Revolution in New Zealand? Not Even Close!

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1830

WHERE DO REVOLUTIONS begin? The answer, invariably, is “close to home”. Where demonstrable public need meets unresponsive public authority. Where collective outrage invites violent repression. Where injustice spawns indignation and indignation demands action. Where popular action generates governmental reaction. That’s where revolutions are born.

Once begun, what makes a revolution successful? It is tempting to respond with the purely historical observation that revolutions succeed where they are able to muster sufficient armed force to overwhelm those dedicated to their failure. People with guns allow revolutions to succeed. But is mere armed force enough? Surely, before people are willing to wage war on the Revolution’s behalf, they must first believe its objectives to be both desirable and achievable.

The need for guns, and the willingness to use them, almost always arises when the authorities announce their intention to thwart the people’s intentions. When real change, desperately needed, and now within the people’s grasp, is suddenly faced with the prospect of being halted and/or reversed by forces loyal to the status-quo. That is when people start looking for the means to preserve the imminence of change.

Historically, the people’s determination to preserve the imminence of change is soon extended to ensure the preservation of those who have made them believe that change is imminent. Fearing that the authorities are coming for their leaders, people typically resolve to impede their progress: peacefully if possible; by force if necessary. The leaders themselves, realising that the revolution’s failure will more than likely lead to their demise, are left with little choice but to keep pushing it forward as hard and as far as they can. The revolution’s survival, and their own, become welded together.

The French Revolution of 1789, for example, was kicked-off by the fear that the King’s troops were about to visit retribution upon the revolutionary crowds of Paris. The latter rushed to the Bastille, hated symbol of royal power, because they were convinced that within the fortress-prison’s walls they would find the muskets, cannons and gunpowder they needed to resist the King’s soldiers.

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In the Russian capital, Petrograd, in February-March 1917, the soldiers who had refused to fire on the crowds of women demanding bread for their starving families knew that the Czar would immediately dispatch troops to disarm and punish them as mutineers. If their revolt was not extended, then many of them would die. Accordingly, they reached out to radical left-wing politicians and to their working-class supporters in the factories. By joining forces with the political enemies of the hated Czarist regime, and offering them the protection of their rifles and machine-guns, they helped to turn what had started-out as a protest against bread shortages into a full-scale revolution.

But, the events in Petrograd unfolded more than a hundred years ago. Is there a plausible scenario for revolution in New Zealand in 2020? The short answer is “No.” Nothing has occurred for decades in New Zealand that matches in any way the cultural, intellectual, and political preparations that preceded the French and Russian revolutions.

In Eighteenth Century Europe, for example, the cultural supremacy of the Catholic Church and the political doctrine of Absolute Monarchy had been profoundly weakened by what came to be known as “The Enlightenment” or “The Age of Reason”. Breakthroughs in moral and political philosophy, together with the rapid expansion of science, called into question the existence of the Judeo-Christian God and, thus, the “divine right of kings”. Within the ruling classes doubt grew, and from these doubts ordinary people drew confidence that their own ideas and priorities were as worthy of serious consideration as their lords’ and masters’.

Crucially, in the shape of an elected parliamentary assembly, the people had also identified a mechanism capable of supplanting the autocratic rule of the monarch. The self-evidently desirable objectives of “liberty, equality fraternity” were thus made achievable. In the people’s “deputies”, gathered together in the revolutionary “National Constituent Assembly”, the people’s will had finally found its political vector.

In Petrograd, 128 years later, the critical political vector of the “nation” had been replaced by Karl Marx’s “proletariat”. Likewise, the revolutionary mechanism ceased to be a parliament filled with elected representatives, and became, instead, a multitude of workers’ councils (soviets) filled with instantly recallable delegates elected in the factories and regiments. Replacing the Enlightenment and its philosophers was the revolutionary Marxist party – whose ruthless and highly disciplined “cadres” were determined to inspire and guide the soviets of workers and soldiers.

Other determinants of success were also at work in 1789 and 1917.

Bankrupt of both the ideas and the funds required to address the multiple crises afflicting his subjects, the French king, Louis XVI, set in motion a massive, kingdom-wide effort to identify and collate the grievances of the French people. These Cahiers de doléances provided the core agenda of the Estates General – the feudal body charged with advising the Crown, which had not been called together for 175 years! Thus equipped, the people’s representatives possessed a clear idea of what they had to do.

