The Neoliberal State Defended By, Of All People, The Left

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FASCISM IS CAPITALISM’S response to significant demonstrations of disruptive political strength – especially those challenging prevailing social hierarchies and property relations. The historical record could hardly be clearer in this regard. Mussolini’s fascisti gained significant ruling-class backing following the post-World War One factory and land occupations organised by Italy’s radicalised workers and peasants. Hitler’s Munich-based Nazi Party grew out of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic, itself a part of the broader German Revolution of 1918-19. General Francisco Franco’s military coup was launched in response to the Left’s electoral successes of 1936 and the related anarchist attacks on Spain’s reactionary aristocracy and church. Essentially, fascism is capitalism in full self-defence mode.

In relation to contemporary New Zealand, the question must surely be: “Is Kiwi Capitalism under serious threat of disruption?” Equally surely, the answer is: “Not yet.” With a Finance Minister determined to keep both public debt and public spending at ridiculously low levels, the New Zealand business community must be finding it difficult to believe its luck. Their anguished bleating over largely cosmetic changes to the Employment Relations Act notwithstanding, employers face nothing even remotely resembling an angry and organised working-class. Such industrial action as there is remains well-corralled within the public sector – which makes it the State’s problem, not theirs.

If there is no credible threat to New Zealand capitalism’s property and profits, then what about its social hierarchy? After all, it was the election of a Black President which set in motion the white racist backlash that carried Donald Trump into the White House?

Nothing so viscerally disconcerting has yet happened here. Jacinda Ardern’s friendly feminism threatens no one and Labour’s uniquely large Maori caucus has yet to say “Boo!” to a single Pakeha goose. Trans-gender issues may figure prominently on the left-wing blogs and Twitter, but such a tiny minority is unlikely to cause the ruling-class too many sleepless nights.

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Only one issue has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the existing regime: immigration. For those New Zealanders who believe themselves to be living in a fundamentally “white” society, the recent influx of immigrants from East and South Asia has been deeply disconcerting. The New Zealand capitalist “establishment” cannot, however, allow this sort of low-level xenophobic grousing to gain significant political traction. Asia’s contribution to New Zealand capitalism’s well-being is simply too substantial.

Far from aggravating the dominant Kiwi culture’s relationships with New Zealand’s diverse immigrant communities, it is in the interests of the established order to keep these as harmonious as possible. Like Singapore’s authoritarian capitalist regime, New Zealand’s neoliberal establishment has nothing to gain by either encouraging or tolerating communal strife. Champions of neoliberalism and globalisation must also be champions of multiculturalism.

For the foreseeable future, therefore, it is in the interests of the ruling-class to keep the majority culture as quiescent as possible. In the New Zealand context, Pakeha nationalism is the enemy of the state – not its ally. Even Maori nationalism poses potential risks. The prospect of seeing their Treaty Partner status overtaken (at least numerically) by Asian New Zealanders is unlikely to fill the tangata whenua with joy!

Herein lies the irony of the ongoing “free speech” controversy. As vociferous opponents of what they characterise as existential threats to traditional Anglo-Saxon culture, Lauren Southern’s and Stefan Molyneux’s looming visit to New Zealand is intended to persuade ordinary Kiwis to look to their own defence against the twin scourges of multiculturalism and identity politics.

In the United States, such a mission would immediately identify them as allies of the Trump Administration: divide-and-conquer veterans of the United States’ seemingly endless culture wars. In New Zealand, however, their hyper-nationalistic, racially-charged ideas are subject to official condemnation as potentially subversive of New Zealand’s multicultural status-quo. A solid wall of opposition has been raised against their visit by such champions of diversity as the Vice-Chancellor of Massey University and the Mayor of Auckland.

The most piquant irony of them all, however, is the role being played by the extremities of the New Zealand Left. In their determination to fight “fascism” they have allowed themselves to fall into the precise role of Mussolini’s fascisti and Hitler’s sturmabteilung: front-line defenders of ruling-class interests and mortal opponents of those social forces (predominantly conservative in this instance) whose successful political mobilisation might threaten their future prospects among the ruling social, economic and cultural elites – to whose defence they have sprung so aggressively.

