Are the left really angry?

Written By: - Date published: 10:14 am, May 17th, 2015 - 51 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, journalism, labour, Left, making shit up, Media, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, uk politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: , , , , , ,

still protesting this shit

The latest right wing meme is that angry left activists cost Labour the English Election as well as the last local election and if only they were more moderate and reasonable everything would have been fine.  This analysis of course ignores completely the result in Scotland where the feisty angry nationalists who opposed the wasting of money on the renewal of Trident and the imposition of austerity to further hurt the poor failed miserably in only winning 56 out of 59 seats.  And if they chose to look elsewhere then clearly Greece, where an upstart left party won power, or Spain where something similar may happen, provide evidence of ordinary people deciding to turn to the left.

The usual suspects have engaged in this schoolyard quality attack.  Matthew Hooton, Cameron Slater, David Farrar,  Bob Jones and Mike Hosking have all trotted out the argument that Labour’s activists are a hindrance and not an asset.

Hooton and Slater have based this conclusion on the basis of a single UK blog post where self proclaimed former Labour voter said he was changing over to UKIP because some Labour supporters are angry.  The Angry Andy meme that John Key is trying to create is not accidental.

The article trots out the usual attack lines.  Labour in the UK was described as not being sufficiently aspirational, of being more interested in gender quotas, championing feminism and trying their best to not offend the LBGT and Muslim communities.  As if all of these are bad things.

The writer, Martin Daubney,was for a long time the editor of Loaded Magazine, a formerly popular “lads” magazine.  In the past he has railed against feminists and immigrants and does not like paying tax.  In his fertile imagination Labour is not interested in whites, heterosexuals or men.  And all Labour supporters are bullies.  Obviously he has not heard of Dirty Politics.  It seems that he has moved away from Labour because it is not misoginist enough.

The rather strange aspect of his writing is that apart from dissing feminists and complaining about taxes and immigration policy is not discussed.  You really get the feeling his decision about his politics involves a mean spirited self reappraisal where his personal interests are paramount and his various dislikes have been converted into a decision about his political allegiance.

The sad thing about these attacks are that they represent nothing new.  The left have always thought that injustice has to be addressed.  The right have used a variety of techniques (communists! feminists!) to attack these ideas without ever addressing the actual merits of the argument or questioning where the status quo is actually appropriate.

And like it or not there are many things people should be angry about.  For instance why our world is doing precious little about climate change despite the science being clear and the remedies attainable.  Or why in a land of plenty a quarter of a million kiwi kids live in poverty.  Or why there is a never-ending flow of wealth from the poor to the rich.

To finish off I had a look through and found a couple of historical examples of “hate filled lefty speech” which “turned off average voters” and ensured conservative success at the polls although history has clearly shown that these stands and campaigns were actually right.

For instance this dude who was clearly angry and racism in America.

And these artists who were clearly angry at apartheid in South Africa.

51 comments on “Are the left really angry?”

  1. jenny kirk 1

    Yep – anger can move mountains !

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      Yep. The problem isn’t that the Left aren’t angry – it’s that they’re not angry enough with the deprivation and exploitation that the authoritarians are forcing upon the peoples of the Earth.

      • Richard Christie 1.1.1

        And our neoliberal masters have very successfully fine-tuned the modern opiates of the people.

        Lotto, casinos, the mind dulling game and reality TV shows, cheap Chinese made consumables, purging intelligent public discourse from the airwaves control of print media etc etc etc

        • whateva next? 1.1.1.1

          Cheap available alcohol also…..Clearly articulated in the Masterclass, and Crosby/ Textor are Masters, I have to admit to that. Just wished they had a conscience too.
          http://gu.com/p/488t8/sbl

      • AmaKiwi 1.1.2

        +1

  2. adam 2

    Jeez, I would have said the opposite -that labour party activist are too nice.

    They put up with a parliamentary wing who are pretty self absorbed and prone to believing their own hyperbole.

