There’s Something Happening Here – Again

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ONE OF THE BENEFITS of getting older is that you get a feel for when something really bad is happening. The experiences of youth, especially those events leading to profound societal change, tend to be so vivid that those who live through them become acutely sensitised to any experience which feels even remotely similar. That is why I feel obliged to say that, from the events occurring all around us in 2021, I am picking up a truly terrifying feeling of déjà vu.

The last time I experienced the same ominous feeling that something bad was unfolding: something that would change the lives of thousands of New Zealanders forever, and for the worse; something that could not be stopped; it was the early 1980s.

Yes, that’s right, the early 1980s was the period in which the ideology of neoliberalism first began sinking its roots into New Zealand society. It wasn’t called “neoliberalism” then, it’s promoters preferring to identify its goal as the establishment of a “free market”. To achieve this goal “more-market policies” were required. Thinking back to the “New Left” movements of the 1960s and 70s, political journalists took to calling this radical movement towards “economic freedom” the “New Right”.

What made this new ideology so chilling was that its effects were already apparent in the two countries with which New Zealanders (and Australians) most closely identify: The United Kingdom and the United States. Margaret Thatcher had been elected in 1979 and Ronald Reagan in 1980. Free Market policies were, therefore, bound to make their way here. In Australasia, the dominant ideas of London and Washington are culturally irresistible.

As Editor of the University of Otago student newspaper Critic in 1981, I felt obliged to publish articles from students excited by the radical new economic theories percolating through the academic community. It was disconcerting for those of us positioned on the extreme-left of social-democracy. We, too, wanted a shake-up in the way New Zealand’s economy was run – but not like this.

With growing unease, I began to see the post-war Keynesian status-quo coming under fire from both the New Left and the New Right. What I could not see, however, was the New Left winning this intensifying ideological struggle. Not with the USA and the UK weighing-in on what looked like the New Right’s unabashed call for a return to the laissez-faire capitalism of the nineteenth century.

The most important aspect to grasp about the success of the neoliberal revolution in New Zealand is that the revolutionaries were located overwhelmingly in the senior ranks of the public service, academia, and the news media – most notably in the Reserve Bank, the Treasury, and the business press. In these locations, they were ideally placed to exert a steady (and ultimately decisive) influence over the two groups essential to translating neoliberal ideology into practical action “on the ground”: politicians and business leaders.

That the Labour Party ended up being the vector for neoliberalism was due, firstly, to the exhaustion of Keynesian economics as a source for policies that hadn’t already been tested to destruction; and, secondly, to the pig-headed refusal of the National Prime Minister, Rob Muldoon, to embrace the New Right policies of Thatcher and Reagan. Labour’s politicians were desperate for a policy template they could offer up as an alternative to Muldoonism, and were delighted to discover that the people whose help and support they would most need to make it happen – the Reserve Bank and Treasury – were keen as mustard to get the revolution started.

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Hence the sense of déjà vu. All around me I perceive the same secretive re-positioning of pieces on the board that characterised the early 1980s. There’s the same apprehension that within the public service, academia and the news media, the key ideological transitions have already been made – at least where they count. Once again, the two essential adjuncts to translating a rapidly consolidating ideological orthodoxy into practical “reform” on the ground – a willing political party (or parties) and a facilitative business sector – are already in place.

All that’s been missing was a “trigger” event: the equivalent of the Snap Election called so foolishly by Rob Muldoon in June 1984. Then came the unprecedented tragedy of the 2019 Christchurch Mosque Massacre, closely followed by the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. If the next policy revolution is not already in motion, then the Sixth Labour Government is certainly getting ready to turn the key in the ignition.

The social-liberal revolution in which New Zealand seems certain to be engulfed will be even more wrenching than the neoliberal revolution which spawned it, and which it so closely resembles. Its purpose is straightforward: to forestall the political mobilisation of neoliberal capitalism’s economic casualties by aggravating the racial, sexual, and gender issues dividing them.

Essentially, the social-liberal revolution has been unleashed to protect the socio-economic interests of the professional and managerial class (PMC) which administers neoliberal society. If neoliberalism was the ideological expression of a capitalist ruling-class under pressure, and its fundamental objective was to smash organised labour and break the power of the working-class, then social-liberalism is the necessary ideological adaptation of the PMC, whose role it is to keep the working-class smashed and broken.

Like neoliberalism, social-liberalism can only be imposed from the top down. This is because all historical precedent suggests that the strongest impulses of those on the receiving end of economic and social injustice is towards unity and solidarity. It requires constant, conscious effort on the part of the ruling-class and its enablers to break up that unity and unravel that solidarity. Hence the need to obscure the common interests of working-class Māori and Pakeha; working-class men and women; working-class cis and LGBT. The elevation of identity over class is the critical cultural project at the heart of the social-liberal revolution.

Many of those destined to play a role in the social-liberal revolution will recoil from this analysis. They do not see themselves as facilitating the continuing upward transfer of wealth from the poor to the One Percent. Quite the reverse. They would position themselves firmly on the Left. Subsuming the struggles against racism, sexism, and gender inequality, to those of class, they would argue, is reactionary. If the Sixth Labour Government is prepared to legislate in favour of what the Right calls “Wokeism”, then that just confirms the genuine progressivism of Jacinda Ardern and her colleagues.

What I would invite these aggrieved social-liberals to do is engage in a little comparative historical research.

Compare the early mass struggles of Māori against the failure of Pakeha society to honour the Treaty of Waitangi (back in the 1970s and early-1980s the preferred slogan was “The Treaty Is A Fraud!”) with the wealthy, iwi-based corporations, and the iwi leaders’ group, that have emerged from the Crown-controlled Treaty settlement process of the past 30 years.

Contrast the United Women’s Conventions of the 70s, the mass campaign to reform the abortion laws, and the trade union-led struggle for the Working Women’s Charter of the early-1980s, with the current neoliberal indicator of female equality – the number of women seated around the boardroom tables of New Zealand’s largest corporations.