In 1917, also, the Russian people’s priorities were clear. Czar Nicolas II had led them into a disastrous war with the Austro-Hungarian and German empires. Millions of conscripted peasant-soldiers had been killed, the Russian economy was in ruins, and the Russian people were starving. Their lords and masters had failed utterly to protect them and were either unable or unwilling to feed them. When the leader of the revolutionary workers’ party, Vladimir Lenin, arrived at Petrograd’s Finland Station, his speech to the workers’ and soldiers’ delegates was short and to the point: “Peace! Bread! Land! All power to the soviets!” With these simple but highly effective promises, Lenin’s party ruthlessly blew away the political fog engulfing the ineffectual Russian parliament and set in motion the world’s first socialist revolution.

It should be clear by now that New Zealand’s cultural, economic and political situation bears no comparison with the two great Western revolutions. Neither Maori nor Pakeha culture offers anything to compare with the devastating ideological critiques which the Enlightenment and Marxism brought to bear on the political regimes of France and Russia. Animism with corporate clip-ons is no more a revolutionary doctrine than post-modernism incongruously blended with the politics of identity.

Nor is New Zealand trapped in the sort of intractable economic and military crises that brought down the Bourbon and Romanov dynasties. In fact, it presents itself as a highly successful neoliberal capitalist economy. Which is not to say that poverty has been eliminated, or homelessness overcome, merely that the levels of inequality and social injustice which beset all but a handful of western states is not dramatically worse in New Zealand than it is in other comparable countries. Certainly, the grave challenge of Climate Change looms over New Zealand’s future but, once again, that is a problem to which the entire world has yet to find a workable solution.

Most importantly, the New Zealand ruling-class retains sufficient faith in its ability to manage the nation’s affairs to render any challenge to its dominance ineffective. No mass movement with a practical programme of revolutionary change exists in this country. Nor does it contain a disciplined revolutionary party dedicated to creating one. Those who proclaim themselves champions of change and fighters against injustice are currently more willing to go to war with each other than with neoliberal capitalism. Indeed, it is possible to argue that identity politics, far from being a revolutionary phenomenon, has become the paradoxical vector for neoliberal consolidation. The ever-more-strident calls to recognise every new construction thrown up by the social kaleidoscope have a way of drowning out the truly revolutionary demands for a radical redistribution of the economic pie.

For the moment, in those close-to-home places where revolutions are born, there may be tetchiness and resentment, frustration and complaint, but nowhere is anybody uttering the cry that will bring a New Zealand revolution into being:

“We have found the way to make tomorrow better than today!”

57 COMMENTS

  1. Just don’t mention Cuba, the outlier factors such as the housing market, proportion of foreign colonists or the fact that No Zealand is most definitely NOT a Western nation, Chrisfran 😉

  2. Always a good read, Chris….. I love the historical accounts which give insights to the origins of such movements. A must for understanding today’s world.

    HOWEVER.

    This pretty much nails it:

    ….’ Those who proclaim themselves champions of change and fighters against injustice are currently more willing to go to war with each other than with neoliberal capitalism ‘…

    As does this :

    … ‘ Indeed, it is possible to argue that identity politics, far from being a revolutionary phenomenon, has become the paradoxical vector for neoliberal consolidation ‘ …

    And this :

    … ‘ The ever-more-strident calls to recognise every new construction thrown up by the social kaleidoscope have a way of drowning out the truly revolutionary demands for a radical redistribution of the economic pie ‘…

  3. Yes, who has heard from extinction rebellion lately?
    All knocked of for Christmas holidays no doubt, or possibly got a fright being recognized as an actual terrorist threat by London police.
    Almost made them drop their glass of Chardonnay!

  4. Chris, in the terms of your argument as stated baldly there is no revolution on the horizon in NZ. But your argument ignores several basic facts. Capitalism is now 100 hundred years past the only socialist revolution that shook the world to its class roots. In that period capitalism has ceased to develop, in the enlightenment sense, human progress. In fact the climate emergency proves that the price of progress for capital has been the ultimate death for humanity.

    So capital has been since WW1 destructive. It has kept itself intact only by several depressions, major wars and fascist regimes that held down or defeated the rising world proletariat. Even so, in that 100 years, revolutions of global import continued the aftershocks, and were defeated only by wars and fascism. Then there was the wave of decolonisation after WW2 (put in stark relief by the Zionist colonial state) and the Chinese Revolution to name the most important.

    Of course there is the view of the Short 20th century, that the period between 1917 ad 1990 saw he complete exhausted the revolutionary legacy of October, if not the triumph of capitalism, a linear interpretation which seems to undermine any concept of revolution such as you speak of.