47 COMMENTS

  1. You’re a brave man Chris. To look at the lessons of historical fascism, and examine current political trends in the light of those lessons, might seem like common sense. As long as the results of such analysis fit the neatly packaged narratives delivered by The Left Inc. and its glorious thought leaders; the Hilerati still running the US Democrats, the weird consensus reality shared by the editorial staff of the Economist (supposedly “the right”) and the Guardian (supposedly “the left”), and so on. But suggesting that the political project of The Left Inc. might be proto-fascist in many of the same underlying ways as those of The Alt-Right(TM), that’s heresy of the highest order. Expect your excommunication papers from the central committee of The Left Inc. to come through as soon as the social media pigeons are ready for the days deliveries …

  2. It’s no secrete that Jacinda mania saved The Labour Party from possible annihilation but can she save the labour movement. Over the last 34 years we have asked the question of can we live with out the welfare state. Now we ask can we live with out the middle classes. So here are a few ideas to save the labour movement.

    1. GIVE US THE POLICIES we want. What I mean by that is a lot was made of the Labour Greens memorandum of understanding which was superseded by the coalition agreement. So give us the green rush.

    2. WHATS THE GREEN RUSH. The green rush is a green energy future and implement medical marijuana as soon as possible and use that as a platform for full legalisation referendum. Straight away half the people in jail won’t have to be there. As a harm minimisation programme banning class c drugs have caused major social problems for a substance that causes zero harm to any except the user.

    3. An export driven green energy future.

    4. A lot is said about social justice with out the above. If we are not prosperous then there is no freedoms and no justice. Treasury says GDP projections say the economy is forcast to grow by about 3% which is up from last years predictions yet there’s still about $200mln of the Regionao growth fund left unallocated and it’s like why hasn’t one of last years Uni grades not taken up the offer.

    So plenty of things to jump on.

      • IMO an export driven green energy future should answer the question of is organised human existence desirable. If it is desirable then we have to answer for ourselves some huge engineering challenges starting with essentially ingredients for western life ie minerals and chemicals. The higher quality these essential ingredients the better the end product and I’ll use Prime Japanese Kobe beef as an example. People can be almost brought to tears tasting authentic Kobe beef for the first time. So when you’ve got real quality ingredients all you have to do is add salt and pepper, you really can’t do much to enhance quality ingredients and the same is true for ingredients essential for complex western life.

        When you go into any industry you u have to do an industry wide appraisal and again I’ll use Kobe beef as an exemplar. Kobe Beef is a billion dollar industry in its own right and Japanese beef is $10bln all up. Japan produces on average 4000 tons of Kobe and only about 400kgs is exported every years yet this comparably low wieght industry is enough to sustain Japan’s beef intact. I’m not saying we try and replicate as much as possible the Kobe brand and products, but it pays to emulate some what the guys who know a thing or two about sustainability.

            • We’ve had Kobe beef animals in NZ since the early 1990’s. You are literally a quarter of a century late. Genius!

              • Nah bro. Kobe is a certificate that is only given to a select few Japanese cattle. Kobe is the prime cuts of Kobe cattle then the off cuts are graded wagu. There’s 5 grades from A1 down to A5. And A5 is better than most nations prime cuts of beef. And that’s just the way it is. It’s all about the tears.

                • Since the 90’s dude. I know it’s hard to concede you’re wrong but… facts don’t give a shit about your feelings.

                • That is a ridiculous assertion and I’m going to tell you exactly why. Acting like NZ has Kobe certification when its physically impossible to get certified outside of Kobe Japan is, you guest it, scammy. Creating an ethical green industry, being ethical, is not a one-time decision. You don’t act ethically once and then get a free pass for the rest of your life. That’s not how it works. Being ethical is something you have to do over and over again. It’s actually pretty easy to be ethical when things are easy and there really isn’t much of a price to pay to act ethical. The real test of your morals / ethics comes when there is pressure, when there is a real cost to being ethical. You can get out of trouble by lying, for example. Or stealing, or scamming.

