Wednesday 11 January 2017

Ohariu wtf & options

With a final majority of 710 in the 2014 election, the third-smallest overall, Labour renegade minister Peter Dunne is under threat.  Danyl McLaughlin reports:  "Former Police Association president Greg O’Connor is rumoured to be interested in becoming Labour’s Ohariu candidate. Nominations close on February 3." (
You can see the leftist rationale for selecting O'Connor to take out Dunne:  to defeat a center-right dork, use another.  Leftists have learnt that presenting leftist candidates doesn't work when most voters don't want them.  Using the theory of identity politics, Ohariu voters, most being center-right dorks, will identify with O'Connor as much as with Dunne, splitting his vote down the middle.

Some will vote National, of course, producing a three-way split of similar proportions.  The rationale cleverly factors in O'Connor's advocacy track record on the basis of its similarity to that of a union leader.  The dwindling bunch of Labour tribal loyalists will get in behind, so he will pull ahead of the other two.  This scenario assumes the Labour/Green MoU is activated to ensure the Greens don't stand a candidate.

What if a majority of the leftists in the candidate selection process want a candidate that is authentic?  What if they don't get over-ruled by the Labour hierarchy?  How about a barn-storming fire-brand wanting to return Labour to its roots, to replicate what drove it up in popular support a century ago?  They'd get Bomber Bradbury to stand against O'Connor - spooking the moderates, who'd then get Laila Harre to provide a feminist option as well.

What if the Greens insisted on a combined selection process, to prove that the MoU has enough substance to model how it would work in government?  They could offer Celia Wade-Brown the opportunity of becoming one of the first cabinet ministers in a Labour/Green government (if she rejoins the Green Party sometime soon).

Imagine these four candidates performing their speeches to a Labour/Green selection meeting.  O'Connor would present the case for Labour being a solid centrist government in his usual pedestrian style, Bradbury would rouse the old leftist spirit in the audience with team-building rhetoric by demonising the opposition, Harre would be the sweet voice of reason preaching at the converted, and Wade-Brown would tell them that the best way to change the government is to select candidates with a track record of winning and hers is the best out of all four.

Trump showed us lateral-thinking can produce political victory by confounding both wings of the establishment.  To get a suitable change of government in Aotearoa, we need Labour & the Greens to learn that lesson. Then use it!

Thursday 23 June 2016

play the identity politics game to become a game-changer

To see the big picture, we must shift our conventional dualist view to an holistic perspective. The hybrid capitalist/socialist system we've lived in since the mid-20th century is our fundamental reality that few realise exists: most people habitually focus on only one of those dimensions, instead of on both.

The gfc bail-out of failed Wall St corporations enraged the political right in the USA because it was a blatant socialist use of taxpayer funds. The only political leader here to mention this was James Shaw in his victory speech a year ago, advising us to get real and understand that the control system is hybrid.

The globalist Bilderberger project will proceed regardless if it takes the Brexit hit. The controllers know it is lifting too many third-worlders out of poverty to be allowed to fail. Their traditional strategy of using puppets from the left concurrently with puppets from the right will retain support from the political establishment of most countries. The democracy sham captivates mainstreamers.

So for the cognoscenti, our choices hinge on identity politics - we are constrained by the culture of individualism to do our own thing, so the status quo will persist accordingly. To shift away from it to a better world requires collaboration, working together for the common good. Been there, done that. Hell is other people, right? Identify with the former path, we're merely commentators, so we're part of the problem. Even if we know we're also part of the solution. Both/and logic applies.

So, if we identify with a small group of folk who are actively trying to catalyse the solution, then co-creating a better world gets more traction. Play a different game than the one the controllers have set up. Become a team player. That's how the Bolsheviks did it.

The left/right democracy game uses the neoliberal agenda to recycle what worked in the 19th century - when the market prevailed over the bureaucrats. It's a business-enabler system, in which both left & right have a common interest in creating wealth & jobs for mutual benefit. The controllers ensure that the right get most of the wealth, the left get barely enough, but leftist leaders get political careers as lapdogs of the capitalists & more wealth than their comrades (Clintons, Blair).

