Buchanan on the left cuddling up to Dotcom

January 21st, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

writes at Kiwipolitico:

Some Left media types jumped at the opportunity to work for Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party … 

Material and personal motivations rather than ideological affinity apparently pushed these people to violate rudimentary conflict of interest and ethical standards.

That is symptomatic of the fact that the political (as opposed to cultural) Left is well and truly dead in New Zealand. The association (supplication?) of these “progressives” with a cowboy capitalist who has zero Marxist inclinations is a travesty if not treason to any working class cause. In one case the class betrayal had a specific dollar amount and a proposed political candidacy attached to it.

Buchanan continues:

Winston First is a personality cult wrapped in nationalist populist rhetoric and Mana is a personality cult posing as an indigenous socialist movement. The Alliance is dead. Social Credit is no more.

What passes for an armed Left is no more than a bunch of bumbling fantasists who make Kyle Chapman look like a strategic genius.

Harsh, but true.

I use them to make the point that the NZ political Left is increasingly the province of self-interested opportunists and vainglorious charlatans, some with sociopathic tendencies and others divorced from the practicalities involved in confronting a capitalist-dominated political system that has overwhelming popular support. …

For a start, it might be wise to put distance on the delusional sociopaths and self-interested opportunists and charlatans that give the political Left its bad name. Having done that, the legitimate Left can begin to craft an agenda for change that is more than just the piecemeal undoing of the market-oriented policies in place since 1985.

Looks like the revolution has been postponed.

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63 Responses to “Buchanan on the left cuddling up to Dotcom”

  1. Positan (390 comments) says:

    One of the best and most factually-based analyses of the Left I’ve seen.

    It seems so strange that no one possessed of Leftist inclinations is seemingly able to recognize either the nonsense of their political direction – or the complete and utter absence of substance in those who’d uphold it.

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  2. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Representative of Ardern, Little, Street, Lees-Galloway, Hipkins and Robertson.

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  3. bringbackdemocracy (427 comments) says:

    Animal farm?

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  4. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    Anyone following a “leftist” creed must be a bit (a lot?) delusional and/or self interested in this day and age. You don’t have to theorise that these policies dont work and that the increase human misery rather than increasing human happiness, you only have to look at the real world.

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  5. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    Thanks David, for linking to the post. Unfortunately around 10PM last night the kiwipolitico web page mysteriously crashed and has not come back up yet. I am not sure of the cause but it seems odd. I am hoping colleagues with better IT knowledge than me will find a solution and have it back up soon.

    Although it is not the best quality, for those who cannot access the post because of the broken link here is a link to the cached version: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:mg1kuZ8HL44J:www.kiwipolitico.com/2014/01/nothing-left/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=nz&client=safari. I am not sure that it will work but it is a try.

    I am slightly discomfited by the blogging Right’s gleeful coverage of the post. Since I am planning a follow up post on the NZ political Right, I assume that y’all will be equally disposed to reading that critique as well.

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  6. flash2846 (287 comments) says:

    Paul G. Buchanan (295 comments) says:
    January 21st, 2014 at 7:31 am
    I assume that y’all will be equally disposed to reading that critique as well.

    Y’all? …Surly you didn’t just make a racist slur?

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  7. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    Sorry Flash, but you clearly know little about US colloquialisms. “Y’all” is a common expression in the South that is not particular to any ethnic group, nor is it used as a slur or epithet. By your logic “yeah nah” or “mate” could be considered racist slurs, which gives an idea of how mistaken you are.

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  8. Nostalgia-NZ (5,211 comments) says:

    He’s entitled to his opinion, though in fact he is revealing life being breathed into The Internet Party. The right is never going to applaud the formation of another left party, and that lack of applause isn’t going to stop the migration of ‘self-interested opportunists and vainglorious charlatans.’ I thought that the observations of one commentator last week about the apparent ‘selection’ of help Dotcom is seeking from the left and therefore the positioning of the party was a more insightful observation of it’s short term prospects and perhaps (although he didn’t say this) potential infighting. One thing for sure is that if the Internet Party gets under way it will be ‘dotcom’s way or the highway.’ Once Kiwis may not have approved that in Politics but Winston has led the way on that when targeting part of the electorate and Dotcom is certainly targeting another part, the question being as raised by the Herald commentator, is whether that part of the electorate (youth and those in twenties) will accept the ‘mercenary’ lean to the left.