Turn the same spotlight on the contemporary trade union movement. Compare the lively public debates of the 400+ private-sector working-class delegates who gathered in Wellington for the annual conferences of the Federation of Labour, with the tiny, behind-closed-doors, biennial leadership conclaves of the “middle-class” public sector unions” (PSA, PPTA, NZEI, NZNO) that dominate the Council of Trade Unions.

It has always been a sure-fire way of determining whether or not you are involved in something genuinely progressive, or are simply promoting the interests of a narrow elite. Pose the classic revolutionary question: Who? Whom?

Progressive revolutionary change bubbles up from below as the consequence of ordinary people transforming the unity and solidarity they have developed while fighting injustice into mass political action. If the only people to actually benefit from your top-down legislative agenda are a small, privileged, and well-remunerated minority: an elite group already in possession of enormous power and influence; then you can be absolutely sure of two things:

It ain’t progressive.

And …

It ain’t a revolution.

106 COMMENTS

  1. “The most important aspect to grasp about the success of the neoliberal revolution in New Zealand is that the revolutionaries were located overwhelmingly in the senior ranks of the public service, academia, and the news media………..”
    Pretty much where they or their disciples have remained to this day. I have to say the biggest shock I ever got during this time was switching from the old Ministry of Works to the banking sector (IT), then watching ‘bankers’ damn near creaming themselves with their new-found good fortune while anything to do with MWD was dismantled, sold off and privatised under the guise of “efficiency” and “effectiveness” and a load of other slogans. Critical economic thought was abandoned.. The slogans, PR bullshit and spin is still needed to keep it all going.

  2. I think it it fair to predict that if this “wokism” crap gets legislated for then there will be a National landslide at the next election.

    • I hope it does get enshrined in legislation and National do win in a landslide.
      It is perhaps the only way Labour will learn to stick to the needs of the every day kiwi and quit this crap.
      The greens however are incapable of learning and so are beyond saving.
      The best thing for them is to join Winnie on the sidelines.

      • I wish you were right JAYS but LINOs are too deep and too dependent on the trough, they view opposition as a sideways promotion that hopefully will be rectified at some point in the future, the only difference to their incomes is the loss of ministerial portfolio payments to the incapable and the incompetent….but they bank on the wheel turning one day.

        • Gagarin Oh yes. The “ Do you know who I am syndrome” develops quickly. It was a Green pollie who asked the police to explain themselves to her in the wee small hours one night. Parliament, the stepping stone for egotists.

          Garibaldi’s comment that the woke backlash will benefit the National Party is quite right.

          I wouldn’t vote National, but I have been wondering about how to punish
          Labour, and I am angry with the obnoxious Greens. This is partly an anger at myself for having once supported them, and being hoodwinked by a bunch of crazies. None of them will change, they don’t need to, they’re up up and away.

    • Gb
      Even if National win the problem is still there: that massive ugly bureaucracy monster called ‘Public Service’. Just like the thing in the Westpac ads. It will be hard to control let alone tame. It would need a PM not scared to walk around with a baton, lay down some serious rules, demand performance and ask for justification of appointments and salaries, and ultimately not be scared to fire 100s if not 1000s. That’s is the only way the bureaucrats will respect who is in charge and behave accordingly It’s not them, it’s the govt of the day. Until that happens, nothing will happen. So it doesn’t matter who is in govt. NZ has become a country controlled, not serviced, by clipboard warriors. It filters through to all levels of life these days.

  3. Spot on again Mr Trotter. The irony of course is the only real antidote is the likes of Trump, People ostracized by the elite yet have sufficient resources to rail against what they perceive as wrong.

    Standing back and taking an objective view the politics of covid have been scary to a point that many of the strategies used wouldn’t be out of place in a Jim Jones cult. The majority of the western world has accepted without much fight the reduction of many civil liberties and then have celebrated them as “freedoms” when given back to them. There is something very fishy when large multinational corporations, media organizations and hard left wing academics are on the same side.

    Jordan Peterson (who sometimes I take, sometimes I leave) has some very interesting takes on covid restrictions and the strategies employed. I suggest all read it for interests sake and relate it back to what is going on in the world.

    The ‘son of megatron’ strain to date has been present in 2 fatalities (that we know about) worldwide. One would have to think there is now literally millions of cases of this variant. We haven’t been allowed any facts around these cases (were there other conditions etc) and we are now being encouraged to take a booster of a vaccine designed for 1st generation strains such as Alpha.

    Am I alone in being concerned?

    • No, no a thousand times – you are not the only person worried.

      The level of volte-face from Lefties who suddenly think major Pharma is now an angel come down on high (promoting vaccinations for ridiculouslylow risk children is surely not profit motivated!) and the idea of employers having radical rights over their emoloyees personal health choices being fine is unbelievable. Not to mention the embracing of no right to protest and your right to work being eviscerated if you exercise a human right regarding personal medical treatment (just like exercising your right to join a trade union).

      Nothing in the Covid response, particularly NZ, is moored to traditional Leftist concerns. They cloak the increasing tyranny in care for the health system (so why did you give nurses shit all pay increase?) and appeal to a nebulous “greater good” is mostly the professional, work-at-home, managerial class happy to shut down entire societies because it ultimately hurts them little and appeases their helicopter-parenting anxiety now writ large on society.

      The ones hurt most by lockdown, vaccine mandates, passports, and the other tools of health tyranny are those most marginalised. This is why the left-leaning Liberty UK said of vaccine passports:

      “The more our rights are eroded and these conditions become the norm, we move further and further away from a free and fair society – yet the Government is making sweeping changes under the cover of the pandemic, without proper announcements or public debate.

      If vaccine passports become normalised as a requirement to access work or services, it is those already marginalised, those who have historically been failed or whose rights have been violated by the state, and those who rely on work that is precarious, whose rights and autonomy will be most affected.”

      And what now, with Omnicron soon to be dominant but having milder effects and evading vaccination more and natural immunity providing greater protection against reinfection – how old earth do you justify mandates and passports?

      You can’t. It’s beyond ludicrous and borders now on abuse by the state. But don’t expect any reasonable debate on this in NZ. All you need to say is “but death!” or “freedumb”.

      • Well said.

        I say this as a vaccinated person that will get my 11yr old vaccinated however I am deeply concerned about the implications for future events in how meekly we accepted “the one source of the truth” and the psychology employed against those that did not want to be vaccinated.

