Against the wind: a comment on the Wellington Occupation

by Don Franks

Reports flew across Wellington of windows smashed in, roofs ripped off and trees toppled by gusts of up to 140 kph.  Ferry services were cancelled and planes were unable to land at Wellington airport.

As darkness fell, fifteen Civic Square occupiers hunkered down to survive the storm. Many regular occupants chose to stay at home or with friends and family, rather than endure more sleepless anxiety at Occupy Wellington, only to return later to find their tents trashed.

Not being designed for it, many tents were torn down by gale force winds. The larger information tent had to be dismantled before it was destroyed. Four occupants stayed up through the night to ensure the camp was secure, that the rest of the camp was suitably sheltered and that nothing blew away.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean observed hopefully:

“It looks like a few have become significantly tired of the wind. They have taken a bit of a battering, and their numbers are thinning out by the looks of it.”

Occupier Joel Cosgrove agreed that “It’s not easy when you’re sleeping in 140 kmh winds pushing down on your tent. But it’s a struggle to change society and part of that means you have to grit your teeth and tough it out.”

A three hour meeting of Occupy Wellington took place last Wednesday night to discuss the future of the struggle, after which Joel told the Dominion Post:

“Nothing has changed… financial chaos continues to happen. We could well be here at Christmas time.”

What change might have been expected?

That’s not clear.

What’s inescapably clear is the occupiers’ expectation of their camp having a profound social impact.

The editorial of Occupy Wellington’s newsletter resonates with supreme self importance:

“We are taking on the entire might of the corporate power structure and its servants in the government and the state apparatus. While they have money and guns, we have koha and aroha.”

How will this titanic stand-off be resolved?

A leading Occupier of Wellington, Christchurch and currently Dunedin, Daniel Strype  is promoting an article by Charles Eisenstein from the Reality Sandwich site http://www.realitysandwich.com/

Daniel describes this article as “An excellent summary of what is driving many of those who are participating in the Occupy Together movement”.

The core of Eisenstein’s argument runs:

“No demand is big enough. We could make lists of demands for new public policies: tax the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, protect the environment, end the wars, regulate the banks. While we know these are positive steps, they aren’t quite what motivated people to occupy Wall Street. What needs attention is something deeper: the power structures, ideologies, and institutions that prevented these steps from being taken years ago; indeed, that made these steps even necessary. Our leaders are beholden to impersonal forces, such as that of money, that compel them to do what no sane human being would choose. Disconnected from the actual effects of their policies, they live in a world of insincerity and pretense. It is time to bring a countervailing force to bear, and not just a force but a call. Our message is, “Stop pretending. You know what to do. Start doing it.”

These words make several extraordinary claims.

First, reforms are “positive” but not enough. Not even rather substantial global reforms like “protect the environment, end the wars.”

Secondly, “our leaders” are in the thrall of “impersonal forces”, one of which is “money”. One effect of being beholden to such forces is to destroy the sanity of our leaders.

Finally, this entire unfortunate situation can be turned around, not by any application of social force, but by a call – “Stop pretending. You know what to do. Start doing it.”

Eisenstein’s call recalls to me the utterance of a weary fourth form English teacher whose bored class is deliberately murdering pronunciation of “The Daffodils”:

“Stop pretending. You know what to do. Start doing it.”

Eisenstein’s ideological package is the self-righteous politics of teenage petulance – “ You made the mess, you sort it out”.

This comes garnished with a touch of half-remembered Sunday school injunctions about money and satanic forces.

Christians may believe the love of money to be the root of all evil, but they are wrong. Money is merely a man-made means of commodity exchange which only adversely affects the sanity of those suffering insufficient amounts of it.

What the other “impersonal forces” are, God only knows; perhaps they are his opponent the Prince of Darkness? That would at least be consistent with the tone of Eisenstein’s line of thought.

Charles Eisenstein represents the nutty aspect of the American Occupation movement and it is not fair to label the whole movement with his weird words.