Now we're living in a time when the masses are starting to lose faith in the system, thus the drift towards something different. But few see the alternative clearly yet, so inertia recycles business as usual. The more we agree on how to constitute the alternative, the more it will coalesce as an option in the public mind. Remember how many years the Bolsheviks took to develop consensus around their plan. Remember that `bolshevik' means minority!

Tipping points are significant, but not in a predictive sense. The notion derives from chaos theory in the late '80s, before Gladwell made it famous at the millennium. It's germane because we're all enmeshed in complex systems, which can enter rapid transitions into quite different states at different times. Some are gaian/natural systems, some social - some are political, some are economic systems. Holism isn't so ephemeral really, and the notion of interlocking subsystems with cascading influences is conveyed in popular culture by the `turtles all the way down' metaphor…

The timing and outcome of such transitions are indeterminate, both in principle and practice. This view is now established in the science of complexity. The political relevance is that any status quo is vulnerable to being destabilised by unforeseen obscure factors. A good example: most historical accounts of WW1 cite the assassination of Arch-duke Franz Ferdinand as the trigger. A cascade of political shifts rapidly shifted various countries around Europe into war.

If activists become conscious of their identity affiliation with any group of folks who aspire to catalyse solutions to social problems, they can shapeshift into that identity whenever they are ready, willing & able to spend time and energy co-creating a better way of doing things. This shift away from subjective individualism and narcissism enables the collaboration we all need more of.  If we use the spirit of play, co-creating a better world can be fun - then collaboration becomes enjoyable rather than hard work!  Forging a group identity on a common-interest or mutual-benefit basis then becomes the next stage in the development of the political expertise of the activist, and it is when competence is demonstrated by both contributor and group in the interface with mainstream society that the game-changing begins.  That's the triggering of the tipping point, when the transition from the status quo to something better is catalysed.

Thursday 4 February 2016

cultural transforms

Life's a struggle for many, often grim for some of us for years. During such periods you'll feel better if you recall that you weren't born an Ik.

The Ik are an ethnic group of about 10,000 people living in the mountains of northeastern Uganda near the border with Kenya. They featured in anthropologist Colin Turnbull's ethnography The Mountain People (1972), from which Joseph Tainter (The Collapse of Complex Societies, 1988) condenses this account: “the Ik live in such a food- and water-scarce environment that there is absolutely no advantage to reciprocity and sharing. The Ik, in consequence, display almost nothing of what could be considered societal organisation. They are so fragmented that most activities, especially subsistence, are pursued individually.”

Each person spends “weeks on their own searching for food and water. Sharing is virtually non-existent. Two siblings or other kin can live side-by-side, one dying of starvation and the other well nourished, without the latter giving the slightest assistance” to the former. “The members of a conjugal pair forage alone, and do not share food. Indeed, if both members happen to be at their residence together it is by accident. Each conjugal compound is stockaded against the others. Several compounds together form a village, but this is largely a meaningless occurrence. Villages have no political functions or organisation, not even a central meeting place.”

Children are minimally cared for by their mothers until age three, and then are put out to fend for themselves. This separation is absolute. By age three they are expected to find their own food and shelter, and those that survive do provide for themselves. Children band into age-sets for protection, since adults will steal a child's food whenever possible. No food-sharing occurs within an age-set.”

If you perform a reality-check on this, some qualified confirmation can be obtained from their Wikipedia page . “Turnbull himself mentions his sources' uncooperative nature and tendency to lie.” “Milton Obote nationalized traditional hunting lands as national park for European tourists, and prevented the Ik from hunting in their traditional hunting grounds. After a couple of generations of starvation conditions, the Ik, originally a cooperative, child-loving tribe, became a group of selfish cruel people who don’t trust or help anybody.”

Overall, living with the Ik seems to have afflicted Turnbull more with melancholy and depression than anger, and he dedicated his work "to the Ik, whom I learned not to hate". “ Since Obote first came to power in the early '50s it's actually only 20 years that this radical cultural transformation took!!

