You Say you Want A Revolution?

By   /   August 4, 2017  /   28 Comments

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Jacinda does need to put herself at the head of a revolutionary throng. Not one bearing rifles or waving little red books of dogma, but at the head of a movement determined to re-order this country’s economic and social priorities by means of an unprecedented blending of intelligence and compassion.

“I THINK THIS BEATLES SONG sums it up”, commented Darth Smith, below a link to the Fab Four’s 1968 classic “Revolution”. Almost immediately, Darth’s homage to Jacindamania was countered by Iain Mclean who linked the Daily Blog’s readers to that cold revolutionary shower, The Who’s “Don’t Get Fooled Again”. Then it was John Minto’s turn to post on Labour’s leadership change. Fair to say, this was much more in the spirit of The Who’s “meet the new boss – same as the old boss” than Lennon and McCartney’s “you say you got a real solution”.

Meanwhile, 13,000 kilometres away in Caracas, Venezuela, the world is being treated to yet another example of what happens when “socialism” takes precedence over “democracy” in the playing out of Democratic Socialism. As the world watches the conflict unfold on the streets of Caracas, its understanding of the word “socialism” – never very strong – is further distorted by the wild scenes of anarchic violence coming at them through their television screens.

“But the people of Venezuela are only fighting back against the organised (and US-backed) resistance of their ruling class!” Yes, that is what the John Mintos of this world would say – and, in part, they would be right.

But it is equally true to say that, after years of economic mismanagement, the slum-dwelling poor who formed the backbone of Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution, have had enough. Rampant inflation, shortages of basic household necessities, and an horrific escalation in violent criminal behaviour have lent credence to the right-wing opposition’s charge that the Revolution has failed.

They watch the Bolivarian government of President Maduro traduce their nation’s constitution – the key clauses of which Chavez caused to be printed on the packaging of everyday items so that even the poorest citizens would know and understand their democratic rights – and they are forced to acknowledge that the bruised and bloodied middle-class protesters on the streets of Caracas bear a strong resemblance to their younger selves of 15 years ago.

“Meet the new boss – same as the old boss.” Indeed.

Which is why I believe Darth Smith is right when he hints that the Beatle’s “Revolution” should be Jacinda’s unofficial campaign theme-song. Not only for the way in which the music drags left-wing politics on to the dancefloor and forces it to embrace the wild carnival expectations of its emancipatory rhetoric, but also because of the hard-nosed, working-class realism of Lennon’s lyrics.

“You say you want a revolution”, sneers Lennon, “we’d all love to see the plan”. No fool, Lennon understood that the social upheaval produced by revolutionary action always comes at a cost to real, flesh-and-blood human-beings. If that’s what you’re suggesting, he says, then you’d better have a very clear idea of how greatly the benefits of your revolution are going to exceed its inevitable price.

Nowhere in the song is Lennon’s disdain for the dilettantism of 1968’s student revolutionaries more pronounced than when he delivers the lines: “But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao/ You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow.”

Lennon was pilloried in the left-wing press for his unequivocal declaration: “But when you talk about destruction/Don’t you know that you can count me out”. The New Left Review called it “a lamentable petit-bourgeois cry of fear”. But Lennon’s artistic eye and ear understood what the revolutionary intelligentsia did not. That their revolution: the revolution of armed workers parading through the streets, a la Petrograd 1917; or of Mao’s murderous Red Guards shaking their Little Red Books in the faces of their terrified elders; was not what revolution would look like in the welfare states of the West in 1968.

Any revolution breaking out amidst unprecedented material abundance; any revolt undertaken by an educated population; was not going to resemble any of the upheavals of the past. In 1968, the French communists looked at the graffiti daubed on the walls of Paris and shook their heads in incomprehension. “Underneath the pavement – the beach!” What did that even mean! Lennon knew.

Twelve years after the release of Revolution, and not long before his assassination, Lennon was still insisting that destructive change was counter-revolutionary: “Count me out if it’s for violence. Don’t expect me on the barricades unless it’s with flowers.”

I’m with John. That’s why I agree with Darth. The Beatle’s song does sum it up. Jacinda does need to put herself at the head of a revolutionary throng. Not one bearing rifles or waving little red books of dogma, but at the head of a movement determined to re-order this country’s economic and social priorities by means of an unprecedented blending of intelligence and compassion. That such a re-ordering has become a matter of urgent necessity is self-evident to all but the greedy and the cruel. The revolution that Jacinda leads must be a revolution of real solutions drawn from and supported by New Zealand’s caring majority.

Don’t you know it’s going to be alright, alright, alright.

 

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28 Comments

  1. Sam Sam says:

    Anything sufficiently technical will sound like a scam to non-technical people. But so do actual scams. This is why it’s so important to learn the policies behind a political party. Otherwise there’s a word for you: sucker.

    Learn how to evaluate things yourself or find someone you trust that can. But note those people tend to be expensive. If you have the capability, go learn how things work. It’s almost never a waste of time.

    • Dick Jefferis says:

      Well Chris,
      The only problem with the thesis you propound is reality.

      Do you think for one minute the sector of the populace that the the Nats represent are going to meekly watch and permit even a very faint re-calibration in the direction of equity and fairness in “Godzone”.

      Unlike Australia where the sentiment called “fairness” and its friends
      “the battlers” does still have credence on the political stage….the last 40 years in NZ tell us that will here it provoke outrage in Tory paddocks. Their attitude is they are entitled to screw out the maximum return – no matter the costs and harm, be it degraded rivers or usurous rents.

      It is or will be made worse by the implications that will levelled due to the age and gender of the Leader of the new Opposition.

      It is not beyond possibility, there is even a perhaps a chance that the large number of people in our country in “the cheap seats”, might either get noticed; or perish the the thought of some actual assistance /opportunity to advance or empower people who are currently ******
      and far from home.

      Whatever it takes our current masters will not cop that,or the sniff of it.

      • Sam Sam says:

        There is a difference called the “double dissolutions of wants” you can look up on the internet yourself.

        But basically it refers to to types of greed.

        One type of greed is one that accumulates wealth and power of yourself, your family and the community you live in.

        The other type of greed destroys the community.

        That is why great care must be taken to limit growth in warfare. And that great care starts by asking who is the opponent and what tools are used.

        Folk that make up the National party surely are the secound type of destructive greed. Bean counters. Liars. Weaklings. Charlatan educators and the MSM who push fake news. Ok so successive governments spend a bit of money and thousand of unintended deaths are a consequence. But that doesn’t mean votes are worthless. It means you’ve been watching to much TV.

        • John W says:

          Limiting the growth of Welfare is best done by limiting the need for welfare which can be addressed in many ways.

          The first thing needed is a plan to changed that need.

          Trickle down has not and will not do it.

          • Sam Sam says:

            What is laughable is attempts made to reduce government spending as a percentage of GDP and this is a theme you’ll find in all pollies all the way back to Thatcher. The only Politician I can think of who says they will not run a government surplus is Canada’s Justin Trudeau, and that’s what he has done to put in a budget with about a 3% deficit. Canadian government spending has risen about 2%-20% over time and that is clearly wiping out any deficit.

            This is worth thinking about the why economic illiterates push government surplus and reduce the size of government spending. Simple folk have been deceived by MSM into believing government budgets run like a family budget. But when families cut spending, Intensive Care Unit beds don’t disappear, or any other of the number of corrupt practices appears as a result of National Party ideology. So a lot of ideology is laden up in all government budget arguments.

            So yeah. Jacinda can be the next Trudeau if armchair economists know what’s good for them.

  2. CLEANGREEN says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the walk down my memory lane of my love of the 60’s music, and you are bang on there.

    (Labour need to lead) (my words) ; – “a movement determined to re-order this country’s economic and social priorities by means of an unprecedented blending of intelligence and compassion.”

    YES LABOUR NEED TO PUT A BOMB UNDER THE ROTTING CARCASS OF THE CURRENT NATIONAL NEO-LIBERAL SELL – OUTS TO GET “CUT-THROUGH”.

    pop the song from “Chicago” in there as well;

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uy0ldI_1HA

    “Does anybody really know what time it is”.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Jacinda needs to use the same formula that PM Helen Clark used in 1999 to win; – & her slogan was “I will lead a kinder, gentler transparent, inclusive Government”

      And that will resonate with today’s shock release of a statement from the Speaker of parliament that the Auditor General report into Ministry of Transport mis-conduct will not be publicly released!!!!!

    • Historian Pete says:

      Chris: Its interesting that at this moment that you have brought John Lennon into it . Because he typified the divide on the left in the late sixties.One the one side you had the liberal response to the Vietnam war.Cries of “Give Peace a chance”.Put flowers in the rifles of the National Guard at Kent State after they murdered the protestors. Have a ” Love In” in a luxury hotel ,with the only danger being an occasional champagne cork flying through the air. And a few intermissions to hump Yoko. Meanwhile out in the streets you had the street activists braving a sometimes hostile populace, an often out of control police . To them the wholesale slaughter being inflicted on the Vietnamese people, the B52 saturation bombing, the napalm, the devastation, merited a stauncher response . People like Helen Clark and Sue Bradford. When I heard about Kent State I cut one of my bed sheets in half and painted the Stars and stripes on it.And then added a large black swastika.I carried it in street protests for the duration of the war.Why? Because the U.S. was acting like a fascist state, and it needed to be stated! And the U.S is still acting like a fascist state.The same divide exists today among the left. INCOMING !!!. Not another of those pesky champagne corks Chris??

  3. CLEANGREEN says:

    Chris ; – A witch-hunt is now going on & is breaking over on Radio NZ with Metitria on the new allegation that records showed that she was registered as living with a relative while claiming she was another home as a sole occupant in a state house.
    They are using “deep state” fishing expeditions & collusion on her, and she is in trouble!!!

    This is why Winston was needed in a coalition as he is very skillful and has many times beat these “deep state” operatives from destroying his political career.

    Metitiria would be wise to consult with Winston NOW!

  4. lloyd jordan says:

    Great photo of the current Neo Henchmen standing guard making sure their current mouth piece dosn’t cross the line.

  5. John Stroh says:

    Can Labour form the next Government? YES. My hope is that Labour will pick up some of TOP policy.

    Is Adern ready to be PM? Yes. She has ruled out a deal with Peters that gives him any time as PM. That for me is the game changer.

    I’m in the Selwyn electorate and am now thinking about how to vote strategically. It would be nice to replace National electorate seat – but Adams’ 20,000 odd lead looks unassailable – so best just vote on policy – TOP’s Nicky Snoyink for me. So, whom do I give my party vote to without wasting it? Probably Labour, not the Greens.

    • tony says:

      “So, whom do I give my party vote to without wasting it? Probably Labour, not the Greens.”

      Don’t forget – the party vote is only ‘wasted’ if it goes to a party with neither a seat nor 5%. That is why it is more important, it decides the make-up of Parliament.

  6. Afewknowthetruth says:

    Revolutions occur when people are suffering.

    Most people in NZ have access to cheap food, cheap fuel, and cheap consumer goods, and are kept passive by the mind-numbing ‘entertainment’ systems -particularly corporatized sport.

    No real suffering = no revolution.

    And the global banks and corporations that control the political-economic system certainly will not allow revolution.

    There will be no revolution until NZ society has been destroyed a bit more by politicians, city and district councils and other agents of global banks and corporations, and the general populace starts to really suffer at their hands.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      100% AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH

      Drain the bloody swamp we have here too!!!!!!!
      They are all just trough feeders.

  7. esoteric pineapples says:

    Anyone wanting to know what is going on in Venezuela needs to check out Abby Martin’s documentaries that she did after she returned from a three week trip there.

    The opposition are the ones doing most of the violence and murder

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig6yFP8HjVQ

    There is an economic war against the government by those corporations that control key commodities such as toilet paper and wheat. Supermarkets are full of other food stuffs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUYWrPiUeWY

    Here’s the perspective of the government on what is going on from the Economy Minister

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rk1qlKu_RJo&t=156s

  8. Not a Robot says:

    There won’t be any Revolution.

    Jacinda Ardern is a Blairite Neo-Liberal, and she isn’t about to change her stripes. Any honest look at her career will tell you that, and thinking otherwise is simply dreaming.

    What we will see is a whole lot of majoring in minors, distracting people with completely irrelevant Boy vs Girl Identity conflicts, incrementalist tidbits, and oblique promises of “freshness”, “hope”, and “change”; whatever the vocal minority wants, as long the core of Capitalism is never touched.

    This process is already well under way. The dog whistle has gone out, and it has been heard.

    Ardern won’t win by this of course, but she can keep the electorate in a spin for long enough to create some kind of Identity-based Frankenstein Monster coalition of Faux-Left activists, which will temporarily make it appear as if she does have a viable constituency. This Technocratic, numbers-based, helicopter politicking, which avoids asking real people what they want in preference for a constant sugar-rush of social media foment and MSM sound-bites is irresistible to the Technocrati. But it isn’t real, and it doesn’t work.

    We should hope that it does not succeed. Because if it does, it will teach the Party a wrong lesson; that Neo-Labourism, as practiced since 1984 still has a chance of distracting and consuming vital democratic energies in the service of Capitalism. This will only prolong the agony for everyone. The Party will eventually be shattered, as the Democrats discovered when Clinton tried this very thing and failed utterly. Nothing can stop that now.

    The Labour Party must be allowed to collapse, so that it is obvious to everyone that the Left can never go down the Neo-Labour road again. The Labour Party and all Left wing Parties must present a viable alternative to Capitalism, and win by the broad, popular support of the people, or they must not win at all.

    The sooner Labour collapses, the sooner we can leave the circus tent, and begin the business of creating a new, popular Left wing Party in New Zealand.

    • David says:

      A long worded load of crap.Have a look around, social issues in New Zealand are at breaking and what has National done ,sat on their hands for nine years and done absolutely nothing.
      The National Party, conservation by name and nature ,governs by divide and rule with the exception of the introduction of MMP for the simple reason that New Zealanders were and are sick of the old stick in the mud has beens pretending to run this country.
      We deserve better.

    • Simon says:

      This is an outstanding comment and I agree wholeheartedly.

  9. Historian Pete says:

    “But it is equally true to say that after years of economic mismanagement ,the slum-dwelling poor who formed the backbone of Hugo Chavezs Bolivarian Revolution have had enough ” Well, true according to the CIA,CNN, the New York Times , the Washington Post, and sundry other neo-con organisations and publications. However this is just another beat up typical of the propaganda/False news put out by the U.S. Empire State Sponsors of terrorism. What gets me is that people who were fooled about Serbia, fooled about Afghanistan, fooled about Iraq, fooled about Libya, fooled about Syria ,fooled about Yemen, fooled about the Ukraine, fooled about Russia Russia Russia, fooled about Hillary Clinton,fooled about Iran ; and the next regime change scenario trumped up by the Usual actor , they go for it like a snapper in a feeding frenzy. The West has been utterly brainwashed to accept the Washington Narrative to a point that exceeds what the Soviet Union was able to attain with its population.When will certain people who delude themselves that they are progressives wean themselves off believing these transparently false narratives ?!

  10. Anon says:

    “the left” needs to get it’s head out of the 60s and a cold war mentality. The only revolutionaries the Government worries about are pro-democracy cyberpunks.

  11. anderrawshark says:

    Best thing you have ever written Chris………………..

  12. Jono says:

    The bloody Natz supporters over on stuff seem to hate Jacinda. Anything approving her gets down voted. This is going to be a vicious election. These Natz supporters are nasty when things start going against them.

  13. […] notable tie to the unions gone and a Generation Y professional politician now leading the party. Chris Trotter goes into raptures that this can be a ‘revolution’. Not the old fashioned one led by […]

  14. Marc says:

    The only ‘revolution’ I can see in this so slumbering place is a youth-quake of sorts, by the young, who for the first time see one MSM popular politician at an age they can relate to.

    Never mind the details and policy, they will vote for Jacinda, same as others voted for Key, never mind what he did or stood for.

  15. Marc says:

    Sorry, I do not believe in Jacinda’s integrity:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F_9FEx7ymg

  16. Penny Bright says:

    [Comment declined for publication. Repetitive. – Scarletmod]