What’s Wrong With The Progressive Movement’s Bloody Ships?

By   /   June 14, 2018  /   59 Comments

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ABOUT THE TIME the second of Britain’s battle cruisers exploded, Vice-Admiral Beatty famously remarked: “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.” Trying to make sense of the political passivity of New Zealanders in the twenty-first century, I am often minded of Beatty’s words at the Battle of Jutland. Throughout the vicious class warfare of the past 35 years there does, indeed, seem to be something “wrong” with the progressive movement’s bloody ships!

ABOUT THE TIME the second of Britain’s battle cruisers exploded, Vice-Admiral Beatty famously remarked: “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.” Trying to make sense of the political passivity of New Zealanders in the twenty-first century, I am often minded of Beatty’s words at the Battle of Jutland. Throughout the vicious class warfare of the past 35 years there does, indeed, seem to be something “wrong” with the progressive movement’s bloody ships!

God knows, it’s not as if there’s been a shortage of issues for people to mobilise against! Low wages; unaffordable housing; the appalling treatment of beneficiaries and state house tenants; the collapse of our mental health service; neoliberalism’s subjugation of the universities: the list is a long one.

The roll-call of resistance is, however, depressingly short. After 1991, protest activity on the streets fell away quite sharply. Campus-based protests against rising tuition fees flared in the early 1990s only to fade away almost completely by the turn of the century.

Environmental causes could still draw middle-class New Zealanders onto the streets in large numbers, however. The biggest of these protests: the anti-GE marches and the 50,000-strong Auckland protest against mining in national parks; were even able to persuade the government of the day to take action.

The most calamitous decline in popular resistance, however, occurred in the New Zealand working-class. Strike action, the most reliable measure of the willingness of working people to stand up and defend their interests, fell away almost completely. Prior to the passage of the Employment Contracts Act in 1991, the number of strikes recorded in a single year plummeted from dozens to single figures. So punitive was the new industrial relations law that neither the unions’ paid officials, nor their members, were willing to test it.

That had not been the case in the period between the introduction of the Employment Contracts Bill in 1990 and the legislation being signed into law in May 1991. In April 1991 an estimated 100,000 workers marched against the Bill and mass rallies attended by thousands of rank-and-file unionists voted in favour of a general strike to “Kill the Bill”.

The blank refusal of the leaders of the largest unions to countenance a general strike struck the labour movement a mortal blow from which it has never recovered. Since 1991 the Council of Trade Unions and its affiliates have never been able to muster more than 5,000 unionists in one place. Workers had been ready to fight in 1991 but their so-called “leaders” had not.

The 2012 Ports of Auckland dispute, led by the late Helen Kelly, offered a glimpse of what working people might achieve if given half a chance – and courageous leadership. So, too, did Matt McCarten’s “Unite” union of low-paid security guards and fast-food workers. Sadly, these proved to be the exceptions – not the rule.

Then there were the great “one-offs”: protests that surged and exploded into genuine demonstrations of “people power” only to be sucked into the swamp of parliamentary politics and drowned.

The first of these was the hugely impressive 2004 hikoi against the controversial Foreshore and Seabed legislation. After setting forth from the Far North, the hikoi grew in strength until it arrived in the capital numbering somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000 protesters. The Maori Party was born out of this impressive mobilisation of New Zealand’s indigenous people. Sadly, the huge hopes invested in the party ended up producing only the most meagre of political dividends.

The second big one-off protest was the February 2016 demonstration against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. It wasn’t just the number of protesters (somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000) but their palpable anger and energy that startled the political class. Alas, as happened with the hikoi, the anti-TPPA movement allowed itself to be skilfully finessed by the parliamentary opposition. The Labour Party, in particular, encouraged the protesters to believe that, once elected, it would keep New Zealand out of the TPPA’s trans-national corporate clutches.

The energy and anger of February 2016 soon dissipated and could not be reactivated when, 20 months later, the new Labour-NZF-Government proudly attached its signature to something called the “Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership”.

At the Battle of Jutland, the thing that was wrong with Beatty’s “bloody ships” was that the necessary precautions against enemy shells penetrating the battle cruisers’ magazines had not been taken. In effect, it was Beatty’s negligent approach to safety that sank his ships.

