It’s not a culture war, it’s a class war, and the left should be naming it as such

Written By: - Date published: 10:23 am, April 24th, 2024 - 34 comments
Categories: class, Culture wars, Maori Issues, sexism - Tags:

Micky had a good post up last month listing the current blue muckery NACTF are engaged in. I am however going to disagree that this is the culture war. It’s class war and we should be naming it as such. The culture wars exist, and they are a tool weaponised in the class war.

What is this class thing anyway?

In leftist analysis, traditionally the three axes of class oppression are sex, race and socioeconomic. In a green left world, we add nature, because all else depends on this and because oppression is classically a function of the exploitation needed to extract resources from those classes in the service of capitalism.

The dominant system in society uses intersecting systems of oppressions to exploit the material world via the classes of sex, race, socioeconomic class and nature. The exploitating is done for the purpose of gaining and retaining capital, and maintaining the systems that uphold that. In New Zealand in 2024, we call this neoliberal capitalism.

Women are exploited on the basis of biological sex because we are indispensable in producing the workers for capitalism, as well as directly providing low cost labour and sexual services.

Māori are exploited because the dominant class stole their land and resources and undercut the cultural structures that enable Māori to live well. Consequently Māori are trapped by the system into doing disproportionately the lowest paid work and living with the worst outcomes.

Low income people, both working class and underclass, are used as labour to run capitalism and are kept in or just above poverty by how we run the economy and key social needs like housing. Without a permanent beneficiary class, we can’t keep wages low. Low waged jobs are essential in keeping the accumulation of capital and power in the hands of the few, and to prevent the peasants from revolting.

Nature is exploited by pretty much everything capitalist societies do, via extraction, manipulation and pollution. Mining, farming/fisheries, industry, roading/transport, globalisation, the internet, space travel, war. It all leads to the current climate and ecology polycrisis.

The culture war within the class war

If we look at Micky’s list about the Culture War Coalition we can see those things in this class context.

The Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister breaching ministerial convention and telling Te Papa how to curate its Te Tiriti exhibition, this is class war. If Māori gain the power to have the treaty honoured, if the Crown relates with Māori as actual partners and the government facilitates New Zealand society’s shift to that, our neoliberal economy will lose Māori as an exploitable resource for low waged labour. In addition, all class exploitation will be undermined if the Treaty is honoured – te Ao Māori leans towards egalitarianism and belonging to nature.

The 40% cuts to the Ministry of Pacific Peoples, class warfare. The more government supports Pasifika to be here as peoples in their own right and with the same kinds of ability and opportunity to take part fully in society, the less they will be available as low cost workers for capitalism. Same with the jiggerypokery around student study spaces for Māori and Pasifika, which have been in place for a very long time.

Blocking ocean sanctuaries and removing funding for public transport is part of the war on nature. Capitalism ultimately can’t control nature, hence the climate and ecological polycrisis, but it will exploit it while it can for profit and power.

On the Coutts vs Hector Dolphins saga, uber wealthy man competing in uber wealthy sport and being ok with mincing members of an at risk species, is peak capitalistic class war. This is the ‘flaunting it because we don’t give a shit and we can’ league.

The right using the culture wars

The right have been and will continue to use the culture wars to consolidate power.

Winston Peters used it around Māori issues, and women’s sex based rights to grab the swing voters disaffected from the left. ACT are running Trumpian politics to increase divisions between the left and the rest of the country especially around ethnicity and the Treaty. National are bumbling along pretending to be the by comparison sane and competent ones, but they’re still the party that enacted and exalted Dirty Politics and I can’t see that their values have changed much.

The government parties are all massively in denial of the climate and ecology crises, not in the sense of denying it is real, but in the sense of minimising how serious it is and advancing stupidities like adaptation instead of mitigation. They will keep on with the death cult, they need power to do that, and that power comes from exploiting people and nature.

Micky is right that the culture wars are happening, but the bit we are in danger of missing is how the right are using the culture wars as a tool in the class war.

Why naming the class war matters.

The left can’t win the culture wars. We are outnumbered and at the same time we are fracturing along identity politics lines, losing our capacity for solidarity.

There are now at least two distinct movements with significant numbers of people who have abandoned the centre left and are in the process of dumping liberal values: the freedom protestors and the gender critical movements.

