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Written By: - Date published: 3:24 pm, March 31st, 2021 - 50 comments
Categories: blogs, uncategorized, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

Chris Trotter’s recent article Why we (Don’t ) Fight asks the question about why there isn’t more resistance to the degree of inequality that we face in New Zealand:

Like the celebrated dog that didn’t bark, the New Zealand Left is proving itself a poor protector of the exploited. A housing crisis on the present scale, occurring fifty years ago, would have generated massive resistance. The trade unions would have been on their hind legs. The churches would have been on their hind legs. The students’ associations would have been on their hind legs. The Maori Council would have been on its hind legs. Consumer groups would have been on their hind legs. Hell – even the Labour Party would have been on its hind legs! … Why don’t we fight?

On such hind legs as they still have, unions still make their progressive voices heard inside the beltway. Their numbers are in such sharp decline that they are nearly invisible outside the remaining public sector unions, but bark they do.

On such legs that they still have, mainstream churches still organise against poverty and use their assets and services to that end including in primary and secondary schools, rest homes, hospitals, social services, housing, and more. Unfortunately they are in rapid decline and their assets are now much larger than their supporter base can support. Woof.

The rest of them, well fair enough.

It’s certainly a while since we rose as one and as a result of that rising changed the policy direction of the country. But Trotter puts the charge of activist failure on identity politics and intersectionality.

In practice, their “big idea” – intersectionality – turned out to be one enormous intersection at which ideological traffic, arriving from every direction, snarled and snarled itself into gridlocked ineffectuality. Idealistic kids, inspired by the 1/99% meme, and eager to join the revolution, were confronted with a paralysing Discordia. Not only did it seem that they were being asked to give up their “privilege/s”, but also their sanity. They left the Occupy encampments as disgusted as they were disillusioned. The forces of neoliberal order swatted away what was left like so many buzzing flies.

He’s partially right – we do spend an awfully amount of time arguing with each other about matters of smaller and smaller moment concerning smaller and smaller numbers of people, while inequality slides downhill from glacier to avalanche. But through the history of the left, that activist splintering and frission is as true in the 1930s as it is now. The rapid growth and expansion of whole phalanxes of liberation that occurred from 1974 through to 1985 including anti-racism, anti-nuclear, anti-colonial, anti-sexism, and ecological movements all made huge impacts without cooling too fast. And we’ll always have “idealistic kids”.

So, is it a systemic problem? It’s certainly true that members of political parties are tiny, and activists within them can indeed turn a tough electoral situation worse:

If the powers-that-be had set out to create an ideological system designed to render the progressive mass movements of the past utterly unrepeatable; while ensuring that any attempt to confront neoliberal capitalism with a Corbynesque “For the Many, Not the Few” electoral agenda, is instantly paralysed by bitter and protracted factional strife; could they ever have come up with a political poison as effective as identity politics?”

But “intersectionalism” isn’t the primary cause of activist cooling.

The first siphon of activism has been in activist professionalization through Mixed Member Proportional Representation starting in 1996. The smaller and more activist groupings are getting their voices heard through direct representation in parliament, so there’s much less need to shout about it in the streets whether left or right. From gay marriage to climate change, MMP has enabled the satisfaction of most activist grievances to date with little fuss outside of coalition talks.

The second route is inside the institutional capacity of the state. Since the 1980s but particularly in the last two decades the state has expanded into so many different fields and with ever-greater precision in how it assists people to change their lives. I’m not saying they’ve made social welfare or the health system easier to navigate. It’s damn awful. But I am claiming that after two decades of successive crises that have smashed us, our state intervenes harder and bigger than it ever has and most have benefited.

The third avenue is in the maturing of activist institutions. Twenty six years after the Tainui settlement and with just a couple of the large ones outstanding, Maori pick their fights narrowly, with clear commercial benefit, and they generally win. Similarly Forest and Bird and others are now well resourced with massive activist bases and boy when they pick a fight with the state, the state tends to lose badly. Also, 20 years of the Resource Management Act has further enabled the professionalization of local protest in a manner that gets clear mitigation and often stoppage of offending projects.

Now, it’s perfectly true that real estate capitalism is at least as powerful now as it was in the 1860s, so it’s not unreasonable to ask why our collective “dog” could not all rise as one about housing poverty. Is it really because “so many identities have been telling him for so long to keep his privileged mouth shut”?