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  9. OneTrack (3,107 comments) says:

    Paul – “I assume that y’all will be equally disposed to reading that critique as well.”

    Make it logical, backed up with some facts, dont blame all the worlds ills on “neolibs” and John Key, and I’ll be there.

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  10. OneTrack (3,107 comments) says:

    Nostalgia – “the question being as raised by the Herald commentator, is whether that part of the electorate (youth and those in twenties) will accept the ‘mercenary’ lean to the left.”

    As long as they are getting free stuff and talking about the “interweb”, they will likely accept anything.

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  11. fernglas (157 comments) says:

    How can a party be categorised as right or left when it has no policies? If the disappearance of the website is down to Dotcom’s friends, thus constituting censorship of political dissent, does that help answer the question?

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  12. Nostalgia-NZ (5,211 comments) says:

    OneTrack. Sure, it’s all about the lollies and balloons. One younger one I know asked to be ‘spared’ the rap though.

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  13. Longknives (4,753 comments) says:

    Y’all come back now- Ya hear?

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  14. OneTrack (3,107 comments) says:

    “, thus constituting censorship of political dissent, does that help answer the question?” Yep. Left.

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  15. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    No cuddling up to Dotcom by a Gizmodo reviewer – an album review may also apply to a party review.

    Kim Dotcom Good Times Album Review: What a Mess

    I’m not just snuffing Good Times for the sake of it: it genuinely is ridiculous.

    There is no discernible theme or genre to glue the tracks together.

    ……that it may be the case he has created the thing entirely as a joke.

    Live My Life
    Don’t want to go to war
    Know what happened before
    I don’t trust politics
    Don’t like dirty tricks
    Can’t be constrained
    Won’t be restrained

    His voice can also be heard on the Wunderbar interlude which sounds like the heavily flatulent emissions of some mechanical monster in the style of the most pumping of German techno music.

    Reviewing Dotcom’s “Good Times” and “Internet Party”

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  16. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    First you need to define the right. My observation is that neither NZ nor America currently have an in place political a party that meets even remotely a description of the right.
    Secondly is right the right prescription these days and really libertarian is more about what people want. They just haven’t realized it yet.

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  17. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Descriptions of Dot Com being a lefty really are quite laughable.

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  18. Yoza (1,875 comments) says:

    I would be interested to know who exactly Paul Buchanan believes the ‘legitimate left’ is and how he is qualified to offer such judgment. Noam Chomsky points out that large swathes of those who insist they are ‘the left’ serve as gate-keepers to which the media cling as examples of the limit the establishment allows as acceptable expressions of dissent. If this is the ‘left’ Paul Buchanan believes legitimate he is rubbing shoulders with some historically odious characters.

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  19. redqueen (563 comments) says:

    @Paul G. Buchanan
    ‘I am slightly discomfited by the blogging Right’s gleeful coverage of the post. Since I am planning a follow up post on the NZ political Right, I assume that y’all will be equally disposed to reading that critique as well.’

    Yes, sounds like a rather interesting read (if as good as this one). I look forward to it :)

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  20. Longknives (4,753 comments) says:

    Once Russel takes over as Finance Minister will Kim Dotcom have to ‘redistribute’ his wealth like the rest of us ‘rich pricks’??

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  21. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

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  22. OneTrack (3,107 comments) says:

    longknives – “Once Russel takes over as Finance Minister will Kim Dotcom have to ‘redistribute’ his wealth like the rest of us ‘rich pricks’??”

    Ah, no. This comes under the category of some are more “equal” than others.

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  23. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    Yoza: Read the post. I cover your points in it, although I did not need Chomsky to do so.

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  24. Yoza (1,875 comments) says:

    And where the hell is ‘the armed left’ of whom Buchanan speaks? Fantasists living in glass houses should think carefully before throwing stones.

