We need more radicals coming here

Written By: - Date published: 7:31 am, August 9th, 2018 - 68 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, labour, Left, socialism, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

There were two successive decades in which radicals came into New Zealand with the intent of focusing latent societal rage into wholesale changes of our democracy and our society.

They started arriving before World War One.

These people were militants and proud of it. They filled halls and declaimed shouting against oppressors, against the Police, against the state, against the Chinese, against the ruling class, and boy did they get noticed. They were smashed up time and again by Police on horseback acting from real concern that their societal order was under threat.

Those radicals became popular and formed the New Zealand Labour Party. They became the Labour Party. They formed the entire union movement. They also, in time, became the government.

Thank God society’s pearl-clutchers of the day didn’t succeed in banning them from venues.

It was from that radical incursion of unwelcome foreigners that New Zealand under Labour had decades of prosperity and stability.

We need more radical voices again here. But it’s like MMP has turned us once again into the passionless people. It always looks like “hate speech” when you hate it.

Back in the late 1970s there was no problem with the left bringing in radical speakers. From that decade was a huge liberative explosion of ideals and protest and experimentation in environmentalism, anti-war and peace efforts, feminism, anti-imperialism, anti-racism, Maori liberation, and more. That foreign-influenced radicalism also formed the Values and then the Green Party.

But radical ideas have to really work to get popular here.

The 1984 bombing of the Wellington Trades Hall killed one person, and no one even bothered to claim responsibility.

Forty years ago we had the National Socialist Party of New Zealand, and it vanished in 1980 with almost no trace.

When the last Right Wing Resistance rally was organised in Wellington in 2013, 40 people turned up.

The best the Communist Party ever did, while waiting to unite the proletariat to violently overthrow the bourgeoisie, was 5,000 votes nationwide in 1961. Their current Facebook site doesn’t even get 200 likes.

We are shit radicals. And we’re fine with that.

At the absolute fringes of our society, we already have hundreds of people who radically act against society for their own ends, and they are dealt with appropriately by the Police. They are gangs. When the state even thought they had something approaching a radical group in the Uruweras a few years ago, the state made such a hash of it they had to spend years apologising.

So why does political extremism have such a hard time in New Zealand?

Some of it is absence of scale: there’s not enough like minds who are that nutty.

Some of it’s just-get-along: everyone’s related to everyone else, and it’s best not to annoy the parents and relatives of the one you have your eye on. Same with getting a job, leaving a job, and finding another: we know everyone so you just can’t piss anyone off.

We’ve lost our empathy for the radicals, because they don’t sound the way we want. Hint: they never do. But we need radicals. Even foreign radicals. Even foreign radicals who charge for tickets. Even foreign radicals who charge for tickets and say stupid things. In 1912 those foreign radicals all sounded stupid to the Waihi miners … to start with.

We have possibly the most have boring and managerial government I’ve ever seen. The idealistic Greens have had so much colour washed out of them, they look like they’re made of gelatin. That’s because there are no radicals to challenge or provoke with tough ideas. We have made ourselves merely managerial with a complacent righteousness. We have almost no local radicals making any dent in public discourse.

We need more foreign radicals speaking in New Zealand.

68 comments on “We need more radicals coming here”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    You think Marama Davidson’s not a radical?

    • corodale 1.1

      It’s got to start from outside the political parties,
      Playcentre has the anarchist institutional structure we’re looking for.

    • adam 1.2

      Marama Davidson is a moderate and you know it Robert. Bloody nora, you’re a wet fish, but at least you proved Ad’s point.

      • Robert Guyton 1.2.1

        “Wet fish”: there are dry fish?
        Could I be one of those instead?
        Marama seemed radical to me when I spoke with her on Saturday.

  2. Gosman 2

    But Marama Davidson wants to reclaim the ‘C word’. Isn’t that radical enough for you?

    😀

  3. Robert Guyton 3

    One second, Gosman!

  4. Carolyn_Nth 4

    I’m all for more radical left speakers and views. And especially on the left.

    But I call bullshit on you slipping in a little Green Party bashing – in doing that, you contradict yourself and ignore many realities.

    When Metiria Turei stood up for beneficiaries, and in a pretty out there way before last election – she got a lot of support from many people including many long ignored on the margins, and ignited “we the beneficiaries”. But many on the left joined in with the corporate media and the right in hounding her out of the House – blaming the Greens for a “strategic blunder”.

