Meet The New Boss: Jacinda does need to put herself at the head of a revolutionary throng. Not one bearing rifles or waving little red books of dogma, but at the head of a movement determined to re-order this country’s economic and social priorities That such a re-ordering has become a matter of urgent necessity is self-evident to all but the greedy and the cruel.
“I THINK THIS BEATLES SONG sums it up”, commented Darth Smith, below a link to the Fab Four’s 1968 classic “Revolution”. Almost immediately, Darth’s homage to Jacindamania was countered by Iain Mclean who linked The Daily Blog’s readers to that revolutionary cold shower, The Who’s “Don’t Get Fooled Again”. Then it was John Minto’s turn to post on Labour’s leadership change. Fair to say, this was much more in the spirit of The Who’s “meet the new boss – same as the old boss” than Lennon and McCartney’s “you say you got a real solution”.
Meanwhile, 13,000 kilometres away in Caracas, Venezuela, the world is being treated to yet another example of what happens when “socialism” takes precedence over “democracy” in the playing out of Democratic Socialism. As the world watches the conflict unfold on the streets of Caracas, its understanding of the word “socialism” – never very strong – is further distorted by the wild scenes of anarchic violence coming at them through their television screens.
“But the people of Venezuela are only fighting back against the organised (and US-backed) resistance of their ruling class!” Yes, that is what the John Mintos of this world would say – and, in part, they would be right.
But it is equally true to say that, after years of economic mismanagement, the slum-dwelling poor who formed the backbone of Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution, have had enough. Rampant inflation, shortages of basic household necessities, and an horrific escalation in violent criminal behaviour have lent credence to the right-wing opposition’s charge that the Revolution has failed.
They watch the Bolivarian government of President Maduro traduce their nation’s constitution – the key clauses of which Chavez caused to be printed on the packaging of everyday items so that even the poorest citizens would know and understand their democratic rights – and they are forced to acknowledge that the bruised and bloodied middle-class protesters on the streets of Caracas bear a strong resemblance to their younger selves of 15 years ago.
“Meet the new boss – same as the old boss.” Indeed.
Which is why I believe Darth Smith is right when he hints that the Beatle’s “Revolution” should be Jacinda’s unofficial campaign theme-song. Not only for the way in which the music drags left-wing politics on to the dancefloor and forces it to embrace the wild carnival expectations of its emancipatory rhetoric, but also because of the hard-nosed, working-class realism of Lennon’s lyrics.
Revolution according to Lennon - not Lenin.
“You say you want a revolution”, sneers Lennon, “we’d all love to see the plan”. No fool, Lennon understood that the social upheaval produced by revolutionary action always comes at a cost to real, flesh-and-blood human-beings. If that’s what you’re suggesting, he says, then you’d better have a very clear idea of how greatly the benefits of your revolution are going to exceed its inevitable price.
Nowhere in the song is Lennon’s disdain for the dilettantism of 1968’s student revolutionaries more pronounced than when he delivers the lines: “But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao/ You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow.”
Lennon was pilloried in the left-wing press for his unequivocal declaration: “But when you talk about destruction/Don’t you know that you can count me out”. The New Left Review called it “a lamentable petit-bourgeois cry of fear”. But Lennon’s artistic eye and ear understood what the revolutionary intelligentsia did not. That their revolution: the revolution of armed workers parading through the streets, a la Petrograd 1917; or of Mao’s murderous Red Guards shaking their Little Red Books in the faces of their terrified elders; was not what revolution would look like in the welfare states of the West in 1968.
Any revolution breaking out amidst unprecedented material abundance; any revolt undertaken by an educated population; was not going to resemble any of the upheavals of the past. In 1968, the French communists looked at the graffiti daubed on the walls of Paris and shook their heads in incomprehension. “Underneath the pavement – the beach!” What did that even mean! Lennon knew.
Twelve years after the release of Revolution, and not long before his assassination, Lennon was still insisting that destructive change was counter-revolutionary: “Count me out if it’s for violence. Don’t expect me on the barricades unless it’s with flowers.”
I’m with John. That’s why I agree with Darth. The Beatle’s song does sum it up. Jacinda does need to put herself at the head of a revolutionary throng. Not one bearing rifles or waving little red books of dogma, but at the head of a movement determined to re-order this country’s economic and social priorities by means of an unprecedented blending of intelligence and compassion. That such a re-ordering has become a matter of urgent necessity is self-evident to all but the greedy and the cruel. The revolution that Jacinda leads must be a revolution of real solutions drawn from and supported by New Zealand’s caring majority.
Don’t you know it’s going to be alright, alright, alright.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 4 August 2017.
I have some distinctly different views than those currently orthodox (based upon the physical manifestations of human resource utilization etc) so I have to temper my commentary on today's politics with my lack of faith in their direction. In short the "revolution" will be forced upon us, and Jacinda, Bill and all other things familiar will change.
Put the above aside and where is Jacinda in today's every person orthodox world view? I would suggest that her impact is such that the election is now hers to lose. I just watched her handle the typical media pack that consists ravening acolytes of National. She answered questions of Turei, and upon tax policy etc etc, they threw in all the wobbly ones. Not a chink in her armour, and a sharp counter attack when she was not already leading the conversation.
Class act, as all changes I will trust her more at the helm in a stormy sea than I would Bill or his misanthropic nasties.
