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Guest post: Why the left needs feminism II

Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, February 1st, 2011 - 172 comments
Categories: equality, feminism - Tags:

Yesterday Queen of Thorns laid out her thoughts on how the left lost touch with feminism. Today she’s talking about how to get the whole rigmarole back on track.

Part Three: identity politics kicked Chris Trotter’s dog

But don’t think Trotter reserved his scorn just for tino rangatiratanga:

[The] ideological roots [of “knee-jerk liberal orthodoxy”] descend into the swamp of identity politics and the New Social Movements which were at that time engaged in tearing apart the complex web of personal and political relationships that made up the traditional labour movement.

Trotter is speaking about the 1980s, that golden age of namby-pamby identity politics when the left got distracted by piffling little side issues like whether men should be held accountable for raping their wives and whether gay men should be allowed to be gay.

A time when the Left wasn’t, to quote Phil Goff’s own advisor John Pagani on that thread, “connecting with things that matter to people”. You can probably draw your own conclusions as to the kind of people he means.

I must admit to some naivety, because it came as a bit of a shock to me that identity politics could so easily be divorced from leftwing thought and cast as unrelated to the struggle against capitalism.

I mean, what is sexism if not a manifestation of capitalist reliance on women’s unpaid labour and reproductive capacity? (More on this in a later post, methinks.) And what is racism if not another handy way to separate out one sector of society to be exploited for their labour, all wrapped up in “science”? What is ableism if not driven by capitalism’s need for the most “productive” labour at the lowest cost and accommodation? How is enforcing heterosexuality and strict gender roles not about ensuring an increasing population to fuel the capitalist eternal-growth pipe dream?

(I certainly don’t want to imply that capitalism is the be-all and end-all of these oppressions, see previous “we’ll let you make speeches when the revolution is over, kitten” commentary.)

But nope, apparently these issues and concerns and theories were all just chaff getting in the way of the real workers’ struggle and the things that matter to people.

Again.

To quote myself:

[W]hen two guys get in a huddle and start slanging against the Liberal Left and the evil distraction of identity politics, and whinge about how we need to think about ordinary people, I think we can make a few very good guesses as to the kind of people they’re talking about.
And I’ll give you a hint: it ain’t you or me, assuming you are not a middle class white heterosexual cisgendered currently able bodied male.
Because here’s what matters to me:
It matters to me that I not be passed over for a job or a promotion because I’m a woman who’ll obviously just leave to have babies.
It matters to me that I have the right to be paid the same as a man for doing the same work.
It matters to me that gay men and women can have their relationships recognised by the state just like every two-in-three-chance-of-divorce hetero couple.
It matters to me that people of colour not get pulled over by the cops because brown people shouldn’t be driving expensive cars, or are obviously on drugs because they’re brown, or not be played by white people in movies about their lives.
It matters to me that people with disabilities can travel on aeroplanes, and get into buildings, and pass exams at school (look out for that incredibly-expletive-filled-post tomorrow!) and go shopping without worrying some bastard’s going to throw them out for having a hearing dog.
It matters to me that trans people shouldn’t have to worry about being murdered because someone else feels they have the right to judge what defines a man or a woman.
It matters to me that people should be able to practise their faith without fear of persecution, and that people not-of-faith should be able to say so without harassment.
But fuck all that! That’s just identity politics! That’s just me assuming that the way people identify, the way society wants to identify them, the assumptions others feel free to make about you because of your identity or assumed identity, might actually affect people! It might actually rate a bit higher on their List Of Things That Pissed Me Off Today:
1. Harassed on bus by guy who wouldn’t leave me alone.
2. First question asked at job interview: “Do you have kids?”
3. Threatened with sexual violence by blog commenter.
4. Still alienated from means of production.

TL;DR: when a capitalist society chooses to force identity markers on you to aid in its goals, the shit you get for having those markers is probably going to be a bit relevant to your interests.

Part Four: how’s that centre vote treating you?

Going by Chris Trotter’s figures, the choices are between sucking up to the “5,000” nasty liberal left bastards who want to ruin everyone’s fun or bringing back the “150,000-200,000” voters who went over to National last election.

The assumption being, of course, that they did so because whinge cry nanny state nasty feminists etc.

Or it could be something to do with a notion roundly accepted and bemoaned on leftwing blogs at the time – the idea that the voting public just thought it was “National’s turn”. Or to quote a certain teacher in my family, “at least we expect to get screwed under National”. Or simple voter fatigue with a front bench of far-too familiar faces with too much baggage attached. Or the eternal tax-cuts bribe which probably seemed to make a lot more sense with 9 years of healthy surpluses dimming the traumatic memories of the last National government. Or fuck it, maybe a lot of people do just think John Key is a nice down-to-earth chap.

Nah, probably just the evil feminist cabal chased them away with our brooms.

But if the question is “why did a bunch of traditional Labour types vote for a cuddly, definite-statement-free-zone John-Key-led National” one is really struggling to think of why anyone in Labour thought the answer was “because they wanted some more of that uncuddly strong-statement Don-Brash-led-National type racism”.

And when your answer to anything is “make ourselves more like John Key” it doesn’t matter what the question is, you’re probably just fucked.

Conclusions

So, leftwing men being douchebags who refuse to consider the distinct oppressions suffered by other, not-them groups of people have managed to drive a lot of natural allies away. Natural allies who surprisingly don’t take it well when told that shit that affects them every day of their lives isn’t that important. Most recently in NZ this has been done by the Labour Party because everyone wants a piece of the elusive, self-contradicting “centre” vote. And as we approach a general election, a heck of a lot of good liberal-yet-still-left people just don’t know what the fuck to do to set things right.

Here’s a few ideas.

Stop buying into the idea that acknowledging the actual harms suffered by actual people is “polarising” or “distracting”. All it does is signal loud and clear to women and Maori and queer folk that they are expected to once again sacrifice themselves For The Good Of The Left. We’ve already seen how that kinda doesn’t work out so well.

Acknowledge where relevant that if you are white, male, cisgendered, currently able-bodied, living above the poverty line, and reading this post online and in vivid Technicolor, you have privilege. Probably another post in that concept because I’m just so sure a few types will refuse to get it.)

If you want to throw around concepts and slogans like “for the many, not the few” try to bloody well remember that the “few” in that should be the people on the top of the heap, not the bottom.

If you want to make any kind of political play on a platform of fairness and ability/need and compassion and social justice it might fucking help to do some social justice.

And when the Right (and your own mainstream commentators) decide to attack you for focusing on “fringe” elements or “irrelevant” issues, you just look those bastards in the eye and say “Our society should be free and fair for everyone. No one should be attacked or discriminated against just because of who they are. We are doing this because we care about people, even though some of them will still vote against us for other reasons or even though they’re already a part of our core vote or even though their votes won’t make a difference in the election. It’s the right thing to do and we are going to do it because all New Zealanders deserve to live in the kind of country that takes care of its people.”

Just remember: an issue may not be important to you. But if you’re on the Left you better be motivated by something more than what you fucking get out of it.

172 comments on “Guest post: Why the left needs feminism II”

  1. cardassian 1

    Just read part 1 and 2 together.
    Awesome posts QoT, definately needed to be said as well.

    • QoT 1.1

      Thanks cardassian. To all commenters, as per yesterday won’t be able to answer comments till evening-time (the curse of a job where I don’t want to out my pseudonym).

  2. SjS 2

    Nice post … am looking forward to the post on ‘privilege’ as well

  3. just saying 3

    …And when your answer to anything is “make ourselves more like John Key” it doesn’t matter what the question is, you’re probably just fucked”

    I wish the Labour front bench and their senior advisors would chant this as a mantra. News flash – it’s been a dismal failure and will continue to be. And you’re just not getting that! When will you get it?

    If you want to throw around concepts and slogans like “for the many, not the few” try to bloody well remember that the “few” in that should be the people on the top of the heap, not the bottom

    Amen sister. The phrase can make me incandescent with rage for exactly this reason.

    you just look those bastards in the eye and say “Our society should be free and fair for everyone. No one should be attacked or discriminated against just because of who they are….

    …It’s the right thing to do and we are going to do it because all New Zealanders deserve to live in the kind of country that takes care of its people.”

    This must be the way forward. Enough of the machiavellian shit – how about some sincerity. Rod Donald was a master-class in this kind of approach to heckling and derailing.

    Because if this isn’t Labour, and this isn’t the left, what the fuck is?

  4. Rosy 4

    ‘A time when the Left wasn’t, to quote Phil Goff’s own advisor John Pagani on that thread, “connecting with things that matter to people”.’

    It may just surprise him that some of us can deal with capitalist inequalities and identity politics at the same time. We can also throw in a little thought about international issues at times.

  5. Carol 5

    I must admit to some naivety, because it came as a bit of a shock to me that identity politics could so easily be divorced from leftwing thought and cast as unrelated to the struggle against capitalism.

    Well, there is at least one version of feminism that doesn’t involve a struggle against capitalism. I guess that’s why some people talk about feminisms more than feminism.

    Liberal feminism is one that doesn’t argue for any changes to the capitalist structure of society. People who use this version tend to argue for more equality within the existing capitalist structure. They put a strong focus on individualism, and organisations that enable all individuals to participate equally. However, there is an underlying (and I would say incorrect) assumption that capitalism (especially free-market capitalism) can provide an open, fair and equal system, where everyone has equal access to achievement…. the old meritocracy idea.

    I was involved in the Women’s Movement in the UK in the late 70s and early 80s. The main view of UK feminists was that US feminism was dominated by liberal feminists, and that they weren’t true feminists. I guess this is because, by then, the organised left in the US had been strongly oppressed, or repressed or dismantled by the anti-socialist, anti-communist scare machine.

    Meanwhile, the UK Women’s Movement was strongly interwoven with organised left wing networks and groups.

    The neoliberal shift largely involved the spread of ideologies most favoured in the US. Consequently radical and socialist feminism came under attack (explicitly in the UK from the Thatcher government & the increasingly compliant MSM). Thus we got the rise of a narrowed version of feminism, more of a liberal feminist approach. We can see this most clearly in the rise of so-called girl-power, foregrounded by Madonna’s representation of a commodified, consumerist, individualistic version of female power & success: one that required women conform for a new kind of bodily attractiveness in order to get any access to success…. but there are so many contradictions in that regime, that it is a limited and regressively gendered notion of success, that fits easily within the neoliberal capitalist system.

