Has Neoliberalism Colonised Our Minds?

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DR CHRIS HARRIS has been inspiring me for more than 20 years. He is one of those rare individuals who sees clearly the lines of force connecting individuals, classes, events and institutions in the present historical moment. His latest insight: that neoliberalism has replicated in the advanced economies of the West the same master/servant, foreign/indigenous power dynamic which once characterised colonial societies; is particularly exciting.

Colonisation presents a distinctive and consistent historical narrative. Foreigners in pursuit of specific economic objectives arrive in other people’s territory. The newcomers’ cultural confidence, supplemented by their superior firepower, quickly overawe the indigenous elites, who are easily persuaded to grant them privileged access to the resources they seek. In return, the local rulers are promised a share of the newcomers’ profits. Thus compromised, the ruling elites’ legitimacy is undermined and the newcomers move swiftly to fill the resulting power vacuum. The colonised population, if it is unlucky, then succumbs to the newcomers’ microbes and declines into demographic and economic irrelevance. Or, if they remain demographically significant, are forcefully reduced to economic and political impotence. Sullen enemies of the new order, they wait for their colonial overlords’ to make a mistake.

The parallels with the arrival of neoliberal ideology are striking. There was the same extraordinary confidence that the new economic doctrine was, essentially, irresistible. That, putting it in the simplest terms, there was “no alternative”. The intellectual and economic corruption of the existing elites similarly mirrors the colonial experience – as does their political collapse and replacement by the most ruthless exponents of the new, now dominant, ideology. With their old leaders and old institutions gone, the populations of the advanced western economies found themselves in the same powerless position as the victims of colonisation. Uncertain as to whether resistance or accommodation offered them the best hope of individual and familial security, they became involuntary participants in the complete transformation of their societies.

The question raised by Harris is whether what is happening in the advanced societies of the West: Brexit, Trump, the gathering momentum of populist leaders and parties in the formerly liberal nations of Germany, Denmark, Italy and Sweden; is in any way comparable to the anti-colonialist revolts that shaped so much of the twentieth century? Certainly, the near collapse of the globalised capitalist economy in 2008, and the mortal wound it inflicted on the credibility of neoliberalism, is analogous to the blows inflicted upon the power and prestige of the British and French Empires by the Japanese during World War II. The white imperialists, it seemed, could be beaten. Much of their power was bluff. Meaning: the moment colonial peoples found the courage to call their masters’ bluff, the days of empire were numbered.

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Nowhere, argues Harris, can this analogy be drawn more sharply than in the United States. In the eyes of more and more Americans the “Establishment” has become the source of all their woes. People’s trust in the system is evaporating, and with it is disappearing what little legitimacy it still enjoys. Drawing on the writings of the radical writer, Umair Haque, Harris characterises the United States as  “a profoundly unstable imperial patchwork-quilt with a large population that does not enjoy full citizenship or personhood”. In his view, the United States is undergoing “an internal decolonisation revolution against a hated and distant elite that has made the locals into a helot underclass in the land of their birth.”

New Zealand is by no means exempt from the effects of this unravelling neoliberal hegemony. In this country, also, there is a large colonised population presided over by a distant and hated elite. We, too, have constructed an underclass whose full citizenship and personhood is routinely denied in overcrowded prisons; at the counter of the local WINZ office; and by “unconsciously biased” teachers, medics and cops.

That the sharpening of social tensions in New Zealand is happening at a much slower rate than in the United States or Europe is due, almost entirely, to the relative ease with which New Zealand passed through the Global Financial Crisis. Even so, by 2017 the National-led government’s increasingly obvious inability to treat all of New Zealand’s citizens as full persons left it with insufficient support to continue in office. Its replacement, the Labour-NZF-Green Government stands pledged to restore full citizenship and personhood to those Maori New Zealanders still suffering from the effects of the country’s original colonisation; as well as to the internally colonised victims of neoliberalism’s thirty-year rule.