                  Companies in general and startups in particular are a cauldron of different pressures. There are many points in a startup’s life where it can make the choice to act morally or not. Just because you *start* with good intentions does not excuse you from acting ethically the rest of the time. In fact, the road to hell is paved with good intentions for that reason. You start thinking that you can do what’s morally questionable because you think your initial intentions justify it. The ends definitely don’t justify the means. Lots of people use post hoc justifications to excuse themselves. This is wrong. If you scam, you are a scammer. It doesn’t matter what your initial intentions were. If you scam people, you should be condemned whether you do so at the beginning, the middle or the end.

                  • Oh noesss! The good ship Dunning Krugers random word generators copy paste functions flux capacitors are spiralling into meltdown.

                    We’ve had Kobe beef stock in NZ since the early 1990’s. You’re a quarter century late.

                    And if we can’t possibly get Kobe beef certification why are you recommending producing it.

                    • Those cattle up north sourced from Japan where wagu interbred with Angus. Really tasty if you ask me but obviously very different from the original. Nothing wrong with wagu or even Kobe-style. Branding is important. People appreciate genuine authenticity. There’s a lot more money out there for honesty than dishonesty.

                    • Tried kobe beef in kyoto. Expense aside, it was a sublime experience. Even the vegetarian I was with asked me to describe it, but I was lost for words.

    • Sydney’s demand side housing bubble has burst ie Chinese buyers paying $30mln are lucky to pay $1mln now a days. We’re just waiting for the markets to react. Every one with a mortgage are going to get locked in for a very long time. Cation ahead.

  3. Your irony is misplaced here.

    The ‘left’ in NZ that wants a bosses’ state ban is hardly ‘far left’.
    The obvious examples you point to, Goff and the Massey VC are social democrats like yourself who look to the bosses state to resolve class conflict.

    The SPD in Germany the Socialists in Italy and the Republicans (with the help of the Stalinists) in Spain all served the bosses’ states in smoothing the path for the rising fascist movements, in order to stop revolutions. The revolutions from 1918 onwards, apart from Russia, all fell at the hands of both SD and fascism.

    In all cases the workers were locked into bourgeois parliament when they needed to be mobilizing independently of the state to stop the fascists.

    So the indication of the potential for the rise of fascism in Aotearoa is not the physical existence of an overt fascist movement. It is the potential of social democracy to suppress class struggle with emergency regulations and military strike breaking, to prepare the way for fascism if that proves necessary.

    Thus it is the failure of workers to break from social democracy which deludes them with the siren songs of peace, harmony, and equality, interspersed with jail time and conscription in imperialist wars.

    Meanwhile the international crisis of capitalism pushes more and more declassed elements into extreme right, neo-fascist movements in the belief that it is the working class, and not the capitalist class, that is the enemy.

    And of course state bans have never worked to stop fascism, as in all the cases you cite they act to stop the independent mobilization of the working class against the rise of fascism.

    That is why the revolutionary left is for working class mobilization to break from the bourgeois state and its historic collaboration with fascism in order to fight fascism face to face.

    • Taxes don’t go down because we ban, probit and make illegal behaviour instead of controlling harmful behaviour done to others then expect to roll over so that taxes can be privatised.

  4. I wonder…

    I wonder how many families living in garages and cars care about this?

    I wonder how many people on welfare’s punitive regime, considering whether to pay the power bill or put food in the fridge, care about this?

    How many middle class, frightened of losing their precarious privilege and joining the ranks of New Zealand’s “underbelly”, care about this.

    I wonder how many migrants, facing hostility from racist rednecks, care about this?

    I wonder about people desperately needing mental health services – how many of them are transfixed by this “debate”?

    I’ll go out and check. Maybe my priorities are all over the place and the real issues confronting people in South Auckland are whether two white people should come here to rail in favour of racial purity and a spot of muslim-bashing thrown in for measure?

    I guess this was inevitable really. The moment National loses power and the Left (however you define it) gains office, we turn inwards and out comes the Proverbial Pin. Then we debate; four angels? Ten angels? A billion angels? Just how many of the little winged-buggers can pirouette on that pin’s head?!

