MUST READ: Jacinda 2.0 is “Licenced to Govern” – But not by, or for, us.

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WHAT HAS HAPPENED to Jacinda Ardern? What has become of the woman who promised to “transform” New Zealand through the “Politics of Kindness”? Where is the woman who forged a team of five million and coached it through the Covid-19 pandemic? Why is the woman who won 50.1 percent of the Party Vote refusing to respond to the needs of the poorest New Zealanders. What in the Blue Blazers is going on?

Contrast the present Labour Government’s refusal to give the poor a happy Christmas with this little vignette from Labour’s past.

“Shortly after his election as Labour Party leader in 1961, Arnold Nordmeyer was asked by the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation to recall for its listeners ‘My Most Memorable Christmas’. He spoke movingly of the first Labour Government’s decision, in December 1935, to advance the equivalent of an extra week’s relief payment to all the unemployed as a “Christmas Bonus”. That single act of state generosity, he said, sent ripples of hope and goodwill through thousands of destitute families and hundreds of cash-strapped communities. By Christmas, its effects were evident across the whole of New Zealand.”

Alternatively, there’s the extraordinary interview conducted by David Frost with New Zealand’s newly-elected Prime Minister, Norman Kirk, early in 1973. About 3 minutes into the interview Kirk talks about the letter he received from a disabled woman, thanking him for the special Christmas payment he made to all social welfare beneficiaries in December of 1972, and telling him what the extra money had made possible. Here’s the link.

Jacinda Ardern is rightly celebrated for her communication skills and for her demonstrations of empathy, but set her performances alongside Kirk’s in that interview and the huge gulf that separates the current Labour Government from its predecessor of 1972-75 is immediately apparent. Yes, the world has become a very different place, and the conduct of centre-left politics has changed dramatically. But human compassion and political authenticity are just as easy to spot in 2020 as they were in 1973. Something has been removed from our political leaders, something important. What is it? And who took it?

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The answer – appropriately enough – lies in the turbulent history of the 1970s. At the heart of that history was Capitalism’s ruthless fightback against what its intellectual leaders regarded as the unwarranted, and increasingly uncontrollable, inflation of democratic expectations.

Capitalism’s problem, in a nutshell, was that too many people wanted – and were demanding – too much. Across the industrialised West, decade after decade of rising prosperity had freed ordinary people, especially young people, from the relentless pursuit of bread and butter. Having secured their freedom from raw material deprivation, people were seeking the freedom to become something more than an employee, more than a consumer. Working-class men; women of all classes; people of colour; gays and lesbians: all of these groups were demanding the right to be considered – and to become – fully human.

Nowhere is this phenomenon better described than in Ariel Dorfman’s seminal book on cultural imperialism – The Empire’s Old Clothes. In the first chapter of the book, Dorfman recalls being approached by a young woman from one of the shanty-towns that encircled Chile’s capital city, Santiago. Professor Dorfman, and some of his students, had come to help the shanty-dwellers repair the damage wrought by a recent flood.

“She came up to me and asked quite frankly if it was true that I thought people shouldn’t read photo-novels”, Dorfman writes – alluding to his crusade against the “industrial products of fiction.” Comics, soap operas, westerns, radio and TV sitcoms, love songs, films of violence: “you name it”, quipped Dorfman, “I had it under scrutiny.”

“So I stopped digging and answered her. It was true. I thought that photo-novels were a hazard to her health and her future.*

“She did not seem to feel any special need for purification. ‘Don’t do that to us, companerito,’ she said in a familiar, almost tender way. ‘Don’t take my dreams away from me.”

A few years later, about the same time David Frost was interviewing Norman Kirk, Dorfman was in the same shanty-town for the opening of a new community centre – one of the many thousands of collective initiatives funded by the democratic socialist government of Salvador Allende – when he encountered the same woman:

“I didn’t recognize her at first, but she remembered me. She came up to me, just like that, and announced that I was right, that she didn’t read ‘trash’ anymore. Then she added a phrase which still haunts me. ‘Now, companero, we are dreaming reality.’”

For nearly 50 years now, this is the dream/nightmare that has driven the politics of the Capitalist West. How to prevent ordinary people from making their dreams real through collective action. Certainly, it is no accident that the “cure” for too many dreams began in Chile. After the USA had “made the economy scream”, and General Augusto Pinochet’s troops had gunned down Salvador Allende in his Presidential Palace, it was to Chile that the “Chicago Boys” – the followers of Milton Friedman – came to show the world how Capitalism could be kept safe from Democracy.