      • In the UK Labour has helped the Conservative government pass a mandate rule to fight the new virus after a revolt by 100 government MPS.
        If you were drowning would you ask who made the life belt before you took advantage of it ?
        I think those that refuse the vaccine are selfish and self opinionated and I am happy they are suffering being shut out of many activities.

        • It’s not the same though Trevor is it. Delta even being conservative did not materially effect >95% of the population to the point of serious health issues and ‘Ominshambles’ appears (to date) far less deadly. This is not the black plague nor the Spanish Flu. Not even close.

          Is this a sufficient argument to curtail freedoms such as movement/assembly/speech? I personally don’t believe it is. Read Jordan Peterson’s thoughts regarding this and then reflect it back to our current situation.

          • You are right. The numbers don’t add up and many of the comorbidities because of the privacy laws cannot be published so there are no checks and balances regards actual accurate covid mortality numbers. Nor also is there accurate, honest disclosure on the effects of this rushed through vaccine, some of which regards heart issues and sterility issues may be laying up large scale issues for the future generations.

            I smell a rat. I did so right back when I saw the numbers game didn’t add up in light of the far higher mortality with the common garden variety seasonal flu’s we always had.

            It may be a far stretch to think that the way this and many other govts around the world have had the perfect opportunity to experiment with passive population control but I’m beginning to wonder. We will certainly know if one day in the future we wake up to read that cash is relegated to history and is replaced with the cashless society.

            • Wild Katipo The cashless society is here. A dyslexic friend who uses no cards , withdraws a large sum of money monthly and pays everything by cash. The medical practice she’s registered with, now stipulates no cash payments. Similarly Vehicle Testing when she went for her WOF. She had to organise a friend to pay by card and reimburse them. Another big payment, insurance I think, she phoned in advance to arrange a time to pay. She could use cards, but she won’t, and she has some quite complicated experiences.

              Re the vax. I’d read of two specific potential long term effects which could occur further along the track. I got done anyway, for the sake of family etc, and I figured that as an old duck chances are I’d be gone before these possible effects could impact, but that certainly doesn’t apply to everybody. I still think getting jabbed is a good idea, but have no problem with others refusing, but they should not be abused, and nor should they attack the rest of us – they should mind their own business.

              • Its the “punishment” aspect of the cashless society that will be the problem. At the moment, the wholesale surveillance that the powers-that-be have at their disposal is not a big problem for us, but when the cashless society is implemented – thanks to the vaccine passports/universal digital ID system, then the ruling class finally have the last piece of their controlling puzzle – the ability to punish us at their whim! And punish us they surely will, be it by limiting our ability to access our own finds or withholding our funds from us altogether, if we have transgressed in whatever way they deem fit. Fun times ahead folks , thanks to us bowing our heads at the alter of the ruling class inspired, political class invoked – alter of endless safety!

                • AO. Many older people still depend on cash, especially with cheques abolished, along with banks and post offices being abolished too – my large suburb has neither. Just one money machine.

                  This is also the group often without computer skills. My friend did a computer cause, but seems to to have failed abysmally at it, and she’d actually bought a computer. She’s fairly younger than me I think, but just couldn’t click into it. Nor does she has helpful whanau, just an equally helpless spouse.

                  Further, older people are more likely to bugger up on a computer, and may not be able to afford to get a costly Geek out to fix things. Further, some computers, like my laptop, become obsolete very quickly, and economically unserviceable.

                  The banks are being bastards about this, especially with an aging population. Being dependent upon online transactions also fails to take into account outside IT and similar failures, or sabotage.

                  I assume there’s a seniors’ minister in government, and it’s that person’s job to
                  act and advocate realistically in these changing scenarios which disadvantage people at a practical level, and stress oldies.

                  • Cheques have gone, banks are disappearing and contactless payments are becoming the norm. The writing is on the wall, but the soon-to-be cashless society won’t just disadvantage the elderly. We all know how caring capitalism is! The capitalists need greater control over the masses….this system will give it to them.

                    • Then we barter. I once paid an electrician with large jars of my lovely homemade pickled onions.

                      A guy a couple of streets away recently told me that he asked workers on a neighbouring property to give him a quote for repairing his roof. They wanted his big black 4WD, an old Toyota I think, ( I know nothing about carsJ as part of the payment. He declined.

                      But yes, there’s ways of collecting information. I was stunned getting a letter in the post from Neighbourly, naming the bossy male neighbour who had apparently nominated the household at my address as one who should be joining them.

            • Wild Katipo Passive population control ? Quite likely. And deliberately keeping a significant proportion of the population homeless, or existing in sub- standard conditions, is part of that dynamic.

              Drawing on an analogy from abusive spouse scenarios, it is called “ learned helplessness”, a phrase coined I think, 30 odd years back by a psychologist called Segilman, and it works.

          • Covid has been terrorizing the world for 2 years, even with this outbreak in New Zealand we have absolutely no idea what would happen if we let it rip. This seems the common denominator by the right, no mandates, no MIQ, open the borders etc.etc. No one on the right can answer this question what would they have done different ??

        • Except we’re not drowning. It’s less than 0.10% of those infected who die, and you’re even more likely to recover if you’re under 70 and vaccinated, like the far majority of NZ already is.

          This off-hand statement is the core of the abuse and unthinking. The vast, vast, vast, vast majority will recover – even more if you are vaccinated.

          But your analogy is useful in one respect. It seems I am more likely to be in danger going out on water than with Covid-19, given we had 82 drowning deaths in 2019 but only 47 Covid deaths across almost 2 years.

      • ohhhhh james the usual PRO-COVID screeching is as tedious as it is wrong.

        just for shits and giggles explain clearly and without hyperbole which measures are ‘leftist’ and explain how they are ‘leftist’—good luck with that one.

    • The woke dickheads like to claim that the rust belt, which votes twice for Obama, voted for Trump cos racism.
      No, they voted Trump because they realised that just because Obama was black, didn’t mean he wasn’t a corporatist shill.
      Trump promised everything and they probably knew he wouldn’t deliver. But the alternative was Clinton who pretty clearly was happy for the proletariat to stay exactly where they were.
      If Trump runs again in 2024, he will win in an absolute landslide.

