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Just a quick thought…

Written By: - Date published: 11:12 am, July 30th, 2018 - 109 comments
Categories: class war, Left, liberalism, political alternatives - Tags: , ,

White supremacy, male supremacy and western cultural supremacy are, or so it seems from a quick read, the basic foundations on which Molyneux and Southern have built their cash grabbing and fifteen minutes worth of fame grabbing act. Those things are also the basic foundations of liberalism that found expression in such wonderful things as only white men with property getting to vote, slavery, colonisation…

Now sure, we could argue back and forth over whether Molyneux and Southern are fascists or just liberal fundamentalists, or whether fascism is fundamentally liberalism. Or whether there’s really any such thing as ‘Alt- Right’ and so on. But there are other fish to fry.

Molyneux and Southern aren’t speaking to the readers of this blog. They are speaking to the likes of the guy I had the misfortune of meeting a few years back, who grabbed the attention of passing cops to volunteer information on which direction the Maori guy they were after had run off in. Turns out, the wee hipster (a cafe worker) reckoned Maori were irredeemably criminal and had access to privilege that he, being white, was denied. In his mind, there was no question of doubt that the cops were rightfully “chasing down a bad ‘un”, and that he was merely being a good citizen dispensing his civic duty by pointing the cops in the right direction.

There are thousands and thousands of people like that wee hipster. They feel abandoned and done over. And wrongheaded as their reaction to that may be, they have a point. Liberalism has been offering the working class nothing but an ever downward spiral these past few generations. Better than that, by failing to incorporate any form of class analysis into its thinking, liberalism renders the working class invisible.

Now. Is the idea to merely dismiss, decry and ridicule the woman who rails against “nazi-fems”? Or to disparage and condemn the man who rails against the notion that he’s being judged and found guilty for being white? Or to push them both overboard or out to sea in a leaky tin tub for reckoning “their” culture is under attack from nefarious “others”?

That’s do-able.

And basking in the afterglow of some moral and intellectual superiority might be nice – while the Molyneuxs and Southerns of this world fish up a growing army of increasingly mal-contented outcasts.

Alternatively, there’s the idea of pushing something worth while – of engaging with the likes of the cafe barista mentioned above so they hear something other than spew from dubious youtube channels.

The working class has been shafted. Fair chunks are festering. Neither the variant on of liberalism on offer from the Southern’s and Molyneux’s, nor that offered up by establishment politics, will halt the spread of that canker. Think “Brexit”, think “Trump”, think “whatever” (exaggerated or otherwise) fearful piece of shit mainstream media and mainstream politics goes all arm wavy about as it tries to keep people corralled within existent structures of social, cultural and political power.

Point to the arguments for the fact that we’re all being done over, each in a myriad of different ways, that would, incidentally, stop a witless leg-up being given to the recruitment campaigns of the Southerns and Molyneux’s of this world. Where’s the signpost leading us off this path that, at best, is going to end with us agreeing to a lock down of the status quo, because we’re compelled to defend ourselves against, arguably, the end results of our hateful and fearful selves?

The sign post is old, and if you’re looking for it, it’s marked “S”.

109 comments on “Just a quick thought… ”

  1. Chris T 1

    Not sure about Molyneux as I have heard he is a bit of a nasty piece of work, but I have never heard of Southern talking white supremacy or male supremacy

    • they both are scientifically illiterate and think ‘white’ is a valid racial category and that’s bad enough, but agree Southern is not a white supremacist. More of a reactionary.

    • Carolyn_Nth 1.2

      Southern has been reported to attack multiculturalism, and feminists.

      Southern says that globalisation has raised serious questions about what our identity is. Brings up Australia’s statement on multiculturalism, which says Australia’s values should not be based on race or culture. People boo.

      Southern says freedom of speech is based in western ideas. Same with democracy and the rule of law. Our values she says are therefore inherently western.

      Multiculturalism does not allow us to answer these questions, Southern says.

      “If we are going to really have multiculturalism, does that mean we’re going to have witch doctors at our medical conferences?”

      “Rather than saying that Australia is a multicultural country, why not say Australia is a western country based on western values.” Big applause to that.

      Simon Copland
      ‏ @SimonCopland
      Jul 28

      “Multiculturalism and the changes it will reek are not simply cosmetic. It will uproot everything we stand for:

      To multiculuraliss your space is to relinquish your autonomy and authority.”

      Southern says women and men are not unequal, we are just different. Says feminists have made life shit for women. Says it was much better for women when they were put on pedestals and loved for the things we do well.

      So, Aunt Lydia of Handmaid’s Tale TV – women get back to the kitchens, and the homes; stop reading or working outside the home; do housework; have babies.

      • “attack” seems a rather emotive term . Southern ‘criticizes and mocks’ Islam, feminists and multiculturalism. Don’t agree with her necessarily but there is no law against critique.
        V.V Islam and any religion for that matter…they need to be mocked and criticized.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          But, in so doing, she is aligning herself with the likes of Molyneux and followers who are blatantly white supremacist, etc.

          She presents a more acceptable face – but it is all about emotions, propaganda an a bit of dog whistling on Southern’s part.

          She has also actively counter-protested against feminists, LGBTQ+ people, and protested against immigrants/refugees.


          • Paul Martinson


            “She presents a more acceptable face – but it is all about emotions, propaganda an a bit of dog whistling on Southern’s part.”

            The great Christopher Hitchens would share Southerns views on Islam. Neuronscientist Sam Harris shares Molyneux’s views on race and IQ [which is complete nonsense btw] so are they all putting an acceptable face on so called white supremacist who also hold those views? I don’t think so, other wise everyone is an extremist supporter in some way.

        • Draco T Bastard

          There’s a difference between attack and critique. And so far I haven’t seen her doing any critiquing.

          • Paul Martinson

            Draco T Bastard

            “There’s a difference between attack and critique. And so far I haven’t seen her doing any critiquing.”

            if you attack someone they usually get physically injured. If you get emotionally injured from her pathetic critiques you probably need to harden up a little and experience life. Accepting criticism is part of life whether it feels like an attack or not .

