The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

rumours of our demise etc

well i wouldn't say they are greatly exaggerated (i'm talking about the Alliance here folks)

i joined the Alliance in 2000, and worked hard to build up the youth wing, Staunch Alliance. I've served as a body on the street, in the crowd and in the housie hall, a branch secretary, a regional chair, the Staunch Alliance spokesperson, a National Council member (as the Staunch rep on and off for several years, and in my own right, elected from the conference floor for one year), and the National Executive (before I resigned from that due to concern over a variety of things). So I've seen the Alliance from most perspectives, and I was there at the Councils during the Anderton split (in fact I was a toxic influence, poisoning the minds of impressionable young people - what can I say? I try).

I decided to take a bit of a break from the Alliance, whilst staying a member, and slowly but surely divested myself of all my various offices and responsibilities, with the last being the Auckland Regional Chair's hat in April. It only took me a couple of months to realise that the unhappiness that had caused me to stand down from everything was only made worse by not being actively involved in the party.

So I've got back in - started going to meetings again, having my say, raising funds, and through no fault of my own found myself subbing for the youth rep on the Alliance Council this weekend. Of course what happened in that room is not for consumption outside the membership, but suffice to say the media line that was agreed is NOT what has been put out by the Leader in the last two days.

Here are some links:
Alliance to back Greens, Maori Party - stuff
Party admits struggle to survive - tvnz

And here is the official Alliance media statement (not actually up on the website of course, this is from scoop):
Alliance Election Strategy for 2005

Match to the agreed media strategy (or even what was agreed at the meeting): quite low imho. Pretty high level of frustration over in this blog.

I passionately believe if the Alliance does not stand a list at the next election we are finished. We may in fact be finished anyway, but all our conference decisions to date have endorsed running, and our manifesto repeats that we are an electoral party of the left. To me a list is intrinsic to this - a list vote is a party vote, an electorate vote is a candidate vote - as a party who campaigned for MMP you'd think we'd get that!

Ok, this is too long already. *sigh*


Anonymous said...

Despite my comments, Span, my heart goes out. Many of the people I came to know thru pols at AUSA are now Alliance people, and (I really hope this doesn't sound patronising) your idealism and commitment has always been very admirable to me. My focus went to Labour but that did not mean I fell into a tribal hatred. It makes me really sad to see what has happened to the Alliance over the past couple of years.

Kia kaha and the best of luck.


span said...

thanks JTC - it isn't a very nice place to be in right now. communicating with the membership via the media is never ideal, and it seems to be what is happening these days (as in the past). very frustrating!!!

the problem for people like me is that we have nowhere else to go - the Greens, as i've commented elsewhere, will always put environmental issues first (and fair enough, they're a green party), the Maori party has no policies (and personally i'm not joining any party whose policies i don't largely agree with), and Labour is, well, Labour, and not left enough for me and many other Alliance members. Besides, as you are aware, I could never join Labour and be quiet, as I would have to be.

i want there to be a party, of the left, that i can get involved in - at a wide variety of levels. one that actually fights and campaigns for what it believes in, which does media work on its policies, which organises activities to build support for those policies, and which is fun to be in. the Alliance used to be these things for me - I had hoped it could be again, and that i could play a role in returning it to that. Now i'm not sure it's possible, and that's v sad.

Anonymous said...

I would feel let down, too, spanner, if something similar happened to the Greens.

I'm sure Jordan will eventually encourage you to latch onto Labour.

I will admit my bias and happiness if the Alliance throws its lot behind the Greens. I know Alliance people like Sam Huggard, and they are nice people to be around. Why wouldn't I want such people in the Greens with me? Nothing like working together!

span said...

jordan has tried, historically, to encourage me into labour. so have others. my partner is in fact in labour, although he realises i am too left to ever be happy there and has not hassled me. the labour party would have to change a great deal for me to join it, and i don't see that happening any time soon. never fear, i won't be getting in that particular waka.

as for the Greens - yes i know Sam too and he's fab. i know that the Greens (and the Maori party) would certainly want activists of his calibre, of which there are many still in the Alliance. but personally i have doubts about the Greens and couldn't currently see myself joining them.

for me there is no party to vote for or be actively involved in if the Alliance goes :-( that's not just a hide-bound reaction, that's from thinking about leaving (and in particular about joining the Greens) a lot over the last year.

Aaron Bhatnagar said...

Well, don't despair. The Alliance still has local government... for now :-)


Aaron B

Brendon said...

I said it before and I will say it again - the first piority of the left at the moment is to keep out Don Brash and the National Party in the 2005. The Alliance is hopefully seeing this fact and is putting all of its weight in behind that, even if it means self-destruction (though hopefully that will not be the case). Span, I have to be honest here - Jim Anderton is the main reason that the Alliance party is in the position it is in now - you gave him too much power - you let him become the power and relied to much on him. He never really was a real left winger in the first place - he might have trumpeted the left's cause, but when it came to the crunch (in government), he deserted the party.

span said...

i certainly don't disagree on the Anderton issue (or JPA as i'm more used to referring to him as). however there are some in the current leadership of the Alliance who were pretty involved in some of that too.

i don't know if it's capable for us, as a party, to ever recover from the 2002 split. but i thought we were going to give it a better go than this.

most of those in the Alliance throughout its history, and the NLP before it, are going to have to work together in the left in the future, regardless of current party affiliation, if the left is to meaningful succeed in shifting the political paradigm in this country. i know the right think that this govt verges on the socialist, but those of us who are actually left know that it leaves a lot to be desired in the leftie dept. it's going to take time to change that, and while we need the time that a Labour-led govt from 2005 - 2008 would buy us, that's not the be-all and end-all of it.

i have to say it would be interesting to choose between a one term National-led govt in 2005, with a true return to its principles from the Labour party, and three more years limping on failing to walk the talk and then getting booted in 2008 anyway.

the problem is always that a National-led govt, for any period of time, is going to hurt our people. and i don't think i could stomach that. but sometimes i do wonder if things are going to have to get worse before they get truly better.