Monday, September 26, 2011

Stirrings on the left and another think tank

So the ALP Left is finding its voice supposedly through a new website launched last night. Unfortunately I can't find the website. The news reports are all about a campaign to reinvigorate the party rank and file - but direct election of delegates to National Conference achieves nothing without reducing the union block vote.

Meanwhile Paul Howes is reportedly launching a new think tank called The McKell Institute.

Howes said;

Labor in NSW always had the philosophy of making the market work for people, of civilising capitalism. That is still the driving force behind social democracy but in the past 10 years there hasn't been a clear ideological split between social democrats and conservatives. There is a crisis of identity for social democracy globally.

"Civilising capitalism" is a long way from the "democratic socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange", the ALP's stated objective.

The clear ideological split that has been missing is between social democrats and neo-liberals - not conservatives. That split doesn't get created merely by civilising capitalism, it comes by recognising that a market economy does not need to give a privileged position to capital and needs to target the instruments of the State at limiting any individual or collective's ability to exercise power over others. That is the distinction between the socialisation of the market and merely civilising capitalism.

Meanwhile, by recollection, Paul Howes own personal contribution to "Five Big Policy Ideas" in the Right's journal Voice was a new program to populate the Kimberley. If you ever wanted something not differentiated from the coalition and irrelevant to the cause of the oppressed that would be it.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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