Tuesday, 11 September 2007

The A-Team aren't

Back before it was renamed Libertarianz, founder Ian Fraser called the party The A Team; that is, 'A' for abolish. Now a young student team at Wellington's Victoria University have picked up the name and look worthy of your attentions [Alas not, see below]. Victoria's A-Team promises all students a $25 rebate, and says that
Given the embarrassing antics by the incompetent Muppets of recent years, the A-Team offers Victoria students a real, unified alternative. The A-Team offers an end to irresponsible financial practices, to the vandalising of student property, to 0900 scandals and to unfounded attacks on Salient magazine.
Perhaps one of them can explain, however, why they don't have a platform of voluntary student membership? If they're going to do the job properly, then why not get rid of compulsion?

UPDATE 1: I've yet to receive or see any worthwhile explanation of this A-Team's explanation of their apparently pathetic position on voluntary student membership (VSM). Would it be unfair, do you think, to suggest that they might be little different to the muppets they would like to replace?

UPDATE 2: Ah FFS, here's confirmation at the Salient site that the A-Team are no different to the other muppets. Removing the compulsion to join the student union should be a litmus test issue for any freedom-loving student politician, yet A-Teamer Ann Duggan confirms that
The A-Team is not an advocate of VSM. While we aim to improve the degree of
choice available to students in the services provided by VUWSA, we aim to do so within existing frameworks.
Fuck 'em. And if you're at VUW, don't vote for them. If at their tender age the A-Team doesn't understand that compulsion is wrong and freedom of association worth promoting, then they don't understand anything that's worth a damn. Barely twenty and already sold out. Pathetic.


  1. VSM requires a university wide referendum and can't be simply introduced by an exec.

    A law change is what is really needed.

  2. "VSM requires a university wide referendum and can't be simply introduced by an exec."

    Not good enough, Peter.

    So does the A-Team have a policy for a campus-wide referendum?

    Or is the policy simply to have no policy?

    "A law change is what is really needed."
    Opposing compulsion is what is needed -- opposing compulsion on campus is an issue that even students can understand, IF you're prepared to fight it.

    Are you?

  3. I'm not running with the A-Team.

    Even a campus wide referendum is no good, because those who are benefitting the most from the current system are much more likely to vote - apathy is rife.

    And even if you're successful, you have to go through it all over again the next year when the new exec decide to have another referendum. And unfortunately it is much easier to win the referendum to become compulsory that it is the other way.

  4. Jesus wept! Talk about a defeatist attitude!

    Look, I appreciate you defending the A-Team, since none of them have bothered, but that defeatism just doesn't cut it.

    You see problems; I see an opportunity.

    Don't you see that a referendum once a year is a great opportunity EVERY YEAR to radicalise students AGAINST COMPULSION!?

    That's a gift issue for freedom lovers, isn't it? That's an opportunity every freedom loving student activist should grasp with both hands.

    You cite problems of apathy etc., and the diffciulties of winning, but surely you're aware that Auckland, to cite just one example, overcame the hurdles you cite and threw out compulsion AND the muppets in 2000, and AFAIK Auckland has remained voluntary ever since.

    No reason at all that VUW couldn't do the same, except perhaps for voluntarists' own apathy.

  5. In another time and another place?

    The X-Team is not an advocate of opposing the anti-Jewish laws. While we aim to improve the degree of choice available to Jewish students, we aim to do so within existing frameworks.

    Or John Key on most issues?

  6. Your correct, Auckland remains voluntary.

    Waikato however reverted back to compulsory when the new executive held a referendum in the middle of end of year exams and didn't properly advertise it. Something like a couple of hundred people voted for the entire university to return to compulsory.

    I know you're against government intervention but the law change i want to see is actually a revoke of the current law that ensures compulsory membership. Surely you wouldn't support a re-introduction of compulsory (work) unionism even if it would radicalise workers against compulsion?

  7. "Surely you wouldn't support a re-introduction of compulsory (work) unionism even if it would radicalise workers against compulsion?"

    No, I wouldn't. But neither would I sit on my hands and make up excuses for inaction when the opportunity exists EVERY YEAR to teach the future leaders of the country that compulsion is WRONG.

  8. We can't just say "we want a referendum"...
    The exec may be able to do that, i'm not sure, but otherwise we need about 2000 signatures just to force the referendum.

  9. I don't think you are being particularly fair on the A Team, Peter. Standing for election and fighting a referendum are, especially in this case, two different things. If I were advising them, I would tell them to do exactly what they are doing now.

    The VSM issue is a red herring in student elections, because the executive can't call a binding referendum all by themselves. So why should they campaign on it? And why should you expect them to? You may as well ask them what their policy on abortion is, because in practical terms the issue is of equal irrelevance in this case.

    A policy on VSM would just be a distraction. Even if, in principle, many students agreed with VSM, they would not necessarily vote for a staunch VSM ticket to run a Student Union. Rightly or wrongly (usually wrongly) people tend to prefer it if they know aspiring politicians care about the institution they seek to run. A support for VSM, rightly or wrongly, makes this ambiguous.

    If you think back to the 1999 referendum and subsequent defeat of the Left at the AUSA elections, they were entirely separate campaigns, and in fact, with some exceptions, were organised by separate people. I think it would be a mistake for the A-Team to try and fight two battles at once.

  10. What Blair said. I'm not involved with the A-Team - I have zero interest in becoming a student politician - but I will be voting for them, if only because I don't want my university to be tainted by the actions of incompetent muppets. I know several of the A-Team members, they are all good people, and many of them are supporters of VSM.

    However, as was made clear the last time that Act on Campus and the Young Nats contested VUWSA elections (with some success although Mike Collins did not win President, and they did not get a majority) VSM is beyond the VUWSA exec's mandate. A petition is needed for a referendum, and a referendum is necessary. Having an Executive which would not use VUWSA resources to campaign against such a petition and referendum would be a huge advantage, but you need a separate group to do the campaigning. It's certainly a possibility for next year, though.


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