Class vs Identity Politics – Why Andrew Little has no choice but to stare down the Identitarians inside Labour


Poto Williams extraordinary outburst at Andrew Little’s choice of Willie Jackson as a candidate has left Little with no choice but to stare down the Identitarians inside his own Party and force Jackson’s candidacy through.

Since its disastrous 2014 campaign, the Labour leadership have been focused on forcing the warring factions within Labour to work together, but that has been a Left-Right focus when the factions within Labour have developed more into Class vs Identity Politics.

Identitarians have become the loudest manifestation of this neoliberal hyper individualism.

Me, me, me, I, I, I and my, my, my have replaced ‘us’ as the language of political inclusion.

Replacing class for hyper individualism makes solidarity almost impossible and creates fractures within unity, which is exactly what we are seeing happen in real time with the Labour Party right now.


The need to identify politically with your gender, sexual orientation, race or religion becomes ultimately self defeating as there is no common thread binding everyone who opposes the economic hegemony that damages us all.

TDB Recommends

Class is the common thread here, minimising that risks the type of divisions we are seeing erupt right now.

You need the 99% to beat the 1%

That isn’t to say that Identity Politics isn’t valid and shouldn’t have a role in defining the Left, of course it does and it should, but let’s call this witch hunt against Willie Jackson for what it really is – a factional fight using him as the punching bag and it’s damaging Labour’s chances of winning.


Poto Williams was in discussions with the Labour leadership regarding her concerns, the Labour leadership believed they had an agreement that she wouldn’t post anything, she changed her mind and then posted it anyway.

The damage and threat to Little’s leadership is breath taking in its arrogance and naivety. If Little doesn’t stare down the Identitarians he will look like he’s hostage to them.

Identitarians seem more interested in punishing men than working with them, and that can’t be a message Andrew Little wants to take into the 2017 election.

The DNC suffered from Identitarians over running their election last year. Identitarians argued that while Hillary Clinton was a neoliberal war hawk who was wedded to neoliberal globalisation, because she was a woman it was better to have her as a candidate than Bernie Sanders.

Turns out Bernie Sanders would have won against Trump.

Even now, these Identitarians point blank refuse to acknowledge that what Poto has done here by publicly undermining Little is completely out of line and will scream at us from TDB for pointing out how counter productive and alienating they are being. Like it’s our fault for pointing out how counter productive and alienating they are being.

I mean look at this from The Standard…

…wtf? No you clown, I’m pointing out that an MP with their own agenda purposely embarrassing the Leader of the Labour Party is extremely damaging. You are the people who are eroding solidarity for Christ’s sakes!

Oh and let’s not forget this wee gem from former Labour Party MP Darien Fenton…

…for the love of God, the damage these Union staff members are doing the cause with their fanatical twitter feeds is actually a real danger to the goals these Unions aspire to. We need more union powers, more universal unionism and we need stronger unions – what we don’t need are more middle class Union divas with out of control egos who seem hell bent on alienating as many people from Labour as humanly possible in the shortest period of time.

Good to see Darien is as utterly irrelevant as usual.

How these Identitarians expect to win an election if they can’t bring Maori working class men and women alongside with them is beyond me. They all sound like fanatical Hillary Clinton supporters more interested in purifying their safe hug space than fighting National and winning.

I have zero time for Greg O’Connor but I understand why Labour would want him to broaden their church so that they are in a position to beat National. I don’t like it, but what I like is secondary to the desire of replacing this repugnant Government with a better one.

This attack on Willie Jackson is dumb, alienating and self defeating. Willie Jackson and the urban Maori vote he brings are not the bloody enemy.


  1. Its a curious thing about Labour Party politicians. On one hand they are expected to bravely speak their minds and on the other hand they are howled down when they do.
    They don’t have this problem in the National Party. In the National Party they are told to shut their mouths and keep them shut until given a nod by the leader to ask a pointless patsy question in parliament.
    Any that don’t toe the line end up shifted to the back bench, deselected or turned into dead duck candidates in Ponsonby.
    Do we want Labour politicians to be more like National politicians?
    I sure don’t.

    • Are you deliberately misreading Martyn’s blog or are you really so simple you cannot see what it is he’s saying?

      It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing. It’s about HOW you do it. Do it in Caucus not the blogosphere.

      I’ve just listened to John Campbell on RNZ and they are feasting on this story.

