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The NSW Labor conference

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  • bobgould987
    The issues involved in, and the consequences of, electricity privatisation The economic arguments advanced for electricity privatisation by Mick Costa, Morris
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 30, 2008
      The issues involved in, and the consequences of, electricity privatisation

      The economic arguments advanced for electricity privatisation by Mick
      Costa, Morris Iemma and Ian Macdonald are completely unsound. They've
      been thoroughly refuted by the veteran public infrastructure
      economists, Bob and Betty Con Walker.

      The Walkers have pointed out that the electricity system in the
      2006-07 financial year returned a profit of $1.542 billion, or between
      25 and 30 per cent of equity, which in any financial terms is pretty
      good, and explains a bit about why private interest want to get their
      hands on these public assets.

      Mick Costa started out a few months ago saying sale of the electricity
      system would realise $15 billion, but the figure most often cited now
      is more like $10 billion. In a few months, this vital asset has
      quietly been discounted by 30 per cent, and who knows what cozy deal
      would eventually be cooked up behind the cloak of commercial
      confidentiality?

      Full: http://tinyurl.com/68oedf
    • michael berrell
      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
      Message 2 of 8 , May 1, 2008
        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.



        --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "bobgould987"
        <bobgould987@...> wrote:
        >
        > The issues involved in, and the consequences of, electricity
        privatisation
        >
        > The economic arguments advanced for electricity privatisation by Mick
        > Costa, Morris Iemma and Ian Macdonald are completely unsound. They've
        > been thoroughly refuted by the veteran public infrastructure
        > economists, Bob and Betty Con Walker.
        >
        > The Walkers have pointed out that the electricity system in the
        > 2006-07 financial year returned a profit of $1.542 billion, or between
        > 25 and 30 per cent of equity, which in any financial terms is pretty
        > good, and explains a bit about why private interest want to get their
        > hands on these public assets.
        >
        > Mick Costa started out a few months ago saying sale of the electricity
        > system would realise $15 billion, but the figure most often cited now
        > is more like $10 billion. In a few months, this vital asset has
        > quietly been discounted by 30 per cent, and who knows what cozy deal
        > would eventually be cooked up behind the cloak of commercial
        > confidentiality?
        >
        > Full: http://tinyurl.com/68oedf
        >
      • 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
        Message 3 of 8 , May 1, 2008
          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.
          >
          http://tinyurl.com/68oedf
        • michael berrell
          Bob 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
          Message 4 of 8 , May 1, 2008
            Bob 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
            privatization.

            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"
            <bobgould987@...> wrote:
            >
            > 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.
            > >
            > http://tinyurl.com/68oedf
            >
          • luke weyland
            Bob, Don t you think its time that all decent minded people who value public ownership, national integrity, rights for Koories, gays, refugees, mentally, ill,
            Message 5 of 8 , May 2, 2008
              Bob,
              Don't you think its time that all decent minded people who value public
              ownership, national integrity, rights for Koories, gays, refugees, mentally,
              ill, unemployed, workers, .... and believe that the environment is not a
              resouce to be exploited by multinationals, but is a trust we hold for our
              decendants, to look elsewhere?

              Check out the Greens, Check out Solidarity, Check out my dearly beloved
              Socialist Alliance, Check out the others, and join one of these make it an
              enriched voice for human rights, peace, social justice and environment.

              Ditch Iiema's selloff selllouts We need a true labo*U*r Party. Where U are
              vitally involved. The ALP has never truly been one, and I strongly doubt
              will ever be.


              May the force be with you all, allways,
              Luke "skywalker" weyland


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • alanb1000
              ... This question is presumably rhetorical. Your answer is yes . Bob s is no . We already know this. More to the point, however, Bob s original article
              Message 6 of 8 , May 2, 2008
                "luke weyland" wrote:
                > Bob,
                > Don't you think its time that all decent minded people who value
                > public ownership, ... to look elsewhere?

                This question is presumably rhetorical. Your answer is "yes". Bob's
                is "no". We already know this.

                More to the point, however, Bob's original article pointed out that
                there was a real conflict within the ALP over privatisation. That's
                important.

                Unfortunately, in this context, and at this moment in time,
                advocating "looking elsewhere" is advocating conceding defeat in this
                conflict. You are advocating retreat, and guaranteed defeat.

                This isn't particularly sensible politics.

                Of course we shouldn't expect much or anything from the ALP, and we
                shouldn't be afraid to say that, but in the present situation we
                definitely have a horse in the race in the ALP struggle - we want the
                anti-privatisation forces to win. To win, they have to fight.

                Advocating that they stop fighting isn't helpful.

                Alan Bradley
              • Ratbag Radio
                ... Whether the anti privatisation campaign wins or loses -- the ALP will lose state government and years of shelling out selective largess will collapse.I
                Message 7 of 8 , May 2, 2008
                  --- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "alanb1000"
                  <alanb1000@...> wrote:

                  > Of course we shouldn't expect much or anything from the ALP, and we
                  > shouldn't be afraid to say that, but in the present situation we
                  > definitely have a horse in the race in the ALP struggle - we want
                  >the anti-privatisation forces to win. To win, they have to fight.