    At last Friday’s rally celebrating multiculturalism and protesting against imported racism, Marama Davidson was the only MP to speak out against racism and misogyny of the new right. She did an excellent speech. She talked about how her stand against the Canadian pair has resulted her getting death threats and misogynist and racist trolling on social media.

    And brown women in the Greens get the worst of vitriolic hate speech and trolling. Women on social media get some of the worst misogynist hate bile. And Davidson decided to bring it out from the shadows and stand strong against that hate-mongers. As part of her speech, she decided to dis-empower the word “cunt” – a word school children learn to use in the shadows as the most abusive of words. And it continues to be used left and right in the shadows, carrying the message that women’s anatomy is the worst of sins.

    And as Davidson said, it’s the word for a good thing: a woman’s vagina, and without it none of us would be here.

    I have seen many guys use that word on TS in the past as a term of abuse. And yesterday on Daily Review some were moaning about Davidson’s use of the word in her speech.

    The Greens will never win with many on the left: if they speak cordially and aim for consensus, they get hammered for being weak. If they speak truth to power in a very out there way, whether it’s the bennie bashers, racists or misogynists, some on the left will hammer them.

    • Ad 4.1

      Go right ahead and change the world by calling everyone a c*** then.

      Radical change can come from the weirdest of places.

      • Carolyn_Nth 4.1.1

        Ah, no. I’ll just use the word “cunt” positively for what it literally means.

        I had a friend and colleague in the UK (a radical, working class feminist) who was on a one woman campaign to reclaim the word “cunt” back in the early 80s. She used it for “vagina”.

        Too good a word to waste on men – especially old-guard left wing men operating in mid 20th century paradigms.

        PS: just following your call to speak more radically. We’ll see how that goes down – especially when I do it in a way that you weren’t asking for.

        • Dennis Frank 4.1.1.1

          I thought her rationale for liberating the word from suppression made sense. Haters calling her that apparently triggered her stand, understandable. Still a huge conservative majority out there though, both left & right, so I can see why James is looking rather spooked.

        • marty mars 4.1.1.2

          Good comment Carolyn thank you.

      • Sabine 4.1.2

        and why not Ad?

        Cunts are a good thing. Warm, nurturing, birthing tunnels for the next generation.
        In fact, the whole world, all current 8 billions and those already past where born to one.

        so why is the word then used as a derogatory term that so many seem to fear and loath, and so many use to call a women.

        Same with bitch.

        Why the visceral reaction of those that would have no issue uttering the word under their breath in polite company to call women like Helen Clark, Jacinda Ardern, Marama Davidson or me?

        Cause make no mistake, i have been called both words by men, and they never used it as a compliment.

        So yeah, many times i am a bitch and i am a cunt too.

        • solkta 4.1.2.1

          “Bitch” would seem to me to have some basis as a derogatory term as female dogs will so dominate other females in a pack that the low ranked females stop menstruating.

          “Cunt” is such a short sharp word and great to swear with. It is a shame it doesn’t mean something else.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.3

        Way to miss the point.

        It’s not about using it to abuse people but to use it appropriately when talking about a female’s genitalia:

        But when he dared to talk about it, he discovered that female friends were already embracing the positive power of cunt. Writer Katrin Redfern, who co-hosted the c-word episode with him, had already thought a lot about this topic, for example. Redfern read Inga Muscio’s 1998 book Cunt: A Declaration of Independence and it changed her life. She came to understand that the word is only an insult if you think strong women with sexual desire are a bad thing.

        Why do you think that strong women with sexual desire are a bad thing?

      • greywarshark 4.1.4

        Trouble with the trigger words they divert attention from the less overtly sexual things that really bother me all the time, ongoing and apparently structural. How to break into the dialogue as it passes by. From the pavement you might look up and say – Can I have a word for me when you have finished having your
        hot time sorting out the current talking point.

      • Robert Guyton 4.1.5

        Who’s calling everyone that, Ad?
        Are you just frothing your milk?

    • Gosman 4.2

      Somebody could well have stood up for beneficiaries and done so effevtively. That person was not Metiria Turei, at least not by using her own personal experiences.

      • solkta 4.2.1

        So do tell, who and how?

        • Robert Guyton 4.2.1.1

          “Somebody”.
          Prolly Soimon. Or Paula. Or somebody. Not Metiria. ‘Cause. Green. Maori. Woman. Radical.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2

        How could anybody do that without referencing experience? How could she point it out that the only reason why she was where she was then was because she had to break the law earlier because the law was not feeding her children?