The biggest problem faced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her coalition partners is how to transition New Zealand from the cruelties of neoliberalism to a new economic and social order guided by the “politics of kindness”. It’s a problem accentuated by the absence of the “revolutionary carnivals” that have so often accompanied the throwing-off of colonial rule. Like the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Trump in the USA, what happened last September and October in New Zealand represented the downtrodden voters’ confused reaction to the manifest failings of neoliberalism – not their confident endorsement of a coherent alternative.

The failure of the National Government’s opponents to develop a coherent alternative to neoliberalism is beginning to define their political and economic management. The victims of the old order still stagger under the burden of an essentially unmodified status-quo. The situation now prevailing is, therefore, akin to a hard-pressed colonial power granting its subjects the mere phantom of self-rule. The neoliberal colonisers, in their pith helmets and baggy shorts are still in charge, and the longer they remain so, the more ridiculous their phantom government will be made to look.

Revolutions are not made by half-measures.

33 COMMENTS

    • @ ED
      Aw… I was going to use the word ‘outstanding’.
      I’ll use ‘superb’ instead, then.
      The clarity with which this Post was written is exceptional.
      This Post should be required reading where reading’s still required.

      That’s why we must banish the foreign banks from AO/NZ and write off all mortgage debt to them.
      While they’re here and have us in debt we can never change the toxic system they’ve foisted on us that we’ve come to know as neo-liberalism.
      I’ve just had electricity re supplied to my house undergoing renovation.
      I was here one day during the transition of ownership to me from the previous owner when I noticed the top of my power pole wiggling about alarmingly over the roof of my new house. I went to see what was up, as one would. What was ‘up’ were several sturdy fellows and a large crane thing hoisting my pole out of the ground. They were reclaiming their assets beliving the house to be abondened. A brief discussion followed.
      There were other sturdy fellows up the mains pole opposite preparing to remove the transformer. No. Not a large robot that could also be a gun wielding school bus.
      Seven months later, after many arguments with wankers of various degrees, I get my electricity re supplied. ( Thanks, Electrical Supply Authority guy. ) At no cost to me other than for an electrician to fit my new switchboard and meter.
      So. I have electricity. I also have an electrical ‘retailer’. A retailer. Of electricity? They want my money. For the electricity they, the retailer, buy from the ‘ wholesaler’ who whole sales it to my ‘retailer’ who in turn slaps on a juicy profit… for whom? And why?
      Since 1990’s-ish electricity prices have risen 79 % I think the figure is off the top of my grey and balding head. Post neo liberalism, we now have energy-poverty in AO/NZ. It is a thing.
      Speaking of things; this is one of the things that happens to generate electricity in NZ/AO.
      Water = weight=energy. Water is directed through tubes, think wine through paula bennett. ( Nice drawing of her above BTW.) The weight that is in water going through tubes causes a turbine to turn, a bit like the fins up a jet engine, which turns a shaft, which spins a rotating copper winding inside yet other copper windings and as a result of one winding being immobile, while the other winding can turn, an electrical current is provided which is then fed to a series of transformers, no. Not robot trucks that spout pro yank-wank on camera.
      That electricity then goes to your toaster at about 299 792 458 m / s. Or 186 miles a second. Which is slower than the electrical ‘retailer’ will take money from your account.
      For what though?
      Did you know? A hydro electric project like Lake Dunston took only about 3 years to claw back its research and development costs? ( Or, at today’s electricity prices, about three and a half weeks. ) Three years. The dam/lake/ swindle combo was completed in 1993. By 1996, it was running a profit for the crooks and biting in for the ‘consumer’.
      You been to Lake Dunston and the dam? No?
      Ok. It’s a bit big and floods a beautiful valley in Central Otago, including the best parts of a little town called Cromwell. It also floods some of the best fruit growing in AO/NZ including some beautiful, historic stone houses, homes and buildings. It’s also made from concrete and other modern materials and is run by a few fellows who arrive at the dam for a days work (?) in shiny cars who watch for cracks and leaks? I don’t know what they do? Play pool? Darts?
      The dam is surely computerised. They could monitor it from Portugal. “A leak? Turn off the valve. Will sort once I’ve run out of Pot and can remember where my return plane tickets are.”
      This is also what Lake Dunston is. It’s a big watery fucking swindle and YOU go cold in winter because foreign investors are ripping you off. A deal brokered by neo liberal scum bags so eloquently described by the ever erudite Chris Trotter.
      So? Why has electricity increased in price by 79% again?
      Because you’re being swindled.
      And what do we do with swindlers? No. Not Knight Hood them. Well, yes. Actually. We do.
      Speaking of actually’s:

