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Simplicity

Written By: - Date published: 11:57 am, April 9th, 2016 - 62 comments
Categories: activism, class war, community democracy, democratic participation, Europe, Globalisation, International, political alternatives, Politics, Social issues, socialism - Tags: , , , , ,

At first blush the basic, and perhaps only, criticism I’d make of the nightly gatherings taking place across France are the same I had of ‘Occupy’- having gatherings where one person is given the ability to talk to (at) hundreds of others, is inimical to developing meaningful forms of democracy. That scenario will inevitably become bogged down in the inertia of interminable discussions over minutiae. And then people get bored or frustrated and go home.

That aside, the launching of ‘Nuit Debout‘ is exciting and came off the back of devastatingly simple thought.

There were about 300 or 400 of us at a public meeting in February and we were wondering how can we really scare the government?. We had an idea: at the next big street protest, we simply wouldn’t go home

Hugely heartening too, that people are apparently refusing to be led, organised or informed by any group, committee, organisation or party. It would seem, at least for the time being, that the concept of many people, many voices has been embraced across France.

The concept behind the movement is a “convergence of struggles” with no one leader. There are no union banners or flags of specific groups decorating the protest in the square – a rarity in France.

Back in NZ and with winter coming on it’s not so much an option to simply ‘not go home’ after a protest. But there is no reason why a follow-up gathering can’t be broadcast – one where people actually talk to and with one another; where we share ideas and concerns; where we build networks, explore potentials and hatch future for action – a space with no marshals, no ‘steering’ committees and no top down imposition of boundaries by this, that or the other entity.

I’ve said the last bit at protest planning meetings often enough in the past. But NZ seems to be comprised of nothing but stony ground though…or is the ground fertile enough with the real problem being a preponderance of gatekeepers and carpet layers?

Whatever any accurate analysis of the above might be, I’ve been getting a feeling of late that some seismic shift is taking place across the world.

Mainstream or corporate media seem to be losing their grip on our thoughts and perceptions (eg – you don’t have to go more than one step side-ways from mainstream outlets on ‘the web’ to find a convincing counter narrative to their Clinton/Sanders coverage). I strongly suspect, that rather than seeking to convince us on major issues or events, the corporate or mainstream media is retreating, or has retreated, into a space that would have us accept that bar their jagged shouting, there is no need for thought; that beyond the trivial, there is nothing to be seen, heard or spoken about.

Meanwhile. Climate change, TTPA, stolen water, tax dodging, poverty, privatisation, housing…either we agree that none of these things really matter – or we tiresomely tackle them one by one by one – or we bring them (and much more) together in a rolling maul of discontent that then gives rise to a multiplicity of demands. I’m not up for either option one or option two.

62 comments on “Simplicity ”

  1. Jenny 1

    In the “not go home” theme I had considered the setting up of a “Jonkyville” on a unused piece of wasteland, specifically to protest homelessness and the housing crisis.

    “Jonkyville” being a play on the word “Hooverville”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hooverville

    • Jenny 1.1

      One of the problems that beset the Occupy Wall Street movement was that the occupations became magnets for the homeless and destitute, alcoholics, drug addicts, the mentally ill.

      Obviously this created a lot of problems for Occupy.

      How about we turn this inevitable eventuality into a positive?

      What I had thought, is that Jonkyville should be set up to deal with this eventuality from day one.

      Providing tents for homeless families and individuals (as well as political protesters)

      First off, as well as being an actual physical commons, Jonkyville should recruit volunteers to set up as a virtual electronic commons, where the destitute could upload their stories to the world.

      From day one Jonkyville should also try to recruit volunteers prepared to act as helpers and counsellors prepared to act as advocates to help people to access the services that have been denied them.

      “Desperation stuns organisers”

      http://www.aaap.org.nz/desperation_stuns_organisers_on_final_day_of_impact

      Reflecting the hidden nature of homelessness in New Zealand, Jonkyville would need car parking for all those whose only accomodation is their car.

      • gsays 1.1.1

        Hi jenny, your observation about occupy movement needing to look after the most needy: that is what ‘ from the bottom up’ looks like.