    I’d also say, that whilst a broad church approach may be what labour is after, having such a strong faction tethered to economic orthodoxy – does make it look like national light/ middle class liberal party.

    This collection, Matthew Hooton, Cameron Slater, David Farrar, Bob Jones and Mike Hosking all see the writing on the wall for this national government. They just want to make sure a weak left is in – for the changing of the guard at the next election.

    As it stands – it looks like they are getting their way.

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.1

      Don’t write off a fourth NAT term yet. Labour has no road to forming a majority government without cobbling together a coalition of the Greens and of NZF. And if it is not a strong and principled coalition with a significant majority at the outset, it will likely only last one term.

      The NATs are still working out their strategies and collecting their data. Initiatives like this “angry” meme are nothing more than light probes to determine the state of the ground as part of this ongoing data collection.

      • sirpat 2.1.1

        so true…..im an angry lefty……angry cos the left has its head so far up its arse its blind to what is in front of it.

  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    When the Left is angry we get universal education and healthcare.

    When the Right is angry we get private prisons and war.

    So there’s that.

  4. As the old saying goes, if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.

  5. The Murphey 5

    People should be angry and need to get angry

    That so many are not instinctively responding as such to defend their right to exist speaks to the deep psychological trauma which has been inflicted

    (Ironic it is deemed appropriate to inflict this onto public sector staff)

    Anger can take a forceful peaceful path however the connotations used seek to paint a different picture through word association

    Anger when used positively is the most powerful of human emotions

    • Anne 5.1

      I attended the Auckland Regional Conference of the Labour Party yesterday and I didn’t see or hear anything “angry”. I can recall the name “John Key” mentioned only once. Various senior Labour Party people spoke (including Andrew Little) and the only thing they were interested in was… continuing to grow the party, building trust and empathy with the electorate at large, discussing policy directions and how best to present them and what Labour’s priorities should be for the future of this country. All of it was positive stuff delivered in a friendly, amicable atmosphere punctuated with humour and general good will.

      Not an “angry” word was spoke…

      As TM says above: Anger when used positively is the most powerful of human emotions. I think the way it was used at this conference was indeed positive.

    • Stuart Munro 5.2

      “There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”

  6. Colonial Rawshark 6

    The latest right wing meme is that angry left activists cost Labour the English Election

    All the right wing are doing now are spinning into a gap left by UK Labour (and NZ Labour) not having clear answers as to why they lost. Normal PR tactic – there is a messaging gap, so fill it with your own message. Very standard.

    What did cost UK Labour the election?

    IMO UK Labour doesn’t even understand itself why they lost the English (and of course the Scottish) components of their recent general election. I’m sure they’ll hold a big inquiry into it, and decide that the answer is to go back to the Third Way Blairite Labour.

  7. Colonial Rawshark 7

    The right wing establishment wins in the UK – as usual

    Neil Clark explains the well known process of the Left being left out in the cold yet again.

    http://rt.com/op-edge/257349-uk-general-election-tories/

  8. Clean_power 8

    At this pace there will be another election cycle before the Left wins an election in NZ. 2020 is the realistic target.

  9. Anne 9

    I attended the Auckland Regional Conference of the Labour Party yesterday and I didn’t see or hear anything “angry”. I can recall the name “John Key” mentioned only once. Various senior Labour Party people spoke (including Andrew Little) and the only thing they were interested in was… continuing to grow the party, building trust and empathy with the electorate at large, discussing policy directions and how best to present them and what Labour’s priorities should be for the future of this country. All of it was positive stuff delivered in a friendly, amicable atmosphere punctuated with humour and general good will.

    Not an “angry” word was spoke….

    • Anne 9.1

      Oops: above supposed to be deleted.

      • dukeofurl 9.1.1

        of course, the ‘angry’ meme is a witched brew being stirred up on the right.

