Apologies for the Spelling! But this cartoon from the US Christian Science Monitor neatly encapsulates my thinking on Labour Day 2012.
FOR TWENTY-FIVE YEARS now we have been conducting a social experiment on the consequences for New Zealand workers of voluntary unionism and enterprise-based employment contracts. The results are in - and they are crystal clear.
The steady growth in workers incomes that characterised the 40 years following WWII came to a definitive end with the Employment Contracts Act in 1991. The widening gulf between NZ and Australian wage-rates dates from then, as does the explosive growth in social inequality.
To a social-democrat it should be axiomatic that this experiment be brought to an end. The true measure of neoliberal ideological hegemony, however, may be discerned in the inability of not only the NZLP but the CTU itself to recognise the necessity of rebuilding a mass labour movement.
Everything the unions have tried to overcome the structural obstacles placed before the trade union movement by the neoliberal authors of NZ's labour relations legislation has failed. Union density in the private sector now stands at less than 10 percent. And still union officials and Labour MPs will roll their eyes in scorn the moment a return to universal union membership or a national award system is suggested.
Nothing I know of could better illustrate neoliberalism's almost total victory over the Left than hearing union leaders argue against the interests of their own members in the language of their oppressors.
Something to think about on Labour Day.
This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.