labor government. It's also extraordinarily important
> that the overwhelming majority of trade unions in NSW, both left and
> right, have stuck to their guns despite hysterical pressure from the
> majority of Labor politicians and, particularly in the last week, from
> the bourgeois media.
> The Financial Review, in particular, has babbled this week about
> "union enforcers" etc. This has increased the noise from other
> right-wing pundits, some of whom used to be on the left, about pushing
> the unions out of the Labor Party.
> We're in the midst of a political, industrial and community struggle,
> Brother Berrell, or hadn't you noticed? The outcome of this struggle
> is of very considerable importance. Of course, it's not won yet, and
> there could still be some twists and turns.
> Nevertheless, the ranks of the Labor Party, the unions, Green
> activists and community activists have made considerable progress in
> this struggle.
> I spelled out, in my leaflet, my ideas about how to proceed at this
> stage of the struggle and every Labor Party conference delegate that I
> can reach, and every demonstrator outside the conference, will get
> one. I expect to distribute my whole print run without too much trouble.
> Mike Berrell, you've seen my ideas on how to proceed expressed in a
> limited way. What are your ideas on how to proceed, or do you believe
> that we're doomed to fail because of the Labor Party and trade union
> aspect of the struggle?
> That's the view of your mentors at the WSWS. What are your views on
> how to proceed in this struggle?
> --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "michael berrell"
> <dennyben@> wrote:
> > Interesting that Bob cites the Imre Saluzinsky profile of Michael
> > Costa that appeared in The Australian a couple of weeks ago.
> > As well as claiming Hayek and Milton Friedman as heroes, Costa also
> > cited Ronald Reagan as a politcal hero and inspiration. There was a
> > time when such revelations would be grounds for expulsion from the
> > ALP. It is perhaps indicative of the general degeneration of the ALP,
> > that admiration for reactionary figures such as Hayek, Friedman,
> > Reagan and Thatcher is probably not all that uncommon among figures
> > within the NSW Right.
> > Interesting to note that Costa cited the Soviet invasion of
> > Afghanistan as being the catalyst for his conversion from the far left
> > to the far right.
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