The positive aspect of the movement in the United States is a courageous challenge to the power of financial institutions, complaints about their gross abuses and demands that something be done. This outcry at some manifestations of capitalism is confused in many respects, but it is energetic and sufficiently directed at the target to receive brutal police bashings on behalf of the haves.

Occupy Wellington does not represent such a challenge and relations with the police have thus far been cordial. This is largely because the Wellington “occupation” is not an occupation in the usually-accepted sense of the word. A political occupation means squatting on disputed territory, such as the 1977-78 Maori land rights occupation of Bastion Point’s prime real estate. In that case the police force was deployed in overwhelming numbers.

By contrast the Wellington occupation is in a small space which disturbs nothing and enjoys friendly relations with the Mayor.

Occupy Wellington does not deserve nuttiness as its complete obituary, despite some of its ridiculous statements.

An undeniable component of the action has been a sincere search for social alternatives. As well as toying with anti-fluoridisation of water and tax reform campaigns the Wellington Occupation offered active solidarity with the locked out Marton meat workers.

Such union support activity could have taken place without any contrived shadow boxing with impersonal forces.

Or the weather.

New Zealand Occupations have all taken place on relatively undisputed ground; their central and consistent opponent has not been the state forces but nature. The struggle has been with the climate, not the climate changers.

If the New Zealand Occupy movement represented any serious social weight this would have been somehow manifested during the recent general election. As it was, the tent groupings were utterly irrelevant to those proceedings.

Occupy Wellington’s own newsletter indicates the reason for that irrelevance:
“Let’s get something straight: this movement has issued no demands. It is not a protest. It’s an occupation. Rebellions don’t have demands”.

The “no demands” mantra reminds me of the revisionist Socialist Unity party, who tightly controlled much of the New Zealand union movement in the 1970’s. The Socialist Unity party always tried hard to deflect specific demands, for example, favouring of “organizing around the question of wages”, rather than going for a specific percentage. Specific demands mean winning and losing and leave no political place to hide. In a word, they mean accountability.

Indian novelist and activist Arundhati Roy commented on the American movement: “… I think that turning the word ‘occupation’ on its head would be a good thing, though I would say that it needs a little more work. We ought to say, ‘Occupy Wall Street, not Iraq,’ ‘Occupy Wall Street, not Afghanistan’, ‘Occupy Wall Street, not Palestine’. The two need to be put together. Otherwise people might not read the signs.”

Where occupiers see their own reflections, Arundhati Roy sees contradictions and the necessity for concrete demands.

At a time of extremely low class struggle it’s not surprising that attempts at activism sometimes take some strange and very artificial forms.

21 comments

  1. I think that Occupy Wellington is what happens when you take an existing movement that is specific to certain material conditions (i.e the US) and attempt to recreate that same movement within a different location. If there is going to be a movement that kickstarts any real change in Aotearoa, it will need to evolve from our own conditions.

    While I agree that demands mean accountability, I think that the Occupy movement is in many cases simply not ready to make these demands. I like the idea of Occupy being a ‘process rather than an event’ as from my experience, it sums up not just the politics of the movement itself, but links in with the general political consciousness of, at least, my own generation. People don’t even know what a union is – how can they be expected to understand the nature of capitalism, let alone be in a position to come up with a 12 point plan for social revolution? I guess what I’m saying, is that all your observations here are made sense by the current conditions.

    I personally think the more interesting question is, if the political consciousness is so low, what is the role of communists within this movement? Is it remaining on the sidelines and waiting until the majority reach a fully formed point of Marxist perfection? Or is it engaging with those who are willing to accept that there is something fundamentally flawed with the current system, and raising the political level with the most advanced? Thoughts?

    • “I think that Occupy Wellington is what happens when you take an existing movement that is specific to certain material conditions (i.e the US) and attempt to recreate that same movement within a different location.”

      Yes. The Occupy movement was just the last and not the silliest in a long line of awkward copies. I can recall when some of us used to habitually wear Chairman Mao badges as big as dinner dishes in the hope of revving up the struggle.