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  25. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Noam Chomsky points out that large swathes of those who insist they are ‘the left’ serve as gate-keepers to which the media cling as examples of the limit the establishment allows as acceptable expressions of dissent.

    And as Noam – couldn’t lie straight in bed – Chomsky would seem to believe he is the only person who can properly judge on such matters, he was really just showing us himself at his vainglorious best (again.)

    As for Paul B – well he appears to be following in Noam’s footsteps and effectively declaring himself as the last bastion of pure Left. (Although I suspect his barbs at the likes of Hone, Dotcom (+ hangers-on) and Bomber (?) are quite accurate.)

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  26. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    The “armed left” were running about in Te Urewera shooting the bush up…. till PC Plod spoilt the good times…

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  27. Manolo (13,780 comments) says:

    Ah, the ineffable Yoza, comrade Helen Clark’s first admirer and lover.

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  28. smttc (752 comments) says:

    A good kick in the slats for Martyn Bradbury which is well deserved. The guy is a nutter.

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  29. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    redqueen and OneTrack: I fully intend to write a dispassionate analysis of the NZ political Right, warts and all.

    bhudson: Read the post. I make no claims to being the last bastion of anything.

    Yoza: Now you are being silly.

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  30. flash2846 (287 comments) says:

    Paul G. Buchanan (297 comments) says:
    January 21st, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Sorry Flash, but you clearly know little about US colloquialisms. “Y’all” is a common expression in the South…..

    Point taken Paul; it just stuck out being the only Americanism in your statement and was used when addressing our predominantly right leaning group. I just get very defensive when right wingers are labelled as racists etc. it happens all the time because lefties usually have no reasoned arguments.

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  31. itstricky (1,832 comments) says:

    I am slightly discomfited by the blogging Right’s gleeful coverage of the post. Since I am planning a follow up post on the NZ political Right

    And hence Paul gets 4 down votes for his effort and 8 up votes for flash’s “observation that he =might= be making some kind of slur”. I feel some trigger happy lips qiuvering… C’mon blue boys, a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down… …practise what you preach… reap what you sow… etc etc etc

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  32. Simon (724 comments) says:

    Yep wall to wall cranks on the far left all on the make.

    And next up is the right.

    But what about the center.
    Would be interested though if PB considers if there any meaningful difference between National & Labour? David Parker and Bill English look about the same. They could actually job share.

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  33. redqueen (563 comments) says:

    As I said, Paul, I’m looking forward to it :)

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  34. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    Simon (533 comments) says:

    “David Parker and Bill English look about the same. They could actually job share.”

    Would Bill English propose something as stupid as nationalising the power industry even when almost everyone (including the person whom they quote as their inspiration for it) says it’s an idiotic policy?

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  35. Yoza (1,875 comments) says:

    I have just read the cached version and it is more coherent than that which Farrar copied and pasted, I agree with many of the points being raised. I don’t believe in a monolithic left and prefer to see a dynamic contest of competing ideas being considered before being altered, adopted or discarded. If anything killed the traditional definition of ‘the left’ it was the little emperors in the Labour party and the union movement who saw their personal ambition as a necessary prerequisite for advancing the welfare and political participation of the working-class.

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  36. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    Having done that, the legitimate Left can begin to craft an agenda for change that is more than just the piecemeal undoing of the market-oriented policies in place since 1985.

    Perhaps it’s a question of learning how to run with the wolves. Moosh moosh!

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  37. Simon (724 comments) says:

    Got anything else Cunningham? Labgreen want to regulate power prices. If prices are signals in the market place which allow for the proper allocation of scare resources then National have or continue the nationalising of interest rates, general prices (through GST) & minimum wages. The labgreen proposed power prices are just an extension of National existing polices.

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  38. Yoza (1,875 comments) says:

    Having done that, the legitimate Left can begin to craft an agenda for change that is more than just the piecemeal undoing of the market-oriented policies in place since 1985.

    The neoliberal agenda is self-destructive. As a means of destroying societies, economies and the environment the neoliberal ‘solution’ has few equals.

