Damn right I’m angry

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, June 27th, 2015 - 77 comments
Categories: national - Tags: ,

(Partly inspired by Mandy’s call to Andrew Little to “get angry”.)

It’s funny (or depending on your point of view, completely predictable) how often feminist analysis and leftwing analysis overlap.

There’s a term: “tone argument”. It refers to the regular pleas directed at feminists, anti-racism activists, indigenous rights activists, trans activists, etc to stop being so aggressive and ask nicely for fundamental human rights and dignity instead of shouting so much. It’s a derailment, a troll move, a way to undermine and ignore the actual arguments being made. As summed up by the Geek Feminism wiki:

The tone argument is a form of derailment, or a red herring, because the tone of a statement is independent of the content of the statement in question, and calling attention to it distracts from the issue at hand. Drawing attention to the tone rather than content of a statement can allow other parties to avoid engaging with sound arguments presented in that statement, thus undermining the original party’s attempt to communicate and effectively shutting them down.

The irony is that these voices are already marginalized. Shouting is often the only way to get heard.

But it occurs in “normal” politics too. The idea that rational, reasonable, calmly-delivered arguments are inherently superior to loud, assertive, passionate – emotional – arguments is strongly ingrained.

And thus Cameron Slater and his little helpers jumped to label Andrew Little as “Angry Andy” from the moment it looked like he was going to put his name forward for the party leadership. Look, he’s so shouty, the meme goes. Voters don’t like shouty people. Shouting must mean you’re not very sensible.

We’re not mean to get angry, you know. But why wouldn’t we be?

We have a government which has shrugged its shoulders while families have been forced to live in cars and chronically-ill people have been driven off benefits. A government which has sat back and let the people of Christchurch wait five years – and longer – to get their homes repaired to liveable standards.

A government which removed the right to regular rest breaks at work and refuses to take a strong stand on health and safety. A government literally making it up as it goes along on dealing with the Auckland housing crisis – a crisis it barely acknowledges exists.

A government which refuses to properly fund sexual violence services and has done the absolute minimum to ensure the clients of Relationships Aotearoa are being properly cared for as they transition to new counsellors. Which let a diplomat accused of sexual assault flit off to his home country and bad-mouthed his victim for her political beliefs.

A government which is selling us down the river on the TPPA, paying off Saudi millionaires for vague promises of free trade, and sending Kiwi soldiers into harm’s way in Iraq to please our (former?) colonial masters.

We have a government which has consistently eroded our democracy, our work rights, our public services, and our social safety net – and expects us to go along with it for the promise of an illusory Budget surplus and maybe some small tax cuts after the next election.

A government which has cemented its power with a dirty tricks campaign run out of the 9th floor of the Beehive and paid for with your tax dollars.

If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.

And when you’re angry, you can change the world. That’s why anger scares them so much.

(Note: Video NSFW, sweary awesomeness)

77 comments on “Damn right I’m angry”

  1. “WELL SAID,” I shouted.

  2. Jenny Kirk 2

    “TOO BLOODY RIGHT,” I shouted as well. and “GOOD ON MANDY HAGER” her words need shouting out all over the place too.

    My anger has been a bit diluted lately ……. been feeling very worn down …… but its great to see and hear you younger women getting up there and shouting. There’s a bit of life in this old gal still and I reckon I might as well make the most of it, so I’m starting to shout too. Gotta a couple of issues up here in the north (opposing mining, cleaning up waterways) which need a lot of vociferous public noise, so am getting on to these !!

    thanks for the boost to get back into action !

  3. Heather Grimwood 3

    Yes, if we do not use the privilege of being still being able, we must continue , or we might as well turn up our toes.

  4. Michel Nieuwoudt 4

    Hear hear!!!!! Agree!!!!!!

  5. Sabine 5

    there is nothing wrong with being angry.

    I am not ready to make nice
    Dixie Chicks

  6. Wensleydale 6

    Here’s another profoundly appropriate tune:

  7. Paul 7

    “You’ve got to get mad”
    Network 1976

  8. GoodShepherd 8

    Damn right, we’re angry.

    We’re angry at a lot of things and a lot of people. Being angry at our own for not being exactly what we want when we want isn’t helping us; it’s helping ‘them’ I reckon.