      • Good summary – and the Republicans will win with a landslide if they manage find someone who is ‘Trump-like’ in that he is not a career politician who ‘speaks for the common man’ but alternatively isn’t actually Trump / isn’t a self-serving narcissistic misogynist fuckwit.

    • Governments around the world, including Stalin with hair, have taken every opportunity to strip people of what we used to think we’re right, but apparently are privileges that can be stripped from us if we are not good little girls and boys.
      The scariest part for New Zealand is that ACT is the ONLY party not fully behind this new found fascism.
      No amount of deaths prevented (including my own) is worth this. I want my kids to grow up Ina liberal democracy free from the sort of oppression being levelled at people, especially the unvaccinated.

  4. “The social-liberal revolution … purpose is straightforward: to forestall the political mobilisation of neoliberal capitalism’s economic casualties by aggravating the racial, sexual, and gender issues dividing them.”

    But does Jacinda Ardern really understand this? I do wonder sometimes what goes on between her ears. Is she simply too young and too brainwashed to know how the NZ economy worked before Roger Douglas, or to understand what she and her colleagues are doing to this country?

    Martyn Bradbury has more than once touted Ardern-Swarbrick as a dream leadership team. I wonder if he’ll think again after reading this article – be careful what you wish for Martyn.

    One beef with this article. Trotter claims the country’s current isn’t “progressive”, suggesting he’s still attached to a word which has become thoroughly disreputable. I wonder, do we need “progressive” policies, or “restorative” policies?

    • Pope Punctilious 11. “Does Ardern understand this ? “ Hard to say, but I’m sceptical. The Green identity zealots beavering away to break up society, aren’t smart, seem to be willing tools, and a couple of them may be very disturbed.

  5. It turns out the righties crying “cultural Marxism” in government, media and universities were 100% correct.

    New Zealand society is to be broken down on race and gender lines under the full force of identity politics mantra, destroying the family unit, working people, farmers and empowering tribal elites and bureaucrats.
    The future is bleak for the ethno state of aotearoa.

    • A LOT hinges on 2022 midterms. If the GOP sweep then expect the US to buck the trend being presented to the world.

      Ironic really that Trump and his allies are the only real hope for democracy and we are backing the trailer parks to empty in order to protect freedom of expression/thought/movement and speech.

      • trump=democracy, laugh? I nearly bought a round.
        even if you support him that’s a crock and you know it…best case putin like oligarchy, worst case the US slips further down the list of developed countries(before you start look at the metrics) embracing it’s new 3rd world status.

        Do wake up to yourself even for conservatives the trumpian mob isn’t the solution

    • The combination of the two words “social” and “liberal”, EP, indicates the direction of my thought.

      Liberalism is a doctrine based upon the liberty of the individual and the untrammeled right to acquire, use and dispose of property. To preserve this liberty and safeguard property rights, especially for those disproportionately blessed with both, it is necessary to shape society – the “social” – in ways that achieve this primary goal.

      “Social-liberalism” is, therefore, an ideological system that preserves the wealth, power and the political freedom of action of the elites by making it harder and harder for people to come together in unity and solidarity to challenge their dominance.

      The Romans called it “divide et impera” – divide and rule. Elevating the issues arising out of personal and collective identity over and above the issues arising out of economic injustice is the method social-liberals employ to foster and preserve the divided society neoliberal capitalism needs to survive.

      • As an ex- Overseas News Editor of “ Critic”, I concur. I think the position was called Foreign News Editor back then. My father was told by a former cop SIS member, called Tom Knowles, that the SIS watched the student newspapers and overseas students societies, and to keep my head down. I wasn’t aware of having raised it, and think that we mainly recycled articles from Reuters, or commented upon them – we were far too busy copying and pasting and raising enough cash between us to buy fish’n’chips at Opium Joe’s. In retrospect we were all news junkies and I wrongly thought that everybody was, and was then unaware how little we knew about issues like Sth African Apartheid and the Vietnam War.

        • I look at myself and contemporaries and think of that adage ‘a little education is a dangerous thing’. Not in itself mind you, but in NZ we thought we knew all the important bits.. Yet even when they told us that we had to do lifelong learning when the new IT brought new jobs as well as info, we didn’t stop to ask where is this happening, to whom, how is it to be arranged, and finally who is to pay for it if it is so necessary? So now we are from Hogan’s Heroes – ‘We know n.o.thing’, and are proud of our talent which we see as freshness and innocence in a naughty world.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbWmIHhSRvg

          • Greywarbler What we do know, is that there was a better way of doing things in that brief interim between the end of WW2 and about the 1980’s, I guess with the advent of Roger Douglas, and social well being slammed into reverse gear. A lot started happening which those of us who were busy, mightn’t have been fully cognisant of – I had a lot happening, worked overseas . It was perhaps the sledge hammer of The Employment Contracts Act which was an overt signal of the class war which is happening now. That doesn’t mean that the 50’s and 60’s were bliss, they weren’t, and the effects of the Cold War impacted here,
            too; then came the 60’s and hippies and student revolutions all over Europe which could have brought some sort of equilibrium, but yet another state house boy ( sorry) called Roger wasn’t having any of that.
            But even had he been a John A Lee, his own party could have kicked him in the guts anyway, or a big Norm Kirk dying prematurely – no way of knowing – hence – yes, I know nothing.

            • It seems to me that we reap what we sow. We need to constantly study human history in a forensic way. Democracy must be worked at to keep it, and ensure it is fit for purpose. The gap of confused aspirations between the academic and the capitalist is filled with people vulnerable to propaganda. Theu have the straightforward view that all will be well when they are gaining wealth and yet the fully educated person who doesn’t seek contentment in having things but in understanding the good and the bad of humans and society, would form the bedrock to a stable democracy. Their absence allowed Hitler to rise along with his henchmen, also Trump, and Seymour here I suppose.