    Perhaps it’s a question of learning how to run with the wolves. Moosh moosh!

    Marche! Marche! From the French for ‘Walk!’ or ‘March!’

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  39. ChardonnayGuy (1,207 comments) says:

    Is this more or less objectionable than the centre-right’s overtures to the similarly dodgy Colin Craig and his Conservative Party? Personally, I think most of the British Tories have it absolutely right with their contempt for the analogous United Kingdom Independence Party, currently screeching racist and homophobic diatribes, which Nigel Farage finds deeply embarrassing.

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  40. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “As a means of destroying societies, economies and the environment the neoliberal ‘solution’ has few equals.”

    Proof once again that the ability to type and spell doesn’t equal the ability to think coherently.

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  41. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Read the post. I make no claims to being the last bastion of anything.

    Paul,

    By calling out those on the fake Left, you stake claim to knowing what ‘real Left’ actually is. Semantically, you can say you didn’t claim to embody that, but, in that case, you are really just preaching “do as I say, not as I do.”

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  42. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    The far left are like little kids. They just want the world to be what is in their heads. why cant it be so? why cant everyone have the same amount of money? why cant blah blah

    Youd think they would have taken the hint after killing so many millions of people last century but ah no. they want ice cream for dinner. only their vision of the world is the correct one.

    Actually, they are more like sociopath little kids cause they want to destroy a lot of people too. those bastards that went out on a limb, risked everything and created wealth! evil i tells ya!

    The internet has been a beautiful thing for the left. it has made the western world far more partisan. there is a lot of right v left out there and its nasty. but yeah, the left are selfish little fuckers and it aint easy cobbling them all together and getting them on message.

    unfortunately they will gain power every so often. the trick is to protect your assets and wait for the disintegration.

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  43. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    bhudson: Now you are being silly. It is clear that you have not read the post so there is no point in arguing with you.

    yoza: We agree on the agent/principal problems in Labour and the union movement (I enjoyed your term “little emperors”).

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  44. chris (647 comments) says:

    Is the only reason for the assumption The Internet Party is going to be a party of the left because Martyn Bradbury has been involved? Without seeing any policy, it’s impossible to know what it stands for. I highly doubt KDC is a lefty. He certainly seems keen on making and keeping as much money as he possibly can. Surely The Internet Party is nothing but a way to dig at John Key, who he appears to hate with a passion. And the only reason he’s interested in surveillance and the GSCB is because they were watching him, and he doesn’t want people snooping around his dodgy affairs.

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  45. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Paul,

    That which seems clear to you is incorrect. In a number of ways, not the least of which is your claim to know better than those fake Leftists you present as having sold out.

    The best quote from your piece:

    Some of them are very good at offering trenchant critiques of the system as given, but they have no political consequence.

    Quite.

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  46. Yoza (1,875 comments) says:

    dime (8,106 comments) says:
    January 21st, 2014 at 9:46 am

    The far left are like little kids.

    This from one of the most infantile contributors.

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  47. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “This from one of the most infantile contributors.”

    Sorry Yoza, ill try and be more bitter and twisted like yourself in the future.

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  48. Ryan Sproull (7,153 comments) says:

    By calling out those on the fake Left, you stake claim to knowing what ‘real Left’ actually is. Semantically, you can say you didn’t claim to embody that, but, in that case, you are really just preaching “do as I say, not as I do.”

    Anyone with some awareness of history and political theory can stake a claim to knowing what “real Left” actually is, and observe that New Zealand has no (visible, organised) real Left.

    To do so is not claiming to embody the “real Left”. It’s just claiming to have some knowledge of history and politics – as, say, a former lecturer in the history of politics might have.

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  49. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Actually Ryan, that just claims that politics is static – that relevancy does not change with, well society really. That the Left is defined by what it (and society) was at that start of the movement and not by what is present today.

    Not an approach which seems to be helping the hard Left much of late.

    Nice try though.

    [You might also have noticed Paul's claim as to what the real Left is (or should be) today - by decrying that which the supposed Left is getting wrong. He was not discussing the history of the movement, but staking a claim as to what it should be now.]