            • Draco T Bastard

              That’s just it – she’s not critiquing. A critique would have some logic as to why what she’s referring to is wrong and probably some facts and research as well and yet none of what she says has that.

              That makes everything she’s says an unsubstantiated attack.

              All she’s saying is that we should uncritically accept ‘Western’ values. You know – the old stuff that we threw out as unacceptable decades ago.

              • Draco T Bastard,
                “All she’s saying is that we should uncritically accept ‘Western’ values. You know – the old stuff that we threw out as unacceptable decades ago.”

                I’m not sure what she is saying. Ive listened to her and agree she has little evidence to support her views. She believes in race/subspp categories for humans exist . duh
                But criticizing Islam is long over due. Sad she has to do it when so few others have the courage. Esp now Hitchen’s has gone. A man who knew how to tackle the subject properly. Ive read the Quran and its disturbing an increasing number of people in the world use this nonsense to guide their lives. I mean ..people indoctrinate their kids with this nutty stuff. Crazy
                Think of Lauren Southern as a symptom of the failure of the left to uphold liberal values then you understand why she is there.

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  Oh. And while you’re at it, please have a go at that nutty book the Bible, and the way a large number of people use that nonsense to guide their lives – and it has long term associations with liberal values.

                  The Bible – a book telling of a guy who allegedly walked on water, then rose from the dead. And that’s just the more liberal New Testament.

                  The Old Testament has got some pretty nutty parts to it – we should ban Bible-(mis)quided people from immigrating to NZ.

                  PM, your bias is showing.

                  • Carolyn_Nth

                    Ive spent 40 years criticizing the bible. All religions in fact. happy now?
                    Where did I say ban Muslims if that’s what you’re implying? Conflating critique of Islam with anti Muslim bigotry is so wrong. I think you’re own biases are showing to be honest.
                    Its a typical response to someone criticizing Islam. They say “why don’t you criticize the bible?”
                    When one criticizes the bible one never hears “why don’t you criticize the Quran”. Its a failure of liberalism which is so terrified of its own reflection and why we have people like LS …as I said. You and others arguably created her.

                  • Carolyn_Nth,
                    btw the fact you consider yourself a ‘white person’ what ever that is… puts you in the position of having more in common with Lauren southern than myself. How ironic given you oppose her.

      • Gosman 1.2.2

        How do you go from

        “Southern says women and men are not unequal, we are just different. Says feminists have made life shit for women. Says it was much better for women when they were put on pedestals and loved for the things we do well.”


        “So, Aunt Lydia of Handmaid’s Tale TV – women get back to the kitchens, and the homes; stop reading or working outside the home; do housework; have babies.”?

        The two are not necessarily linked at all.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The two are not necessarily linked at all.

          Yeah by the fact that she says thing were better for women back before feminism.

        • Tricledrown

          Taking us back to pre1893.
          Hill Billy.
          Your not connected to humanity

      • Chris T 1.2.3

        I’ve seen some straw grasping and misrepresenting people’s words in my time, but that is seriously impressive

    • dukeofurl 1.3

      Thats because she talks ( and wears the tee shirt) in dog whistles

      “Its OK to be white ” is one of them.
      her virulent attitude to multiculturalism is another

  2. “Or to disparage and condemn the man who rails against the notion that he’s being judged and found guilty for being white?”

    there-in lies the problem> People are becoming increasingly tribal again because idiot media commentators and left wing extremists who are coining meaningless phrases such as ”white privilege” and making idiots like Molyneux and Southern [who sadly define themselves this way] circle their wagons and go into attack mode. Its scary because tribalism results in violent conflict every time.
    When will humans ever learn no one is white or black. These terms are arbitrary & totally meaningless.
    Never heard a rational explanation of what ascribes a person to the category ‘white’, and never will. Good luck if any one can explain it. Its impossible yet here we are again.

    • Carolyn_Nth 2.1

      Left wingers who focus on white privilege, do so because it’s a thing, and they want to change that.

      It’s about recognising the damaging impact of inequalities, and wanting to move away from such inequalities. It’s not left wingers creating the inequalities. Denial of the inequalities supports these damaging inequalities.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        I think a part of the problem with the term “white privilege” is that it suggests all white people are privileged. And severely fucked over white people who pick up on it in that way react to it with with hostility. And right there we have an unfortunate and unnecessary schism or fracture running through ground that should be the basis for solidarity. (And the point of leverage prised by a Southern type wearing “It’s alright to be white” T )

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Except, it is important to recognise when we benefit from inequalities. I have no problem recognising that I have had white, middle class privilege, in my background, education, etc.

          I also know I have suffered in ways that come from inequalities of gender and sexuality. It’s not hard. It just takes some reflection and being open to learning about/from the experiences of others.

          Unfortunately, there’s a human tendency in wanting to see oneself as superior to others, and many do so by identifying with powerful groups, and putting down those with less power.

          It’s about empathy to some extent.

          • Bill

            The white single parent whose daughters are all messed up with gang affiliations, and who can’t pay the bills, and has a car that’s off the road (again) and a suitcase full of other bullshit dramas that just won’t go away, isn’t going to sit back and give much thought to the subtleties of the term though.

            All they’re likely to do is think something like “Fuck you!” to who-ever is bandying the term around them.

            • Carolyn_Nth

              And you know this how?

              • Bill

                Are you kidding me?

                • Carolyn_Nth

                  Well, i will explain a little of where I am coming from in my interpretation.

                  I have never claimed all white people are equally privileged.

                  But from my experiences, and reading and research, I have seen something of white privilege in operation. Of course it impacts on all people in different ways. And the context where privilege happens can differ.

                  There are all sorts of ways people suffer from inequalities. And, yes, income inequality is a big one.

                  I will explain more below.

                  • Bill

                    The problem doesn’t lie in some claim that all white people are equally privileged. The problem lies in making the claim that all white people are privileged.

                    Theoretical or academically, it can make perfect sense to point to systemic dynamics that hold the potential to privilege. But that sensibility doesn’t necessarily translate in any useful or positive way when it’s exposed to real world people and their real life situations.

                    I’d argue it’s a losing tactic or approach that the Southerns of this world can exploit with ease.

