Maple Menace

Posted: August 18, 2015 by daphna in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

canadian-flag-flaps-in-the-breezeby Don Franks

Now we know that political agitators complaining about Chinese investment in New Zealand have been chasing the wrong bus. Statistics recently released in the NZ Herald show that from January 2013 to December 2014, the biggest direct foreign investor in New Zealand was Canada on 22%. This was followed by China on 14%, USA 13% and Australia on 11%.

So combined North American investment more than doubles that of China, and it’s those nice quiet guys with the black bears and red-coated mounties with the knife deepest into our sovereignty. 

To a socialist internationalist all bosses are foreign to workers’ interests but at the moment this is very much a minority opinion.  Capitalist politicians know there are votes to be had from calling out overseas interests clouting down on “our country”. Which is why the New Zealand Labour Party waved around their list of Auckland house buyers with Chinese-sounding names.

It’s probably a harder sell to complain about the Maple Menace  than the Yellow Peril, but now the truth is out, Labour will just have to move with the times.

These days Labour need all the help they can get, so to make things easier for them, I’ve researched the ten most common Canadian surnames. With this list in hand, Andrew Little should be well-equipped to distract workers from class struggle by raising fears of the real foreign threat.

Some of the most common Canadian names are nicely distinctive. “Tremblay” is the seventh most popular, “Gagnon” makes number nine. Both of those vaguely French-sounding words should do to spot and hate. Less helpfully, “Wilson” is number ten and “Martin” is four. “Brown” is on five and, um,  “Smith ” runs in right up at number two. “Roy” on six is not very promising either. “Lam” is a little better on number three. There has to be something dodgy about a dynasty that lost or discarded its letter B somewhere down the track. But where Canadian surnames become really interesting is at number eight, with “Lee”. That could possibly be Chinese.

Unlike the name beaming down from position number one , which could hardly be anything else. Not a misprint, it’s “Li” .

Seeing this, Labour might turn round and say, look, they’ve already taken Canada over, let’s not be next, vote for us and we’ll save you.

Meanwhile, out in the real world there’s all sorts of names, but really just two basic kinds of folks.

Rich and us.

  1. Peter says:

    This article does prompt me to think: how do we effectively argue for an internationalist approach to working class unity? The obvious draw toward nationalist rhetoric of ostensibly working-class political movements (not just political parties), the ‘they’re taking our jobs’ mentality, has proven difficult to overcome. Cross-border affiliation of unions seems an obvious step, but would be interested in thoughts on this.

  2. Phil F says:

    I think capitalism is doing part of the job for us. The world economy is becoming more and more interconnected. Even production processes for individual products are getting spread across countries more and more. So the reality is that the working class is becoming global not just in the sense that it exists everywhere, but in the sense that it is more and more interconnected rather than being simply an agglomeration of national working classes.

    Of course, class consciousness and ideology are funny old things; they usually lag behind changes at the objective level.