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Iemma tells ALP members to get stuffed

by Dave Riley

Maybe not in those exact words of course -- but the message is loud and clear.

Is this upping the anti or what?
"Mr Iemma says even though his party's state conference has voted against privatisation, the Government will proceed with its plans."
Obviously in terms of capitalism in Australia a lot is riding on this commitment from NSW Labor to sell off the industry.

The battle lines are sharply drawn. I cannot recall such a very clear and polarized difference in the ALP given the party's standard penchant for pragmatism and manoevreing.

And within the NSW branch too...Who woulda thought?

It seems from where I'm sitting that either the ALP ranks fight to win and actually do win OR if they DON'T fight or if they LOSE then the NSW ALP as a home for anything remotely progressive goes profoundly and publicly down the toilet.

There doesn't seem much middle ground or many options as the corporatist (and I'd add "class") divide is crudely drawn.

Obviously the ALP rank and file lefts (assuming these creatures can rise to the occasion) have a fight on their hands as it's clear that they are committed to the opposition movement --and I'd assume this is one big fight they'll be fighting. So we wish them well INSIDE the ALP.

Of course I'm tempted to ask: "what if you loose?" and "what you gonna do then?" -- but I won't do that because that would be rude of me.

The key question is : how can we win?

Well there you go...the ball's in the court of the NSW unions , party ranks, and communities....

But it does seem to me that there's a lot of motion afoot on the Laborism front. Rudd Labor is really a very broad church that accommodates a congregation of aficionados in each state and what we're up against is a very spacious front dedicated to an aggressive new wave of restructuring, absolutely committed to the coal and mining industries and keen to junk any semblance of passe welfare state ism. That for the sake of Work Choices Lite we're in for a major restructuring agenda in step with Hawke's and Keating's. The wave is rising here in Qld as the whole business of "state infrastructure" is given the once over.

And each time the argument will be exactly as Iemma has advanced -- we cannot afford it (eg:an electricity industry, a hospital system, a railroad, etc). So there'll be a wave of state and private enterprise partnerships or frank sell offs -- maybe via a few leasing agreements.

And it will happen without our immediate ability -- Greens included -- of us to mount an electoral challenge to Labor's agenda or that of the Coalition governments that will surely follow. So this restructuring may in fact proceed state by state very quickly indeed as perhaps these governments deploy Howard style wedge politics like in Tasmanian forestry.

I can imagine the sort of pressures that will come down on unions like the CFMEU.

What I'm seeing is that in this desire to tell us to get stuffed they are confident that they have nothing much to fear. Street protests? Why they can march to their legs drop off -- we're still going to proceed. We went ahead in Iraq didn't we and are still there. So stuff em. Strikes? You're joking -- we squashed that malarkey under Hawke and bought in the big stick under Howard. Punish us electorally? The Greens can only muster a 8% average and are contained in the inner city ghettoes.

So you gotta sometimes see the other side's POV...

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