    • Rosy 5.1

      That makes sense Carol. Although I call myself a feminist I’ve not been overtly involved in feminist discourse mainly because I seem to have experienced the commodified, individualistic thought you write of. I’m not much interested in this being able to take on all the behaviours of men, but am very interested in the left wing ideals of political equality, educational opportunity, and women’s rights to work in jobs they’re capable of, earn the same money as men, for the same job and being treated as equal partners in society – albeit with respect for reproductive differences. But also for men and women within whatever social, cultural or partnered situation they have, to have the right to be themselves, to take on responsibilities that go with those rights, and to be respected for that.

    • QoT 5.2

      I’m just not a fan of “real X must Y” arguments. Yes, there are definite problems with second-wave liberal feminism in that it focused a lot on the problems of economically privileged white heterosexual women. And that deserves to be called out. But it’s still looking at the oppression of women (albeit a small more-privileged group of women) and it’s still feminism.

      I also don’t agree with the connection of liberal feminism and consumerist/Spice Girls-esque “girl power” culture. I think that’s part of the capitalist backlash against feminism, which co-opted rebellious, revolutionary slogans and turned them into faux-empowering justifications for continued sexual subservience to men and distraction by “superficial” consumer goods from political engagement.

  6. the sprout 6

    another great post

  7. Props to both the Standard, for having the ovaries to seek out this discussion, and the QoT of course, for skewering all the reasons why liberation should be what progressives are aiming at for everyone.

    I’d love to see some lefty men here reflecting on things they have learnt from feminists, queer activists, tino rangatiratanga activists, anti-racists, disabled rights coalitions etc etc etc. Thoughts gentlemen?

  8. yet another excellent analysis QoT.

    one of the problems with different identity-based groups within a party is that often the groups aren’t listening to each other, and there is a lack of cohesion or the kind of leadership that will pull the different threads together. without that, the different groups end up competing – or rather, policy options are set up in such a way that the groups end up on either side of the issue rather than working together. i’d like to give specific examples, but that’s probably not a good idea just now.

  9. Afewknowthetruth 9

    “connecting with things that matter to people”.

    Brent oil is now close to $100, having risen by one third in just 6 months. Couple that with the worldwide food crisis and we can anticipate another round of price rises and another turn of the screw that will eventually render all discussion about Left/Right, chauvinism/feminism irrelevant.

    The great aberration that was western-style economics and western-style politics is in its death throes right now. and will be replaced by something quite different sooner than most people can imagine: it may be a return to fuedalism, a return to an empire based on slavery, a return to tribalism, or simply a die-off.

    Whatever is coming, it will not involve anything currently in vogue.

    • Carol 9.1

      So, if the world is transitioning to “tribalism” or “feudalism”, or “slavery”, we shouldn’t be aiming to ensure that we don’t return to a situation where women become the chattles of men, or that black people become the slaves of white, etc?

      Shouldn’t we be working towards some transition that is more fair and equitable?

      You just seem to repeating a slightly different version of the class/socio-economic based struggle is the focus, and issues for “identity-based” groups are not important.

      • Afewknowthetruth 9.1.1

        Many of us worked extremely hard for many years to generate public discussion about the transition you wrote of, and were ignored, laughed at and sabotaged. (I did it for a decade before giving up, giving up not so much because of of resistance by the empire but becasue of apathy and denial amongst the general public).

        We did all that at a time when some kind of smooth transition may have been possible. Now it is too late. Economic collapse is underway. However, 90+% of the populace still seem completely oblivious to the writing on the wall, or locked into denial, thnking there will be a ‘recovery’ (as they are constantly told will be the case by corporate medai and politicians). .

        The slavery I mentioned was not necessarily black people enslaving white people; it could well be white people enslaving white people, as is the case now, though most people are so uninformed they don’t recognise it, i.e. debt slavery and consumption slavery.

        As far as the present socio-economic system is concerned most people do not have any identity: they are simply cogs in the system, units of production and consumption. To have an identity one has to be a menber of the club of elites, i.e. a celebrity. Then the medai will focus on every aspect of your identity. more of less incessantly. (That keeps the proles nicely distracted from thinking about the real issues and generates yet more profit for the coporations who own the economy).

        Ultimately, the reason we have all the problems we do, the reason we are in the predicament we are, is because the proper relationships between men and women, and between people and the land base were destroyed centuries ago [in western society] by the empire.

        Any discussion that fails to address the big picture issues is futlie.

        • Carol 9.1.1.1

          Who said we are ignoring the bigger picture?

          Meanwhile, while you’re focusing only on the bigger picture of the coming Armageddon as it affects you ….. some time in the future, people are struggling, women are being discriminated against in the workplace, and being abused and bashed, LGBT people are being bashed, firebombed and discriminated against, Maori and Pacific people are losing out on education, dying young etc. This may not bother you, because it doesn’t affect you, but it sure as hell matters to the people involved.

          While you focus on the coming crash, which may or may not be as bad as you predict, you seem to be trying to squash people’s attempts to make the situation better. Also, whatever our social set-up is like before any major crash, it will influence the way things play out. Keep your eyes focused only on some generalised bigger picture if you want, but I’m not buying your squashing of people’s inter-related struggles for much needed change on identity-based issues.

          You are just putting forward another version of a white male-dominated left wing struggle. When you ignore identity-based issues, things just return to the white, het, cis, male-dominated default position.

          • Afewknowthetruth 9.1.1.1.1

            It concernes me greatly that ‘people are struggling, women are being discriminated against in the workplace, and being abused and bashed, LGBT people are being bashed, firebombed and discriminated against, Maori and Pacific people are losing out on education, dying young etc’

            All the things you mention are symptoms of an evil and dysfunctional empire. I have personally experienced most of them and much worse.

            Your phrase ‘some time in the future’ [for the crash] does cover the period 2011 to 2015, which is when the crash will occur, Guaranteed.

            ‘you seem to be trying to squash people’s attempts to make the situation better.’

            It is not possible to make the situation better at this late stage. The time for that was decades ago. We can now only soften the blow, try to minimise the suffering that is to come (as opposed to what politicians do, which is implement policies which will maximise the suffering) .

            And minimising suffering is only possible if people are prepared to accept the reality of the predicament they are in.

            Do not forget that as members of the western ‘looters club’ we ‘kill’ 30,000 children a day in order to maintain our rich lifestyle. It’s just that they are out of sight and so are out of mind.

            • Ari 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Have you considered that actually ensuring everyone is healthy, well, liberated, educated, and not discriminated against might actually improve our odds of preventing or dealing with said crash?

              Because it would, even assuming it comes as soon as in the next half-decade.

    • QoT 9.2

      I thoroughly agree with Ari’s comment at 9.1.1.1.1.1, but also wanted to make this greater point.

      I agree that we’re on course for a huge social/economic/global shakeup when peak oil combines with runaway climate change. It may be / probably is too late to avoid those things completely.

      But I believe that a society which values all people equally and tries to lift up the disadvantaged and downtrodden is a society which must take a more proactive stance on the environment we live in. A society which values the right of women to control their own fertility is a society with far fewer overpopulation problems. A society which cares about people living in poverty is a society which stops heavy industry fucking up the air in poor suburbs. A society focused on people caring about each other is a society far more likely, in my view, to think about the effects of our actions now on future generations we’ll never meet.

      We may be on a collision course with catastrophic global change. But that’s no fucking excuse to sit back and say “oh well, the pay gap won’t matter when we’re all drowning so women and youth and people of colour can just suck it up till the polar caps give out.”

  10. TELL IT!

    Best thing I have read in a long while.

  11. This is awesome. Well said. It needs to be screamed from the roof-tops.

  12. Rebecca 12

    Awesome article. I came across it after Boganette tweeted about it. Thanks so much for writing it.

  13. Gina 13

    Great article.
    Putting labels like socialist feminist or liberal feminist on the struggle for equality thought authentic and relevant might be confusing for many women who have not looked deepley into feminist literature but believe in equality.
    If capitalism were true capitalism then women would be paid rather than unpaid. I have always regarded mothers in their unpaid work as the biggest social welfare provider in the world. While
    men condemn women welfare recipients as bludgers they demand a massive amount of social support from women in the form of unpaid labour.
    I think we need to quantify that unpaid work and call a spade a spade. If the males of society wish to withdraw the meager allowances women get when they absolutely need it to continue their unpaid work in supporting society then women must withdraw that unpaid work. We must quantify it and use it at the barganing table. I think at this moment have a unique opportunity to get more women active in government.

    What has just happened in parliament i.e. the removal of the gift duty and how it was done without womens input or knowledge horrifies most women ( right and left ) who have been properly informed on the subject. That the Green party almost voted in favour of this abomination because the women of that party had no idea as to the effect on women has also shocked everyone made aware of it. So the men of the green party knew about the effects of the removal of the gift duty but didn’t think it was important and didn’t inform the women of the green party.
    Catherine Delahunties office knew nothing about it and the party were set to vote in favour of it until Catherine found out about it.

    Women should also be aware that labour even though they voted against it have not pledged to remedy the situation and indeed when I spoke with Sue Moroney’s assistant she tried very hard to tell me that as labours womens affairs spokewomen this was not in Sue Moroneys portfolio.
    The problem is of course the next election. If certain male voters and donors got wind that labour might enact legislation to protect women from trusts designed to rob them of their share of matrimonial property and thereby enforce the matrimonial property act then corporate funding might dry up leaving labour in a very bad position for the next election. The problem being women are too scared to talk about this sort of thing so the word would only get out to men who would then attempt to destroy labour.

    Here’s a fact of life NZ women need to digest. That unless they become activly involved in politics and keep a watch on parliament, that political parties will sell them out to people who are active in politics and donate to their parties re election fund. Most of those big donors are wealthy men who push their own agenda’s. Women who are married must risk upsetting their domestic applecart and discuss gender politics with their freinds. We as women must also donate if we can while demanding improvements in exchange for our support.
    The problems with this though right now is that threats from males regarding your employment or even your life often ensue. Ive had my own life threatend by kiwi blokes for daring to speak. If enough of us stand together we have a chance. The new search and surveillance society will be used to harrass women activists so we really need to nip it in the bud.
    I believe the national party might even be threatening our right to vote in the very near future. If this gets past Kiwis the nats will reign and women will be living in the 21st century but in a worse position than the women who lived 100 years ago.

    • QoT 13.1

      I think you’ve made some awesome points there Gina but just wanted to address this:

      If capitalism were true capitalism then women would be paid rather than unpaid.

      This is true if we’re looking at a platonic, conceived-in-a-vacuum kind of capitalism; but I’m of the view that capitalism as it has come about for humans on Earth has only done so because the labour of women is largely unpaid. Just as capitalism can by definition never provide full employment, it cannot acknowledge women’s work, which is why its bastard cousin patriarchy has put so much effort into convincing us that women’s work isn’t “real” or is something we must happily continue providing free of charge because we “naturally” do it.

