Bryce Edwards is one of our most important political public academics, he keeps demanding ideology and political philosophy must be examined and the gaps between the vision and policy reality measured.
His latest column in the Guardian is a must read. He makes the point TDB has for sometime that our shallow NZ on Air funding identity politics application box ticking definition of ‘diversity’ once again ignores class…
A very liberal revolution has been occurring in New Zealand politics. Our parliament and Labour-led government are more socially liberal and diverse than ever before, and that’s something for progressives to celebrate.
Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, embodies this, and is lauded as a breath of fresh air in a political world traditionally dominated by “stale, male, and pale” social conservatives. She has just reshuffled the cabinet of her re-elected government, bringing more women, Māori and Pasifika into senior positions. It is the most diverse cabinet in history. The appointment of moko kauae-wearing Nanaia Mahuta as the minister of foreign affairs epitomises this modernisation. Similarly, we have our first openly gay deputy prime minister.
Increased diversity and liberalism is evident throughout New Zealand’s parliament. A third of the parliament are new MPs, many from traditionally under-represented backgrounds. Our House of Representatives has become more female, younger, browner, and more openly gay.
New Zealand is now the closest in the OECD to achieving gender equality, with 48% of MPs women. Māori make up 21% of MPs, compared to 12% of the adult population. Pasifika make up 10% of MPs compared to 6% of adult population. 11% of MPs identify as belonging to the LGBTQI community, compared to an estimated 3.5% of the population. And the parliament has become much younger.
However, at the same time as our politicians are becoming more diverse – especially those from the Labour and Green parties – this doesn’t extend to socio-economics or social class. MPs’ occupational backgrounds are more middle-class than ever.
…of course we want more diversity, look at Robert Muldoon’s Caucus…
…all the diversity of a loaf of white bread.
The problem is that when we say diversity now, it means the identity politics NZ on Air funding application definition of ‘diversity’.
No one has pointed out that the real lack of diversity here is from poor people. Most of this influx of new MPs own property.
The Landlord class, the propertied class and the well to do class are all represented, but Renters, beneficiaries and the poor can go fuck themselves. Their class ‘diversity’ is amputated and ignored.
Willie Jackson is the last working class hero left in the Cabinet so it should surprise no one that Labour are tone deaf and flat footed when it comes to the property price spike they are all personally benefiting from.
The shallow identity politics pursuit to look diverse eliminates class and class criticism of the neoliberal economic hegemony.
Which is the way the neoliberal economic hegemony likes it.
So yay, it’s a rainbow flag of hashtags and diversity, except where it actually matters, class.
The demarkation line of power in a society is not between the cacophony spasm of allies and shallow diversity fringes, it is between the richest 1% + their 9% enablers vs the 90% rest of us.
Left activism is ensconced in a woke cancel culture schism gumbo of intersectionist apologies and alienating purity tests, challenging the neoliberal economic hegemonic structure is not what the Activist Left does much anymore.
If the Political Left don’t wake up and start providing real reform for the lives of the poor and not just whatever woke nonsense is trending on Twitter, the poor will turn on us.
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