              Danilo Dolci Italian socialist said this after searing experiences that most would not come near. “Reality is very complex”, he said. “To understand it, men have tried Christianity, liberalism, Gandhism, socialism. There is some truth in all solutions. We are all mendicants of truth.”
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danilo_Dolci#Tried_for_libel

              • Greywarbler. Read it thanks. He forget to mention Buddhism. Almost the complete antithesis of today’s ghastly consumerist society, but it has the analysis and the answers pretty ok.

      • Is it really Neoliberal Capitalism though Chris? It’s not really capitalism if there is no free market as per because the barriers of entry are too high to enter. Neoliberal capitalism hardly reflects Adam Smith’s doctrine. Kinda like the National Socialist German worker’s party………

        I’d argue our current state more reflects a globalist oligarchy more so than neoliberal capitalism. Look how both consensus parties (and almost all of those in the West) subscribe unconditionally on unrestricted globalism.

        • or current british and us neo-liberalism but no doubt as an expert on the economics of nazi germany you can enlighten me, so please do….

          references to the similarities between hitlers relationship with the german military/industrial complex and current us conditions are acceptable.

          • You completely missed the point. Calling the current mess we have as a ‘capitalist’ system is as flawed as arguing the Nazi’s were really socialists.

            Expanding welfare and government spending isn’t capitalist in the slightest.

      • if ONLY traditional definitions of all these labels could have remained static and reliable. They cn’t (oops that was ‘they can’t NOT they cunt)
        I’d suggest most of them have been rendered fucking useless after what’s happened since the 80’s, and even before @ Chris. Your mate Gerry (and my flatmate/school chum, etc. etc. ) understood that, as did his papa-ji Toby. RIP and his mates.

        Idiot/Savant is “irredeemably liberal” for example.

        I suspect he’s closer in-tune to your way of thinkery in this space, going forward, than he is to your trad definitions. It’d be nice if they could have remained static, because WE’d all know what the fuck WE were and are talking about.

        AND that’s PART of what the past, now close to FIFTY fucking years has been about.
        There’s only so many “post-“‘s and “neo”‘s that can be wheeled out to pin down what a “we think” of as an ideology or a label to describe a new situation.
        I mean we invented the term “3rd Way” to describe what was essentially a neo-liberal dressed in drag.
        What’s a gal like Jacinda, or indeed the entire Labour party – in fact all political parties to do? Probably they should be made to provide a dictionary of terms and phrases before they spout forth.
        Let it play out. The chips will fall where they will

  6. You make a very good point Chris. Quite often trends occur here started in the USA five to ten years earlier, so let’s take a look at what’s been going on there:

    The election process, and here I’m not just talking about the President, Senators and Congressmen, I’m talking about District Attorneys, Mayors, Police Chiefs and even School Boards, have become impacted by massive amounts of campaign money to steer woke radicals into those roles. Right across the Democrat controlled portion of the Republic, woke DAs allied to woke Mayors are refusing to implement the law and violent criminals are being let out on to the streets to cause mayhem. When the cops arrest them for subsequent crimes, these same DAs are refusing to prosecute and they’re straight back out on the street. The result is that Democrat controlled cities have become shooting galleries…in both senses of the phrase because the place is riddled with drugs that have come over the southern border: A border that has been opened by the Biden administration. Woke school boards and college professors are pushing a really nasty anti-white agenda to gin up race hatred and create the foot soldiers for the riots. So where is all this cash for campaigning coming from? It’s coming from the tax exempt trusts of the billionaire class, having been laundered through a network of NGOs. It’s coming from the Getty clan (who put Kamala Harris into office) from the Gates Foundation, the Clinton Foundation, Bezos, Zuckerberg etc. It coming from the ever present George Soros and probably the Chinese too because all these people have business interests there. If you scratch beneath the surface you’ll find most of these radicals in office are from the comfortable end of society and attended private schools and colleges. Look at photos of BLM riots and check out the number of privileged kids in there.
    It appears they’re trying to subvert democracy, turning the US into some kind of feudal society, with the billionaires in charge and it looks like we’re seeing similar racial division being invented here, also by college professors and the middle management of government.

  7. “…the number of women seated around the boardroom tables of New Zealand’s largest corporations….”
    Aaahhh….! So it’s boardrooms of corporations who earn our export revenue?
    How? Do they make a thing on the board room table? Do they send out for coffee and a hemp seed date square? And does that then result in billions of dollars spilling into our small country?
    Wow ! Who’d a thunk it?
    My mother, a woman it should be said, worked her arse off managing 5000 sheep and 300 Angus cattle and she did that without a board room…!? How? I never thought to ask her? Perhaps that’s why she received about .001% of what she earned while the rest of the money went into corporate board rooms never to be seen again. Unless a fact cunt bankster driving around in a Bentley could be a way of her seeing her money again?
    All of your Post above @ CT was abstractly about the money. All of it. There were fabulous nuances of the details of the process but really, it was all about the money.
    Now? Who makes the thing that’s exported from here to there to bring our money in which all this fuss is about? Bankers? Accountants? Real estate agents? Board room members? Politicians? Advertising executives? Marketing consultants? IT?
    No. It’s our loathed, despised and hated ( “Pass that sausage and some spuds and lettuce would ya? ‘Chomp-munch-gulp’ so yeah? Them fucking lazy cockies aye? Tad more milk luv? Ta. ) farmers.
    Now? What might happen to all them pretty little people who have us convinced of their irrelevant, relevance if farmers sided with The Green Party ( after we give The Green Party a proper dose of worming mixtures to purge that party of it’s hand-brake corporate’s who can well fore see what I’m writing about. That’s why james shaw. He’s a fucking corporate. He’ll be doing his Machiavellian utmost to keep the Green Party weak and cowering in a corner whimpering lest Farmers and The Green Party realise they’re made for each other.
    Chloe Swarbrick! Show my comment to wee Jimmy and watch his body language?
    Fantastic Post @ CT but you did miss that vital stat.
    Speaking as a farmer we must turn our farmers Green.
    Farmers must be entirely United. No more gutless-wonder federated farmers rustling around in the pocketsessss of big urban corporate business.
    Farmers must have their own retail bank for borrowing, lending and development and from that, farmers can employ representatives to seek out markets to export their goods to and that shouldn’t be difficult since the world will be starving to death while going on fire within the foreseeable future.
    I guess we farmers could approach our marketing boards for guidance and advice like The Wool Board, the Apple and Pear marketing Board, The Meat Board and the Dairy Board etc … Ba Ha ! Only kidding. The only thing you fuckers should get is a proper probing spanning generations. Aye Boys?
    One last thing. ( Eye roll?)
    Farmers? City people are not the enemy.
    City People? Farmers are not the enemy.
    Everybody? The banks are the enemy.

