Archive for the ‘Distractions’ Category

by Phil Duncan

Tonight’s Newshub Reid Research poll contained yet more bad news for the ‘B’ team of the NZ ruling class.  Labour has slipped even further behind National, dropping to just 26.4% support three months out from the 2017 general election.  National, meanwhile, is sitting on 47.4% support.

Labour leader Andrew Little is on 7% support in the preferred prime minister stakes, less than a third of current National Party prime minister Bill English’s score.  Little has also fallen behind NZ First leader Winston Peters (9.7%).  He has, however, managed to overtake his deputy, Jacinda Ardern – but only because her support level fell even more than his!

It looks as if more of Labour’s support has drifted to the Greens (up 1.3 points to 12.5%) and NZ First (up 1.8 points to 9.4%).

Labour is in a real bind because (more…)

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by Daphna Whitmore

The Labour-Greens fiscal responsibility announcement delivered by two guys in grey suits is worthy of a great big yawn. That two capitalist parties have announced they’ll be implementing capitalist policies along similar lines to the current government is just not exciting to the average rational human.

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Grey-suited capitalist politicians

Less fortunate are the people who believe that any moment now Labour Will Turn Left.

Suffers of LWTL syndrome have had a rough ride for decades. Imagine how it is for them, each time Labour announces a policy they go through shock and dismay all over again. This is tough because there is never any closure. (more…)

Tame Iti and mate Jenny Shipley, the Tory prime minister of NZ at the time and a keen advocate of ‘respect for diversity’.

The article below first appeared in issue #14 of revolution magazine, dated Xmas 2000/March 2001.  The introduction to the article stated that it argued “Trendy liberal race relations nostrums are more about social control than emancipation”.  Footnotes have been added for this re-publication. 

by Philip Ferguson

From cultural safety in nursing training to the banning of vegetables from primary school play groups – use of vegetables to make, for example, potato stamps is now regarded as ‘culturally insensitive’ because ‘traditional’ Maori society didn’t use spuds for such frivolous activities – Maori culture appears to be increasingly important and respected.

Virtually everyone from the far left through to much of the National Party (with the exception of the minor-league redneck element typified by the now-retired John Banks)[1] appears to be in favour of cultural diversity and the ‘empowerment of Maori.

Yet, as has been noted in this magazine before, the cultural revival coincides with a worsening of the actual material conditions of the majority of Maori (see, in particular, revolution #7) and the collapse of old forms of collective class organisation.  It is in this situation that some Maori have retreated into idealised versions of the past.  This retreat coincides with an interest on the part of the ruling class in finding new forms through which to mediate conflicting interests and establish social control in the midst of the decay of society itself.

Changing ruling class ideology

The ruling class ideology today is clearly not the one which existed in the decades before 1984 and was reflected in commitment to the welfare state, monoculturalism and the kind of old-fashioned patriotism and nationalism epitomised by powerful right-wing groups like the Returned Servicemen’s Association (RSA).

Today’s ruling class, for instance, actively promotes multiculturalism, liberal pluralism and has no problem with homosexuality and other things that were taboo in the past.  A lot of formal legal inequality has been abolished as it was an obstacle to the needs of a new round of capital accumulation and the new style of managing an increasingly fragmented society.

For someone seen as right-wing economically, such as recent National Party prime minister Jenny Shipley, ‘respect for difference’ is a key principle, as she made clear when (more…)

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by Andrew Welch

Xmas.

Quite revolting really.

We really are well and truly sucked into a quite revolting and alienating dubious tradition.

What is draining is seeing a mall full of people desperately fulfilling the implicit expectations of an officially-dictated happy season when same system doesn’t give the steam off a turd about suffering for the rest of the year.

Our fake traditions are retail or war mongering or sycophantic celebrity worship.  This is all symptomatic of abdicating control elsewhere.

Our culture is sanitised of worthy traditions and drowned in mindless consumerism.

Fake politics and fake democracy wrapped up in Xmas cheer.

The stress and loneliness and awful expectations of a hollow retail existence made even worse by the end of a year with no other certainty for many than a (more…)

imagesby Phil Duncan

Whatever way the Mt Roskill by-election went, Labour was always going to spin it.  Of course, it would have been more interesting – and amusing – to see how they would have spun it had Labour lost.  Since the seat, and its predecessor constituencies, were historically safe Labour seats a loss wasn’t likely.  However, the trend in this seat has been for a steady drift of the party vote to National and while Labour veteran Phil Goff won it in 2014 with an 8,000 majority, the party vote actually went to National by about 2,000.

This time around Labour are crowing that they won by 6,500 and took 67% of the vote, as opposed to 55% of the vote taken by Goff two years ago.  But this is a crock.

The most salient points about the by-election are that the turnout was not simply down, as you might expect in a by-election, but especially dramatically down; that Woods, despite being given a free run by NZ First and the Greens, took about 7,000 fewer votes than Goff did just two years ago; and that, since National had no need to win, most National voters didn’t bother to vote.  There was no sign of any drift of votes from National to Labour.

What explains Woods’ 6,500 majority is that (more…)

Marx explains why the ruling class does not want a President Trump

by Brian Becker

The most powerful capitalist CEOs in the United States oppose the campaign of billionaire Donald Trump. They don’t want him as their president. Most of the corporate-owned media is skewering him. They are launching daily new investigations and revelations to discredit him.

Once in office, the President becomes the CEO of the most powerful capitalist institution in the world. The capitalist state towers over any single corporate entity in terms of influence, authority and raw power.

“No chief executive at the nation’s 100 largest companies had donated to Republican Donald Trump’s presidential campaign through August, a sharp reversal from 2012, when nearly a third of the CEOs of Fortune 100 companies supported GOP nominee Mitt Romney,” wrote the Wall Street Journal on September 23.

There has not been any other example of such unity among the capitalists against a presidential candidate of the Republican Party.

“Some executives who backed Republicans earlier in the election have since shifted allegiances. Roger Crandall, CEO of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance, donated $10,000 to the super PAC backing Mr. Bush last year. Mr. Crandall, who donated $5,000 to Mr. Romney in 2012, gave the maximum $5,400 to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign in July.” (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 23)

Many of the Fortune 100 CEOs supported other (more…)

by Paul Demarty

In these turbulent times, it is fortunate that American politics should provide such a rich seam of light comic relief.

The world hegemon’s presidential primary seasons have become notorious, especially on the Republican side, for their bountiful harvests of side-splitting lunacy. In 2012, things were already starting to veer out of control, as a succession of Tea Party wingnuts led the polls until they were found to be out of their depth, and discarded: they lined themselves up, and the media shot them down. In the end, the victor was the malignant, bloodless vulture capitalist, Mitt Romney, whose chief virtue was being exactly as despised at the end of the campaign as at the beginning, and no more.

That was supposed to be the result this time, with Jeb Bush as the beneficiary. The media took aim and fired – and hit Donald Trump, reckoning on neither his bulletproof ego nor the average red state primary voter’s exasperation with all major forces of the Grand Old Party – establishment and Tea Party alike.

Watching this little picaresque – a stranger-than-fiction yarn worthy of HL Mencken, Joseph Heller and JG Ballard – would have been enjoyable enough on its own, but there was additionally the more serious drama on the other side: the attempt of the social democratic senator, Bernie Sanders – ultimately unsuccessful, but hugely significant – to deny Hillary Clinton the presidential nomination she seems almost to view as her birthright.

The nomination saga has (more…)