By definition the left has traditionally been in favour of fairness in politics (Dirty Politics is a right wing strategy and practice), and creating solutions for everyone. The right are good at the culture wars because they are ok with fighting dirty (old school conservatives lost dominance in the right a long time ago), and they don’t care if that undermines values around fairness or democracy. They want power, they know how to exploit to get it, and they’re ok with the kinds of tactics involved in that. Yes, yes, #notallrightwingers, I’m talking about politics and who has control.

The solution to the culture wars isn’t to try and beat the right at their own game. It’s to recenter our politics in class analysis and present visions of fairness and things working out well for all of us. Visions and narratives that reach the people who see little reason at the moment to value the left.

Left authoritarianism

To make matters worse, the left is now increasingly reacting to the culture and class wars with authoritarianism. The biggest critique I make of my own side is that we now seem to think we can force people to be progressive.

In the most recent and most extreme example of this, video was circulating on twitter this week of anti-Israeli protestors at the Columbia University Palestinian liberation protests chanting this,

Ya Qassam [Hamas] make us proud

Take another soldier out

We say justice, you say how?

Burn Tel Aviv to the ground

That’s progressives liberals losing the plot. When I went to fact check the video, there were no liberal mainstream media covering this. Both the chant and the lack of liberal MSM response should be alarming to the left.

I’m not saying don’t confront power mongers and institutions, that definitely needs to be happening. If I was at Columbia, I’d be wanting to protest too. In my youth I marched against the Tour, belonged to the peace movement, and took part in our last large scale protests against government policy in the early 90s. I support Palestinian liberation. But I cannot in good conscience support protestors who are talking about razing a whole city of Jews.

I ask a lot about strategy and the idea that ordinary voters will be encouraged to vote left by the left portraying anyone who isn’t on board with the liberal agenda as an idiot/racist/bigot/terf/nazi/cooker. And that using tactics such as cancelling, ridicule and ostracisation is a good idea. No-one answers.

It looks like now we are moving closer to the slash and burn stage. I tie the Columbia chant to the problems contemporary universities are having teaching critical thinking, but it’s beyond that. When I tried recently to talk on The Standard about the problems with not taking anti-semitism into account in pro-Palestinian politics, a number of people argued against me strongly assuming I was pro-Israeli government. I’m not. Are we losing our critical thinking skills, or are we losing our willingness to apply them?

Left wing fear and loathing

We are also losing the ethic of ‘working for the good of all’ and replacing it with something fearful, reactionary and polarised.

We saw this in the pandemic, a time when the left’s authoritarianism spiked around ideas like,

  • vaccination should be mandatory (physically forced)
  • Ardern’s ‘two New Zealands’ interview
  • the Labour government said fuck off to workers who refused vaccination
  • liberals started arguing for restricting protest rights when the wrong kind of people occupied parliament grounds.

Last month, the liberal left was struggling to explain why it’s ok for the identitarian class to punch and terrify women in the name of trans love but it’s not ok for a fundamentalist church to paint over rainbow crossings. It makes sense to liberals, but not so much to others. It’s not an argument for fairness, it’s an argument of ‘we are right’ and ‘violence is ok for our cause but not yours’.

Yes, we needed a nationwide vaccination programme, lock downs, and mandates. Yes, trans and other gender non-conforming people deserve to take full part in society and be protected from violence and discrimination in things like housing or jobs. This is about the how.

If the left responds to NACTF’s ripping apart the fabric of New Zealand society only at the level of the culture wars, we will lose. Fascism is rising globally, people are getting scared and voting conservatively, and the protofascists are laughing their heads off at the left’s inability to organise around the shit that matters.

To be clear, I am not saying that we shouldn’t work on identity issues, but we desperately need solidarity politics not neoliberal identity politics. I am arguing for both/and, to step out of the binary reactive thinking (all sides), and to start listening much more broadly to the people that aren’t fascist but don’t agree with everything the left wants. If we want people to adopt our ideas, we have to have the courage to hear what everyone has to say.

So what can we do?

We can offer a narrative of working together across difference. All workers deserve fair pay and conditions, the right to a good job, and decent, affordable housing. Just Transition means the cost of transforming the economy won’t be carried by the least well off. Protect women’s rights alongside making sure trans people are ok. Work towards a constitution based on true partnership via Te Tiriti and recognise that not everyone can cope with te reo Māori or co-governance at the same pace, offer a helping hand.