      “Well actually our only hope is understanding that it is the system, not the personalities within it, that is the problem. Did you know, that by focusing on the personalities rather than the structure of the system we make the system stronger? True Story.
      Andrew Marlton
      First Dog On The Moon

  1. The Transnational Capital Party simply has to bide its time until its numbers are bolstered by more non-citizen (foreign resident voters). The current coalition does not represent any opposition to Neo-liberalism… it is comprised of Neo-liberal parties and is part of the problem. The suggestion or idea that the recent election result represents the No Zealand equivalent of Brexit or Trump is absolute garbage. The counter punch has not yet happened… it is going to be violent and brutal. What proportion of the UK and US populations were born overseas, compared to No Zealand? What proportion of prisoners in the US are native Americans?

  2. Our minds have definitely been colonised, to the point where we cannot conceive of any alternative to the present system, or at least one that does not involve yet more “Big State” solutions.

    This is the problem; having been accustomed to easy access by elites to power in the form of centralised Big State structures, any solution our elites might propose can only involve commandeering the existing Big State to create a supposedly “nicer, kinder Big State”.

    This is why the current Labour government remains firmly Neo Liberal in its bent, and paradoxically, why at the same time it seems so incapable of action, when there is clearly so much to do. It is in thrall to Neo Liberal power structures and ideology, even while it knows that Neo Liberalism is the road to ruin.

    We are on an endless treadmill, one in which National knows that all it has to do is wait for their turn.

    There is only ONE way that this cycle of corruption can be broken, and that is to walk away from the Big State table, and make our own Socialist institutions. Institutions that are able to provide everything that a community needs, on vastly better economic and political terms. This is Socialism 21.

    Food, housing, electricity, healthcare… all the necessities of life can all be provided locally in communities governed democratically by their residents as autonomous political entities, or through a federated network of communities. The economies of scale provided by such communal institutions means that we can all live better than we do now, more securely than we do now, for a tiny fraction of the effort we now expend in serving our colonial masters.

    Imagine only needing to work 4 hours a week, while enjoying a better lifestyle than you do now. Imagine not needing to pay rent OR a mortgage. Imagine having a car any time you need one, but it only costs you five dollars a day. Imagine paying $50 a week for food for a family of 4. All of this is possible, if we re-organise our economy from a profit-centered one, in which we must all work to feed an army of non-working “owners”, and being a part owner with your community, with all of the means of production needed to sustain our lifestyles.

    This is Socialism 21. When you finally *get it*, you will wonder why you ever wasted your life chasing the carrot but getting the stick. You will abandon forever all notion of “Big State” Socialism, with its endless taxes and tinkering and cow towing to government and party mandarins, and you will choose freedom, through economic and political self-determination.

    De-Colonise Yourself.

    • This is obviously a rhetorical question. I’m interested in your own answer. But I would say the solution is to organize together outside of the control of any political party.

      Not because we shouldn’t participate in elections. I’ve never really believed that, even while finding other aspects of anarchist thought totally convincing, and seeing what the elites can get up to when large chunks of the working class disengage from elections has been truly scary.

      But because if we don’t organize as citizens outside of party machines that are currently ruled from above by Wellington bureaucrats (including the Greens as recent ex-members are telling me), we have no way to apply democratic leverage to the structures and policies of those parties. Including the parties that could and should wrestle with, expose, and slow down the parties of the elites (clue: whoever is willing to work with ACT).