      If there is going to be a movement that kick” if the political consciousness is so low, what is the role of communists within this movement?”

      I think that is the central question Kassie.

      From where I stand I’d take off the last three words of the question. As I’ve acknowleged in every observation i’ve made about the Occupy events, I believe there is a sincere desire among participants to make the world a better place. We are all in the process of thinking and discussing what might be the best way to do that.
      I respect the intentions of the occupiers, but I don’t share their approach.

      With all due respect, I don’t consider the local occupy efforts to be a movement. There are various copies of the forms of the US occupy actions, such as the 1% and the human microphone.
      What I don’t see or feel is the necessity for the present camp outs for the furtherance of any struggle arising from any of the many sharp grievances suffered by working class people here in Wellington.

      To your question: ” Is it remaining on the sidelines and waiting until the majority reach a fully formed point of Marxist perfection?” I would say no, of course not.
      I have been asked that question many times in my life. Usually when I’ve criticised a reformist action and put forward a case for revolution.
      Anyone who knows me knows that the sidelines is not where I am to be found.
      My life has been spent taking sides marching and standing beside fellow workers on many issues, for many years, often when there has been only a very little bit of political agreement.

      With respect to your question : “Is it engaging with those who are willing to accept that there is something fundamentally flawed with the current system, and raising the political level with the most advanced?”

      In theory, yes of course. How that is effectively done in practical terms is a very big question. Too big for a pat email answer. So in conclusion, I respect what the Wellington WP branch is trying to do at Occupy Wellington, but I disagree with your strategy and tactics. If you would like to have an exchange of ideas about any of this please give me a call.

      in solidarity.

      Don

    • Kassie wrote: “I personally think the more interesting question is, if the political consciousness is so low, what is the role of communists within this movement? Is it remaining on the sidelines and waiting until the majority reach a fully formed point of Marxist perfection? Or is it engaging with those who are willing to accept that there is something fundamentally flawed with the current system, and raising the political level with the most advanced? Thoughts?”

      Sometimes remaining on the sidelines is the best policy. If something is really pretty crap, why engage with it, let alone get actively involved in promoting it? Indeed, if something is really, really crap it’s actually better to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

      One of the problems with the stances increasingly taken by whatever remains of the Workers Party is this drift into the swamp left notion that if something moves it has to be engaged with. To the degree that WP had any success, such as growing while the rest of the far left stagnated, it was in part due to rejecting the approach of engaging with anything and everything and talking it up as some important new development. Part of the problem with the rest of the far left was the tendency to do this again and again and never learn anything from it.

      The result was that the left ran round and round in ever-decreasing circles.

      Now whatever remains of the Workers Party has decided to adopt this utterly failed approach itself.

      There is also an iron logic to this – if you don’t recognise the limits imposed on serious political activity by pretty horrendous objective conditions, and you keep trying to build a party-type organisation as if nothing much has really changed, you continually have to lower your horizons and standards in order to attract the only people who can be attracted in such times – people with low horizons and low standards themselves. This is what has happened with WP’s “engagement” with the faux-Occupation stuff. Far from challenging the crap peddled by the faux occupiers, WP has talked up the camp-ins and adopted the postmodern rhetoric of the campers.

      Frankly, it’s a pretty sorry spectacle – in fact, to be blunt, it is absolutely pathetic – to have supposed communists refer to these things as if they actually were occupations and as if they raised any fundamental questions about the system, let alone challenged it. Whatever subjective desires some of the faux occupiers may harbour about a better world, this is essentially camping activity for the slacker generation. Lazy politics for lazy blank generation types.

      To anyone who knows anything about real political movements and real occupations, even the use of the word ‘occupation’ to describe the camping out (or not camping out, since people who camp out provide for themselves rather than expecting others to subsidise their camping out) is an insult.