                  Whether the anti privatisation campaign wins or loses -- the ALP will
                  lose state government and years of shelling out selective largess
                  will collapse.I think NSW Labor has crossed the Rubicon in that regard
                  as they are so far on the nose.

                  Election results just in confirm that the Tories have picked up major
                  support in the local election in the UK with some very middling or
                  poor returns on the left -- Greens as well as outfits like Respect.
                  Livingstone is out as London mayor and a mad Tory is in.

                  But today the union march on the ALP state conference and I'm thinking
                  that what you need to rely on is your own collective strength and take
                  a lead from the Melbourne taxi drivers :

                  http://leftclickblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/photos-of-april-30-taxi-drivers.html

                  Labor and Costa will hold their course on this issue because there is
                  no other option for them as the whole restructure/privatize agenda
                  nationally depends on them proceeding.Qld Labor is relying on it for
                  instance to up its anti...

                  In effect, the NSW struggle is a turn to "Enough!" politics in a way
                  we haven't experienced it before as people register their hatred of
                  neo liberal restructuring and the market. They've had enough.

                  I did an interview with Grant Morgan et al in New Zealand this week
                  and the RAM experience is very instructive of that (what Grant called)
                  "tipping point".
                  http://leftclickblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/tipping-point-in-new-zealand-politics.html

                  {Try to catch it...rather inspiring.]

                  My view is that we need to make a sharp turn away from the ready
                  comfort of our standard campaign routes and move aggressively to
                  relate to this new reality based on financial distress and frustration
                  with the political system and its seeming relentless agenda...

                  New Zealanders are suffering more than us here, thats' true, and the
                  breakout in many ways has been broader there going back into the 90s.
                  But as Oliver Woods told me, the time here is ripe for another One
                  Nation like breakout-- something populist and aggressive, but one that
                  doesn't necessarily proceed via racism (nor ideology either).

                  I think there's a massive challenge there such that we need to learn
                  as much as we can from events in NSW.

                  I have no specific suggestions but to note the shift from campaigns
                  that seem like a good idea or are driven by ideals, concerns or
                  ethical considerations, to ones rooted in living material experience.

                  I also note -- & that is the case in NSW -- how smoothly our climate
                  concerns dovetail with any anti-privatisation agenda.

                  dave riley
                • Ratbag Radio
                  I should also point out that this NSW campaign has pulled Bob out of his comfortable Laborist slumber and his routine bagging of the non ALP socialist left --
                  Message 8 of 8 , May 2, 2008
                    I should also point out that this NSW campaign has pulled Bob out of
                    his comfortable Laborist slumber and his routine bagging of the non
                    ALP socialist left -- and back into focusing on activity and what
                    can -- and should -- be done.

                    He hasn't had a rant in that hobbyist mode since....whenever.

                    That in itself suggests the degree of political motion that is in
                    play. If Bob can get down from his NewTown high chair and mix it with
                    the hard yakker of working out what to do next rather than defending
                    his ALP mates (as is his standard approach to his party fold)
                    regardless of what they do -- then all power to Bob Gould.

                    Go for it buddy!

                    So it follows that Bob can call it as it is without deflection:"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."

                    Bob may presume that a fightback against a"LEFT-wing Labor government"
                    would be unnecessary as though "left wing" Labor is genetically
                    totally free of the disease of economic rationalism and a slavish
                    deference to the market

                    But let's not get too caught up in pedantics.

                    Afterall, even my old estwhile lefty mate -- Ian McDonald -- is being
                    disowned by Bob.

                    What Bob is not saying here -- although I think he probably knows it
                    in his heart of hearts -- is that the ALP "left wing" is being remade
                    and a new alignment is in play.

                    In effect, I guess, a regroupment is in play, but a regroupment --
                    as Bob recognises -- that is dependent on a broader extra party
                    alliance. Thats' what is driving it.

                    So we come back to the core argument we've been having with Comrade
                    Gould for over five years here: struggle rules -- when Bob has
                    usually preferred to go with gut loyalties.

                    The question is --despite his reference to same -- are we to repeat
                    the Theodore/Lang outrage in order to save Labor from itself? (And in
                    his way Lang did save the NSW ALP from itself)

                    Bob has the measure of the situation -- thats' true:"Right now, that
                    kind of mad capitalist world market is going down the gurgler at a
                    rate of knots, and it's in that situation Costa and Iemma are trying
                    to flog the NSW electricity assets for the very small amount they're
                    likely to get."

                    But does Labor have any other option than to so flog? Labor "flogs"
                    off the silver ware in every state and federally and has been doing
                    that since 83 at least. It is a standard regardless whether its left
                    or right wing Labor doing it. Thats' what Labor does...better than the
                    Tories.

                    I'm not asking Bob to disown the ALP -- but if Bob thinks that a Labor
                    left is organically better than a Labor right -- then what kind of
                    "left" is that and who's going to lead it? (And lead it toward what
                    sort of promised land?)

                    Not Ian McDonald obviously...

                    dave riley
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