The corrupt right wing controlled NSW ALP has been a disgrace for many decades. When it comes to thuggery, standover tactics, rigging union elections, soliciting bribes from big business interests, spying for the CIA and screwing their left wing opponents, few can outdo the machine men (and the few women) of the NSW Labor right.
Kevin Rudd’s recently announced intervention into the NSW ALP will do nothing to confront the fundamental problem. It is largely an exercise in window dressing – evidence of which is that it has been backed by leading NSW ALP powerbrokers, including state secretary Sam Dastyari.
A few of the most outrageously corrupt ALP members may be expelled and property developers banned from standing for public office. But then it will be back to business as usual. Putting a few more so-called rank and file members on the state administrative committee will not transform the ALP into a party that stands up for the rights of its working class supporters.
The press howls about factional powerbrokers and the influence of union officials in the ALP. The establishment would like to eliminate all working class influence in politics and totally destroy the idea that political parties should represent the interests of the rival classes in capitalist society.
There is nothing at all progressive in reducing union influence in the Labor Party and further boosting the role of middle class careerists.
The problem is not that the unions are involved in the ALP. The problem is that the union leaders kowtow to big business interests and don’t fight inside the ALP to defend workers’ rights. Rank and file union members have virtually no democratic control over the political stances their union leaders take in ALP forums, and this allows those leaders to engage in all sorts of sordid backroom deals.
The worst corruption in the ALP is not the backhanders that the MPs and power brokers receive from property developers and their ilk. The much, much worse corruption is that a party that was originally formed to defend working class interests long ago abandoned that project and instead dedicates itself to serving the rich and powerful.
The ALP has become a pale reflection of the Liberal Party. Rudd’s “reforms” will reverse none of that. We need a genuine working class alternative.