We can only marvel at the extent to which cultural transforms can eliminate goodwill between humans, eh?

Archie Tucker, the English linguist, accepted an invitation to come up and see just what this extraordinary language was, for it certainly was not Sudanic or Bantu. Archie finally pronounced, with no little satisfaction, that the nearest language he could find to this one was classical Middle-Kingdom Egyptian!” — The Mountain People, Ch. 2, p. 35. Not the only African tribe with an ancestral northern origin, either.

Saturday 5 December 2015

how to solve the inequality problem

Political scientist Bryce Edwards provides this recent comprehensive review of media coverage of income & wealth inequality

including a link to this interesting psychological perspective

It helps to clarify the psychological motivations that drive political alignments.  Inequality only shifts someone's political alignment when they suffer from it sufficiently, right?  Thus the right supports business as usual and forms governments on that basis so long as most voters don't feel that they are victims of inequality.  The left does the same so long as most voters feel they'll manage better than the right.  Neither left nor right makes any serious attempt to do anything other than make token moves to reduce inequality.

System justification theory helps us understand collective motivations much as paradigm theory does, yet is unhelpful from a common good perspective.  It is in our common interest to shift to a sustainable society in which everyone gets provision for a healthy life.  Our traditional economy evolved naturally so as to minimise the number of winners and maximise the number of losers, making inequality not only inevitable but exponential.  One need only observe the population versus wealth curve for any country to see that. 

Therefore inequality is a design problem, and progress will only come from crowd-sourcing the optimal solution.  The traditional collusion between the political left and right commits both to the status quo, so the only way to make progress is for those in the political centre to advocate a suitably-designed solution.  Academics could facilitate this progress if they shift from analysis to collaboration:  selection of the optimal design is the task.  Here's an exciting intellectual challenge - form a team to engage the task.  Form many such teams!  Then hold an international tournament in which all compete.  Provoke media coverage to escalate public interest.  That will shift everyone out of complacency and defeatism.

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Revisioning John Key

Not all that hard to discredit John Key in the eyes of voters. Ask them do they really want to be ruled by a jew derivatives-trader, who played a key role in bringing about the global financial crash. Can he really be trusted with other peoples' money? This tactic could fly with tax-payers, huh?

Could be kiwis are so dumb they don't care if he's a jew financier or arab sheik, so long as he talks like one of us. I personally have no problem with the guy – he's the first leader of the Nats that isn't clearly a total fucking moron (tfm) since I started watching them in the mid-'60s. One ought to give credit where it's due, eh?

My father was a hard-line National party supporter. So was his father. As the eldest of 4 sons, I was probably expected to toe the party line, but unfortunately I wasn't born a tfm. By 1970, at age 21, I finally got over thinking politics was too boring and had sussed out that both patriarchs were closet fascists. JK deserves credit for ditching the closet-fascist stance that Bolger & Shipley had endeavoured to recycle.

I'd never seen any point in reading a book by that young feller, Nicky Hager, till a friend told me I had to read The Hollow Men a few years back, so I did. Yeah, 'twas ok. I was amused at the account of how JK & Murray McCully defeated the rightists in the Nat camp. In politics pragmatism will beat principle any day of the week & boy, do the principled folk hate that! Encountering the email in which one of the ideological purists referred to MM as “the dark side”, I thought how wonderful to be thus provided with a classic example of jungian projection in a political context. I had to concede Hager had got it right: the enemy within is a traditional political archetype and the email trail validated the high drama of the guerilla warfare in which good vs evil played out and the reader as audience was presented with an impartial account. How to tell which was which??

Most entertaining. You couldn't! Well, my sympathies lay with the pragmatic minority, JK et al. Two decades of new-right hegemony was quite enough, thank you very much! So I must credit McCully for being more than the clueless wimp that he had presented as his public image since entering parliament with long hair back in '72. The embittered right wing of the National Party refer to MM & JK as socialists. Hmmm. Can't buy it. They ain't really that stupid!