        Why do you demand that people who do what they need to to feed and look after their children should hide that? Is the truth of the ruin that your preferred policies brings about too hard for you to bear?

        • Gosman 4.2.2.1

          No, her ex-partner’s family was feeding her child.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2.1.1

            So you admit that the law wasn’t and that she had to do under the table stuff to ensure her children were fed and cared for?

            • Gosman 4.2.2.1.1.1

              Ummm… having her ex-partner’s family providing support for their son’s child is not under the table stuff. She tried to imply she received little support from them. That was not true.

              • Stuart Munro

                Which would be because the Winz regime would try to divert that support away from her child and into their coffers – an inversion of the social support function for which they were created.

  5. marty mars 5

    Lol we have radicals mate they just don’t go to your wine bar.

  6. Doogs 6

    You are right Advantage, but I must agree with Carolyn on your jibe at the Greens. It is unfortunate that while in coalition they have watered down their message in some important areas. But that is so also true for NZF and labour. This both a positive and a negative of MMP coalitions.

    As to the free speech aspect of the right to propound views of whatever colour – it’s complex. Just look at it in its purest form.

    Freedom to spread your message should in fact be absolute. Whatever your view, whatever your take, whatever your bias should be you need to have the right to express that wherever and in whatever form you like.

    But hang on, what if this stirs up racial hatred? Can you still speak your piece then?

    Of course, because you have the freedom to do that.

    But hang on, what about hitting on gays and transsexuals and others like that? Is it OK to stir up crowds against them?

    Of course, because you have the freedom to do that.

    But hang on, how about ranting on immigrants, surely that’s OK because they’re not us, are they? They don’t belong here to take jobs away from NZers?

    Of course, because you have the freedom to do that.

    But hang on, what about these dole bludgers who don’t want a job and are sucking on the public teat? They’re just lazy aren’t they? Can’t we shout out about them?

    Of course, because you have the freedom to do that.

    So you see what happens . . .

    It is complex. It requires an analytical and thoughtful approach. Southern and Molyneux were dangerous. Don Brash is past it. The last whimpering vestige of old man bias. He is only a damp squib now.

    I don’t have a set of criteria, a yardstick to measure the dangerousness or otherwise of people with alternative views. However, the values and mores of a fair and just society dictate at least some of yardsticks we should use. Radicals who stir up thinking about injustices we need more of. The others can go to hell.

    • RedLogix 6.1

      Marvellous how readily the left will shit on anyone just because they’re male, white and older than they are. The lack of self awareness is not only sad, but invites the right to play exactly the same identity politics game in response.

      Only we’re socially progressive heroes when we do it, they’re hate talking Nazis when they do it.

  7. “The best the Communist Party ever did, while waiting to unite the proletariat to violently overthrow the bourgeoisie, was 5,000 votes nationwide in 1961. ”

    Far from the truth. The CP enjoyed wide popularity in the thirties and forties, and got respectable results in local body campaigning, with Johnny Mitchell and George Jackson getting 6500 and 7000 votes in the Auckland city council elections in 1944. Two party members were also elected to one of the Auckland councils (Onehunga?) in the thirties as part of a united front campaign with Labour. Later on, Bill Andersen also got 7000 votes standing for Ak council in the early sixties.

    The CP chose not to run full campaigns in general elections, often only standing a handful of candidates in selected seats, so a ‘nationwide’ result of 6000 in a first past the post general election is nothing to be ashamed of.

    Bear in mind, the leaders of the CP were regularly fired from jobs, harrassed and imprisoned (in the mid thirties the entire central committee were jailed for writing about Marx) and the popular leader of the party in the 40’s, Gordon Watson, died in dubious circumstances in the latter days of WW2.

    While a certain amount of ignorance about historic matters is understandable, to write off the efforts of thousands of genuine kiwi radicals who have fought for their pro worker beliefs is kinda sad. Votes for women and Maori, decriminalising homosexuality, going nuclear free and opposing racism, fascism and bigotry are all hallmarks of successful radicals doing often initially unpopular work.

    Anyhoo, here’s an interview with one of the finest radicals I ever met, Tom Spiller:

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/spanishcivilwar/20111103

    • marty mars 8.1

      Thanks trp – good comment.