        The dirty politics from the 9th floor of the beehive is back. No sign of Jason Ede at the business he was supposed to working for at a high level.

  10. felix 10

    The right always say this shit.

    If Labour would just drop all that workers rights stuff and promise not to change anything, we’d let them have a turn at governing.

    If the Greens would just embrace right-wing corporate dogma, we’d give them a tree.

    It’s bullshit and it’s time the left stopped listening to it.

  11. Bill 11

    I noticed that on immigration, the Tories want nothing to do with refugees, Labour were silent and the SNP went on national news programme and stated that the UK ought to take the 60 000 earmarked by Europe and threw out the line that anyone saying anything else was insulting the general attitude held by ordinary people. Kicking against the memes with a ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude.

    On gender, seeing as how the post brings it up, I’ll just leave this link here and note that the Scottish government is vocal on gender balancing, has a balanced cabinet and no-one jumps up and down about it.

    http://www.swbg.org.uk/

  12. Stuart Munro 12

    The right begin to respect the left when it becomes clear that they will be punished if they don’t – punitive taxation, nationalisation of public property acquired by graft, expulsion of Serco, Sky City and charter schools. Appeasement is not much of a strategy.

  13. hoom 13

    OMG OMG OMG I’m going to actually get to hear the ‘I have a dream speech’.

  14. Atiawa 14

    The problem for labour is that it no longer has a coherent industrial voice. It’s political arm has also become it’s industrial – 1999 – 2008 enacted 4 weeks annual leave, 5 days sick leave, working for families etc etc -. These changes & other improvements to working life should have been won at the bargaining table.
    WFF a fine and noble redistribution of wealth would not have been necessary if unions were strong and able to win pay increases that kept up with productivity increases and inflation and gave workers a greater share of the wealth pie. A labour government would have been able to give support, both financial and social to those who for what ever reason, have found themselves out of work or unemployable rather than propping-up low paying employers/jobs.
    Of course the left is angry. I’m fucking angry. I don’t want Grant or Andrew, Phil, Annette, Ian or other Labour pollies leading the industrial charge for workers. That is the role of Helen, Bill, John and other union leaders. But they need the help of political Labour who believe that workers have been short changed since 1991 and the demolition of organised labour.
    The Council of Trade Union’s (CTU) must campaign for a return to compulsory unionism. Where else are working people able to do anything collectively about their anger?

    • Ben 14.1

      “The Council of Trade Union’s (CTU) must campaign for a return to compulsory unionism.”

      Do you seriously believe that compulsory unionism is in any way going to help Labour get back into power? It wasn’t just the employers that rejected such policy, but the majority of employees – hench the very low union memberships numbers at present.

      • Colonial Rawshark 14.1.1

        Its a wonder that all the left can ever dream about is going backwards to old fashioned solutions from 40 years ago. Well, the unions failed miserably to stop Rogernomics and Ruthanasia, how is a re-run in the age of peak resources and climate change going to be any different?

      • Atiawa 14.1.2

        Labour’s very existence is because working people & their unions realised that they required a political voice in the corridors of power. Whether a policy to again make unionism compulsory would win Labour the treasury benches is debateable and in all probability unlikely given the millions of $ the right would pour into defeating the notion. However the world is a completely different place now compared to 1991 and although the issues of housing, health, education and a fair go at work remain as relevant to us all today as they were prior to the 1990’s there is now an added array of issues never previously considered 25 years ago affecting present day workers and their families.
        A healthy, well resourced, robust and democratic union movement is exactly what is required today. Grant & Bill don’t have the financial solutions to the problems confronting working people and their families and I don’t know of any other mass movement in the world today who has the best interests of workers at the front left & centre of their being, other than the union movement and it’s members.
        Please let me know when you think of an alternative.

  15. Rather ironic considering that Screechy McHooton seems to exist in a permanent state of hysteria.

    The middle class are indeed, as Gordon McLaughlan put it, a passionless people, confused and embarrassed by passion. We should never be apologetic for it, we should be proud of it. The only thing to be ashamed of is disorganisation and unfortunately, those are the endemic problems of the Labour Party.

