The Way Forward – Towards a More Equal and Just World
What We Are Up Against
Robert Reich says “We are engaged in a war of ideas. But if it were just ideas, based on reason and reality we’d win hands down. The regressive right is armed with money from the richest people and corporations in America and it has no compunction in telling big lies repeatedly until the public starts to believe them. But the regressives biggest weapon by far is cynicism. Don’t fall prey. We must as individuals and together take back our economy and reclaim our democracy.”
Chris Trotter elaborates on the lies “You’re rich, and you want to stay that way. So,you need to find a way to eliminate, or at least minimise, the threats posed by taxes, unions, and democracy. What’s your strategy?
Essentially, there’s only one winning strategy. It requires you to convince all those who are not wealthy that whatever status and security they do enjoy is the result of your own superior imagination, risk-taking and skill. You have to paint yourself and your fellow millionaires and billionaires as a “wealth creators” and, more importantly, “job creators”. You have to convince your fellow citizens that any attempt to restrict or redistribute your wealth will not only put their jobs at risk, but that society as a whole will become poorer.
If you can convince people of these things, then they will, perfectly democratically, eliminate wealth taxes, truncate workers’ rights, and reconfigure their entire political system to favour the tiny minority fortunate enough to hold the multi-million-dollar winning tickets.
But wait, there’s more. Because, as The Spirit Level shows, grossly unequal societies are beset with all manner of social pathologies. And, because these pathologies encourage political debate about the fairness and sustainability of economic inequality, there’s one more thing the wealthy must do. They must convince us that, if we’re losers, it’s our own fault. We’re just too stupid and/or lazy to be winners.”
Our Plan of Attack?
The Alliance is a small party and positive social change does not usually happen over night. This discussion is a search for practical, achievable suggestions for the wider left/ social justice movement and the Alliance Party that will move us closer to a more just and equal society.
1a. What are some practical things the Left can do to improve our image, negate the messages that National puts out so successfully, and get people to take on board ideas like the common good, greater equality and sharing of finite natural resources?
b. What specific things can the Alliance do?
2a. What type of person do our policies appeal to?
b. What groups/ individuals could the Alliance network with to help bring about the social changes we would like to see?
3. How can we involve, enthuse and increase our membership? Members are widely spread throughout New Zealand and most are either not able or don’t wish to attend branch meetings regularly.
4. What would you like to see on an action plan for the Alliance Party for the next two years; bearing in mind we don’t have much money and we are all volunteers?
5. Do you have any suggestions for people wanting to find out more and keep up to date with left wing politics and social justice issues e.g books/ magazines/ movies/ documentaries/ websites/ facebook pages.
These questions will be discussed at our conference. But we would like to hear from people who are not able to attend conference as well. Anyone who would like to contribute please email your responses to email@example.com. We will present your responses during the group discussion at conference.