It’s hard to rise in our thousands against real estate capitalism not because the LGBT alphabet is getting complex or the Pasifika brown moral conservatives don’t mix with the haute-bourgeoisie who run Ponsonby’s media empires. It’s not like we’re too posh to push.

There’s one extra element, paralleling New Zealand’s satisfaction with the Savage/Fraser government: we have the combination of an exceedingly popular Prime Minister, a stupendously huge economic crisis, and a simply monumental series of state interventions responding to it. Three decades of really popular and generally effective government will suck the life out of any movement.

And since government has signalled it will continue to make similarly-scaled interventions into our society and our economy well into the future, crowds of shaggy 1970s activists rattling their zimmer frames in unison up Queen Street grunting what do we want? We want somethingsomething may no longer be necessary. But woe betide the rest home that gets Chris Trotter.

50 comments on “Resistance ”

  1. Stuart Munro 1

    Three decades of really popular and generally effective government will suck the life out of any movement.

    Now there's an untested assertion. Three decades of rising suicide and rampant inequality. Three decades of mass low-wage immigration and bullshit 'racism' attacks on anyone that observes that every economic phenomenon, including migration, has good and bad sides.

    And now housing is moving out of reach, not merely of the Devil's poor, nor God's poor, but the middle classes too. And any palliative activity is set to be scotched as government thrashes about trying to meet Paris agreement commitments designed for a much smaller population.

    In spite of the Rogernomic promises, our country is less free, and has less to look forward to than ever before. No surprise the beltway are congratulating themselves however – it's a certainty nobody else will.

  2. gsays 2

    Thanks, Advantage. Plenty to mull over.

    The rise and rise of the individual over the last century and in particular the last 30 years is a big part of the problem.

    The Century of the Self by Adam Curtis covers this in 4 one-hour parts.

    This explains the de-powering of the unions (plus the Employment Contracts Act), the decline of church numbers, Cubs, Scouts and Guides find it hard to get volunteers…

    My scant knowledge and experience of intersectionality seems to accord with this. By that, a politics that is very particular, of the individual. Not to denigrate this approach, it is a contemporary lens through which we can confront inequality and bias.

    If unions were stronger a wide range of issues could be addressed. The cost of housing is only part of the inaffordability. The low incomes is another part. Our low wage economy feeds into a plethora of society's ails. Affording GPs, dentists, a decent diet.

    Stopping the practice of sub-contracting of labour. Especially in the government departments eg health. All security, orderlies, in home care and the kitchen workers must be employees of the health boards. Not employed by a third party, often overseas owned, taking part in a race to the bottom to satisfy some shareholders.

    Rant over.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      The cost of housing is only part of the inaffordability. The low incomes is another part. Our low wage economy feeds into a plethora of society's ails. Affording GPs, dentists, a decent diet.

      Great rant. The above lies at the bedrock of my argument too. Working here in Aus opens your eyes to this.

  3. RedLogix 3

    Great post Ad – I was hoping for something like this.

    I do agree thoroughly with Trotter that Identity Politics has been wonderfully successful at splintering the left into squabbling groups scrapping over largely imaginary power struggles. But even that's not the whole answer.

    My argument on inequality is still evolving but it seems to me that the root causes of it, and the effective answers are not to be found in brute protest and smashing capitalism. This challenge is equally an ethical, psychological one as much as it can be measured by GINI coefficients.

    And partly I believe that we're also running into the limits of the fossil powered industrial revolution, that while it took us a long way – it's running out of puff to deliver.

    Yet I agree there are some pretty basic moves this govt could do to more directly give those stuck at the bottom of the ladder a better chance of stepping up. I've long argued for a UBI on the grounds that it eliminates the poverty traps, both fiscal and moral. I'd also see some real support for housing and infrastructure renewal, the $3.8b so far being nothing more than seed money.

    I'd also see us take a much harder look at the Finnish education system, and pay much more attention to getting people not just a 'job' – but to discover the unique gem that lies hidden with all of us, and polish that to perfection. A national culture of excellence with the AB's and TMNZ showing us how it's done. We have to universally bury this culture of low expectations that dogs the petty underbelly of this country.

    And most especially I'd see the left – which in so many ways has a vital role to play in advocating for the weak and disadvantaged – learn to do it in a way that brings us together as a nation rather than dividing us by arbitrary categories.

  4. McFlock 4

    Tend to agree with a lot of the post.