      So we need to organize independently, and we need to be doing it using tools that our communities control (free code software, federated social networks etc), not tools controlled by corporate hijackers ( FarceBook, the birdsite, goOgle, NationBender etc), that subtly manipulate our conversations away from anything that might be real challenge to their dominance.

    • The best way to delegitimise the status quote is to not vote at all. Imagine if just 10% of the population voted, or better yet, 90% voted “no confidence”? No one would dare speak of having a “mandate”.

  3. National was neoliberal full frontal.

    Labour led government is neoliberal lite.

    The statements for colonisation can be quickly changed to neoliberalism and is already happening in NZ with massive sell offs of assets and using migration to change power regimes and keep people busy working and not thinking too hard.

    A few words show the change from colonisation to what is happening to NZ under neoliberalism is the same.

    The newcomers’ ECONOMIC confidence, supplemented by their superior STRATEGY AND MONETARY POWER, quickly overawe the indigenous elites, who are easily persuaded to grant them privileged access to the resources they seek. In return, the local rulers are promised a share of the newcomers’ profits. Thus compromised, the ruling elites’ legitimacy is undermined and the newcomers move swiftly to fill the resulting power vacuum. The colonised population, if it is unlucky, then succumbs to the newcomers’ microbes and declines into demographic and economic irrelevance.

    In theory Maori was not colonised by the British because both parties signed the treaty which is supposed to give Maori equal rights and say over NZ with the British. One of the few indigenous cultures to have that. Of course this was reneged on as usual with weasel words and actions but the NZ Maori were technically was not colonised (only in practical terms).

    Maori rights now hang by a thread their voting ability artificially destroyed by targeted migration against natural population growth, which now makes Maori the third or even fourth smallest demographic in NZ down from second and Pakeha increasingly gone from Auckland (both already diminishing quickly).

    If Maori lose their Maori seats and very close to that already, targeted migration and with TPPA looming, a few bad decisions from iwi or the RMA process whose rules in real terms are only there to push for development and economic power to the applicant, might wipe out all their wealth, land and power in litigation and loses under our poor environmental and social RMZ rules with practically zero precedents ever being set for the environment or local interests. The whole system is designed to be an undemocratic as possible under successive governments and to serve power interests only.

    Pakeha and Maori will become tenants in their own county very quickly especially with the proposed capital gains taxes (under Labour’s working group) which are based on local tax rates not transaction taxes or any way to catch offshore money fairly, so as we already see, multinationals can use many mechanisms to lower their tax rates and the government is perfectly happy with overseas based companies and individuals paying a fraction of the taxes, capital gains or otherwise, that local companies or individuals have to make, which makes it much harder for local companies or individuals to compete and makes overseas transfer of power even quicker and easier.

    If the asset and land transfers continue (and Auckland has become 50% overseas born Asian migrants already within a decade) it will make NZ a island in the pacific that serves Asian interests not the traditional Pacific or UK/US relationships.

    If Asia sounds like utopia that would be great, but instead it seems like no democracy, few rights, a lot of conflicts, loss of individual culture (Tibet, Hong Kong) and rights and plenty in Asia seem keen to leave, so to preserve the NZ approach the only hope is that we got a government smart enough to actually create the Pacific as a neutral and independent space that are friends and allies of both Asia and the UK/US and to keep our unique identity.

    However National and Labour’s rabid interests in free trade at the expense of sovereignty suggests that sovereignty is a chip they are happy to trade away for the hope of some magic beans and a perceived short term gain, for soon to be obsolete milk powder or butter and our ability to feed ourselves lost such as fishing rights lost to overfishing and pollution, likewise usable land for horticulture to spec apartments and housing that locals can’t afford on local wages.

    • NZ has literally zero protection in it’s current laws because the litigants can just appeal and appeal and just bankrupt the other parties. Even though we have laws that are supposed to stop risks they are ignored and are in conflict with other laws. The government must urgently seek to protect our environment and resources from risky or unknown ventures that seek to plunder (normally for virtually nothing) (water can be just a few hundred dollars to obtain a consent for and then sold on).

