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Alliance meltdown

Alliance meltdown

The meltdown of the Alliance is examined in some detail in the current issue of 'revolution' magazine.

Huw Jarvis and Jane Wire trace the history of the Alliance and note that most of the activist left had already been driven out of the Alliance, or left because of alienation, well before this year. The split was thus a split within what had constituted the centre and right of the Alliance during the 1990s. These factions had been able to co-operate, especially against the left, as long as the Alliance was relatively popular and out of government. The decline in the Alliance's electoral viability, coupled with Anderton's cosiness in government, epitomised by his support for the 'war on terror', brought the tensions to a head and led to Anderton purging half a dozen Alliance workers from their jobs at parliament, including party president McCarten and general-secretary Gerard Hehir.

The article concludes, "The politics of social democratic 'realism' have yet again proven to be unrealistic for achieving any real and meaningful social change. . . an immense amount of energy has been wasted . . . Imagine if the same energy had been put into serious left-wing extra-parliamentary political activity."

Following the Jarvis/Wire article, which essentially deals with the mechanics of the Alliance split, is one by Philip Ferguson suggesting that, in the current conditions of capitalist malaise, there is no space left for any kind of significant social democratic project. Ferguson suggests that Anderton the realist understands this, while the Harre-McCarten faction does not. The article briefly traces the history of social democracy and argues that most social democratic parties have been transformed over time into liberal capitalist parties, like the NZ Labour Party. The article concludes that "The social democratic game is up?" and a new, radical politics of human liberation need to be created.

The current issue also has a major feature article on NZ's record in Samoa, a defence of GM food, a major feature on globalisation, an attack on the government's mania for apology, a humorous introduction to NZ artists including Helen Clark, and a book reviews and living section.

Other recent issues have included accounts of the role of the Labour Party and union movement in the formation of the 'White New Zealand' policy in the late 1800s/early 1900s, critiques of the 'war on terror', an in-depth look at the current political and economic crisis in Argentina, the record of France's 'left' government and an examination of the shift of the German Greens from 'eco-socialism' to 'neo-liberalism'.

'revolution' is produced in Christchurch by current and former Canterbury University postgraduate students and is available in a limited number of book and magazine shops around the country, or direct from Radical Media Collective, P.O. Box 513. For further information, also check out www.revolution.org.nz

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