Reality and the Left – A Bitter Divorce


WHERE IS REALITY HIDING amidst all these claims and counter-claims concerning the protest encampment in Parliament Grounds? In an excruciatingly post-modern political moment, reality seems to have gone AWOL, leaving behind only a noisy collection of competing narratives.

To make matters worse, the state itself, supposedly the supreme arbiter of what is and is not politically real, is refusing to do its job. Even though it is his sworn duty, the Commissioner of Police, Andrew Coster, has made it frighteningly clear to the public that he lacks both the will and the means to assert the state’s authority. The New Zealand Defence Force, meanwhile, holds itself aloof from the fray. Jacinda Ardern and Christopher Luxon, powerless to intervene, look on ineffectually. The crisis deepens.

Ask yourself: what does it mean when tow-truck drivers, asked to assist the Commissioner of Police, refuse? At what point during the last decade did citizens begin to tell themselves that they had no obligations to the society in which they live? That nobody had the right to tell them what to do – not even the Police? What business is it of theirs if the people of Wellington, their neighbours, need their help?

It has been reported that at least one towie openly declared his support for the protesters encamped on Parliament Grounds. Entirely understandable. The occupiers don’t accept that their government has the right to require their vaccination against Covid-19. Nor do they believe that they owe their fellow citizens even the slightest co-operation in the fight to limit the harm of the virus. That tow-truck driver recognised kindred spirits when he saw them. Andrew Coster and Wellingtonians could go fuck themselves.

Not all the towies were so bloody minded. According to media reports, some of them were just plain scared. They claimed to have been threatened with dire retribution if they allowed their trucks to be used by the Police. Considering those trucks carried the names and phone numbers of their owners, it’s not difficult to understand the impact of such threats. Were someone to burn down a towing company’s premises, torch its trucks, that would be multiple livelihoods lost and a business ruined. Who wouldn’t think twice?

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Such tactics are, however, remarkably effective. I remember reading about Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters’ bitter battles with the trucking companies. The bosses could rely on local politicians, local judges, local editors and local cops to defend them against Hoffa’s strikers. The union was on a hiding-to-nothing, until Hoffa reached out to the Mafia. It only took a few dozen torched trucks for the bosses to get the message. The Teamsters won their improved contract. But the spoon Hoffa took to his dinner with the Devil wasn’t quite long enough. His beloved Teamsters’ Union now belonged to the Mob.

Now you might think that people on the left of New Zealand politics would recognise the danger of holding up the occupation of Parliament Grounds as a praiseworthy assertion of working-class power. As if poverty and marginalisation, frustration and anger, ignorance and credulity are always and everywhere evidence of moral force and progressive intent.

Karl Marx himself recognised the acute political danger inherent in what he called the Lumpenproletariat. According to the Encyclopedia of Marxism, this social formation is composed of the “outcast, degenerated and submerged elements” of industrial society:

“It includes beggars, prostitutes, gangsters, racketeers, swindlers, petty criminals, tramps, chronic unemployed or unemployables, persons who have been cast out by industry, and all sorts of declassed, degraded or degenerated elements. In times of prolonged crisis (depression), innumerable young people also, who cannot find an opportunity to enter into the social organism as producers, are pushed into this limbo of the outcast. Here demagogues and fascists of various stripes find some area of their mass base in time of struggle and social breakdown, when the ranks of the Lumpenproletariat are enormously swelled by ruined and declassed elements from all layers of a society in decay.”

That our society is in decay can hardly be doubted. The events of the past ten days offer ample evidence of just how seriously that decay has weakened New Zealand society. A viable Left, recognising the weakness of the system, and its acute vulnerability to those who would enlist the aid of “gangsters, racketeers, swindlers, petty criminals” would have no hesitation in identifying the so-called “Freedom Convoy” as the reactionary, quasi-fascist, enterprise it has always been.

Alas, New Zealand no longer possesses a viable Left. Identity politics has schooled a whole generation to accept the self-definitions of “oppressed groups” at their face value. Drilling down into the actual character of such groups, and scrutinising their relationship to the ruling class, is not encouraged. Even among those leftists who still acknowledge the primacy of class politics there is a pronounced unwillingness to subject movements like the Freedom Convoy to any kind of rigorous class analysis.

For these leftists, it is enough that the occupiers of Parliament Grounds are, or were, members of the working-class. So desperate are these “revolutionaries” for the slightest hint of revolutionary consciousness that they are willing to overlook the absence of anything remotely resembling a concrete programme for the social and economic emancipation of the working class. The only programme in evidence among the occupiers is the one demanding the instant cessation of all measures aimed at minimising the hurt and suffering of Covid-19.

How self-proclaimed “socialists” could possibly mistake such a noxious potpourri of anti-social attitudes for anything remotely progressive is a mystery. Perhaps it is no more than the curious allure of the demi-monde, coupled with the magnetic eccentricities of the Bohemian temperament, that has led these desperate socialists to mistake reactionaries for revolutionaries. Clearly they have forgotten that Adolf Hitler himself was a Lumpenproletarian. A more “declassed, degraded and degenerated” specimen History has yet to supply!

It was the Italian socialist, Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) who grasped the extraordinary fluidity of reality in periods of acute social stress and political disintegration. Moments in history when the hegemonic explanations of the ruling-class have lost, or are beginning to lose, their power to allay the fears and misgivings of subordinate classes. In such times – and we are living through them now – people are desperate for new and more persuasive narratives about the nature of reality.