And the “lessons” from Chicago just kept coming. Across the Tasman, Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s government was deposed in a bloodless coup by his own Governor-General (and CIA asset) Sir John Kerr. Fortunately for ordinary New Zealanders, Norman Kirk’s untimely (and extremely convenient) demise in August 1974 obviated the need for such a dramatic intervention here. (Although the CIA did help out the National Party by facilitating the production of some killer campaign ads for the 1975 general election.) Then, of course, there was the plot to topple UK Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1976, and the final coup de grace against the very possibility of democratic socialism – the capital strike against the French socialist government of President Francois Mitterrand in 1981. If the Left ever wanted to govern again, then it would have to lower its sights – and its red flags.

Back in the 1980s, there was a story, probably apocryphal, about Mike Moore and the powerful Australian television series The Dismissal – which dramatized the sacking of Gough Whitlam’s Labor Government in 1975. According to the story, Moore was determined to remind his colleagues about the dangers that lay in wait for Labour governments.

What Moore wanted his colleagues to appreciate was the overwhelming power that could be brought to bear against a government that threatened the interests of the people who really mattered. How vital it was to keep business on your side. How much damage the news media could inflict upon a political leader it didn’t like. How dangerous senior public servants could be if their ministers refused to accept official advice. Most importantly, he wanted to remind them of the risks posed to labour governments by stubborn idealists: politicians who refused to be guided by principled pragmatism and common sense. So Moore sat all his caucus colleagues down and made them watch every one of The Dismissal’s six, hour-long, episodes.

Was Moore on to something? Had he drawn the correct lessons from the fall of so many democratic socialist politicians and governments? More importantly, had other centre-left politicians, in other countries, reached exactly the same conclusion? Is that why the world ended up with Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Helmut Schroeder, Francois Hollande, Helen Clark and Kevin Rudd? Or, turning the question around, is that why the campaigns of genuine leftists like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders so consistently come to grief?

The beginnings of an answer may be found in the following passage, taken from a speech delivered to the prestigious Wellington Club on 3 November 2020 by the veteran political journalist, Colin James:

“With National weak, Jacinda Ardern has political space to push real reform. Will she? Can she? Will Grant Robertson? Can he?

“Grant Robertson has stuck to fiscal and monetary orthodoxy. Jacinda Ardern told me back in 2018 that earns Labour a ‘licence to govern’, that is, tolerance by business and other sceptics. That is a clue to their cautious mentality.”

A clue, says James. Surely it’s something a little more definitive than that? A key, perhaps? Yes, a key.

That phrase: “a licence to govern” brings into sharp focus so much which has been unclear to the tens-of-thousands of New Zealanders who voted Labour-Green in confident expectation of ushering-in a period of much-needed, but long-delayed, change. It explains why – in spite of her outstanding communication skills and empathy – Jacinda Ardern finds it impossible to follow the examples of Mickey Savage and Norman Kirk. Those leaders believed the only “licence” a party needed to govern was the one given to them by the voters in a general election. Forty-eight years on from the Labour landslide of 1972; forty-eight years after that young shanty-dweller proudly informed Ariel Dorfman that she and her comrades were “dreaming reality”; Jacinda Ardern knows better. To drive a capitalist economy, it is first necessary to obtain a licence – from the capitalists.

But, securing the “tolerance of business and other sceptics” is not an easy thing to do. There are so many self-denying ordinances one has to offer-up: no capital gains tax; no wealth tax; no return to universal union membership; no restoration of the unconstrained right to strike; nothing to empower or embolden that reserve army of labour we call beneficiaries; nothing that might upset the business community, dairy farmers, or the fishing industry; and certainly nothing to combat climate change which in any way threatens the capitalists’ sacred right to make a profit. Nothing, in short, that could possibly upset the status-quo.

The most frustrating aspect of Jacinda’s “licence to govern” proposition is that in both historical and practical political terms she is, almost certainly, correct.

It is important to remember that both Ardern and Robertson were working in the Beehive during Helen Clark’s first term as Prime Minister. They would have heard the stories about the grim “Winter of Discontent” that followed the creation of the Labour-Alliance coalition government in the early summer of 1999. How the New Zealand capitalist class threatened to “put away their cheque-books” if there was even the slightest hint that some of the Alliance’s left-wing policies were about to be enacted. How the Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, had to abase himself before the nation’s “business leaders” at the Auckland Club. How Helen Clark felt obliged to swear that Laila Harré’s employer-funded child-care would only be introduced “over my dead body”.