        I figure it is what would make a mass movement sustainable.

    • Ben 1.2

      After listening to a bit of what Slavoj Zizek has to say, the major flaw he saw first hand with Occupy Wall St movement was while people understood the obvious problems, there was no real talk or understanding of a solution. Now while Bernie is the apparent solution, he only touches a few specifics. Seems to me what we need is a complete shift in thinking as to what we consider the standard way of living. Encouraging thinking along the lines of Epicurism to base a core values of wouldn’t be a bad start.

  2. Jenny 2

    Businesses and supportive individuals and unions, could be asked to help provide Jonkyville with such necessities as portaloos, and generators. (possibly even solar panels), and tents. From the very beginning.

    (Maybe crowd sourcing could be employed.)

    Jonkyville, just like the original Hooverville, should should act as visual spur and a goad to the government and the council take political action to solve the housing problem.

    We need a new “New Deal”. Solve the problem and Jonkyville just like the original Hooverville will dissolve and disappear as the need is addressed.

    The organised volunteers will be able to assist this process.

    Don’t address the problem and official and unofficial Jonkyvilles will grow and proliferate.

  3. Jenny 3

    “Hooverville” was a deliberately politicized label, emphasizing that President Herbert Hoover and the Republican Party were to be held responsible for the economic crisis and its miseries.

    Seattle’s main Hooverville was one of the largest, longest-lasting, and best documented in the nation. It stood for ten years, 1931 to 1941.

    …..Covering nine acres of public land, it housed a population of up to 1,200, claimed its own community government including an unofficial mayor, and enjoyed the protection of leftwing groups and sympathetic public officials until the land was needed for shipping facilities on the eve of World War II.

    http://depts.washington.edu/depress/hooverville.shtml

  4. Ad 4

    Start small; revive the idea of dinner with lots of friends.

  5. The lost sheep 5

    It’s Occupy again.
    Nothing happening here then.

    • Incognito 5.1

      Oh come on The lost sheep, you can do much better than this intellectually-lazy fob-off.

      Many folks here on TS don’t think much of your comments but I am not one of those. Please give me something to gnaw on.

      • The lost sheep 5.1.1

        Like Occupy, this seems to be all about ‘letting everyone have their say’, and like Occupy there seems to be a consensus that they don’t like just about everything. All good, so far then.

        But If they have learned anything from Occupy, it should have been that no matter how many slogans the Poetry Committee collect, an incoherent babble of individual opinions is an utterly ineffectual mechanism for Revolution.

        So If this new movement doesn’t quickly develop a format for drawing the babble into a clear voice expressing some genuine alternatives, then it will just kind of fade away with bugger all achieved, just like Occupy did.

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          Occupy led to Sanders. And other things. It still exists. You’re blind.

          • The lost sheep 5.1.1.1.1

            It’s stretching it to say that Occupy ‘led to Bernie Sanders’ Weka. he was around a very long time before Occupy. They were led to him.
            But the support of ex Occupy members has been a great help to him no doubt.

            But that’s my point. Supporting Bernie Sanders is a concrete, meaningful, and focused engagement with the democratic system, in a format that is quite conventional.
            Like you have a Leader, who has a very large determination over policy and action, and is supported by a hierarchy of supporters who have input, but ultimately defer their individual opinions to a collective voice.

            So the Occupy people supporting Sanders obviously have learned the lesson that the original structure of Occupy was utterly ineffective. More power to them then. They might actually achieve something.
            But it looks to me like the movement in France is a repeat of the collective ‘all opinions are equal’ idea, and if so, it will fail.

            BTW, has anyone else found it a bit weird that in the U.K. and the U.S. the ex Occupy activists have found their ‘purpose’ in 75 year old white men?

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m not talking about Sanders the man. I’m saying that Occupy changed consciousness and culture. Sanders is building on that.

              If Occupy had used conventional hierarchical structures based around leadership and had built something of the kind you are talking about it would have been coopted. You assert that Occupy failed. It didn’t, it is succeeding in terms you don’t understand. This is why Sanders wins even if he doesn’t get the nomination. It’s about power, and that is what Bill is talking about too. You can’t have egalitarianism if you don’t know how to share power.