Not all of those narratives are addressed to the best that is in human nature. Sorting out the lies of charlatans and demagogues from genuine revolutionary truths isn’t always easy – especially in this age of social-media algorithms. Leftists are often surprised to learn that Mussolini was a socialist before he became a fascist.

Gramsci put it best when he wrote: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

Or, more succinctly: “Now is the time of monsters.”




  1. Except the monsters are at least partially of the the govts own making.

    When you create 2 classes of people, then have no plan about what will happen when the “deplorables” get desperate as personal financial armageddon hits.

    We end up where we are now.

    • Yes where we are today is entirely the result of poor management by the Jacinda Ardern Labour Government.
      Setting New Zealander against New Zealander creating a 2 tier system is naive if not very dangerous.
      Trevor Mallards bully boy tactics backfiring strengthening the resolve of the protesters and encouraging more people to join in.

      • No Jeremy, where we are today is entirely the result of poor political and economic management since 1984 by both Labour and National. It’s called Neoliberalism.
        Your last two sentences are true.

      • I used to love most kiwis, since Jacinda took power I now hate more than I like. I suppose when you create a have and have-not society that is what will happen. Lets hope this failure of a leader loses power in 2023 so we can get back to some sort of normality. I cannot take her fake arrogant condescending smile for much longer.

        • ” I cannot take her fake arrogant condescending smile for much longer

          Same with that shyster Key arrogantly grinning as he constantly deceived people and consistently got away with it.

          Smile on my face , evil on my mind.

            • Have you everheard of ‘projection; a word they use in psychiology NoB?
              Projection in Psychology: Definition, Defense Mechanism …
     › health › projection-psych…
              In psychology, projection refers to placing your own negative traits or unwanted emotions onto others, usually without reason. We’ll dive into why humans do …

            • Oh please stop being a partisan hack. Key was a wanker of the first order, he was the first of the smiling a-holes.

              This is just the same shit with a different face, national and labour are the same liberal wankers they have always been.

                • I know it challenges your bias but absolutely just ask the waitress or the young girl from McGehan Close or those forced to live in cars, or the nurses or teachers underpaid or the hospital infrastructure etc etc …

                  Pat, a 68-year-old retired painter and decorator, remembers the day Key and a clot of media touched down. Key was there to sort-of apologise for having underclass-shamed a street that had allegedly been left to rot under Helen Clark’s uncaring Labour government, and which was a hotbed of crime. Key doubled down on the stunt by taking a local Maori girl, Aroha Ireland, up to the Waitangi Day celebrations a few days later.
                  “It was just a sensational visit,” says Pat. “He made a great show of taking a little girl up north, and we never saw him again. It was just a load of publicity bullshit.”
                  So yes Jezza really!

    • nicely put cricklewood, their pain is real though sadly misdirected….there are so many simple things a majority labour govt could have done but deliberately chose not to.

      • A place for the words of Send in the Clowns. Cleo Laine gives extra meaning with her delivery and you can read the lyrics. Stephen Sondheim had a rather hard time as a youngster but managed to turn his experiences into beautiful and poignant art.

        If we can get rid of the hump and lump just leaving the proletariat bit, we might make something of ourselves and our own, each of us, our wonderful talents. Or we can moan and give up in arid negativity.

        Leftists are often surprised to learn that Mussolini was a socialist before he became a fascist. He showed the way for Roger Douglas then. Roger was working along oldl eftist Labour lines for running the Finance portfolio but within a year or two decided it didn’t pay and swopped chairs at Alice in the Looking Glass’s table, while we played the sleepy Dormouse role.

        Douglas then set us up for the Mad Hatter’s riddle: In the chapter “A Mad Tea Party”, the Hatter asks a much-noted riddle: “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” When Alice gives up trying to figure out why, the Hatter admits “I haven’t the slightest idea!”.

    • Nice use of US Bannon speak. We do not have a two tier society – people have made choices and some people are not prepared to live with the choices they’ve made and want everyone else to do what they want. If I smoke I will smoke in the smokers area at my pub but I’m not going in bitching and intimidating the staff at that pub with a cig in my mouth. I gave up a job offer at a call centre because you have to have random drug test – any of these poor, second class citizens protesting against work drug testing? Suck it up, do what you need to to work in your field or get another job. Or I’m stopping washing my hands next time you eat at my place of work.

        • You don’t have much faith in humankind if you think everyone is indoctrinated just because they make a personal choice.

        • Did you loose your job for smoking or not giving up smoking? Then you are comparing melons to cucumbers. Both in the same family but quite different.

          • Nope – as I said drug testing at a call centre – and for the record the only drugs I take is booze. It was on principle – which is why I changed jobs.

            • indeed some employers circumscribe your life more than jacinda ever could….no cries of outrage from the numpties…wonder why.

  2. Fine words Mr Trotter, a good read for sure. The conspiracy theorists and so called revolutionaries are half right and half wrong. Yes there is a major conspiracy in progress, since the mid 80’s as we all know. But these groups have no idea what it is. Jacinda Ardern a nazi? God help us. I’m slightly impressed by the Convoys determination and organisation but the message is way off track. If this is what a revolution looks like then our neo liberal masters have nothing to fear.

  3. Is it also that so many of these so called woke neo-socialists perfectly epitomised by the student politicians Jacinda, Justin from Ottawa & Grant are completely detached from the reality of life at the edges?