    But while true at a certain level, the deeper process of the exhaustion, stagnation and decay of global capitalism has set in since the end of the post-war boom in the 1970s. Giving rise to the structural crisis of capital often labelled neo-liberal in terms of its political consequences. And with the exhaustion of neo-liberalism, a terminal decline that exposes the not too well hidden fundamental contradictions that are about to blow capitalism apart.

    Without an understanding of this process as lawful, that is, the inevitable demise of capitalism as a social system, and with it the inevitable rise of its gravedigger, the proletariat as a conscious agent of revolution, then all the current uprisings from and Chile to Hong Hong to Iraq, will escape you.

    I call these processes facts because they summarise the objective history of global capitalism within which the two main classes are locked in mortal combat. The intensity of this combat must increase as capital declines. The result is that to two antagonistic classes are now openly at war.

    As capitalism oppresses and represses the proletariat, it in turn refuses to retreat and rises up in many places as a desperate struggle for survival. When we look at what is happening from Chile, Bolivia and the rest of Latin America, at the Middle East, at Hong Kong sparking what could well be a fire inside mainland China, to the US where fascism is openly rallying in the streets, and on to Europe where populist and fascist movements are mixed up with anti-austerity movements, we see the forces of revolution and counter-revolution constantly at war.

    So if the world proletariat is stirring and taking on directly the capitalist states and their military machines, drawing the conclusion that reforms are out of the question, posing the question of revolution, why should Aotearoa/NZ be left out?

    Well, the obvious reasons are to do with Aotearoa/NZ’s special character as a relatively privileged British settler colony, with a small economy still dependent on mainly primary exports, reflecting a class structure in which a tiny, weak comprador ruling class doting on its imperialist masters sits on top of a preponderant petty bourgeoisie whose horizons consist of turning small businesses into slightly bigger ones.

    Both face a dozing proletariat which they blame for their conspicuous or petty failures in business, rather than the capitalist system that keeps workers racially divided and locked in the leg-iron of the state dominated labour movement, inside and outside parliament.

    On balance it would seem that the forces of counter-revolution seem to overwhelm any revolutionary forces. But this would be to miss the big difference between 1917 and today which is that we live in a completely globalised world. The ruling class is global, but so is the proletariat. The fact that the class war is global means that the prospect for revolution in Aotearoa/NZ has to take into account the international scale of the revolution. Far all our political backwardness submerged in the middle class morass, and lacking a strong, socialist, labour movement, we are not isolated from global events.

    Revolution cannot succeed in one country big or small, and especially a small relatively isolated country such as ours. But as soon as we factor in the worlds workers as our allies then the prospect for revolution become significantly improved. The international proletariat is massive and has our future in its hands. The ruling class is already reaching for the fascist solution of driving the petty bourgeois against the workers. And given their numbers they may present a bulwark to revolution in the short term, but in the long run as we always say: workers united will never be defeated!

    Its either that or we will all be dead.

    • So well put Dave. Will we all go down with capitalism’s rotten system, or will there be a successful revolution somewhere before total climate meltdown, that gains wide international support and spreads?

      Reminds of the very old ‘joke’–“the operation was a great success, unfortunately the patient died”… or as finance capitalists might put it, “immense shareholder value was created, but the planet and life on it was extinguished”…

  5. Cris : Revolution NZ
    There was not a Russia Revolution,,,,it was a coup by the bolsheviks as stated by Russian reporter on BBC Dateline London, recently. I have been in the very room they marched in & kick Kerensky’s Govt. out .
    Please don’t be too hard on Labour Govt . Remember the first Labour Govt took over 3 years to build the first State House & that was during high unemployment with John A Lee snapping at their heels.
    Sure they could do more but can you name one current government doing better?
    Cheers Murray Jones

    • Murray Jones: “There was not a Russia Revolution…..it was a coup by the bolsheviks as stated by Russian reporter on BBC Dateline London, recently. I have been in the very room they marched in & kick Kerensky’s Govt. out .”

      The historian in this household agrees with you. In respect of the toppling of Kerensky’s government, said historian also observed that they didn’t so much seize it as find it lying in the street.

  6. At the moment no one is talking about or appears to have an idea of how energy depletion, dwindling resources and changing climate will affect our food supply.
    We are not planning for this and everything is being left to “the market”.
    NZ is walking into a trap totally unprepared for changes that we can’t avoid.

    Castro mentioned Cuba.

    We would be well advised to look at how Cuba coped with starvation.
    They were lucky to have a socialist govt or revolution would have sapped their resources to grow food locally.

    • Indeed John, it a very rare commentary that even mentions the obvious fact that the availability of energy -particularly liquid fuels- is not far off going into terminal decline, taking down the entire global economy and taking down established methods of growing, processing and distributing food. After all, it is only the bizarre practices of fracking rocks to extract and digging up ‘tar sands’ to extract hydrocarbons that have allowed the global economy to continue to function after the peak of conventional oil extraction (which occurred around 2007).