Make sure that a variety of voices are heard when we are talking about the gnarly problems we face. Welcome everyone to the table even if they disagree with some of what we have to say. The only way I can see to rebuild an egalitarian, life affirming society is to have a table that everyone can come to.

34 comments on “It’s not a culture war, it’s a class war, and the left should be naming it as such ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Agree with almost all of your analysis here WEKA, the future has to be eco socialism–and no doubt there are hundreds of opinions on what that might mean…don’t worry about the maddies too much re Israel, they often turn out to be tiny militant minorities or agents provocateur.

    Sometimes there are organisational answers to political problems–and I would suggest the central labour organisation–NZCTU–needs a more fighting class left focus and new leadership, which may be possible now that public servants and contractors are being sacked in their thousands. The PSA has long held a political neutrality stance and with its numbers via membership density, kept the CTU as more or less another lobby group rather than a class leadership as in Jim Knox era. The CTU leader needs to be in media channels as much as the CoC Govt., Federated Farmers, Tax Payers Union, ZB and all the rest of them. And more importantly the CTU needs to run regional delegates and community members meetings with non members and families invited to help organise.

    Secondly there needs to be a reformed united NZ Communist Party. The old commos and young commos are still out there but due to historic sectarianism basically have retreated to online presences.

    Full marks to the Greens, Te Pāti Māori, Forest & Bird, EDS, Palestine solidarity actions and many others for leading since the election. Labour needs to join the fightback by finally repudiating Rogernomics. The CoC Govt. are vandals and we cannot just wait till 2026. While class struggle is my main focus, some of the most personally upsetting roll backs have been animal cruelty–live stock exports and winter mud bath grazing.

    • weka 1.1

      so why aren't orgs like the CTU in the media as much as the other orgs you mention?

      • Tiger Mountain 1.1.1

        It is historical, and goes back to the dissolution of the old FOL in 1987 and the tripartite approach of Ken Douglas and friends–they wanted to make nice with people that wanted nothing less than the destruction of organised labour in NZ–as illustrated by the 1991 Employment Contracts Act, which was later subject to an investigation by the ILO which NZ was a party to.

        The CTU basically took a back seat position rather than a leadership one–“affiliate driven” and after the ECA and the decimation of private sector union density, affiliates were substantially tame state sector unions. The exceptions were Helen Kelly who did her best and the likes of the Teachers who fought hard against for profit Charter Schools and “National Standards”. In the Private sector Unite, Etū and Maritime unions were staunch too.

        During peak COVID Richard Wagstaff should have been in the media every day demanding direct payments via IRD to workers rather than through employers, but no, it was the petit bourgeois and corporates dominating.

      • Darien Fenton 1.1.2

        Beware of simplistic responses to this. There is a depth of work that most don't see : eg Craig Renney, CTU economist has been getting headlines for months on end with his expert and sensible analysis. Fundamentally, the CTU is the sum of its affiliates and what they decide. Officers of the CTU are elected, and there is intense democratic decision making among affiliates members at various levels and events. We went through the "class war" when Ken Douglas was replaced with Ross Wilson. I was a VP during that time too and believe you me, there was much discussion, including a whole review of the CTU. What's more notable to me is the current government's refusal to consult with the CTU as one of the "social partners" and their undermining of ILO conventions that still make up a core part of our workers' legislation. I hope there will be a complaint to the ILO in June when Brooke van Velden fronts up as part of the delegation for NZ (if she can be bothered).

    • David 1.2

      I’m not sure about the communist party, it would be a gift horse to the right.

      • Tiger Mountain 1.2.1

        A strong marxist movement is a benefit for working class people. Look how RD Muldoon treated us commos and used the state forces against us…

  2. tWig 2

    Disagree with you on the authoritarian nature of Labour on the vaccination front, weka. War, epidemics and natural disasters fall outside usual democratic constraints for a fixed term. Many businesses breathed a sigh of relief over the mandatory vaccinations for many jobs, restrictions on those who remained unvaccinated, or were sick with covid, as these measures reduced the chances of their businesses falling over when sick employees came into work and infected others.

    The IMF, among others, gives NZ a huge tick for effective government intervention over Covid, and the government action saved 20,000 lives, at a cost of 19% GDP.

    20, 000 lives and cost-effective financial intervention mean I give Labour huge respect for its policy actions. For those 2/3rds of NZers not in the Auckland region, we went through only one lockdown, a relatively light sentence. Definitely harder for those there, I agree.