What, then, has gone wrong with New Zealand’s progressive ships?

In the simplest possible terms, the link between protest and political action has been broken.

For most of the post-war period, widespread protest activity almost always brought forth an answering political response. People marched and petitioned to “Save Manapouri!” – and Manapouri was saved. Thousands protested New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War – and NZ troops were withdrawn. For 56 days in 1981 the country was convulsed by the Springbok Tour – NZ’s sporting contact with Apartheid South Africa ceased. Most importantly, workers went on strike to improve their pay and conditions – and their pay and conditions were improved. Direct action worked.

It was one of the core objectives of the neoliberal counter-revolution that this relationship between popular agitation and the democratic political process be destroyed. Most especially in matters relating to the economy. The idea that ordinary people might influence the way in which wealth was created and distributed had to be discouraged.

The thing that’s gone wrong with our bloody ships is that we’ve allowed ourselves to be persuaded that protest’s only value is as a means of expressing our purely personal discontent with the status quo. This is, of course, bullshit. The purpose of protest is to apply pressure in order to achieve change. To force the wielders of effective political power into making a favourable response.

If those with the power refuse to respond to our protests, then the correct reaction is not to give up and go quiet. It is to protest louder and harder and longer until the powers-that-be give up – and give in.

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  1. Observer Tokoroa says:

    Hi there Chris Trotter

    If the Past is your chosen picnic fine. But if the here and now is to be considered then we must put away the past and get down to the NOW.

    How on earth can you blame low waged Kiwis for lying low, while they are constantly abused and ransacked by the evils and madness of Douglas and his evil Associates.

    How on earth can you blame low waged Kiwis for lying low, while they realise they will never be able to afford a home.

    How on dearth can you even begin to blame Kiwi workers for struggling to find the money for present day Landords.

    Did the Unions – smash Douglas’ Manic Madness ? NO
    DId Chris Trotter ? NO
    Did the comfortable Greens? NO
    Did Cullen ? NO

    But you are blaming the growing percentage of the working population of New Zealand for being passive. Honestly Chris. You are not struggling.

    But there is light at the end of this evil period. Jim Bolger has expressed regret. Bill English, also a Catholic will never express any thing.

    But what KEY, ENGLISH, and BENNETT have done in a distressing 9 years, is now apparent.Claiming there was No Housing Crisis. Stealing $100 million Dollars of the poor to remove a hazard that did not exist.

    They allowed Corporations and Industries to cheat their workers by Millions of Dollars.

    They sold off long standing Assets to guess who? The wealthy.

    The silent Workforce of Aotearoa are seeing the Capitalist Cult for what it is.

    Tey will take their case not to streets like Beggars of old Chris Trotter. But By Law. To the Highest Courts in the Land.

    They will see the Capitalist Cult Punished for 30 years of near genocide of New Zealanders – who now can afford not a home – or even a just rental – or Future.

    I ask All Kiwis to hammer the Cult of Capitalism. The Herald which promotes it. RNZ which Promotes it.

    Eradicate the Cult of Greed – via Law.

    • Michelle says:

      hear hear Observer Tokoroa the end is nigh

    • Marc says:

      The apologist is YOU.

      WHY do people no longer organise and take action?

      That is the simple question.

      Nobody really stops them, sad truth is, they have in their majority been sucked into the neoliberal mindset, into consumerism, escapism, and rather fight each other than stand together.

      We have a people of self serving whimps, that is my honest view.

      Look at the younger generation, glued to their social media sites, expecting others to up the ante for them.

      And they believe simple messaging and clicking up or down something will change things.

      Only true physical action on the streets and in work places and other places will ever push real change, most do not get it, they are escaping into their own little refuges in their minds and their private worlds.

      It is hopeless to rely on two face parliamentarians, who often have their own political and after that careers on their minds, than stand up for principles. Few do not go there, but they are failing to get people behind them, just think of people like Minto, Treen, Harawira and so forth, it is not happening.

    • Peter says:

      I think you are wrong I believe the worker are stuffed you only have to see who is the largest party in parliament after 9 years of been shafted. The workers wont stand up for themselves do you think when the union movement started they weren’t downtrodden lived in squalor but they had some balls and stud up for themselves. This lot are to busy on social shit talk and playing computer games. Even my own kids do not belong to a union and I was a rep for years.