    One other possible factor is if a lot of the more experienced members of the broader labour and general protesting movements are also more likely (fig20) to have a toe in the property market – owning their own home, maybe a rental as well.

    Managers rarely intend to encourage the workers to strike.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    My take is that there is a feedback loop between Neo liberal hegemony–which encourages individualism over collectivism, Post Modernist philosophy–where anything can mean anything, and Identity Politics, the unholy union of “me-me-me” and “reality is what I say it is”.

    Perhaps enough people are doing ‘ok enough’ to not be into fighting inequality.

    Some can be keener on defending what they have rather than sharing with others. Hence in middle class (by Whangarei standards) Maunu suburb last year, $60,000 was raised for a legal defence fund to try and stop 37 state houses and apartments being built on an old MoE lot adjoining a neighbouring park. An Independent Commissioner ruled in the end that public housing was in line with Council plans, land use and social goals, and that residents worries about state tenants affecting their property values and lifestyles were not his concern. I and my fellow 6 submitters in favour celebrated, the 250 odd submitters against did not. The site is going ahead well, but gets regularly vandalised, so two video towers had to be installed.

    New Zealand is indeed a Tale of Two Cities in the new millennium, when some would deny others a warm dry home in a small city with several hundred regular homeless.

    Why is the fight not there? It has perhaps just gone underground with alienation and subsistence living for the 50% that own just 2% of the wealth. There are obvious struggles happening everyday with MSD, ACC, Migrant workers, employment disputes, environmental degradation and climate disaster.

    What is missing is centralised leadership for a combined fightback that unites all who can be united beyond the disparate issues.
    It is not going to come from a neo liberal Labour Caucus and party purged decades ago of leftists.
    It is not going to come from a central labour organisation given over to Tri-Partism and press releases since the class left FOL was tragically dissolved in 1987.
    It is not going to come from private sector unions decimated by the Employment Contracts Act in 1991.
    It is not going to come from Public sector unions who capitulated to “Partnership” collaborationist models years ago.

    It will likely come from a social movement preceding and following the 2023 Election and the generational replacements for “boomers”. The 70 NGOs “Letter to Jacinda” pre Xmas calling for benefit increases was an excellent shot across the Labour Caucus bow. My take is action is needed to back up demands–this is one reason Māori issues are often settled–along with research, and the grasp of history, and a co-operative model, there is direct action either taken, or the capability is there. Think Ihumātao, where Māori and non Māori were ready to go in sufficient numbers to expose Auckland Police operational shortcomings.

    Where ever punditry may take us, It is certainly objectively necessary to come up with some ideas for community organisation and action in favour of the working class such as bloody well housing us and our families! The current neo liberal state, Parliamentary monetarist consensus, and the invisible hand of the market are not going to do it for us.

    • RedLogix 5.1

      Perhaps enough people are doing ‘ok enough’ to not be into fighting inequality.

      Yes that's true – and actually cause for celebration. We should be pleased with this.

      At the same time it's also true that there are plenty of people stuck at the bottom, and leaving them there to flounder is a very bad idea.

      I recall having a conversation with a colleague who was having a moan about 'dole bludgers' or something like it – and he was quit miffed with me when I asked him if he really wanted desperate people knocking on our boss's door begging for a job at half our pay. At even this crude level it truly is in everyone's self interest for the social contract to hold together.

      Yet if you tell people that they're 'doing quite well enough and we're going to take some off you to help those who couldn't or didn't do as well as you' – then you're going to strike pushback.

      Tell the same people 'well done for doing so well, and now you're invited to help the team of 5m do even better' – it's going to get a quite different response.

      OK so that's a pretty simplistic framing, but I'd hope you can see the point.

      • Tiger Mountain 5.1.1

        Can’t write a novella every post…there are various framings “if you happen to reach the top floor don’t forget to send the elevator back down” etc. and the Wellington election yard signs along the lines of “I did ok last year, and/but I’m voting for those that didn’t”. Feel good, while admirable takes us only so far when there is institutional war on the poor, as MSD wages.

        There has been a state sanctioned underclass in NZ by design since 1984, and it will end up dragging everyone else down with it soon enough, unless we move onto a basic income and restoring full public ownership to state infrastructure imho.

  6. Descendant Of Smith 6

    I think the legislative restrictions on striking have been extremely effective at disempowering workers – as they were intended to do.