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  50. Ryan Sproull (7,153 comments) says:

    Actually Ryan, that just claims that politics is static – that relevancy does not change with, well society really. That the Left is defined by what it (and society) was at that start of the movement and not by what is present today.

    Not an approach which seems to be helping the hard Left much of late.

    Nice try though.

    bhudson, whether or not an approach is helping someone or not has no bearing on its validity. A willingness to alter the definition of “the Left” past the point of recognition just to be able to apply the label to groups that exist in New Zealand today is not an argument. What’s next – calling Unitarians “Christian”?!

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  51. ChardonnayGuy (1,207 comments) says:

    I agree with you, Dime, but fortunately the far left are in decline. Actually, the same observation could be made about most other forms of sectarian political extremists, be they neofascists, conservative Christians, objectivist libertarians, Trotskyites* and Maoists. They pride themselves on ideological purity and adopt ludicrous positions that are far outside the political mainstream and therefore, fortunately, unelectable.

    *I’ve lost count of the number of “Fourth Internationalist” marxoid factions circulating around St. Leon the Icepicked. They’re almost as bad as fundamentalist Christians insofar as their fissaparous tendencies are concerned. And they’re just as bad when they recant- witness the US neocon Project for a New American Century and its role in fomenting the futile Iraqi War, and the bizarre antics and rhetoric of Spiked.Com and the prehensile Brendan O’Neill, once acolytes of a tiny British Trot sect called the “Revolutionary Communist Party”, which published a thankfully defunct journal entitled “Living Marxism.”

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  52. Yoza (1,875 comments) says:

    bhudson (4,576 comments) says:
    January 21st, 2014 at 10:02 am
    Paul,

    That which seems clear to you is incorrect. In a number of ways, not the least of which is your claim to know better than those fake Leftists you present as having sold out.

    The point is covered concisely in the full opinion piece:

    “There is no viable Left in NZ politics. The Labour Party gave up any pretense of being grounded in socialist principles decades ago when it embraced market-driven economics, and the CTU-led union movement are the embodiment of Robert Michel’s notion of the “iron law of oligarchy:” the purpose of the organization is to serve itself, and if that means playing the role of “responsible” corporate toadies, then so be it. The one true Left union, UNITE, has some decent socialists in it and working class interests at heart, but it is also fronted by several unsavory characters with Trotskyite and Stalinist inclinations (among other unpleasant traits), so its appeal is limited.”

    I find it difficult to disagree with this observation. The totalitarian tendencies of any number of groups claiming solidarity with working-class aspirations is both appalling and insulting to those they purport to represent. The real danger being that without a coherent movement in which the general population can meaningfully participate there exists the opportunity for extreme right-wing groups to flourish; the Golden Dawn in Greece, the British National Party, the National Front in France, the Tea Party in the US and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party in Australia being just a few examples of far-right lunacy being offered as an answer to the consequences of the neoliberal disaster afflicting the global economic panorama.

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  53. Paul G. Buchanan (294 comments) says:

    bhudson:

    Your reading comprehension is as faulty as you are pedantic.

    Nowhere in the post did I “stake a claim” as to what the “real” Left should be. Nor did I ever use the phrase “fake Left.” All I did was enumerate the reasons why the NZ political Left is not a viable alternative–fragmented and in-fighting, beset by oligarchical decision-making structures, a magnet for opportunists and charlatans, lacking in a coherent and practicable agenda for change. I include myself in the critique (as part of the chatterers who make to real difference). So please try not to read into the post what is not there.

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  54. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    The totalitarian tendencies of any number of groups claiming solidarity with working-class aspirations is both appalling and insulting to those they purport to represent.

    Which is a very apt description of the NZ Labour Party from its inception right through its history, so perhaps you are saying that Paul should have said that we have never had a real Left movement in NZ politics?

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  55. Ryan Sproull (7,153 comments) says:

    Your choice in the established political spectrum in New Zealand is between higher-tax socially more liberal capitalists and lower-tax socially more conservative capitalists. So the arguments are around tax rates and social policies, rather than any critique of the underlying capitalist assumptions.