    Anger is a sharp sword but it should be used on the problems not the people if we want to grow support and change the world.

    It should be used to build not destroy. And I really think the Sword of Wrath is best wielded by people with hot hearts and very cool heads.

  9. Reddelusion 9

    The problem with the left if you don’t see it their way your a troll, racist Neo liberal in contrast to a neo statist as if some how they are the fountain of all truth, arrogance personified , There are no shades of grey, everything must have and opposite ( good or bad ), if you remove this human contruct it makes you more self aware,, something labour may well heed. Similarly the left display classic resentment, born of envy, it inverts tradional virtues, the good are meek, passive, down trodden thus the masses are all equally weak and miserable , the successful etc are evil tyrants

    • weka 9.1

      you just made all that up. Except the hive mind bit, we definitely all think the same.

    • Wensleydale 9.2

      I think you’ll find that sort of myopic world-view is not limited to those on the left. There are shrill ideologues on both sides of the political divide, and that’s both unfortunate and unhelpful.

      Likewise, characterizing left-wingers as hopeless whingers consumed by bitterness and envy is wholly disingenuous. I believe what motivates the majority of those on the left is social justice and the basic concept of fairness. If someone is successful and lives an opulent lifestyle as a result of long years of hard graft, good for them. The notion that hordes of grubby serfs driven by avarice and a sense of entitlement are going to break into their homes and steal the family silver is an absurd phantasm used most often to instil fear in the affluent and engender contempt for the less fortunate.

      Having said that, there is something very wrong with our country right now, and if the symptoms are not swiftly addressed, the resulting affliction will be all the more horrifying. Regrettably, our current government seems to have no inclination to take the necessary steps, no doubt because the status quo is most beneficial to them and theirs. Meanwhile, children die in cold and mouldy homes, young people leave universities with few prospects and less hope, and the working poor continue to bleed themselves dry on the grindstone of low wage employment.

      Rampant greed and a callous disregard for the suffering of the most vulnerable will ravage a nation just as effectively as famine, pestilence or war. It might take a little longer, but the end result will be just as ugly, bloody and wretched. If we’re too stupid, ignorant or self-absorbed to see this, we’ve only ourselves to blame.

    • Bill 9.3

      So where would a market abolitionist who is also passionately anti- state sit in your restrictive binary world view?

      And where’s the envy with regards someone who never wanted the flash car, the latest gizmo or any of the beads and baubles on offer in return for their time, mind and body?

      To follow through your entire vacuous comment, presumably a lack of envy negates any possibility for an ‘inversion of traditional values’ and yet…putting aside your ridiculous characterisation of fucked over people as weak and good and essentially hopeless…the market rewards and compensates those who best exploit their own capacity for misanthropy.

      Now, that might not make them ‘evil tyrants’ (your words), but ‘unpleasant bastards’ would seem to cover it in a reasonable way, no?

    • Draco T Bastard 9.4

      There are no shades of grey, everything must have and opposite ( good or bad ),

      Actually, research has shown that’s more of a trait of the right-wing.

      Similarly the left display classic resentment, born of envy,

      Disgust and anger at the people who would ruin our society and our world for a few pieces of silver. No envy though. Really, why would we be envious of those filled with so much self doubt, ignorance and loathing?

      the successful etc are evil tyrants

      Depends upon what you mean by ‘successful’. I see being rich as being a successful thief and nothing more and thieves really are evil.

    • adam 9.5

      Reddelusion, ideology dressed up to not appear ideological. Your a funny guy.

      How about we label you a supporter of that racist muppet from Charleston? As you seem to put us all in the same boat. So lets put you in with the racist neo-nazi turds. That’s the real face of the right wing is it?The bear face race hatred, misogyny and bigotry. Parading traditional values to cover up fear and greed. Might is right and the will to power. Leftist are all powder puffs.

      Yeah, Reddelusion we can all play silly word games.

      I think the second part of your name is apt – you’re well and truly delusional.

  10. Red delusion 10

    Lost me weka, your response doesn’t make any sense. Not surprise I must add

    • Paul 10.1

      You help the elite.
      Do you understand that?