The old Marxists may rail against Ardern’s and Labour’s “incrementalism” but when challenged to come up with an alternative strategy for operating safely under Neoliberal Capitalism, the system which, for nearly fifty years, has decreed anything more ambitious than piecemeal and largely inconsequential legislation verboten, they generally mutter something about “revolutionary action” and head for the bar.

They’re right, of course. Neoliberal Capitalism, by declaring democratic socialism and social-democracy out-of-bounds in the 1970s and 80s has, wittingly or unwittingly, left revolution as the only viable option. Not only when it comes to once again making it possible for the wretched of the earth to “dream reality”; but also when it comes to rescuing the only planet we know of in the entire universe where ordinary people’s dreams of becoming truly free and fully human can be realised.

ENDS

 

* It would be interesting to know what Ariel Dorfman (who is still alive) makes of the sort of communications hardware and software that has become ubiquitous in twenty-first century societies. So much more powerful and compelling than the photo-novels and comics of the 1960s and 70s, our PCs, lap-tops, tablets and cellphones have made the corporations who manufacture and control them masters of the planet. The “industrial production of fiction” which Dorfman complained of back then seems quaint when compared to the scale of contemporary cultural imperialism’s reach and power. That capitalism has placed a portal to its material and imaginative production in virtually every hand on the planet should give us pause. Perhaps, like the young shanty-dweller, we will only be able to start “dreaming reality” when we throw the masters’ “trash” away?

43 COMMENTS

  1. Very interesting and thought-provoking, Chris, because we stand at the biggest inflexion point in human history, and taking the wrong path now (which is more or less certain, unfortunately) will have disastrous consequences within a year or two, and diabolically bad consequences within 5 years. This inflexion point is unprecedented*, and whereas in the past it was possible for governments to implement lousy policies and get away with them, that will not be the case now. Lousy policies -which the Adern-Robertson government are fully committed to- are going to bite them in the bum very soon.

    What is referred to as capitalism actually got morphed into a planet-consuming monster in the 80s and 90s, and in the 2000s it got morphed into a phony capitalism, in which there is no capital, just ever increasing debt that is kept alive by ‘perpetual’ lowering of interest rates. I say perpetual but of course that is no longer possible because interest rates have hit rock bottom (and no one is prepared to experiment with negative interest rates because the system just won’t function at all with negative rates. The mega-trillion derivatives market is hanging by a thread, with just the slightest faltering in money-creation by central banks likely to cause the biggest implosion in history.

    Against that background, the lifeblood of the industrial system, oil, is in terminal decline: the warnings given since 1956, and the alarm bells rung in the early 2000s by organisations such as ASPO were ignored, and zero preparation for the inevitable crash was made (indeed, counter-productive policies focused on using MORE OIL were implemented).

    And against a background of phony finance beginning to fall to pieces and declining energy availability, we are at the point at which Planetary Meltdown is beginning to impact very negatively on most human activities: just look at the unprecedented damage to Napier that came ‘out of the blue’ -only it didn’t because, as with the oil supply predicament, there have been a plethora of detailed warnings going back decades. And, as with the oil predicament, nothing was done by those in power to address the underlying problem of rapidly rising atmospheric CO2, and nothing done to prepare for the consequences of extremely elevated atmospheric CO2: indeed, a campaign to prevent widespread knowledge of the dire effects of elevated CO2 was condoned by, if not supported by, central government, and financial scams were implemented by governments to pretend the predicament could be addressed using fraud! (Carbon credits and carbon trading as financial instruments but zero attempt to reduce emissions). Thanks for nothing, Helen Clark.

    Daily CO2
    Nov. 11, 2020: 413.82 ppm
    Nov. 11, 2019: 409.68 ppm

    So now we are at the point of the ‘triple tsunami’ -energy, environment and finance- ‘thundering up the beach and demolishing the sandcastles’ constructed by arrogant, wittingly stupid humans ‘playing on the beach’ and ignoring the sirens.

    ‘On Thursday morning, Tropical Storm Eta made landfall over North Florida and has become the 12th named storm to make landfall out of a record-breaking year of 29 named storms.

    An unprecedented amount of tropical systems have swirled around the Atlantic Basin this year, breaking the 2005 record of 28. The above-average tropical activity has decimated the oil and gas industry with offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

    According to Bloomberg, some 41 million barrels were pulled offline because offshore oil and gas rigs were shuttered due to tropical activity. ‘

    https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/largest-production-decline-offshore-oil-decade-amid-record-breaking-hurricane-season

    We can now be certain that Jacinda will play the game of pretend for as long as she can, pretending the government has matters under control, pretending there is still time to address all the matters that have been ignored for decades, and pretending there is a better future for everyone if we just exhibit some patience.