      This clean up of risky legislation that allows cart blanche against the environment for short term gain (nobodies making more iron sand) should be clarified and bad laws removed by the Green Party and government.

      Iron mine company appeals High Court decision
      https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/367033/iron-mine-company-appeals-high-court-decision

      • Quite often the best opportunities come out of other people’s misery and we’ve got the trades wars. So last week republicans were threatening 10% tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese exports and we could see 25% by the end of the year. You’d think that would be good for U.S equities but every one seems to understand Trumps moves. You could view this as a reversion or you could view it as an expansion in commodities and oil price in particular and we are going through changes in food production. So it’s pretty constructive really. I banks might struggle to establish themselves. Trumps threats against Iran is pushing up oil prices offsetting export loses some what. Airlines are also struggling. Anecdotal data says the number of new businesses are dropping this year. So there is a lot of political weaknesses on the ground and a weakening in the dollar and moves by exporters into emerging markets. They’ll be a tinny but vocal bunch who got there calls wrong and are probably hurting it over all the New Zealand economy grew by 2.8% in the half of the year. So things are pretty good I guess.

  4. “those Maori New Zealanders still suffering from the effects of the country’s original colonisation; as well as to the internally colonised victims of neoliberalism’s thirty-year rule.” I would say they are suffering more now than at any time since colonisation. Up till neoliberalism they exchanged in most cases a subjective position in a primitive society for a fully participatory position in a (then modern) democratic society with every opportunity for a good productive life.

    “The failure of the National Government’s opponents to develop a coherent alternative to neoliberalism is beginning to define their political and economic management.”
    The problem I think is that only Winston has any ideas or intention of creating any alternative to the neoliberal settlement. There is no indication from either the Greens or Labour that they have any intention to change it. Just to work within it. A revolution has to start with revolutionaries. There are none here. I don’t think they even see .
    D J S

    • @David Stone
      > “Up till neoliberalism they exchanged in most cases a subjective position in a primitive society for a fully participatory position in a (then modern) democratic society with every opportunity for a good productive life.”

      It’s sad to see people in modern Aotearoa still trotting out the myth that being colonized by Europeans was in the best interests of those colonized. Even sadder to see such comments on a left-leaning blog site. Clearly Māori didn’t agree with this assessment, which is why they had been engaged in decades of protest (eg Bastion Point) and cultural decolonization (eg kohanga reo ) leading up to the beginning of the neo-liberal coup in 1984.

      > “The problem I think is that only Winston has any ideas or intention of creating any alternative to the neoliberal settlement.”

      Sure, which is why he refused to sign the rebranded TPP, because after all, having campaigned so hard against it, he wasn’t just going to turn around and support it after a name change and a few superficial tweaks to the wording, not like the traitorous Greens. Oh wait …

      • There is no doubt that the best land was going to be transferred to the colonising power by hook or by crook. And there’s no doubt that in a miriad of ways much of it was crook. But most maori did not own or control land except as communal . Not to deprecate that concept. But most colonisers didn’t get to own land either. Most people , both colonised and colonisers were on an equal footing as far as their day to day outlook was concerned. And it wasn’t bad.
        D J S

  5. Interesting as usual from Chris. The parallel between colonialism and neoliberalism is useful and possesses more than a ring of truth.

    Nevertheless I do share Castro’s (impeccably polite) skepticism re: any parallel between Brexit and “Jacindamania” – the latter being a thoroughly bourgeois phenomenon, driven by the mainstream media which so nebulously anointed her a cult of personality.

    Jacindamania was neoliberalism with a smiley face – not a rejection, but an endorsement, of the political establishment.

  6. Neo-liberalism has it’s roots in classical liberalism. It’s difficult to see the wood for the trees in this regard; but liberalism is liberalism & we live in a globalised world which has been created by an unholy alliance between old & new liberals.

    John Key is a classical example of this liberal elite which was why he survived so long & left at the top of his game; he was comfortable in both the PC progressive social liberal & hard nosed economic liberal worlds, as are the majority of mainstream Kiwis.