                    And as I wrote below, maybe it would be useful if the discourse changed to one around oppression rather than privilege? That way, perhaps there’d be less of an inherent tendency to leave people feeling that their negative experiences are being discounted or diminished by dint of some league table set around privilege?

        • marty mars

          White privilege is about the accrued benefits for members of that classification rather than skin colour.

          Severely fucked over white people are advantaged over severely fucked over people of colour because white privilege is buddies with capitalism, patriarchy and inequality of women and people of colour and therefore is built structurally into the fabric of our society.

          • Paul Martinson

            marty mars you said >”White privilege is about the accrued benefits for members of that classification rather than skin colour.”

            who are the people you are talking about? That classification is purely arbitrary and differs from one person to the next . That’s why its meaningless.

            • Carolyn_Nth

              Tell that to the over-represented numbers of Māori and Pacific people on low incomes, suffering from inadequate health care, in prisons, etc.

            • marty mars

              I’m talking about the people that accrue privilege from being in the classification white. Of course white is unobtainable and many have drifted in and out depending upon societial definitions of who can be white.

              • marty mars,
                your answer is precisely why the term’ white privilege’ is meaningless . It arbitrarily categorizes folk [negatively] when they may not see themselves that way or affiliated with such a group.

        • miravox

          I think a part of the problem with the term “white privilege” is that it suggests all white people are privileged. And severely fucked over white people who pick up on it in that way react to it with with hostility.

          Yup. My 2 cents worth on white privilege is…

          As a white, educated middle-class person who grew up in a Pākehā family environment where kids witnessed a revolting level of violence & abuse, were left to fend for themselves and who suffered the diseases of poverty & neglect that we label as Maori and Pacific problems these days, I sometimes get tired of the white privilege thing because privilege wasn’t our experience.

          Luckily, we lived in an ethnically mixed neighbourhood that is all too rare these days. I relied on my Māori neighbours, for friendship, care and safety. When things got too tough at home I could go over at any time of the day or night and just chill. Otoh we were pretty much treated with varying levels of distaste by our Pākehā peers.

          Weirdly, I, a heavily-freckled, obviously white, person (so white, my friends nicknamed me ‘milky’) was occasionally ‘accused’ of being Māori and bullied by some kids from ‘good’ families. This was because of my neglected life, and familiarity with police call-outs, amongst other things. If that doesn’t show social & cultural stereotypes & bias, and that belonging to ‘White’ is a social construct, nothing does.

          I got out of this situation as I got older because, despite leaving school at 15 with no qualifications, I had opportunities to meet people with more power than me, and to be instantly accepted by them as one of them. In my late teens the shitty upbringing could superficially be left behind while the white topcoat did its work. Meanwhile, my Māori friends who were cared for, worked hard, and finished school with qualifications did not have the same …ah… privilege. They were treated with suspicion about their intentions and ability, they didn’t get to even get an opportunity to work in the local dairy. That’s white privilege, even at the bottom of the human pile.

          So when I get fed-up with the white privilege commentary (mostly the sort that comes from middle-class Pākehā who, often with the best of intentions, have the habit of putting people in ethnic/social/cultural boxes, while ignoring class & circumstance) I remind myself of the family that so selflessly cared for me, and the opportunities I had that they didn’t have. I’m also proud of my sister, while she continued to suffer the indignities of a shitty Pākehā upbringing, believed in solidarity with people who did not benefit from the Rockstar Economy. The term White Privilege, though, would have deeply offended her.

          However, for Pākehā with bugger all hope of improving their circumstances, who are watching the stagnant pot of money politicians have decided to allocate to fix social problems being steered toward Māori, I can totally understand (but not support) the ‘fuck you’ sentiment. The ‘fuck you’ should be directed towards the people (voters & politicians) who decided the pot of money shouldn’t grow, but merely be passed from one desperate group to another depending on the threat from the desperate to those in power who meanwhile, keep accumulating more and more money & stuff for themselves. My sister had then knack of supporting the angry person, but not the angry sentiment, in a way I need to learn.

          Underprivileged Pākehā anger should also should be directed at those who are too quick to decide a person’s skin colour (or any form of otherness) is related to individual characteristics and ability. This lazy categorisation can be used only by people in power to bestow or withhold experiences and connections that impact on life chances of someone else. The powerful people in our society with this top-end privilege are overwhelmingly white.

          • Carolyn_Nth

            Thanks, Miravox. It has laid out the pain and conflicts very well.

            I would never want to diminish Pākehā working class anger, or the related harms and oppression that give rise to it.

            I am a white middleclass woman, who grew up in a largely Pākehā area. For some reason, my closest (mostly female) friends were all working class. I benefitted from being from a middle class background, in that I always felt comfortable in a formal education setting. But it made for a lonely time in the 6th form, and sometimes at uni, because pretty much all my closest childhood friends left school at the end of the 5th form.

            Nevertheless, the ones I have had contact with in later life, have gone on to be fairly secure financially.

            I have also taught in low income areas in Sydney and London, and worked in other jobs in low income areas in Auckland. I have had many conversations with people of colour about their lives. Many would identify as working class, as well as with gender inequalities. Most also strongly identified with their ethnic background in the way they talked of their lives.

            In London, it was commonplace for just about all the young male Afro-Caribbean students I taught to have been arrested, treated roughly and locked up temporarily under “sus” laws. And for young Afro-Caribbean women to be totally familiar with the guys’ experiences. I have talked with Pacific young women who talked about all the Pacific women they knew who had been raped. I have also talked with Pacific women who have suffered from domestic violence, and explained it in terms of gender inequalities..

            I also have attended almost all of 3 days of one of AAAP Action impact days, at a WINZ office, in a voluntary capacity. It was startling to me just how much poverty is brown. By far the majority or people who came for help were Māori and Pacific people.

            I talked to many of the women and men who came to get support. And one of the big issues that a pro bono lawyer dealt with, was that of single mothers for whom the father of their child/ren was not paying maintenance. I’m pretty sure the gender and ethnic inequalities would not have been unnoticed by most of the people there, especially the Māori and Pacific people.