      It is a very rare commentary that notes the inevitable decline in the capacity to grow food by established methods that planetary overheating will cause.

      Most commentators assume that the global energy supply will somehow keep increasing in line with increasing demand, and assume that planetary overheating will have little or no effect on global industrial food production in the future.

      In practice, there is every reason to believe ‘the shit will hit the fan’ on both fronts (declining global liquid fuel availability and ‘collapsing’ environment) in the decade 2020 to 2030, and that industrial societies (such as NZ) will collapse as a consequence of the refusal [of governments and the general populace] to prepare for the inevitable.

      Hence, revolution is coming, but not the kind Chris has been writing about.

      And hence, the idiotic notion of turning yet more agricultural land into suburbia and subdividing existing sections to squeeze even more people into already overpopulated cities remains normalised, as do all the ridiculous activities (such as motor racing) that squander liquid fuels and generate inordinate quantities of greenhouse gases.

      We have entered the ‘interesting’ period when governments attempt to prop up status quo energy-dependent systems in the face of declining energy availability and pretend to be dealing with planetary overheating whilst exacerbating it via idiotic economic policies: ‘interesting times’, indeed.

    • John I think the bigger long term threat to NZ is just the opposite: New technologies undermining our agricultural industries. This is not be a new thing, just the extrapolation of close to 500 years of progress; the rise of industry and the steady decline in the value of landowning. 500 years ago ones wealth was defined entirely by the acreage of land under ones control but today the wealthiest people own intellectual property. Ideas have more value than hectares!
      We live in a world where mankind has never been better fed, clothed, houses or healthier. Pick any metric you wish and you’ll see we’re advancing. Based on what I read, this long term trend is going to continue unabated.

      Most recently I have read about technological breakthroughs that allow us to synthesize proteins comparable to those found in meat and a process that converts sunlight into carbohydrates ten times more efficiently than photosynthesis. This latter idea offers the promise of opening up vast areas of desert to food production.
      Already in production in London and Tokyo are underground vegetable farms using LED lights as an energy source that product perfect fresh vegetables on a continuous without need of pesticide beneath the feet of the people who are dining on it.
      None of this is good news for NZ inc. In essence we export sunshine and water mostly in the form of lowest common denominator commodities.

      • Andrew we are looking at a very different economy using a fraction of the energy we use today and dwindling resources in a very damaged environment.
        Not cornucopia.

  7. New Zealand – really an exceptional case?

    No situation of turning tides is just a copy of another. A future ‘revolutionary situation’ may well be a simple implosion of the system.

    Still, what will happen in such case ? What will take over??

    Look around these days.

    “World Economic Forum: United in the abuse of power.

    While the US Senate is debating Donald Trump’s future, managing directors, financial experts and politicians will come to Davos in the Swiss Alps to complacently defend global capitalism as they do every year.

    There is a connection between the two events: like Trump, the elite of international capitalism are accused of abuse of power: they exacerbate inequality, promote corruption and do nothing to combat climate change.

    CEOs of the world’s largest companies make more money than ever in history – without the wages of ordinary workers having risen to nearly the same extent.

    The 26 richest people in the world now own as much as the 3.8 billion that make up the poorer half of the world’s population.

    Concentrated wealth of this size is linked to corruption. All over the world, big money is buying politicians to do favors that are intended to further increase the prosperity of those at the top while depriving everyone else of resources.

    Corrupted narratives make it impossible to tackle stagnant wages, climate change, or other issues that the vast majority of the world’s population face.

    Even though Trump gave the companies and Wall Street everything they wanted and nothing leaked to his supporters, he managed to convince these people that he was on their side by expressing their anger at foreigners, redirected blame on immigrants, minorities and the bureaucrats of the deep state.

    Expect endless talks about the so-called “long-term” benefits of stakeholder capitalism: happy workers are more productive….the middle class can buy more goods and services…..climate change is causing a whole range of costs and must therefore be stopped…..etc.

    Everything for profit.

    While that’s all true, the assembled CEOs also know that if they push up their shares in the short term by buying back their shares, pushing down wages, fighting unions, opposing environmental protection regulations, and buying politicians, they will increase their wealth much faster.

    They have been following this strategy for three decades now and it is getting worse.

    Three scientists – Daniel Greenwald from MIT’s Sloan School, Martin Lettau from Berkeley University and Sydney Ludvigson from New York University – found that between 1952 and 1988 economic growth was responsible for 92 percent of the rise in stock values. Since 1989, however, most of the increase has been due to new distributions to shareholders – at the expense of the workers.