However it does rather open up a propaganda opportunity for the left. Nationalist socialists haven't been in vogue for ages. Some would even argue that national socialism is a discredited political practice. Nonetheless, JK has already done enough to be credited as a great national socialist leader. If the political left weren't entirely clueless they'd see it, right? They're even shaping up to hand JK a fourth term as prime minister. If he wins again, then he really will deserve to be called the greatest national-socialist political leader since Adolf Hitler.

Wednesday 17 June 2015

On the road to hell

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, traditional folk wisdom tells us. In recent years it has become evident that many of those pavers are actually flawed or false assumptions.

Here's a few... The political left represent the people (the political right represents vested interests - the control system). If you side with the right, you're either a capitalist or an arse-licker. The Green Party represents the broader green movement (so how come it carefully avoids representing blue-greens?). The left needs its own think-tank.

Let's take a look at that last one. A leftist think-tank would only work if leftists could actually think! Nigh on half a century of observing them, and I've never seen any evidence they can. Okay, Brian Edwards, Tim Shadbolt, maybe one or two others – just exceptions that prove the rule!

The New Left were the happening thing when I arrived at university, early '68. Big on rhetoric, small on substance. I was intrigued, but disappointed whenever I checked them out. Since then, the left seems to have gone to hell. Their only governments since Big Norm have had a right-wing agenda – competing by pretending they can do neoliberalism better than the Nats. Presuming the people are so stupid they will re-elect the left on that basis seemed a flawed strategy – it worked, but induced fear & loathing in the people.

It was Shadbolt's two-page spread in Cracuum explaining why Labour was just as bad as National that came at me as stunning revelation (in 1971): the left are part of the problem along with the right! So I must reject both, to make myself part of the solution!! I've been neither left nor right, out in front, ever since.
Come the early '80s green politics adopted that slogan, & I thought “Far out, the slow-learners are getting the picture!” Immensely reassuring - during Thatcherism & Reaganomics.

Whereas socialism produced a comfortably equitable society here in the '50s & '60s, by the '80s it was producing hordes of public servants who acted like petty dictators and were too lazy to run government departments efficiently. Then we got robotic pc conformism that turned leftists into drones.

Q: Who's winning the human race? A: the capitalists. Why? They give us jobs. Doing so makes them rich. Class analysis doesn't take account of those who employ themselves, but for the majority of us, our tacit assumption that we were born to trade on our labour produces a dependency relation; we become dependent on employers for livelihood and sustenance. Poor wages creates mass grievance. Not hard to see why the right thinks the left are emotionally juvenile: if the left were mature adults, they'd take responsibility for themselves and become economically self-determinant. If they were educated with a choice of collaborating for mutual benefit, their tacit acceptance of a power imbalance would make less of them victims of life's circumstances. Given a better choice as youngsters, more will mature.

So the inadequacy of the left is deepest in the area of preparation for career: the teenage years. It is no accident that Labour governments are widely viewed as a bunch of teachers. More trad folk wisdom: those who can, do; those who can't, teach. Adequate people, according to convention, don't become teachers. So we get an education system in which a bunch of terminal losers are employed to stuff crap into the heads of the young, producing more terminal losers. Then everyone wonders why the outcome is a dysfunctional, polarised society. Doesn't matter how dire things get, the left demands more education.

Business as usual persists so long as no alternative becomes available. Models of successful collaborative enterprise have long been available! They share profits and risks. They incorporate participatory decision-making by all who work for each such business. The team ethic prevails because of this incentive structure. The left routinely whines and moans about being exploited, like children complaining about parents. Why do they never embrace - or even advocate - such positive alternatives? They consider themselves born losers? Few of them would agree - but what if parents, teachers & employers all treat them as such? Continual reinforcement will create that subconscious identity in many. So, when that is indeed their tacit assumption, they end up co-creating their road to hell.

You'd think Karl Marx was a Marxist, right? Ain't so. Seems logical, but another false assumption. Proof lies in the historical reality as testified by his co-author of The Communist Manifesto. Engels, in an 1882 letter cites this statement from Marx: “what is certain is that I myself am not a Marxist”. Google that to verify it!