            And one of the Māori guys I talked to spoke of the difficulties he experienced in getting work since he had come out of prison, because of his jail record. The stats show a higher proportion of Maori and Pacific people get imprisoned that their proportion in the general population.

            Stats do show that Pākehā, on average are better off even when it’s adjusted to account for socio-economic differences. Part of that is due to institutionalised racism.

            I understand, that for Pākehā struggling to survive, it probably is a bit meaningless to them to talk of white privilege. But it may not be as meaningless for low income people of colour.

            To Bill @, I say: I find it very difficult to imagine that many of the Māori, Afro-Caribean and Pacific people I’ve talked to, would identify their problems as being all/only about being low income or working class – that ethnic and gender inequalities would also have come into it, however they phrased it.

            And when I compare my life, to that of the majority of people of colour I have known, along with the lives of white working class friends, I do think there are ways I have benefited from being both white and middle class. How else can I explain it?

            But, I also would never diminish the experiences of women of any class or ethnicity who have been raped or suffered domestic violence. Nor would I diminish the experiences of the middle class Asian guy who I flatted with, who was gay bashed in the street.

            Each inequality and related privilege can be experienced in different ways depending on the context.

            There’s a lot of pain and anger to go round.

            • miravox

              Thanks Carolyn_Nth, I don’t doubt your experience and credentials and clearly understand your point about poverty and the underprivileged being brown. Alongside that, I know that line of single mothers you mention, I was also one of them when I was 16. Definitely proportionately fewer white people in the line, but definitely there.

              In the health field, where my experience lies – specifically concerning access to health services – the greatest need at a population level is undoubtedly Maori and Pacific. It’s exactly the same type of disparities as you describe in your field, as it would be in education and any other service. And I can’t emphasis enough how horribly wrong that is.

              Funding formulas in health are a clear acknowledgement that being Pakeha and poor has better health outcomes than being Maori or Pacifica and poor, but it’s not enough, often there’s the beliefs and actions of those in power that need to be changed.

              Without a doubt individual Maori do see white privilege, which matches the population statistics that you are talking about (In my experience they wouldn’t call it that though, but good on them if they do, because it’s true).

              But many low income Pakeha at an individual level don’t see white privilege, and you’re not going to make them see it, not while they struggle so much in their own lives. Chances are, the more you tell them they have privilege, the angrier and more downtrodden they’ll feel.

              One of the other difficult things for us concerned white people, is talking for those with less privilege, rather than providing space for them to talk for themselves, when they want. It’s embarrassing to suspect that in their minds there’s probably a special place in hell for privileged white ‘researchers’ like me .

              Anyway, I guess the question I have is: When are the political and managerial classes, and the people who support them to ensure things remain as they are, going to give something up of theirs to reduce white privilege without making low income white people (noting the context Bill’s post) pay the long overdue bill on their behalf?

              • Carolyn_Nth

                I understand about the language of “white privilege” and about the problem of middle class people speaking for working class people – but also, men speaking for women. And about the diversity of views within any demographic group.

                When I responded to Bill above about what a single parent might or might not be thinking, I was thinking of single working class women I have known (though, of course, single parents can also be men). I was thinking of close feminist friends who are working class and who have a strong class consciousness. Some have continued working in working class jobs. Most would not have wanted any man speaking for them about what their experiences are like.

                But, also, those women are very aware of racism, and how working class women of colour also rarely get space to tell things from their perspective.

                I was also reminded of Sarah Smarsh’s piece on working class women being feminist, but not using gender theory language. She said,

                Take, for example, the concept of intersectionality. The poor white women who raised me don’t know that term, but they readily acknowledge that the dark-skinned women they know face harder battles than they do, in many ways. They know this from working on factory floors and in retail stock rooms alongside women of color who they have watched endure both sexism and racism along with their poverty.

                There does seem to be a lack of diverse working class authors on left wing blogs like TS: especially lack of working class women authors and people of colour. I try to find such authors elsewhere.

                I do find in NZ generally, there does not seem to be as strong an awareness of class issues as when I was in London. Kiwis often see this as a good thing, but it does involve an element of denial.

                In relation to the discussions about the Canadian pair, I have been particular concerned that there has been some racism and white privilege denial (however it is named), and/or implications that racism is so much a subset of capitalism, that we should really be focused more exclusively on opposing capitalism.*

                *As if capitalism wasn’t built on racism, so that it is embedded throughout the system. I see no reason why we can’t talk in depth about both.

                • miravox

                  You’re right about the lack of diverse working class authors on TS. To be fair, that’s not just a problem here though, in the real world and on-line. Sometimes I still get surprised to realise just how out-of-step my concerns are compared with others in highly-educated, well-off people I’m communicating with, but those are the circles I move in these days. But I’m part of the problem – I hide my background to appear credible (not on this blog though, but even that took awhile 🙂 ) because it’s formal learning and who you network with that gets you positive recognition, not what you’ve experienced, which freaks people out a bit.

                  I also think class issues have a greater profile across Europe when compared with NZ. I wonder if in NZ the way we research and the way society is stratified, ethnicity has become shorthand for class. Given the way the neoliberalist turn marginalised whole communities it’s understandable, but not wholly correct. In terms of intersectionality, I miss weka’s insightful writing here.

                  I love that Sarah Smarsh piece. I found myself nodding in agreement. I must make a more conscious effort to read and note working class women writers.

                  In terms of the Canadian pair – yup. It’s not an either capitalism, or white privilege/racism etc. or It’s a complex interaction and I lean toward seeing how they interact rather than focusing on one or the other aspect of it. I don’t even know if they believe what they say, or if they have just hit on a way to be rich and famous and have nasty fun while doing so. A zeitgeist *sigh*.

            • Bill

              To Bill @, I say: I find it very difficult to imagine that many of the Māori, Afro-Caribean and Pacific people I’ve talked to, would identify their problems as being all/only about being low income or working class …

              I’d find that equally difficult to imagine.

              The point I was making above wasn’t about the existence or otherwise of white privilege and/or other identifiable privileges, but about how ideas pan out in the real world.

              You want to stoat up to the white person who’s had their legs metaphorically chopped off, and impress on them something about privilege? Specifically, their privilege?

