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So, I’m left wing

November 19, 2008 by emweb

Most Kiwis won’t say what their political affiliations are; this may be similar where you live. I find this frustrating. I was shocked when I went to Holland, though, over 20 years ago. You’d meet someone and they’d say “Hi, I’m so and so, I’m a journalist and a communist.”

In New Zealand, you might know someone six months before you even got an inkling of where their political affiliations lay and even then, you might be guessing for months or years more before you had a clear picture. Just asking a Kiwi who they voted for is often considered a real social gaffe.

For me, I wish New Zealanders would get over it. It’s pathetic and shows our immaturity as a nation. I wonder where it comes from? Farmers? In theory we have one of the biggest personal spaces in the world. Don’t come too close … Maybe our political space is as off limits as our personal space? But probably it’s because the wealth of the nation is so firmly rooted in agriculture it’s considered, at a deep level, weird to be anything but a National supporter. Anything else is an aberration so don’t ask. It would be as gauche as asking someone if they had piles. 

But hey, the world is changing.

Of course every discussion about left and right begs the question: what is ‘left wing’? Well, it aint ‘communism’. Not if you consider the Chinese, Russian, Albania etc systems ‘communist’, anyway. Those were (are, in the case of China) right wing systems of social control almost from the get go. While they did spread the wealth a little better than the systems they replaced, how hard would that have been considering their extremely iniquitous predecessor regimes? Any gumby could have arranged better distribution, but as soon as the state control ratcheted up, they were heading towards full-on fascim realy fast. But hey, good old George Orwell sussed that out long before most outside those systems did, right? Clever man, that Orwell. 

Only a facile git would level the ‘Communist’ slur at someone who’s left. Which is not to say original Communist theory wasn’t left wing, at least in some major aspects. 

To me, boiling it all down, the left puts people first, the right puts money first.

I will discuss this further.


  1. wangbo says:

    You forget that NZ has always been a strongly conformist society and we have always been discouraged from sticking out. I really do think this is related to the Tall Poppy Syndrome. In order to maintain a semblance of social harmony and conformity, hardcore traditional Labour supporters will politely nod in agreement as some dyed-in-the-wool Nat blabbers on without ever letting the Nat know he’s not in sympathetic company.

    You’re right about Orwell, and I like how you’ve boiled down left and right.

  2. emweb says:

    Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it.

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