    • lloyd jordan says:

      stuff the law hang the bastards from parliaments lamposts

  2. Sanctuary says:

    “…I am often minded of Beatty’s words at the Battle of Jutland…”

    Beatty made that comment twice. The first, and most famous, time was at 4.25pm in the afternoon just after HMS Queen Mary blew up, only twenty minutes after HMS Indefatigable. That is the when he said “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships to-day.” But I have always thought that the second time he said it it was more telling –

    “…In the afternoon [of 1 June 1916] Beatty came into the Lion’s chart-house. Tired and depressed, he sat down on the settee, and settling himself in a corner he closed his eyes. Unable to hide his disappointment at the result of the battle, he repeated in a weary voice, ‘There is something wrong with our ships’, then opening his eyes and looking at the writer, he added, ‘And something wrong with our system’…”

    For the left, the lesson lies in the second sentence of that statement.

  3. Tiger Mountain says:

    very well described Chris

    a twisted example of your point happened in Whangarei on June 9, several hundred white middle class property owners from the city’s one “leafy suburb”–Maunu–gathered to berate HNZ reps who had the temerity to announce developing new homes in the area!

    none gave shit #1 about the city’s homelessness–it was about their property values!…and the long term “othering” of vulnerable New Zealanders

    neo liberalism has had a long term psychological effect on most

    • Marc says:

      Sad but so true, entitlement and so forth, all strive towards that middle class own your home, build a fence around it an F you attitude.

  4. Castro says:

    The thing that’s gone wrong with “our” bloody ships is that we’ve allowed our “leaders” to import hundreds of thousands of neo-liberal and conservative colonists, making it all but impossible to simply vote the former out.

    “You say cut back, we say fight back!” and the cutbacks come, and the fightback never does.

    The only effective reaction is not to give up and go quiet, neither is it to protest louder and harder and longer until the powers-that-be give up – and give in. It is to plan, plot, observe, wait patiently (decades if need be), and then rise up at the opportune time, armed, and execute the fuckers for treason.

  5. cleangreen says:

    “Throughout the vicious class warfare of the past 35 years there does, indeed, seem to be something “wrong” with the progressive movement”

    They think they are ‘progressive’ but we ask what are they “progressive for ‘what or who’???

    The word ‘progressive’is a broad overused word that simply says nothing specific so we are being lead on false naratives and false hope to nowhere with ‘progessive pundits’.

  6. cleangreen says:

    Niice walk though history there Chris;

    “Throughout the vicious class warfare of the past 35 years there does, indeed, seem to be something “wrong” with the progressive movement”

    They think they are ‘progressive’ but we ask what are they “progressive for ‘what or who’???

    The word ‘progressive’is a broad overused word that simply says nothing specific so we are being lead on false naratives and false hope to nowhere with ‘progessive pundits’.

  7. let me be frank says:

    I suspect that we planted the seeds of our own destruction.

    The mores of the time that enforced (for enforced it was) the concerted action and provided the expected response no longer exist.

    Liberalism (in all its forms) promotes the rights of the individual above community….both rightly and wrongly.

  8. Ada says:

    Perhaps progressive causes are a hobby of a small minority.

    And I would argue that keeping troops in Vietnam, having sporting tours to apartheid South Africa, and building the Manapouri dam were all issues in the ‘nice to have’ basket, and not essential in any way to NZ’s long-term interests. So they were easy things for governments to give up.

  9. The Masked Moa says:

    1st point the Clark Labour government completely ignored the GE Free movement and did everything it could to legalise GE crops etc. Its just that companies are now too scared to use the law allowing GE crops/animals in the environment. We lost the legislative war to Labour but won the battle in the opinion polls still at 70%+ opposed to GE Food so they are too scared to move ahead no thanks to Labour. Hence any real progressive knows Labour supports the oilgarchs with a coat of lipstick e.g. TPPA etc.

    2nd point the latest research shows that the advent of social media has coincided with a decline in interest, particularly from young people, in engaging with progressive movements e.g. environmentalism. In other words social media enables narcissism to become the focus of peoples world. Add in the digital online experience and attentions have been sucked out of the real world into the virtual world.

