Alas, dear friends, it is late in the night and I’m buggered if I can recall what trail of sorry links lead me to the posts upon which I am to unleash my wrath.
It’s yet another spin-off of the cultural clusterfuck that is Nationhood Speech Der Zweite; specifically, the response by Chris Trotter entitled “The Liberal Left: Who Needs You?” Our special surprise guest is a commenter going by the name of John Pagani, apparently an adviser to The Speechmaker Himself, assuming anyone is honest about their identities on the interwebz these days (she says, writing under a pseudonym).
First things first, there’s the casual dismissal of all and sundry who thought that maybe explicitly modelling a speech after the Don Brash/Orewa mold might not be entirely kosher:
Their reflexive condemnation of anyone who dares to hold Maori politicians to the same standards as Pakeha betrays an arrogant unwillingness to accept the ethical norms of their own society. These people have become the fervent champions of an indigenous culture they can never truly join because, fundamentally, they despise their own.
On the “same standard” bollocks, see my previous post. Idiot/Savant notes well in the comments,
Be honest, Chris. The word you’re looking for is “self-hating Pakeha”. Or maybe “race-traitor”.
Disclaimer: I am so white it’s ridiculous. I don’t say I’m “proud to be white” because HOLY CRAP with the instant supremacist associations. Also, you know, taking pride in the identity of an ethnicity which has categorically dumped on basically every other ethnicity over the past several centuries? Not so much my thing.
But I am white. My cultural points of reference are white and Western and English-speaking. And there’s a big fucking difference between acknowledging that white people have seriously fucked up on the race relations/not committing genocide front and “despising [my] own [culture].”
But I guess it makes it much easier to ignore people’s objections when you can say “oh they just suffer from too much liberal white guilt” – and when you’re happy to forget the fact that we have quite a bit to be guilty about. Throwing in that whole “too arrogant to accept basic ethics” line is a nice touch, too.
Fuck that, though, I’ve covered it already – point is, Chris Trotter is my least favourite kind of leftie: the one who thinks being a leftie makes him automatically open-minded and understanding of privilege and power dynamics and oppression, but clings happily to the notion that every single bad thing in the world comes down to nothing more than class.
Side note: Trotter responds to I/S’ comment with:
If the cap fits,Comrade …
GET IT, GUYS, HE’S A TOTAL LEFTIE BECAUSE HE CALLS PEOPLE COMRADE, WHY DON’T YOU WORSHIP AT THE FEET OF HIS MARXIST CREDENTIALS.
Anyway, point is: identity politics. Ah, yes, those trifling matters that get in the way of real class struggle. Can’t think why “objects to “identity politics”" is a phrase instantly associated in my mind with white heterosexual males who happen to have a few leftwing ideas, but oh well …
Along with hassling the ZOMG LIBERAL LEFT for having no power or influence “beyond the blogosphere” (whereas Chris totes has influence ’cause they wheel him out to sing The Red Flag on election nights for a laugh) there’s a few nice jabs at we Liberal Lefties:
Those faint-hearted liberals who can’t stand the heat should get out of the kitchen.
They have no understanding of, nor empathy for, the hopes and fears of ordinary people.
The truth of the matter is, liberal leftists have been preaching to themselves for so long they no longer appreciate how few people give a tinker’s cuss what they say.
And then there’s allegedly-John-Pagani in the comments:
It’s about connecting with things that matter to people and making politics work for people, instead of instructing people in what’s good for them and inventing fabrications about the people the left represents.
And that’s frankly where I get right fucking pissed off.
Because apparently, the Liberal Left just don’t understand ordinary people. We don’t care about things that matter to people, we just want to instruct them because we’re bossy britches. Fuck, I’m stunned no one managed to insert a nanny/evil headmistress/other authoritarian-woman-figure-who-kills-our-fun-but-is-not-a-Helen-Clark-reference-AT-ALL into the discourse.
Why is the second “people” in both italics and bold up there? Because when two guys get in a huddle and start slanging against the Liberal Left and the evil distraction of identity politics, and whinge about how we need to think about ordinary people, I think we can make a few very good guesses as to the kind of people they’re talking about.
And I’ll give you a hint: it ain’t you or me, assuming you are not a middle class white heterosexual cisgendered currently able bodied male.
Because here’s what matters to me:
It matters to me that I not be passed over for a job or a promotion because I’m a woman who’ll obviously just leave to have babies.
It matters to me that I have the right to be paid the same as a man for doing the same work.
It matters to me that gay men and women can have their relationships recognised by the state just like every two-in-three-chance-of-divorce hetero couple.
It matters to me that people of colour not get pulled over by the cops because brown people shouldn’t be driving expensive cars, or are obviously on drugs because they’re brown, or not be played by white people in movies about their lives.
It matters to me that people with disabilities can travel on aeroplanes, and get into buildings, and pass exams at school (look out for that incredibly-expletive-filled-post tomorrow!) and go shopping without worrying some bastard’s going to throw them out for having a hearing dog.
It matters to me that people should be able to practise their faith without fear of persecution, and that people not-of-faith should be able to say so without harassment.
But fuck all that! That’s just identity politics! That’s just me assuming that the way people identify, the way society wants to identify them, the assumptions others feel free to make about you because of your identity or assumed identity, might actually affect people! It might actually rate a bit higher on their List Of Things That Pissed Me Off Today:
- Harassed on bus by guy who wouldn’t leave me alone.
- First question asked at job interview: “Do you have kids?”
- Threatened with sexual violence by blog commenter.
- Still alienated from means of production.
Come on, guys, the big important thing is obviously class struggle! We can’t possibly let the things that affect women and people of colour and people with disabilities and trans people and people who ignore the gender binary and people whose identities are not the default white het cis male – who, in fact, by being not-white-het-cis-males, actually have the audacity to have identities – get in the way of the greater good!
And if we have to throw Maori under the bus to achieve our [white het cis male] worker’s utopia, then so be it.
To borrow a line from the bikers’ rally at Parliament, I can only ask, though: who’s next?