    • gsays 8.2

      Thanks TRP, for that wee synopsis.

      Sometimes when I am feeling optimistic, I dream of an organisation like the wobblies re-emerging.

      Unfortunately as neo liberal politics has been around for three decades now, it’s tentacles have found their way into how we view and treat each other in society.
      By that I mean, ‘blow the bridge, I am over’.
      We struggle to come together and stick together. Witness the recent industrial action by nurses. The union recommended the same offer rejigged 4 times.
      Signing the accord during negotiations seemed dodge too.
      Where was the planned next strike?

      Anyhow, rant over.
      Thanks again for the potted history.

  8. corodale 9

    RBNZ is the obvious location for Welz,
    And the private banks, the big four, Ozzie-state/Rothschild.
    Work the anti-Australian govt sentiment,
    Go visual on their crimes against refugees and immigrants,…
    And time it will some dodgy sport from the Wallabies.
    Educational attack on global QE stealing our houses, while our RBNZ does nothing!
    And blame austerity and climate change directly against the banks, with un-swaying one-eyed conviction.

    That’s the best I got, team. Keen on revolution, but not available till mid November. To that Westpac bank manager who spat “fuck-off you deluded-communist” at me outside GreenDrinks that evening… Time for your customers learnt about your crimes against humanity!

  9. Bill 10

    Nice article here on foreign and domestic radicals… (some pertinent snippets)

    In just a few fiery years the left wing of New Zealand’s labor movement had been reshaped from a timid collection of mainly craft unions working within the state-run arbitration system to a powerful federation of openly radical industrial unions winning their own terms of employment and confidently propagating a worker-run future for the country. The Wobblies were at the hard edge of this movement…

    Slowly, from about 1920, the remnants of New Zealand’s Wobblies began to reassert themselves. A One Big Union (OBU) Council, opposed to the parliamentary ambitions of the newly formed New Zealand Labour Party,…

    …however, the OBU did not long survive the formation in 1921 of the New Zealand Communist Party, which assumed the leadership of the extreme left and opposed syndicalist views almost as strongly as the Labour Party

    Seems some things never change.

    Today, we have a Labour Party looking to reintroduce an arbitration system and people thinking it’s a “good thing”. And a few on the left are, not just disenchanted with the parliamentary ambitions of the Labour Party, but basically opposed to the entire notion of politics via parliament, and authoritarianism. But I digress…

    Read the piece. It’s well written and informative.

    • greywarshark 10.1

      Well what a bunch of twerps those radical unions were. Constant efforts to screw employers and deny services to the ordinary people who were less ordinary than their union copatriots, such as on the ferries, or stopping work on a major government building like the boilermakers, for three years. Worker-run, they would just end up as fractious between each other and angling for executive jobs as those in private industry. and let’s not foget, nepotistic – the wharfies,

      I believe in the need for unions, but also the need for their top functionaries to keep humble, and as they try to know more about business systems and profit-making, that they don’t get captured by the business class although they understand their thinking and problems.

      One thing we now know if we are interested in learning (as some seem allergic to) is the effect of higher wages on worker community if not solidarity, and bracket creep not only in money but also in class consciousness with often a drop in belief in respect for all people.

      • adam 10.1.1

        greywarshark did you miss the whole anti authoritarian statement in what bill said, if you run with one of those models then there is not going to be an “top functionaries”.

        This is one of the problems we face, whole generations of people who can’t think outside the limits imposed by liberalism.

        • greywarshark 10.1.1.1

          I notice with every system there are problems and assumptions that have to be identified. adam. That is my karma.

          I am uncomfortable with recipes offered too confidently. This did it –
          to a powerful federation of openly radical industrial unions winning their own terms of employment and confidently propagating a worker-run future for the country.

    • “Today, we have a Labour Party looking to reintroduce an arbitration system and people thinking it’s a “good thing”.”

      Not actually happening and no real relation at all to NZ’s historic IC&A Act, which was progressive for the time, but effectively eliminated strikes.

      The actual proposal is for something close to the current Aussie system where all workers in an industry can be lifted to reasonable minimum standards, and unionised work sites can bargain (and strike) for more.

      • adam 10.2.1

        And looking in the mirror and saying Biggie Smalls 10 times – well it will be a bit like labours reintroduction of an arbitration system. Utterly pointless and quite destructive in the long term.

