- Date published:
11:13 am, November 13th, 2021 - 34 comments
Categories: class, class war, covid-19, Economy, health, jacinda ardern, poverty, racism, uncategorized - Tags:
Most of us have been diminished by COVID in 2020-21 so it’s time for everyone to prepare 2022 as an honest accounting of damage to our whole society.
It’s not a global war, it’s not a Global Financial Crisis, it’s this unnameable thing. We will be in 2022 a different kind of New Zealand. All calibrations of class laid bare as we haven’t seen before.
So far the anecdotes give torchlit runways for facts to land, but not the name of the destination itself. 2022 is clearly a more class-ridden New Zealand than we have yet seen.
There will be, as ever, just a few thousand still who argue about where to park their helicopter.
There’s 10% of Herne Bay and Westmere, East Auckland, North Shore, Fendalton, Karori, Wadestown and Queenstown who own about 60% of everything we have.
There are, intersecting with the class above, a solid 16.2% with multiple houses and holiday homes. Cannot wait to get back overseas to opportunity and leisure, just as has been the case for decades and illustrated so well in lifestyle and travel magazines.
There are those with children propped up by wage subsidies (over half of the workforce in 2020 and now decreasing rapidly) and about 350,000 families getting Working For Families subsidies. A struggling 20% or a million.
Those 800,000 of us eking out their remaining years on NZSuper and other pensions in small rooms on $20k a year, shrink back further from human contact into loneliness and isolation.
Then the 40% of New Zealand who don’t have $1,000 in the bank. So many ways to cut this: the “precariat”, working but living in cars, a tax number but no address, stumbling one food parcel to the next, barely making one pay day to the next.
There are the small number of unemployed, and those who don’t want to be and no longer have the will or strength to do more, or discharged from jail and now away from productive society.
There are a band of a few thousand who refused the vaccine, were fired or shunned, and are consigned to the status of outsider. They will until they choose otherwise remain in the thrall of fanatics and cults, turning their back on common facts and retreating deep into the grey economy of cashies and swaps. We don’t yet know their number but they come from all walks of life and wilfully consigned themselves to this poor and stricken marginalia.
They are now added to the great and deep 20% of our poor. We see it easily now.
Inside our lower half, those who got the disease and were damaged.
We could illustrate it further; by deprivation itself, by COVID Delta, by anything you like but it’s a pattern made worse for years and years and it’s the same geography: Far North, East Cape, northern West Coast, King Country.
By Deprivation Index by unemployment in regions.
By Maori and Pasifika ethnicity including the 1 in 142 of all Maori who are in jail and make 50% of those incarcerated.
By suburb and indeed by census meshblock.
By the 20% of our children who are poor and got worse through COVID’s reign.
There was immediate recognition from government that COVID was widening poverty rates here and the government has spent over $50b and rising on keeping us employed and safe.
But our landscape of inequality is more arid, more mountainous, more treacherous than ever before.
There is no fairness to it, no singular national purpose out of it, just management and holding on to what we still have in any diminished form we have.
We can’t seem to get ahead and are losing faith that we ever can.
That fading thing called hope. COVID just made that far, far worse.
This is the 2022 we are heading towards.
Masterful understatements … a significant portion of each and every group have been taught to HATE those in other groups.
Where does the blame rest?
Very good, very well thought out and very depressing. And yet I see many, many hopeful youngsters pressing on with hope , and many having babies in these strange times. The 'perfect storm' seems to be just around the corner in so many areas of our existence and all one can say is "good luck", fully knowing that that won't foot it.
Those with power, privilege and wealth, do not give up one single cent without a fight. Some call themselves liberal or centrist, then turn around and vote down CGT, vote for mass immigration & overseas students to force down wages and force up accommodation, flip real estate to one another and jack up rents. They are not part of the team of 5 million, they are the oppressors & predators among us. Telling us that tax is theft, then taking over half your wages in rent.
Chris Trotter just penned this brilliant class analysis: Behold, the Losing Class.
2022 will get ugly.
Another fine essay Ad. I really do respect your talent at doing these pieces which remind us so clearly why the left exists and what it's mission is. But you know what I'm going to say next – you can see it clearly yourself. How does the left more effectively negotiate to get the movement we all wish for?
Here is one good starting point – hardly anyone is in favour of poverty. There are no cabals of powerful people plotting how to make everyone else miserable. They may well be very focused on creating wealth, but like the rest of us they're totally clueless on the most effective ways to make the best use of it.
My vision is that – despite your legitimate laundry list of ills – humanity as a whole is on track to achieve full modernity by the end of this century. Nine or more billion humans living what we might consider an upper middle class life. It will be different in many details, the future is never just more of the present, but achievable.
I see a pattern here='we don't know how lucky we are'!
'humanity as a whole is on track to achieve full modernity by the end of this century. Nine or more billion humans living what we might consider an upper middle class life.'
Thats when starvation/25,000 dying everyday will finish too,that's right.