    Weka, if you value your personal freedom to live and die with Covid against that, then feel free not to vaccinate (as you remain). But don't expect me to agree with you, especially when those very constraints you claim authoritarian kept me safer from contagion in the workplace and in public. Not authoritarian, but in fact necessary and commensurate with risk.

    • weka 2.1

      If you want to comment under my posts, then you need to read them properly. I literally said,

      Yes, we needed a nationwide vaccination programme, lock downs, and mandates.

      The point of the post is to point out the problems of emotional political reacting, and to think about what we are doing.

      You plainly didn’t understand my argument about authoritarianism and instead reacted without thinking it through, and ended up arguing against things I don’t actually believe. This is exactly the problem I am pointing to.

  3. Ad 3

    It's not a "war", its a disaster.

    If 5,000 people lost their jobs from (say) the collapse of Fletchers or Fonterra, it would be viewed as an economic crisis so grave that government would form an immediate crisis Cabinet with a plan akin to the East Coast alliance or Christchurch rebuild.

    Instead these newly redundant thousands are simply "backroom bureaucrats" who deserve no plan, not even a thanks.

    • weka 3.1

      that's one of the major disasters within the broader class war.

      My point here is about strategy, and the usefulness of class analysis instead of just reacting to each disaster as if we can somehow vote our way out of this next time.

      • Ad 3.1.1

        The very simplest thing anyone can do is call their MP and demand that Green and Labour leaders front to the media with unified attack against this government.

        That in itself is the signal to unions and NGOs and the newly unemployed thosands that there's an alternative node of power to unite with.

        At a time as nasty as this it is bizarre no opposition party is capable of peering over their own fence.

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          I like the general idea here, and agree that organisations with power need to step up and lead.

          As I've pointed out before, I'm not sure about the unified front thing. The Greens aren't going to work with Labour in the same way they did from 2016 (working to change the government), because they're now going hard after Labour's vote and laying claim to the leftist space that Labour vacated. I have no idea how that might play out in election year or in the Lab/GP relationship.

          They could do joint press conferences now though.

          • Ad 3.1.1.1.1

            That is precisely the kind of political "strategy" this moment doesn't need.

            Think back to the last time we had a massive all-in protest on the left. No party was so vain as to seek ascendancy.

            What they did was work together on draft legislation using that momentum.

            • weka 3.1.1.1.1.1

              what time are you referring to?

              The Greens aren't seeking ascendency for its own sake. They've just had enough of waiting for Labour to lead the left. The continuation of Hipkins and the departure of Shaw left space for the leftists in the GP to say now is the time to tack left and take a more radical position. On climate alone they are right about this. We (everyone) have no time to spare waiting for Labour.

              If Labour were to likewise tack left, and adopt a progressive rather than conservative centre left position, my sense is that the Greens would be much more open to the kind of 'change the government' working together that happened in 2016. Bearing in mind that the Greens had been trying to do that for years before then, and it took until Little for Labour to come to the table.

              That worked, and then Ardern, for all the good things she did, squandered the political capital that Labour gained during the pandemic.

              It's all very well to say the Greens should work with Labour under current conditions, but the criticism of that would be that Labour aren't willing to take the necessary stand on the issues that matter, so what would be the point? It just waters down what the Greens and others are doing in terms of building solid left/progressive options.

          • Grey Area 3.1.1.1.2

            I think you're right about Greens-Labour and the Greens wanting to claim a larger space on the left.

            From a couple of comments I've heard the relationship between the Greens and Te Pati Maori is friendly (and I'm sure there are some shared values). I don't think the relationship with Labour is as warm.

    • Descendant Of Smith 3.2

      If 5,000 people lost their jobs from (say) the collapse of Fletchers or Fonterra

      Not so sure they would – car industry, clothing industry – they employed that many people and were happily allowed to vanish.

  4. newsense 4

    Sad to see you bowing to vaccination hysteria.

    For years there has been compulsory vaccination in many countries to access public environments for things like polio, measles, hepatitis.

    We didn’t see hysteria responding to those vaccination measures.

    Underreported and under defended were the competing rights: those who had weaknesses or conditions that made them susceptible to the disease and those who would like not to have people who were making death threats against them camped in their place of work. We never heard about the many older public volunteers and others who were vulnerable. They, like now, didn’t matter.