        But sure, hand power to faceless bureaucrats in the trade union movement, not like they sold working people down the river before – why does Mark Gosche comes to mind. Mmmmm

      • Bill 10.2.2

        I get the attempt to lift minimum conditions across sectors, and that’s why I conditionally support it. Also pretty sure that strike action is prohibited in relation to those negotiations – or at least Jacinda Ardern gave some “assurance” on that front.

        But given that I’m not being overly attentive to domestic NZ politics, there may have been developments on the prohibition of strike action that I missed.

        Any useful link or info on that front?

        • te reo putake 10.2.2.1

          There’s no change at all to the law around strike action, Bill. What will change, assuming it gets through Parliament*, is the Fair Pay provisions. They’re intended to get agreed common standards in an industry so rat bag employers can’t undermine worker’s rights and, as often happens, undercut their competition.

          https://www.labour.org.nz/workplacerelations

          Fair Pay Agreements would set minimum conditions such as wages, allowances, weekend and night rates, hours of work and leave arrangements for workers across an industry. Tied with the strengthening of collective bargaining rights, and the lifting of the adult minimum pay rate, this should tip the employment playing back toward level. Maybe not far enough, I guess, but definitely in the right direction.

          The Aussie experience suggests the model works well, with unionised workers still getting the best of both worlds, where they can, and despite the anti-union coalition government:

          http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-22/enterprise-bargaining-collapse-behind-wage-weakness/9348070

          And one of the weird thing about the Australian awards is that they are catching up with union negotiated agreements at the low end of the pay scale:

          https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/domino-s-abandons-enterprise-agreement-with-shoppies-union-20180326-p4z69v.html

          In simple terms, Fair Pay agreements will deliver for tens of thousands of kiwi workers who have no individual ability to improve their own wages and conditions. That’s pretty cool.

          *Talleys, who hate workers rights, own a couple of NZ First MP’s, so it might be a struggle getting the numbers.

          • Bill 10.2.2.1.1

            There’s no change at all to the law around strike action, Bill.

            I’m missing something then, cause the following looks like change around NZs already ridiculous anti-strike culture –

            The Herald – …under Fair Pay Agreements, action by either side, such as strikes or lockouts, would be banned during negotiations.

            NewtalkZB – Unlike existing collective bargaining, industrial action (strikes and lockouts) will not be permitted in negotiations for a Fair Pay Agreement.

            TVNZ – Unlike existing collective bargaining, industrial action will not be permitted in negotiations for a Fair Pay Agreement.

            That aside, yes, workers have lost an immense amount of power these past 20 to 30 years. That’s why I’d support the Fair Pay stuff, but only in the short term. There needs to be a sunset clause or else all that’s going to happen is that a clique will get cozy, and no worker will be any more empowered than now.

            • Te Reo Putake 10.2.2.1.1.1

              Bill, there’s no change. The right to strike remains exactly as it is now. You need to think about who the fair pay agreements are for, which, primarily is the powerless.

              If you want to extend the right to strike, that’s a different discussion. But from a practical point of view only unionised or similarly organised workforces can strike effectively. Its not an option for most kiwi workers.

              • Bill

                The right to strike has been eliminated from (not included in) the new bargaining environment, and so yes, you might say “the right to strike remains exactly as it is now”. But that’s hardly an accurate take on things.

                I know the workers that Fair Pay Agreements are intended to address. And I agree with you when you say they have been disempowered. And I think it’s right and proper that they get a boost in their pay and conditions, and I don’t really care how that comes about – so the Fair Pay framework has my support on that front. But only short term, because longer term it locks workers into the position of being powerless spectators of the “good and the great” dispensing just rewards (or crumbs) to them.

          • WILD KATIPO 10.2.2.1.2

            Interesting to note that John Howard tried to introduce the counterpart to the Employment Contracts Act 1991 in Australia.

            From memory it was called ‘Work Choices’.

            But the Australian workforce saw what had happened in NZ , and opposed it.

            [ ‘ It also made adjustments to a workforce’s ability to legally go on strike, enabling workers to bargain for conditions without collectivised representation, and significantly restricting trade union activity ].

            If fact , – even the media got in on the act in opposing it, as a consequence, massive rally’s were conducted in all the large centers as well as smaller ones , the campaigning lasted for around 6 months and Howard’s attempts were defeated. In fact,… it was around 6 months later that the Howard govt was voted out , with many attributing that event as a major causative factor.