      Phil

  2. I don’t think Occupy in NZ can be called a movement, not by any stretch.
    The problem here is that the working class is disengaged and the brightest of the under 25s are not moving leftwards. Take the Student Volunteer Army that mobilized after the Christchurch earthquakes – it was led by a young Nat, yet it was just the sort of thing you’d expect of the radical left youth.
    It’s good that Occupy has an international scope, but there’s nothing to be gained in pretending the empty tents in public spaces in NZ cities are a new form of advanced struggle that have to be engaged with.
    Daphna

  3. While I agree with the Arundhati Roy quote, posting on its own in the context of the rest of this post seems like cherry-picking. She began that speech stating

    “What you have achieved since 17 September, when the Occupy movement began in the United States, is to introduce a new imagination, a new political language into the heart of empire. You have reintroduced the right to dream into a system that tried to turn everybody into zombies mesmerised into equating mindless consumerism with happiness and fulfilment.

    As a writer, let me tell you, this is an immense achievement. I cannot thank you enough.”

    nShe seems very supportive of the movement. I do hope the occupiers take her advice on board.

  4. My son, Adam, is at the Wellington Occupy site. He toughed it out on the night of the big wind – hanging on to the “glass house” tent in gale force winds to stop it blowing out to the harbour. I am very proud of what he is doing – making a stand, that he can look back on later and hold on to. I am alos pleased when he comes home for some R and R and a decent shower! I may worry about him at times, but am glad that he is standing for something more that just getting on the hamster-wheel.

  5. I’d like to ask anyone involved in occupy Wellington, if it’s true that they are receiving food from charities that is meant for families who can’t afford to feed themselves. If this is true, it is really disgraceful and makes me think rather less of you than I did before.

    • As far as I am aware, at least until the start of December (when I was actively involved on site), Occupy Wellington hasn’t sought or received food from any charity set up to feed the poor/homeless. I know that local businesses and cafes have provided food at times.
      I agree with you on the inappropriateness of taking that food in that situation. But I would also say that there were a large number of people with mental helath issues and those who were having difficulty finding shelter.

  6. Here is a post on Occupy Otautahi facebook page:

    “We currently have some great conversations happening and this morning we had the kind assistance of The Christchurch City Mission is sorting out our food supply problems for the foreseeable future. We thank them greatly for this.

    Also the Salvation Army outreach van now makes us there last stop each night they go out for late night coffees and nibbles. We would also like to thank them very much for this great support.

    As usual the community spirit and support of the people of Christchurch is beyond question and beyond compare.”

    So not only are they receiving help from the City Mission and the Salvation Army, but they see no problem with it, in fact they post about it on Facebook like its an acheivement.

    I am disgusted that food and supplies are going to the occupiers who CHOOSE to live in tents in Hagley park, when there are so many families in desperate need without the power to CHOOSE to need help……Unbeleivable. And disgusting.

  7. In response to MW, in my experience (and according to stats on OWS, no data on NZ) a significant bulk of the people staying at Occupy camps are “in desperate need.” Someone’s referred to Occupy Auckland as Hooverville. Middle-class activists tend to help out but not necessarily stay long-term.

    Wrt Don’t comments, I’m not sure he’s even aware of what our strategy and tactics are, there’s an iceberg that doesn’t go on the blog. Will catch up in person.

  8. Catch up in person is all good anytime Ian, but please, give me some credit for being able to suss stuff out from the abundant information to hand. Icebergs may be bigger on the bottom, but their tops and bottoms are always all ice.

  9. As an illustration of what I mean, below is an email invitation I just got from Occupy Wellington.
    I really don’t see the point of this cheerleading for United Nations window dressing.

    ” On Saturday we are celebrating Universal Human Rights day
    An Occupy Global Day of Action for Universal Human Rights Day. Please come join us for a day of action to unite in solidarity with all people both globally and in Aotearoa, who are struggling for Justice, Freedom and Equality.

    We are global citizens and it is important we recognise that our actions here can perpetuate the abuse of human rights for people on the other side of the world or demand their end!
    Here, and all over the world atrocious abuses of human rights are being committed. Living in an era of poverty, war, terror, environmental destruction and shocking wealth inequalities we face a long road to create a world that looks after our planet and all its inhabitants.
    Lets celebrate our faith that humanity IS capable of creating such a world!
    We will begin with speeches in Civic Square then parade around the city spreading our message. Bring your voice, bring your heart, bring an instrument and dress up!!