    That means: If the stock market is to continue to prosper in the coming years, either economic growth must accelerate significantly or company leaders will have to pay more of the growth profits created by employees and other participants to shareholders.

    This would probably require continued and more pressure on wages, more payments to politicians for tax cuts and subsidies, and further setbacks on environmental regulations, all of these in turn will further aggregate discontent.

    Nothing will be achieved in Davos.

    In Davos none of this will be discussed – certainly not the growing political and economic power of these elites and the decreasing power of the “normal” dependent workers and citizens around the world.

    Nothing will be achieved in the Swiss Alps because growing global dissatisfaction first has to affect the balance sheets of companies and financial institutions whose bosses meet in Davos to congratulate themselves on their wealth, influence and benevolence.

    By the way, Trump plans to deliver a speech in Davos: a president against whom impeachment proceedings are underway speaks before the World Economic Forum while the Senate discusses his fate.

    As usual, he will probably indicate, threaten and lie.

    What he won’t say is that the abuse of political power – as he and many of his listeners do pursue and institutionalize – threatens to destroy capitalism, democracy and the planet.”

    …… is that how revolutions are born, Chris Trotter?

    The above: free translation after Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California “The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It” (Der Freitag, January 2020)

    Thunderclap Newman: Something in the Air.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8zmkzshUvE

    • Thanks for the statistics. I’m enjoying Reddit talks about reality but they would be helped by a few stats at the end.

  8. Chris is happy to attribute the rejection of the Catholic church & the Monarchy to the age of enlightenment while ignoring the role the Protestant reformation played in giving people a sound reason the reject the 2 controlling powers. Recent events show us that the reformation is no more so there is every reason to expect a apostate combined religious power to take advantage of troubling world events (climate change, other natural disasters, conflict) to control activity & persecute those who work against it.

  9. Who wrote ” In times of peace one must always be prepared for war…? ”
    The thing is; We humans, right? We’re not all the same nor equal. We’re as many ‘breeds’ as there are in dogs.
    Unlike dogs, however, we’re not fettered by long respected social protocols.
    Some humans are simply inhuman. And we’d best come to terms with that and fucking quick because it’s my humble view that we AO/NZ’ers are running out of options.
    We’re a plump, ripe and now unarmed few in lands which are immensely valuable and will only become more so as the climate change reality bites and then of course there’s the looming financial Armageddon just waiting to be unleashed at the pudgy finger tips of the global criminal organisation’s who are the banksters.
    I don’t know too much about the finer points of our history nor its human participants but I do know people.
    And I’m sorry to say, there are many people who are evil, vicious, exploitive scum.
    And it is those kinds of people who are in control of us, we should be constantly conscious of that.
    I’ve developed a tactic to enable me to see them.
    I ask myself; Would I do what they just did? Would I say to that person, what they just said to me? Would I swindle together far more money than I need when the best things in life are quite literally free. ( At this point, anyway.)
    We AO/NZ’ers must try to see the monsters who hide in plain sight.
    Adern? “Lets do this?” has yet to do it.
    Jonk ‘ANZ’ key. On the board of ANZ. One of four foreign owned banks making $5 billion dollars a year in net profit from you and me while there are people like you and me sleeping in cars or the gutters. And he gets clean away with it? Does anyone wonder just how he does that?
    There are Kiwi billionaires who are only billionaires because they simply changed the tax laws to enable then to be so.
    Wouldn’t that be nice Mr, Mrs, Ms, LGBTQ on shit hourly rate Person?
    Where the fuck’s our passenger rail system? Where is it??? Where’s it gone??
    How’d that happen?? Who did that??? I certainly didn’t.
    Why are we paying ‘electricity retailers’ for our electricity? Our taxes built our electricity supply infrastructure so why the fuck do we need ‘retailers’ What do they …do?
    I can tell you what they do. They bullshit us into having us believe they’re necessary when they are not.
    Drugs. Can’t buy good ones but I can see what happens to people on the bad bastards.
    SSRI’s…Do you take them? Tried coming off them?
    The dizziness, the nausea, the crushing depression?
    I’ve seen people, women usually, in despair on those vile chemicals pimped to us by our medical pro’s.
    MDMA? Taken that? I have. Many years ago when good quality was available. Do you know what happened?
    I felt almost indescribably fabulous for twenty four hours
    Then I slept for 12 hours and I woke up feeling tremendous beside my beautiful girlfriend. I swear to God. Whenever I hear Fat Freddy’s Drop playing now? I still swoon with joy.
    But if you want to get into a fight, fuck some stranger and be lucky not to get nob/vag herpies, or worse? To perhaps drive your car and potentially kill someone? If that’s what you’d prefer, go to the supermarket and buy a couple of bottles of Cleanskin plonk @$6.99 a bottle and knock yourself out. Go crazy! You’ll look super urbane as you’re seen staggering down the street after you’ve pissed and shat yourself and your covered in vomit and when you learn that the guy you punched really hard in the face is now in hospital with a broken eye socket because you blind-sided him? Yay. Great night out aye?
    The most terrifying thing about most of you Kiwi’s is that you’re not at all aware of just how frighteningly head fucked you really are.
    You’re minds are not your own.
    You should be asking;
    Why is that? How has that been done to us without us barely noticing? Whom does that most benefit and when the light starts shining bright, how do you change that?
    It must be by peaceful means because the authorities ‘They’ own and operate will fuck you up. They will shoot you. They will imprison you.
    I think a good start is that we must insist on our basic services be re supplied to us free of profit and we should happily expect to pay for their maintenance and upkeep with our taxes. That’d fuck Them.
    And we can only do that via our politicians whom we elect to do the best job they can for us. Not ‘Them’.
    ‘Lets do that’, Adern?
    Jonky? You should be in prison pending your hearing. That big, flash Mc Mansion you will surely own, that we bought for you in Hawaii, suggests you’re a flight risk. I hope, in time to come, that the term ‘hoisted by your own petard ’ comes to mean many things to you, little hair tugger fellow.