    • dukeofurl 10.2

      Groupthink is the word you are looking for , is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome.

      Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

      Sound like the Green party meetings ? Much !

      On a more deeper level we all have hive minds, as thats how our brain neurons work

      “Every decision you make is essentially a committee act.”

      “The committee, of course, is the densely knit society of neurons in your head.”

      And “approved by consensus” is really just a delicate way of saying that the opposition was silenced.

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/you-have-a-hive-mind/

    • weka 10.3

      You made a whole bunch of shit up and attributed it to the ‘left’ as if the left all think alike.

      • dukeofurl 10.3.1

        Was that the other part of your brain that said this ;

        ” the hive mind bit, we definitely all think the same”

        Doesnt the green party work almost entirely by consensus ?

        If anyones ‘making it up’, its not me

        • Bill 10.3.1.1

          You obviously have no idea how good consensual decisions are arrived at. Consensus is not synonymous with a hive mentality. The truth of the matter is that consensus based on good systems allow for dissenting views and voices to a much greater extent than any other group decision making process I’ve encountered.

          To help you out here. Think of a majority rule. (Your previous comment screams ‘majority’ btw)What’s the point of you voicing a minority view? Probably none. It might be noted. But it’ll be ignored, Contrast that with consensus where it might be incorporated to deliver a rounded, far superior and thoughtful decision.

        • weka 10.3.1.2

          Was that the other part of your brain that said this ;

          ” the hive mind bit, we definitely all think the same”

          The part of my brain that is extremely sarcastic. A part which grew in size today as I read parts of this thread.

          Doesnt the green party work almost entirely by consensus ?

          What Bill says below. You need to do a lot better if you want to have valid critiques of the GP. Your attempts in the past day have been pathetically uninformed.

          “If anyones ‘making it up’, its not me”

          Are you Reddelusion?

  11. Red delusion 11

    Paul the elite is simply a construct you make up, A bit like one world order conspiracy nut bars , the” illuminati ” the Jews are taking over, papists, jk mates etc etc it’s silly ……. Just because it helps buttress your beliefs does not make it true

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      The power elite top 0.01% and their helpers the 1% are taking this world to destruction.

  12. Red delusion 12

    Wensleydale

    You make a reasoned arguement

    Where I disagree is the assertion by the left that only they have a mortgage on social justice, compassion and caring, and that their percriptions for the problems NZ face are only valid, any other debate must be closed down or attacked as evil, for example “rampant greed and callous disregard” is a hyperbole emotional statement and classic left language, as is lazy use of neoliberal as an all encompassing put down, about as meaningful as neo statist

    We can all find evidence of state and market failure, it’s time and government variant. For every bad news story I can find a good news story, for every deserving case I can find a bludger. To simply take one side and close your mind to everything else or try to externalise isdues to one man or one government is what is ridiculous and often displayed on this site.

    • adam 12.1

      ” For every bad news story I can find a good news story, for every deserving case I can find a bludger.”

      Bullshit. Especially the second part. Your dreaming and so far off the reservation on that one. Oops forgot – planet Key. Where the smug, just make shit up.

      If you’re right red delusion – then why do I still have a job. Why do I have people I can’t help and have to pass onto other agencies. Why are so many killing themselves, why do we have poverty, and why does the elite spend so much money on propaganda – if they are right?

      But that OK – I know what it’s like being smug – been there, done that. I also get your arguing against being smug – but you look like a right tosser, when you’re being smug saying that.

  13. Reddelusuon 13

    Colonial viper, don’t forget the grand coalition between the Jews, the illuminati, the lizard people, the Japanese in the 80s , the papists and the one percenters, oh also according to the right religious nutters the gays as well

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.1

      Do you know how stupid you sound, trying to pretend that there isn’t a ruling elite at the top of the capitalist hierarchy. Really.

      • Tracey 13.1.1

        +1

        He is working very hard on this thread. Almost as though without knowing he is deternined to prove Stephanie right.

        • Sable 13.1.1.1

          Oh yes the more the right whine and complain and try to discredit by being patronizing and offering up ersatz arguments the more you realize you are onto something they would like to go away….