Everything is tracking …nicely.
You are one of the luckiest bastards who ever lived.
There are the small number of unemployed.
I wouldn't call almost 200,000 unemployed (or under-employed) a small number. The number of people receiving jobseeker support has increased by 60% since 2017.
Not bad, as far as class analysis goes. I counted 8. Puts you way ahead of Marx who only got 3. The prior French framing (estates general) clocked in at 4 with the emergence of print media. The obvious point to make is that since class identification is merely academic now, the effect on politics threatens to be negligible.
I noticed Hager managed to refrain from deploying the Clintonesque term deplorable in his microanalysis of the rabble. Admirable self-control. He found 6 categories.
Seven being the magic number, I nominate shapeshifters. These are folk who fit into any social niche they choose, chameleon-like, and become fluent in the prevalent discourse therein. You could call it applied postmodernism, but that would create the false impression in the minds of the commentariat that postmodernists are inherently capable of graduating to that level of sophistication.
Adopting the doomster pose doesn't suit you. We know your gung-ho optimism will wear through that facade real fast. As it should! The imminent Covid surge will seem to valid the negativity but that too shall pass…
Very good Ad. What next?
In 2022 we need to get Simon and put him in charge. No, not Simon Bridges, the other Simon:
"Simon, who did not want his last name used, was showing his support for the protest amid heavy rain on the Mountain Rd overbridge across State Highway 1 in Newmarket, Auckland.
“I’m against what Jacinda’s doing,” he said.
“Lockdowns, mandates, traffic lights and the border.”
Simon knows how things should be done.
Simon sounds ready and able to step up and properly manage this irksome "covid" thingy.
The political priority for anyone that regards themselves as Left has to be rolling back the NZ neo liberal State as ensconced in legislation, managerialist and individualist culture, and lightly regulated finance capital.
Now until the 2026 General Election is the time frame to organise for and implement the required strategy if the “children of Roger and Ruth” are ever to have worthwhile lives in this land of plenty.
The ideological half wits of the Labour Caucus (and the other Parliamentary parties when it comes down to it) know no path but cruel monetarism and they will only back down in the face of community organisation and direct action and likely electoral defeat. Don’t think such change impossible–these are times of climate disaster and much chaos as we head for a COVID Christmas. Yes the PM did so well for a few glorious months in 2020 when public health was put before private profit and petit bourgeois whinging–but no more.
A class left focused Govt. could have done this…and a majority MMP Govt could still do it right now…
–All COVID payments and subsidies paid direct to workers via IRD
–Free WiFi and devices for all working class families for the duration to bridge the digital divide that is so obvious
–Fare free public transport and GST of Fruit, Veg and basic grocery items
–Basic Income of several hundred dollars to all citizens via IRD, excess payments recovered by tax system, WINZ/MSD to be retired forthwith
–Rent Freeze and Rent Control
–State House and Apartment mega build
Excellent analysis. Thank you Ad.
I know one of these few thousand. She is educated, middle class and pleasant to chat with in normal times. But she went down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories a long time ago. Her views were tolerated. I haven't seen her since the start of the lockdown, but I know she is part of the anti-vax movement so expect she is also part of the protests.
I came to the conclusion a long time ago (for other reasons) she had the condition known as the Dunning Kruger effect:
This acquaintance of mine chose to home school her daughter because… she believed she could give her child a better education than any teacher. She has no teaching qualifications or indeed any qualifications that would equate with those of trained teachers.
I suspect that many of the anti-vax and anti-mandate protesters fall into this category.
Perhaps the government and health authorities should be approaching psychologists and psychiatrists for advice on how to handle them.
No edit function.
There seem to be so many slight twists among the anti vaccination group. In the North there are fringe dwellers who were anti just about anything from 1080 to 5G before COVID appeared. Some parents of a certain age were unvaccinated but ok thanks to us older ones who were vaccinated against TB, Polio and everything else available, but they will not now get a shot or allow their school age kids to.
I have a staunch green friend with a large totally organic eco property whose family got vaccinated, and he was appalled that all the permaculture community that he has known for almost 35 years on the same rural road refuse to!
I know a woman horse lover, generally leftie Labour voter who has blown a fuse and will not get vaccinated and quotes the internet Bill Gates stuff… it just goes on, and you cannot talk rationally to these people.
They also (somehow) avoid all the world news, and go on about "Jacinda" as if the NZ government was some unique outlier.
Today, for example, Austria and the Netherlands are "taking away our freedoms", with some measures harsher than NZ's. It will be somewhere else tomorrow. But those countries do not exist. Nowhere else exists on Planet Conspiracy, it is a closed world for closed minds.
Not until they or some one close ends up suffering will they change their attitudes.
Like one of my wife's relatives in Brisbane very young child was infected with meningococcal B and lost all 4 limbs .deeply religious they changed from anti to pro and posted pictures of their child widely on Social media.
Social Media is fostering conspiracy theories govts should put more pressure on misinformation being spread by these tax dodging companies profiteering out of misery.
If 2022 is a year in which people are not treated hard and fast – with anti-virals and fluvoxamine (anti inflammatory that can be used before the steroid because those impact the immune system) then a lot will be burdened by long COVID.
And they were going to fix it all but what happened it got a lot worse
First the left have to decide if we are prepared to more radically restrict, regulate and redistribute excessive personal wealth accumulation. So far the Ardern government have taken an incremental approach to this probably for fear of losing necessary support from what remains of the middle class. Given the continued rising amount of poverty and inequality it's not clear an incremental approach is working.
I believe a person ought to have the right to decide without consequences what does or doesn't go into their own body.
I believe a person ought to have the right to decide without consequences what does or doesn't go into their own body.
What does that actually mean in practice?
Ironically, on the same day that the Tamaki Trumpers were ranting at Parliament, the MPs inside passed the fluoride law. This used to get people riled up, but now it's barely even opposed. It is good public health, and also is far wider than a vaccination … everyone drinks water.
The dimwits outside couldn't even grasp that.
I had a quiet chuckle about that too. My Mum is a retired dental nurse and she celebrated that move, it's been a very very long time coming.
But the Eftpostle wouldn't have complained, the money his
victimsflock won't be spending at the dentist will swell the pool of potential tithes
There are always consequences. You just want to shift the burden onto 'anyone else'.
Don't worry about 'anyone else' having to carry my burden, there's only one big enough to bear my burden and I have serious doubts even about that.
Just keep fluffing those mum and dad landlords so that they can have more than one house and their tenants never just one 😉
Don't particularly care about these ones.
A pandemic is a world war scenario. an invisible airborne invader is destroying communities worldwide.
The self proclaimed "freedom" protestors need to grow up and migrate to the USA and vote for donald trump..
We are all free to die. We are not all free to kill other people.
One would hope that there is some kind of plan for 2022, to put NZ on some kind of desirable track. That may be difficult as Covid refuses to get back in the bottle and proliferates through areas that had it eliminated. The global economy is likely to be fragile, and the government response will likely be even more sweeties for exporters – yet another new class of work permit for exploitable unskilled migrants perhaps.
Not much lefting in prospect – housing initiatives, though improving, are still well below required levels, and the pernicious inflation of housing costs has not been and apparently will never be addressed. The inflationary outcomes of Covid relief have further eroded the lousy prospects for workers. Little or no credible environmental action, with offshore carbon investing taking centre stage – we might as well invest in fusion power or crystals.
It will take a masterpiece of communications to present these outcomes as being in any way reelectable – a fall in voter turnout is on the cards.
one place to start would be to pull apart the great lie that socialism is bad.
take back the idea that we are all social creatures (including most particularly the right wing, capital and business)
and that social circumstance must underpin all politics
the vilification of the 'socialist' nature of our very existence reached its zenith when thatcher claimed there is no such thing as society… ha… what's that saying about saying or doing the biggest deceit right in ones face?
Capital has brazenly succeeded in making 'social-ism' a bad thing. Divide and conquer they have.
seen by the fact that those at the bottom congregate today at the flag of their persecutors… trumpism e.g…
take back the social nature of humans
it is all we are
we are nothing but social
the human structure is socialist
I would say that if any proof was needed of the social nature of humans then covd is it. Quite simply, if we weren't social creatures then covd could not spread. Accepting this means that taking care of the most vulnerable is the same as taking care of ourselves in a pandemic world. Ad has arrayed an impressive list of all the vulnerable in NZ. For me, the most frustrating obstacle is the question of affordability. On this front I would say that it's fair to say that until we address our monetary system, not much can change. Our current system is a tool in the service of neoliberalism. We need a system in the service of socialism. It's not hard to do but requires a minister with a clear eyed view of how monetary policy traps or frees social policy. An example of the clear eyed view might be Yanis Varoufikis. A monetary system could be viewed as an energy delivery system. This system is essential to social wellbeing and as such and as a monopoly system is the rightful domain of the govt. Yet we let its operation be run outside govt by an independent Reserve Bank and for private banks to get first use of the money/energy in the system. This first use allows private banks to decide the direction of investment and to drain/leak money/energy to the tune of billions per year. If the govt got first use of the money then they would be able to set the direction of investment as social well being and gain the huge benefits that social well being would return. We could have full health for everyone, free education and a vibrant economy instead of always living with an increasing number of parasites sucking out our life blood.
As per Ad’s request below, (now in a thread moved to Open Mike), please don’t derail the conversation to another covid/vax/whatever debate.
2022 is going to show how stretched the health system is. The people at the front of the queue will be children, emergency workers and the privileged.
When it comes to children and emergency workers I have no issues with them being a priority.
When it comes to the privileged who are they?
The ones with money, the deserving, a parent, an essential worker, a community leader…