              • The lost sheep

                We have different ideas of what ‘success’ is Weka!

                I distinctly remember that Occupy started out with a definite claim that ‘success’ would be the people of the world uniting and overthrowing the dominance of the 1%.

                As far as I can see, 5 years on nothing at all has changed in that regard.
                I tend to regard success as something tangible I guess. And maybe you are right and one day the Occupy movement will lead to the kind of changes they espoused originally….but for now, i don’t see it.

                The other point is that the ‘change in consciousness’ you claim is of very limited scope. I also remember very distinctly that far less than 1% of the people rose up to support Occupy…..and I have seen nothing since to suggest the ‘influence’ of Occupy has moved much beyond that?

                • Bill

                  You distinctly remember a specific claim coming from a movement that was slated and condemned for not articulating a list of demands?

                  Anyway. Know how you can plant a seed and it might not grow and fruit with an abundance that would satiate all appetites, but then how it seeds regardless and how the seeds get transported to many other fertile and (sometimes too) not so fertile grounds?

                  • The lost sheep

                    ‘We are the 99%’

                    My memory is not what it used to be, but I’m sure that was the main claim that was made over and over again?

                    • Bill

                      Maybe some said they were of the 99% – fine. But how and where does that translate to a supposedly stated measure of success being the overthrow of the 1% by a united 99%?

                      (Overthrowing’s all a bit Leninist for me anyway. It implies a mere ‘changing of the guard’)

                • weka

                  We have different ideas of what ‘success’ is Weka!

                  Indeed!

                  I distinctly remember that Occupy started out with a definite claim that ‘success’ would be the people of the world uniting and overthrowing the dominance of the 1%.

                  As far as I can see, 5 years on nothing at all has changed in that regard.
                  I tend to regard success as something tangible I guess. And maybe you are right and one day the Occupy movement will lead to the kind of changes they espoused originally….but for now, i don’t see it.

                  Again, this is your blindness. And dismissiveness perhaps. Sanders can do what he is doing because of Occupy.

                  Let’s put this in perspective. The Crown in NZ started dishonouring the Treaty pretty much straight away. Māori have been working for 170 years to redress the wrongs. The Waitangi Tribunal wasn’t set up until the 1970s. Five years after Occupy is nothing.

                  The shift from egalitarian cultures to domination cultures that underpins the power of the 1% happened 5,000 years ago. Five years is nothing.

                  But change is happening if you know where to look for it. If you can’t see it, there’s a good reason for that.

                  The other point is that the ‘change in consciousness’ you claim is of very limited scope. I also remember very distinctly that far less than 1% of the people rose up to support Occupy…..and I have seen nothing since to suggest the ‘influence’ of Occupy has moved much beyond that?

                  Again, this is your blindness. We all stand on the backs of our activist forebears. I wouldn’t be able to vote if it weren’t for the suffragists. Nor own land. Nor live as a single woman. etc All those things are achievements that happened over a century and as part of big movements and changes in history.

                  I’m going to hazard a guess that your politics prevent you from acknowledging certain things are changing. I’m curious, are you in favour of power shifting from the 1% to the 99%?

            • AB 5.1.1.1.1.2

              “BTW, has anyone else found it a bit weird that in the U.K. and the U.S. the ex Occupy activists have found their ‘purpose’ in 75 year old white men?”

              Maybe, but these 75 year olds have adult memories from before about 1980. They have seen a better past. Or at least a past that was better for the white middle and working class – not so much for minorities.

              • The lost sheep

                Yeah, that’s what I find difficult to get my head around.
                The future lies in the socialist vision that was held by liberal white males in the 60’s?

                I would have thought the future might have been in some younger more diverse people looking forwards towards something new….

                • Bill

                  The future lies in the socialist vision that was held by liberal white males in the 60’s?

                  No.

                • weka

                  “The future lies in the socialist vision that was held by liberal white males in the 60’s?”

                  Sanders and Corbyn are politicians in 2016. What are you on about?