    You’ve called this authoritarian using emotive language like ‘f-off’. I call it what it was- necessary to get the job done. And you’ve dismissed someone above as not understanding your argument when they also didn’t like it as a description of events. It is on you to explain it better then and in terms that doesn’t leave those who had those competing rights behind and bemused.

    Reliable volunteers for the left are predominantly older too, but more given to pamphleting, phoning it door knocking than raving. Small local achievable actions. Yet they melted away at the last election. You and Ad talking to each other in here haven’t solved that one. The leadership is unconvincing.

    And as we can see from the actions of this government, (which I’m sure we can agree upon the justness of), is that they were all just public spirited freedom lovers who cared about others.

    Added to the smoking measures placing us clearly to the right of Sunak’s Britain and the RMA and the carbon market or clean water requirements getting in the way for farmers, there’s all the little stuff.

    Today’s example:

    https://www.1news.co.nz/2024/04/23/debt-help-service-faces-budget-squeeze/

    • weka 4.1

      NZ doesn't use compulsory vaccination, and the mandates didn't force anyone to be vaccinated. We use compulsory treatments in very very limited circumstances like acute mental health crises where someone is a danger, or where a parent isn't taking a child for treatment.

      I know what I wrote and what I meant, you don't. If we can't even get these basics right in listening to each other, what hope is there?

      As I said to tWig, reacting to what you think you are reading but I didn't actually write, is a big part of the our problem on the left at this point in history.

      If I see either of you implying or stating that I believe things I don't, I will ban you. It took a long time to write that post and I don't deserve to have people ignoring the central premise of the post, misrepresenting what I said, and doubling down on the behavioural issues I raised. The rest of us don't deserve that either.

      If you don't understand what I meant, then just ask for clarification and I will happily provide it. I don't have time to be correcting people who simply go off on one.

      • newsense 4.1.1

        ‘I know what I wrote and said.’

        Well two readers have told you something different and you’ve acted with more arrogance than a current cabinet minister.

        I did say above it is up to you to explain better. Which you haven’t at all. Meaning happens when people read, not when writers write. If there’s nuance there it is very difficult to see, so as I said it is up to you to make your point clear.

        And hilariously on a post complaining about…the perception of left authoritarianism (?) you’re threatening to ban people who question you.

        And considering the number of people who have taken the time to try to engage with what you’ve written, which doesn’t appear to be high, if you value what you’re trying to say to us, the thick masses, less high handed engagement might help your cause.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          part of my shortness yesterday is because I'm long term beneficiary who is currently being knocked down directly by government policy. So high handedness works both ways eh.

          To clarify then. You appear to believe that I am/was against the vax programme and mandate. I'm not, and I'm on record on TS on that if you want to go look it up.

          It's very hard to respond to people who clearly missed the point and then went off on an argument I didn't make. But I will start at the top. You seem to think that when I wrote this,

          • vaccination should be mandatory (physically forced)

          that I meant that the government shouldn't have done the mandates. But the mandates never physically forced anyone to vaccinate. I've already explained this above,

          NZ doesn't use compulsory vaccination, and the mandates didn't force anyone to be vaccinated. We use compulsory treatments in very very limited circumstances like acute mental health crises where someone is a danger, or where a parent isn't taking a child for treatment.

          What I was referring to were the lefties who argued during the pandemic that compulsory vaccination was valid.

          We've never had that, not in my lifetime. Vaccinations required for travel aren't compulsory, they're a choice in the same way that covid vaccinations were.

          This distinction matters, because we have legislation around compulsory medical treatment as well as protections against compulsory medical treatment. Arguing that we should have compulsory vaccination (court ordered, backed up by the force of the state) for covid was an argument for authoritarianism.

          And I made that argument in the context of the broader points I was making about authoritarianism and the NZ political landscape and why the left is losing.

          • Descendant Of Smith 4.1.1.1.1

            What I was referring to were the lefties who argued during the pandemic that compulsory vaccination was valid.

            I'd have to say I don't remember anyone on the left arguing that. Plenty saying that there are consequences for not doing so but not anyone suggesting physically forced vaccinations.

            I'll have to do a bit of hunting I guess.

            • weka 4.1.1.1.1.1

              It comes up periodically, even before the pandemic. There are lefties who believe so strongly in vaccination and don't value the right to not be forced into medical treatment. They're not large in number, but they do exist.

              What I don't get is why it's a problem to be pointing things like this out. We know that the left can be authoritarian, don't we?