    3rd point Google is a satanic monster that edits reality to fit the views of its masters. Reality is now constructed digitally and coupled with the control of the mainstream media maintains a total media corptocracy by the oligarchs for the oligarchs which is enslaving the human race. If you think it is bad now it will only get worse as this global gulag of the mind becomes all encompassing.

    Slaves have never understood that their masters dont have their best interests at heart and still they refuse to ask for more gruel.

  10. Sam Sam says:

    People like Sue Bradfordmare found of saying it starts in the home because they like me remember the egalitarian times back in the 1980’s when children could go from Rainbows End to Waiwera Hot Pools on the bus un-chaperon while there single mothers on welfare sought out higher educations and incomes. Once Ruthinasia’s Mother of all budgets shocked New Zealand in 1991 egalitarianism was forgotten over night. In the 1990’s it was still possible to work and save for a house and car while maintaining a family on one income, your choices was some what limited to jap imports and fibro houses but as the leaking homes scandal hit New Zealand from 1994 to 2004 drove up demand and prices for weather safe houses culminating in a 2013 Supreme Court case that saw damages north of $11bln that was shifted onto rate payers or as the council likes to call it “local bodies” which is code for ratepayers, and I’m not sure if activist Penny Bright ever got an answer to the question of why rates where going up past council expenses but you can see the argument that sadly ends the kiwi dream as we know it.

    And just quietly a rapid train service all the way up state highway one from Manukau to Orewa with special care to avoid Glenfield Mall would probably be better than disruptive intercity entertainment. Any who.

    Standing on Onewa road, the main artery linking the south west suburbs of the North Shore to state highway one, continues to amaze me why so many traveling to and from work in peak hour traffic up to and over 2hrs return trip. Most of them are on $72 thousand a year, some earn more, others earn far less. while the bottom 3/4’s have zero security in retirement. Over all they’ll find it difficult to save enough to maintain their incomes into retirement and most of them will have to rely on living relatives or the public to pay for the funeral. At the end of the week the vast majority do not save unless obligated to through compulsory super / kiwi saver contributions leaving them with practically nothing at the end of the week *if* you consider cheap plastic trinkets from the warehouse to be worthless.

    Watching them travel to work in the morning and going the other way in the evening, all of them are just working so they can put there pay check back into the slot machine and pull the leaver that sends them off to work for the next week while the house runs away with the cash. Until the mortgage is payed in full at 2 or 3 times the asking price. Or while renting, may seem like a helping hand up into a house, that’s far better than not having a roof over your head. It’s still a helping hand up onto a tread mill and the tread mill is the mortgage. Or worse, you rent your entire life with out owning a stake in Aotearoa-New Zealand which is one cost of citizenship. All New Zealand citizens should have a decent shot at owning a home and that will sustain a family so there children can also one day pay the cost of citizenship. Maintaining the balance between wages vs house prices requires flexibility in a governments ability to make adjustments to the minimum wage and supply of houses as these two tectonic forces collide, subside, drift apart or simple get smashed by a population erupting in all sorts of unruly behaviour.

    Equally residents in an egalitarian society would have a clear path to citizenship. It shouldn’t take residents 40 years to pay the cost of citizenship when security in retirement is so precarious. Retiring at age 65 would at most allow for 5 years of solid saving to last until the grave and it’s even truer for citizens fatigued after there turn on the treadmill.

    Deregulating the Building Act 1991 went to far, combined with discontinuing trade and industry training and apprenticeship schemes has left a legacy of botched repair work, botched design and construction work, botched real estate financing that has persisted well past the well known scandals of EQC (Earth Quake commission) handling of Christchurch earth quake claims and lesser known threats to seizure the homes of activists. And in the social housing sector these issues are magnified ten fold. No amount of privatisation and deregulation since The Building Act and Trade Training was discontinued could address supply side issues, until much recently when the government announced the $4bln Kiwi Build fund, a three year phased free fees tertiary education package and some serious cash going into wrap around services turned the tide that raises all boats and inverted the narrative so that well to do conservatives take to there keyboards in protest.