    How many of the currant Labour caucus have a history of living as and amongst the precariat? How many have lived and worked jobs where that dirt gets into your skin so deep it can’t be washed away each night or lived in cold damp homes with no money to pay for food let alone heating?

    I’d venture none, at least from the outside they are all to a person ex teachers or union lawyers.

    They don’t understand, don’t want to and worse, they don’t like these hard nosed, practical and brutally realist people as they confront the woke world view absolutely. Who really cares about pronouns or the alphabet people if you can’t work, get a job or somewhere to sleep at night?

    • I think Orwell wrote, “its not that the left love the poor, insomuch as they hate the rich” I would now add that the left hate both the rich and the poor equally.

      None in Labour or the Greens I imagine have ever been working among the workers on the factory floor. Bolly Socialists, because Chardonnay is so 1990s, the lot of them.

  4. The protestors are not working class. Just spend time watching the livestream.
    The majority are fringe dwellers who have been discarded from society for reasons of ignorance, mental health and radicalization.
    This community has existed long before Covid.

    • correct, recognised a couple from the Far North that live in manky vans and are basically against any state oversight of their lives–Census, home schooling, healthcare, you name it, the COVID rules just sent them right off

    • Jack. The protestors have more upmarket vehicles than many people and have little trouble getting resourced. Some may be fringe, some are unpleasant nutters, some appear affluent – even if not the sort of people who read goodnight stories to their children.

  5. Antonio Gramsci is also arguably (along with the Frankfurt school) the originator of modern leftist identity politics, where culture takes precedence over socio-economics. Good diagnosis, crap prescription.

  6. New Zealand has a cultural background made up by mostly Pacific islanders and Europeans. Of course the public will go into full on wtf mode when woke charlatans attempt to break those iron laws of history.

    There are, I believe, very good reasons why one may break the iron laws of history so to promote the “message” of inclusion and diversity and so on and so on and so on and blah blah blah. One reason is because

    • personally I wouldn’t mind is ‘diversity’ actually improved lives but it’s just lip service to a powerpoint presentation and actually improves the life of precisely no one.

      take the famous wellie rainbow crossing the money could have been spent on a helpline for LGBTQZRVLGGR youth or a drop in centerbut noooooo a virtue signaling photo op is far more important than actually doing something.
      and there is the real disconnect neo-libs think spin still works whilst the actual population are saying ‘bollocks’

      • Kind of like the truth doesn’t matter to me as much as the journey and discovery of the by truth is just way more important in my life opinion.

        In other words the Exploration and discovery of what it is to be human.

  7. I guess a good reason to include oppressed groups is because we’ve been trying to do just that since the signing of the treaty. It’s right there. There’s no need to invent what ever narritive when one already exists.

  8. “Alas, New Zealand no longer possesses a viable Left. Identity politics has schooled a whole generation to accept the self-definitions of “oppressed groups” at their face value. Drilling down into the actual character of such groups, and scrutinising their relationship to the ruling class, is not encouraged. ”

    How true. But NZ no longer possesses LOTS of things essential to a first-world democracy.

    We no longer have a conservative party. The Nats are just another globalist progressive neoliberal party – a more business-friendly version of LINO. All but 8 of the Nats MP’s supported the so-called “Conversion therapy ban” – in reality a Trojan horse for trans ideology.

    We no longer have a functional fourth estate – the MSM is a mouthpiece for globalist prog neoliberalism.

    We no longer have a functional public education system – it has become a system of indoctrination, in which students are taught that people can be “born in the wrong body”, that white males are inherently privileged oppressors, and that we MUST value maatauranga every bit as much as modern biology, chemistry and physics.

    Our universities have been turned into what might be called “Uni-corps”. Teaching is a “product”, and the students are customers. There is a constant striving to lift enrollments, because funding is about the number of bums on seats. And those bums must be kept happy! What do you think has happened to academic standards? No political party has shown the slightest interest in addressing this serious problem – they’re too busy passing woke legislation.

  9. Scaremongering doesn’t work when there’s nothing to be scared of. This article ignores the crux of today’s problem by misrepresenting today’s reality. This article ignores the consistent post-delta trend in covid-19’s mutations into today’s harmless variants. This article misrepresents the “hurt and suffering of Covid-19” by ignoring post-delta data. Any media becomes useful when they start being relevant with actual factual current data instead of regurgitating extinct data which was previously relevant to the almost-extinct delta and now-extinct prior variants of covid-19.

  10. While I don’t support the protest, 6 of the demands (see John Minto’s article) seem reasonable and the others, while extreme libertarian in the context of this pandemic, are hardly foaming-at-the mouth far right.

    To be blunt, conjuring monsters to justify a state crack down on its citizens is a tactic often used by [fill in the blank]

  11. “Were someone to burn down a towing company’s premises, torch its trucks, that would be multiple livelihoods lost and a business ruined. Who wouldn’t think twice?”

    It doesn’t take threats to ruin a business. Just a Red Light lockdown and scared public.

    The government have enforced discrimination. We are seeing the discriminated protesting for their right to not be discriminated against. Only a monster would stand in their way.

    I agree with all the protesters demands, which seem eminently reasonable. The government response has caused such damage that it will take generations to repair. Any further division caused by opinions like yours which serve to “other” the protesters will only make things worse.

    Listen to the disenfranchised and give them hope. It is the only way forward. They are not asking for anything other than their rights as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights Act 1990, which has been all but binned in the name of a flu.

    • So right, Glen. The world is now upside down. Try telling people just 10 years ago that protestors would camp on parliamentary grounds demanding that their human rights, as stated under the Bill Of Rights Act 1990, be upheld. The right to bodily autonomy and the right to work. At the very least, those people from ten years ago, upon hearing that, might reply… “what sort of a tyrannical govt would invoke such discrimination?”.

      • Yes Jiminy and Glen I agree.
        Jacinda Arderns Labour Government have split our country and now different factions are beginning to hate one another.
        That’s a disgraceful place to find ourselves.
        Change has to come.

  12. Wow Chris really doesn’t get it does he. He needs to go down and meet some protesters, hear their concerns and get to know them. CT comes across as an old man yelling at the moon

    • Here’s a project for you Straight Edge. Go there put put your phone on ‘record’ and capure their concerns, play back in a quiet space, then share your insights will others.

      • I have been to all the chch protests and to the freedom camp for hours on end so I think I have a good grasp on things tbh

        sure you will get the odd loon but thats the same with whatever group you want to get involved with. The majority of people just want the mandates to end and them being able to work

    • He saw them quite well from his ivory tower.

      I love his Dad’s criticism of Marx works. He basically calls him out for having been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and having no idea what he is talking about.

      All of Marx predictions have been wrong

    • Marx was an economist and philosopher….’It is certainly hard to find many thinkers who can be said to have had comparable influence in the creation of the modern world.’-(Stanford Encyc)

    • straight – about the same as the saxe-coburg-gothas or any career politician in any political party you care to name.

  13. Chris, how much more contempt have you for opinions that don’t align to yours? Your assumptions about who the protesters are and what they are asking for show a classic elitist Leftist viewpoint, “What those prols down there don’t accept our views and natural leadership?”
    They then get labelled “quasi fascists”. Well done Chris, watch the Left haemorrhage, no wonder a large chunk of the prols rejects the Left.

    • Who said “We must all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”? Oh yes,
      Benjamin Franklin who could talk the talk. It seems that you are losing both the talk and ability to walk NickJ.
      Can’t we play nicely and talk and try and recognise the pros and cons of each argument?

  14. I spent a some hours at Christchurch’s Freedom camp yesterday and it was a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, People cooking up food, kids running around playing, people chatting with each other and making new friends.

    There was organisation: toilets, tents, kitchens. No rowdy behaviour apart from when someone turned up and announced there was ice cream for everyone and the kids went crazy.

    There were also people from all walks of life, some vaccinated some not, all races, creeds and colours. A real cross section of society. I would say the largest group represent though were from the financially poorer sections of society but who knows I can’t tell a persons bank balance by looking at them.

    People kept rolling up with donations of gear and food and sometimes even money. Passing cars honked in support.

    I spoke to one lady: it was her first time as part of the freedom movement and I asked her what made her join. She said she had already been vaccinated twice in order to keep her job as a mental health worker and both times she had had side effects. Now her work was saying no booster no job and that was the straw that broke the camels back and down to the camp she came.

    This is the reality of the protest: organic, heart felt. No Qanon money, no roaming bands of fascists and neo nazis, no spitting at passers by.

    intellectuals and critics like Chris Trotter have really read this protest wrong and I really think they need to go down and spend some time with these people and hear their stories.

    “reactionary, quasi-fascist” says chris of the protests. I say you are wrong Chris.

    • Apologies Straight Edge. You ARE talking to the dissenters, though not those in Wellington. Much the same crowd it seems. Yes, no doubt a diverse group. Keep it up. Talking to more than one person will give you a better picture. What are their SHARED concerns? What are the outliers?

      • shared concerns:
        the mandates arehurting people and their time is up.
        personal choice over what one puts into their body is a fundamental right
        pro choice
        politicians are out of touch
        msm bias

        etc etc

        • And I’d say you are right, XstraightXedgeX , as I’ve been at Wellington and shortly will be there again. An accurate observation of the same things I saw. As for the many false media reports?,… let us remember in every large protest there will always be the agent provocateurs to discredit and smear.

    • Apologies Straight Edge. So you HAVE been talking to the dissenters, albeit not the ones in Wellington. I suggest though talk to more than ONE person. Talking to more would give you a clearer picture.

      Simon Wilson in the Tuesday edition of the NZ Herald had a column on who these folk (in Wellington) might be, although granted it is unlikely he talked to anyone present. Like Chris Trotter he takes, in your view, an intellectualised view of it all. But like Trotter, he finds a place for “reactionary, quasi-fascists” in his analysis. In Wilson’s view – and this has more or less been said befdore by others, this blog included – there are three groups involved: the FRC /Destiny Church supporters; the American far-right/ Kelvin Alp followers; and your garden-variety, ‘ordinary’ kiwi.

      Well, you might not agree but that’s a hypothesis you can test in your further conversations at ChCh’s Freedom camp. Talking to those on Parliment grounds would be preferable though.

      • The American far right
        How do you know that?
        It’s a smokescreen conveniently used particularly by Jacinda Ardern.
        A diversion useful to those who obfuscate.

        • You’re right. I don’t really know. Categorisation is a fraught activity. Perhaps I was meaning what HC referred to as ‘the deplorables’, those folk that are simply pissed off that the state no longer serves their interests (not new of course). Those who have been given a good kicking at the boots of self-serving polititians. Sounds familiar, eh. A good many of these so-called deplorables in the US appear to support the far right, influenced by extremists, whatever, but arguably a good many are of the garden gnome variety, left, right and centre, so-called ordinary folk with a beef. To be sure, there must be quite a few folk in little ol’ NZ who feel fucked over. The public health response to Covid-19 – orchestrated by an authoritarian govt, dammed if they do, dammed if they don’t – is just a catalyst / vehicle for their growing resentment. Sound famliar, eh.

    • straight – I ‘spoke’ to someone who told me…..blah blah blahhhh de blahhh
      and that has as much value as the ‘anecdotes’ that are your rhetorical go to.

  15. We need an exit strategy for the mandates.
    The yellow belly sneetches have had their lives ruined.
    The disturbing thing for me is the disingenuous attitude of Jacinda and the total unwillingness to engage.
    It really is a bastard when David Seymour is the practical voice of reason.

    • “As the “freedom convoy” sparks an unlikely global movement, police in Canada have started to make arrests. But how has it come to this, and is the trend of by leaders of deriding protesters the way to solve this obvious societal tensions? ”
      Trucker Protest Goes Global – “Hold The Line!”

      • Good link, Matt Taibbi along with the likes of Glenn Greenwald is one of a relatively small number of journalists who can call balls and strikes with clarity and without favour.

        They should be rockstar journalists of the (traditional) left if what passes for the left could get its head out of it’s collective ass.

  16. The image in the media of Mallard sneering from the balcony in Parliament was all we to see to understand that the establishment ‘Left’ no longer represents the working class. The left today consists of a university half-educated middle class. Teachers and government drones mostly. In years gone by they’ve have been described as Tories.

    Few of these New Left people have ever worked with their hands. None have spent a day in the sun with a shovel. Few have had dirt under their finger nails. Most can’t start a lawnmower and none could be trusted to use a chainsaw. They regard actual workers as ‘untermenchen’, if we’re going to make historic references.

  17. Ga dang !
    When we write about the ‘Left’ and the ‘Right’ what do we really mean?
    Most hope we mean two basic political factions of good people vying for who can best serve ‘ we , the people’ best. What a lovely thought, right?
    Ok. Now lets ponder the golem of bankster delight, milton friedman.
    milton, all 1.52 meters of it.
    [It] must have made quite the impression on one of its disciples, the dreaded roger douglas. Two little men with the smell of other people’s money in their nostrils.
    They quickly learned that by removing the humanness from human beings they could effectively harvest humans of their time alive on Earth and thanks to a corrupted and all bought and paid for sms they could do their dirty work in broad daylight. They learned to set people up, then suck them dry and all the while the people whom they were sucking dry were made to feel beholding to them. Compliant, actually.
    You must watch this film. I worked with the writer/director.
    “Compliance is a 2012 American thriller film written and directed by Craig Zobel, based upon a strip search phone call scam that took place in Mount Washington, Kentucky, in which the caller, posing as a police officer, convinced a restaurant manager to carry out unlawful and intrusive procedures on an employee.”
    Sooner or later, however, some people started to realise that [something] was going on.
    Some, like our current emotionally deviant crop of politicians try to keep the milton alive and well in our exhausted hearts and confused minds while others, like me, do their best to alert people, the human, human beings to the ever present dangers that milton and roger set loose on us.
    People, like the ever wonderful Chris Trotter, think/hope that the traditional Left is still here and now. They hope that M.J. Savage is looking wistfully over the shoulders of we, the human, human beings.
    He’d be wrong.
    Today? “Labour” is merely a word. The Labour Party is a meaningless reference to a political mother-father politic that was stabbed in the back then buried in a shallow grave at the end of a lonely road.
    Fast forward to the 21st century…
    ‘New’ Labour is a con.
    Everything we see and believe about our AO/NZ politics generally is a con. But with regards to Labour, the con is particularly bitter for the human, human being, which is most of us, who look to Labour as a sign of hope in a time of hopelessness. Terrifyingly, New Labour is old fashioned fascism.
    I read on RNZ that david seymour, roger douglas’s blood boy, turned up to save the day in Wellington.
    Covid-19: Seymour starts own negotiations with protesters
    ‘ Ground Swell’ and ‘Ag Action’ ?
    Do people really fall for that shit? Obviously, they do.
    Money fetishist fascist criminals have had National by their Blue Balls since the early 1900’s and since then they’ve been feasting on farmer money.
    All they had to do then was to parasitise Labour to cleave a division between rural people and their money and the city people with their numbers thus removing all possibility of revolt and revolution, which they did.
    A course of action? Follow the money from our primary industry, then follow it back again. See where it comes from, then see where it goes, then understand why we have the working poor, homeless people and hungry kids. Aye boys?

  18. “… reality seems to have gone AWOL, leaving behind only a noisy collection of competing narratives”.

    Your best line ever, Chris!

  19. We don’t have a left represented in parliament anymore, Labours beliefs match National, they’re National but more useless.

    The Greens represent the middle class Twitter society and wokedom.

    And as for the police, dear oh dear oh dear, a shadow of it’s former self. It appears it’s leadership are very very uncomfortable with the coercive nature of policing and quite out of their depth. Their “plan”, if it can be called that, is hoping and praying to the stars above the protesters will get bored and go away.

    Meanwhile the government look toward them, equally hoping and praying the commissioner they appointed will grow a pair, probably knowing deep down and with regret that it ain’t going to happen. And so by association they too are powerless and equally impotent, stuck in no man’s land, looking increasingly powerless!

    And what message does this broadcast to society? Do what you want!

    The optics for this government and its ability to enforce its will are terrible!

  20. And what happens after the labour party collapses shortly?

    The Comrades and their infiltrators planted within the apparatchik will take over the party and government!

    Classic Leninist ‘Revolutionary” Putsch! Harrah!

  21. Do you really believe they are lumpenprole working for a fascist conspiracy to take over NZ? I just think they have had enough of being shit on from up high and would burn their own demagogues if they they so much as stepped out of line, Tiger by the tail, Wolf by the ears and the like.

    • Lumpenprole is just another one of those elite-leftist terms that once had a sinister and specific meaning (like ‘nazi’ or ‘fascist’) but is now thrown around like derogatory-confetti meaning ‘morally bad’ or ‘unclean’. Tainted people can be excommunicated, thus relieving the elite of any moral responsibility to address their concerns. Indeed as Seymour (of all people!) demonstrates, it is sinful to even talk to them.

      Pseudo-religious tribalism.

  22. “Even though it is his sworn duty, the Commissioner of Police, Andrew Coster, has made it frighteningly clear to the public that he lacks both the will and the means to assert the state’s authority.”

    “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Coster could have gone in right at the outset of course with batons and shields and tear gas. He would have showed the will and the means to assert the state’s authority. That would have had him the monster.

    The choice Chris: would you prefer him to play it as he sees fit with the complex dynamics or have had him go in right from the outset with the ‘smash’em’ model?

    It touches of the wider attitude to dealing with crime. The “Lock em up, throw away the key” mentality is pretty widespread. Of course prisons work only in limited makeshift ways but they do away with the immediate need to find real solutions. (There’s been discussion in the US about California since 1980 building 22 new prisons and 4 universities. Has it solved problem with crime?)

    So, we have no faith in Coster to deal with a situation which he knows more about than any of us. He should resign. His successor? There are plenty of options. I appreciate there could be many off the list since taking up positions in as epidemiologists and modellers, board members of NZRugby, road design engineers and vaccine researchers.

    The nuances and logistics of the situation in Wellington would be a piece of piss for any of us.

    • What is the purpose of the police? My take is that Mr Trotter is concerned that the police are no longer feared, they are not in control, they have lost community support. The Policing Act 2008 has a few functions for them….but I’m unsure what the focus is in wellington
      s.9 Functions of Police
      The functions of the Police include—
      (a)keeping the peace:
      (b)maintaining public safety:
      (c)law enforcement:
      (d)crime prevention:
      (e)community support and reassurance:
      (f)national security:
      (g)participation in policing activities outside New Zealand:
      (h)emergency management.

  23. ” I just think they have had enough of being shit on from up high ”

    Yeah I hear many economic refugees saying exactly that !!!

  24. Shout outs to Tui and Glen’s points from me.

    Tui raises omicron transmission stats in the presence of highly vaccinated populations – the assumptions underlying CT’s position on these issues. Other countries are taking other public heath choices on account of those stats. We might debate why – perhaps we might allege political reasons in the UK or the like – but the point is we might debate it. The government here brooks no debate on these things, but will not put up its continuing justification for the mandates. The answer is dialogue.

    Glen raises the stuff around threats to towie business, and so gets towards the assumptions underlying CT’s position on these issues. CT’s unstated assumption is that the threats to towies have been legitimate, and important in the towie reluctance to tow relative to other things. How do we know any of that? I don’t – I’m not on FB or TikTok or Grinder or whatever. All of the stuff in the past two years of characterising protests etc as “peaceful” “violent”, then adding “mostly” according to whether you want to justify or demonise the cause – all of it is rubbish. Not nuanced enough. Steven Cowan’s comment on this yesterday was a good attempt at the necessary level of nuance for the issue. The answer re towies is probably to go have a yarn with as many towies as poss – and see if a pattern of meaningful threats meanigfully influencing their decisions emerges. Hats off to CT if he’s done this, otherwise his argument rests on a second debatable assumption.

    All that and more is underneath CT’s essential allegation that people have mistaken selfishness for public-spiritedness, and been prepared to use violence to implement their incohate programme. So come on all – let’s work through it. The answer is going to be found in the revelatory power of … dialogue.

  25. Sinole. The police in wellington can buy 5 tow trucks set up a section run by police, then tell the Tow companies to go screw themselves. Now and in the future. There is more than enough work to keep them busy and would likely even make a profit (relative to what they pay companies now)or at least be neutral cost.
    By refusing to tow these car the tow companies are biting the hand that feeds them.
    The cowards will tow a pregnant ladies car and leave her miles from home without a second thought.
    They could easily cover their advertising with police stickers and just bloody do it.

  26. The left wring their hands and wonder how it ever came to this. Jacinda Ardern wanted to run the show so she surrounded herself for the most part by people she could manipulate. Where is Poto Williams.. invisible. where are any timely decisions on anything. Where is anyone who can make a decision. Costa is only there because JA wanted him there. a useless puppet. This forum hated everything about Judith Collins but you all know that if she had the police port folio that protest would last weeks news. You can have all the philosophical arguments you like but in the end just get people who can actually do something to run our country.

  27. Some of the protesters are what would have ben classed as working class NZers (left) – however these protesters (excluding the White Power maggots) havent left the left – the left left them and did so nearly 40 years ago with the 1984 Labour Govt. The Ardern Government has/ is conservative middleclass and there actions in rewarding the rich during this pandemic is a fucking disgrace. 10m to AJ Hackett – Dont see to many millionares protesting. The first time any party in Government under MMP has had a majority and they have missed the oppurtunity to push through real changes for the working poor, housing and our health system and all they can come up with is FPA that wont work, income insurance scheme the low paid workers cant afford, stopping the right to free speech and a fucking cycle way across a bridge for the north shore wanker brigade on their 5k bikes. And we are asking why are some of the working class protesting. The Greens dont get off free either – we need a real political movement that has core principles of a socialist society where all are treated equally and with respect.

  28. Chris these deplorable motley crew are gutless cowards as they have strategically placed babies and children among themselves thus ensuring the police and army will not move them on in case they are hurt or killed. Similarly, the police/army can not move any cars will the owners in them. At least with trumps attack on capital hill i never saw any children or babies.

  29. You, Mr Chris Trotter, have always been ( and always will be) one of my most respected teachers of political history, I have not studied history formally, ( I love the study of history! , – such a fool I have been in not going to varsity!) but I will always remember you on parliament steps being interviewed after the 4th Labour govt’s second election win. You were circumspect yet your heart for the people and the ramifications for the working people were clear. It bode them ill will. I was a young man at the time and I thought ‘finally, a man who speaks the truth in all the chaos’. Yet my teacher, I find it is time ( at least temporarily) for us to depart in different directions.

    I have spent time at the protest, I have seen first hand the people involved. They are not AT ALL like the govt and media have portrayed, in fact, there is lie after lie being told about them. They are not all working class. They are a diverse group, from middle class to working class for the most part.

    And a word on the archetypical ‘hippies’. You know as well as I do, that more often than not , it is these folk who tend to form the vanguard of such movements. A profile could easily be made of them,…yet in their defense,… it is exactly these same personality types who would have marched in the great 1913 strike, in the 1951 watersiders strike, during the Vietnam war and the springbok tours of 1981. Extrapolate that to the English civil war and innumerable conflicts before and after…

    Where would we be without these loud, brash courageous types in history? Still under the jack boot of overly authoritarian , autocratic and elitist rule. A ‘rule’, an order,… which suffers no dissension or deviation from its assumed mandate.

    I would say that these prior generations paid for their freedoms we now enjoy and take for granted with their very and literal blood. We are the benefactors of these courageous forbearers who gave so much. A common sentiment as I attended the protest in Wellington was ‘ I cannot stand to see these people enduring such conditions , these lies and slurs, this inclement weather and not stand with them’

    It was a ‘call to arms’. Yet not those of bullets and bombs, but the message of peace, humility, forbearance and forgiveness. What you have been fed are lies. It is a denigrative, smear campaign carefully crafted to project and illustrate those opposing the governmental narrative. Pick any period of history, any contemporary narrative and you will see the same tactics used and deployed.

    I think, at least on this issue, you are on the wrong side of history regards this pseudo pandemic, regards heavy handed governmental authority and its misuse. As despite the issues for and against this ‘pandemic’, this is becoming a crises of what exactly is , and defined,… as a democracy and just what role does the common citizen expect to play and at what point also does she / he overstep the mark. Just what are the parameters of our freedom, and just who are the arbiters of that definition of freedom.

    These are among the reasons I will be going back down indefinitely come the Friday.

  30. Call me pedantic but on day 2 they could have had towie’s trucks on the job with the names and phone numbers blanked out, special number plates on and masked/disguised drivers if they were THAT worried. That was my thought from the hamlet of Napier.
    Anyone would maybe think I had had training in security or subterfuge.

    • Scary. Black cars, blacked out windows, black dressed unpatched unidentifiable masked men. Removing troublesome people from their homes in the night.
      Chile during Pinochet.

  31. Chris makes some quite valid points but I think the truth is somewhere between the two sides here. It is true that successive governments have brought us here and it is also true that social cohesion has gone out the window and that the existing ‘power’ systems are no longer in control. People no longer have faith in the government or the police – they have proven themselves ideologues first and defenders of the common good, last.

    From the mid Clark years, its been apparent to me that what NZ desperately needs is to build more low income housing. Its simplistic I know, but when people have a stable and adequate roof over their heads they have room to grow personally and as a family and as a community.

    Many things changed with Rogernomics but the biggest impact of those changes was on housing (and the rort that is private property ownership for gain) and I remember thinking that as house prices doubled back then, that Clarke would step in and do something but no, as my husband said, she wants the votes, she will never allow house prices to fall and this has proved to be the same with each government since. It worsened significantly with the massive sell offs and a permanent reduction in the ratio of state housing and has brought us to where we are today.

    I have written JA about this a few times since she has been in government. And I imagine thousands more worthy than me have done so too but as we have seen in 4 years there was no priority or urgency put on this and now Robbo tells us, its a 40 year problem that will go away in time.

    You do have to take from this that our whole system of government is wrong and that without radical democratic change things will only get worse. Given that the government must also be aware of this, you begin to wonder when you see many of these same issues and behaviours right across the world, is this all part of a ‘downfall of Rome’ type scenario or is there an agenda we are not privy to?

  32. It is not misunderstanding protestors intent or naivety about their politics that has middle class lefties like me expressing a conciliatory tone is a desire to be kind and empathetic because I have the choice to do that sitting here on my fat, comfortable, vaxed, middle-class arse.
    Also, the lumpen proletariat are the economically dispossessed and they have no options or choices about how they survive – this doesn’t make them evil or bad people. In the quote Marx is not being disparaging, he factually is listing the economic status of those with nothing. Marx points out that many of these people are young and have been unable to find opportunity – indicting that he clearly doesn’t see them as inherently bad people.
    This is relevant to the the protestors who – we should all remember – are fellow NZer’s who decided not to get vaccinated for what ever reason and some have lost jobs, business, family and friend ships etc. and it’s ok to have empathy for that – especially if your a middle-class leftie.
    The economic impact to these people should have been, and still can be, repaired by offering those a UBI type payment until the mandates are lifted. Thousands of social houses and relief from private landlords would also make a massive difference as stated by Zombi.
    That’s how a smart, woke, socialist government with kind and empathetic leadership would respond. The utes parked on Wellingtons precious roads and the degenerates peeing on the expensively manicured parliament lawns would be gone in days.

    • Yes agree, except; a lot of the protesters are vaccinated like me, but strongly disagree with the government’s illegal actions of vaccine mandates, and in my opinion the government’s illegal authoritarian rules that deny NZ citizens the right to return home.

      • Yes, and whatever happened to the U.N’s thing about all human beings have the right to refuse medication they don’t want?… I guess Adern got rejected by them and wont get the position in the U.N Aunty Helen did…

  33. They are just ordinary Kiwis upset with the events of the past two years culminating with the vaccine measures. That’s the long and short of it.

    • I agree. However misguided some of their information and rhetoric may be many will have suffered significant losses as a consequence of the vaccine mandates.

  34. One ought not quote Marx as though the outworking of his ideas was in any way successful. If Marx suggests that the lumpen proletariat includes “beggars, prostitutes, gangsters, racketeers, swindlers, petty criminals, tramps, chronic unemployed or unemployables, persons who have been cast out by industry, and all sorts of declassed, degraded or degenerated elements” one ought to question if Marx is correct. This is a rather poor description of the protestors in Wellington. Pop down and you’ll see. Suit or civvies, you’ll meet all sorts and be richer for it. If people matter to one, if one can hold ones tongue – the conversations I had were about job losses, business owners who couldn’t visit their accountants, holders of council contracts, and Fontana contracts and all get-out who couldn’t work, mid-wives letting down clients, police & teacher couples who were both now unemployed, granny’s lonely death, grandpas lonely dementia, little Johnny excluded from after school boxing although he sits on the school bus with the same boys, little Jenny who can no longer do highland dancing though the class is one-to-one. Back to Marx – indeed ‘cast out of industry’ and ‘de-classed’ might be fair. Having left my comfortable tertiary educated inheritance acquired comfortable lifestyle to join the protest for a week, over-whelmingly the heart-issue was to avoid jabbing the grand-children and children. And the employment loss due to the rejection PCR tests (in this country, though not overseas). Marx has never been the full story, and he has always co-opted by the elite. Best not to quote him at length, or as gospel, unless one is entrenching oneself in the elite. It’s a bad look.

    • I think the article misuses the quote from Marx in an attempt to cajole lefties into viewing the protestors as bad people. But I don’t believe that is what Marx is saying and as you point out the protestors are not in this category anyway. See my comment above.

    • and the Bolsheviks were so middle class it ached, hate to say it but only stalin and his coterie were actually genuinely working class.

      and before anyone gets uppity look up the biographys of ‘lenins closest comrades’ -bourgeois to a man, why? because the middle class make revolutions the proletariat make the mob necessary for the revolution…until it isn’t.

  35. PROBABLY a something to that ilcs, but they did have such lovely big grounds ripe for property development….if ‘care in the community’ was actually real it may have helped but it wasn’t/isn’t
    ..end result? cops are now mental health workers.

  36. gagarin
    You do keep bringing up the known stuff that the vast majority wants to remain unknown; seeing past it in wilful blindness. Most of us have batteries that have run down, but you keep yours charged. Uou are a light in the darkness I reckon, and power to your elbow.

  37. naw grey man I was just lucky to be born at a time when a decent education (except spelling in my case!) was possible for the working classes….but ta for your kind words

  38. What disappoints me about the official Left in America in the last 5 years is their endless pot-shots against the endlessly pot-shottable Right and complete unwillingness to do anything positive for the people, which produced the problem in the first case. Our democracy has a little more force but must act pro-actively for the people now or lose that. I can’t say it all comes from ’84 but that didn’t help and I think Scandinavia is stronger for being more democratic.

    One of the sadder moments from America was Stephen Colbert, who gave a softy interview to Henry Kissenger, off-handedly saying about Bernie Sanders ‘I loved that guy’. Sanders is the spirit of justice, the last hope for America and dismissed by a guy who’s views always have to square with his corporate employers who prevent a full defence against fascism.

  39. I expect that was a criticism of Minto. The last time we interacted on this you were doing Minto’s view and I was suggesting the important part of the unregulated internet’s flood of info to folk who’d never seen nor sought out such a thing as an idea. I suppose we’re stupid when we do this swop around when both thoughts are relevant.

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