              The Southern’s of this world nonchalantly springboard to great heights off the back of such approaches.

              edit – since the problem is about the intersectionality of oppressions, why do we talk in terms of privilege? That easily suggests some oppression comes in a kind of lighter package deal and that only the heavier package deals are worth troubling over.

      • Carolyn Nth…Can you define what makes a person white then? There is no white gene. So what does it mean? Its so ridiculous it beggars belief it even exists as a term.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Yes. It is a socially constructed category, because some Maori and African-Americans can be perceived as “white”

          “race” is socially constructed. But the way people act on those perceptions about ‘race’ is what creates the problem. And when the actions include discrimination and bigotry based on power inequalities between ethnic groups and differences, it becomes racist.

          Southern and Molyneux use “European/western” culture quite a bit in setting up their ‘white’ privilege.

          • Paul Martinson


            Race is not socially constructed, but more a genetically debunked taxonomic term created by C18 anthropologists. Anyone who uses the term race these days usually means it to define folk biologically…and yes, it is a persistent problem.

        • Bill

          Yeah Paul. There is no white race. I think you can take that knowledge as a read around these parts.

          Pink skinned and burning easily to turn a very red, red in summer with (not unusually) a surname with European roots and possibly ancestors who colonised far lands from European homelands. (Something like that anyway.) Shorthand – white.

          • Paul Martinson

            that definition doesn’t answer the question though . ‘Everyone’ alive today has ancestors who colonized far lands. By a process of range expansion. Most folk burn in the sun and surnames say little about you given they are constantly changed over time .

            the point is skin tone exists as a spectrum of light to dark tones with no distinct groups. Moreover it varies seasonally. Like so many.. in my life Ive been referred to as white, brown, black, red and yellow.

            • Bill

              A throw away description and, you’re right – not a very good one. Carolyn_Nth covered it off far better than that.

              An aside – just one wee thing about “white”. That particular colour of skin only arose in N. Europe. Something to do with the interaction between diet and something else. Was it something to do with wheat and vitamin D? (Can’t remember).

              Anyway. The point is that “white” skin didn’t develop in other places of the Northern Hemisphere that shared the same latitude as N Europe.

              • Bill,
                lighter skin tone was an adaption to low UV environments to assist in the synthesis of vitamin D yes. But lighter skin tones occur widely in many populations other than northern Europeans . Most Asians for example. North American indians too.
                Melansesians who have among the darkest skin tone on the planet are more related to early European populations than they are to sub Saharan Africans with which they are compared by many. So what does that say.

                Skin tone actually indicates very little about a person and their ancestry which is the important point here and that is stressed by geneticists ad infinitum.

                • Bill

                  Skin tone actually indicates very little about a person…

                  Maybe so. But there are huge bodies of prejudice orbit around notions of what skin tone does say about a person.

                  I hardly think you’d disagree with that , and that being the case, we agree on two things. There is no such thing as a white race, and prejudice, nevertheless, is informed by perceptions or notions about skin colour.

                  • Bill
                    “There is no such thing as a white race, and prejudice, nevertheless, is informed by perceptions or notions about skin colour.”
                    agree and exactly why the term white privilege is so problematic. It reinforces the idea by saying such a category exists when it doesn’t. My brother-in-law is Maori with an English name and the same skin tone as me and any NZer [pale brown] . Is he white…no. Children have no or little concept of these differences until they made aware of them this way. I think prejudices arise for many reasons and occur in any population on earth. They are perennial.

  3. marty mars 3

    In some ways arguing with racists and other like types is a waste of time. They don’t change – sure some do but very few from discussion imo. They can change when they experience validation – for instance I can validate the white racist and the fear and powerless they feel, the utter hopelessness and sadness. I’m not agreeing with them but validating their reaction or emotion- that is real and changes people.
    But for me I don’t have the time or energy to do that unless their is some potential for change.

    • Bill 3.1

      Yup. I agree that straight forward argument with facts and figures and/or logic seldom goes anywhere.

      As you say, acknowledging the reaction or emotion as valid and then, perhaps, opening peoples’ eyes to others who feel the same way, and some of their stated reasons for feeling that way… and then drawing the comparison.

      Usually always easy enough to suggest they share an adversary in common (traceable systemic forms of abuse/exploitation/oppression).

      In summary – not always easy. Not always do-able and takes some investment of time and energy. But it can be done. And it involves engagement, not condemnation.

      It also doesn’t necessarily mean “one on one” type stuff. Remember that vid on racism where it was pointed out that racism is bolstered at the cultural level by a 1001 ‘nothings’ people let slip or condone? (found and pasted below) In the same way, people don’t have to be a full on revolutionary to make a difference – every little bit helps 😉

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        Yep good promotion that.

        Not every racist can be saved – they have to be lucky and the savers have to triage. Sadly it is a bit like not every animal or plant is going to make it through the bottleneck fast approaching – animals we know and plants we love are going to go. Luck? Good or bad? Saved racist good or bad? It all becomes meaningless pretty quickly – we do what we do cos that is what we do and what else would we do anyway.

      • the word racist has been so thoroughly debased it means little to anyone anymore and accusations achieve nothing. Most accusers don’t even know what it did mean come to that.

    • Gosman 3.2

      Except how do you define a racist? I’ve seen multiple definitions of what being a racist is and by some definitions large sections of society (posibly the majority) could fall under the definition. If you regard the majority of the population as racist AND discussing matters with them a waste of time then you are essentially abdicating yourself from political discourse.

      • marty mars 3.2.1

        You struggle but most don’t – splitting hairs as usual, oh how tiresome gossy.

        • Gosman

          Ho do you know most people don’t struggle with the definition of racism? I believe your definition of racism very few people would support.

          • marty mars

            I dont understand your question.

            • McFlock


              He wants to know how you define “racist” because he believes most people don’t agree with the definition of “racist” that you haven’t told him yet.

              The epitome of a fact-free belief.

              • Draco T Bastard

                It’s worse than that – he’s trying to argue that a word doesn’t have a set meaning and thus anything that anyone says can multiple meanings dependent upon the persons beliefs.

                It is the action of an outright liar.