    Play this all in reverse and you’ll probably get your house back, your car back, your kids back. And maybe even get your wife or husband back depending on which one catches your eye.

  11. Andrew says:

    Hi Chris

    Could it be that as the general population (I don’t like to segregate them into ‘classes’ because it’s a late 19th century concept. We have carpenters today earning more than those with degrees in law) has gained financial and political literacy they have become less easily led by radicals?

    • Marc says:

      They have been corrupted by the neoliberal dictate or dominance, you are right, Andrew, corrupted, and thus dis-empowered, fighting each other, just as people like you want it to be.

  12. Christine says:

    Bread winners – even quite gutsy ones – are scared of jeopardising their jobs – or even just their workplace environment.

    A huge number of “ordinary” jobs now which were formerly permanent appointments, are now renewable contracts, sometimes quite short-term contracts, or sub-contracts.

    The best hope may lie with the still-idealistic young – without mortgages.

  13. Steve King says:

    Interesting post. Other things are also at work.

    In 1990, the student loans scheme was introduced. Chomsky said about student loans, “Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people in a system of debt, they can’t afford the time to think. Tuition fee increases are a “disciplinary technique,” and, by the time students graduate, they are not only loaded with debt, but have also internalized the “disciplinarian culture.” This makes them efficient components of the consumer economy.” So this is one factor, and I suggest it is a major factor.

    Another contributor for the decline in direct action is the old “Bread and circuses” factor. While people may be annoyed, unhappy, and even upset about some of the things that have taken place, they aren’t uncomfortable enough personally to follow through, not when there is wall to wall sport on tv, and the multiple distractions of reality tv, a genre that has exploded in popularity since 1990. If we keep on feeling good because the all Blacks keep winning, we are less likely to take to the streets.

    • Sam Sam says:

      Yeah, even a degree is a lottery ticket. Since the introduction of student loans people who go into tech / tertiary education don’t achieve a plumbers salary of around $140k until they’re 50 years old. And right now the difference from student allowance to aged 50 is no where near enough to survive in th cities where cost of living is shooting up.

      • LeGrandeFromage says:

        Somebody is getting royally ripped off by their plumber! 140k my arse.

        • Sam Sam says:

          Legrandedromage, you need to get out more and go for a walk to cool off abit. Theyre all contractors now, there aren’t any corporate outfits that I know of except suppliers and they’re cool with having a ready made workforce who give them money all day. So some one is getting ripped off and out of touch and it ain’t plumbers dipshit. And yea. I’m fucking triggered.

  14. WILD KATIPO says:

    So very , very true.

    It seems people have had the stuffing knocked out of them and have become pessimistic enough they view direct action of a thing if the past, and they are distracted as well,…

    Yet not content.

    And they are very divided, which is , of course exactly what the neo liberal wanted to achieve. On just about every issue there are marked tiers in variance , and therefore difficulty in gaining popular consensus.

    It is lack of centralization. Knowing where to go. And partly that’s the result of doing things from the comfort of ones home on a computer.

    Too many benefit off of others struggles , which is the ideal conditions for the neo liberals. A perfect end result for them.

  15. countryboy says:

    “If those with the power refuse to respond to our protests, then the correct reaction is not to give up and go quiet. It is to protest louder and harder and longer until the powers-that-be give up – and give in.”

    Precisely and exactly.

    And allow me to add:
    Back in about 1982… I think it was, I was hugely worried about the rise of what I called the psychological manipulation of us NZ/AO’s. It wasn’t something new to me either. I was privy to conversations regarding political head fuckery being the du rigour and emanating from the print press, radio and tv media as far back as the late 1960’s, and likely even earlier.
    I had a friend once whom I used to smoke weed and play guitar with. His wonderful patience guided me through twanging out a few notes and we had many a conversation, about politics in particular.
    He was studying for his degree in psychology and it was he who first mentioned the term ‘neo liberalism’. That simple revelation finally gave me a datum against which I could measure and observe the terrible, onward march of the nightmare that we commonly know now as neo liberalism. ( Which is really just a highbrow term for criminals stealing things that didn’t belong to them. Please read courtesy @ Wild Katipo. Mont Pelerin Society . New Right fight. 
    During that period, I observed various, extremely worrying psychological trends develop which seemed to stem from some sort of horror laboratory on mind control. I wasn’t far wrong.
    The fluro vest movement. The cycle helmet control mechanism. The rise of OSH, a work place fascism feeding money into the bottomless guts of ACC and the rapacious insurance ‘industry’. The destruction of our state funded MSM, replaced instead by repugnant, commercial pap for anxious and exhausted minds slowly being turned into mush.
    I watched as this terrible phenomenon took hold, like a virus, and rendered us incapable to make headway other than to go to work to make money for the banks who use our politicians to leverage up house prices and to pay heavily for ever increasing costs of living for services and amenities that were once ours.