                  Myself, I think there is a particular beauty to the US and the UK left wing renaissance being led by old white men. It puts paid to the idiocy that gets offended by critiques of the power holders in society. It’s precisely the older white men that need to change and here they are doing it.

                  • Molly

                    “Myself, I think there is a particular beauty to the US and the UK left wing renaissance being led by old white men. It puts paid to the idiocy that gets offended by critiques of the power holders in society. It’s precisely the older white men that need to change and here they are doing it.
                    I agree – you have such a good turn of phrase weka.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    What makes you think the particular men in question changed? The reason Sanders, for example, seems authentic is because he’s been that way for decades.

                    • weka

                      I was referring to men as a class not Sanders and Corbyn as individuals. I agree, they’ve been there for a long time. But something is changing that offers the opportunity for white men to feel like they can be on the side of good, that they can do right despite the issues of privilege. Sanders is a representation of that as well as a conduit. It’s very heartening.

                      Edit, and the fact they’ve been there so long is part of the beauty. See, it’s actually always been possible for men to do right. For all of us actually.

                  • RedLogix

                    Thanks weka. I was going to respond but I couldn’t think of a good way to express it.

                    • weka

                      I feel relieved in fact. Because both those men demonstrate its not about one’s bloodlines or years or the shape of one’s chromosomes, it’s what you do with them that matters. It might also bring some relief to various stand offs happening on the political left.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Cool.
                      As far as I can make out, Sanders and Corbyn were 20’ish back in the ’60’s just like I was.
                      To me, they seem like relics of that era. What they present as now, I can reconcile exactly with any number of ragged jacketed pipe smoking socialists I used to grouse with over the 6 o’clock swill in ’66.

                      But feel free to say they are modern politicians. I get a kind of kick out if knowing that the old school is cool.

        • Incognito 5.1.1.2

          I agree that any political movement needs a focus point and also a means to channel the ideas & energy into a coherent action. This requires a good communication network and some kind of organisational structure. I don’t agree that such structure has to be hierarchical; it could be guided & fronted by spokespeople rather. Such people would not be elected and have no (institutional) power as such other than being effective communicators who can speak for many at a given place & time. These people can step forward on a voluntary basis and step back or aside when it is appropriate to do so; no ego-trippers or control freaks. I believe it is entirely possible for such structure to be self-organising in an ‘organic’ and dynamic way.

          On the means to accomplish the goals I should add that I think that existing systems (such as societies) have an intrinsic resistance to change and revolution. As in Nature the key to effective survival is adaptation; sudden major changes such as revolution are inherently risky and can take a long time to stabilise before they settle on some kind of new equilibrium AKA status quo.

          • The lost sheep 5.1.1.2.1

            The issue I have with the kind of structure you propose is that I just don’t see where it has ever worked? As the old nautical saying goes ‘no committee ever ran a ship’.

            The problem is that at some point you have to agree on what the reality of the situation you are considering actually is, what you want to change it to be, and what course of action will achieve your goals.

            Among any group of people there will always be a wide variance of opinion on these points. So there must be an effective mechanism for establishing a consensus and initiating action?
            In almost all the organized human structures I am aware of, this involves some form of Leadership and Hierarchy.

            The only condition in which a truly organic self -organizing non-hierarchical structure could succeed is if all individuals in the group had a highly uniform world view.

            In a modern society where people are educated, exposed to so much diversity of influence, from so many cultural backgrounds, and so concerned with their status as individuals….i don’t see any possibility of people wanting to submerge themselves into the kind of structure you suggest, let alone it having any chance of working?

            • Bill 5.1.1.2.1.1

              have to agree on what the reality of the situation you are considering actually is,

              A huge democratic deficit that gives rise to many, most or all of today’s economic and political ills.

              what you want to change it to be

              Democratic

              , and what course of action will achieve your goals.

              Any and all courses of action that embrace democracy and reject/eject anything that doesn’t.

              No democracy ever existed with a leader at some imagined helm or under the tutelage of some committee.

              • The lost sheep

                Exactly what kind of structure do you mean by ‘Democratic’ Bill?

