Sunday, March 25, 2007

Labor win it - let's be in it

To have the final word on the preceding argument between Garry, "Himself" and DH: Labor has been given another chance by the electorate. Given this reality, it's not enought to sit on the sidelines and carp and criticise. While DH has a great old time as a satirist and Labor is as often in her sights as the Liberals, she is also inside the party doing her best to influence its future direction.

While she can't see a great deal of result and mostly feels like an outsider in the party, this is only because she really always will be an outsider unless other marginal and dispossessed groups take it upon themselves to join the party and reclaim its agenda from inside. At the moment the social conscience of the party is a museum piece with middle-class curators doing their best to keep it alive. The curators are wonderful people and DH admires and respects them for their goodwill and dedication, but its up to those minority groups who have been cast out and dispossessed by the C*p*t*list (DH can't quite bring herself to utter the daggy and unfashionable C-word) mode of production to take up the tradition and make it really live again. She increasingly finds herself agreeing with people like Noel Pearson Give us help to help ourselves and Taking Ownership - sooner or later change has to come from within. This includes nurturing whatever seeds of tenant's will to self-respect there are, and their capacity for self-criticism and will for change. This is not a moral argument, but simply that tenants have to realise that if they don't do it for themselves and stand up for themselves, they will be swept away by Globalisation Warming's economic Tsunami. Real change has nothing to do with moralising around the ballot box once every 4 years but at getting in there, into Labor, or even whichever political party, getting educated, and struggling to get more effective every day,

Garry responds
(note the use of the colour green to denote Garry's bit is not to hint that DH has any inside knowledge whatever of his voting intentions - it is merely that green is the theme colour of TSN posts)
Amen, DH, Amen....provisionally!

The provision? Remaining with the party, on the inside, with the intention of driving change, is all well and good, if that's what one genuinely and actively intends to do and eventually does. However, more often that not, in my experience, the "you've got to be in it to win it" justification is simply an excuse deployed by the party-political-punter who is in fact as happy as Larry with their party's current course.

Because I know and respect the individual making the 'affirmation' in this instance, and publicly at that, I think it's a rational and productive course of action to follow and I applaud it. But I'm sure DH will appreciate, more than most, why I taken the "you can't change it from the outside" mantra with a grain of salt.

It's a very short trip down the philosophical highway, from "I was only with them because I was trying to make a difference" to "I was only following orders". Stockholm Syndrome is a sad enough malady, without justifying one's actions with the Nuremburg Defence.

Finally, it's perhaps another symptom of Stockholm Syndrome, that sufferers appears to be unable to present facts without bias. "Labor has been given another chance by the electorate", the statement oddly fails to mention that a considerable portion of "the electorate" in fact did NOT give Labor a second chance. The biggest swing against Labor since the 1980s, I heard one commentator call it. So in representing what your party does and does not have a mandate to do, lets try to remember that a near-miss does not a convincing or overwhelming mandate make.

DH's last word

Points taken, though this is a classic and irresoluble political dilemma - risking co-optation versus risking irrelevance - different people resolve it in different ways at different eras of their lives. Fortunately the world is still made up of all kinds - and idealists can always change their spots. As Little Red ApparatChick said to DH, what big eyes you have - all the better to scrutinise your internal processes with - And what a big mouth you have - all the better to critique you with, m'dear.

5 comments:

Garry said...

Amen, DH, Amen....provisionally!

The provision? Remaining with the party, on the inside, with the intention of driving change, is all well and good, if that's what one genuinely and actively intends to do and eventually does. However, more often that not, in my experience, the "you've got to be in it to win it" justification is simply an excuse deployed by the party-political-punter who is in fact as happy as Larry with their party's current course.

Because I know and respect the individual making the 'affirmation' in this instance, and publicly at that, I think it's a rational and productive course of action to follow and I applaud it. But I'm sure DH will appreciate, more than most, why I taken the "you can't change it from the outside" mantra with a grain of salt.

It's a very short trip down the philosophical highway, from "I was only with them because I was trying to make a difference" to "I was only following orders". Stockholm Syndrome is a sad enough malady, without justifying one's actions with the Nuremburg Defence.

Finally, it's perhaps another symptom of Stockholm Syndrome, that sufferers appears to be unable to present facts without bias. "Labor has been given another chance by the electorate", the statement oddly fails to mention that a considerable portion of "the electorate" in fact did NOT give Labor a second chance. The biggest swing against Labor since the 1980s, I heard one commentator call it. So in representing what your party does and does not have a mandate to do, lets try to remember that a near-miss does not a convincing or overwhelming mandate make.

Garry

Mike B said...

Garry,

The Stockholm Syndrome is a good metaphor only if you think the Coalition is the rescuer, or at least hostage negotiator. Where is your evidence that they have any plans to improve the situation of public housing tenants?

Neither Labor nor the Coalition has a solution. And it's not entirely because of a lack of good ideas or lack of sympathy with tenants (thought of course both apply). It's because there is no solution that would not have a deep impact on the housing market as a whole, and state finances. Housing has become a major store of wealth for a large number of people, and this is in conflict with the need of another large group of people for affordable decent housing.

DH is right to suggest that it is a big problem that can't be fixed without challenging capitalism itself. At the very least, we need to challenge Labor from the left, not the right, and I think in the short run that challenge has to come from the Greens and within the party itself.

Garry said...

G'day Mike
Do me a favour and show me where I suggested that the Libs or the Coalition are our rescuers, and that they have the solutions to our woes. Unless you can show me where I said it, your demand for evidence is something of a non-sequitur surely?

Garry

Mike B said...

Hi Garry,

I was led to believe you were advocating a vote for the Coalition when you said this:

"Right about now, those of you with advanced, acute and incurable Stockholm syndrome will be saying, "If we had a Coalition govt we'd really be in the sh*t!!!" In rebuttal I offer a response I've not uttered since 6th class, "Prove it, go-orn, I dare ya!" The fact is we don't know we'd be worse off with Johnny & Co. In fact, judged on social housing performance alone, I challenge anyone to suggest a horror future scenario under the Libs that Labor hasn't already either implemented or foreshadowed."

If I misinterpreted this and you were actually advocating a vote for parties to the left of Labor, then we're in agreement. I certainly agree that the current Labor government is part of the problem, I just don't think the Coalition is any part of the solution.

DH said...

If DH can have a post-modern moment, it all goes to show that the message is in the eye of the beholder. She read Garry as saying vote for anyone but Labor because none of them could be worse, not even the Liberals.