I think that you miss out a large number of people when you say the greedy and the cruel are the only ones who don't recognise the need for new revolutionary policies i.e. the old goals re-imagined and re-equipped.
There are also the blinkered and the shuttered.
The blinkered are busy getting on with their lives, they are busy and trying to do the right thing, carrying out their duties and trying to be good citizens. The shuttered have pulled down their blinds to shut out the world except the ones that show the back yard and garden or car and boat. The blinds let in light but screen from all inside the vast array of their fellow human beings.
John Lennon's working class realism?
We may all yearn for revolution, but not from National Lite folk, thanks.
I accept that at todays date I could be wrong in a few weeks time, we must wait and see.
I admit to hope.
Amongst the many huge challenges facing Jacinda is being able and willing to explain counter-cyclical economics to a public which views anything other than austerity or tax cuts as perverse and counter-intuitive.
She will, however, need to rise to this challenge when she debates English or she will merely be dismissed as yet another facile if well-intentioned spendthrift of the sacred taxpayer's money.
Do her huge strengths in social policy and her overall debating skills mean that she's capable of grasping this nettle? Does she see the necessity of so doing? Will the new policies yet to be announced even require this defence? If not, how will a Labour-led government differ from what we have at present?
Much, to my mind, rides on these questions.
But it is equally true to say that, after years of economic mismanagement, the slum-dwelling poor who formed the backbone of Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution, have had enough.
...and a small matter of a precipitous collapse in oil revenues. Id wager this lot of riots wouldnt bne getting much traction had oil prices stayed up near the $100/barrel they were a year or two back.
Very convenienent for the Establishment who just love pointing out teh failures of left leaning regimes while ignoring the misery of murderous Honduras and the blatant constitutional coup that has beset Brazil. Once Venezuela falls to the traditional Miami Mafia oligarchy, watch convenient riots and world media attention shift to Bolivia....You know it will happen.
Thinking back over the last 30 years, wouldn't it have been better to fight long-term rather than every 3 years, 10 times. All your teeth shorn down to the gums. With the result there is no one longer who can sing our story in its majesty. No Sanders or Corbyn (very, very, understandable, of course, us, and you, being human).
A revolution of 'intelligence and compassion'. Sounds very like the '99 Clark government--not really a revolution.
You made a good case against Minto on Venezuela, a less good one for Ardern.
You were right about her being a communication hub.
For what purpose.
Can you imagine her leading either a revolution or even a 'throng'? Despite your invitation?
Well said Andrew Nichols. On the money so to speak, more misery for the masses.
Any comment on Labour's crazy neighbours Chris?
First step: get rid of all the brain-dead uneducated unionists that 'advised' Little.
Good first step.
@ Victor....'She will, however, need to rise to this challenge when she debates English or she will merely be dismissed as yet another facile if well-intentioned spendthrift of the sacred taxpayer's money. "
Im not sure that she will...it seems to me that the cohort (and its not that large) she needs to convince to change their vote will/do not need any such reassurance but rather will largely accept confidence and style as legitimate reasons...as they say politics is more about emotion and the events of the past few days have certainly reinforced that view.
Her first grilling was on this mornings The Nation,she handled it well however,bringing along her deputy with her was in my eyes her, or her advisors first error of judgment as he appeared to be well out of his comfort zone.
Secondly, her appearance needs a make over, with attention to be more formal rather than casual sleek.
Shallow it may sound,however appearance of a business like executive will serve her better that a street casual.
Peterson again. He is beginning to sound just as predictable as those he condemns.
A bit of a counterweight to Peterson. Not as intellectual, but a bloody site funnier.
More light relief from JH and his ponderous alt right bullshit. Subjects that are dear to his heart, treated in a light-hearted way.
I wish I could agree with you.
But "show us the money!" will, I suspect, remain a very effective cry during the debates. Apart from that, she should walk them.
'Communication Hub' , sometimes the words dry up, despite my deep love for'm. I'm 50, oold and odd. 'Portal for communication to the uninterested'?
The Beatls and Revolution.
This verse speaks now:
You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You'd better free your mind instead
The change of ideas and thinking is more important than changing the institution. I agree with that - that sort of change can be cosmetic.
I read a book by Victor Klemperer who thought he was about the last Jew left in Dresden, not sent away because of being married to a true-born German woman. He had worked at the university. After the war the communists took over and, he noted wryly, all the same problems, the same competition for positions, prejudices arose again, the same methods.
He was a thoughtful man, a witness to that unhappy time, resigned, sad and steadfast so that he managed to retain his sanity and have an 'after-life'. It is the mind, the guidelines that he lived his life by, that enabled this.
We had better free our minds and personally engineer them to take an overview of our world, our country, our fellow citizens and what we are doing, and what we could and should be doing. Or we won't survive with self-respect like Klemperer. And IIRR he wan't always satisfied with himself. He could self-critique. We would do better to follow Klemperer's example. Survey ourselves, and if change is needed make change begin at home - from inside our heads.
Victor Klemperer (Author of I Will Bear Witness 1933-41 A Diary of the ...
Victor Klemperer (9 October 1881 – 11 February 1960) worked as a commercial apprentice, a journalist and eventually a Professor of Literature, specialising in ...
Review: The Diaries of Victor Klemperer 1945-59 | Books | The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com › Arts › Books › Biography
Jan 9, 2004 - Victor Klemperer's diaries, The Lesser Evil, are a monument to his profound commitment to language and truth, says Stevie Davies.
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