    The lines between these worlds is very blurry which partly explains why those on the left are really struggling to find their place in today’s polarising (so called) culture wars.

    The PC advertising industry is a really good example of this unholy alliance at work. The symbols & imagery it uses to sell us stuff promotes all aspects of our socially liberal, multicultural, consume driven society; while at the same time it encourages individualism, greed, envy & competitiveness, which only serve to frustrate by raising personal & materialistic expectations.

    This industry, which keeps the MSM afloat, is really a demoralising, unhealthy & mind numbing propaganda tool used by the liberal elite to further their globalisation agenda & hegemony.

    If we took steps to ban this negative, soul destroying messaging & developed new messaging that promoted a more visionary, cooperative, sustainable, localised & life affirming post-globalisation world view, then the fundamentals & values that underpin our materialistic, exploitative, unsustainable & globalised way of life would surely begin to change.

    • We cannot add anything new to the discussion, only vent our frustration. It’s all been said before (some of it a long time ago).

      You have, quite rightly, highlighted the adverting sector before (I hate to call it an industry because it doesn’t produce anything except pollution). Yes, it is highly destructive, both of the physical world and of the foundations of cohesive, sustainable societies.

      ‘If we took steps to ban this negative, soul destroying messaging …’

      Whilst that is a commendable concept, it is a fantasy in the world we live in. Politicians are totally gutless when it comes to such matters and would rather see the entire country go down the drain than challenge the power of corporations. Politicians would rather doom their progeny to destitution and premature death than challenge to power of corporations.

      Therefore, New Zealand continues along the path that leads to catastrophe, the path that leads to destitution and premature death, as is the case with every other nation.

      Pity the children of the world, for they will inherit the appalling mess created by their parents and grandparents.

      • AFKTT. Your continual doom & gloom negativity is not very helpful, as all it does is add to the snowballing apathy & sense of hopelessness that is infecting our nation & the wider world. Sometimes when reading your wailing & gnashing of teeth posts images of rampaging old testament prophets come to mind.

        I am also such a person though & I see the horrific images of widespread death & destruction on the wall, but I’m also a voice in the wilderness visionary which allows me the luxury of hoping for the best while advocating that we urgently & creatively, prepare for the worst.

        It’s obvious to people such as us that in the not too distant future billions of people will be wiped off the face of our planet; but in some ways this may be a blessing in disguise (as in a great cleansing flood myth kind of way). If this scenario becomes a reality then it will surely motivate those that survive the chaos to accelerate our onward & upward evolutionary, convergent &/or teleological (higher purpose) mission here on earth, whatever this may turn out to be.

        If I’m honest I tend to believe that after the downfall of the world as we know it & the great cleansing has past, a new post-globalisation world will emerge. As I see it this world will look rather like; a sustainable, resilient & diverse global confederacy of autonomous cities & regions, peopled by those inspired to playfully & cooperatively advance the individual & collective maturation & long term wellbeing of our species.

        If I allow myself to dream for a minute, then I see the beginnings of this even braver new world happening right here in Kiwiland; as what better ‘safe haven’ place on earth is there for such a vision to take root.

        Maybe this is all just my intrinsic sense of hope, wishful thinking, daydreaming & creativity trying to get the better of the dark & destructive shadows that prophetic or shamanistic personalities like myself have to grapple with on a daily basis, who knows? Time will tell.

        I know I’ve said all this before but one thing is certain, in end times such as these, we need many more inspired visionaries, artists & radical actors to take centre stage & in both word & deed, begin preparing the way for a new post-globalaistion world, that is hopefully still within our grasp.

  7. Labour is unashamedly lite Neo-liberal to be sure.

    There is a hook in every statement labour makes when they justify their policies now.

    Of course national was as SaveNZ says – “National was neoliberal full frontal.”

    Now we need to wke Labour uip as in the provinces where they gained enough to win the election now we are seeing thsoe effects of “watch where the money goes now’ is in full swing now and the communities are becoming very worried at the effects of the labour “go lite on spending” policies are now hurting future planning of infrastructure projects, like ‘restoring our broken rail services’ !!!