  14. Bill 14

    I said this in some other thread, but I think it’s worth repeating.

    If ‘identity’ politics are divorced from the economic argument, ie they don’t take into account the full intersectionality of oppressions, then resentment will fester from within the ranks of those who are ‘merely’ economically oppressed. Of course, that cuts two ways. Any economic ‘rebalancing’ needs to take into account the intersectionality of any race, gender, disability, etc oppressions too.

    Way I see it at the moment, too much in the way of identity politics has been divorced from matters of economic oppression and so, from a working class perspective, offers nought beyond ‘everyone’ assuming a position on a par with the downwardly drifting position of the white, working class male.

    There is a hell of a difference between empowering given identifiable groups where members of the group happen to be middle class as opposed to where they happen to be working class. In the first instance, a more levelled playing field can allow them to better utilise their already privileged economic position, whereas in the latter situation, the same policy can simply lead to increased and unjustified levels of resentment.

    I think it’s a given that improvements built on top of a middle class starting point are generally touted as proof of the success of a given policy. But because the promotion of the succesful policy is silent on matters of class, the impression created is that all people belonging to the identified group are enjoying the touted levels of success or opportunity or whatever. And that’s not only simply not true, but adds to the burden of discrimination experienced by those in the identified grouping who are working class, deepening the already existing divisions within the working class along the way.

    • just saying 14.1

      You make an important point Bill and I think others such as Olwyn have tried to articulate it too.

      I find the differences in the experiences of “identified” groups across classes interesting and edifying. Those with money and clout are somewhat shielded from the ongoing oppression of others in their groups and may have a false confidence about how much has been achieved for their group across the board. Sometimes they can become part of the problem for their group in doing so. Seems to me that if these people found themselves living in the powerlessness of poverty, they would again feel the full weight of discrimination and oppression, and maybe realise that class and socioeconomic oppression can’t be swept under the carpet, and “identity” oppression will never be completely overcome unless oppression in all it’s forms becomes tranparent and vanquished. Otherwise it’s like the firebrigade endlessly damping down new hotspots. The fire might look like it’s out, but it could rage out of control again the minute their backs are turned.

      And quite apart from all that I find the smug middle-class ‘I’m alright Jack’ sickening and unconscionable. How anyone can enjoy their hard-won freedoms while trampling all over others (whether they get their own hands dirty in doing so or not (I do love mixing metaphors)) and sleep at night, is beyond me. And of course, as you say the resentments and divisiveness that so often result…

      • Bill 14.1.1

        Those with money and clout are somewhat shielded from the ongoing oppression of others in their groups…

        Same sex marriage might be a good example of that. (Just to clarify, I don’t believe in having the illegitimate authorities of the church or state sanction any personal relationships.) But to my point. Much of the debate around same sex marriage revolved around property rights (from memory). But what I never heard mention of was the fact that poor people in same sex relationships were going to be opened up to harassment by the likes of WINZ if they lived in the same house.

        I can’t escape the feeling that other solutions could have been found to deal with medical and property issues that i) didn’t potentially leave economically disadvantaged same sex couples further disadvantaged and ii) could have encompassed a far broader spectrum of people who also encounter some of the same brick walls when dealing with the medical profession.

        That. And well, I never have gotten my head around this idea of people wanting to opt into constrictive modes of normality.

        • Carol 14.1.1.1

          I’ve never understood the desire to be married, other than for some legal benefits: eg imigration rights etc. If a person feels they won’t be accepted (eg working class couples that you mention), then I doubt that they’d opt for a civil union.

          However, I do think having equal rights to marriage, sends a message to the general heterosexual population of a certain degree of acceptability, which may improve attitudes in the long term.

          I think the right to equal legal options, marriage etc, should be available for the people who want them.

          • Bill 14.1.1.1.1

            Yeah, but my point was that in achieving that right, some people were then exposed to the potential of harassment from WINZ (co-habitation) that could see them losing out financially.

            • Carol 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, maybe that’s one of the downsides of being treated equal to heterosexual couples. That’s always been a problem with opposite sex couples living together.

              • Bill

                The main protaganists were worried about property rights, inheretance rights and such like. In other words, they clove to a very middle class perspective. And by not taking into account the full effects of every day economic oppression they inadvertantly visited increased levels of oppression on the already more oppressed members of their own self identifying group.

                Which, considering that a lessening of oppression/discrimination was their driving concern….

                • Carol

                  But are these people in a different situation from heterosexual people who deal with WINZ? Isn’t the problem to do with people being on inadequate income or benefit levels? Or are you saying GLBT people should not try to achieve equality because it might expose some other inequalities?

                  And I’m not entirely sure it was only middleclass lesbians and gays that were asking for same sex marriage. For many same sex marriage is about having their relationships celebrated and accepted in the wider society.

                  • Bill

                    It broadened the scope of WINZ to harass people they couldn’t previously harass. And yes, the problem is related to poverty.

                    What I’m saying is that the point where poverty intersected with the GLBT community’s concerns seems to be a point that was never considered.

                    As I commented previously, I find it difficult to believe that the GLBT community couldn’t have developed or crafted demands that would have satisfied all GLBT folks as well as perhaps folk beyond the GLBT community.

                    Surely there are other ways than marriage to satisfy concerns about property rights and medical intransigence?

                    But yeah. If a sub group of the GLBT community merely sought to ‘opt-in’ to conservative and generally oppresive social norms, then hey.

                    • Carol

                      I’m not so sure that a lot of the demands from GLBT people for marriage are strongly based on property issues. I think part of the motivation for the government responding positively to those demands are, however, related to property rights and for financial reasons.

                      Many of us are not into same sex marriage, including many middleclass gays and lesbians, but not so much because of the property issues. People I know and know of who’ve got unioned seem to put the stress on emotional reasons, of the public statement and general acceptance that “marriage” gives them. And I know quite a few working class lesbians, or middleclass ones from working class backgrounds, who are strongly into supporting same-sex marriage. And many of us support the right to marriage, because of the positive message it gives, even if we are not into getting hitched ourselves.

                      I AM unhappy with the de facto rules that make any couple automatically defacto after living together for a couple of years. I think the government has done this to lower the amount and costs of court cases required to make property settlements when many couples break up. I think the de facto thing should be opt in not opt out.

                      It’s hard to get a clear fix on socio-economic level and desires for same-sex marriage. Statistics NZ doesn’t seem to have such correlations. It does have some of same sex partnership stats from the last census, but doesn’t identify the ones that are unioned or not in relation to socio-economic status.

                      http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/people_and_communities/marriages-civil-unions-and-divorces/same-sex-couples-in-nz.aspx

                      The socio-economic situation is complicated because those that state they are in a same sex relationship/couple tend to be better educated and earn more than heterosexual couples. This is, at least partly attributed to lesbians needing to be self-supporting, and to the fact that same sex couples tend to have less children.

                      It’s possible also that same sex couples on lower incomes, are less likely to be open about their relationships.

                      Also, there tends to be a smaller proportion of same sex couples getting unioned than heterosexual couples getting married or unioned. So, in spite of including a significant proportion of “middleclass” same-sex couples, these relatively well-off couples are less interested in being unioned.

    • Ari 14.2

      Absolutely, EVERY sort of intersectionality is important, and the way economic oppression interacts with social oppression is really, really sinister, and deserves to be talked about way more.

  15. KJT 15

    …you just look those bastards in the eye and say “Our society should be free and fair for everyone. No one should be attacked or discriminated against just because of who they are….

    Well as a white partially privileged male I totally agree with this statement. I’ve been a feminist supporter since as a 17 year old school holiday worker I thought it was manifestly unfair that I was getting $5 a week more than the 23 year old “office girl” because I was male.

    I am very proud of the fact that with our involvement with empowering women to broaden their horizons we have increased the number of women in traditional male occupations many times over. We were so successful on Spirit of Adventure we struggle to get enough boys to match the girls who want to go. Enabling women to have many more choices than 40 years ago. Lack of pay equity is something employers try to hide in the shadows now instead of being accepted as it was in the 70’s.
    A lot of of us white hetero, short, balding working class males have supported minority rights for a long time.

    Unfortunately when we raise our heads above the parapet there are some rabid man hating feminazi types, as well as other identity politics types, who rather than acknowledge our efforts accuse us of being guilty just because of “who” we are.

    That is why we are reluctant to speak on identity politics. I prefer to stick to trying to change the system that disadvantages 97% of us no matter who we are rather than being told I am doing the wrong thing no matter how hard I try..

    • Gina 15.1

      Hello KJT

      I don’t know who you are or why feminists have attacked you. If you have helped women and Kiwis in general then I’m very grateful to you. But that term feminazi is repeatedly used by males who are so anti women we would be better off dead than under their rule. Using that term is very creepy indeed unless you justify it with examples of what feminazis are and what they’ve done to upset you so much.

      • KJT 15.1.1

        “just as unfair as the one that thinks all feminist women are man haters”.

        Actually the best example recently was the Christchurch Crech case. Which was to do with a gay male not getting a fair trial.

        Redneck women haters, masculonazis if you like, do use the term feminazis to refer to people who I would consider nothing of the sort.
        Sandra Coney, Helen Clark, Sian Elias and other people who I have enormous respect for.

        The ones, I don’t know if you would call them real feminists. that upset me are the ones who assume you have no right to speak even as a supporter, or the ones who go right away into personal attacks if you disagree with them in the slightest and those who see all white males as the enemy. Condemn you for your colour and/or sex before they even know you. See below.

        Anyway my wife has seen this now and is laughing. We are leaving now for a mutual foot rub.

    • just saying 15.2

      You sure part of the problem isn’t that you’re expecting accolades for examples of treating women with equal respect, ie for unexceptional nonsexist behaviour? I don’t know I’m just wondering here.

      I’d be interested to know precisely what you are talking about when you say
      “being told I am doing the wrong thing no matter how hard I try..”

      But nevertheless good on you for having the courage to put your head above that parpet here and now.

      • KJT 15.2.1

        No I don’t expect accolades for doing the right thing. I expect that from every one as a matter of course. .
        Just that people stop generalising about white middle working class males. There are unthinking prejudices from all types. The one that lumps all white working class males as women hating rednecks is just as unfair as the one that thinks all feminist women are man haters.
        It tends to alienate people who are otherwise keen supporters of minority rights.

        I don’t doubt I say the wrong thing sometimes, don’t we all, but the intentions are good. I was born before 1960 after all.

        There are a small bunch of so called feminists of the “all men are rapists” persuasion which I and others have crossed swords with. Same as I have argued with misogynistic men.

        And I think a Married man who publicly lusts after other women with a wife basher is really creepy. I am a bit old fashioned like that.

        • Boganette 15.2.1.1

          Again, where are these man-hating-all-men-are-rapists feminists? I’ve never met one.

          • pollywog 15.2.1.1.1

            Don’t get out much huh or mingle with a broad cross section of society ?

            …too busy with your head stuck up your arse maybe ?

            • Boganette 15.2.1.1.1.1

              Could you give an example of one then? Just one name, one blog etc?

              No?

              • pollywog

                google ‘man hating blog’…

                then take a deep breath, step away from the computer and go enjoy some family time yeah ?

                …cos i got washing to hang out and dinner to make before the Missus gets home or there’ll be hell to pay 🙂

                • Boganette

                  So, just to clarify – you both believe there is a large contigent of man-hating-all-men-are-rapists type of feminists but you can’t actually provide proof of even one woman that you’ve engaged with who fits the bill?

                  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

                  Also, I don’t need to step away from the computer, or take a deep breath, or ‘enjoy some family time’. I’m perfectly calm – you don’t need to worry about my welfare.

                  • Bill

                    I’ve met the grand total of….one. Back in the 80’s. And she was young and gave me the distinct impression that she had ‘learned’ her feminism piecemeal from snippets here and there rather than developed it from experience. She was, for whatever reason, incredibly bitter and spiteful.

                    The other wimin (if I can indulge in 80 isms) in the room (several of them) were all feminists and not a single one of them backed her in her you are a man, men are rapists therefore you are a rapist onslaught and her variations thereof.

                    It was an ‘interesting’ evening.

                  • KJT

                    No I do not believe there is a large contingent. Just a loud one. And I am sure you have heard of or met them. Just as I know the contingent of working class rednecks is also very small, but makes a lot of noise. ACT and the capital C Christian right has only a few percent of the vote after all.

                    • Boganette

                      Surely if they’re that loud you could name one? Or direct us to a blog that is run by one?

                      The man-hater-all-men-are-rapists-feminist is a mythical creature. A fairytale. It’s a way to discredit the movement and the women involved in it. It’s a way to attack feminists as a whole. And frankly I’m quite tired of it. If men are going to keep claiming that women have actually said to them “I’m a feminist, I hate men and all men are rapists” then surely they should be able to back up that claim? Just you know – ONE link to ONE blog where that was said?

                      The only people who imagine up these characters are certain types of men….

                    • KJT

                      “The only people who imagine up these characters are certain types of men”….

                      Yeah right! I’ve met a few.
                      Blogs are not the whole of humanity.

                      And what type of Man does that make me exactly?

                      And they do give rednecks far too much ammunition.

                  • pollywog

                    just to clarify…

                    …what i’m saying is there are man hating LESBIANS around. just what exactly do you think heterophobe means ?

                    and for the record, i’ve met some, know some but if you expect me to post their names and addresses so you can verify their feminist credentials then you’re shit out of luck

                    maybe you should read what i wrote not what you think i wrote and stop confusing lesbians with feminists or are they mutually inclusive ?

                    • Boganette

                      Dude, I wasn’t even talking to you about that! You’re carrying shit over from the other thread. If lesbian women don’t like you that means they don’t like YOU not that they don’t like men. As I said on the other thread if you’re going to be lecherous pervert around them then chances are they’re not going to like you. That’s not strange! If a creepy, gross pig stands in the corner drooling over a woman at a gay club chances are the women there are going to be hostile towards him. You can’t translate the way that women react to you as being the same as how they react to decent men.

                      I think you two are getting confused – the women who hate you probably just hate YOU – not men in general. Unless they specifically said they hate men then I think you got the wrong end of the stick and they’re just reacting to the intense disgust they have for you.

                    • pollywog

                      WOAH Babe…i think i’ve just found your man hating feminist…

                      …go look in a mirror

                    • Boganette

                      What? I’m a man-hater because I think you’re a creep? How does that work?

                    • A Nonny Moose

                      Oh you’re just all class Polly. You can’t debate QoT’s post, so you attack the commenters.

                      “Look in the mirror”. Lower than a snakes belly dude. While we’re miles beyond Feminism/Ad hominem 101, you’re way back at the start chucking out attacks we’ve heard a million times before.

                      You want to debate feminists, get a little clued up.

                    • pollywog

                      nah…it’s more your strong language directed at someone you don’t even know just because he’s male, and the irrational jumping to conclusions when they don’t fit your pre conceptions or buy into your rhetoric…

                      heh…i’m not a lecherous perverted creepy gross pig who drools at gay women only for them to react with intense disgust ?

                      in that instance i was just a guy looking for a dance with a hot chicca at a gay club whose partner saw me as sexual competition and looked to get all offensive about it. I woulda backed off in the same situation if some jealous rugby munter thought i was out for his lady as well.

                      i think you better chickety-check yourself before you wreck yourself.

                    • Boganette

                      For the last time – because this is a massive derail on what is a really important thread.

                      I am basing my comments about you on what you said on the other thread (and now this thread). I think you’re gross not because you are male – but because you are gross. Again, this proves my earlier point about ‘man-hating’.

                      End of story.

                    • pollywog

                      oh fuck off with ya bad self ya nonny moose…

                      i’m not debating QoT’s post cos i’m in agreement with it and i’m hardly attacking the commenters.

                      why do you feel like i’m attacking you and feel the need to defend yourself from a group perspective.

                      exactly what attack specifically can you quote me on that you’ve heard a ‘million times before’ ?

                      prone to exaggeration much ?…cos it doesn’t seem like i’m debating a feminist with you, more like schooling an errant and petulant child

                    • pollywog

                      It sure does prove my point about your man hating Boganette.

                      It’s my maleness that grosses you out…

                    • T

                      I don’t know why Boganette doesn’t hold you in high regard, but the fact that you were ‘looking for a dance with a hot chicca at a gay club‘ makes you seem to me like a bit of jackass. I don’t hate you. I certainly don’t hate men — that would be a bit tricky considering I am one.

                      It’s a matter of respect. To me, from what you relate, you haven’t recognised the importance of giving people some privileged space and time of their own, amongst people of their own choosing – not because they necessarily have a legal right to it, but because it’s considerate. You’ve been somewhat intrusive and you don’t seem to recognise it as such, and for that, I think you’re a bit of a bell-end.

                      But that’s just one man’s opinion – maybe others think you’re a top bloke. Whatever. Not everyone has to like you, and those that don’t, probably have nothing against other people who are superficially similar to you (gender, colour, etc).

                • A Nonny Moose

                  You do realize that “step away from the computer” is a silencing tactic, pw? Because if women do, you’ll still be here in your echo chamber, thinking you’ve won.

                  No, we will not shut up just because you feel uncomfortable called on your privilege.

                  But seriously, are there not ANY new comebacks? I’m sure some person will think they’re so clever soon and pop out the “sammich” line. I mean, yawwwwn. We’re way passed fighting the baseline, can’t you step up the intellectual rigour a little?

                  Captcha: doubts (I has them)

                  • pollywog

                    hah…and what privilege would that be ?

                    fine you got your girls back and all ANM, but i’m not implying you all step away and take a deep breath before hitting the post button, just Boganette cos she sounds a little wound up…

                    …so by all means shout your beliefs from the battlements for all to hear, it’s just some of us have got better things to do than stand around and listen for very long

                    i got 99 problems but a dick ain’t one…how’s that for a comeback line ?

                    • Boganette

                      Why do I sound wound up? Because I’m disagreeing with you?

                      We’re hardly shouting Polly. We’re attempting to have a discussion. If you have better things to do then by all means opt out of this thread.

                      Oh and: http://tinyurl.com/6b9uaex

                    • pollywog

                      I think you’re wound up cos i don’t fit into your little box of mysogyny…

                      oh and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY7Mx5QHrC0

                      http://lyricsplayground.com/alpha/songs/i/ifitdontfitdontforceit.shtml

                      so mysogynist is the opposite of feminist…no middle ground huh ?

                    • A Nonny Moose

                      You can\’t be sexist because…what, you\’re married? You love your wife? She agrees with you? Ah yes, the Nice Guy (TM) defence, the same defence used for Assange (he can\’t be a rapist! he\’s done great things for democracy!), and Polanski (He can\’t be a rapist! He\’s an ARTIST!), and Key (he can\’t be a sexist, he loves his country AND his wife!).

                      It\’s ingrained stuff. You can be a nice guy (litle n, little g) and still say things that have been socialized into you. THAT\’S privilege. You can say in a social group \”haha, chill out little feminazi lady\”, and everyone will chuckle/agree. I can say \”chill out dude, you\’re being a sexist\”, and will be shunned from the social group (guess what, it happened).

                      Male privilege gets you a pass into pretty much anything, and you don\’t know its privilege because you don\’t see it happening. It just does. It opens the doors of the world for you.

                    • pollywog

                      ooh shit nonny…you read it on the interwebz so it must be true

                      so how does that derailing for dummies work ? am i the dummy, the marginalized person or the privileged one ?

                      i s’pose this is the part where we see who can piss further up the marginalized, privileged, dummy wall ?

                      i’ll see your oppressed womanhood and raise you a dumb nigga, something like that ?

                      gotta love roles and responsibilites when everyone plays to type eh ?..just so easy to pigeon hole people if we all just follow the script…

                      as you were

                  • pollywog

                    No, we will not shut up just because you feel uncomfortable called on your privilege

                    once again…

                    hah…and what privilege would that be ?

                    Who is the we you speak of ? are you getting some consensus on the correct answer ?

                    please don’t shut up on me. trust that i’m perfectly comfortable with whatever your answer will be…

    • Are you for real? “Rabid man hating feminazi types’? Do you know any woman under the age of about 35 who would think of herself as a feminist? My experience over the last decade or more is that the backlash against identity politics and pretty much any other form of progressive thought or action (anything that the silencing label of PC could be applied to) has been so strong that younger women who express ideas with the slightest hint of feminist analysis often start with a disclaimer like, ‘I’m not a feminist, but…’

      What a great blog! A very refreshing antidote to the depoliticizing diet of pseudo-feminist post-modern ‘scholarship’.

      • KJT 15.3.1

        I think it is a real shame that there has been a backlash against feminism. . Trying to broaden the horizons of girls at High School to look beyound traditional women’s roles is coming up against present day social expectations. Mostly from the girls themselves. We need a revival of the girls can do anything campaign.

    • Boganette 15.4

      “Unfortunately when we raise our heads above the parapet there are some rabid man hating feminazi types, as well as other identity politics types, who rather than acknowledge our efforts accuse us of being guilty just because of “who” we are.”

      Who are these rabid man hating femanazi types you speak of?

      It just sounds like your pissed off that feminists aren\’t lining up with cupcakes and footrubs for you just because you’re ‘on our side’.

      If you want a cookie maybe you should not call us feminazis? Maybe you should do shit in support of women without expecting something in return. That might be a good start.

    • Ari 15.5

      Eh, I’ve found in my “journies through feminism” that mostly when I’ve been called out it’s because I’ve been unclear or just because I’ve really needed to be checked on something.

      There ARE a few women who have some real issues under the feminist banner, but they’re a vanishingly small minority and don’t justify the kinda words you’re using. Mostly they’re people who have been really badly mistreated and have basically lost trust in men as a category, and that’s not something to be mocked, it’s something to feel sad about, in my opinion. None of them in any way reflect on the movement as a whole, either.

      If you start off too loudly when you’re getting into feminism you can certainly get into a bit of trouble because there’s a lot of basics to go through for most guys before you really “get it”, so if you tend to speak out a lot as you’re learning you’re going to be told you’re wrong quite a lot.

      You weren’t exactly clear as to the specifics of why you were being criticized, so it’s hard to answer really.

      • KJT 15.5.1

        Basically for being male. Which is just as bad as dissing someone for being… Put in your own minority here.

        • Boganette 15.5.1.1

          Honestly, come on now. Who here is criticising you for being male?

          • Brett 15.5.1.1.1

            JUSTIFY YOUR PRIVILEGE!!!”
            LOL, she’s got you in her sights.

          • KJT 15.5.1.1.2

            Why have you started with the ad-hominims then.

            Seen above. if I disagree with you I must be a certain type of male.

            You are trying to alienate me already.

            • Boganette 15.5.1.1.2.1

              No, I said: “The only people who imagine up these characters are certain types of men….” in reesponse to the ‘man-hating-all-men-are-rapists-feminist’ claim you made. Which is true. In my experience only certain people make that claim. Am I meant to deny my learned experience in order not to alienate you when you couldn’t care less if you alienate me?

              • KJT

                You started the personal attack. Sort of proves my point.

                People making assumptions because of gender.

                • Boganette

                  Are you serious? You consider that a personal attack? So when you’re asking for recognition for your ‘good works’ while using terms like “rabid man hating feminazi” – if someone asks you to expand on this whole ‘crossing swords with femanazis’ bullshit then they’re personally attacking you? SERIOUSLY? You believe this? WOW.

                  • QoT

                    For the record Boganette has basically been stealing thoughts from my head and typing them out as comments.

                    @KJT and others: I’m sorry if you’ve met with hostility from some women. That’s just how some people react to thousands of fucking years of oppression and a lifetime of being told they are lesser human beings.

                    I likewise have been on the receiving end of hostility from people of colour and non-heterosexuals. I got over it because it wasn’t about me.

                    • pollywog

                      others: I’m sorry if you’ve met with hostility from some women. That’s just how some people react to thousands of fucking years of oppression and a lifetime of being told they are lesser human beings.

                      yeah i’m so used to being an ‘other’, but theres really no need to apologise. it wasn’t your fault…

                      WHITEMAN IS THE DEVIL 🙂

  16. Gina 16

    What do you all think would happen to a feminist or pro choicer or group of either who threatened a kiwi blokes life. Do you think the police would come to the aid of feminists who’s lives were being threatened standing up for matrimonial property rights. Think about it. I know I do.

    • nadis 16.1

      Gina – thats a ridiculous comment and detracts from the validity of whats written in this post. There are plenty of women in NZ who are very thankful that the police have come to their aid in a matrimonial property dispute that is turning violent, to declare otherwise is risible and insulting to Police, very few of whom exhibit the neanderthal attitude you accuse them of. Thirty years ago you may have had a point but not now. Case in point is the instant protection orders that are frequently used (and note these were passed unanimously by Parliament under a women hating, violence against feminist inciting National government).

      Now, you may be able to argue that the law unfairly discriminates in some circumstances (and here I am thinking of recognising unpaid contributions to matrimonial property ie wife staying home to look after kids, allowing husband to work long hours) but that’s not the same issue as you are claiming. In modern NZ society I think the Police do a very good job of upholding the law, in the circumstances where people bleat about Police failing to uphold peoples rights the issue is either (rarely) an individual bad cop, or the law is an outdated ass tat needs changing.

      Anti-spam word is mad – good description of your comment.

      As an aside, we should acknowledge how far NZ society has come – yes it’s not perfect but there has been a hell of a lot of positive progress. I would suggest that the vast majority of NZ’ers would agree that discrimination against all of the minorities mentioned in this post is inexcusable. Does it still exist? Yes. There is a mismatch between individuals intentions and actions, but the proportion of true dinosaurs is significantly lower now than it has ever been.

      To be fair – despite being one of the “guilty” (white, middle aged capitalist that votes right) – I would agree that discrimination is about economics rather than anything else, but not everyone “privileged” is guilty. If you try and sell that argument you’ll lose the battle, as the battle then becomes replacing our existing society with your version of utopia (95% of the population will recoil from you in horror) rather than building and improving on what we have.

      • Gina 16.1.1

        I can tell you nadis that my own experience with police has been horrible. Sorry but I don’t agree.
        What is it about the idea of proptecting matrimonial property rights for women that women will hate. The women i have informed about this have been almost without exeption in agreement with me, horrified that their governmnet has done behind their back and ready to kick them out. Is destroying the matrimonial property act behind womens backs progress. What world do you live in deary. I have been told that men want things back the way they were so I should shut up. How is that progress?

        And i can tell you that when I have been threatened by men the police have not been interested. I have been made to feel like a criminal. I could go on about the nasty way the police have acted towards me but that might identify me.

      • Gina 16.1.2

        The improvement I see is women voters finding out what Nact has done re the repeal of the Gift Duty and its effect on divorce.
        Once they truly know what Key has been up to they will kick him out and they can. Thats the first step. Those women who I have spoken to do not recoil in horror. They are profoundly grateful that someone has the balls and the decency to tell them and perhaps save them from dire poverty should their marriage collapse and they finhd themselves destitute.

        • Gina 16.1.2.1

          The unmarried women I have spoken to have told me that this underhanded gutting of the matrimonial property act has put them off marriage and they are now considering a completely different future. So much for recoiling in horror at my ideas aye.

          I think its very sad that they now do not feel safe enough in the protections for women to marry as we all want that. But we are constantly told we are responsible for our finances and must pay so how can you donate a lifetime to someone elses benefit leaving your own financial future potentially destitute. There are only so many pounds of flesh you can extract from women and this puts them way over the limit.

          • KJT 16.1.2.1.1

            I met several women in teacher training who were trying to struggle away from the DPB with no support from their wealthy ex partners who had hidden all their income in trusts.
            Private trusts are just a means of avoiding legal, matrimonial or taxation obligations. The puzzle is why they are still legal.

            Rather than focusing on gift duty I think we should be focused on removing the family trust as a separate legal hideaway.

            • Gina 16.1.2.1.1.1

              Yes I think you are correct there KJT. I do think thought that labour are looking at the gift duty repeal from the point of view that it might allow other forms of tax evasion by the rich. They need to quantify how much we could loose out of the taxation pool. How they will calculate that I really don’t know.

              There does need to be something done pretty quickly though as when the repeal is enacted before new protections are introduced there could be large numbers of women ( I’m talking in the 10’s of thousands ) who could suddenly loose all their matrimonial property as there would be no delay in transfering assetts etc into trusts. There could be an avalanche of men creating trusts from small businesses like plumbers etc which are not co-owned dumping all their assetts and profits in trusts. the women who go that extra mile supporting their partners so they can really grow these businesses could be suddenly and unknowingly impoverished.

              I cant imagine how it would feel to give your heart and soul working for your partner thinking you are financially protected then finding out a few years down the track that he deliberately cheated you and you are now pennyless.

          • nadis 16.1.2.1.2

            I understand the point you are trying to make but i think its bollocks – the removal of gift duty shouldn’t in itself create the issue you are claiming. Two points- assets transferred into a trust to avoid creditors or spousal claim are often reversed by court order even beyond the much quoted 2 year limit. And why would you enter into a marriage and agree its a good idea not to be a beneficiary of the trust that owns all of the matrimonial assets. That is stupid.

            And for your bad experiences with cops which I cant comment on, there are plenty of people out there with correspondingly good ones including my sister plus a couple we know through kids at school. No actual violence but plenty of threats. Cops were very hard but fair, I wouldn’t describe their immediate triage as emotionally nurturing for anyone, but as soon as they intervened nobody was going to get physically hurt. There concerns were clearly safety of children, safety of adults, sort out the details later. You think any police officer wants to put themselves in a situation where they need to explain why they did nothing at a domestic violence call out 3 hours before someone was battered to death?

            You should actually advise your friends to do the logical thing which is understand the financial implications of entering into a contract (ie marriage). Hold all assets in joint ownership either directly or as beneficiary of a trust. If your partner won’t agree save the future divorce stress and end it early. It’s not rocket science. BTW, my wife hasnt worked in a paid role for over 20 years. When we had the luxury of needing only 1 income we made a rational choice. I worked for pay (greater earning potential due to my educational choices), she worked as a housewife to provide our kids with the best possible supportive environment. Joint bank accounts, equal in our trust. If there is ever a divorce I expect a court would grant her the family home plus half the assets plus maintenance as I’ve been the only paid earner. I have no problem with that. Could I have structured our financial affairs to avoid that potential outcome – possibly, but then she’d never have married me. She’s not stupid.

            • KJT 16.1.2.1.2.1

              I know several women whose Husbands put the money into trusts. In all cases the wife did not know that there was a trust and how much of their business income was being siphoned of until too late. To add insult to injury all the exes concerned also cleaned out their joint accounts and one left the mortgage and other bills many months in arrears.

              I can understand there can be a fair bit of acrimony between partners in a breakup, but I cannot understand how someone can leave their kids with nothing.

  17. marsman 17

    WOW QoT ! Great post!!!

  18. Danielle 19

    That was fucking ACE, QoT.

    Also: the idea that the “proper relationships between men and women… were destroyed centuries ago” is a bunch of ahistorical pastoralist hooey.

  19. Lew 20

    Two posts on consecutive days, and it’s still a love-fest. Don’t get me wrong — it’s nice and all, but I think the purpose was to stimulate genuine and robust discourse rather than a round of congratulatory back-patting. There are still suspiciously few bites from the usual crowd of materialism-or-death hacks.

    Hey, all of you who’ve recently been busily putting the boot into all womankind regarding the Assange rape allegations, and into the mentally ill regarding Jared Lee Loughner, and into tangata whenua regarding the actions of a party of ‘class traitors’ who (as you’re quick to note) doesn’t represent them all — where you at? You know who you are. Stop looking around saying “Who, me?” Turn up and argue your corner like you’ve got a pair.

    Because QoT has. If I’m not very much mistaken, she’s come looking for a bit of a tussle. She deserves more than your patronising silence, and I’m pretty sure she can handle it. Can you?

    L

    • Brett 20.1

      Honestly why would you even bother discussing this.It’s like debating the existence of god with a group of Christians.
      I actually feel sorry for these woman, always the victim,always living in a state of terror imagine going through life that that.

      • Lew 20.1.1

        I just feel sorry for you, Brett. I imagine it must be tricky to function in NZ with such a rudimentary grasp of the English language.

        L

        • Brett 20.1.1.1

          My writing skills certainly aren’t quite as flash as yours Lew.
          Obviously a side effect of my “working class roots”, I will make more of an effort next time especially around people who come from a higher class level such as yourself
          “Doffs hat”

      • QoT 20.1.2

        always living in a state of terror imagine going through life that that.

        Yeah, it fucking sucks, actually.

        Thought experiment for ya, Brett: You’re at a shopping centre late at night. It’s dark, you’re alone, and your car is all the way across the parking lot. What do you do?

        (For bonus points, pretend you’re a woman and explain why this is a trick question.)

        • Draco T Bastard 20.1.2.1

          One night I was going to see some friends of mine. I took the bus. At my stop a young women got off as well and we headed in the same direction. After awhile she started walking faster and faster until she broke into a run and ran to the nearest house and banged on the door.

          You say sexism is bad and yet here you are spreading it.

          • Danielle 20.1.2.1.1

            You might find the first part of this article edifying, Draco:

            http://tinyurl.com/ya2fd8v

          • QoT 20.1.2.1.2

            Um, how, Draco?

            I’ve been that young woman. On many occasions. Because I know I am fucking lucky to not be one of the one in four who are sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.

            It isn’t sexist to acknowledge that women are subjected to sexual violence at a horrifying rate. It isn’t sexist to acknowledge that women in general have to take precautions and considerations men in general do not (of course, a young Maori guy or a very camp / openly gay guy in, say, the middle of Christchurch might empathise with the situation). It isn’t sexist to note that the vast majority of violence committed against women is committed by men. What about those statements is problematic?

            • KJT 20.1.2.1.2.1

              Most of the time that fear is not justified. Though I know it is very real.
              As we know most rapists and those who physically attack women are known to the victim. The danger is at home, disgustingly, from those who should be protecting and nurturing the women and girls in their family. Stranger danger is exaggerated.

              I think I can empathise having had to walk through port areas in some pretty rough places. Not very nice when you hear multiple footsteps getting faster and closer.

              It is young men who should be most fearful of physical attack on the street as they are much more likely to be physically attacked by strangers.
              My wife and women friends may have blokes trying to chat them up in the pub, but they do not get some drunken bruiser they don’t know walking up to them and threatening to punch them out because they happen to dislike your face, voice or whatever.
              Young women are told not to go out alone in the dark. Unjustly restricting their freedom. Whereas young men are not reminded of their danger and walk around pretty much where they like even though they are more likely to be injured. .

              A while ago there was a “reclaim the night” movement. Anyone know what happened to it?

              Apart from that I suggest pepper spray. Or as I taught my daughter. Knee in the nuts then run.

              • Lew

                KJT, indeed, most of the time the fear is not justified on the basis of cold probability. But that’s somewhat irrelevant. Fear is not rational: if you’re afraid, it doesn’t matter whether the numbers stack up. Fear itself is also a thing to be avoided and minimised, since feeling constantly afraid is itself traumatic. And with respect, you shouldn’t equate common street assault by one man on another with rape or other sexual violence. They’re not equivalent; the one comprises a small subset of the violations necessarily manifest in the other.

                Because there is a non-zero risk, it’s for each person to weight their response to that risk according to their own needs for safety and wellbeing. For someone to say “just lighten up, it’s not that dangerous” presents a moral hazard: in a general sense they might be right, but this will be cold comfort to the person who lightens up and gets attacked as a consequence of not taking their usual degree of care.

                There is huge merit, of course, in building safer communities and environments. And those projects are ongoing. However until they are considerably more successful there’s no substitute for prudence.

                L

                • M

                  Lew, Gavin de Becker author of ‘The Gift of Fear’ said in a TV interview that intuition was the voice of God. He said that if a person felt fearful that it was nature’s way of protecting the person from something that may harm them. He said that animals in many ways are smarter because if there’s even a hint of danger they scarper.

                  At the beginning of his book he related and example of how a woman may be raped by a man through him manipulating her by saying things like “Too independent to let a guy carry your groceries?” and because she’s been socialised to be polite and not give offense ends up letting him into her house after some further manipulation and then is raped. After the rape he closed her bedroom window and said “You know I won’t hurt you” and goes off to the kitchen. The woman suspected he was going to get a knife to kill her – she then sneaked out of her apartment and managed to quietly knock on a neighbour’s door on the same floor and was saved.

                  I bought this book and it had some very good points in it like: a decent man will gracefully accept a woman declining an offer of help or his romantic/sexual advances and that other women can help their own sex avoid violence by say helping a woman in a car park load children and groceries into the car.

                  But yeah, it still sucks having to arrange your life around safety and I’m an Amazon.

              • QoT

                My wife and women friends may have blokes trying to chat them up in the pub, but they do not get some drunken bruiser they don’t know walking up to them and threatening to punch them out because they happen to dislike your face, voice or whatever.

                The next time you do get randomly punched by a drunk guy out of nowhere, KJT, I’d like you to consider the following things:

                – you’re not going to get pregnant from being randomly punched
                – you’re not going to be considered the person morally culpable for getting yourself punched
                – when you show up at the police station the next day and the swelling’s gone down they’ll probably still believe that you did get punched and not ask if you’re just suffering “drinkers’ remorse”.

                Further, you won’t have been punched-at-random because society specifically marks you out as a thing-to-be-punched and you won’t get randomly punched because someone feels the need to express their dominance and power over your entire gender.

        • Brett 20.1.2.2

          Being male or female is irrelevant , it’s more about common sense, thinking ahead and not placing yourself in this situation.
          I have a fair bit of muscle and can use my fists if needed but if I got jumped by a group of people late at night, in a deserted area, I would most likely get my head kicked in.
          The best way to stop this from happening is to show a bit of situational awareness and make adjustments to suit.

          • QoT 20.1.2.2.1

            And tell me, Brett, when a “group of people” jump you are you going to immediately assume they want to rape you?

            You also still haven’t answered my question. “Situational awareness” is great and all but when it is dark and late and your car is far away and you appear to be entirely alone, what do you do and why is this a trick question?

            • Brett 20.1.2.2.1.1

              I am struggling to see why this is a trick question?

              • Lew

                Is that a declarative statement, Brett, or a question? It can’t be both.

                Also: Yes. Yes, you are struggling.

                L

                • Brett

                  I think the problem might be the fact that I didn’t go to university so all my answers don’t come from a text book.

                  • Lew

                    Perhaps, but based on your last, I think the problem might rather be that you didn’t go to intermediate or high school, since that’s where they teach the difference between a statement and a question.

                    L

                    • Rosy

                      Does educational privilege trump gender privilege?

                    • QoT

                      No, Rosy, because that’s not how privilege works and to consider it that way would be a weird kind of reverse-Oppression Olympics. No form of oppression or privilege “trumps” anything else because they’re not working on the same spectrum.

              • QoT

                Because women with a clear awareness of the fact they have a 1 in 4 chance of being sexually assaulted in their lives don’t leave their car all the way across the carpark when they’re working/shopping late.

                • Rosy

                  ‘because that’s not how privilege works’
                  See my problem is I didn’t do well at school due to non-school issues and left school at 15. If there are disadvantages at home, learning anything in the years before leaving school is hit and miss. Being pulled up on grammar can be crushing if you’re attempting to engage and have this kind of educational disadvantage and it is pretty much closing down a conversation – which is what the aim might be, and in some cases is a valid tactic – but it seems a bit of an own goal on a discussion thread that is partly aimed a discussing issues on the disconnect between the left and gender issues.

                  • McFlock

                    I think it was probably a valid tactic to use against someone who was being a manly man and blaming the silly victim (regardless of gender, so he’s not being a sexist idiot) for getting into that situation in the first place.

                    Security/self defense buzzwords like “situational awareness” are applicable to some discussions with tight limits on “specific threat/circumstance” (e.g. cash transit work).
                    Not so much when you’re in the realm of “oh, let’s deal with a general hypothetical image I have of what the ‘typical’ crime looks like”. There is a tendency to produce useless/damaging ideas like “women shouldn’t walk at night because it’s dangerous” (leads to “you were asking for it”) rather than a more useful “what can society do to make night safer for everybody?” or even the observational “how does it impact someone’s life if every action they take during the day or night, no matter how minor, needs to be second-guessed from the perspective of an extreme danger to personal safety?”.

                  • QoT

                    Having educational privilege is generally part-and-parcel of other forms of privilege, especially class (having to leave school to work, not being able to afford school supplies) and often gender (not being expected to attend university due to getting married / not “needing” a career, getting pregnant young).

                    I simply don’t believe Brett was “trying to engage” in a genuine way based on previous form and given that previous form I am unsurprised that Lew went for grammar-snark instead of trying to explain basic rape culture concepts to someone who doesn’t want to listen.

                    • just saying

                      I cringed with the comment Rosy picked up on. Leaving aside whether it was an appropriate response to Brett, it was insulting to many others, and had the potential to silence less confident readers, who haven’t been privileged by an extensive conventional education.

                      Saying that, I know there are people who feel strongly about grammar and spelling in and of itself, (and I suspect might be of the colour coordinating the washing and pegs on the clothesline ilk). And that’s different.

                    • Brett

                      Mate I couldn’t care less what a stuck up snob like Lew thought.
                      The irony is not lost on me, that people like Lew have set themselves up as the so called “voice of the working class’,yet get all shitty when someone who actually came from a working class background calls them out on their bullshit.
                      Like many of the people who post here, Lew reeks of class privilege.

                    • lprent

                      I can’t recall Lew ever claiming to be the voice of anything apart from himself. Trying to ascribe generalities based on individuals is a rather silly trait. You wind up spending all of your time trying to explain away the normal exceptions.

          • Lew 20.1.2.2.2

            Brett, paraphrasing the NRA: women would be unwise to allow your lack of imagination to hinder their safety.

            L

    • AllTheNoms 20.2

      Hey Lew, I think self-congratulatory back patting is likely the only response that wont end in many commenters being told that they just don’t understand and can’t look past privilege etc. I can’t believe you actually expected rational discussion.

      • Lew 20.2.1

        How absurd to expect rational discussion with hysterical feminazis, innit.

        Honestly.

        L

        • Danielle 20.2.1.1

          We feminists are so terribly *shrill*, you know.

          (Whining about how your ideas will be received before even posting them is a totally rational action, of course.)

      • Boganette 20.2.2

        Oh please, what a fucking cop-out.

        Fuck, why is owning privilege such a difficult concept? People aren’t even prepared to try. We deal with constant threats of violence and rape on our blogs and get called whores, sluts, bitches, femanazis, man-haters etc but good forbid someone tells a dudebro to check his privilege. Asking someone to consider their standing is like totes stopping rational discussion *eye-roll*.

        And as for self-congratulatory back patting? I’m just so freakin’ sorry that women are stoked that for once someone is talking about something that actually impacts them on here! We’re actually being included in a discussion about left-wing politics. Someone is speaking out about the frustration so many of us have felt for so long. How dare we praise that…

        • Danielle 20.2.2.1

          I think perhaps there’s a feeling that if everyone is *very quiet*, the feminists will go away. As though we aren’t always in the room…

          • Brett 20.2.2.1.1

            You should probably take a zinc or magnesium supplement, it will help calm you down and you won’t feel so angry, especially around that time of the month

            • Danielle 20.2.2.1.1.2

              Aren’t you embarrassed to be such a fucking hack, Brett? I’d love to have some truly original expressions of sexism to fill out my bingo card instead of this tired-ass shit.

              • Brett

                Ha Ha, you girls bite like big sharks 🙂

                http://planetoddity.com/shocking-sexism-vintage-ads/
                Some good ones in there, might even get a few made up as tee shirts

                • muerk

                  Brett: I love men, I’m married to one and I have four wonderful sons. I have no idea what you are like in real life or how you treat women in person, but the things you have said here irritate me.

                  Whether you accept it or not women often have to deal with sexism and honestly… it’s tiresome and annoying. Just so as you take me a little bit more seriously of course I have to state that right now I’m not menstruating. Actually since you mention it I’m on day 10 of my cycle and I should be coming into my fertile phase in about 6 days. Now will you listen to me? Now you are assured that my weak female mind isn’t made distraught by an ocean of womanly hormones?

                  Oh and just to really make sure that I’m actually _rationally_ pissed off with you instead of just a slave to my girlish moods I should tell you that I take an iron supplement and I eat lots of oily fish.

                  Will you respect me as a rational person now?

                  • Daveo

                    Brett is clearly a virgin and likely to remain one for some time. Sad for him but probably the best outcome for the species.

                  • Brett

                    Sorry about that chief,probably not the right audience.

                    I must move in sightly different social circles to most here and it’s pretty common place for guys and girls to joke about this sort of stuff.

                    • muerk

                      I think there are contexts when this kind of comment can be funny, but it’s pretty insulting when it’s brought up in this kind of discussion.

                      I do appreciate your apology.

                  • HoneMeke

                    ‘Actually since you mention it I’m on day 10 of my cycle and I should be coming into my fertile phase in about 6 days. Now will you listen to me? Now you are assured that my weak female mind isn’t made distraught by an ocean of womanly hormones?’

                    I’ve read this blog for some time, yet have never really wanted to wade into the debate for one reason or another. Today, I do so for no other reason than just to say, I find that which I’ve have quoted above to be one of the best internet burns I’ve ever encountered.

                    capcha: lacked – I sure did lack any meaningful analysis relative to patriarchy’s intertwining with capitalism to marginalise women. However, sometimes you feel compelled to give props where they’re due, without giving any rational insight as to why you’ve done so.

            • A Nonny Moose 20.2.2.1.1.3

              Trittity trot, trittity trot…who’s that walking over MY bridge?

              http://www.derailingfordummies.com/#overemotional

            • QoT 20.2.2.1.1.4

              Who’ll give me $5 that Brett whinges about ads showing men as base creatures whose thoughts are controlled by their dicks? Anyone? Buellerette?

        • Gina 20.2.2.2

          Boganette

          Im with you sister and I feel your pain re the abusive comments designed to smear us frighten us and to harm women in general.

          I remember when Susan Wood fronted closeup she mentioned their was a secret group of anti-feminists meeting in NZ with the aim of putting women back a few hunderd years.

          Does anyone know anything about this group. I’m asking because the same people make the same comments every time I make a feminist type I comment on a blog. I know Nadis has said the iderntical same thging to me about 95% of society recoiling from my ideas. Ha women don’t recoil when the men arn’t looking sorry.

          We are dealing with a small group of antifeminists who are all over the feminist websites. Its like a war to these nutters. Personally I wouldnt publish their comments as they seek to frighten women away from those blogs and we waste too much time defending basic ground but that is every bloggers personal choice.

          • Boganette 20.2.2.2.1

            I personally don’t think there is a secret group of anti-feminists. I just think there are lots of really stupid, lonely dudes out there. Brett being one of them.

            They’re just lashing out because they’re confused by all the big words.

          • lprent 20.2.2.2.2

            Personally I wouldnt publish their comments as they seek to frighten women away from those blogs and we waste too much time defending basic ground but that is every bloggers personal choice.

            One of my target indicators on this site is the steadily rising percentage of women who comment here. We try to keep the worst of the abuse trimmed off and will deal with anyone that we consider is trolling repetitive comments and obviously unable to debate. But as intended it is a pretty open comment section, so you’re going to get challenges. My general advice is to polish the art of the cutting comment that undermines and makes the person you’re replying to look a bit ridiculous. Best advice about how to do that – read felix.

            • QoT 20.2.2.2.2.1

              But as intended it is a pretty open comment section, so you’re going to get challenges.

              No one objects to challenges, lprent. But women-run blogs, especially explicitly feminist ones, don’t just get “challenges”. They get rape and death threats.

              Which is not to say you would ever allow that sort of thing, but it bugs me to see “abuse” and “challenge” conflated in that context.

              • lprent

                Sorry I was talking in the wrong context because I was thinking of this blog. I do try to humiliate anyone who offends too much as a matter of policy – they find it discouraging. IMO: blogs need background ogres to do the job of civilizing by being pretty damn uncivil. Of course having the power to pursue recidivists back into real life when required helps a lot as well.

      • QoT 20.2.3

        Well, ball’s in your court, ATN. Can you look past your privilege?

    • QoT 20.3

      If I’m not very much mistaken, she’s come looking for a bit of a tussle.

      Fuck yeah I was. Trying to settle for a smug sense of self-vindication but it’s just not getting my bitchy hormonal-girl cattiness juices flowing, if you know what I mean.

    • handle 20.4

      Lew, it’s a love-fest only if you include the self-lovin from the bitchy douche who calls itself Pollywog. Two threads in a row, what a big man.

      • pollywog 20.4.1

        eat a dick handle…

        …i cut mine off, fried it up with some onions and had it for dinner last night

        it was quite liberating…now i’m just like you !!!

  20. ak 21

    Turn up and argue your corner like you’ve got a pair

    Frankly I’m apalled at this blatant sexist slur Lew (and anyway, everyone knows a pair won’t beat a flush….)

    c: smiles

  21. muerk 22

    Mining and unions have a long and important history here on the Coast. It’s a very working class area and usually the West Coast has voted Labour. Yet how many women go underground (as miners) in New Zealand? I don’t know of any women who work as miners here on the Coast and I have been told that the men would not accept or allow a woman to work underground.

    There is definitely a strand of old fashioned working class man who likes to work hard, get a good wage, drink his beer at the pub and have the wife at home with the kids doing the housework. I’ve had a miner’s partner tell me that he griped to her, his position was that he worked hard putting his life on the line every shift and he wanted to come home to a hot meal and a tidy house.

    This kind of left philosophy was once utterly common but now the political left has changed and isn’t so much of a voice for the old fashioned working class man. I know men for whom leftist politics is about the conflict of the working man versus management, and women, Maori and queers have nothing to do with anything except for the university educated boffins who took over the Labour Party.

    I disagree with Trotter, but I can see why someone would hold the views he does because I know people like that personally (and then some).

    • Carol 22.1

      Well, I think there needs to be more communication between the different factions and some more understanding of everyone’s issues.

      I can understand the desire to have someone cook the meals and do the housework when one is working long hard hours to earn a living. Many women work such long hard hours, but only a few fortunate ones have anyone to put the meal on the table for them.

      I don’t have a lot to do with miners, though when I was teaching in London at the time of the miners’ strike in the early 80s, we had miners come and talk to our staff. After that the staff regularly contributed to collections of basic neccessities to give to the striking miners. Feminists, “queers” and all kinds of different factions were joined together in that struggle.

      Also, I don’t think some people realise just how much of a struggle life is for people who relate to a “different” identity. I grew up as a (very closetted) lesbian, which was particularly hard for me in my teens, mostly in the 60s. It was very repressive times and I was dealing with it when I first started working, and before I went to Uni. Part of it was when Muldoon governed. It was also a very difficult time to be a single women – less career opportunities for women, and difficult to exist socially without a male partner. I knew one or two gays who topped themselves back then. Life was just too difficult.

      I got very depressed and isolated, and basically saw no point in living; my country just seemed to be treating me really badly. It seemed to operate mostly for the benefit of white, middleclass males. If I hadn’t left NZ and gone to London when I did, I probably would have drunk myself into a stupor, ended up on the streets or in an early grave, one way or another.

      The idea that LGBT people are just a bunch of privileged middleclass people is very far from the truth. For “queers” of my age, it’s been a long hard struggle. And finally it was a relief that the Clark gvoernment were so willing to work for us.

      I don’t see why, we cannot recognise our specific issues and work together. Sometimes I have benefitted from a middleclass background – getting an education was the one thing I had to hold onto eventually. But I’ve always understood that people in other areas of life, with different identities (whether it’s miner, working class man or woman, Maori etc), all have particular struggles to deal with.

      We will achieve more working together, hassling over our different issues, than getting fragmented. Ofcourse the neoliberal media has done a good job of undermining each of these struggles: eg, the way Labour’s “closing the gap” policies wre dropped because of the negative press.

  22. Draco T Bastard 23

    People on the left almost invariably accept that the injustices that you mention happen and need to be researched and stopped. So, that’s not the problem but there is a problem and the problem is Identity Politics.

    We have a fairly major poverty rate in NZ and of those in poverty most are Maori. So, we get the left (last government anyway) saying that they will target helping Maori. This will, inevitably, alienate the people in those same straights who aren’t Maori. So when Don Brash stood up and said, in an overtly racist speech, one rule for all he got a huge amount of support from the people that Identity Politics had alienated. They didn’t mean to alienate them but that’s what happens when you go round putting people into lots of small groups that most people don’t identify with.

    Yes, there are injustices, yes they are focussed towards peoples identity but Identity Politics isn’t the way to address them. That will actually make things worse.

    • just saying 23.1

      Preliminary reply-
      women -51 percent of the population

      edit – opps females, obviously

    • QoT 23.2

      I refer you to the bit of the post where I said:

      when a capitalist society chooses to force identity markers on you to aid in its goals, the shit you get for having those markers is probably going to be a bit relevant to your interests.

      Feminists didn’t go around putting people into groups. Society did that. Capitalism needed a vast unpaid workforce to raise the next generation of workers and voila, women became tantamount to property.

      And as I noted in post 1, feminists tried to play along with the left crowd. They kept making the coffee and Doing Their Bit and then finally it dawned that the left wasn’t going to do fuck all for them unless they did it themselves.

      Frankly, Draco, what you’re saying sounds a lot like a repeat of what the male lefties were saying then: “your issues aren’t as important, we can’t alienate white men, please sit down like good little girls and shut up”.

      I mean, did I just write a shitload explaining how this has been lathered, rinsed and repeated for decades and maybe someone could get the idea that it doesn’t work out so well or didn’t I? I’ve offered a spin, I’ve offered an approach, and all it fucking takes is for the mainstream left to grow a fucking spine and do it, because whinging about The Poor Menz has done fuck-all to damage National’s popular dominance.

    • QoT 23.3

      Argh, just lost a massive comment.

      To wit: I think I basically address this all already, Draco.

      1. “People” on the left (there’s that very specific use of “people” again) on the left are yet again telling women, Maori, LGBT folk and even the poor to STFU because we need to suck up to lower-class working white men. Which hasn’t exactly worked at all.

      2. Telling women that their issues are totally important but we have a revolution to run, sweeties, well get to you later is an historically-proven stupid tactic.

      3. See my conclusion. Maybe if Labour had grown a fucking spine and made a strong statement against Brash (instead of trying to basically RECREATE his rhetoric) then a good chunk of the Left wouldn’t have stayed at home last election.

      You are welcome to suggest alternatives that don’t involve telling groups, whose identity is not chosen but is forced on them by capitalism in order to facilitate their exploitation, to be quiet while the white men are talking.

  23. just saying 24

    “People on the left almost invariably accept that the injustices that you mention happen and need to be researched and stopped.”

    More research yeah that’s whats needed. And those that do accept that there are injustices, often, like you don’t think they are important, like the REAL issues. Apparently those wanting action on these petty little concerns are the real problem for the left.

    Oh, and here’s a minority group for you, that most don’t identify with (yet)…the left itself. so shall we jettison the whole thing seeing it’s just alienating the majority?

    And finally,
    Other than “research” what do you suggest the left should do to stop these injustices? Because concentrating on other matters clearly isn’t working – otherwise these “identity” groups (one of which is actually the majority of the population) wouldn’t keep bugging you with their petty concerns.

    • A Nonny Moose 24.1

      “Other than “research” what do you suggest the left should do to stop these injustices?”

      Be excellent to each other?

      See women as people?

      I know, pithy. But really, it comes down to some bloody obvious basics.

    • Draco T Bastard 24.2

      And those that do accept that there are injustices, often, like you don’t think they are important, like the REAL issues.

      I suggest going back and re-reading what I wrote because I didn’t say that.

  24. Tiger Mountain 25

    Silence is often a form of condoning my partner reckons, so maybe more people agree with the two posts than first imagined, but I get the feeling Lew is saying in respect of the QoT posts silence is also a form of passive aggression via non engagement. Well after such a nice invitation I guess someone should be first up for the month to get a good slippering from Lew.

    Any aspiring ‘left’ man worthy of the salutation should be supportive of all exploited and oppressed groups and individuals anywhere. In a practical manner. Nothing less will do. This includes personal life, such as fair division of labour in domestic situations. It includes real listening and communication, child rearing and ensuring partners have space and separate friendships and interests as desired. If people are theoretical lefties and personal bastards there is indeed no reason to put up with their hypocrisy.

    In the mid 80s I wore a pink HUG badge at work. “Heterosexuals Unafraid of Gays”, rather quaint and a bit ‘off’ perhaps these days, but we marched and campaigned and assisted this matter through to a legislative change. Smug Ponsonby tory gays really tick me off, as do the same straight tory types, but so what in the scheme of things? gay kiwis human rights was the bigger issue needing to be asserted and supported by the wider community. I marched to jeers and threats up Queen St supporting Irish H block hunger strikers, Nuclear Free NZ, two Waitangi hikoi, and so on. And by day for 20 years worked in a tough blue collar environment, for a company that ran factories in Pinochets Chile and apartheid South Africa. An uncompromising thug corporate citizen. But not in NZ, they had to respect the workers onsite organisation and certain laws. I learnt and participated in South Auckland Maori, Pasifika and several Asian cultures. A certain Hone worked there for a bit too, and consciously decided to devote his efforts to indigenous struggles.

    And that was fine by me. My point being that important issues to self and group are often linked. My version of left politics has always been unite all who can be united on any particular issue so we can all move forward together. Sounds dated eh? What do you mean ‘we’ white man etc. The old NZCP for example was instrumental in the “no Maoris, no tour” campaign of 1960. Which demand later moved on to “stop the tour” in 81. Things progress and then they sometimes regress. The individualist pull of Neo liberalism has seen a hiatus and disruption in many things, public participation (non sponsored) in politics and community for instance.

    Some do not subscribe to the notion that being exploited or oppressed should necessarily require you to become left wing. Well if you don’t go left the main other option is to be aspirational and then pull the ladder up behind you. Most women/Maori/Sri Lankans are doing crap but I’m on $100k! Lets buy it!

    There is a bit of mild scapegoating here I feel from QoT, a class analysis provides a framework for some of us, it is not compulsory. One can devote a life to animal rights or any single issue, or none if desired. Sexism, racism and base exploitation though should be natural enemies of all that claim to be left. Sure the first sting of oppression is often experienced in a sharp personal way-a man, white man, cop, adult, mean boss, someone inevitably with more power than you deals to you. And as it happens, you may end up dealing to someone less powerful than you as a twisted outlet. But as life goes on who and what is the main problem for most people and the planet remains a significant question.

    ‘Identity politics’ as a reasonably recent term, ultimately assists oppression if it ends up promoting division. Divide and rule is a major device and tactic of the capitalist class. People with lots in common are persuaded that differences are more important than the underlying commonality. So there is persistent post colonial racism towards Maori and new non European migrants, though “Ten pound Poms” were also derided in the 50s and 60s. “Girls can do anything” but women are still paid less than men, John Keys government is a demonstrateably anti woman government, Pay Equity forum disbanded, ECE up-priced etc. Women are assaulted and derided in the wealthiest of settings so it is not all about socio economic status but brutalist capitalism sets the tone for human as well as economic relations.

    • QoT 25.1

      I don’t think everyone needs a class analysis, TM, but was trying to establish how a lot of issues core to “identity politics” do come down to essentially economic/class/workers’ issues.

    • Lew 25.2

      I’m just stoked someone has decided to stand on their convictions and make a counter-argument, loud and clear (although perhaps in more measured terms than you’ve previously made it to me). Bravo, TM, you’re a fucking role model.

      My critique is the same as ever: all the reasons to yaw to the left are good, but fundamentally such a class analysis as you prescribe cannot be compulsory. It cannot be a condition of support. The left must support the marginalised, to the extent they are marginalised, while not being blind to other matters of context. Although I hate the term, an illustrative example is one you imply: the ‘trophy wife’ who might enjoy privileges of class and social status, most probably ethnicity and so on, but may nevertheless be kept a virtual slave by her husband, her movements and social agency controlled, possibly subject to domestic violence and sexual coercion and so on. Like the fairytale princess in the tower, she is both hugely privileged and greatly oppressed. The fact that she has a BMW and a house with seven bedrooms and a hot tub must not disqualify her from support on feminist grounds; if she’s being controlled and constrained and exploited, it is so regardless of the other aspects of her situation. (Of course, those aspects can’t be ignored, either, and nobody suggests they should be.)

      This is fundamentally the point, though QoT’s posts come at the issue from the opposite direction: that the feminist analysis must be integral to modern leftist political praxis, and this I agree with, and when framed in such terms I don’t think it’s a very contentious statement. The same principle applies otherwise, to matters of ethnicity and ableness and sexual orientation and so on.

      Objections emerge on the grounds of scarcity. There is a sort of zero-sum jealousy felt by those who, to a large extent, have traditionally ‘possessed’ the traditional class critique: the white working-class men of Muerk’s anecdote. I believe they fear that the need to accomodate issues outside their own relatively narrow band of marginalisation will dilute the praxis and rob them of their ‘rightful’ share of the class war’s spoils. My response is that it’s not really zero-sum, that the claims of women, and tangata whenua, and so on are not in competition with the claims of traditional workers, but are complementary. Expanding the base of the left brings in fresh troops for that war against marginalisation and injustice, which the left sorely needs.

      L

      • M 25.2.1

        ‘My critique is the same as ever: all the reasons to yaw to the left are good, but fundamentally such a class analysis as you prescribe cannot be compulsory. It cannot be a condition of support. The left must support the marginalised, to the extent they are marginalised, while not being blind to other matters of context. Although I hate the term, an illustrative example is one you imply: the ‘trophy wife’ who might enjoy privileges of class and social status, most probably ethnicity and so on, but may nevertheless be kept a virtual slave by her husband, her movements and social agency controlled, possibly subject to domestic violence and sexual coercion and so on. Like the fairytale princess in the tower, she is both hugely privileged and greatly oppressed. The fact that she has a BMW and a house with seven bedrooms and a hot tub must not disqualify her from support on feminist grounds; if she’s being controlled and constrained and exploited, it is so regardless of the other aspects of her situation. (Of course, those aspects can’t be ignored, either, and nobody suggests they should be.)’

        Lew, this is gold.

        • pollywog 25.2.1.1

          The left must BLAH BLAH BLAH…

          or what Lew ?…and what must the right do ?

          • Lew 25.2.1.1.1

            In my view, it must do these things (and plenty others, many of which I’ve also written about) or it will continue to be spanked by the right, as it is being spanked at present.

            L

  25. prism 26

    Brett is an attention seeker and time waster. He says that women bite like sharks. Well he does know how to be provocative. He? is probably responsible for at least 200 of the last 1000 comments. Ignoring him might be a good idea, though his comments prompt thought and justification with reasoned retorts so perhaps he can be an aid to discussion. Though I think in small doses.

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