    Undoubtedly, the banks and corporations that run the show on behalf of the real powers that be -the old money families of Europe and America- will attempt to prop up the failing system via yet more money-printing and yet more false reporting of profitability and potential, but at this late stage in the game nothing is going to stop the fatally ruptured ‘Titanic’ from sinking.

    The question is: how long will Jacinda be able to keep pretending? I’ve already seen the signs of her lack of confidence in her own words, and I’m sure other have too.

    *https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2020/11/06/the-narrative-problem-after-peak-oil/

    https://ourfiniteworld.com/2020/11/09/energy-is-the-economy-shrinkage-in-energy-supply-leads-to-conflict/

    • A realistic commentary. One of the things I worry about is the manner in which the Internet and all of its uses assist an Orwellian totalitarianism. That however cannot last, without energy to create electricity Internet /It technology cannot work. That’s the silver lining.

  2. The PM laid it out clearly yesterday; stating that it was the Reserve Bank’s job to sort out housing prices NOT hers.

    Silly me, and voters, who were hoping the new Labour Govt. might have a significant role!

    She and Robbo are running “Blairism NZ style”-minus the war crimes-but they are coming close with the issues they choose not to see such as Palestine and West Papua. NZ is obedient to 5 Eyes and upping surveillance of citizens.

    Those new Labour MPs need demos outside their electorate offices (when they have set them up…) and the “50 NGOs” of this weeks “Letter to Jacinda” could become an Alliance of sorts, and the unofficial opposition and organising centre for NZ working class concerns.

    Rent control, large public house build, Living Wage, more power to unions, is what will drive down property prices. Direct action will be required!

    • “The PM laid it out clearly yesterday; stating that it was the Reserve Bank’s job to sort out housing prices NOT hers.”
      It might be her job to direct the reserve bank to sort out house prices which she might have done, and to replace officers in the RB if they fail to do so.
      D J S

    • “The PM laid it out clearly yesterday; stating that it was the Reserve Bank’s job to sort out housing prices NOT hers”.

      And Adrian Orr is on record (RNZ interview) as saying the big picture (financial stability in an impending crisis) is their main concern, implying that housing inflation was collateral damage of the current monetary policy (while acknowledging that intergenerational inequality is a crucial issue) He was more explicit in saying housing issues were the domain of govt fiscial policies. Clearly not on the same page.

  3. One of – majorly under-estimated, and still hated by the Catholic hierarchy- Loyd Geering’s books has a similar theme to Dorfman; I had it then unfortunately gave it away as a Christmas present to a rich relative who probably missed the whole point. Reading Geering triggered my fantasy of smashing all television sets. All he writes is worth reading and he is personally open minded in the way that intellectuals used to be.Nowadays, the focus is mainly on keeping their jobs.

    What happened to Ardern ? Nothing. We got conned. Good PR. The terrible tragedy of the Muslim massacre was a tragedy for all New Zealanders who saw an empathetic PM through a prism modified by the grotesqueness of an evil not encountered on our soil in modern times; if also offered the chance for the Green co-leader to engage in opportunistic public Pakeha bashing distorting the reality of the social dynamics under which we operate, and for no good reason. If there was a good reason, Davidson should say so.

    The scary pandemic again, provided a performance platform for a professional performer. I watched none of it, but others tuned in obsessively.

    The kindness message was sweet words which resonated globally, but flew like birds in the air when it came to care for the hungry, the homeless, the people struggling under practical and emotional burdens of day to day
    living in layers of levels impossible for the non-layered to envisage. The politicians know this, and they will continue to do whatever they know that they can get away with.

    In a recent interview PM Ardern said she entered politics because she likes people, enjoys people, likes being around people, and so on. It was all about her. That is what did shock me.

    The brutality of policies which force people to exist at unsupportable and impossible levels would embarrass normal persons.

    • @snowwhite “What happened to Ardern ? Nothing. We got conned. Good PR.” BANG ON!! The biggest con job on NZ voters since Jonkey. I’m reeling from this, I witness all around me the clusters of fucks happening everywhere, and meanwhile the underclass in NZ suffer and the rich get richer. It’s sickening.