  5. newsense 5

    Previously New Labour and the Alliance preserved ideas like free dentistry and free tertiary education. Kiwi bank was an Alliance led achievement. It doesn’t seem radical now.
    But we’ve seen a left shorn of imagination and potential solutions, but nowhere to store the wool from that shearing or the room to allow next year’s wool to grow properly.

  6. Drowsy M. Kram 6

    We saw this [losing the ethic of ‘working for the good of all’ and replacing it with something fearful, reactionary and polarised] in the pandemic, a time when the left’s authoritarianism spiked around ideas like,

    • vaccination should be mandatory (physically forced)
    • Ardern’s ‘two New Zealands’ interview
    • the Labour government said fuck off to workers who refused vaccination
    • liberals started arguing for restricting protest rights when the wrong kind of people occupied parliament grounds.

    https://teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/47787/occupation-of-parliament-grounds-2022

    For clarification – was the ethic of ‘working for the good of all’ lost/replaced due (in part) to (mis)perceptions and misinformation (bullet points 1 and 3) about "the left’s authoritarianism"? Maybe some Kiwis were simply fed up, and you can'r get no satisfaction being fed up with a virus.

    Mass (90%+) vaccination is a good example of consensus expert public health advice and a public health response/service "working for the good of all", and if the Labour govt had actually said "fuck off" to workers who refused vaccination, then I reckon I would have remembered such inflammatory language – Voices for Freedom (Freedom, ffs!)

    When a govt prioritises citizen survival during a pandemic with an unknown trajectory, an optimal balance between authoritarianism and freedom can be difficult to achieve. Maybe our govt will achieve a more effective balance next time, but frankly Aotearoa could have done (much) worse – we don't know how lucky we are, and were, imho.

    The impact of Covid-19 vaccination in Aotearoa New Zealand: A modelling study [27 Feb 2024]
    Making the same comparison before the benefit of antiviral medications is accounted for, the estimated number of lives saved by vaccines increases to 7604…

    How denialist amplification spread COVID misinformation and undermined the credibility of public health science [22 Feb 2024]
    Skepticism and dissent are essential to scientific progress, but denialism undermines that process. Their artificial amplification in the media, particularly the social media, poses an existential threat to public health science. We need to create a forum for researchers where, in the bright glare of scientific scrutiny, misinformation goes to die.

    For peak jackboot, look no further than austerity and our CoC govt terminating the employment of thousands of public servants (WHO needs ’em) in order to fund tax breaks that disproportionately benefit relatively well-off Kiwis, notably landLords.

    Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed. – Einstein

    Alas, there's no vaccine to protect against stupidity or greed, although the ‘Pfizer stuff’ made me less fearful of COVID-19. Nevertheless, we continue to take prudent hygiene precautions (masks, physical distancing) against infection – inflammation can be a killer.

    https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-response-planning/covid-19-protecting-aotearoa-new-zealand

    Given the likely paths of this iteration of human civilisation, I believe many current freedoms, rights and conveniences that some Kiwis take for granted will be increasingly out of reach for future generations. It's a price those generations will pay for failures to gauge the consequences of ill-judged behaviours past and present – just my opinion.

    • weka 6.1

      some initial clarification. In the post I said,

      Yes, we needed a nationwide vaccination programme, lock downs, and mandates. Yes, trans and other gender non-conforming people deserve to take full part in society and be protected from violence and discrimination in things like housing or jobs. This is about the how.

      So when I made that bullet point list, I was in part talking about how those things were done. I wasn't saying that the vax programme, or mandates were authoritarianism, I was saying that the way the left responded was at times.

      For instance, when the government, which was the party that historically looked after working class people, brought in vax mandates and a lot of people lost their jobs, those people were left to fend for themselves. The Labour party got people fired and then abandoned those people.

      There's a conversation to be had about whether the government had much choice about the how, but certainly the wider left had choices in its response. The choice to ostracise and ridicule people (bearing in mind this is now common, not just over the mandates), let to people being ostracised, and then the arising of the freedom movements.

      The pattern is similar as to what has happened over gender identity and women's sex based rights.

      My question is this: why do the liberal left believe that ostracising those people will lead to more people adopting progressive values and voting in progressive governments? I really wish someone would answer this. I want to know what the end game is.

      For peak jackboot, look no further than austerity and our CoC govt terminating the employment of thousands of public servants (WHO needs ’em) in order to fund tax breaks that disproportionately benefit relatively well-off Kiwis, notably landLords.