            WorkChoices – Wikipedia
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WorkChoices

            This is one of the reasons why , – there are now 650,000 NZ’ers calling Australia home because of the ECA ,- and the Australians rejecting its counterpart in their country.

            The Aussies have a tradition of standing up to unfair govt moves, at least when it concerns them. They are far more vocal and less willing to be pushed around. But the rot really set in here when we let the Rogernomes and then Bolgers Finance Minister Ruth Richardson to get away with disenfranchising us.

            It was after that era that we noticeably became the compliant , docile little lambs they wanted us to become.

  10. greywarshark 11

    I forgot about The Passionless People and have been thinking it all out for myself when it has been done before. Having considered ourselves the inventors of the pavlova, we have settled down nicely murmuring ‘Our job is done’!

    But I’ve even got the book by Austin Mitchell? Will dig it out again. Time to put some passionfruit on that pavlova. Thanks for the reminder.

    • halfcrown 11.1

      With respect grey, I think you will find the original ‘Passionless People’ was written in 76 by Gordon McLauchlan. What Austin Mitchell wrote was ‘The Half Gallon Quarter Acre Pavlova Paradise’ both reasonable reads.

      • greywarshark 11.1.1

        Thanks
        I dub you full crown.

        • halfcrown 11.1.1.1

          I hope this is not transferred to Open Mike as being off topic. If it is I apologise to the moderators.
          Thanks, Grey. Wow, my value has gone up from two shillings and sixpence to Five Shillings. (a crown) My wealth has increased by 100%
          May have to change my name to Five Bob
          Talking about books I don’t normally recommend books as we all have our different tastes in literature but as you are an avid reader I thought these may be of interest if you have not already read them. I have just finished reading Conn Iggulden’s ‘Conqueror’ series of novels, all about Genghis Khan and his sons and grandsons including Kublai Khan I found them interesting, lots of snippets of useless info like Kublai Khan started the Yuan Dynasty which is the name of the Chinese currency today.

  11. Dennis Frank 12

    “We have almost no local radicals making any dent in public discourse.” Yeah, but I’ve been trying. Bit late for Shadbolt to come out of retirement. An interview to get his take on the issue would be interesting though.

    William Pember Reeves was described as “a radical New Zealand politician” by the publisher of my reprint of his classic history of Aotearoa (1898). That liberal govt he served as three different ministers in appears to have performed more radical surgery on this country than the first Labour government did. Eliminating the colonial oligarchs was a massive endeavour alone, they made us first in the world to give women the vote plus innovative industrial relations & agrarian reforms.

    Reeves introduced an Undesirable Immigrants Exclusion Bill. Now there’s an idea! His boss commented that if it had been the law when he arrived here, he wouldn’t have been allowed in. Not a goer. They didn’t call him King Dick for nothing.

  12. mauī 13

    No we don’t. We already have Donald Trash and SeeMore “Over exposed” David.

  13. RedLogix 14

    There will always be contentious issues that cannot be indefinitely ignored. There are only two ways to resolve them, talk or violence. Whenever we put constraints on the former, we create a potential default to the latter.

    Not complicated really.

  14. Stuart Munro 15

    Contemporary Left radicalism is often at odds with democracy. Consider the identity politics folk – their object was to drive particular issues in their chosen direction in the absence of public support. They succeeded to some degree, but not without consuming much of the heritage of credibility of the Left.

    It is democracy that lies at the heart of the Left, when any group finds it inexpedient they consume Left support. And democracy is radical – proper representation does not lend itself to tragic compromises with the 1% like the TPP or asset thefts or the OIO or ‘heroic’ poisoning campaigns on the scale of agent orange.

    Contemporary left radicalism does not deserve grass roots support, and thus the pallid Blairite “Left” parties struggle to attract and retain support in spite of the wretched state of the opposition, which has grown weak and bloated from want of actual competition.

    Treasury is a good example of something no democracy need tolerate. Stacked with farcically extreme ideologues by Don Brash, producing predictions with a confidence interval less than chance, its auguries have not advanced us beyond chicken entrail mysticism. It lies athwart the path to every socially responsible or even medium term economically responsible initiative. And its not even on the agenda of the self-styled Left.

  15. tsmithfield 16

    This is the problem with the current state of free speech. When it is radicals from the left, there is widespread support here, which is fair enough. When it is radicals from the right, many are calling for them to be banned.