      • Tuibelle, the child povidy thing tugged at everyone’s heartstrings, but if we stopped and thought about it, it was obviously a multi systems failure needing an overhaul of policies and practices which have been deteriorating for years, and the PM should have spelt this out then, and made clear what many of us already knew, that there were no quick fixes – apart from an immediate one right now of realistically upping benefit/ income levels – being complicit in children having a bad start in life is far from ok.

        It’s also a recipe for social disaster, which the license enablers should have the smarts to realise, but apparently it doesn’t concern them. I don’t know how we got this way,
        but I do think people are being turned against each other, and that’s quite insidious. Kia kaha.

      • Where were all these voices before the election. A few weeks after getting a huge majority Labour are being called out for what they are by many on this platform. Jacinda handled the shooting well but what did she really do for the victims of White Island and with the covid crisis they played a good hand but luck was on their side as well.
        It is going to be a tough 3 years and I can see the Greens getting really upset at Labours lack of action to help those that are supposed to be their base

  4. Perceptive Chris. Equally the postscript:

    … That capitalism has placed a portal to its material and imaginative production in virtually every hand on the planet should give us pause. Perhaps, like the young shanty-dweller, we will only be able to start “dreaming reality” when we throw the masters’ “trash” away?

    What a story that would make!

  5. I’ve been a socialist (philosophically) all my adult life AND I will NEVER vote Labour again. (I didn’t vote Labour this year either.)
    I managed a food bank in the year that Ruth Richardson cut benefits by about 1/3. I was receiving the Invalid’s benefit at the time (due to Multiple Sclerosis). Helen Clark maintained that incredibly damaging (to beneficiaries) reduction & no government since has done anything to mitigate that harm.
    From my perspective, PM Jacinda Ardern is pretty much all SHOW and no GO. In my mind, her past association with UK PM Tony Blair (Bliar & worse – think Dr David Kelly – who DID NOT commit suicide as any RN who knows her/his anatomy would have known that “back then”!) will continue to “colour” my perception of her. I remain singularly UNIMPRESSED!

  6. Voting for Labour was actually voting for the status quo… not change.

    After many failed ‘transformations’ in NZ aka Think Big – Muldoon, Rogernomics from Labour, Globalism/massive immigration from countries with little social welfare and human rights and democracy, under John Key, it is my view that Labour got 50% for actually advocating doing nothing.

    Sadly doing nothing, can be safer that the disasters we have had before from huge changes.

  7. Very Good Chris. But I don’t think giving the beneficiaries a christmas bonus will fix it.
    It makes you wonder a bit about what did actually happen to Kirk.
    You would think that N Z could get away with government of the people by the people for the people if any country can. But we are pretty dependant on trade. But China is unlikely to stop trading with us just because we want a more socialist society like we once had and that might be much more relevant than what the US wants from us , or the UK. So what is the threat being held over Jacinda and Grant? Is it assassination by CIA operatives. ?
    The neoliberal capitalists at the moment seem to be foist on their own petard . The whole system as AFKTT alludes is on ever increasing trillions of QE infusions in an economic ICU. Market forces are a quaint memory.
    It is sobering though to reflect that there are countries that have run socialist economies more recently than Chile , like Libya , Venezuela , Syria , and Iran to mention a few. China and Russia seem to get away with it so far.
    If we were able to make that transformation . If we have the courage, and it is just a return to what was normal when we BBs were young, not a totalitarian state, it would set a trend that the western world would follow. And we might be the only country in the world that would getaway with it.
    The role of the ’84 government here in transforming from one of the most socialist capitalist democracies almost overnight to one of the most comprehensively neoliberal , has never been recognised IMHO for the contribution that made to the world wide acceptance of that system. We could reverse it, especially as that philosophy is in the process of demonstrating it’s fundamental flaws.
    D J S

    • I think Ardern calls it governing for all which is what you promised…

      It is to me outrageous that 60 organisations could ask her to increase benefits and she has said no, the answers is not Winston this time the answer will be Covid.

      What do people have to do. I know people who have already said they will never vote Labour again, these are people who like me voted our local candidate in, because frankly he is good. But……….

      • I can tell you right now if labour do not increase benefits by a substantial degree and double the medicines budget, I will be using only my Party vote next election and that will be to the Green party. Duncan Webb in christchurch central will not be getting my candidate vote. I am having a real damn battle on Facebook posts, with people who are basically saying sit down, shut up and put up. Till they decide sometime in the never never to do something. Meanwhile as Martyn Says the top 10% and corporations and property class are making money for jam off the treasuries bonds . Time for a street revolt I think . When 30 medical organisations are speaking out demanding change and 60 Budgetary organisations and Unions are speaking out. The country is obviously at breaking point. The working class and the middle class, are just accepting being stomped on accepting any bullshit excuse for doing nothing, as the top 10% cream the economy and bank the profits in bank accounts and do not spend it into the economy. Further exacerbating the problem they refuse to accept CGT and Wealth taxes etc.
        Time to ditch GST and bring in a ftt tax on all monetary transactions, with no exceptions if it moves through a bank account or an eftpos machine or through a credit or debit card tax it screw them.