    But we all know this by now, but what to do about that?
    That’s why we need a Leader who knows and understands these psych-things. And we don’t have one yet.
    We need a leader who understands the psychology of what’s been done to us which has rendered us utterly compliant (I worked with Craig Zobel. A brilliant fellow and entirely under estimated. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compliance_(film) ) , who knows at least some small thing about Professor Stanley Milgram’s experiments on crowd control ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Milgram) and can engage us to rise up and reclaim sovereignty of our own fucking country. Of our own fucking minds!
    Bloody good Post @ CT.

  16. J S Bark J S Bark says:

    Crank up the degree of protest.
    In other words violence.
    But that’s so uncivilized and non-Kiwi.
    Which just leaves you the option of Get-Used-To-It…

  17. Liminal says:

    “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today.”

    and later, post-battle, he added “and there is something wrong with our system”, which is perhaps more apt now. I think people have been so whipped and discouraged, isolated (ironically) on their social networks, time-starved, scared, intimidated and confused that to take part in mass protest is a hard choice to make.

    Pedant alert: the disastrous failures of some of the Royal Navy’s battle-cruisers was partly due to poor design (a compromise, but some of these ships actually withstood many hits from heavy shells) but mainly due to the removal of designed flash-protection measures in order to speed up rate of fire. Another irony is that Beatty’s own gunnery officer had re-introduced these on the flagship HMS Lion but Beatty had not promulgated this throughout his command. I’ll get my coat……

  18. Aaron says:

    One thing I’ve noticed is that the media and politicians have got very good at minimising the impact of marches.

    The Herald reported the GE March as 11,000 people when even the Sunday Star Times reported it as 25,000 people. The TV News showed footage of hippie-looking people dancing and gave time to the 3 people who supported GE and had turned up to oppose the march. Helen Clarke also said that there were much more people marching when she was at Vietnam protests as if this new generation really wasn’t up to much.

    A friend of mine complained to the Broadcast Standards Authority who wrote back agreeing that the TV coverage was biased but that they weren’t going to do anything about it!

    The Herald reported that the anti Iraq-war marches totalled 4 million people worldwide whereas the number of people marching in London, Madrid and Paris alone added up to that many. There were several hundred thousand people marching in New York and George Bush simply dismissed them a focus-group.

  19. Johnnybg says:

    Middle class scribes should refrain from throwing stones at the ‘great unwashed’ who risk life & limb on the barricades. What ever happened to leading by example?

    • Sam Sam says:

      True leaders kiwi style not only has high levels of energy, concentration and execution. They also have the ability to learn and adapt to changing situations and conversat in Māori, English and sign language and explain things in away that everyone understands. And have the ability to read not only the English and Māori versions of the treaty but the constitution act plus any act that comes under there ministerial responsibility and not mess up to bad.

      The beauty of an MMP government is that those things that make true leaders kiwi style can be farmed out to Party leaders and apply the correct personality to the correct process. And if they are truely outstanding in there studies some one, one day will stand up with all the qualities of a true leader kiwi style with the ability to influence not only New Zealanders but foreign interests in our orbit as well.

  20. Denny Paoa says:

    So, what would galvanise the flightless half-blind kiwi?

    1. The dangers of the CTPPA now that Trump has gone FullRetard to shake up the global power structure!

    2. M-Bogus! All of a sudden the governments found a lazy $880m to subsidise the farmers! FFS! Its got scam written all over it! – Fonterra should wear that cost, fully!