      • Accusing people who criticise established power structures of being “crazy” conspiracy theorists is such a boring old fallback, ain’t it?

    • Hanswurst 13.2

      How seriously should we take the rantings of someone who appears unable to spell their own name?

  14. Reddeludion 14

    Draco hyperbole bs is not reasoning it simply strengthens my argument as evidence of classic left tactics (I really should say far left )

  15. Stuart Munro 15

    Key’s flag will burn.

  16. Reddelusion 16

    Fortunately CR I don’t really hold much countenance to you utterances ( as I suggest most people in your company) . So the answer is no

  17. Red delusion 17

    Adam any one ever explain to you the weakness of the ad hominem argument, also do I detect a martyre syndrome going on here

  18. Red delusion 18

    Excuse my ignorance Stephanie but where is the reply button

    Here we go with this whole troll thing if any one disagree, it gets boring

    • adam 18.1

      People like you.

    • Bill 18.2

      Unless your on a mobile device, it’s to the bottom right hand corner of the comment that you’re replying to. But you know this. My patience…wearing thin. Just saying.

      For the rest of your comment. Where is any of your comments have you disagreed (or agreed) with anything in the post?

      Call that ‘wearing very thin’ btw.

      • weka 18.2.1

        On a mobile you can switch to the desktop version and the buttons reappear. Which would be the polite thing to do when commenting a lot, or at least name the post you are replying to in one of the usual ways.

        “Here we go with this whole troll thing if any one disagree, it gets boring”

        A trole line if ever I heard one.

    • Tracey 18.3

      you are not new to this site, are you really saying you suddenly forgot where the reply button is?

  19. Tracey 19

    Well said/written Stephanie.

    I would like to hear passion from a politician… That will occasionally be anger, but it can be other things as well. PASSION means you give a shit. PASSION means you are to be watched cos you are a force to be reckoned with. Passion means you see those around you who are not doing as well as you and want to change that.

    PASSION + SINCERITY moves people.

    • Bill 19.1

      From experience in various employment situations, I concluded that many people who are imbued with middle class sensibilities, confuse passion with aggression. I guess, rather than confusion, it could have been a deliberate ploy to silence or change a voice that wasn’t speaking things in a way they’d prefer….essentially a power play.

  20. Reddelusion 20

    Thanks bill, I am on a mobile devise, and I can’t see reply fuction( honestly)

    I am boring you lot now, but I disagree with mock anger, outrage and putting all the blame at the governments door or mythical 1pc, accordingly I disagree with the simplistic prescriptions put forward. I do accept people don’t have to agree with me but find it strange people can’t disagree without personal attacks and course language or been told your a troll. Buggering off now leave you lot in peace conference

    [Stephanie: Don’t accuse people you’ve never even met of “mock” anger. Don’t whinge about “simplistic prescriptions” when in fact my post is talking about the problem, not offering a complete solution. Don’t tone argument people for swearing.

    There are plenty of people disagreeing all over the place in The Standard’s comments. Trolling is not disagreeing, and shutting down trolling makes it much easier for actual constructive disagreements to be worked out

    Your handle is “Reddelusion”, for Christ’s sake. Don’t cry me a river when your deliberate derailments and dishonest framing of other people’s arguments gets you a slap on the wrist.]

  21. dukeofurl 21

    Is connecting to Mandy Hagers far left Dystopias ( opposite of utopia) novels going to change anything about NZ politics ?

    “Dystopia allows a writer to take a consequence to its most extreme possible conclusion”

    ” These kinds of stories appeal to the darkness of the teenage mind ”

    -MG Hamilton Bookshop discussion.

    It could be her ‘anger’ comes from her story telling style and not the plight of those in New Zealand who dont have the chances of others or even access to housing or jobs, things that arent really concerns of hers.

    eg her concerns for her grandchildren are if they live to a ripe old age, rather than finish schooling or finding jobs or decent housing.

    Its all very middle class ‘blue greens’ underlying it all.