    Lets celebrate our faith that humanity is capable of living together in harmony, of caring and respecting each other and creating a world which looks after all beings.

    There shall be Balloons, bubbles, music & sparkly stuff! It’s not just a protest! It’s a parade”

  10. A major chunk of (mostly new) activists, including WP comrades, have decided that the campsite itself is no longer upholding Occupy kaupapa, and is taking up more energy than it’s worth – battling the weather etc.

    We’ll be refocusing on setting up a resource centre as home base, and getting involved in struggles such as Occupy Pomare and further lockout support.

    This is partly what I meant by the iceberg, as from your post it would appear we simply fetishise camping.

  11. Mike Walker wrote: “I am disgusted that food and supplies are going to the occupiers who CHOOSE to live in tents in Hagley park, when there are so many families in desperate need without the power to CHOOSE to need help……Unbeleivable. And disgusting.”

    Ian Anderson replied, “a significant bulk of the people staying at Occupy camps are ‘in desperate need’.”

    Ian, you seem to have completely missed Mike’s point that City Mission and Salvation Army social services are for people who do not choose to be in need. For people purporting to be left-wing activists and then choosing to camp out and take charity from hard-pressed outfits like City Mission and The Salvation Army is disgraceful. It’s pure, unmitigated parasitism. And it’s a rather sad comment on many young ‘radicals’ that they see nothing at all wrong with this.

    This is not the sort of approach that will inspire anyone to fight to change the world.

    It also makes an absolute mockery of the ridiculous claims made in things like Occupied Dominion Post, which is of course not occupying the DominionPost, that this is the new wave of protest and some sort of big advance on the old left.

    What we have is Occupy Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch etc that are not actually occupying anything. They are classic examples of the working of the process Marcuse called ‘repressive tolerance’ where the left is allowed a little safe area of space to put on a show, while the operations of the system continue unimpeded.

    Once upon a time something that had Occupy in the title meant *actually occupy*, not some postmodern nonsense where you can construct an occupation at the level of discourse without really doing it. Thus we had things like the occupation which stopped the match in Hamilton during the 1981 Springbok tour, we had the occupation of Sproul Hall which started the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, we had the occupations of diners and public amenities across the south which led to desegregation. Unfortunately, what we have with this Occupy (but don’t really Occupy) non-movement is a very sad caricature of actual historic movements.

    Recognising that might be a good place to start in figuring out where to go next and what pitfalls to avoid. However, recognising why the Occupy stuff in this country is what it is – dire, to say the least – would also require recognising the objective conditions rather than simply trying to escape from them with less and less convincing forms of ‘protest’, protest that is not really protest in any meaningful sense but which is continually exaggerated as the next big thing, building caricature upon caricature of real social movements and protest.

    Philip Ferguson

    • //It also makes an absolute mockery of the ridiculous claims made in things like Occupied Dominion Post, which is of course not occupying the DominionPost, that this is the new wave of protest and some sort of big advance on the old left.//

      Niether is the Occupied Wall Street Journal (which the ODP was inspired by) actually occupying the Wall Street Journal. I don’t see you hassling them.

      //This is not the sort of approach that will inspire anyone to fight to change the world.//

      Occupy with all it’s problems and faults is acutally inspiring more people right now than anything in the last while in New Zealand, it also speaks progressively to a wider layer of people who see something in the world-wide ideological break that Occupy represents.

      //What we have is Occupy Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch etc that are not actually occupying anything. They are classic examples of the working of the process Marcuse called ‘repressive tolerance’ where the left is allowed a little safe area of space to put on a show, while the operations of the system continue unimpeded.//

      I have moved on from engaging in physical occupation, but was there for the majority of the 54 days. If there was nothing being occupied and there was a little space set up to put on a show then why did Otago Council trespass almost immediately and why is the Auckland Council currently in court to clear out the occupiers? The Wellington Council has said they’re not in court because Auckland are doing it for them. At what ever low level this is operating at, there is something here, it does represent something.