    This just serves to demonstrate how our own inherent biases can lead us to view radical speech and action very differently so far as its right to be expressed, depending on how it correlates with our own world view. So, it is very easy to defend free speech when it is views we agree with.

    Hence the reason why we should be defending the right for people to say things we consider abhorrent if we truly believe in free speech

    If we all take that approach to free speech then free speech will be in a very healthy state.

    • Dennis Frank 16.1

      Very well reasoned. Political psychology, partisan behaviour, group-think, bias. Lots of commentators seem unable to put it all together to deduce the likely mass effect of stances taken thoughtlessly. Focus ought to be more on whose interests are served by a political stance. Sectarian interests or our common interests?

      • Stuart Munro 16.1.1

        Popper’s paradox – that a tolerant society must be intolerant of intolerance:

        Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

        https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/25998-the-so-called-paradox-of-freedom-is-the-argument-that-freedom

        • Pat 16.1.1.1

          “Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.”

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance
          Key word ‘unlimted’….and theres a very important rider….”I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. ”

          It certainly would be unwise…as it is proving to be.

          • Stuart Munro 16.1.1.1.1

            I’m not sure I agree.

            Brash position is not principled, as other posters have pointed out his suppression of Hager’s reportage. So when he starts blowing the free speech trumpet it’s time to blow raspberries back. Don’t fall into the trap of imagining he has validated anything but his hypocrisy here.

            • Pat 16.1.1.1.1.1

              “Don’t fall into the trap of imagining he has validated anything but his hypocrisy here.”

              What does that even mean?…..if you are going to quote Popper, at least attempt to understand what he has to say.

              • Stuart Munro

                Right over your head I guess.

                And if I spell it out it’s patronizing. It’s a matter of consistent standards, not the unlimited test you propose.

                The Right do not love freedom of speech. Examples like the teapot tapes are a dime a dozen. Brash himself has multiple instances of suppression.

                It is unwise to humour their pretense.

                • Pat

                  it has nothing to do with whether ‘the right’ love freedom of speech or hypocrisy….its about functioning society.

                  If hypocrisy were so damaging everything would have collapsed on about day two….and so far over my head its in orbit

  16. Brilliant article, Ad !

    Glad to see you came through!

    When I was a young worker in the ARA , we had to go to union meetings occasionally, we’d all be sitting there, the older blokes listening, sometimes asking questions of relevance. Me , – I was waiting for the meetings to be over so we could buy hot meat pies when in transit to our next job in the bush ( Waitakeres). A typical early 20-something, at that time I wasn’t politicized. Even after 1984 … it was sporadic. It wasn’t until I got my first computer around 2005 and by then neo liberalism was so entrenched that I had access to really do the research on what had gone on in NZ.

    I was going to suggest yesterday about the protesters opposing the ‘Bill’, – the Employment Contracts Act , – and thought exactly the same about the 1913 Great strike. In the former- those thousands of normal Kiwis who took to the streets protesting the disgusting evil of Ruth Richardson and the (then called ) Business Roundtable , not radicals by nature, – but forced to be demonstrators because of the hideous loss of incomes, wages and conditions by that right wing cabal.

    The latter, – those standing up for fairness in the workplace yet finding themselves intimidated by Massey’s Cossack’s,- again, – just normal workers who had had enough , standing against line upon line of mounted deputized farmers and farm-workers armed with meter long manuka batons who were chaffing at the bit to tear into their fellow New Zealanders with those clubs.

    And in both cases these movements were often led by foreigners who were designated ‘radicals’ by the authority’s at the time. Particularly in the 1913 Great strike ,- those from Ireland, Scotland and England.

    Trade Unionism and fairness / equity for all workers is the main area I am concerned about , – with the environment being a close second.

    And this is what I meant by doing a post about ‘ nice ‘ radicals. These were the people who were the good guys. They had something good and right and proper to offer society. Despite the duplicity and objection of the far right wingers and their Business Roundtable ( now called the NZ Initiative ) backers lobbying and opposition.

    These are the sort of radicals that we need, – either home-bred or foreigners.

    Contrast THAT, – with the divisive, unhealthy , irrelevant and dangerous radicalism of Lauren Southern and her little buddy … a destructive element that could, – if they were allowed to generate such feeling, – have produced nothing but the above negative consequences for NZ. They had NOTHING GOOD to offer at all. Nothing but destruction.

    They are a classic example of the not – very – nice – radical.

    We don’t want them here.