                • Bill

                  That which does not promote or countenance any measure of illegitimate authority; that which seeks, promotes and protects the empowerment of any and all people impacted by any given potential decision.

                  You want structural intricacies? I can’t supply those for every possible eventuality. Not that it matters. People coming together, and being determined to embrace the basic concepts of democracy, will formulate, reformulate and develop those structures according to whatever matter or issue is at hand.

                  And since we’ve been locked within an inert or dead framework of decision making for so long and become infused with the choking dusty flakes of that, we’ll tend to get it wrong a number of times before we tend to get it right most of the time.

                  • The lost sheep

                    I don’t need structural intricacies Bill. Just some kind of outline of the basic structures will do?

                    If you can’t even say what it is, how on earth can you assert people will create it and/or will work?

                    • Bill

                      I’ll assume you read my comment, in particular the first paragraph, and so understand the basic concepts any structure would have to both embody and reject, in order to deliver democratic outcomes.

                      So you build any decision making structure you want around that. And if you find that it encourages illegitimate authority or inadvertently dis-empowers some or merely fails to empower some, then you tweak it or rebuild it, as the case may be.

                      And maybe you’ll find that the structures you developed for situation ‘a’ work fine for that type of situation, but not for things that would be more akin to situation ‘b’.

                      And so you get to be mindful and creative all over again or, maybe more accurately, to contribute to a creative and mindful process 🙂

                    • weka

                      If you don’t mind Bill, I’m going to have a go at framing that in a more straight forward way.

                      Democracy is that which

                      – promotes and protects the empowerment of any and all people impacted by any given potential decision or action.

                      – does not promote or condone illegitimate authority.

                      Can you please decribe what you mean by illegitimate authority?

                    • The lost sheep

                      I get the concept, but without a structure that makes the expression of that concept feasible, as far as I can see it’s just an unrealised ideal.

                      And if you have a concept, and can’t suggest even a basic hypothetical structure to support it, I would say that’s a pretty good indication the concept is not realisable in the real world.
                      And ‘anything you want it to be’ is not a structure.

                      You have obviously thought about this a lot Bill. Surely you have some basic ideas about a structure that would be a starting point for implementing your democracy in the real world?

                    • Bill

                      @ Weka

                      Illegitimate authority is authority being exercised without the consent of those it’s being exercised over. There are a very few exceptions (eg saving someones life) where the exercise of authority without consent may be able to be justified.

                    • weka

                      Ok so would the NZ govt be illegitimate because it makes decisions without the consent of the people affected? (Or with only implied consent from part of the people).

                      A small committee could choose to have a conventional leader so long as that was role was revocable and they operated in a way that met the two criteria above ie their actions were with active consent of all involved, and they didn’t try and entrench personal power.

                      Am I getting that right?

                    • Bill

                      @ the lost sheep

                      There is no ‘one size fits all’ in terms of structure or process.

                      eg – What processes or structures accompanied your decision about what pair of socks you put on this morning? None. It was essentially dictatorial.

                      But what if you were about to embark on building a house? Well, then you’d have to develop or engage in processes of consultation with any and all who could reasonably be said to expect an impact from your actions. Exactly how you go about talking to everyone you need or should talk to is contingent on far too many variables to be worth discussing here. Maybe there are only two other people you reasonably need to take into considerations. Or then again, maybe there are 20. And the processes could/would quite likely be vastly different in each hypothetical case. Tacked onto the simple factor of numbers of people likely affected, there are such considerations as either your skill base (for building etc), or the access to such skill bases within, or perhaps beyond, your community or social sphere. In the final analysis, as long as no-one has something they’d consider negative, imposed upon them against their will by the action you are taking, then you arrange how to proceed with whatever consultation or discussion as you see fit. Maybe (hypothetically) your community has developed ‘institutional’ knowledge and memory that can inform that process. If not, your efforts to negotiate matters democratically will contribute to that accumulation of custom and habit that, in turn, becomes what I’m terming ‘institutional’ knowledge – a collective knowledge that seeks to identify pro’s and cons and avoid pitfalls from reference to prior experiences.

                    • Bill

                      @ Weka.