      //Recognising that might be a good place to start in figuring out where to go next and what pitfalls to avoid. However, recognising why the Occupy stuff in this country is what it is – dire, to say the least – would also require recognising the objective conditions rather than simply trying to escape from them with less and less convincing forms of ‘protest’, protest that is not really protest in any meaningful sense but which is continually exaggerated as the next big thing, building caricature upon caricature of real social movements and protest.//

      And that is the process going on, a whole layer of people new to anti-capitalist politics, learning difficult lessons as things move on. There is a total lack of radical infrastructure to support these people coming through. It is not goodenoughism at its core. This is a new group of people, new to politics, who can come through and say that capitalism is not going to sort out these problems and the struggles of the locked out meat workers (an issue Occupied Wellington has collected thousands for) and maori women protesting the destruction of their homes in Pomare, Lower Hutt are the key ongoing struggles needing solidarity.
      This has raised serious issues over a prolonged period of time, any analysis of coverage and content would show this. Kasama had a post titled ‘raise the bucket from the ground’ and that is what is needed here, raising the political level from the point it is at, not where we want it to be. If we’re going to sit around detached from what is going on, waiting for whatever passes for the left to raise itself to the appropriate level, it won’t be because of us, it will be because of some other force, that space is the space of groups like the WSWS.
      We need critique, we need analysis, we need to be developing a Marxist praxis, but nogoodenoughism is not the answer, some respect to hundreds of people actively trying to engage in struggle is more constructive than taking Arundhati Roy quotes out of context or finding only negatives and ignoring any positives.

      http://kasamaproject.org/2011/11/08/raise-the-bucket-from-the-ground/

      • Joel, much of this is just fantasy stuff. The vast majority of people in NZ simply ignore the faux-occupations. The one in Christchurch could be the wood folk camping out in a corner of Hagley Park, for instance. Some of us actually know what a real occupation is!

        I don’t doubt the campers are well-intentioned in the sense of having some kind of desire for a nicer world. But most of it is simply not serious left politics of any sort. The fact that even the Wellington WP people have now abandoned the Wellington faux-occupation is pretty good evidence of just how low the standard of politics is.

        What you write about this supposed whole new layer coming through is very reminiscent of what you wrote in the aftermath of the Mana by-election. You claimed then that a whole new layer of young activists had emerged, but you just needed to “let the dust settle” and then youse folks would head back out to Porirua and get them altogether for some campaigning. Never happened, of course. It was fiction.

        Instead of learning anything at all from that, and stopping the hype, you have merely transferred it to the “Occupy” stuff.

        You simply sound more and more like Socialist Worker and that whole failed approach. Latch onto anything that moves, talk it up, expend/waste a load of energy, then it all fizzles and/or turns to custard; learn nothing and repeat the process, usually in ever-diminishing circles. Welcome to the swamp left.

        Phil

  12. //But most of it is simply not serious left politics of any sort. The fact that even the Wellington WP people have now abandoned the Wellington faux-occupation is pretty good evidence of just how low the standard of politics is.//

    Occupy still exists in Wellington. There is a core of 40-60 people (probably closer to 40 right now, but it is Christmas, who have made a collective and conscious decision to end the current phase of Occupy i.e. the physical occupation. It wasn’t a faux-occupation either, you are just making that up, go have a look at the vision statement, go read through the ODP, there serious politics being put forward as well as a serious a protracted attempt to kick us out. Are there gaps? Yes. Can things be done better/clearer? Yes. Is there a continued need to push for greater political clarity? Of course.
    The point Occupy Wellington is at is that the original occupation was an appropriation of an american model, which was correct to draw in attention and involvement of many people inspired by Occupy Wall Street and Tahrir Square. It was tried, tested and strained, hard lessons have been learnt and the politics over time have become clearer and stronger, but the next step is to acclimitise it to New Zealand conditions, ergo current the focus on Pomare and the CMP lockout. If you want to try hard enough to see an artificial and arbitary end, then feel free. You’re going to have to ignore a whole bunch of signs to the opposite, but reality’s easy enough to ignore.