    It is arguing semantics to say one size fits all under the law. It doesn’t. A simple litmus test is to ask oneself, – what is going to be the fruits of this persons message?.. are they going to be for the ultimate betterment of society ? Are people going to be harmed by that betterment? Is the end result a positive and good thing for people? Prosperity , happiness, security ?

    Qualities that Lauren Southern and co were not even remotely interested in. And in our freedom to choose, – our freedom to express what we thought , … they met with a resounding ” We ,… are not amused ” when they came here. Despite the excessive and negative protests of some elements… they got the royal bums rush and rightly so.

    Good job.

    It is just a shame that the public sector unions voted against the private sector unions in opposing the Employment Contracts Act 1991 with a general rolling nationwide strike and instead capitulated to the far right wing Business Roundtable and the stooge of the Mont Pelerin society , Ruth Richardson.

    Perhaps the nice radicals would still have a chance if the two faced public sector union heads hadn’t sold out to the far right wing. I think much is credited to those Benedict Arnold’s in the public sector unions for the state of docility and compliance we see today in NZ.

    Essentially ?- they sold us out for mere trinkets from the far right wing.

    ———————————

    New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
    http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

    Defeat the Bill! The struggle against the Employment Contracts Bill, 1991
    https://iso.org.nz/…/defeat-the-bill-the-struggle-against-the-employment-contracts-bill-…

    1913 General strike – relevant to us in 2013? | Aotearoa Indymedia
    http://www.indymedia.org.nz/articles/635

    The 1913 strike in Auckland – The 1913 Great Strike | NZHistory, New …
    https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/1913-great-strike/auckland

    ——————————————————–

    In memory of Ian Wells.

    Our ARA Trade Union Rep for the Water Headworks sector,
    ( WHISKY )

    A good , decent and witty bloke.

    ——————————————————–

  17. Gabby 18

    I guess we’ve become too used to seeing radicals doing very nicely thank you out of the establishment while those who trusted them, not so nicely.

    • Incognito 18.1

      I have many thoughts on the topic of this Post but no time to write them down 🙁 However, your comment aligns with some of my thinking.

      I think there will always be radically-inclined people among us. However, I believe many are channelled away from politics and socio-political issues into what might be described as entrepreneurial disruptive innovators. In other words, these people focus on their own good first and foremost and less so on the greater good. For this reason they also could be called neoliberal radicals; it’s turned into a business/commercial proposition, perhaps not from the outset but sooner or later they all succumb to the lure of money & fame (‘success’) and with that comes of course the huge ego-boost. Traditional radicals are a dying breed. Maybe more thoughts on this in the weekend …

      • WILD KATIPO 18.1.1

        That may be true in some sectors,… however I believe its all about economics and thus ‘class’. And no I am not a communist.

        There’s a lot of old union folk who have never forgotten what Douglas did to this country. Or his Nat counterparts and the treason they performed like weasels hiding behind the very democracy they sought to undermine.

        Remember the massive protests against the ‘ Bill’ ( ECA 1991 ) that they ignored. Those ongoing protests dwarfed anything before or since. Yet they rammed through their agendas and didn’t give a damn about the voting populaces wishes.

        And most of those old union folks are still poor or died poor.

        I believe if there is fairness in the industrial sector, and equal opportunity’s no matter who you are, – you automatically solve many of the dis-empowerment issues of a minority group. You create a genuine ‘ level playing field’ – unlike the bullshit mockery of a ‘ level playing field that the neo liberals talk about. You create a wealthy prosperous society that can indeed challenge subversive corporate agendas.

        And they know that and they fear it.

        Some may be tempted to sell out, – but that is only after the fact of a neo liberal victory.

        Billy Bragg – Which Side Are You On? – YouTube
        Video for billy bragg whose side are you on you tube▶ 2:35

        • WILD KATIPO 18.1.1.1

          And one me son loves to play… because of the unrepentant fighting spirit it conveys. And because we are Scots/ Irish / English descendants and proud of the fact.

          Kiss My Irish Ass ~ Keltic Cowboys – YouTube

  18. Philj 19

    “We need more foreign radicals speaking in New Zealand”
    We need more alternative voices speaking out in our MSM. We get Hosking, Du Fresne, et al. When did you last hear of any New Zealander called an intellectual? Are there any in NZ? Dumbed down media is another reason for a poorly informed public.

  19. R.P Mcmurphy 20

    are there any left?

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