A generation is maturing into political activism who cite `perception is reality' as a truism. Sometimes it does seem to be. Politicos who assume it as a general rule will however tend to suffer the consequences of their flawed assumption: the difference between the two is often apparent to a group of politically-significant others. Those grounded in reality will polarise against those asserting the perception. Folks will tend to realise the former group are right. The reputations of the latter will be diminished accordingly.

The 1999 movie The Matrix featured a sci-fi world (ours) in which humanity's belief systems and perception of their surrounding world are entirely generated and constructed by alien controllers via high technology – an ultra-sophisticated smoke & mirrors act. A powerful metaphor for our actual collective reality!! All of us emerge from childhood growing into a cultural matrix, brainwashed by parents, teachers, and media, all of whom were likewise brainwashed. The culture of a civilisation is collectively generated by participants: in any country the national culture is largely co-created by those in control.

Our controllers are mostly capitalist, but some are socialist and some are hybrids. To survive within, we must comply as our society requires; get real. When in Rome, do as the Romans do, as the ancient adage has it. Work for a living - if you can find a job. To prosper, play the game well. Pragmatism works better than idealism (idealists focus on a better world they imagine, rather than on this one). Be here now means accept the status quo. Yet we will only ever get a better world by co-creating it! If we transcend the status quo, we are free to do so. Few do. But when we do transform our perceptions, our new reality is catalysed.

Those of us who have spent our lives pursuing self-development ought to move on to community-building, in the context that most communities now are non-local. Those of us become expert in transcendence must accept that bettering our own lives is liable to produce narcissism unless we act on a common-interest basis. The skill humanity most needs now is collective transcendence. We must apply that skill to create a positive alternative to business as usual. We must mediate between the world as it is and the world we all need. To get us all from the former to the latter, we must perform a collective act of magic: manifest our destiny. If the better world we imagine seems to distant or abstract, too ideal, and our here and now too opressive, use the tree as our model! It is anchored in earth, yet it reaches for the sky. Keep your feet on the ground – use the current reality as basis and foundation. Build your processes and structures toward the future you aspire to. Together, doing so, we can co-evolve into the future we need. Realise, make real!

The best story I ever came across that is dramatic in the way it exposes the difference between perception and reality appeared in 1981 in a book by the philosopher Raymond Smullyan. He reported “an incident I read about in a book on abnormal psychology. The doctors in a mental institution were thinking of releasing a certain schizoprenic patient. They decided to give him a lie-detector test. One of the questions they asked him was “Are you Napoleon?” He replied “No.” The machine showed that he was lying!”

What's going on here?!? Well, our societal consensus is that science defines reality. That's been the case for several centuries. The lie-detector is a device used to prove whether someone is telling the truth or not. Therefore the general perception of most people is that the reality of a situation can be established by using the device to verify the testimony of those involved. In courts of law such usage is a convention. In the lunatic asylum case Smullyan reports, the schizo patient was proven to be lying when he asserted that he was not Napoleon. Therefore the truth is that he was Napoleon! If you believe in science, technology, societal norms and mass consensus, that is!

Having been around leftist political activists close to half a century, I'm aware that their primary pathology arises from naïve idealism (which I still share somewhat), which embeds in the psyche as delusion when folk are reluctant to ground their experiences in collective reality. Thus the left traditionally asserts that it represents the people. The reality is that the people often vote in contradiction. Democracy is illusory when politicos misinterpret results. When the people vote in a rightist government, their verdict that the left is an unrealistic option tends to be ignored by the left. You can't credibly represent the people if you persist in ignoring what they're trying to tell you! The people, rolling their eyes, invariably think that the left has gone to hell. This public perception trends toward reality the longer the left takes to transform public opinion to a positive alternative. Here's a basic principle of social psychology functioning as a driver of politics: a general perception will crystallise into a shared belief via inertia, unless or until collective reality proves it wrong! Political reality emerges from such shaping of perceptions...