    • BTW…Just found this for y’all.
      MDMA.
      “FDA expands access to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD”
      https://boingboing.net/2020/01/21/fda-expands-access-to-mdma-ass.html

      The same Lets Do This’ers are the same humans ( barely…) who get in the way of us being able to investigate to evaluate and administer this tremendous drug for those who need it. And for those of us who simply want to party without the shits, pissing, vomiting, violence, unprotected sex and dangerous driving that supermarket bought alcohol can provide ! And lets not forget the next morning, as you crawl around in toxic shock, i.e. hungover and you pray for death to deliver you from shame and depression.
      Do you know what you get when you wake up after E, LSD, Psilocybin, Pot, Smack, Opium, Cocaine… ? Physically, a dire need for a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit at the very worst. ( You may notice I never put P or Meth in there. That’s because that shit’ll literally destroy your brain. No! I mean actually, literally… Look it up. You like drooling while immobile for ten years until your merciful death in your dotage? Then P’s for you. )
      They’re the same ones who think it’s not worthy of immediate action to relieve those whom have found a place to sleep in the gutters in wretched conditions.
      On that note: How about caravan parks for homeless people…? With a properly administered ablutions block for showering, laundry, shitting, pissing etc? Why the need for a fletchers monopoly on ‘affordable’ housing, which is proving to be entirely unaffordable?
      Check out the caravans for sale in the USA for example? They’re amazing and they’re cheap-as. So what the fuck is the problem with importing a few thousand of them???
      4 meters x 4 meters is enough space for a fellow to be behind a locked door with a bed,a shower/toilet/laundry combo, a sofa, a little kitchen and a TV while outside on the veranda there could be a small table , two chairs and a wee view for when mates come around. ( No. You’re not allowed to sell that stuff for a gram of P.)
      People? Oi ! Wake up! ? You, are being fucked without the kissing. You’re being psychologically manipulated to be farmed of your time on this biosphere to fuel the obscene wealth creation of a very few others. Think slavery without the fetters.
      Just because you’re able to drive a car from Auckland to Invercargill, for example, doesn’t mean you’re any more free than if you were chained to a post.
      They… Them… have far more efficient, more modern, more polite ways of forcing you to pick Their cotton.
      Is the spectre of that homeless person/s enough to convince you to work at Mc Donald’s for shit wages?
      Yeah, I thought so. And so do They.

      • … ” On that note: How about caravan parks for homeless people…? With a properly administered ablutions block for showering, laundry, shitting, pissing etc? Why the need for a fletchers monopoly on ‘affordable’ housing, which is proving to be entirely unaffordable?
        Check out the caravans for sale in the USA for example? They’re amazing and they’re cheap-as. So what the fuck is the problem with importing a few thousand of them??? ” …

        ——————————————

        Nothing wrong indeed.

        Most modern caravans are built ergonomically like yachts , – and the USA is streets ahead in acceptance of them. Over there they call em trailer’s… and its perfectly acceptable as a mode of living to live in a trailer park. People do it long term.