              • Gosman

                He has advised me of his definition of racist before

                “Can maori or indigenous people be racist? Depends on your interpretation. Isn’t racism a bit more than race? Isn’t racism a bit like rape in that it is about power, and similarily just as rape is slightly related to sex, so racism is slightly related to race – but really it is mainly about power.

                In my view maori can’t be racist to pakeha – no matter how much it looks like they are.”


                • RedLogix

                  The problem then degenerates to a simple proposition … how do you eliminate all manifestations of ‘power’. And who gets to decide?

                  • Gosman

                    Agreed and it goes to my original point about how you actually go about defining it because if you use an additional identify of “Power” then you need to define the power relationship before you define the racism.

                    • Tricledrown

                      So gossip boy you have identified the power imbalance Contradicting your comment.
                      Looks like your confused but continue to abuse.

                  • McFlock

                    Well, firstly the removal of power means no individual “gets to decide”.

                    Frankly, I think 95% of people would be able to correctly distinguish between racism and mere mentions of human differences 95% of the time.

                    And they’d be hard pushed to think of examples that don’t involve power imbalances.

                    • RedLogix

                      no individual “gets to decide”

                      So who does? The state? That seems logically fraught. And there are many different forms of power, institutional, social, status, achievement, spiritual and so on. Where exactly does ‘white privilege’ fit in here?

                      I think 95% of people would be able to correctly distinguish between racism and mere mentions of human differences 95% of the time.

                      Except no; even here on the left we cannot agree even 5% of the time. So I think you’re being optimistic.

                    • McFlock

                      But we argue about the fringe cases. The dogwhistles rather than people chanting “the Jews will not replace us”. The latter we debate about whether they count as specifically “fascist” or what have you.

                      Very few people argue that Apartheid wasn’t racist.

                      As for who decides what, if racism is illegal that goes to the courts.
                      Otherwise you might as well ask who decides what “beauty” is. Somebody says something specific is racist, others agree or disagree. People debate the merits thereof. There’s no final adjudication, and times change – just watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s for an example.

                      But linguistic relativism, just like ethical relativism, doesn’t mean that we don’t argue for or justify our subjective ideals, or even shape society’s rules within broad bounds that have a wide acceptance.Especially if there’s a minimisation of harm principle at play, which is an existential purpose of any healthy society.

                  • Incognito

                    That’s an almighty interesting and important topic [with apologies for the pun].

                    As many great thinkers have argued, essentially, power is an imbalanced and unequal relationship in which the powerful can and does enforce subjection (subjugation) onto the powerless through legal, moral, and other means and, if necessary, through the use of violence. Remove the imbalance and inequality and you remove the source of power. However, what usually happens is that the powerless (re)gain power and turn the tables on the once powerful; a vicious circle of power play and violence [sounds familiar, doesn’t it?].

                    Who decides?

                    We all do or nobody does, but this does not really matters because, in my view, it is a ‘natural equilibrium’ that we are drawn to …

                    Much could be written about the old authority structures crumbling away such as the State, religion, etc. Without any new structures (or ideologies) emerging [or are there?] there are only two possible outcomes: 1) move towards the ‘equilibrium’; 2) increasing(ly) violent disorder.

                • McFlock

                  Ah, so you were merely posing a question disingenuosly. quelle surprise

                  • Gosman

                    My question regarding how does Marty know people don’t struggle with the definition of racism was entirely genuine.

                    Do you agree with his definition of Racism (i.e. that it is related to Power and therefore indigenous people can not be racist)?

                    If you do, do you honestly feel that is shared by the majority of people?

                    If you don’t, then why do you struggle to agree with Marty’s definition?

                    • marty mars

                      It wasnt genuine – we both knew what you wanted- a little side mastabatory debate into Venezuela oops sorry, definition of racism an area you love babbling about. No one except the most gullible are fooled by you gossie.

                    • McFlock

                      But your question “Except how do you define a racist?” was one to which you already knew the answer.

                      And now you’re demanding for honesty from others when you’ve proudly displayed your own insincerity.

                    • Gosman

                      That was a general question regarding how does anyone define what is racist as I have seen multiple definitions of the term (which did include Marty’s view but also others as well). I wasn’t asking Marty to defend his particular view of racist at this time.

                      It was only AFTER he stated that that most people don’t struggle with the definition that I specifically brought his view of the term in to the discussion.

                      His view of what constitutes a racist is very much at odds with mainstream views on the topic and to him argue otherwise is the disingenuous argument not mine.

                    • McFlock


                      In general, do you expect us to believe you?

                      Or maybe it works the other way: will anyone realise they’re a soulless piece of crap who has been lying for almost a decade and change their lives to become a decent human being?

                • marty mars

                  Wow gossie did you have it bookmarked or did you search? lol 9 years ago and you haven’t changed a bit thus proving my point to bill about the utter futility of trying to discuss this type of subject with intransigent ideologues like you.

                  • Gosman

                    No, I remembered the discussion I had because it was so fundamentally wrong headed I could not believe somebody could make such a statement.

  4. Carolyn_Nth 4

    To some extent I agree with the post in that there is a shift going on while the foundations of international capitalism, supporting an elite, remain unchanged. But some of the shifts are worrying, and are no nothing.

    There is a shift going on in the international right wing of politics; from the dominance of pleasant face of neoliberal rhetoric, to a rise to prominence of the nasty underbelly of neo-conservatism – the most extreme version is neo-fashism.

    But I don’t think this shift is just BAU for the right, or for those they want to have power over.

    Basically, since the 1980s, there’s been an uneasy alliance between neo-conservatives and neo-liberals. The neo-libs tended to favour a bit more social liberalism, while the neo-cons have been socially and economically very conservative.

    Remember how right wing militias, anti-abortion violence, anti- feminist, anti-LGBTQ+, white, Christian supremacists continued to be disturbing under Regan and the Bushes, albeit on the fringes? Remember how Thatcher in the early 80s brought in vicious policing methods like Swamp 1980, targetting Afro-Caribbean people, which resulted in riots in Brixton? And her government attacked the gay movement with Section 28.