The road to hell resembles a highway with multiple on-ramps. Mass perceptions lead folks down the garden path, through the gate at the bottom, out through the commons and onto one of these on-ramps. Someone, like the kid who pointed out that the Emperor was wearing no clothes, may tell others “Hey, this isn't real!” But the opinion of a nonconformist is unlikely to shatter the favoured delusion of the majority – particularly when that has substantiated into the shared belief system of a social group and thereby has become a social pathology. The indoctrinating effect is so powerful that reality-checks roll off adherents like water off a duck's back. The left will march on down the road to hell in proud solidarity, until disaster looms sufficiently as imminent reality that it transforms their perception of the social environment.

Then a collective shift of perception will cascade through the group: “Oops, wrong way!” Time for a u-turn, retreat towards a place of safety, to ascertain and explore a valid path to the future. For the Green Party, shackled to it's leftist alignment, the inexorable lesson of polling and election results is starting to shift the mass perception of members out of their traditional pathology and toward reality. So many years heading down the road to hell with the left, we need to get back so we can save the world! Watch this space..

Sue Bradford on leftist think-tanks 2012:
Sue Bradford on leftist think-tanks 2014:

Sunday 8 March 2015

green leadership

I was glad to see Vernon Tava's candidacy for the Green Party male co-leadership featuring on TV3's The Nation this morning.  I wish Vernon success, partly because he's an excellent candidate, and partly because of his desire to reposition the greens politically.  

In 2011 I established my website (alternative Aotearoa) and on the editorial page I wrote about my history as an office-holder in the Green Party in the early 1990s, and included my critique of the performance of the GP since I left in '95.  You can read that here:

Since rejoining on 1st November last year, I have been pleasantly surprised by the vibrancy of the culture within and the general quality of the activists.  I have been advocating that the priority of the GP must be establishing authenticity by abandoning the leftist parliamentary alignment, and returning to the original political position of the global green movement:  neither left nor right, but in front.  On my other blog I recently acknowledged that I persuaded the GP to adopt the leftist alignment back in '91 (see Green politics: an integral frame 9/2/15).  It was necessary at the time, so I don't regret that!  However the time to abandon it was about 12 years ago when Helen Clark made it clear that she was going to continue to freeze the greens out.  Anyone who thought the leftist alignment had merit since then is obviously an extremely slow learner - and thus politically inadequate.

Regardless who wins the upcoming leadership contest, I hope we can co-create the opportunity for all three contenders to establish themselves as alternative leaders.  This is best done on an issue-by-issue basis, I suspect. In permaculture (sustainability by design) the relevant concept is redundancy:  concurrent availability of more than one way to get a necessary result.  Power or water supply, for instance, when you have several different sources and are therefore able to switch from one to the other when necessary.  This design makes you more resilient. Similarly with leadership!

The Green Party would be in a stronger position with several alternate leaders - especially if integrated into a collaborative framework.  Seeing each other as colleagues rather than competitors, I mean.  When the male co-leader has prior commitments, or just prefers to give one of his colleagues a go at an issue, then he ought to consult with them to enable this.  Conventional politics requires him to engage without choice, and a below-par performance may result.

I'm confident this is workable on a mutual-benefit basis:  the other 2 guys will appreciate such opportunities to show their mettle.  Such teamwork will then become evident as genuine collaboration to the public.  Modelling a new style of politics will prove to them that we are indeed different to both the left and the right.  A paradigm shift in politics becomes likely as the result!

I always saw the old green slogan `neither left nor right, but in front' as the appropriate signal for such innovative style and practice.  Perhaps I was wrong to assume that other green activists also saw the creative potential therein - but better late than never, eh?  Media will require explanation of this:  just explain that we are the avante garde of politics.

If there's a momentary silence where you can see them wondering "Oh shit, does this mean I have to find a dictionary?" I suggest courteously adding that the avante garde were traditionally viewed as the leading edge of cultural development.

Being in front means showing the way.  You could cite the seminal text "The Way", by Edward Goldsmith (founder of The Ecologist).  Explain that the way is the path to future survival for humanity.  Explain that the greens have to provide it because the left & right remain addicted to economic growth so people need a positive alternative...