  16. Reddelusion 16

    If Greece and Scotland are your answer, what’s the ?

    • mac1 16.1

      Can you name two small mountainous countries which have been well to the fore in mathematics, science, political and social thought, and engineering? 🙂

  17. Charles 17

    The problem with anger is that it feels more powerful than it is actually influencial. Anger’s a cycle of outrage and venting, with no gauranteed moment of learning or development past the stalled position, and the venting is where the power seeps out. Venting often results in the kind of brain chemistry that fools a person into being more satisfied that the pressure is vented than with the problem being solved.
    Telling people they have to be angry all day everyday for the rest of their lives isn’t healthy or admirable. Recently I heard a poverty action spokesperson tell me poor people aren’t happy, can’t ever be happy and shouldn’t be happy. Works for her career I guess, but no good for the people she claims to represent.

    No one starts constructive negotiations by marching into an employer’s office, pushing over the desk, calling the employer whatever flavour of the day they like, and screeching about change. Doesn’t work like that. We hear “angry” unionists being angry after the fact. Pop over to The Daily Blog and read a very general outline of what “angry” unionists do to win a collective negotiation. They think, they reason, they plan, they consider strategy, they present options, they meet people, they build confidence and they report developments. Not much time for hysterics in that lot, not if they want to win. Without strategy, the apparent gains of anger are hard to hold onto.

    Anger tells us what’s wrong and that we’ve waited too long to fix it. Outside of that it’s a waste of energy and an unreliable and unstable motivator. It does not follow that anyone is obliged to apologise for anger, because no one can avoid it and frustrations will always build faster than desired improvements will materialise.

    • Atiawa 17.1

      What makes unions angry – private sector union’s anyway – is bargaining for a better deal, and to be told by the boss that the business down the road will have a competitive advantage if he/she were to agree to his employees claims because the business competitor down the road isn’t unionised and they won’t be getting anything.
      So instead of winning a 5% pay increase they accept a 2% deal. It’s been going on since 1991 and the introduction of the scumbag Employment Contracts Act.
      Now you might say, “why doesn’t the union recruit the workers down the road?”
      A fair and reasonable question.
      Well, workplaces develop their own culture. The foreman might be a bully or the boss rewards his/her workplace leaders sufficiently enough to keep them onside. Some employees may have had a previous bad experience with the union. It could be that they are just plain fearful of the boss or god forbid, pleased to have a job. And in some cases the boss is a good bastard because on a Friday he puts on a bar-b-que and buys a few beers. Oh yeah and the smart boss employs workers who qualify for WFF.
      Call me cynical if you wish, but I’ve seen it.

    • just saying 17.2

      Telling people they have to be angry all day everyday for the rest of their lives isn’t healthy or admirable.
      Who has said this?
      Straw man.
      Recently I heard a poverty action spokesperson tell me poor people aren’t happy, can’t ever be happy and shouldn’t be happy.
      Who said this and when?
      I don’t believe these words were ever spoken.

      I have a suspicion your life is pretty comfy and it would be to your disadvantage if the nation’s power and resources were distributed more equally.

      I agree it’s better to respond to anger than to just react to it, but that’s not all you were saying.

      For you:

  18. RedBaronCV 18

    I think I’d change the heading of this article to “are the left really angry ? no but the right are really scared”
    One rightie told me recently that Scotland & Northland votes were “aberations” .
    Self delusional?

  19. Wayne 19

    Your examples , (Greece, Spain and Scotland) essentially prove the point. New Zealand and most other western nations are simply not in their situation. And trying to show that New Zealand is in the same situation requires extremely hyperbolic statements which are easily perceived as angry or deranged, (or more simply just disconnected from reality).