                      My immediate question is who is subject to the decisions of the committee? But sure, that aside, in a given instance, there may be no problem in collectively delegating a set responsibility to a willing person.

                      And tacking backwards, yes, the NZ government is illegitimate in my eyes. It has never sought my consent (it wouldn’t get it). It’s true that I have to acquiesce to it due to the sheer physical reach and cultural penetration of its power…but I’m not happy about it.

                    • The lost sheep

                      Exactly how you go about talking to everyone you need or should talk to is contingent on far too many variables to be worth discussing here.

                      What do you mean ‘Not worth discussing’! It’s the whole point?

                      On this site people are endlessly discussing the details of exactly how the current system works, so if you assert there is an alternative, surely the details of exactly how your alternative will work is central to the discussion?

                      Building a house is at one level, but if a community of 4.5 million people needs to decide something as fundamental as the basis on which individuals are going to contribute a portion of their individual resources towards collectively organised infrastructure, or what penalties the collective imposes for various acts of violence?

                      How do you talk to everyone you need about that Bill, and how do you decide on a course of action?

                    • Bill

                      There is no ‘community of 4.5 million.’ Never has been, never will be. You envisage some continuation of nation states and nation wide government even though they can only exist by employing levels of coercion. I don’t.

                      I can’t think of anything that would affect 4.5 million people in a democratic setting; a democratic setting being, by logic and necessity, the absence of the state as well as the absence of any market (or command) economy.

                    • The lost sheep

                      by employing levels of coercion. I don’t.

                      So when I, and others who think like me, don’t agree with your structure, we are completely free to form our own structure and call it a state, and not be coerced by you into not doing so?

                    • The lost sheep

                      @Bill.

                      I’d be genuinely interested in your answer to this question directly above?

                    • Bill

                      If you willingly wanted to join the Rubber Duck Saviour Society,or to live life as a slave on a sugar plantation, or attempt some top/down, bureaucratic form of governance, then as long as it didn’t impinge on me (ie – my society), then all power to you.

                      But if either of the above in some way became an imposition by attempting to expand influence beyond fully willing participants, then that would be a different kettle of fish.

                    • The lost sheep

                      I think your last sentence illustrates why a society without an agreed formal structure ain’t going to work.

                      We are all free to do what we want, but when that starts to impinge on others ability to do what they want, it’s a ‘different kettle of fish’

                      How would we resolve such issues then Bill?

            • Incognito 5.1.1.2.1.2

              Bill has already responded to some of the issues you raised.

              I think the OP and comments highlight the need for challenging our assumptions and using our imagination to come up with new ideas & concepts and ways to put these into practice.

              If you look for it there are many examples of leaderless or non-hierarchical organisations. For example, I recently posted a comment on this.

              You may also want to check out this Wiki on the book The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations.

              Another search ‘hit’ is The Leaderless Organization.

              Obviously, there is much more to read.

              Arguably, it is easier to build consensus on a common purpose or mission but I think that it is possible in principle to apply the same kind of structures to a society or nation. It is essential that people agree to disagree, are willing to compromise, cooperate and collaborate, to value & respect others and their views & values. It is not about competing, but sharing, and living together.

              The only condition in which a truly organic self -organizing non-hierarchical structure could succeed is if all individuals in the group had a highly uniform world view.

              My view is the complete opposite:

              A multi-cultural and pluralistic society can only truly succeed and survive if it has an organic self-organising non-hierarchical structure and does not suffer from ‘tyranny of the majority’ that is one of the largely unresolved consequences of our current democratic system.

              I’d like to add much more, e.g. about intersectionality, because these things really stimulate my imagination, but this comment is already getting far too long.

              In almost all the organized human structures I am aware of, this involves some form of Leadership and Hierarchy.

              Agreed, but this is not an argument that Leadership and/or Hierarchy are necessary. You recently expressed a desire to explore “fresh territory”. Here’s your opportunity.

              I am not even sure what kind of structure I am thinking of; most likely somebody else has already done the hard yakka and given it a nice name or two … In any case, it puzzles me that you seem to think that people would not want to be part of and live in a society with fewer rules and regulations, more self-determination & autonomy (agency), more social awareness and community spirit, less selfishness & greed, etc., in which they have more freedom to express themselves and create.

              • The lost sheep

                I don’t have a problem with your principles, in principle Incognito.
                But I still see nothing to suggest they are realisable.

                Take this for instance….
                It is essential that people agree to disagree, are willing to compromise, cooperate and collaborate, to value & respect others and their views & values. It is not about competing, but sharing, and living together.
                Well yes, throughout Societies they do to some extent.
                But can you seriously imagine any large society of human individuals agreeing and compromising to the extent that no formal structure to ‘coerce’ people to act within certain limitations exists?
                Good on you if you can. But just on the scale of this blog for instance. Take the 5 furthermost LW commenters, The 5 furthermost RW commenters, and 5 Centrists….and put them into a committee to draw up the plan for the new society.
                Do you think there is any chance they could come up with a compromise they would all be happy to co-exist in? I don’t, because I don’t think most people have that level of compromise in them.

                It puzzles me that you seem to think that people would not want to be part of and live in a society with (etc etc)
                As I’ve been saying, my major problem is that no one can tell me how they actually see such a society being structured in order to make all those ideals possible.
                Surely you don’t expect me, or anyone else from The People to agree with and support this vision if it is so vague you can’t even outline how it would actually work?

                Lacking that, I am left highly wary of the vision of a society run by an endless series of ‘participatory’ committees, and I am positive I cannot imagine wanting to live in any such structure. My only experience of such ‘organisation’ was the 3 days I spent at Occupy Dunedin and the 2 days in Aotea Square. Possibly the most painful and frustrating experience of my life. If that’s the kind of structure you mean, then no, I don’t believe such a structure is remotely feasible for human societies, and if anyone tried to impose it I would not agree, as I am sure the majority of the People would also!

                But interested to hear any other ways you see you ideals being made possible?

  6. Richard McGrath 6

    Re the Republican Herbert Hoover, after whom the Hoovervilles were named: he doubled federal spending in real terms in four years, used government to prop up wages, restricted immigration, signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff and raised taxes. He effectively kick started the New Deal. The interventionist policies of Hoover and FDR ensured the Great Depression would last years rather than months.

    • vto 6.1

      as opposed to the non-interventionist policies which caused the Great Depression in the first place

      ffs

      • Richard McGrath 6.1.1

        The main contributor to the Great Depression was the 1920s federal policy of massive credit expansion which fuelled a boom (and malinvestment) in stocks and shares.

    • Jenny 6.2

      “Re the Republican Herbert Hoover, after whom the Hoovervilles were named: he doubled federal spending in real terms in four years, used government to prop up wages, restricted immigration, signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff and raised taxes.” Richard McGrath

      Richard, almost the same thing happened here with State Housing.

      Contrary to popular belief, state housing did not begin under a Labour Government but instead were first built by the Liberal Government.

      But it can be the activists in the nascent Labour Movement, and later, Labour Party, nipping at the Liberal’s heels, that can rightfully take the credit for creating the political pressure, that made this move by the Liberals a matter of political survival.

      Prime Minister Richard Seddon introduced the Workers’ Dwellings Act in 1905 to provide well-built suburban houses for workers who earned less than £156 per annum. He argued that these houses would prevent the decline of living standards in New Zealand and increase the money available to workers without increasing the costs to employers. By breaking private landlords’ control over rental housing, housing costs for everyone would decline. The bill passed by 64 votes to 2, despite criticism over the cost of the scheme, the distance the houses would be from workplaces, particularly ports, and the lack of provision for Māori. Seddon estimated that 5,000 houses would be built under the scheme.

      State Housing – Wikipedia

      An interesting footnote, with echoes of current events; Was when the Liberals proved inadequate to face the challenges of the time, and were replaced by the more conservative Reform Party who immediately began selling off state houses.

      While it still allowed for workers to rent or lease their homes from the Government, applicants who were willing to buy were favoured. The state houses were sold by the Reform Government from 1912 onwards.[18][19]

      State Housing – Wikipedia

  7. weka 7

    Go those people of France!.