    3. A shackled & manacled government. NZF is calling the shots in this department.

    4. Enquiries, Panels & Commissions for Africa! All due to run for 12 months+ and whether the recommendations are accepted? If they are, it’ll be all to late for them to implement as theyre looking like a one term govenment at this stage.

    5. The government’s credibility is in the toilet. A lot of huff’n & puff’n pre election of “Lets Do This” from the Hapu Lady and crew. Come time to pay up? Oh, as I’ve mentioned above.

    6. The Greens are on final notice with the latest back down from the selling of water increase to a Chinese company. Marama needs to grow some and resign from the Gweens taking a principled position and, split the ‘left’ from whats left of the ‘left’ within the Gweenies and start again?! That’ll wake up Labour!

    Things are pretty dire when all things are considered, Housing, Homelessness and the Health System are all still in crisis, but the government is going to talk about it for another 12 months or so.

    Even better still, lets have a general election to shake things up!

  21. David G. says:

    Famously some commentators of Smiths dream (sleeping dogs) said that mass street protest/violence couldn’t happen here. But fast forward to a few years later you had the 1981 springbok tour, bastion point, and the queen street riot.

    The problem is so many issues today chip away at a few, the larger issues that have wide ranging effect are almost too complex for the ‘mob’ to chant a solution for.”Build more houses!” Is not the problem, figuring out how and where with what money is.

    Taxes have traditionally been the cause of protest but there are no marches or protests from those in auckland whom will face the brunt of the regional fuel tax. Where will those protestors park their cars while protesting after all?

    A good political march was a spanner in the works of governance, it demanded attention, now protests in queen street and lambton quay inconvenience comparitivly few if they can be told apart from the usual congestion. Protest these days is digital… the workers too replaceable, people protesting outside their company HQ for better conditions look almost quaint.

  22. Stank Sinatra says:

    The savage, venal, classist, benefit cuts of 1991 which, to this day, almost thirty years on, have not been altered, sucked all potential for engagement out of the bulk of the populace. As was the intent.

    • Marc says:

      In many other countries that would have led to riots, but in Sleepy Hobbit Land NZ Inc people always wait for somebody else do the hard and difficult work, hence stand back or sit and wait, and do damned NOTHING.

      That is a major problem in the psyche of NZers, they do not dare take action, unless others are there in numbers to lead the way, but as almost all do this, nobody does anything.

      It is a hopeless situation, a hopeless shit hole this country, I must sadly say.

  23. Tiger Mountain says:

    “No retreat, no surrender”–Bruce Springsteen
    “Never a white flag”–Jock Barnes
    “The struggle is my life”–Nelson Mandela
    “class analysis is our guide!–Keep on Truck’n”–me…

    social progress, dissimilar to technological progress, is rarely linear

  24. WILD KATIPO says:

    The 1913 General Strike: relevant to us in 2013? | Redline


    “The 1913 strike was a very significant event in New Zealand’s industrial relations history. Along with the 1890 maritime dispute and the 1951 waterfront lockout, it stands as one of the three major industrial confrontations in our history…

    “The 1913 strike involved a higher proportion of the workforce than did either the 1890 or the 1951 disputes. The strike lasted eight weeks and involved 16.7 per cent of unionists.

    Few would have predicted that New Zealand’s workers would beat their British equivalents to a national stoppage. But fully thirteen years before the British General Strike of 1926, much of New Zealand was brought to the eight-week standstill which became known as the ‘Great Strike’ in Wellington and the ‘General Strike’ in Auckland.”

    So said Prime Minister Helen Clark, when, “with great pleasure”, she launched Revolution: The 1913 Great Strike in New Zealand, a book of essays about the period.

    Helen Clark is no revolutionary. Nor, as a creator of Labour’s strike-breaking Employment Relations Act, is she a supporter of working class activism.

    So, why her great pleasure recalling these troublemakers?

    Clark’s speech continued: “1913 is also very significant because it was one of the seminal events that led to the formation of the New Zealand Labour Party in 1916. The strikers were defeated, but as Peter Fraser said, ‘the militants might lose every battle but they won the campaign.’ The excesses of the Massey government – particularly its use of the special constables, Massey’s Cossacks, against the strikers – helped unite the various labour factions into one party. Leaders of the 1913 strike like Fraser, Harry Holland and Michael Joseph Savage learned the hard lesson that the labour movement could not achieve its goals through industrial action alone. When the Labour Party was formed in 1916, the party was united in seeing the importance of political action and parliamentary politics in achieving economic and social change. That insight of ninety years ago remains highly relevant today.”