    Union members were caught in a bind – striking illegally meant that their unions would be fined and punished. Striking became possible only at the expiry of contracts which the unions made the mistake of negotiating for 3 years or longer.

    The power of the state was allowed to, did and continues to interfere in the power struggle between workers and employers.

  7. Anne 7

    … crowds of shaggy 1970s activists rattling their zimmer frames in unison up Queen Street grunting what do we want? We want something…

    But we can't quite remember what it is?

    There's a few of us on this site who fall into this category but we're far from zimmer frame material (?) and memory loss (?) mate. cool

    Apart from that, lots to mull over in this post.

  8. weka 8

    on housing specifically (which is the block to ending poverty), the reason there is no left/progressive activist or protest movement is because so many liberals own property, even if it's just the family home that they're making massive capital gains on. I'm not seeing those people putting their hands up to share their wealth (not many of them at least). Wanting the govt to help poor people is different from being willing to do it oneself.

    • Pat 8.1

      I think its wider than that….if there are only 150,000 property investors (plus partners) then it dosnt explain the 30 plus years of support for the current settings…especially when the disparate inflation wasnt evident in the early stages.

      There has been a culture change…and now when the negative impacts are obvious it is problematic to dismiss a lifetime (for many) of belief.

      Add to that the diminishing capability of the government sector and you have a political class that is incapable of actioning change even if they wanted to.

      Then there is disengagement….and remember that around a quarter of the population is foreign born so dont necessarily have the same perspective.

      All in all, we have been divided (and distracted) and ruled.

      • weka 8.1.1

        agree about the culture change.

        Everyone who owns a house is now an investor thanks to capital gains. In the 90s we got sold the bullshit that we had to save for our retirement by investing (the middle classes at least) and that got coupled with housing. No longer enough to pay off the mortgage by the time one retires so the pension is enough to live on with no housing costs. Now homes are financial investments. How many left wing voters own a house?

  9. swordfish 9

    .
    The emergent Regime/Orthodoxy**: Wokedom / Intersectionality / Critical Race Theory / Archbishop DiAngelo = all so utterly full of shit.

    Horrendous Upper-Middle Class Cult seeking to transform the Left into an elitist Vanity Project [& power-grabbing opportunity for the most financially privileged members of alleged "marginalised" identities] … while systematically scapegoating low & low-middle income Whites for Colonisation & other social ills.

    A welcome dose of reality from the UK:

    ** Aka the Successor Ideology

  10. Gosman 10

    Most left wing progressive movements have a specific target they are fighting against that people can be riled up enough to get change. This requires leadership from usually middle class people as the working classes tend to be focused on their day to day lives and not on bigger picture visions unless it is at a crisis point. The leadership of the progressive movements have not been very effective at making the case for radical changes. Indeed a lot of the effort has been subsumed in attempting to make a case to tackle climate change which involves making compromises with more mainstream views. Ultimately it is pretty easy to counter most radical left wing prescriptions as being too risky and likely to cause more harm than good or that we should moderate them so we can get more people onboard.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      Ultimately it is pretty easy to counter most radical left wing prescriptions as being too risky and likely to cause more harm than good or that we should moderate them so we can get more people onboard.

      Something the moderate left despairs over. Part of the issue here is that by personal temperament the revolutionary left isn't very good at drawing boundaries. They always go too far, and then sell this as a virtue.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1.1

        I'm a left-leaning retiree, quite comfortable in my day-to-day life. Radical change to the prevaling socioeconomic settings wouldn't suit me personally; not at all.

        I'm cautiously pessimistic that incrementalism can effectively address the challenges this iteration of civilisation faces – wouldn't want to be in my late teens/early twenties now. How many of my generation realise just how lucky we were/are? Maybe those building the next iteration will do better, if only they can learn from our mistakes.

        • RedLogix 10.1.1.1

          Yes. Contrary to what you may think I'm as aware of the challenges we face as a species as any. Nor am I at all complacent about them; there is a very real chance a crisis will overwhelm us at any time; the ground is indeed shifting under us.

          Yet I'm of a view that the progress of humanity and modernity to date border on the miraculous. In the big picture much of this was driven by biological evolution, and a parallel analogous process of social evolution, both of which are for the most part incremental processes. (Although not entirely.)

          It's easy to underestimate the aggregate power of many small steps. Moreover small steps that turn out to be mistakes can be recovered from without too much damage. Large revolutionary ones that go awry are almost always terminal.