    • David. What happened to Norman Kirk was very sad, and should not have happened. There will still be retired senior medical specialists in Wellington who know the full story.

      Mr Kirk had ongoing health issues, not life threatening ones. He was seeing different GP’s in Christchurch and Wellington, without them being aware of each other. Some patients are just like that, perhaps the anxious ones. He was living alone parts of the time in Wellington, in a big suburban house, I gather largely fending for himself, and at times lonely.

      He died following surgery for varicose veins, I believe, a non urgent and a non life threatening condition. The surgery was carried out privately by the late John McIlwaine, then a relatively young and inexperienced surgeon. It is said that a more senior surgeon would not have operated on Mr Kirk, given his other ongoing medical issues, but I don’t remember what those were. But whatever they were, back then, anything contraindicating surgery would have been more likely to have been picked up in a public hospital with the pre- operative checks carried out by keen house surgeons or registrars, especially in a teaching hospital – the whole public health system was much better back then, and hospitals were run by medical superintendents, not bean counters, with very professional ward sisters who kept everybody on their toes.

      The only question is who referred Norman Kirk to a fairly junior sort of chappie – most likely his Wellington general practitioner – when there were more experienced senior practitioners available. Nor do I know why it was decided that a surgical procedure was necessary, when there were gentler alternatives – but younger surgeons in particular are always keen to operate. They are also often subject to all sorts of other pressures.

      Norman Kirk may have been a casualty of poor decision making somewhere along the track, and New Zealand
      lost it’s last man of the people.

  8. @ CT…
    The best kind of truths are simple ones.
    The simplest truth, when talking about the reluctance of some to enable the poor to be happy and content is this.
    It takes a fuck of a lot of people working very, very hard to enable one person to become a billionaire.
    To counteract that societal sabotage for the grotesque excesses of the millionaire and billionaire cultists means higher taxes against them. A filthy word more filthy than any other word ever to the ears of the budding narcissistic sociopathic and emotionally disabled wannabe billionaire.
    Which brings me to the other simple truth.
    It is we relatively good people who fail to act that’s really the issue here.
    If our elected politicians fail to do right by us ( By starting with those most at risk and moving up.) it’s we who must make changes. Not them. It’s on us. All of us.
    I saw Rutger Bergman run rings around tucker carlson of Fox News in a calm and intelligent way that was a delight to witness.
    Here he is explaining why poverty is an unnecessary disease.
    “Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash | Rutger Bregman”
    https://youtu.be/ydKcaIE6O1k
    Those few psychologically disabled Kiwi-As barely human traitors who still remain at large created among us a generation or two of cruelly psychiatrically damaged people who believe they’re to blame for their impoverished sufferings as a result of the greed of others who then in desperation buy lotto tickets to emulate their abusers. Is that irony or what?
    Money, per se, is to some like heroin. Once you get a taste you’re done for and you’d pimp your daughter to get another hit.

  9. Those Covid Wardens (also known as Labour senior leadership) had the election handed to them on a plate, what with the National Party falling apart, and a not so subtle approach to Covid making it a Labour election strategy…

    In return we get

    – No movement on Cannabis Laws (despite Labour/Green voters — wanting it)
    – No help for Child Poverty, or any poverty (again, Labour/Green voters …want this sorted)

    My advice ? Do not vote Labour in 2023…until they understand their supporters, and follow up their wishes.

  10. Ardern should be brave by going hard and early in this term, start by nationalising the public sector to bring it back into the people’s hands

  11. Brilliant yet very disturbing. Thank you, Chris.

    Judith Collins is already on to it.

    She said a day or two ago, “We lost the boardroom”, as the main reason for National’ dramatic loss. After reading Chris’ article, I reckon she’s nailed it.

    With that obvious insight, she’s already campaigning for 2023. And, sadly, may win.

    .

  12. Jacinda should step down. She has failed on Housing, Child Poverty, Drug Reform, Incarceration Rates, Welfare – Just EVERYTHING .. infrastructure, RMA reform, etc

    Step Down Jacinda, do it for NZ. You just keep failing.