    Ah well, I guess I’ll do the boring stuff. Y’know, Chris; housing. Education. Taxation. Our shameful imprisonment rates. Social justice for all. National’s defaulting to “tough on crime”. Not very ‘sexy’, but someone’s got to do it.

    Righto, let’s get back to that pin’s head. Those angels are waiting.

    • Fortify the communities. We can not fight white supremacist while we fight our own. Gang leaders must call a truce and come together.

    • Does it not matter that the issues you champion here are spoken about Frank? Free speech is essential to addressing all of them. It is the medium by which all injustice must be identified and concern raised to bring about improvement. It isn’t a matter of choosing free speech instead of something else. Nothing else can be improved without it.
      D J S

      • “It is the medium by which all injustice must be identified and concern raised to bring about improvement.”

        There is no “injustice” here. Those 2 neofascists will still be allowed to vent their hate speech here in Aotearoa. They haven’t been banned. So whatever “injustice” youre referring to diesnt arise in this case. The attention given by various leftwing pundits here and elsewhere, while families live in degradation is the real injustice. Some seem to have forgotten this.

        • It was general Mjolnir. It was about free speech , not about Southern and Molyneux. In this instance you are usurping the role of the authority that presumes the right to decide for me whether I hear this people or not. I do not accept that you have that right to put it extremely mildly. That has nothing to do with my opinion of what they might have to say.
          Cheers
          D J S

          • It’s not “about free speech”. It’s about the vile racist, misogynistic, and anti-LGBTQ politics those two spout. Free speech is not a Free Pass to voice prejudice without right-of-reply denouncing it.
            Anyway, do we really need them? I thought Bob Jones and Mike Hosking already filled that role.

  5. “Champions of neoliberalism and globalisation must also be champions of multiculturalism.”

    Why?

    Where in God’s name did you dig up this great steaming turd?

    Some supporting argument is desperately needed if you wish to scrape this shit off your shoe.

    That prolly won’t happen because you are pitching your whole argument from the point of view of white middle class neo-liberals. You know… the “enemy of the people”. That is why your arguments are fanciful, irrelevant, and (worst of all) bourgeois. The supporting arguments you do provide likewise come from the white middle class neo-libs such as university professors and “professional” classes, neither of whom have seen the destruction of nationhood and society from their gated enclosures.

    I agree with Dave Brown and Frank Macskasy; the real fight belongs to the working classes and the poor, not the dumb sheep of muddle Nu Zillin (thank you Bomber!). The only real changes can get underway once the underclasses are mobilised and angered. You’re the flippin’ expert on the revolutions between the wars not me. I’ve only got what my ol’ man told me about living through that period, both parents working class British. Long dead now I can still hear his comment on your article:

    “Bloody pretentious idiot. He knows bugger all about history.”

    • Frank Maskasy and JS Bark – thank you for your voices of sanity. I truly thought I had lost my mind with the focus on this issue. How many blogposts have been written on these two neofascist white supremicists?? How much word space devoted to them?? If this is the priority of the Left, instead of the victims of 30+ years of neoliberalism, then honestly we dont deserve to be in government. Or more to the point, TDB doesnt deserve relevancy.

      I. Am. So. Fucking. Over. This.

        • Thankfully only a few of my “lefty” friends read this, and theyre scratching their heads WTF this is all about and why a couple of bloggers are committing so much pixel spece to defending two very unsavoury characters when we have unresolved social problems confronting us. The general view is that the racist fuckers are free to cometo NZ and thats where their freedom ends. WE OWE THEM NOTHING. But we risk making ourselves irrelevent if some on the left keep banging on about this.

          • I’ll die on this hill for free speech.

            Printing money has killed emerging markets. It’s financial bulimia. Now just take your medicine.

            • Ok, Sam.

              Meanwhile I’ll carry on working on behalf of the homeless. You have fun with your self-indulgence.

  6. Okay, okay. Now tell us: in the context of this country -what’s ‘working class’?

    At what point does it morph into ‘middle class’?

    Why are we still burbling on about a concept hatched in the northern hemisphere? Class system.