      Just imagine what the bloated vultures at TVNZ and TV3 are going to do…

    • I’m assuming given your beliefs that when you have a disagreement in your family, you don’t discuss it in-house, you do a “Poto” and stop the car in the fast lane of the Harbour Bridge and get out and go medieval fully in public because you believe in” bravely speaking”!

      Who cares what happens next, who cares if you look totally unstable and unhinged, who cares about the ramifications of such self absorbed stupidity, just as long as arguments can be had in all their ugliness for the long-suffering public to witness. Cos like they want to see it!

      • lol…these self absorbed, self important MPs are too remote from the reality of ordinary NZers who want change away from the Nacts

        Labour and the Greens with these prima donnas is flagging badly

      • I am simply pointing out that Labour is sometimes hamfisted by their own democratic principles, whilst National don’t have that problem because they don’t have any principles.
        Unfortunately that is lost on our intrepid MSM who just adore any situation where they can imagine a fight amongst National’s opponents.

  2. Asking Labour to engage the think-thinky prowess of the Kiwi hoi polloi is like expecting jonky to hand feed the homeless. It ain’t gonna happen.

    Take a closer look?

    Do you see a thinky-thinky hoi polloi ? Or do you see a brain dead morass of mainstream media idiocrat’s addicted to their smartphone insto-information main lining into their amygdala’s to sate the discomfort they feel when they’re expected to rise of their toilet-sofa combo and after a slug of Brawndo and chups Bro then vote intelligently? You gotta be kidding?

    Our Masses are just like their American masses cousins. They desperately need a Trump figure to galvanise them up and into action. Not some pasty intelleshul who they all know just lie and cheat and steal. ” Because dumbasses! Yeah ! Foreigners and… and …. woman parts and…and… Mexicans ! Yeah ! Mexicans ! Quick? Anywhere…! Build a wall! “

    The entire effort of The Daily Blog on pondering how Labour will engage the Moron Classes is a waste of time and adjectives. They just need electrolytes.
    Electrolytes and beer and rugby and weed and The Warehouse and wife beater T shirts and jandles and a calf muscle tattoo and an angry kitten sounding car and a Biiig screen tv and fluro orange underpants and fuckin’ yeah ! Dumbass !

    Just hire a bloody actor. It’s that simple. Antony Starr would be perfect. He could kick, punch and fuck his way into Prime Ministership, the Masses would love that and they’d finally be engaged and he’d be perfect at it too.

    You think I’m joking? Far from it.

  3. Look at Paula Bennett.
    Her identity was that a Maori woman from a poor working class background.
    She escaped the working class. What is she today?
    A Maori woman who is deputy PM enforcing the ruling class politics of the NACTs onto many thousands of working class people of all genders, ethnicities, sexualities, abilities and ages.
    The few who have escaped into the middle class are using their identity as as privilege to mask the fact that their positions as professionals and bureaucrats are paid for by working class people.
    Unless the working class unites all of its diverse fractions around gender, ethnicity, sexuality, ability, age, etc etc,. we will never be strong enough to replace the social system that oppresses and exploits us and threatens to burn us up in nuclear and climate Armageddons.
    Of course, that unity cannot succeed unless the most oppressive attitudes and practices towards those oppressed by gender, ethnicity, sexuality, ability or age, are eliminated in the working class.
    But that is a task for the organised working class, not for middle class politicians or bureaucrats who tell workers that they too can escape their class into the middle class on the road to human extinction.

  4. The reason that Darien Fenton claims that your comment amounts to promoting the idea of these officials being sacked is because that is the most natural outcome of the process you describe – they’re getting paid to represent workers, but are instead faffing about shaming people for being, well, pretty much just like the workers they’re pretending to represent.

  5. Labour has not been “Left” since Rogernomics. That’s a LONG time. Labour (like National) need to DIE.

    WAGESLAVE Labour


  6. I like what you’re writing , Martyn,… its a breathe of fresh air.

    Truth is , we have gone full circle back 80 or more years ago when the Left was mainly concerned with issues of economics, – and out of that sprang the fundamentals of equality.

    Not the other way round….

    For a long time now it has swung too far the other way , and in fact,… was applauded by the neo liberal right wing. The simple reason was because it posed no harm whatsoever to the main agenda which was financial and legal control of a country ,… and as a bonus for the neo liberal planners…. could be used to foster division and yes, .. individualism.

    It was a perfect tool for them to use as a Trojan horse. And we can see that today in the Labour party with the remaining neo liberals.

    Its important to discern we are NOT fighting a battle with either the Left or Right ,- but one of economic and political ideology. You can be either Left, Center or Right,… but not adopt neo liberalism.

    We used to have such a situation pre 1984 before Rogernomics.

    And it worked perfectly fine. So fine , in fact ,… we were one of the highest per capita income earners in the world in the late 1960’s. And it was under a system called ‘ Keynesian economics ‘- named after John Maynard Keynes.

    And there was no real difference between National and Labour regarding economics then , it was the accepted form of social democratic economics.

    It is all very fine having individual freedoms and rights, but when that gets ahead of the core economic situation and becomes the main focus and then is used politically by those whose agenda has nothing to do with those identitarian’s ,… barring being used as a clever front for political assimilation… when family’s sleep in vans and cars and garages and the average working persons wage is well known to be below the actual cost of living , when our health , education etc is being tampered with and left to run down…

    THAT ,… is when there needs to be an evaluation done very smartly to rectify that imbalance and to prevent it being used as a tool by certain bodies , lobby groups and think tanks that are hostile to social democracy , its egalitarian values , and of a basic and fair sense of play for all.

    That evaluation has not happened in NZ , at least for over 30 years,… for a number of reasons… fear that the Left ‘ needs’ these neo liberal subversives on board with them , fear of upsetting the business community , … and as a consequence… the betrayal of the very people they claimed to represent.

    And this is where the ‘ missing million ‘ voters are at. They see this , … and are not as easily fooled as these arrogant politicians would like to believe they are.

    • ..another good reason not to vote Green…the ‘holier than thous’ have unfortunately colonised the Greens….they used to be a genuine band of non conmformists, free thinkers and activists imbued with the environmental values of the Maori and our ancestors

  7. ” interested in purifying their safe hug space”
    What a brilliant way of putting it as we descend into 3rd World status (hat tip to Frank’s latest).

    I too have reservations about both WJ and Greg O’Connor, but its unfortunate that the likes of Weka and others on TS (whose contributions are more often than not worthwhile), aren’t up to recognising human failings – especially when they’re acknowledged by the offender. Especially (in the case of WJ) there have now been two apologies.
    I’m not sure they realise just how fucking counter-productive they are. Egos get in the way as does all that “how very dare you, I paid my dues” attitude shit (and I mean shit s h i t SHIT S H I T)
    Maybe Poto really is the perfect specimen – there are a lot of them about, strutting their immaculate stuff

  8. Have to say I’m not a fan of Jackson, I don’t think he speaks for urban Maori, and I don’t think that Poto is harming the Labour party by voicing her concerns.

  9. Great article Martyn, I am so glad you can recognize and are standing against the cancer that identity politics has become on the left.

    It has just provided a distraction from the true issue of class inequality.

  10. I disagree. Backing Jackson will be a vote changer, a net loss for Labour. I’ll not vote Labour if he is a candidate. He is unfit to be an MP. At best he can’t think on his feet, quite clearly, and will not offer anything valuable to parliament. At worst he’s woefully ignorant about rape and rape culture and will do damage as an MP.

  11. It’s a stretch linking Bernie with Little. Bernie offered a shift to the left (considering USA’s context). Whereas Andrew Little offers bugger all class politics. Furthermore, Bernie’s campaign included identity politics – look at how he included BLM and feminist critiques.

    Let’s stop pretending Andrew Little and Labour are class warriors just because they distance themselves from identity issues. Little and Labour are neoliberal without the identity politics. They wouldn’t know class consciousnesses if it slapped them across their face.

    Let me know when Little becomes a class based politician…he can’t even offer a decent state housing policy in the middle of a housing crisis!

  12. People think of Willie Jackson as a liberal lefty. But you’re not liberal, are you?
    No, I don’t even know if I’m a lefty any more. I was a union official for 16, 17 years, so obviously I was part of the left. Now I see myself as pro-Maori, but not in an in-your-face type of way … and sometimes that doesn’t go down well with the left-wing agenda.

    So I get it that he’s pro Maori…but it seems a bit arrogant of us all to think that being pro Maori automatically puts you in the lefty- Labour camp, as if Maori couldn’t possibly be anything other than left wing.

    My concerns with this so called ‘broad church’ approach…is where the heck are Labour these days other than firmly in the centre…and exactly where has that got us….

  13. “That isn’t to say that Identity Politics isn’t valid and shouldn’t have a role in defining the Left, of course it does and it should…”

    It isn’t valid. It’s a Political Suicide Pact.

    It is Neo-Liberalism’s greatest invention.

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