  8. Good piece. I too feel something coming, but I suspect it’s global in scope and scale. Popularly known as “The Great reset” (which was once considered a conspiracy theory) is now rapidly being put into place by the global elites using initially climate change as thee driver and then fast-tracked by leveraging the pandemic.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Reset
    Russell Brand did a fairly concise video breaking it down:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4AduA8mgro
    The Unsafe Space YouTube channel has an entire series on it that describes in greater detail what “they” are doing and how they are doing it (this is a clearly coming at it from a right-leaning perspective, so duly warned):
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF1X6pDvgpsOAL2LvSDh_etMeNjL9Me_4

  9. Thank you for this article Chris, which in the main fully concur with.

    The other class that will be effected by these legislative changes are women, who are having their sex based rights eroded by gender ideology which is fully embedded in government, the public service, the media and many NZ companies who think ticking the Rainbow is a quick win, and not doing it would lead to a woke back lash. Public outing as a transphobic or a racist (by this I mean for anything that doesn’t tow the party line is too frightening to contemplate).

    What’s the old saying, which I think applies to Rogernomics and now gender ideology….Fool me one, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I am not shamed

    • Anker while you’re absolutely correct, I have to admit to a little shadenfreude in the case of the gender issue, because I’ve watched feminism morph from its earlier origins of equal rights into a special kind of misandry that has slowly dragged men down.

      • Andrew. I agree. In the 90’s I pulled out of a second VU Women’s Studies paper, because the dept pissed me off and I thought them more anti -men, than pro-women – and they weren’t all lesbians either. Having said that, lesbian women can be stroppy towards males, in a way that I don’t think gay men generally are towards women – lots of gay men enjoy good friendships with women, and I am one of those women.

  10. Chris has had the grinder out and dumped a nice load of burley into Daily Blog Bay…and some voracious Youtube watching nutsos have appeared–“cultural marxism”?–do such political illiterates even know what marxism as a political philosophy is all about? (rhetorical).

    Marxism is based on class politics not identity politics. It is all about an organised shift in class power to the working class for socialism. If terms cannot be sorted out we are indeed in a post modernist wasteland.

    Neo liberalism knows all about class and they are vicious with it if you have ever followed the exploits of the Chicago Boys, Pinochet, Thatcher and Reagan. Union busting and the force of the state was one thrust, the next is hyper individualism, consumerism and the breakdown of collective thought and action. Racism has long been a divisive tactic of the capitalist ruling class and now new divisions are to be created according to Chris. I agree on that point as a key element of the NZ neo liberal state has been managerialism.

    • The world and the ruling elite have moved on from hyper individualism Tiger. Much easy to control by arguing for inclusiveness. Your analysis is stuck in the mid 90’s whereas the author has acknowledged correctly, the current landscape.

      Thatcher and Reagan are long gone as have their policies.

      • Roger and Ruth are long gone too but we in New Zealand are still stuck with a neo liberal state, via the structural elements of the Reserve Bank Act, State Sector Act and free in and out flow of capital. Student loans, charter schools, paying for your own professional development, unpaid internships are all monetarist basics. And…debt to GDP ratios that are pure Chicago school. We have two tier public/private health care that the latter cherry picks for profit. So don’t tell me I’m stuck–it is this rotten system that suffers from inertia.

        The USA and UK are landed with the legacy of their particular two arseholes as well if you look at their legislative structures and decay of public infrastructure.

        Individualism and commodity fetishism rules for half the population at least who know how many Flybuys points they have but would not have a clue what they should be paid for working a public holiday say–or how to organise anything collectively.

    • nope they don’t understand the terms they use..
      it’s their equivalent of ‘devils work, burn the witch, burn the witch’
      it’s what you get when you deliberately don’t have an education system

  11. Yes! Yes! And Yes Mr Trotter! I have been feeling it in my balls for a long time! That this coup d’etat has been underway for the last couple of years under the cover of covid.

    The ‘real’ left are non-existent. The right couldn’t see the woods through the trees and the public are at each other’s throats!

    And! There is no leadership from anyone! Well until now, you! Pointing this out in a clear and concise manner!

    I’m gonna search on trade me for a guillotine!

    • I have been feeling exactly the same for a while but Chris has clarified the why for me. Its not simply misguided virtuosity (in some cases) but something more deliberate – and very destructive to who we are and have been as a people.

  12. Yep, the nasty old UN/NGO/corporate backed social/economic liberal consensus sure rules the roost. Globalization sucks. Applying for refugee status in ‘illiberal’ Hungary is beginning to look like a bloody good option.

  13. Neo-liberalism and social-liberalism are not revolutions. They are counter-revolutions.

    Neoliberalism was global capitalisms response to the end of the postwar boom and stagflation.
    It blamed the social democratic state for the mixed economy that invaded the market and interfered with its signals.

    But really it was the logic of state management of the economy based on Keynesian intervention (a la Sutch) and the war economy in which the state played a central role.

    The neo-liberal counter-revolution (NLCR) was to dismantle that state intervention and return to the free market (Chicago boys Chile 1973 set the pace) privatising everything to overcome the tendency for the rate of profit to fall.

    Between the 1980s and 2000 the NLCR privatised state property and smashed workers organisations to let the market rip. Result blah. One crisis after another – the Asian then Tech then GFC 2008.

    This signified the failure of global finance capital to produce profitably despite every radical market experiment imaginable. Except for China which blasted off in 2001 when it joined the WTO.

    Around the same time the Clark Labour Govt was elected and here we see the first shift from the NLCR to to social-liberal counter-revolution (SLCR).

    But to make this happen Labour had to revert from a social democratic party based on the working class majority, and become a classic liberal party along the lines of the Liberals of the 1891-1912 in NZ , and that of the Tony Blair ‘third way’ – neither socialism nor free market’ , that bases itself on the new middle class aligned to servicing finance capital and hostile to the working class.

    Take the NLCR victories of finance capital over the working class – privatisation, union bashing, demonisation of the poor on the basis of race, and let capital rip – the SLCR doesn’t tax capital gains, or fix the social deficit, all of which divided and ruled the working class, but now appeals to the classless society in which individuals choose their identities as alienated automatons, or post-modern subjects engaged in self-determination depending on your standpoint

    So while the NLCR smashed workers solidarity and re-activated divisions along sex, race and gender, the SLCR atomises workers into self-identities that make any sense of solidarity by sex or class incomprehensible. Hence the collapse of labels like ‘left’ and ‘right’ and men and women.

    Of course attempting to reconstitute social solidarity against Covid as a ‘team of 5 million’ under conditions of such atomisation is perilous because individuals without class bearings will react to any threat on the basis of their immediate interests. So Liberal Govt’s are forced to become more authoritarian.

    So the ‘culture wars’ that reflect political polarisation and fragmentation are to be expected when ‘truth’ become personal, and social liberal over-reach to a surveillance and compliance society inevitable.

    So we are living out the effects of decades of capitalist counter-revolution and the question becomes what is left of revolution? Can we come back from doom to a survivable future?

    The first task is to understand that we are facing the collapse of our natural habitat, so that we need to organise against the main cause, finance capital which is in terminal crisis.

    Workers globally will not agree to give their lives to pay for capitalisms terminal crisis. But if we do not understand that we are up against a finance capital desperate to use fascism to destroy the working class, then we will not be capable of imagining a future in which we survive.

    Building resistance to fascism means uniting working people across all divisions of sex, race and gender to overcome the atomisation of bourgeois liberal counter-revolution. To do this we must relearn the history of previous struggles against fascism and the lessons of previous attempts at socialist revolution.

  14. Eric Weinstein has put the drivers underlying CT’s thesis pretty concisely: “Identity is a cheaper constituency than labour”.

    Which has one in mind of “Meditations on Moloch”, and the Slate Star Codex commentary on it. Not sure about his solution, but his diagnosis is bang on, and is concordant with CT’s.

  15. Solution= Tell the Political parties to earn your vote. The message must be come, and get my vote…the political parties only get away with silly/nasty stuff because people allow them by voting for them (political parties)…Labour would be shocked out of its comfort zone, if they were voted out next election.

    • Definitely is a disconnect between the civil servant and what they promise to do and what they do once elected. And those deemed to be dragging their feet regards fulfilling those promises for another agenda simply because of a conveniently contrived and vague ‘mandate’ [ which they usually love to quote] via the democratic process for their own ends [ echo’s of the 4th Labour govt?],… that in their minds gives license to all and sundry ,…. need to be rooted out of our political system via the vote. Now is not the time to suffer these liars and fools. The mood of the nation currently is not ripe for the pickings for these snakes and pirates. This is not the Roman Senate nor is it the Greek Ecclesia.

      And the last time I looked ?, – we don’t have a Caesar and Caesar aint considered as God.

      Watch your step, boys n’ girls,…we Kiwis may not have ever been invaded and we may not be as passionate as the Europeans who have always fought each other and to which politics is an accepted topic of conversation,…but you f@ck with us?…. you will soon learn the very real reality and validity of the French concept of ‘Govt for the people by the people’.

      Pity we dont have an upper and lower house to keep the worms inline, is all I can say.

    • Nathan Kerr. Yes. Labour or the other bunch need to provide me with good reasons to vote for them instead of their usual sand-throwing at opponents or spouting sweet PR jargon.

      I spoke to a Wellington National candidate and asked him what he was doing. He replied saying that he was there to “ undo the damage done by Labour” , but he was unable to provide any specifics, and he lasted one term. I think that he was a former diplomat, which is at least more substantive and intelligent than eg charlatans like Jami- Lee who seems to think that basically useless individuals can be of use.

  16. If Trump had been a decent human being and not a lying narcissistic sociopath he would still be President. His wealth didn’t bother the people his actions and lies did. It only takes one person with some social vision. In my opinion Trump won’t become President again because enough of his followers can see he’s not fit for purpose but he had his chance. Jacinda had the people, the decency and the mandate but not the vision for real change. If she happened to win again she won’t have the mandate so in my opinion it would be a lame duck government. If the people are sick of it from either party they will have to get into the streets and tell whoever is in power that, what is now a large part of the population aren’t prepared to put up with the status quo. Whoever wins our next election is in for a rough ride. If globally there is a political meltdown ( along with the environmental one) that would hurry things along I’m sure.

    • Your last sentence newview…. Chances are the meltdown is close, but will it ‘hurry things along’? I think not. It will more likely be catastrophic for life as we know it.

    • Then there were the ”weapons of mass destruction” from Tony and George. Don’t recall Trump ever going on any foreign adventures seeing millions killed and the same being made homeless and maimed in a 20 year war and then losing. Trump even had the common decency to warn the Syrians and Russians before he bombed a dilapidated Syrian air base with subsequent no loss of life.

      How singularly very polite of him.

      Bravo ,old chap ! Capitol !

    • You’re quite right, New View.

      Franklin Roosevelt came from New York’s elite 400 families. Americans didn’t care that he was from the aristocracy, however, because through his New Deal programme and related legislation he did more for the ordinary American man and woman than any other President.

      Had Trump unleashed a Green New Deal he would, as you say, still be President – and beloved by all.

      • Yes, and it took an Englishman, – aka John Maynard Keynes, an economics professor from Cambridge University in England, – to sell the idea to Roosevelt and for Roosevelt and his buddies to ‘Americanize’ the idea and a further 6 months to sell the idea to the American public. Admittedly, with much opposition from the American right at the time.

        But we cant let the American public know it was an Englishman who showed the way, right? Cant have these Limey bad teeth bow legged rickets sufferer chappies from over the Atlantic seen in too much of a good light, say what? 🙂

        I jest !!!

    • “If Trump had been a decent human being and not a lying narcissistic sociopath he would still be President” – Totally agree.