    Clark’s observation is a tidy summation of the tragic wrong turn taken by the New Zealand working class. She just omits the anti-worker role played by her party.


    Or maybe it was because back then they had a set of balls and didn’t think twice about standing up for themselves and those of their family’s to have a decent life.

  25. Observer Tokoroa says:

    Many thanks to those to those who didn’t want tp talk about Boats.

    The fact is, the ordinary New Zealander is beginning to see that he has been ripped to bits by The Capitalist Cult.

    Low wages. Stollen Wages. Callous Contracts. Lousy abuse from the ugly mouth and Mind of John Key, and Saint Billy English. Free Money for Farmers. But not for other small business.

    No Help from the Police ( or the Police Minister ) when violent free lance Crims attacked day after day – Indian Shop keepers. “Let them Die” – seems to have been Nationals’ response.

    For National was only ever for the members of its Cult.

    National has shown it doesnt want homes or help for New Zealamders.

    They also have given Carte Blanche to any and every Lousy Landlord in the land.

    The Capitalists are a Cult. They promte only the very wealthy. They are clearly at war with decent people who do the Work in Aotearoa.

    National are sick to the guts. Their cruel Cult is destroying them.

    Onward Decent New Zealanders. You are many more than National. You many more skills than National. You much more respect that national will ever have.

    Because you have not stollen from your fellow man and humilated him- Like National has. National Hates You and treats you like Filth.

  26. phillip ure says:

    ‘The blank refusal of the leaders of the largest unions to countenance a general strike struck the labour movement a mortal blow from which it has never recovered.
    Since 1991 the Council of Trade Unions and its affiliates have never been able to muster more than 5,000 unionists in one place.
    Workers had been ready to fight in 1991 but their so-called “leaders” had not’.
    but those ‘leaders’ were well rewarded for their treachery – by the employers – they were given seats on company boards..and the like..and of course..!..moarchy-honorifics were also gratefully received – by these class-traitors..

  27. Marc says:

    “If those with the power refuse to respond to our protests, then the correct reaction is not to give up and go quiet. It is to protest louder and harder and longer until the powers-that-be give up – and give in.”

    Absolutely, but people have become complacent and lazy, to be honest. And some are utterly gutless these days, do not want to get their hands and so dirty anymore.

    People have escaped into their little private niches, their homes, their little social networks, and go on about semantic stuff than material stuff. Others fall for consumerism and adopt identities to simply adapt, please and slime up the ones in charge, so they can hopefully advance their careers.

    I have seen many dysfunctional work places, the bosses talked about ‘team effort’ and more BS slogans, workers were pretending such spirit, but were rather busy competing, and waiting to put the dagger into their work mate’s back.

    There is NO social cohesion anymore, except in exclusive networks and families, where they share the same interest, often as privileged.

    Solidarity is an alien word, it is often talked about compassion and sharing and so, but it means damned little, it is just words, no or little action.

    The fabric of society has changed for the worse, it is selfishness and self interest that rules, and most adapt, as that is the rule and concept our society now functions on and under.

    Radical change will only come once this social situation and system we have collapses, but even then there will be riots, crime and pillage before anyone can create a new order.

    Whatever you may call it, perhaps neoliberalism, or so, it has firmly corrupted society and humanity, for time being, it will simply not go away tomorrow, it is here to stay, the new order of things.

    • Afewknowthetruth says:

      ‘Whatever you may call it, perhaps neoliberalism, or so, it has firmly corrupted society and humanity, for time being’

      Yes. But not for much longer.

      The system is running on empty and will crash before 2025. The crash may even come before 2020. No one knows because the system is running on fraud and deceit, and no one knows just how much fraud and deceit there is.

      Meanwhile the masses are kept distracted by pabulum churned out by the mainstream media, and nothing of importance is addressed.

  28. lloyd jordan says:

    Nailed it in 1 Chris

Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog,