The left-wing press reports militant left-wing unions associated with the Socialist Left in the Victorian ALP continue to put the squeeze on their faction about the preselection peace and stability deal between the Left and traditional rivals, the Labor Unity group.
The play from the militants is simple, threaten to do a deal with the National Union of Workers and Shop Assistants Union (some insist on calling them the Left Right Out faction, while someone suggested yesterday they should be called the Divine Right) in order to get what they want.
The militant shopping list includes treats like returning the former federal parliamentarian Steve Dargavel to legislature leather as he’s grown sick and tired of representing metal workers and also bumping the odd mistress, spouse, staffer and lick-spittle into Parliament as well. One lefty is as bad as the other we suppose so we can remain delightfully ambivalent about the whole shonky enterprise.
NEVER BULLSH*T A BULLSH*TTER
But one thing is certain, it’s a bluff. SL leaders Carr and Griffin will give the banditos a few trinkets but their generosity will be limited because no militant left unionist wants to be seen to be doing a deal with the Shoppies, who they hatefully and with bigotry in their sectarian hearts denounce as Groupers and so on.
Because the SDA’s leadership take principled stances on a wide range of social issues, it is seen as rather injurious to one’s lefty cred around the Trades Hall bar to be even chatting with the brethren of Southbank let alone actually helping their conscience vote using representatives into Parliament where they can oppose the latest radical proposals from Captain Wacky Attorney General Rob Hulls.
But the unrealistic nature of the sneaky scheme is keeping a few – just a few mind you – of the NUW crew hopeful that they can destroy the peace deal between the SL and Labor Unity that threatens to leave them at the mercy of their internal rivals in the Right.
VEXNEWS sources familiar with the matter say that at yesterday’s meeting of militant left-wing unions, Bill Oliver from the notorious Construction division of the CFMEU proposed a motion drafted at NUW HQ rejecting the LU-SL peace deal and proposing a deal with the NUW and any allies the NUW decided to include.
That motion was rejected and a compromise was passed that they’d not accept the peace deal at this stage but talk with everybody to attempt to get a better deal for themselves.Â The NUW’s hope that the motion would pass was dashed, indicating to most they were being played like a grand piano in the Comrade’s Bar.
One observer remarked “They’re still being played, the tune is the same, it’s just Bill Oliver on the piano replacing Andrew Giles.”
It’s worth noting that no NUW aligned MP seems to be in jeopardy under this deal, except possibly in the upper house. There is also speculation – not necessarily correct either – that the NUW backed party Assistant Secretary Lisa Carey could be forced out. So the NUW’s actual losses are limited.
One of the upper house MPs aligned to the NUW is Martin Pakula, who has just been promoted to a senior ministry in the government and is regarded as a strong performer in the parliament and likely to be an excellent minister. Certainly better than the sea-slug who nearly got the job. So it’s not likely at all that he’d have a preselection problem, in our view.
But what the NUW has lost is its ability to lord it over the rest of the Right. It’s not greatly unlike a fight between kids about who gets to sit in the front seat of the car. Some would dispute that ‘lording it over’ anyone was really their intention, saying they were being egged on and in some cases forced into playing a more aggressive role than suited the strategic interest of the NUW or their great white hope Tim Holding. Some NUW figures point to folks aligned to Senator Feeney as the most blood-thirsty of the players.
Whatever the NUW’s avaricious intent, the transformation of their political position from controlling a majority of the majority faction in the ALP to being a one-third partner in a f*cked-over part of the Right has been a radical and jarring one.
Such is their desperation, some of their number have been willing to run even further risk to their damaged reputation by been seen to attempt to destroy a preselection peace pact purely because they weren’t in control of it. The fact they seem willing to do so with some union secretaries you’d not really want to invite home to meet mother or expose to too much regulatory probing speaks volumes about just how much of a corner they think they have been painted into.
The NUW’s leadership is moderate, aggressive and at times brilliant. They have built a strong union that has endured constantly changing times in the industries they cover. We struggle to reconcile the great job the union does with the miserable performance it puts in politically where its judgment regularly seems to fail it, leaving it isolated and reviled. It could all have been so different.
As the dust begins to settle on the peace deal, soon the preselections will come. It will probably take until the final vote on the last night of the POSC meetings for some of the more excitable NUW allies (usually not working there but hangers-on of some kind) to process the fact that it all went wrong and that it was mostly their own stupid fault.
A great union whose political operatives could end up like the determined yet crazy Japanese officer found in the Philippines jungle – Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda – who only surrendered in March 19, 1972 after stubbornly ignoring air-dropped leaflets from the Japanese government telling him the war had stopped (he was convinced they were Allied propaganda) and after he and his men killed thirty Filipinos and wounded one hundred more while resisting their efforts to get him to surrender. He felt a bit stupid in the end.
We really lost the war! How could they have been so sloppy?
Suddenly everything went black. A storm raged inside me. I felt like a fool for having been so tense and cautious on the way here. Worse than that, what had I been doing for all these years?
Gradually the storm subsided, and for the first time I really understood: my thirty years as a guerrilla fighter for the Japanese army were abruptly finished. This was the end. I pulled back the bolt on my rifle and unloaded the bullets… I eased off the pack that I always carried with me and laid the gun on top of it.
Would I really have no more use for this rifle that I had polished and cared for like a baby all these years? Or Kozuka’s rifle, which I had hidden in a crevice in the rocks? Had the war really ended thirty years ago? If it had, what had (his men) Shimada and Kozuka died for?
Hopefully all of the divided Right can realise the absurdity of fighting old wars endlessly. When Lieutenant Onoda finally laid down his weapons, he was pardoned all his past sins by Filipino authorities, he triumphantly returned home to a radically transformed Japan and was treated like a hero, wrote a best-seller and retired on the proceeds to a beautiful farm (perhaps not unlike Greg Sword’s ranch). Come down from the mountains, NUW rebels. This might be Allied propaganda but it’s also true. You might not be offered a hero’s welcome but there are many who would like to look past the past and to avoid the many possible adverse consequences of a divided Right.