    We heard this at a meeting of the Gisborne rail group yesterday,as I heard that ‘national stool pigeons’ are still in charge of the regional development planning and “want rail closed down” for a bike track or rail bike track.

    WE ARE ASTOUNDED THE NEW GOVERNMENT WILL NOT MEET OUR RAIL GROUP BUT ARE STILL SUPPORTING THE NATIONAL; PARTY CLING-ONS WHO ARE STILL IN BEDDED IN THE SYSTEM.

    National (it was said) is making fools out of the labour coalition now and labour are now under threat of losing the voting support of these provinces because they are not carrying out their promises now.

    Wake up Labour!!!!

  8. The superficial similarities between colonisation and neo-liberalism have to be taken back to their material causes.
    Once you see both as symptoms of capitalist crises then it is the crises that are important and not the appearances.
    The appearances have similarities but these are the product of idealist thinking rather than Marxist analysis.
    For one thing. Colonisation has never stopped, it is a deeper level process driven by the shift from competitive to monopoly capitalism right up to the present.
    Each time monopoly capital experiences falling profits it doubles down on its neo-colonialism.
    Neo-liberalism is the descriptive label for the last period of doubling down. Capitalism’s response to the end of the post-war boom and the return of structural crisis.
    So what we have to focus on is why is capitalism stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of worsening crises, wars, attempted revolutions, and so far victorious counter-revolutions.
    The answer is that is the nature of capitalism, driven by profit, but fails to force workers to accept the level of exploitation necessary to realise profit. Its called class struggle.
    So what we need is an end to capitalism and the birth of an equal, humane and sustainable society. Call it what you like.
    It will only happen when the masses rise up and deal with not only the symptoms but the causes of our predicament.

    • Yes Chris This was an excellent contribution by you to the “awakening of our inbred ignorance of the creeping ‘ effects of this unravelling neoliberal hegemony. In this country, and a large colonised population presided over by a distant and hated elite.

      Our once strong shared benefits from our public ownership of most of our assets post 1960 in a egalitarian society was a very warm and secure place to grow up in as I did is now just a failing memory sadly.

  9. I think that your analysis here is spot on Chris. As to “revolutionary carnivals”, bids in that direction have been rapidly snuffed out over the past few years, with the political class and the media working in tandem – the demolition of David Cunliffe, the burying of Dirty Politics, the silencing and disappearance from public life of Metiria Turei. The slower sharpening of social tensions has also been helped by a huge part of the NZ workforce becoming “guest workers” in Australia, without full citizenship in either place and with both governments complicit in their being in that position, however much NZ politician like to wag their fingers at naughty Australia. They would certainly be nonplussed if some extreme nationalist rose to power in Australia and sent them all home in the same week.

    While it is possible that we could be pleasantly surprised, I don’t think we can expect much in the way of fundamental change from a Labour faction who rose to the top in the way that they did, and who have the allies that they have. I think that Danyl is probably right – that leverage for change can only be gained by building strong organisations outside of the parliamentary structure.

  10. At last a conversation about what we do after the economic apocalypse hits us.At the moment we have no plan. We have no organisation.We will stand transfixed by events, and afterwards there will be navel gazing and recriminations about why we did not act, and how the right was better organized.What we need is a new progressive political party. It needs to include the following:
    1. Not to broadcast a message in marxist terms that attach the failures of the past and allow the right to undermine us.[like Corban in the U.K.]
    2.Not to have any special interest groups like Maori, unions, identity politics etc having an overly powerful say in the organisation.All participants to have an equal say.Democracy is imperative.
    3.The first task of this organisation is to create a blueprint for the new society.Given that a situation will have been created that shows that new radical solutions are required to overcome the problems, a manifesto will need to be saleable to the public in a probable election brought about by a parliamentary collapse of Government.
    4.We must act now.Numerous sources are predicting an impending international economic collapse.The alternative is the mother of all austerity programs being visited on us by National/Labour neo liberals a la Greece!!!