    Back in NZ and with winter coming on it’s not so much an option to simply ‘not go home’ after a protest. But there is no reason why a follow-up gathering can’t be broadcast – one where people actually talk to and with one another; where we share ideas and concerns; where we build networks, explore potentials and hatch future for action – a space with no marshals, no ‘steering’ committees and no top down imposition of boundaries by this, that or the other entity.

    I caught snippets of an interview on RNZ this morning, the woman was talking about how working class men were politically potent because they were able to get together in pubs and talk. So much of politics now is missing that social aspect and the availability of rolling conversations that can evolve and move around but essentially take part amongst people who get to know each other and build trust, respect, criticism etc. Instead too often we have exhaustion by committee, or 2 minute activism online.

    Ad talks about getting together for dinner. For others it will be something else. I think these face to face meetings where we reconnect not just as political activists but as people who are in each others lives is important. The irony if having this conversation on ts is not lost on me however, and I wonder if there is a way to develop more networking here.

  8. Ad 8

    Not to get too counter-Habermas on us all, but there’s an argument that the digitally connected activist realm has weakened the left in major parts, as it has also strengthened it in others. Analogue conversation is essential.

    I have a dream that when I get to my fifties I will retire early and form a massive house in Wanaka that can sleep squadloads of people and hold salons that last as long as they want. A Salon, in its old French form. Let’s see if I do it.

    Successful conversation is the first order of business. Not interviewing your keyboard. Actual analogue contests of ideas and the formation of commonality.

    My problem with the French initiative described, which is also my problem with Occupy and Black Lives matter, is that it is leaderless, directionless, perpetually morphing, and as a result always peters out. I’m not always against anarchy, but I oppose formless anomie as a default form of activism. It’s just noise.

    • Incognito 8.1

      I’m not always against anarchy, but I oppose formless anomie as a default form of activism. It’s just noise.

      You could also consider it an “experiment”; there is no rulebook and no road-map, which makes the whole thing so fascinating.

      Not all noise is the same and ‘noise’ plays very important roles in Nature; it often goes by different names.

      • Ad 8.1.1

        Play has a function, but usually in child development.

        Politics is a sport for teams. Not mobs.

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          Don’t try telling the French that, who have some experience with mobs. It’s the people dismissing the mob that don’t see what is coming. I’m not talking about guillotines, I’m suggesting that your belief that Occupy, BLM etc are ineffective stops you from seeing what is being achieved.

          Occupy and other leaderless movements are a response to the structures they are opposing. The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

    • Bill 8.2

      Analogue conversation is essential.

      Absolutely. And where better than at some protest/rally, where those assembled have already established they have something in common? The problem as I see it, is that conversation is shut down by (often) arse-holes on microphones telling the people assembled, stuff that they already (largely) know…it’s a bit like walking into a pub and finding a gazillion inch TV blaring out repeats at top volume….conversation dies.

      My problem with (…) is that it is leaderless, directionless, perpetually morphing, and as a result always peters out.

      Well, another way to look at it would be to see multiple leaders or different leaders…a transitioning leadership at any given moment in time or for any given action. If a traditional leader is appointed or elected or whatever in order to embody ‘the whole’ then they get engaged and compromised by the top/down institutions they are opposing. This as happened time after time after time.It’s a cul-de-sac where the new form comes to mimic the old form and becomes subsumed.

      Directionless or multi-directional? This, again, comes back to concepts of leadership. Let the idea/ideas, rather than an individual personality or committee of over-seers, lead. Then the effectiveness of any given idea/proposal can be measured by the enthusiasm or action it inspires. Nothing wrong with having ’10 things’ happening at once – multiplicity is integral to a functioning society.

      Perpetually morphing or evolving? As long as there is movement/action there is vitality. If the morphing is accompanied by stagnation…such as will be brought on by endless, essentially disempowering meetings involving x hundreds or x thousands of people, listening and responding to a troupe of, even well intentioned, “Mussolinis at the mic”… then sure – atrophy.

  9. geoff 9

    Don’t go to work on Monday.

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