    //What you write about this supposed whole new layer coming through is very reminiscent of what you wrote in the aftermath of the Mana by-election. You claimed then that a whole new layer of young activists had emerged, but you just needed to “let the dust settle” and then youse folks would head back out to Porirua and get them altogether for some campaigning. Never happened, of course. It was fiction.//

    A bunch of people involved in the by-election are involved here. Again the challenge is to build and keep people involved in radical politics. In terms of the work done in Porirua. Yeah, it is upsetting that some really good links were left in Porirua when Matt’s campaign came in and then left without a clear plan. We tried to keep it going, but then you guys left as well, so the focus has had to focus on consolidation within the branch and within Wellington as a whole. but it wasn’t fiction.

    //You simply sound more and more like Socialist Worker and that whole failed approach. Latch onto anything that moves, talk it up, expend/waste a load of energy, then it all fizzles and/or turns to custard; learn nothing and repeat the process, usually in ever-diminishing circles. Welcome to the swamp left.//

    Phil, you are the swamp left. Nothing is good enough, everything is failed and flawed. You’re the one creating the swamp. The framework you outline is not actually what is happening, you just keep repeating it as if the mantra itself will self-fufill. There is hyper-activism within the left and that needs to be challenged, but it is actually your political views which are the swamp, I mean its funny you accuse me of engaging in ever-dminishing circles when the list of writers on Redline is slowly getting smaller, I mean cut Ted Sommerset out right away, there’s another name gone.
    Anyway this is sad. Your line is dogmatic, determinist, you know the answers, it is just a matter of telling everyone else you told them so. You’re arguing to win not to convince, at least you feel you’re right, that is something I guess.
    Your politics are swampish in that you drag people down into your swamp discussion, engaging in personal attacks and petty insults. It doesn’t look good for you and doesn’t look good for me to allow myself to be dragged in, it is bizare that this process feels similar to arguing with Benjamin Easton and I don’t make that point lightly. But I don’t see what’s coming out of this gloom silo.
    We’re organising the first national student radical summer hui in more than a decade with a whole bunch of people radicalised both on campus and at the Occupies around the country. That is a more useful place to discuss the emancipatory potential of Marxism than here.

  13. Joel, I fail to see how one person in Wellington leaving stopped you folk going back out to Porirua. The failure to carry that one through was a product of the fictional nature of the layers that you proclaimed you had found – well,either that or yous were simply incapable of organising yourselves to get the train out there.

    Other fictions at the time included claims that a load of ISO members had been won over in Dunedin and there was to be a strong WP branch established there, there were half a dozen ISOers to attend the 2011 Retreat, etc etc. The WP world is increasingly fiction and spin, just like the swamp left.

    Given the level of vitriol in your post, it’s also rather hypocritical for you to complain about anyone here “engaging in personal attacks and petty insults”. No-one in Redline has “dragged people down into” any discussion. We have made political points about the weakness of the Occupy stuff in NZ and you have chosen to come on here and abuse us for doing so. In fact, your agitated state and generally huffiness would tend to suggest that our analysis is pretty good. You can’t deal with it because reality isn’t how you want it to be and spin it out to be, so you come on here and stamp your feet at us.

    I’m also bemused by your comment about the diminishing number of people writing on Redline, when the Spark site has hardly anyone writing on it apart from stuff by Ian about Occupy. There is no Dec/Jan Spark. The Christchurch branch has basically ceased functioning and it may not be the only one. So the ever-decreasing circles seems to be a fair enough comment.

    I don’t know why you have decided to join the swamp left when the WP was originally built against that whole methodology and had some small successes as a result; since you’ve shifted politically your group has not only sunk into the swamp left at the political and moral level, but also at the numerical level. But, since you are absolutely determined to keep going further into the swamp, that’s your business and good luck with it.

    Phil

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