New Politics- “the post-capitalist future- one determined by our capacity to organize”- Vanessa Arapko

Leftwin is hosting a discussion on building a new politics in Aotearoa. Here is a contribution from Vanessa Arapko. Vanessa is an undergraduate student in University of Auckland majoring in Sociology. She’s involved in organizing and volunteering for various radical groups such as Student Housing Action Group and No Pride in Prisons.

Trump’s victory reinforced the failure of liberal democracy and its abandonment of the working class. This election demonstrated Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party’s total capitulation to capital and its neoliberal ethos. The same tradition of the working class abandonment by the liberal left in parliamentary politics is analogous in New Zealand.

With the adoption of neoliberal policies by the Fourth Labour Government in 1984, there has been an on-going continuation of free-market ideology within the dichotomy of electoral politics. All parties in government have failed to provide a counter hegemony to neoliberalism but moreover to capitalism which dictates class antagonisms. The so-called liberal democracy has long neglected workers and the oppressed, accompanied by a refusal to critique the operation of the market which must infinitely expand, accumulate and exploit. Instead of embodying a conscientious politics of resistance, the liberal left has relegated itself to administering the future of capitalism, and tinkering at the margins.

The perils of liberal democracy must therefore accept its perished state and instead, acknowledge the post-capitalist future as one determined by our capacity to organize, take action, revolt and make demands in the struggle against capitalism. Alternatively, not limited to parliamentary politics, a party led by workers and the unemployed can serve as a medium to provide a radical counter hegemony to capitalism. One which will be united in the international workers struggle and hold the capacity to make universal political demands while accounting for particularities in not merely immediate but mediated material conditions of people. Alas, anything short of the universality of these demands will lead to local privilege at the expense of others.

Comments welcome below. 

Leftwin seeks to host a discussion on building a new left politics in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Be part of that discussion.

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One thought on “New Politics- “the post-capitalist future- one determined by our capacity to organize”- Vanessa Arapko

  1. The post capitalist, post neo-liberal future is determined by how quickly we can organise to bring Economic Justice to ALL, and not just the few. Franklin Delano Roosevelt has got it sussed, in his inspiring and electrifying Economic Declaration of Rights.

    It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known.

    We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

    This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.

    They were our rights to life and liberty.

    As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

    We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.

    “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

    In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

    Among these are:

    The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

    The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

    The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

    The right of every family to a decent home;

    The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

    The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

    The right to a good education.

    All of these rights spell security.

    And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

    America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens. For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world.

    Roger Douglas inflicted the plague of neo-liberal economics on New Zealand in 1984. Now in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, it is high time to mobilise capital and labour to bring about Economic Justice for the 99% of Kiwis regardless of station, gender, sexual inclination, age or creed.

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