    The neo-liberal consensus is crumbling now and the nasty neo-fash underbelly of capitalism is surfacing. It’s becoming more confident and blatant since the rise of Trump, and the crumbling of the uneasy neo-liberal consensus.

    This is not nothing. Because, on the one hand the economic policies still aim to favour the wealthy, still largely European male-dominated elites: on the other hand some easily picked-off sections of society internationally are being targetted with vicious rhetoric. And there are followers who will be motivated by it to target some of the least powerful, espeiclly those on lowest incomes.

    This also is in danger of creating divisions within working, including precarious classes.

    One of the ways it will fracture the working class, is when there is denial of inequalities that still exist within working classes; when it is denied that neo-fashism can brutally target people of colour, immigrants, women asserting themselves in the public sphere, LGBTQ+ people, the disabled, etc., in ways that will not impact so heavily on others within all classes.

    However, one of the positive things to be happening internationally among younger people, is a rise in numbers of people embracing the word “socialism” (albeit it is probably more social democracy and/or welfare state capitalism). Nevertheless, the rise in people open to considering socialism as a way forward is a positive thing.

    And it is being done by millennials who are also people of colour, assertive, politically active women, LBGTQ+, etc, or who view such diversity positively.

    See this op ed in the Guardian today, for instance

    • Bill 4.1

      Your comment and the op-ed piece you linked reminded me of this recent tweet from James Comey (ex FBI etc and blah)

      “Democrats, please, please don’t lose your minds and rush to the socialist left. This president and his Republican Party are counting on you to do exactly that. America’s great middle wants sensible, balanced, ethical leadership.”

      • Carolyn_Nth 4.1.1

        Yep. There’s a struggle going on as left and right re-draw their approaches, values and policies.

        It’s important to focus on what is happening, and for the left to work out a way forward.

        Much of it is rhetoric. But, out of that struggle some dominant policies and MOs will develop. It will eventually impact on daily lives.

      • dukeofurl 4.1.2

        Socialist left – the democrats …thats funny

        In world wide terms they are hardly even social democrats.

  5. tsmithfield 5

    So, is Maajid Nawaz a racist? Afterall, he has pretty much the same message as Lauren Southern.


    “He also blamed misguided multicultural policies of the 90s for creating “monocultural ghettos”. According to him, those policies allowed unelected community leaders to speak for the rest of the community, shutting out the voices of what he calls minorities-within-minorities (LGBT Muslims, feminist Muslims, ex-Muslims, dissenting sects and denominations etc.). Liberalism, he wrote, should seek out the individual, not the stereotype of the community he belongs to.[43] In one of his columns, columnist Nick Cohen quoted Nawaz’s critique of the far-left’s role in silencing the voices of minorities-within-minorities:[49]”

  6. AB 6

    I get that we have all been economically hammered by global elites – and that the responses to that can be either pathological or constructive. I also get that there is little efficacy in condemning the symptoms of the pathology (“deplorables”) while ignoring its causes.

    But it doesn’t always seem quite that simple to me. I don’t think people like Southern and Molyneux have any problem with power hierarchies and economic elites – so long as they and folk like them can get to eat the crumbs dropping from the elites’ tables by keeping racially and otherwise unworthy people away.

    Or put another way, the response to being hammered by elites is sometimes to make those elites even more vicious – provided the viciousness is directed against people unlike oneself. And this is really dangerous and calls for some sort of response.

  7. Pat 7

    Valiant attempt Bill….not sure your (abundantly clear) message is being received however

    • Gosman 7.1

      Why wouldn’t his message be received if it was so abundantly clear?

      • Pat 7.1.1

        I guess because we only hear what we want to hear (and see what we want to see)…you tell me, read the early replies to Bill’s post and tell me how many actually address his main point?

  8. Old girl 8

    Agree. Message clear enough. Now that we are all rats in a globalised cage of endless public and private debt, all watched over by Big Brother and Sister and brainwashed with Newspeak, the real question is how to extricate. How to reconcile apparent opposites both within oneself and in a group sense. How to understand the rage at our dilemma which is inevitably directed at ‘ the other.’ How not to be strangled inside the everlasting parade of the antithises.

  9. Oh bloody hell.

    This article is loaded with half truths and about turns , pontificating about sweet nothings ( or cute little political memes and catch phrases of the flavour of the month ) manufactured guilt , dwelling on a very old past and outdated views – ( and I mean several hundred years old aka Southern slavery ! ), – and all sorts of other bloody generalizations.

    Just bloody make sure that the working class are well paid, well looked after, no matter what color, sex or religion they may be and that the rich bastards pay their fair share of bloody tax.

    OK so I’m taking the piss.

    Is trying to lighten up a crime?

    And as far as I’m concerned Southern and her mate can stick their racism, stick their preening in mirrors and stick their bloody shitstirring. If I had my way I’d personally along with a few good mates arsehole them out of the country simply for being wankers.

    Kevin Bloody Wilson had it right.

    Although I’d like to give you a song from him where it lays bare the urban liberals bullshit and hypocrisy , I cannot find it. So you might have to be contented with D.I.L.L.G.A.F instead.

    The meanings the same. Taking the piss and sending up the wankers.


  10. Booker 10

    *Sigh*… another day, another left wing blog giving airtime to two losers from Canada I would have never heard of if it weren’t for… wait for it… left wing blogs. You should really be billing these guys for all the free advertising. There are better things to be talking about than these two you know.

    I think of all people Imperator Fish has summarised this situation nicely: https://imperatorfish.com/2018/07/19/are-you-a-nazi/

  11. corodale 11

    Takes the focus off fixing the country, turing the austerity into prosperity, all this dark PC blah blah. But it gives me the chance to… talk shit! I feel like Sigourney Weaver in the film acting that mother alien.

    One case for not giving women the vote is that politics is just so dark. Mothers don’t need this dark PC ping pong going through there heads as they breast feed or take the kids to school.

    Noting that NZ women did get to vote almost a century earlier than some parts of Switzerland. Guess politics in our Shire is positvely fun in comparision to the view from the top of that mountain.