          Astonishingly we are perhaps the first species to understand this about ourselves. Evolution to this point has been a largely blind process – now as the first post-biological species it becomes a conscious one as well. How this might play is something none of understand yet.

          • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1.1.1.1

            I could be misinterpreting your reply – do you believe there is no-one on the planet who is more aware of the challenges we face as a species than you? wink

            Yet I'm of a view that the progress of humanity and modernity to date border on the miraculous.

            I hold a similar view (civilisation can achieve most things, good and bad, given enough time and other resources), although I'd replace "border on the miraculous" with 'is remarkable.' This, the first truly global iteration of civilisation on spaceship Earth, has gone far, and is running on 'overshoot empty', appeals to the notion of "post-biological species" notwithstanding.

            Due to past incautions ("many small steps"), civilisation is now in a bind. Time is up for an incremental escape [video of a nearly successful water escape] to succeed, but (realistically) that's the only type of planned escape we might be capable of mounting on a global scale, imho. Hope it works, whatever it might be.

            The science done by the young Einstein will continue as long as our civilization, but for civilization to survive, we'll need the wisdom of the old Einstein — humane, global and farseeing.

            And I do like Rees' take (particle chauvinism) on baryonic matter's place in the great scheme, as an antidote to 'our' troubling tendency (myself included) to get rather up ourselves.

            This would be the final Copernican twist in our status in the material universe. Not only are we not at the center of the universe: we are not even made of the predominant form of matter.

            • RedLogix 10.1.1.1.1.1

              I could be misinterpreting your reply – do you believe there is no-one on the planet who is more aware of the challenges we face as a species than you?

              Yes that would an entirely mischievous interpretation. That I choose to remain optimistic in the face of it, and not fall back into catastrophising may be what’s misled you.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Not connecting your admirable optimism to my misinterpretation, but aok.

                Do you think Rees is guilty of catastrophising when he asks "Is this our final century?"? Or maybe the Australian scientists 'behind' this report?

                Best to 'catastrophise' after the event? Mustn't upset the punters.

                https://www.rochesterfirst.com/science/nothing-to-sneeze-at-global-warming-triggers-earlier-pollen/

                As I see it, at one end of the spectrum, there's (former) President Trump:

                OK. It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch,” Mr Trump replied.

                I wish science agreed with you,” said Mr Crowfoot.

                Well, I don’t think science knows, actually,” said the President.

                At the other end there are the catastropfizers. I’d like to think I’m somewhere in between. I don't catastrophise much in my day-to-day life, but sometimes a sense of urgency, and even alarm, is justified, imho – "Iceberg ahead!"

                What is catastrophising?
                Catastrophising involves irrational thoughts where we believe something is far worse than it actually is.

                "It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch" – maybe things are looking up smiley

                This lengthy review of Elizabeth Kolbert’s Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future, may appeal to you, in that it seems more aligned with your worldview than the passages I've selected might suggest.

                But a funny thing happens on the way to the eco-apocalypse. Kolbert departs from the well-trodden narration of those who have come before her, and indeed, from much of her earlier writing, recognizing that we can’t just stop. So entangled are we with so much of the natural world at virtually every level, from the global carbon cycle to the many species of plants and animals that have hitched a ride with us around the planet to the novel ecosystems that are all around us, that withdrawal is not an option. We broke the world, now we own it, and there is no alternative to actively managing the Frankensteined earth systems and ecosystems that we have unwittingly created.

                The fact that we can’t seem to master the seemingly modest ecological challenge of keeping invasive carp out of Lake Michigan suggests, in Kolbert’s telling, that efforts to, say, remove carbon from the atmosphere or manage the heating of the earth with sulfur particles are likely to end, in the best case, with a profoundly diminished human future, and in the worst, in catastrophe – even as she suggests that we may not have a choice. “If there is to be an answer to the problem of control, it’s going to be more control,” Kolbert writes. “First you reverse a river. Then you electrify it.

                • Robert Guyton

                  "We broke the world, now we own it, and there is no alternative to actively managing the Frankensteined earth systems and ecosystems that we have unwittingly created."

                  Well, yes, but…

                  The drivers and techniques that we've used to "break the world" won't serve to fix it; we've unearthed a pathological world-view and wielded it with little discretion and self-awareness. From here on in, we'll need to re-jig our ways in order to effectively and appropriately manage what we created; I believe we can. But am unsure that we will.