  17. Dear Kommissar Trotsky, you say:

    “Many of those destined to play a role in the social-liberal revolution will recoil from this analysis… They would position themselves firmly on the Left.”

    This is because these nutjobs ARE your lot, firmly on the left. They are fellow socialists. No centre-right normal person would support these mentalists.

    “It ain’t progressive.”

    Of course not. The left, who sometimes describe themselves as so-called “progressives”, have always really just been socialists in disguise, with fascist tendencies.

    Your analysis is absurd.

    The Right correctly despise these lefty woke clowns.

    • Correct on the money, Pale Stale Male. I see critical Leftists like CT trying to somehow magically transform Woke politics as neo-Liberal Rightist.

      It’s launcy to argue this. Some neo-liberals may have shallowy exploited Woke politics but it is from, and of, the Left and they are firmly responsible for its excesses. It is Leftist Parties promoting and legislating it, Leftist Academics exhorting it, and Leftist Unions spreading it.

      You can complain all these Woke Lefties aren’t “your” type of Leftie – great, self criticism is good – but they ARE Lefties. No centrist or right-winger would have a bar of it, except as a skin-deep marketing technique or to enjoy watching the Left self-destruct.

      For CT, he sees a neo-liberal in every foxhole.

      • YES gordon the right are woke SJWs you just have a different idea of what constitutes ‘social justice’ you want to change society to suit you, you get just as triggered as any pink haired self identifying kid….isn’t ‘patriot’ self identification…..now run along to your rightard safe space and have a cry over foxs burnt christian tree—actually a pagan symbol but hey ho…..

        • A New World where Woke is Right?
          War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, and Ignorance Is Strength now.

          Presumably then the more Right you are, the more Woke you are? That must mean Act and Fox News are super duper Woke.

          Identity politics may not be solely Leftist but our current Woke times of CRT, SJW, transgender ideology, anti-racism, and associated erranted nonsense is 100% from political correctness and radical Left academics in the Frankfurt School and post-modernism. All Left constructs.

          I agree classical materialist Leftist institutions are now being overrun by Woke idiots who are often privileged economically, but their causes all come from Left ideas, Left institutions, and Left parties. Decrying them as not Left is the intellectual equivalent of saying your brother isn’t really your brother because he commits a crime. It’s dishonest BS and the No True Scotsman fallacy.

          Btw I don’t identify as a patriot, nor even Right Wing and I don’t believe my race, sex, and politics are my primary features. I support progressive tax, financial services tax, CGT, and I don’t believe cutting benefit rates are simply the answer nor is privatisation.

          The Right have responsibility for their share of bad ideas and their own problems, but Woke identity politics sure as hell isn’t one of them and the more Leftists like CT and yourself try to pretend Black is White, the more ridiculous your arguments look.

          It’s cognitive dissonance of the top order: these people do things I don’t like ergo they CAN’T possibly be part of the same, superior political theory I subscribe to! In other words, it’s The Daily Blog’s ruling pretence and what is turning a decent chunk of people away from the Left and into the Right.

      • Rubbish you fool. It dates back to before you and I were even born and your stupid, simplistic, and naïve modern political tribalism conveniently couched between history and your post modern [ and dare I say it opportunistic] take on current events.

        Try the Knights Templar and their banking system as a remedial crash course in understanding the modern day world and to understand why it is as it is,… and if that fails to slate your appetite ,… for modern banking and political trends, come further forwards, meet the Rothchilds and the history of European banking, who financed European wars, and ending with Woodrow Wilson, and the Reserve Bank Act 1913.

        Federal Reserve Act Signed into Lawhttps://www.federalreservehistory.org › essays › federal…https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/federal-reserve-act-signed

        Federal Reserve Act (1913)http://www.let.rug.nl › a-brief-history-of-central-banking http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/essays/general/a-brief-history-of-central-banking/federal-reserve-act-(1913).php

        You just might learn a thing or two.

          • Nay Harrogate, the Templars were not space laser types, they preferred cheques and abstract things like credit ratings and interest,…

            Sigh,…

            When oh when can we ever get past the race card in peoples minds on this and other blogs to get to what’s real?

            Geez !!!

      • banning school books by southern trumpanistas because they don’t agree with the rednecks view of society isn’t the triggered reaction of rightard SJWs then?

        oh do give it a rest, the rightard mob and the bourgeoise woke are the same ignorant coin

        • Whats a redneck ? Some sort of gay lesbian liberal ‘sex change because you feel you are’ far left trendy leftie fad following go with the flow right wing cis male stale pale feminist three legged two headed tail waggling cloven hoofed bovine ungulate who disagrees with you?

          And if so, – could you please explain in your view just what in the hell a redneck is any more?

          Is it this?

          David Allan Coe – Long Haired Redneck
          https://youtu.be/X3_qUDwF-Ns?t=6

          • way to try to avoid the issue, but the snowflake nature of the right and the woke are the same self obsession with feel feels and you know it.

  18. I’ve always thought t5hat ‘none of the above’ should be on the ballot paper and announced as part of the results by the returning officer and reported in the medias sports sorry election coverage…then we’d see nearer to actual mandate they attract

    imagein

    LAB 3000
    NATS 2999
    ACT 03 and a small dog
    YOUR ALL CRAP 5967

    now that would be a result

    and then I woke up…..

  19. lots of shouting at clouds in this thread – everyone is chasing a dwindling underwrite to prop up their IOU’s. cheap energy and resources have enabled a degree of fairness for a century and a half but this is coming to an end. progressives clamour for a right to their fair share, conservatives clamour for a right to keep their fair share. the clamouring will only get louder.

  20. Whatever labels of that era are slagged on, I ended up well off, with the help of the good wife, of course. But, fuck it, now I have to finance a tribe of my kids into housing. WTF

  21. Well if this is anything to go by…

    Last week at the UN, a resolution was put up and the NZ UN dipshit voted for it by abstaining!

    130 for,49(NZ) on the fence and 2 against. Surprise, surprise the US and the Ukraine!

    “The resolution on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices” that contribute to racism, xenophobia and intolerance…”

    So lil ole NZ is heading toward fascism and Altra Right under a Labour government ffs!

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