    If the left want to win, they have to have a programme and theme that is relevant to most peoples lives. For instance saying that most people are worse off now than 7 years ago and that drastic surgery is required sounds rather at odds with most peoples lives (mostly because such a statement is factually untrue and demonstrably so).

    To be fair Andrew Little by and large does not portray angriness (though Meteria does). It is generally the activists. And Labour was damaged by its association with Kim Dotcom – actually virtually nil, but his antics required a major slap down by Labour if the point was to be made.

    • Stuart Munro 19.1

      Most people are worse off now than 7 years ago.

      That’s why Winston won Northland.

  20. saveNZ 20

    I’m angry because I don’t want the Nats to get in next election and continue their regime of terror. The problem is that on some of the Nats worst policies, Labour are either silent or just a lighter version. If the left are to succeed then Labour need to sort themselves out. The Nats have lost the plot (think Northland) but they have massive help from dirty politics and dirty donations to keep winning elections.

    In Northland by opposition parties collaborating and putting in the best candidate based on what the electorate wanted and not splitting the votes they defeated the Nats.

    The Nats are so far right now, they are Act.

    Labour has gone right and is now the old Nats.

    The trick should be to be should be a jump back to the middle and to stop pandering to outside interests (surveillance, war, TPP) and instead concentrate on Local needs ( health, education, housing, jobs, growing the economy and having more diversification in the sector (not just relying on selling off the country to the rich and migrants and overseas investors, to keep us afloat).

    To win, the opposition parties need to collaborate and stay on top of dirty politics, watch each other’s backs, as well as taking a hard look at policy. Otherwise dirty politics will raise it’s head and wipe out individuals one by one so that the public are so confused they don’t vote, the opposition parties split each other’s vote and the Nats sail in again.

  21. Wayne 21

    saveNZ,

    “regime of terror”, the clue is probably in those words as whether people may be inclined to think that the left is a bit hysterical.

    Presumably by “dirty donations” you are mostly troubled by the $3 million donations from National Party members. Given there are several tens of thousands of members, the donations add up.

    The SNP got 100,000 members in the last six months. However in New Zealand presumably the “regime of terror” has so intimidated the left that people do not join for fear of the consequences.

    • Brutus Iscariot 21.1

      Bang on.

      Precisely the example of the “LWNJ” phenomenon.

      “As far right as Act”
      “Regime of Terror”

      Extreme language that turns off anyone with a decent grip on reality.

  22. Dont worry be happy 22

    On a personal level, having moved from a left wing city (no prizes for working out which one) to the country I now find myself surrounded by really nice people with the most horrible set of bigoted and ignorant views. National voters to a man.

    It is like that nightmare where suddenly no one is as they seem.

    What to do with my ‘anger’?

    I will not be the first or last in this situation. Any ideas anyone?

    • lprent 22.1

      I suggest that you use The Standard to vent. Then go and do what needs to be done without too much anger.

      Over the years it has been apparent that TS acts a emergency relief valve, especially in rural and provincial NZ.

      • mac1 22.1.1

        Rural venting? They’ll want to tax that next.

        And that’s taking the less suggestive meaning of ’emergency relief’.

        ‘rural’, ‘provincial’, ‘pagan’- they’re all pejorative, aren’t they?

        This provincial townsman does appreciate TS anyway.

        Think I’ll go and play my banjo now. “da da da di da.”

        • lprent 22.1.1.1

          One of the most common things that shows up in my mailbox from readers is from readers outside the urban hellholes, saying that being able to talk to like minded activists is why they like TS.

          It is sometimes a very long way between progressive activists in rural NZ. I spent a number of years in both rural and provincial NZ when I was younger.

  23. PeteKeating 23

    An interesting UK take on why Labour lost. https://youtu.be/30bsFxL68UY

  24. Gosman 24

    Yeah those artists really made a huge difference to ending Apartheid. It had nothing to do with the end of the threat of Communism as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Empire/sarc

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