      The right do fascism and the left do authoritarianism. If anyone reading my post thinks I believe that Labour handled the pandemic badly, they are wrong. They are probably also engaging in binary thinking and can't see past 'NACFT is worse' therefore the left must be ok.

      We're losing. Despite Labour doing a pretty good job during the pandemic. If we don't stop and look at why, we will continue to lose. And the consequences of that are grim as fuck.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 6.1.1

        My question is this: why do the liberal left believe that ostracising those people will lead to more people adopting progressive values and voting in progressive governments?

        Do "the liberal left" believe that? Maybe some do, but it's been my observation that I lack the skills to shift the views (+ values and votes) of "those people" – views that seem at least as ingrained as my own – in any meaningful way. Not by ostracising, nor by promoting expert consensus advice as I see it, nor by rational discussion and debate. Typically, the best I can do is agree to disagree, and damn the consequences.

        Maybe it's as simple as some liberal left (or indeed any) views/values being irreconcilable with some other views/values. Debating until the cows come home may help with understanding different viewpoints, but in the end there will still be many points on which people continue to disagree, with each side/pole believing that it’s the 'others' who are stubborn, obstinate and inflexible – without even a moment's reflection to consider that they might be mirroring those same traits.

        Anyone can do authoritarian popularism, imho.

        A Narrowing of the British Conservative Mind? [18 March 2022]

        The liberal left [15 Sept 2022]
        We have a crisis not of Left and Right – themselves concepts of society emerging from the processes of industrialisation – but of linearity and complexity, the concepts emerging from the digital age. The intellectual – and social – fracturing you observe is not about what people think, but HOW they think. And what they see in the world as a result.

        The Left and Right Neo-liberals have characterised our society as a race – a free for all – the aim being to grab as much as you can whilst you can. Totally short term in thinking. They like to keep society in a constant state of unsettlement, of disequilibrium so that those that rule can hoover up the benefits (usually financial).

        So, the challenge is, how do you manufacture longer term thinking in societies? Well, a place to start is the opposite of the Neo-liberal chaos above.

        It’s about creating the conditions to stand on your own two feet ain’t it!:
        Stop exporting jobs.
        A decent living wage.
        Excellent public services that do not add to the cost of living – including transport.
        A chance to own a home or at least have lower accommodation costs.
        Free education at anytime in your life so that you can re-train and respond to changing economic patterns.
        Choose to employ people rather than job killing technology. It is only greed that is pushing technology at the moment.
        Etc.

        Britain and the US are poor societies with some very rich people When it comes to average household incomes, the UK may soon need to ask migrant labourers to take a pay cut [16 Sept 2022]

        Sorry, I've gone off on a tangent.

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          My question is this: why do the liberal left believe that ostracising those people will lead to more people adopting progressive values and voting in progressive governments?

          Do "the liberal left" believe that?

          Apparently yes. No Debate in the gender/sex wars is the most obvious example (terf/nazi/bigots). But it's a clear pattern now. People struggling with te reo names are all racist. Likewise anyone opposing 3 Waters. Everyone at the parliament occupation were fuckwits/nutters/right wing/cookers. And so on. This is exactly the language of ostracisation, 'we're right/you're wrong'.

          Maybe some do, but it's been my observation that I lack the skills to shift the views (+ values and votes) of "those people" – views that seem at least as ingrained as my own – in any meaningful way.

          which people? Those who have different views from you?

          Not by ostracising, nor by promoting expert consensus advice as I see it, nor by rational discussion and debate. Typically, the best I can do is agree to disagree, and damn the consequences.

          Why do you think the right thing to do is convince them, using whatever technique, to think like you?

          Maybe it's as simple as some liberal left (or indeed any) views/values being irreconcilable with some other views/values.

          Now we're getting closer.

          Debating until the cows come home may help with understanding different viewpoints, but in the end there will still be many points on which people continue to disagree, with each side/pole believing that it’s the 'others' who are stubborn, obstinate and inflexible – without even a moment's reflection to consider that they might be mirroring those same traits.

          yes and no. Some of us are ok with engaging with people that think differently from us and don't see the end goal as either them agreeing with us or giving up on them.

          But if you do see this as an intractable sort of problem, can you please explain to me what the end game is?

          • Drowsy M. Kram 6.1.1.1.1

            Apparently yes.