        But the wanky landlords and home owners are always worried about bringing property prices down with such in the vicinity of their ‘precious’ houses… THAT’S why councils listen to house /land owners, because of the rates they can extract from them. The country has a disease and its call NIMBYISM.

        In this time of dire homelessness and low wages that wont pay the rent in may cases, solutions such as this would provide adequate housing for small family’s, singles, couples.

        But oh no… not in ‘stuck up their own arses’ New Zealand…

        That said, there have been a few innovative ideas which councils have given the OK to… but most of em are always having one eye on those rates and decisions are made from that point in most cases.

        • There used to be work camps under various names, which were surplus army huts big enough for one or two beds, cupboards for clothes, sometimes a sink and a small simple fireplace much like those in old bush huts.
          Ablutions were communal as were a kitchen and community room..
          They were often set up on Council land.
          There was one on the side of My Victoria in Wellington still operating in the mid 60s. From memory about 50 lived there.
          That was called the single men’s camp and took a range of ages including some pensioners who helped keep everything in order and homely.
          Waipa Sawmill and others ran similar simple camps for worker accommodation.
          Simple cheap shelter with communal support that would work today.

  10. @JSB

    “The most dangerous creation of any society is the man ( Or woman ) who has nothing to lose.”

    James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, playwright, and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son, explore intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th-century North America. Wikipedia

  11. As the malcontents are quietly removed, all the agreeable noddies will have no true sounding boards or clear mirrors and the dumb shit you see being propagated will increase.

    Like a body with no white blood cells, T cells, killer cells or marauding knights protecting the kingdom from invasion and if virus and malicious cells are encouraged to propagate, a cancerous tumor will grow and spread and the body could die.

    This could be a past civilisation one day, and maybe sooner than we think.

    Like a thief in the night, catastrophic events, fevers, pustules, vomit, and diarrhea all serve a purpose as the planets survival instincts become further engaged.

    Thing is, there is still hope.

    Animal populations typically wax and wane depending on conditions. Human poulations are also modulated by conditions. Survival genes may confer advantage to individuals and families, but the body of man also generates selfless loyal soldiers guided by an innate planetary survival program. Greenies, hippies, engineers, academics, religious leaders, mums and dads, and most children as they have no money to lose.

    The revolution will not be televised. A quiet, slow and steady revolution will be secretly managed so markets dont collapse,, and neccessary change can be implemented in a ‘do no harm’ manner.

    Well, do no harm for the ‘right’ people….

    Kind of depressing to think many ‘good sorts’ are cosmically programmed to die on the world stage battlefield so the survival motivated body of man can continue to dwell on earth.

    The microcosm of malicious cells and virus at war with brave selfless protective cells, dying on duty, while the body of man keeps’ trying’ to live in balance and harmony.

    Our greatest enemy is ourselves. Lets hope natural law will be kind to us.

  12. None of we ’35ists, in light of the democratic process, were thinking about violence. But yes ,democratic revolution as per back in the 30s is unlikely also. Opinions can turn on a dime, see the American desire for war after the Japanese attack on Honolulu. But by then, with climate change, it will be too late. The 3 wars it took Rome to take seriously an enemy is not available to us. Either the Left talks or the friends of the rich will — fascism, or warm urine down the leg of the people and material advantage to the powerful. Soooo, not Labour.

  13. There’s quite a bit of scholarly research showing that nonviolent revolutions are both more likely to succeed in the short term than violent ones, and produce more sustainable structural change in the long term. Not sure how that fits into the curiously constrained conception of “revolution” Chris uses here, which seems to include only violent coups.

    The global social movement mobilizations of the 1960/70s and 1990s/2000s may not have toppled any state-governing institutions (at least in the global North), but both waves of uprisings defeated the political consensus of their time, forcing the global ruling classes to switch strategies to keep hold of power, first to neo-liberalism (beginning in the late 1970s), then to surveillance capitalism (beginning in the lead-up to 9/11). David Graeber makes a strong argument for this in his book The Democracy Project. Although understanding the revolutions of previous centuries, such as the French and Russian ones can still be informative, these more recent global social movements are much more relevant precedents of any imminent revolutionary change.

    • The Superannuation Fund, Marc and Mike, is an adjunct to NZ Superannuation – not the transfer payment system itself. It was set up by Michael Cullen as a means of augmenting the financial resources required to meet the needs of the (temporary) demographic bulge created by the Baby Boom generation. (That’s right, after about 2050 the BB’s will be no more!) The transfer payments to the over-65s are not, however, sourced from Cullen’s fund, but from ordinary tax revenues, in exactly the same way as the Jobseekers Allowance and other welfare payments.