    • @Historian Pete
      > “Not to broadcast a message in marxist terms that attach the failures of the past and allow the right to undermine us.[like Corban in the U.K.]”

      Exactly. What would we want to follow a model whereby a party that had been run by the centre-right for decades was reclaimed by the left? A model where that party would have won a snap election against a formerly *very* popular far-right government, if the latter hadn’t stitched together an unstable coalition to hold onto power. A party now so feared by the establishment that they are resorting to a smear campaign about “antisemitism” in an attempt to knobble the left and return control of the party to the centre-right.

      Remember Ghandi’s famous quote about nonviolent revolution, “first they ignore you, then they laugh at, then they fight you, then you win”. When Corbyn first won the leadership it was passed off as a temporary anomaly. When he won again, the news media carried out a relentless campaign of parody and mockery. Now they are running scared and throwing around the antisemitism smear. Guess what happens next time there’s an election?

  11. CT, does this blog mean that you have renounced you previous advice to our government to get real and take neo-liberal positions to attract and maintain support??

  12. “The biggest problem faced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her coalition partners is how to transition New Zealand from the cruelties of neoliberalism to a new economic and social order guided by the “politics of kindness”. It’s a problem accentuated by the absence of the “revolutionary carnivals” that have so often accompanied the throwing-off of colonial rule. Like the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Trump in the USA, what happened last September and October in New Zealand represented the downtrodden voters’ confused reaction to the manifest failings of neoliberalism – not their confident endorsement of a coherent alternative.”

    It will not happen, the change from neoliberalism to a more humane societal and economic order in NZ Inc..

    Most people are trapped, while many do not even want to realise it, they are trapped in the neoliberal economic system, no matter what role they play, and they are scared stiff to risk the large or small interests they hold, as they fear insecurity.

    Neoliberalism will NOT be overcome by this government, look at its track record, they are even scared now to change the employment law too much, as business and other interests have already signalled their threats.

    Sole contractors being couriers, tradies and so forth, they rather want their ‘independence’, individual contract holders fear upsetting the bosses, they are all too cowardly to stand for anything, the membership rates in unions shows it all.

    Only united and strong can change be forced, that is not what NZ Inc’s population looks like.

    End the pipe dream, neoliberalism is here to stay, until the economic or ecological collapse, or both, will hit us.

  13. RNZ has just reported in their news that Moodys have confirmed the credit rating for NZ Inc as being good. So that is what dictatorship any NZ government lives under, there is little room to move, the rating agencies dictate who can get on with business as usual, or not, and Venezuela shows what happens if you do not deliver according to their rule.

    Jacinda can say what she wants, Moodys and others will tell her what is ok and what not.

  14. The great monetary con job, right up there with climate change hysteria carbon credit con job, wake up people, you are being financially raped bye foreign powers at the behest of your own government, bank with the Kiwi banks and watch this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYhCQv5tNsQ real climate science!
    Climate change is a tool used to keep the poor downtrodden, time to make the rulers fear the population, march, protest,disrupt before the next financial collapse and bail out bankrupts you and your children forever.
    Its just around the corner, no one is too big to fail not even your country

    • Two questions:
      1. Has there been any global warming since 1850?
      2. What is the cause of that warming?

      If your answer to 1 is no warming then you’re basically misleading and lying.
      Answers to #2.
      Climate scientists – the increase in man-made greenhouse gases
      Deniers – sun, configuration and reflective power of clouds has changed, CO2 follows warming not the reverse, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, Milankovitch cycles, something but the models are wrong, CO2 is actually cooling the planet, yadda yadda, today’s latest cockamamie theory etc etc.
      In summary, they have no coherent position other than anything BUT man-made greenhouse gases. And why can’t they agree on a coherent position? Because as soon as they land on one it would fail any scrutiny.
      So what we have is a grab bag of crappy theories about the causes of observed warming and a bunch of conspiracy theories about the actual science and scientists. Not very impressive in toto.

      Pop over to the NZICA website and have a look at insurance payouts in NZ for adverse weather events over the last 100 years. That’s a bit of an eye opener.

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