    • She could apply to become National’s leader, in fact why don’t the two parties join up they could be named the NatLab party! A new genuine worker’s party would then be formed similar to the old Alliance.

    • Hang on a minute @ zack brando.
      Adern’s Labour party’s only been in a matter of weeks for fucks sake. The National’s neoliberal head-fuck division’s been ‘in’ for more than three decades ( And I’d argue since about the 1920’s. Yep. You read that right. Since the 1920’s. )
      We must be patient for at least one calendar year I reckon. Then let’s see what we can see.
      And one other thing.
      Lets remind ourselves that our current politics ISN’T politics.
      We never voted the private companies in who now own our stuff and things and rort us daily. We never voted for electricity retailers, we never voted in the four foreign owned banksters who, prior to c-19 took $6 billion dollars out of our economy in their net profits. Ponder that for a moment. Ponder the bizarre aberration that shows that our homes have a median price of over $750 K ! What the fuck, right?
      You know what that is? It’s about control. The banksters fucking own you man.
      We have homeless people and hungry kids and our old are scratching about in the dirt to survive after a life time’s manual labour and the fuckers who took that $6 Billion in net profits were never voted in by us. AND THEY CAN’T BE VOTED OUT! Does that not raise alarm bells for any one else but me?
      We’re being fucked without the kissing by private companies for their personal profits and our politics has zero to do with it unless you think that the sweet deals the corporates enjoy was as a result of our politicians selling us out because they know we’re just weak little bitches. ( No disrespect to female dogs.)
      When politicians in Neo Zealand please themselves what they do it is WE who facilitate that by our lack of action.
      The best way to fuck the companies who own us is to starve them out and the best way to do that is for us to stop playing by their rules.
      AO/NZ’s urban working people need to go on a wee picnic with our primary industry agrarian lot and strike until the corporate’s die in the fucking dirt.

  13. @ countryboy

    Here in Goddess-zone, we have 1. the RBNZ & 2. Kiwi Bank. (There’s also a Trustee Savings bank down in Taranaki.) That the govt uses an Australian bank is IMO, outrageous!!
    As time goes by I don’t doubt that I will easily find more & more reason(s) to NEVER VOTE LABOUR again.

  14. So many on the left were caught up in the fight to make marajuana legal they did not notice Labour put forward no policy on reducing house prices or ways that benefituries were to be given a rise to take them out of the poverty trap.
    Jacinda relied on a good result beating covid and let’s be honest National were in disarray and offered no real choice this time around.

    • Trevor I don’t think this is true at all
      So many on the left were caught up in the fight to make marajuana legal they did not notice Labour put forward no policy on reducing house prices or ways that benefituries were to be given a rise to take them out of the poverty trap.

      The real problem is who else is there, yes the Greens well I party voted them in despite being pretty disillusioned with some of the things they have done.

      I do agree that it was covid that got Labour that astonishing result.

  15. ENDS
    You got it there Mr Trotter. Full salute to you.
    Nice article, I have criticised you in the past and was ripped apart because of that but I bear no malice to you or anyone here.
    The question becomes how do we begin the revolution. Difficult when older wealthy people of the Western world have become so fearful of death.
    But the revolution is already happening, I can hear it from here in my small impoverished town, youth running rampant with no respect for their lives, or others, as they have no hope.
    No hope.
    Do any of you know what that means.
    Us more privileged in society, and I include myself after 4 years of homelessness having being shot at 15 times, totally discriminated against like I was a thief and menace to society, need to put aside that fear and confront what maybe certain death, but the alternative is far more repulsive.
    Online is not the place to formulate a recipe for revolution, what we need is a unified and educated force to lead it.
    Nga mihi nui

    • SOB. I am sorry about what has happened to you, and salute you for calling out about hope. Something really rotten has happened in New Zealand, and stealthily, but our young folk seeing nothing ahead of them, is a hell of an indictment upon us as a people.

      If I’m right, Key returned to these shores proclaiming he was to be PM before even entering Parliament; if this was on the word of a rich woman it was sinister or a complete circus. English disparaging our young men was disgraceful; I’m not defending the man, but as an old mother I’ve always thought him and Don Brash a pair of Peter Pans, boys who never really grew up, don’t know it, and not as clever as they think they are. This wouldn’t matter except that they cause trouble, get too caught up in their own dumb righteousness to perceive this, or care. Then there are the columnists and commentators who are haters. Best ignored, they probably hate themselves, and they too will die- that is not a threat – just a dust to dust comment.