                    • Robert Guyton

                      Some societies have built-in behaviours that protect them from that which we have embraced 🙂

                      "There is a ceremony taking place, a great fire is lit and onto it they begin to throw their belongings: tools, weapons, fishing nets, headdresses of egret feathers; all the beautiful and useful things that make up the material existence of their culture.

                      ‘These things die here,’ McIntyre is told, ‘so we can return.’ So the people can be released from the bind these objects have over them, can become unstuck and make the journey to ‘the beginning’."

                    • weka []

                      what culture is that ritual from Robert?

                    • Robert Guyton

                      The Mayoruna of the Amazon.

                      https://dark-mountain.net/walking-in-the-void/

                      I'm not suggesting we hurl all of our stuff onto a bonfire but hinting that the changes we need to make will be on a similar scale.

          • Robert Guyton 10.1.1.1.2

            I find myself in full agreement with what you've written there, RedLogix.

            I did pause at this though: "Astonishingly we are perhaps the first species to understand this about ourselves. "

            Do you suspect other species have been down this path before?

            Others understood those concepts?

            Keen to hear more 🙂

            • RedLogix 10.1.1.1.2.1

              Good question. Assuming that the emergence of consciousness to the stage where it understood it's own evolution would look like something we would recognise – then I think we really are the first species to get there. (At the same time it would be wonderful to be proved wrong on this.)

              This is not to discount the significance of the conscious states that we do share with all of the rest of the natural world. I firmly believe we tend to miss a hell of a lot that is going on because our current paradigm (to use that overworked word) is mostly located in the material domain. We lack the tools and confidence to negotiate the non-material with much confidence. This being in part the result of the extraordinary success of the scientific method, but also because the old religions have yet to evolve into forms adapted to this new environment.

              Yes our current civilisation does have it's pathological aspects, but more in the sense of say an unruly adolescent yet to grow into maturity and adult capacity, than say a failed experiment to be dismantled.

              Many years back I encountered this idea, that the civilisations of the world can be broadly divided into three types, a western material centred group, an eastern philosophical group, and an indigenous group that are rooted in the spiritual. One of these groups has clearly dominated the past 400 years, and has utterly transformed our material world. The next phases must be a similar transformation of our philosophical and spiritual capacities, layered on top of the astonishing material progress we have already achieved. (This is the process the old texts referred to as 're-birth'.)

              In my view there is a very large psychological hole in humanity roughly shaped in the form of the traditional faiths that have mostly departed the scene in the past century. There is nothing startling or new about this observation – but I would add that we could be a little wiser about what we seize upon to backfill this need with. It's getting messy out there devil

              • Robert Guyton

                "Many years back I encountered this idea, that the civilisations of the world can be broadly divided into three types, a western material centred group, an eastern philosophical group, and an indigenous group that are rooted in the spiritual. One of these groups has clearly dominated the past 400 years, and has utterly transformed our material world. The next phases must be a similar transformation of our philosophical and spiritual capacities, layered on top of the astonishing material progress we have already achieved. (This is the process the old texts referred to as 're-birth'.)"

                I certainly enjoyed that paragraph, RedLogix!

                Discussions about that transformation are often hampered by woo, to my great frustration 🙂

  11. Michael 11

    The Labour Party is no longer a vehicle for social justice. Its fatal surrender to neoliberal capitalism rendered it morally compromised. Some elements within the Greens now occupy the space Labour vacated but, and this is where I agree with Trotter, factionalism among the political left neuters its capacity for collective action. I believe the only alternative to neoliberalism currently on offer is extreme right-wing populism, harnessed by authoritarian capitalism.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Don't give up Michael. We were never promised a walk in the park, a garden of roses etc. Soon it will be Anzac Day and the men and women who have died in wars, in torture chambers, uin ugly experiments, in punishing and dreadfully painful methods would have only been carried through by the remembrance of good people out there trying to rise above the creatively evil that seems to take over some hearts.

    You can hold up your head, in your own estimation, if as you try to keep going you hold in your head and heart the idea of finding a way to live in a community, and world, with strong minded, kind, tolerant, people who know themselves as faulty, and the world imperfect, but work together to make it good with moments of great happiness and community and no shadow. And I send a little song by John Denver to brighten your day.

  13. zee 13

    In spite of the Rogernomic promises, our country is less free, and has less to look forward to than ever before. No surprise the beltway are congratulating themselves however – it's a certainty nobody else will.

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