    That’s why genuine social conservatives and genuine anti-capitalists get so frustrated.

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  56. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    A willingness to alter the definition of “the Left” past the point of recognition just to be able to apply the label to groups that exist in New Zealand today is not an argument.

    Ryan,

    Which brings us back nicely to the original point – that Paul was claiming providence to declare what real Left is today (albeit tangentally by declaring what real Left is not.)

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  57. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    The association (supplication?) of these “progressives” with a cowboy capitalist who has zero Marxist inclinations is a travesty if not treason to any working class cause.

    You are saying that to be leftist you need to have Marxist inclinations? Piss off.

    The modern progressive left has nothing to do with Marxism AND that is a very good thing. Marxism is a proven utter failure and Marxists are idiots (un so much as Marxists consistently vote left wing, they are for the left “useful idiots” – but with greatest emphasis on the idiots). Marxism doesn’t drive policy and has no meaningful influence on the Left.

    The modern left favours social democracy (left wing) or social capitalism (right wing). Both these ideologies can be attractive to capitalists, they are not immical to capitalism.

    The only people who think Marx has anything to do with the Left are Marxist morons and Right wingers on the look out for a good strawman.

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  58. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    Paul,

    By declaring those who claim to be Left to be wrong, you claim to know what is right (for the Left.) That was my point. By criticizing them, you claim to know better. By calling them out as wrong, you “stake a claim” to know what is right, even if you choose not to share that with us.

    You did more than just “enumerate the reasons why the NZ political Left is not a viable alternative” you presented an opinion that those other (examples) on the Left are wrong in ideology as well as action:

    Material and personal motivations rather than ideological affinity apparently pushed these people to violate rudimentary conflict of interest and ethical standards.

    That is symptomatic of the fact that the political (as opposed to cultural) Left is well and truly dead in New Zealand. The association (supplication?) of these “progressives” with a cowboy capitalist who has zero Marxist inclinations is a travesty if not treason to any working class cause.

    There is no viable Left in NZ politics.

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  59. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    @chris

    Is the only reason for the assumption The Internet Party is going to be a party of the left because Martyn Bradbury has been involved?

    And that Labour members (including a 2011 Labour candidate) where asked to consider being candidates for the Internet Party.

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  60. Scott Chris (6,139 comments) says:

    Anyone with some awareness of history and political theory can stake a claim to knowing what “real Left”

    I’d’ve thought the more they knew of history, the less likely they are to definitively stake that claim.

    Marche marche

    Thanks Yoza – I’ve learned something today. :) Actually I did check but should have been more discerning.

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  61. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    Which is a very apt description of the NZ Labour Party from its inception right through its history,

    That’s certainly not true of the Labour Party when Rowling was leader, which was a quite pleasant organisation. It’s probably true of most political parties since then, with the professionalisation of politics and the abandonment of mass membership.

    If you want to see what is wrong with the people claiming to be left wing, visit the Standard or Public Address. The former site has more than its fair share of wackos who seem to be in it just to be as weird and alternative as possible, and the latter is composed of mostly well-off, whining liberals who care more about representations than reality.

    It would be nice to have a party that stood for the economic interests of the bottom 50% of the population, but the loons have done for it. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t vote. However unpleasant it might be, there seems to be no alternative to the unpleasant form of populist authoritarianism that has overtaken western societies.

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  62. itstricky (1,832 comments) says:

    The only people who think Marx has anything to do with the Left are Marxist morons and Right wingers on the look out for a good…

    A significant proportional of those right ones inhabit KB ready to pounce on DPF’s latest sledge with drop ‘n’ run ‘leftists are marxists’ comments at the top of the page to get up votes so they feel good about themselves ;)

    Look forward to DPF’s coverage of Paul’s next post ‘why the far right is dead’. Yes, it’s all centralist in NZ, yes it is.

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  63. itstricky (1,832 comments) says:

    Winston First is a personality cult wrapped in nationalist populist rhetoric and Mana is a personality cult posing as an indigenous socialist movement.

    Should we rename this post “Key cuddles up to Winston”, or “Key spoons Craig”?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11189742

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