Have The Greens Entered Their Jacobin Phase?

By   /   August 9, 2017  /   25 Comments

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THE JACOBINS, along with “Madame Guillotine” and Robespierre’s Reign of Terror, will forever be associated with political extremism. So, the mere suggestion that our very own Green Party might be entering its Jacobin Phase is unlikely to be well received – especially by the Greens!

THE JACOBINS, along with “Madame Guillotine” and Robespierre’s Reign of Terror, will forever be associated with political extremism. So, the mere suggestion that our very own Green Party might be entering its Jacobin Phase is unlikely to be well received – especially by the Greens!

The historical lessons of Jacobinism should not, however, be dismissed unheard. The rise and fall of the Jacobins is instructive to all pursuers of progressive change, precisely because it reveals the calamitous consequences of elevating revolutionary virtue above all other considerations.

The tragic irony of the Jacobins is that, in the beginning, they were the new French Constitution’s most avid defenders – most particularly of its Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. It is only as the French Revolution unfolded: each succeeding chapter bloodier and more terrifying than the last; that the Jacobins, its most eloquent, energetic and effective defenders, found themselves propelled relentlessly towards increasingly extreme measures. Believing themselves to be the only reliable champions of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”, they found it easier and easier to brand all those who opposed them as counter-revolutionary agents of the ancien régime.

Initially, the eloquence of the Jacobin deputies [MPs] and the venom of their journalistic allies, was reserved for members of the more moderate factions within the National Assembly. But, as the French people’s enemies, both internal and external, multiplied, the Jacobins’ political paranoia worsened. The number of executions rose sharply, causing even the Jacobins’ own followers’ misgivings to grow. Undeterred, their leader, Maximillian Robespierre, intensified the Reign of Terror. The man the people of Paris called “The Incorruptible”, sent former friends and comrades to the guillotine with the same cold resolve with which he dispatched members of the despised aristocracy.

To quote his own, memorable, advice to the Jacobin-controlled Committee of Public Safety: “the first maxim of your policy ought to be to lead the people by reason and the people’s enemies by terror.”

As the realisation eventually dawned on what remained of France’s revolutionary leadership that if Robespierre was not stopped they would all be killed, the National Assembly was galvanised into action. Robespierre, himself, was declared an “enemy of the people” and laid open to Madame Guillotine’s sibilant kiss.

Thus does History instruct us. That any political movement which abandons the reasonable pursuit of achievable objectives and embraces instead a regime dedicated to the imposition and enforcement of a universal and uncompromising “republic of virtue”, may begin by executing its enemies, but it will end by making enemies of, and executing, its friends. Freedom can never be secured by coercion. Every revolutionary movement which tried has ended up devouring itself.

If the Greens have indeed entered their Jacobin phase, it is likely to be their last.

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  1. Michal says:

    And now Metiria has been forced to resign that is terribly sad for Aotearoa.

  2. Marc says:

    To hell with you, Mr Trotter, with your bizarre mental wanderings and comparisons, this was a well planned character assassination led by some rotten media hacks, who are paid by the most corrupt business and other elite interests there are in this little dumb country:


    If people would bloody well wake up and learn something, they would read here, on TDB, and long know the corruptness of the system we have, the double standards and endless lies.

    This is not what history of French revolutionary days teach us, you played your own part, Mr Trotter, in elevation one Jacinda Ardern to her new role, as neoliberal mutation of one supposed leader of the workers and needy.

    She is as middle class and urban liberal privileged as you can get, and has NO true connection to the ones on South Auckland and in other disadvantaged parts of this country.

    You actually participated in the taking out of Andrew Little:

    The greater challenge is global and it was taken on like this, hosed down by police in armoured uniforms and equipped with guns and more:

    BUT revolution is NOT wanted, that is the narrative and agenda.

    WTF have you to philosophically teach us now about Metiria, you haughty man, of arrogance, who has never been true working class?

    It is time for revolt and revolution in this lost place on earth, where people do NOT get it what really goes on, this place is firmly controlled and manipulated by vested business interests!

    They will do all to stop true opposition and a change of the system here, they will shoot and kill us, if we stand up, that is the damned truth, dear Mr Trotter.

    This is what we get daily:

    This is the story so far:

    First they build the momentum, give them a feeling of security and excitement and later they pull the rug from under their feet, de-montage is the word, or destruction.

    That is going to come next, once Labour announces more policy like on water, and then the MSM will attack them and Jacinda full swing, and ensure Nats get a fourth term.

    Thanks Mr Trotter, for playing your part in all this?!

    • Nick says:

      Marc, are you bemoaning that the Left is not an atavistic revolutionary movement, or asserting that it is, while declaring that Trotter and so many more, do not qualify as members?

      There is much MUCH to be done to improve the country and the world, perhaps, but workers, or anyone else’s violent revolution is pretty low on the list of useful tools -if we have learned ANYTHING from 100 years’ experience,

      Further: the whole point of the Left is to declare that direct, personal experience should not be necessary to form sympathetic and empathetic and effective policy.

      • Marc says:

        Sorry, I consider you a loser, as one too many of the lot that dwell and endure endless BS here.

        • Sam Sam says:

          You underestimate the leverage political opponents have/had on Mets. James Shaw with out hyping it can sleep walk his Green energy fund in and Mets social reforms if he wants. Polls are good right now. Not perfect but the show the left is healthy. The tallest player (Labour) jumps higher than dwarfs. On the right side of polls shows a weak unhealthy alliance.