    And congrats and thanks to the Paul guy above for efforts to help the folk here keep it in perspective

  12. Chris 12

    I was at the launch in Mangere of the “Love Aotearoa Hate Racism” movement, a broader movement against racism triggered by the speaking tour of these two right wing extremists.

    It is not a liberal movement. It’s a working class response. Most of us there were trade unionists.

    One of our most powerful and effective responses to racism is our own good example of multiculturalism working in practice in our multicultural trade unions, Churches and other faith communities, and community organisations.

  13. Philj 13

    Wow. Just checked the date. It’s 2018 and we are talking about what is racism? I’m more exercised by asking, what is human?

    • [ ‘ I’m more exercised by asking, what is human? ‘ ]

      I dunno mate , but it seems there might just be others ‘out there’ that take a dim view of us…

      Danger: Humans – YouTube
      Video for Danger: Humans you tube▶ 4:30

      • Old girl 13.1.1

        From Rumi:

        “The garden of the world has no limits

        Except in your mind.

        Its presence is more beautiful than the stars

        With more clarity

        Than the polished mirror of your heart.”

        Nevertheless, the mosquito – spirit – king and others may be assembling for revenge.


        • Robert Guyton

          Thanks, Old girl. I’m reading this.

        • gsays

          hi old girl, thanks for the link, plenty to absorb.

        • Dennis Frank

          Very nice. Reminded me of Lovelock’s book (the Revenge of Gaia). I remember years ago reading a westerner’s account of taking ayahuasca in the amazon with one of the local tribes, and experiencing the same interaction with jungle deities as they did. To me, it supported Jung’s collective unconscious (theory), but I suppose someone more sceptical would rationalise it away via susceptibility to cultural cues, psychic osmosis.

          But yes, the most relevant fact of humanity is its embeddedness in nature. Latest advances in genetics seem to prove that race is scientifically invalid – just a social construct. Via the inertial effect in culture, still a powerful determinant of behaviour though, unfortunately.

          • Old girl

            Race is an uncertain term but language, culture and environment are particular. Loss of these leaves any human more susceptable to influence i.e. advertising, T.V., public relations. All forms of sorcery perhaps. The manufacture of consent is always that.
            Links to another lecture on the same site and metahistory.org., which has plenty to chew on but needs time to negotiate.
            The alt right is just a reactionary politicised aspect of a return to an understanding which was being sought in the sixties and seventies but which has become since the late eighties, obliterated and cast out. There will be eddys and whirlpools and even vortexes but with a bit of luck a wave will form which we can ride with surety.



            • Dennis Frank

              Hm, if you’re suggesting the alt-right is basically an holistic trend, I can see where you’re coming from. Others see it as separatist because few have a societal overview that ecompasses the dialectic along with the eventual synthesis for the greater good of all.

              “We, (or at least I), enter these other realities and forms of consciousness with our Western-shaped minds intact and functioning. Whilst La Madre Ayahuasca is profoundly helpful in dissolving our egos and the cultural paradigms which support and are supported by these egos, we also filter and make sense of these experiences through those same cultural paradigms. I don’t think we can go completely native, even if I/we would forever like to escape the limitations and restriction of our Western egos.”

              Transcendence via catharsis was the path taken in the early seventies, and the challenge of retaining a functional ego was too much for many hippies who degenerated into hedonism instead. Tarnas is insightful but disappoints via his repetitive failure to go further. I enjoyed reading his first book even it it was merely an elegant overview of what I already knew; the bookmark in my copy of his second more ambitious tome remains little more than a hundred pages in, when I realised he just couldn’t deliver.

              From your second link: “The sight of children cramped in a madrasa, an Islamic kindergarten, nodding like zombies and repeating the Koran eight hours a day is only one example (an obviously flagrant one) of how children are programmed to believe. Such practices, which exist in many forms in diverse cultures and religions, ought to be regarded as child abuse.” Indeed! Yet leftists would defend this.

              • Old girl

                ” I enjoyed reading his first book even it it was merely an elegant overview of what I already knew; the bookmark in my copy of his second more ambitious tome remains little more than a hundred pages in, when I realised he just couldn’t deliver. ”
                Not surprising. The poets do better than these one book writers and explainers, as do some old novelists like Anatole France ‘the laughing philosopher.’ Using physcoactive drugs and all the New Age hype and hoopla was I think something of a well manipulated distraction as is the identity politics of our time. But there is a reaching out for meaning and the so called alt right is just one tributary; a bit more holisticly inclined in Europe I think than in the U.S.
                Like the children in so many cultures we are all caught in programming of one sort or another. A pity there is no room for much analysis or discussion of this.
                The link below is to a good essay by Edward Curtin. It closes with quotes from Joyce and Yeats. The last two from ‘The Circus Animal’s Desertion’ and ‘Ullyses’ are apt. The current is always there.
                Meanwhile there is the progression of the dialectic.


                • Dennis Frank

                  What I got from Curtin’s essay was academic paranoia as subtext. My peer group used psychedelics to escape that trap. Then during the seventies developed transcendence as praxis to avoid being captured by any other cultural niche.

                  Any belief system is likely to captivate the consciousness of any adherent because (I suspect) our psyche naturally constellates a world-view in order to provide a meaningful context for our lives. Bateson reminded us that “the map is not the territory”. A paradigm ceases to control us when we realise it is merely a model of reality. Eventually, when one shape-shifts out of enough socially-constructed realities, one becomes adept at slipping back into them as needs be, and discourse therein proceeds on the basis of `when in Rome, do as the Romans do’.

  14. SPC 14

    It’s just part of identity politics, something the right now facilitates and encourages to obscure the fact that the global market capitalist system is creating a growing divide within the first world.

    For the system (here rising asset values with no CGT and suppressed wages for the growing tenant class) to survive unchallenged they must divide the now struggling (next generation) white middle class from working class, local ethnic minorities and new immigrants.

    It’s not new, the conservatives of Germany used a certain white race Christian identity nationalist “socialism” to war on the working class left. Their “means” took over the country. Wonder if Trump having delivered them a tax cut and their Christian dominionist allies control of the Supreme Court, will do the same and take over the GOP?

  15. Gabby 15

    What was all that crap about hipsters and Maoris billy? That was some weird crap.

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