  22. Charles 22

    RATM also did a track called Know Your Enemy, and people who get angry should also bear in mind who it is they want to influence – Know Your Audience. Shouting at people, as default method, or just because you’re pissed about something – righteous as it may be – or at people who have had no previous contact with you and your ideas, risks doing more damage to a message than not. Always check the environment you’ll be in, the expected audience present, and know who it is you want to contact. Then shout all you want, if it suits e.g. Mainstream politics, online sites, are more or less open to shouting; local community awareness actions have to be more careful.

  23. Jenny Kirk 23

    I think, Charles, you’ve just given a brilliant example of what Stephanie was talking about !

    • greywarshark 23.1

      @Jenny Kirk
      I thought Charles was bearing in mind some exceptions that can occur if following this line from Stephanie’s post blindly.
      And when you’re angry, you can change the world. That’s why anger scares them so much.
      Anger is rocket fuel, and needs to be harnessed so that the right amount of fuel speeds the message and action in the most advantageous direction.

  24. Michael 24

    TFR – but the problem is not confined to the current government. IMHO, Labour shares culpability for violating fundamental human rights and it currently denies it – doubtless hoping that everyone will have forgotten by the time it’s “turn” in office enxt rolls around (2023 is my best guesstimate). Not good enough if Labour wants to be a legitimate government in a functioning democracy. Some housecleaning is in order. Until then, Labour remains unfit for office and cannot be trusted.

  25. old school 25

    Back in Lange!s time we thought Jf,was among us and how we bounced around the parliament building like staffers on speed,only to have our bubble burst by a ideological cancer of profit its excuse and lie.

    Today,we are back burning on many fronts,but there are is some old new burning with our ranks of our Parliament hopefuls,that are not to far removed from the profits ideological cancer.

  26. ropata 26

    When civil rights are being violated and the government of the day is brazenly engaging in suppressing dissent and enriching themselves at our expense you better expect some rude language and civil disobedience. John Key and all his merry men (including redneck delusion and dukeofurkel) can get fucked

  27. Ad 27

    Hard to argue with the sentiment of Rage Against the Machine.

    But political leaders – as distinct from activists – need to stop well short of the slippery slope from passion to anger.

    Because it’s televisually ugly, and loses you the election in a stroke.
    Anyone remember Howard Dean?

    • I disagree with the assumption that being angry means, to paraphrase many comments on this article, “yelling uncontrollably at everything all the time and not caring how you’re portrayed”.

      Anger is an emotion. Not a behaviour. Anger can be controlled; anger can be expressed strategically.

      The entire point of rubbishing calls of “don’t be so angry” comes down to precisely that: the idea that anger is inherently irrational and undesirable. Warning people to “stop well short” of actually owning their anger is a way to shut down passionate, active, assertive debate. It’s a way of undermining marginalized voices by setting emotion and being personally affected by an issue in opposition to having credibility.

      It reinforces established power structures and stifles disagreement with the status quo.

      And you know what, that’s pretty much exactly what I said in the post.

      • Ad 27.1.1

        I read your post.
        I’m not disagreeing with the reasons you state for being angry.
        Nor anything against power structures etc.

        Clearly such anger is not going to look like Rage against the Machine, Jarvis Cocker, Howard Dean, or anything “shouty”.

        Nor will it look like Fox News on SCOTUS decisions, or Bomber Bradbury ranting on National Radio, or burning effigies down main street chanting the usual slogans about “what do we we want”. I presume.

        Nor I presume, snide sarcasm as per Winston Peters on an off day, Maurice Williamson having another Select Committee head explosion, or other variant of Parliamentary bad behavior.

        What will successfully deployed “strategic anger” look like?

  28. Save NZ 28

    +1 I’m Angry.

    Not just at National I might add.

    But they are the most despicable. Or should I say the current Speculative Neo Liberals Nats making a killing and feathering their nests while in power and for future offshore job prospects.

    I also encourage the traditional Nats who are also probably not happy at the selling of of our country and the destruction of our way of life to also ‘Send a Message’.

    I agree, “And when you’re angry, you can change the world. That’s why anger scares them so much”.

    I think most people are angry, but everyone needs to get to the next step which is to organise and collaborate.

    Because change also requires organisation and collaboration.

  29. Nigel 29

    Great post and absolutely agree with you.
    Entertaining comments section as well. Made me smile at work on a Sunday.
    Keep up the ” passion”, its making a difference.

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