I think I’m still in shock.
Like the ringing in my ears at watching a Political friend being assassinated right in front of my eyes is still registering, with bits of her brain matter lightly coating everything in a fuzzy pink and grey cloud.
Did you all see what the fuck just happened to Metiria back there? How the neoliberal mythology police, also known as the rich white angry male brigade…
…just harried Metiria like a pack of hounds in a fox hunt.
Metiria’s crime was not that she had told the truth about needing to game the draconian neoliberal welfare system, but that she had the audacity to tell her story with her chin up in defiance at the injustice of that system rather than the self-shaming we all demand from anything that is attached to the virgin sacrificing sacredness of ‘taxpayer money’.
In NZ we accept the dignity of the broken, but never the dignity of the resistant.
The double standards at play here are extraordinary…
…the sexist, racist and classist attack on Metiria managed to eclipse the structural cruelty of WINZ.
The glee and stridence WINZ have shown for wanting to know what beneficiary lived where 25 years ago should force the rest of us to recoil in horror.
Mainstream NZ have no understanding of just how horrific the staff are in these neoliberal welfare agencies and just how dreadful the policies are. 70% of National voters don’t know anyone unemployed and are deaf to the plight of beneficiaries.
The privileged broadcasters who act as the neoliberal culture police don’t know the reality of beneficiary life either, but they do know knee jerk bigotry and they know how well it rates. Their snarling orgy of derision and moralistic tub thumping was to in effect rally around the neoliberal cultural myth that punishes the poor for being poor.
Labour won’t criticise the Public Service for fear of the PSA. The Party who did nothing to reverse the Ruth Richardson welfare cuts will push for legislation to record poverty but do sweet bugger all to end it. Labour hasn’t shown any willingness to date in directly lifting the lives of beneficiaries out of poverty and it was left to the Greens to show leadership.
Metiria appealed directly to those beneficiaries, many of whom make up the missing million and not only promised them $180 extra each week in benefits, she told them her own story to show them that they should and could have faith in her because she had walked their walk in their shoes.
The resulting media backlash was less journalism and more lynching.
The Greens didn’t appreciate the hatred towards beneficiaries that exists deeply rooted in our neoliberal cultural myths. They didn’t appreciate how the corporate voice of patriacuhry that has worked so hard to disable and weigh the poor down so that they are ineffective at the ballot box were never going to allow a brown woman from poverty to hold her chin up in defiance the way Metiria did.
Metiria threatened the very balance of power that keeps neoliberalism the dominant economic, political and cultural power in NZ.
That and our negative egalitarianism was why she was ripped to pieces.
Universal Suffrage that includes class can never be tolerated by our Corporate Overlords.