            The entire liberal left "apparently" believes ostracism promotes progressive values? That’s a narrow characterisation, ane a tight straitjacket, imho.

            which people? Those who have different views from you?

            yes Trying to shift agreeable views might be interesting, but time is short smiley

            Why do you think the right thing to do is convince them, using whatever technique, to think like you?

            Is that what I think is the right thing? It doesn't feel that way, rather it has become increasingly apparent (to me) that trying to shift another's view is often unproductive or counterproductive, although debate may promote understanding and challenge one's own thoughts. Obviously I believe my current set of views/values/thoughts is a good fit for me, but a good fit for others – especially those I hardly know? Seems less likely.

            Some of us are ok with engaging with people that think differently from us and don't see the end goal as either them agreeing with us or giving up on them.

            Yep, I'm ok with engaging with people that think differently from me, as long as that engagement doesn't degenerate into all-out warfare. Not sure what "giving up on them" means – is it related to agreeing to disagree?

            But if you do see this as an intractable sort of problem, can you please explain to me what the end game is?

            Please explain what you mean by 'this' (shifting views and votes?) and 'end game' (aims/consequences?), and I'll do my best.

            We have a crisis not of Left and Right – themselves concepts of society emerging from the processes of industrialisation – but of linearity and complexity, the concepts emerging from the digital age. The intellectual – and social – fracturing you observe is not about what people think, but HOW they think. And what they see in the world as a result.
            https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2022/09/15/the-liberal-left/

            I believe that civilisation has amassed a few intractable problems – well, intractable unless certain behaviours change radically, en masse and on a time scale of decades or less. And even that pipe dream probably won't be enough, but that doesn't mean giving up.


            https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/17567194

            … by the time it becomes alarming, it is already too late …

            Ain't that the truth, about many snowballs in hell.

    • weka 6.2

      For clarification – was the ethic of ‘working for the good of all’ lost/replaced due (in part) to (mis)perceptions and misinformation (bullet points 1 and 3) about "the left’s authoritarianism"? Maybe some Kiwis were simply fed up, and you can'r get no satisfaction being fed up with a virus.

      Thanks for asking.

      yes, I think that people were simply fed up with the pandemic. I remember lefties in Auckland commenting here pretty negatively about Labour at the point of the last lockdown.

      But the post wasn't about the pandemic. It's about the broader problem of how the left now operates, via ostracisation and cancellation, rather than visions and narratives that people can get behind. The liberal left values identity politics over and at the expense of class politics.

      The loss of the ethic of working for the good of all has been a long time coming. It's a consequence of neoliberalism. That predates the more recent misinformation/internet issues.

      I suspect that in this too people are worn out and it's easier to try and find some smaller gains than to resist neoliberalism itself. And there are a lot of centre left and swing voters who are in favour of neoliberalism, not least because they don't want to give up their housing and investment capital gains.

      • newsense 6.2.1

        FFS

      • Drowsy M. Kram 6.2.2

        But the post wasn't about the pandemic.

        Fair enough; my comment @6 was addressing a part of the post (as quoted) that seemed to draw on "the pandemic" and "vaccination" against COVID-19.

        And the final point of the post – the importance of welcoming everyone to the table, regardless of beliefs and values – is well made.

        • weka 6.2.2.1

          Yes, but the point of the bullet points was to give examples of leftists engaging in authoritarianism, and I don't think anyone has actually addressed that. Instead assumptions were made that I was agin Labour's pandemic response, which isn't what I said (and in fact I made a point of making it clear that we needed that response).

          If anyone wants to argue against my actual points, that would be welcome.

          And the final point of the post – the importance of welcoming everyone to the table, regardless of beliefs and values – is well made.

          I will lead with that next time 😉

  7. roblogic 7

    David Seymour isn't too shy about his views that the poor are a cost to be minimised, that culling hospitals is great, and old people should be euthanised.

    Society cannot afford rich sociopaths crushing us under their boots. They are the dragons of myth sitting atop hoards of gold and eating the innocent.

    I've gotta finish reading Robert Greene's book "33 Strategies of War"

  8. SPC 8

    Start at the beginning. The nation state standard.

    Remind the coalition of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

    https://www.amnesty.org/en-what-we-do/universal-declaration-of-human-rights/

    Then build on this with focus on the left’s hopes for education, housing, health and social security.

    Then onto environment, conservation and global warming.

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