      Interestingly, Roger Douglas – back in the days of the Kirk Government (1972-75) – was the person who designed a state-managed contributory superannuation scheme which would (had Robert Muldoon not scrapped it and introduced the present, tax-based “pension”) by now contain close to a trillion dollars – and New Zealand would be a very different place.

      I am constantly surprised to discover how little those who comment such a lot on blogs such as TDB actually know about their country and its history.

      • …’ Interestingly, Roger Douglas – back in the days of the Kirk Government (1972-75) – was the person who designed a state-managed contributory superannuation scheme which would (had Robert Muldoon not scrapped it and introduced the present, tax-based “pension”) by now contain close to a trillion dollars – and New Zealand would be a very different place ‘…

        —————————————

        And once free from that obligation would have found a way to empty it.

        You do realize, Chris , … that R. Douglas had also suggested to Kirk about the policies that Douglas is most famous for, his Mont Pelerin society Thatcher-ism and that Kirk replied… ” if you ever mention that again I will have you sacked from the Labour party”… words to that effect.

        I have no doubt at all that the weasel bid his time until the conditions were right on instruction from his London based mentors. So lets not go making a folk hero out of a treasonistic personality like Douglas for a kick off…

  14. It has to be asked: ”What’s ‘Pakeha culture’?”
    Any guesses?
    Heinz’s 57 Varieties and just one culture? Yeah, right.
    PS – Revolution. There is no unifying principle visible. It vanished with the assimilation of European immigrants. Making unions optional (and so many Clever Kiwis sneered, kept their dues, complained about poor wages yet did nothing). The loss of freezing works and factories and wharfies. All gone.
    No unifying principle.
    No principles at all, really.

  15. ” I am constantly surprised to discover how little those who comment such a lot on blogs such as TDB actually know about their country and its history ”

    Off course Chris.

    New Zealand history including political events( unless its about an All Black is entirely missing from the school curriculum and for that matter our mainstream tv channels who once gave us insightful programmes like Revolution and others now buried too educate these recent arrivals about the country they are born into and life here before and after 1984.

    I was only three when Norm Kirk came in but i have often lamented the fact that had we persevered with Douglas’s superannuation scheme instead of being fooled into voting it away too retire at sixty how prosperous we would have become.

    We have an amazing recent history with the force of personalities and brilliance of Kirk , Muldoon and Lange and some of the memorable firebrands like Bob Tizard and many others you would remember.

    • You don’t think Douglas’s superannuation scheme wouldn’t have been means tested later on down the track?

      Remember Jenny Shipley ?

      Good mates with both Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson , who were both board members of the Mont Pelerin society by that stage?

      Then think again.

      That’s called ‘claw back’ and one of the reasons NZ First rose to popularity.

      No ,…it appealed to a certain demographic for vote catching purposes but even Douglas knew it wasn’t going to be a permanent setting, so he was more than confident once the ‘warm fuzzy’s’ ended it would not impede his destruction of the NZ economic template once in power as Finance Minister during the 1984, 4th Labour govt.

      He knew , as every other rat knows when to bite the jugular.

    • Yes Kiwisaver was allowed as Kiwis money goes into the hands of bankers and privately managed funds, for them to play with and make money while charging Kiwis management fees.
      If the banking system falters or shares fall then Kiwis loose their money.

      Norman Kirk’s scheme was sound as the superannuation levy on wage earners was invested in their name into the NZ Govt and NZ. The govt would never have to borrow again and would be a source of lending money for housing , business and infrastructure without banks being parasites to Kiwis and NZ.

      Bankers not only hated that but the CIA was involved in promoting National during the next election.
      National got in and cancelled the scheme.

      Kirk was straight up for Kiwis
      Clarke and Cullen bowed to international capitalists and bankers ignoring Kiwis best interests..

  16. People who only cite the Historical Russian and the French Revolutions as the textbook example of what is required before and during, and what the results are of ‘Revolution’, are often the same people who start and finish debates about the pros and cons Socialist principles by talking about Lenin.

    My advice is always…go read some more History and try and be a bit more broad in your search of current events….alot more..

    • I have cited the French and Russian revolutions, Siobhan, because they represent the only two successful revolutionary moments in the West since the late Eighteenth Century.

      Certainly, there have been revolutionary upheavals elsewhere over the past 200 years, but it’s much harder to draw lessons from those on account of the very different cultures in which they took place – China’s revolutions spring to mind.

      If you can supply an example of a successful revolution anywhere in the First World since 1917, I’d be very pleased to study it, because up until now it has completely escaped my attention!

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