      We can’t rewrite history, and nor can we rely on government to do the right thing, or to do anything very much. We have to force their hand, and I don’t know how this can be done, but an avalanche of voices is a good start. All of us can confront every politician and ex- politician that we see – I do- more pleasantly than they may deserve – and urge others to, but they won’t, but it is the pollies who always go on the defensive, and the only publicly angry one I’ve seen was Prebble – plus Clark keeping her regal difference at a social function- possibly just clumsiness – and I certainly don’t want any of them hugging me – the ball’s in my court on this one, not their’s.

      Being seen as the enemy of the children is foolish position for a kindness-claiming government to put itself in, and if they don’t realise this, it will not need a revolution to consign them to history, we’ll do that.

      • Don’t worry about what has happened to me I can look after myself just fine.
        I was just pointing out what it is like to live on the street.
        Worry about those who can’t, there are so many out there.

  16. For a few minutes reading comments I thought I had been surreptitiously transported to some rabid right wing blog site. The only one who seems to make sense, albeit colourful, is Country Boy.

    • Truth has no colour. Left, right, middle…are faux descriptions, and are irrelevant at this stage in the game.

      And even if people insist on using red/blue, left/right etc. it makes no difference in the long run: we all get wiped out by bad energy polices and bad and environment polices. And we’ve had decades of nothing but bad energy polices and bad environment polices -whoever has been in power.

      So now the end is in sight, and coming a lot faster than most people realise:

      https://sioweb.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/wp-content/plugins/sio-bluemoon/graphs/co2_800k.png

      We’re now approaching 420 ppm atmospheric CO2, which is 190 ppm above the 800,000 average. And still rising at the fastest rate in all of geological history. That’s the Halocene gone forever.

      + 3oC is just decades away. And +3oC means a 20 metre sea level rise in the short term and 100 metre sea level rise longer term.

      +3C means most of the Earth becomes uninhabitable, and certainly unsuitable for the kind of agriculture that has spurred the [human] population explosion of recent decades. Indeed, +2oC will almost certainly wipe out industrial agriculture, as will the decline in availability of liquid fuels that is a consequence of peak oil.

      +3oC means the kind of storms and droughts that affect us irregularly become the daily norm.

      But, hey, we ”have to have’ motor racing, and air travel, and heat pumps and air conditioners, and we have to have trips to drive-through takeaways, and shopping for plastic nick-knacks that will be thrown away a week after purchase -because we live in a CONSUMER SOCIETY, and as far as the government is concerned, consumption is all that counts, along with jobs. Got to keep the financial Ponzi system going a little longer, even if it will be the death of us all.

      • Apologies. Compilation error:

        we all get wiped out by bad energy polices and bad environment polices. And we’ve had decades of nothing but bad energy polices and bad environment polices -whoever has been in power.

        (squander energy, fuck the planet)

  17. Jacinda was elected to continue managing Covid 19 only. She even called it a “Covid election” and made virtually no policy statements.

    So that’s her real mandate – fix Covid but otherwise it’s ‘steady as she goes’.

    She’s the new leader of the National Party! 🙂

  18. Today’s centre left is the right wing of yesteryear. Centre left/centre right. It’s still the same neo-liberal centre. Robertson, Ardern, and Boy Hipkins are not the functionaries that will dismantle the neo-liberal orthodoxy. Why would they? It is all they have ever known, and it works for them. They were spoon fed it by blair and Clark.
    Unless NZ Labour can remember why they are called labour, and not capital for instance, I will not be voting for them. Which is not an endorsement of any other political party.

  19. Nice article. If we are to ‘dream reality’ then I would argue that saying “we need a revolution” and kind of ending there greatly stymies the imagination. It is of great value thinking about what a post carbon, post growth, post capitalist society might actually look and feel like. What are the types of social relations that would accompany such a transition and how can those be brought into being now? We must degrow, we must decolonize, and we must move towards a post capitalist, post development and pluriversal world. In the famous words of the Zapatistas – “a world where many worlds fit”. I am disappointed by the lack of mention of Matike Mai (report on constitutional transformation), the UNDRIP (UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People) and Te Tiriti o Waitangi in these discussions around anti neoliberal capitalism in NZ … The future of Aotearoa is indigenous, it’s our only hope. Time to throw away the ideologies which accompany modernity, of a Cartesian divide between humans/nature, a worldview which sees humanity on a linear path to ‘progress’ and ‘betterment’. Such a masculinist, colonial and hierarchical worldview has and continues to wreck havoc on people and planet. Alternative epistemologies need to be embraced on all levels.

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