    And the bit about ‘Anglo-Saxon culture’. I’m pale, and that’s not my provenance. BTW – what exactly is ‘Anglo-Saxon culture’? because if I have to ask it’s clearly not prevalent/common. Is it a straight transplant? From where? Or has it changed in this country?

    Vague, vague, vague. All shorthand and symbols past their used by date.

    And, as far as I know – all the handwringing, words, platitudes, whatevs about homelessness, poverty, and other socila ills has done remarkably little to ease or obliterate the situations. It’s the next MOVE that matters most. Unless there’s some sort of conduit for this dismay and indignation toward practical action it’s simple ‘sound and fury, signifying nothing’.

    “For those (few) New Zealanders who believe themselves to be living in a fundamentally “white” society” (or a fundamentally “brown” one, depending on the mail address) – this is unworthy of you, Chris. It’s also unworthy of anyone/everyone who wanders out with a dog whistle to start virtue signalling.

    Move on before the conversation ends up stifled in the name of Righteous Lefties or Hypocrites Unlimited.

  7. I’m not sure that the two Canadians are defending “Anglo Saxon” culture, more what we might generally call “Western Culture”
    i.e the rule of law, separation of Church and State, respect for women and minorities, enlightenment values, etc,

    • “Respect for women”?

      What rubbish. How much respect was there for the victim of John Key’s hairpulling fetish from the Right? Or the woman who was nearly raped by that Malaysian diplomat?? They were BOTH pilloried by the Right. Especially on Whaleoil and Kiwiblog. You’re full of hypocrisy Mr Andy.

      • I am referring to Sharia Law, which by definition has women as second class citizens, under the law

        Punishing rape victims is hardly the same as pulling a ponytail.

        Sadi Arabia flogged a 13 year old rape victim to death. Is that the same as pulling ponytails?

        I don’t expect leftists to say anything about this of course

        You have no morals, no standards, nothing.

        • Start small, Andy. Pony tails one day… cop a feel of a breast or buttocks the next. Forced sex (aka, rape) the end goal.

          Have you not been paying attention to events at Russell McVeagh?!

          Top law firm Russell McVeagh has announced they will undertake an external review in response to “serious” sexual allegations involving law students.

          […]

          Two incidents reportedly happened at Christmas functions and another at the El Horno Bar in Wellington.

          At least one complaint was made to police about a man’s behaviour at El Horno.

          Victoria University Vice Chancellor Grant Guilford told the NZHerald last week that he understood a young law clerk student who was part of a summer programme made an allegation of sexual assault.

          Guilford said he was aware of several other young women who also allegedly experienced sexually inappropriate behaviour at the time.

          Russell McVeagh chief executive Gary McDiarmid said full internal investigations were conducted after the allegations were made.

          “Those who were the subject of the allegations left the firm following the investigation,” McDiarmid said earlier.

          ref: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12000630

          Oh…

          And by the way, Andy. It’s rather curious that you’ve been on TDB since 2011 – and yet I cannot find any comment from you posted on stories about Tania Billingsley (https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/07/10/tania-billingsley-hero/) nor the waitress who had her hair pulled by former PM, John Key, over a period of months (https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/04/22/exclusive-the-prime-minister-and-the-waitress/ and https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/04/23/update-the-prime-minister-and-the-waitress-part-2-dirty-politics/)

          Two of the most high-profile stories of assault on two women – and not one single comment from you condemning those actions. Not. One. Comment.

          Why?

          I’ll supply one possible answer: because you don’t give a shit about assaults on women. You simply care about using the issue as a weapon against muslims. At no other time have you commented.

      • Why do you automatically assume that I defend the opinions of WhaleOil or KiwiBlog?

        Just because I am not a card-carrying member of the NZ Left doesn’t mean I automatically qualify for the other team.

        Some of us aren’t in teams, or into team sports

        • It isn’t obvious from your previous two comments that you do fly solo so to speak or an opponent of Whale oil ect. In fact your rhetoric has stayed largely the same over the years which implies severe ideological underpinnings. Your need to tar me with labels is quite disturbing. That’s not opinion, that’s fact.

  8. “The same for years”

    You have been following me for “years”

    I’m flattered, but slightly disturbed

Comments are closed.