          • Marc says:

            Labour cannot be trusted, not one bit:

            Take action, like they did at the G20:

            Most were peaceful, but due to the system, and police harassment, the extreme left later reacted and smashed the scene.

            NZ is asleep at the wheel where we have a mayor in Auckland talk about wanting this to be a global city, but they do not want to face the same global backlash against globalisation the corporate and imperialist way, what a joke NZ is.

            Time to rock and roll, I would say, especially in view of the media and government corruptness here.

            • Nick says:

              No question like this is easy or one-sided, or we would ALL agree.

              NZ must trade internationally, but like Trump, (and Putin) we regret the loss of local industry.

              As internationalist socialist we would have applauded the spreading of profit to East Asia. But now it is at OUR expense, which we DON’T like.

              Like I say, it’s more complex that we might claim, sometimes.

            • Sam Sam says:

              As much as you might like to physically show your opposition to hate, confrontations serve only the perpetrators.

              If an event featuring a hate group, avowed separatist or extremist is coming to your community, hold a unity rally elsewhere and invite community organizations to support.

              Create an alternative to hate.

        • Nick says:

          The enthusiastic triage of fellow travellers into legitimate and illegitimate is as frustrating as it is unproductive.

          People like you, Marc, gather in furious cells of revolutionary fervour which burn out in accusatory inertia.

          Everyone who wants to change society, believes they are the true repository of the only valid path.

          Wiser heads will tell you that to make real change, you must take the people with you.

          The people are sometimes doggedly recalcitrate. You just have to wear that.

          Revolution is enticing, but ultimately makes things worse.

          Plus, in the NZ context it is utter BS, isn’t it, Marc.

  3. Francesca says:

    Well, I disagree. The Greens would have to be the farthest from Jacobin tendencies. If its extremist to stand up and speak for the poor and distressed we might as well all give up .Metiria precisely because her approach was not ideological, and developed from her own real experiences was/is the only authentic game in town.
    I’m so so sad for her.
    It seems to me that its class war.
    Bennett has risen from dire circumstances and joined the ranks of the privileged. No way is she going to extend a hand to the ranks from whence she came….shudder…
    Metiria has paid the price for truly(not just mouthing the platitudes)championing the poor
    What a nasty society we have become
    What a cheapened shallow profession journalism has become. P Gower,and people like him chose to craft and control the story so that it became a tabloid house of horrors with a cardboard villain of his own making.How nice to be god Patrick! How nice to be you!
    If I never see that novelty shop face again it wont be too soon
    Shame on you all

  4. Nick says:

    Simply stop the bloodletting.
    It’s too late now. She has resigned and that can, at least in part, put an end to the saga. Clearly for so many Kiwis this was a bridge too far. The deluge of sactimonious commentry confirms this. You fight the battles you can win and it didn’t take much to cast her as at the very least a little economic with the details of her personal history.
    Metiria can be rehabilitated by history and even an incoming Government, but staunch the blood and limit the damage.
    Say “Metiria did the honorable thing” and refuse further comment on her, if not her cause.

    • Marc says:

      What is your solution, then, more Kiwis lying down like sleepy hobbits, and get screwed all over yet again, thanks for no answers.

      • Sam Sam says:

        There is a delay in announcing policy that MSM run with and volinteers promote of about a week turn around from Andrew Little that some will and are getting caught under the bus.

        Haven’t looked into the detail but Labour negotiating water bottling roylities while there is a Tribunal hearing going on to to figure out Iwi interest over water was handled poorly. I expect those Iwi’s who have already settled to play dead. Ngapuhi on the other hand? Probably won’t be until the funds start transferring will they ask WTF happened there.

      • Nick says:

        Not at all. But you choose your battles with a view to winning.

        If we take the tide at flood, we are unstoppable.

        If we play King Canute, we’re wasting our time.

        Out of power you are entirely ineffectual.

  5. Marc says:

    One major problem in New Zealand is the right to property that is land. That is one element of power people have under the law, and hence everybody who can tries to get property rights to land.

    But that is the very problem here, that divides people ever so more, the Maori knew only collective property rights, but even now, under basically English and common law, the tribes realised, they need property, so they got some back through treaty claims, and now as iwi use it like the English did, to exert power.

    As long as property in land and other essential capital determines what enforceable rights people or groups of people in NZ have, we will have a continued deterioration of democracy, yes, a denial of democracy, as those owning property can exert much more power, as rate payers, as investors, as landlords and so forth, than any other individual or group of citizens.

    This is how undemocratic this place is, it is a playground of property owning vested interest holding and pressing persons, who hold the rest of the country to ransom.

    They and large and medium size business blackmail and pressure all others to play the game they want to play, so they can continue to extract the gains they want from what they own, never mind the efforts others make.

    As long as this continues, all BS talk about democracy is a total fallacy and charade what we have in NZ, it is a disgrace, against too few stand up to challenge it.

  6. Typical Chris Trotter airing his so-called knowledge of past history…

    what the hell would he know about poverty, God he supported Roger Douglas and his bunch of crooks…he even thought Key was honest. Key left because he feared being beaten… he [Trotter] is in so many respects

    ‘The Pen of Hate’ that permeates our class society. Key steals and gets knighted, the Nats even knighted Roger Douglas…for what! for starting the ACT party,

    When the history of NZ Politics is published, Metiria T will be a hero, I for one will willing be telling my grandchildren about her with pride.

  7. Marc says:

    Chris Trotter, piece of shit, rot in hell, this is what is needed, after your assassination of Metiria, and love affair with bought Jacinda:

    And more:

  8. Marc says:

    Suck on this Mr Trotter and share your view: