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The Standard

Voices and Power

Written By: - Date published: 1:41 pm, February 28th, 2014 - 13 comments
Categories: International, Media, news, newspapers - Tags: , , ,

Our mainstream media is essentially an assembly line of propaganda that routinely renders complex foreign events down to simple and misleading binaries of ‘us’ versus ‘them’. So with regards to the Ukraine, events are reported in terms of defeat or victory for either ‘them’, Russia or ‘us’,  ‘the west’.

The same simplistic playbook has been rolled out to explain tumult in Syria and Egypt and Libya…’good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ – ‘white hats’ and ‘black hats’.

However, a little simple but critically aware google searching, allied with a willingness to read more than a couple of hundred words, reveals something altogether different to what our media would have us believe constitutes the main elements and drivers behind increasingly frequent popular uprisings taking place in various countries.

Ukraine being a case in point, the two pieces I’ve linked to below are illustrative of  a gulf that exists between people writing, ostentatiously at least, from a leftist perspective. (I’ve also linked to a list of other articles the respective authors have penned that, I’m sure, would reinforce the point)

In one piece, “Ukraine, Revolution or Coup”, we find Richard Greeman offering quite thought provoking and in-depth analyses/arguments and elevating ‘street level’ perspectives and concerns.

In the other “Recipe for revolt: what do Ukraine, Turkey and Thailand have in common?”  we have the depressingly familiar liberal apologist, this time in the shape of Simon Tisdall   writing in ‘The Guardian’, couching argument and analysis deep within the defeatist framework of an orthodoxy that would have us focus almost exclusively on institutional power and treat ourselves; our motivations, our thoughts and our aspirations as, at best, a fleeting afterthought.

I don’t claim to have any deep knowledge of what is happening on the ground in the Ukraine. Neither do I have any deep knowledge on what the various motivations of people were, from Argentina to Egypt to Tunisia, or of what people, rather than institutions and their media mouthpieces, deemed important in those and other situations.

All I know is that liberal commentators, routinely presenting popular uprisings as a cause for angst rather than hope, doffing their caps to established authority,  promoting simplistic ‘us’ versus ‘them’ narratives while peddling tired old clichés about ‘the good guys’ and ‘the bad guys’ are themselves (if such rigid dichotomies are to be used) very much one of ‘them’.

13 comments on “Voices and Power”

  1. aerobubble 1

    As China installs the necessary infrastructure to build state encroachment of the home, the
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World, so ACT cozies up to National. National whose China adoration is without flaw. How can ACT argue its libertarian stances yet will willingly hold up a National pro-China led government? Its doesn’t make sense.

  2. Tim 2

    “When did the left leave the left? Or, perhaps more accurately, why do we continue to regard liberals as being of the left?”

    That’s a bloody interesting question Bill.
    I’d say around the time the Chicago School and its disciples and various others under the guise of ‘liberalism’ (in general – economic and social) managed to invent, collect and develop a series of ideas that eventually became labelled as ‘neo-liberalism’. NOT JUST an ideology, but a way of life that not only captured economic ‘theory’ (unproven at the time), but also social and cultural mores. It so corrupted the language that you had liberalism (without question) capturing the progressive, and all that goes with it.
    Even David Lange, when he saw the damage and decided to ‘have a cup of tea’ stated that the programme was akin to a religion (as opposed to an ideology – take your pick which is worse).
    It saw old trade unionists – trading on left wing creds and various fights (I’m thinking Boilermakers, Tramways Union et al) exercising their sense of entitlement, clipping the ticket whilst driving their way home to panoramic views of Wellington, stopping off and abusing Indian dairy owners in Hawker Street along the way – all as though they were God’s gift to humanity and ‘concerned’ about the underdog workers.
    It saw Tramways Union officials aligning themselves with this new (self-destructive) ideology/religion, and trading on it to this very day from what I hear.
    It saw the son of a Hill becoming a landLORD (with emphasis on the latter sylable), swanning around Ponsonby with the same sense of entitlement, arrogance and supposed expertise in all things ‘left’ – in much the same way a Hooton does these days for “the right” – unchallenged, and unevaluated critically or logically. I’m afraid Toby is probably still rolling in his grave.

    It’s way past time the left (and I mean the political class, the pundits, the self-appointed experts, the “I paid me dues and so I’m therefor entitled”) ekshly got their LEFT back before they become irrelevant. It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn, and it’s a new generation that – although they’ve never SAMPLED or LIVED a genuine alternative whereby their is a sense (and benefits thereof) of ‘community’, compassion, collective, etc…… realise that there has been three decades of BS and failed ideology that’s created a legacy they’re now expected to pick up the tab for.

    (No wonder the likes of Bradbury and other screamers have a dislike for those of my vintage).

    mmmm …. the ABC club, its adherents and defenders – it’s almost like they’re the new ‘nouveau riche’ (aspirational darling). Their only defense really is that they’re not QUITE as bad as the Torys – who’ve shown they hardly have two original ideas to rub together and can ONLY rely on failed ideology, whilst still not realising they can’t take it with them; or that they’re the subject of ridicule by their own ‘old guard’ (some of who would be rolling in their graves – I’m thinking the likes of Holyoake and the like), etc.
    …… I mean!!!! FFS Jenny and Burton!
    ……… Ruth bloody Richardson (Limited)
    ………… etc.
    …………….etc.
    LOL – then there’s John frikken Key ffs! A guy that’s actually feigning hardship growing up (in a comparative sense).
    Do NZers swallow might be a better question than the one you’ve posed.
    Why yes they do

    • Tim 2.1

      Oh btw …. all the above I suspect is something McCarten understands and recognises. Which is why I’ve decided Labour might just get an electorate vote. Not quite a Party one just yet until they prove themselves. But yea – they’re on their way, and they’re certainly putting the shits up ‘the right’

      Just in case they’re interested – there’s a VERY VERY simple way to restore a 4th Estate and Public Sphere, and fuck over that little monopoly.
      It’s so bleeding obvious, I’m surprised that, come a change in government, ….
      Obviously SKY, Paddy et al haven’t thought of it yet (though rest assured there are various that have).
      …… mmmmmmm maybe Paddy has – which would account for his abscences.
      I’d be getting my CV together if I were some of them.

  3. Tigger 3

    Part of the problem is that corporate influence is overlooked/covered up. Corporations and big money meddle in politics all the time but are rarely unmasked.

    • karol 3.1

      That, Tigger, and the way the US government intervenes to try to get the kind of government it wants – in the interes of both their power, and the corporates.

      As explained in this article: “How the Media Got Played … Again – The US Played Hardball Against Ukraine…and the EU”

    • Bill 3.2

      Well sure, the influence of ‘big money’ and corporate agendas are ignored. But that doesn’t explain why liberal commentators genuflect before established authority and never wander from ‘official’ explanations or analyses for popular protests – or why they happily demonise leaders of genuinely left wing governments (Venezuela being only the most obvious example) – or why they keep on this bullshit about ‘bad’ Russia in relation to the Ukraine, thereby implying that the EU or/and the US are somehow benevolent.

      Ever read a liberal columnist (note – columnist, not an occasional opinion column) that calls the European Union, the US, Chinese and Russian establishments for the pack of bastards that they all are? I haven’t.

      Seems that in the world of the ‘intelligent’ liberal, the bastards are all permanently based in Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela…and then sometimes Syria or Libya or wherever the benevolent establishment so beloved by them is thinking of bringing its iron fist to bear promoting womens’ rights and democracy and cotton candy freedom for everybody.

      And they never give voice to our concerns…just those of the benevolent masters, their institutions and their worry and fear over the unwashed (us!) being unleashed.

  4. Lloyd 4

    I guess the “left” got lost when the neo-liberals (neo-fascists?) claimed to be “centre-right”.

    • aerobubble 4.1

      I can see it soon, a jury will haggle over whether someone was committing burglary when they entered and stole from a enclosed yard, and it will hang on whether the gate was open at the time. Being a third strike the cost to the tax payers of this subtle difference will be huge when the young person ends up in jail for the rest of their natural life (or whatever nasty punishment the ACT go for). Instead of dealing to the poverty that led to the criminal gangs, and on to a criminal life (because its not measured properly) and a job paying taxes, the ACT party want to press our youth into yet more four heavily taxpayer paid for walls. Its dumber than dumb, pure fascism, IMO.

  5. adam 5

    Bill just for clarity. Are you saying liberal as in liberalism?

    And by liberalism – I mean the method of thought and ideology.

    • Bill 5.1

      I’m meaning ‘liberal’ as in Chris Hedges ‘Death of the Liberal Class’- not right wing neo-liberalism or any such like. (sigh) Fuck the US (clarification – those in the US who are responsible) for allowing such a twisted and confusing bastardisation of language and meaning to gain traction!

      Liberal as in the English sense, not the US sense.

      • thechangeling 5.1.1

        I thought i was just coming to terms with the concept of liberal, liberalism classical liberalism and neo liberalism (not to mention social and then economic liberalism and democratic liberalism). It seems I’m back to the drawing board again.
        These terms seem to get used far too liberally for most people to get their heads around!

  6. swordfish 6

    Although it varies somewhat from Country to Country, I would suggest Chomsky and Herman got it more or less right…….

    Corporate financial interests of media owners / the interests of the advertisers funding the media / Senior journalists seeing themselves as a key part of the elite (and often emerging from a privileged establishment backgound – BBC staff are, for instance, disproportionately from Oxbridge backgrounds) / A corporate media system that strongly selects these editors and senior journalists for their compliant views / the media’s inherent symbiotic relationship with powerful political and economic elites (as news sources and interpreters who set the agenda) / Threats, pressure and punitive action from Lobby groups set up by elites = all means that criticism of the (domestic or foreign policy) status quo by Liberal journalists and Liberal media outlets occur within very tightly circumscribed parameters: at best, they reluctantly internalise the limits of dissent acceptable to established interests, thereby practising self-censorship.

    And so even at the supposedly “liberal” Guardian and supposedly “neutral” BBC, you get coverage that’s often systematically biased toward the official British and US framing of events. So often, the BBC, for instance, comes across as an unofficial spokesman for British Military / Foreign Policy interests.

    And I might add that the New Zealand media rely heavily on British and US sources. The DOMPOST, for example, relies almost entirely on Murdoch’s THE TIMES and the former Conrad Black vehicle THE DAILY TELEGRAPH for its news and opinion pieces on world events.

  7. captain hook 7

    Liberals and their allies try and portray communism and capitalism as two polar entities when they are two different beast entirely.
    Liberals say that anyopposition to them is communism while those on the left are just as intent as anyone else in gathering up as much stuff as they can.
    goods trump ideology anyday.
    It is up to the left to protect the values and the well being of the masses and not to indulge in useless turf wars with the destroyers of the envirnoment and the exploiters of anything they can get their hands on.

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    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    3 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    3 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    3 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    4 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    4 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    4 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    1 week ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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