Thursday, July 31, 2008

petty bourgeois counterrevolutionary imperialism


So, in the last few weeks there have been pretty little fliers pinned up around campus for the Workers' Party of New Zealand, with good old Che Guevara's image (because he's so much trendier than Stalin or Mao and ever so slightly less notorious) which invite students to join in the fun of creating a Communist future.

Not that I have any desire to impinge anyone else's freedom of speech (after all, I am not a Communist) or to protest anyone's fundamental human right to be an idiot ...

... but which bright spark thought it would be a good idea to pin one on the History building's notice board? History, you know? The discipline that remembers things that happened, especially the things that went badly wrong?

9 comments:

Sarakastic said...

I've been seeing this image a lot on purses & t-shirts worn by people who just think it makes them look cool. These people need to pick up a book every now & again.

Tusk said...

Ah, but you see- that wasn't *real* communism. *Real* communism works.

I bet they don't understand that his face is now a capitolist icon.

~Virginia~ said...

idiots, indeed.

comradealastair said...

Wow, a very deep and convincing analysis there. "It liek went badli wr0ng! Zomfg!"

No evidence to back that statement up, no arguments beyond the initial statement, no sources, no nothing - just an arrogant and undeservedly high opinion of yourself and you're views.

I can't speak for the Christchurch branch, but I suspect the reason they didn't put Stalin or Mao's image on the flyer is because... um, well, the WP is not a Stalinist or a Maoist organisation. Wow! Imagine what a little research could have done... you could have gotten your facts straight and not made dumbass statements like that!

Incidentally, a likely explanation is that one of the History lecturers is a Workers Party activist. So Canterbury University thought reasonably highly of his grasp of the historical discipline...

ellesappelle said...

comradealastair: A little research? The very first reference to the WP, via google, on its own website, describes it like so: "The Workers' Party's ideology is pro-Mao, Marxism-Leninism; it is based on the teachings and practice of the great revolutionaries from Marx to Mao". Mao, being, er, Mao. Marxist-Leninism being, er, the ideology propagated by all the Soviet leaders.

I apologise likewise for not wishing to inflict a deep and convincing analysis on readers of what is in general a light-hearted blog. If you would like, however, I will send you my thesis when it's complete.

All the same, I don't think I need to deliver a deep and convincing analysis simply to make a point. The WP poster didn't. This is a blog, not an essay. And after spending the last year immersed in documents describing Communist societies, forgive me if I'm a little biased toward emotional reaction and making an outburst of genuine horror that people can forget what happened.

Likewise, I would be very surprised if one of the history lecturers were a WP activist. Even if they are, that particular noticeboard is free for anyone to use: advertisements for flatmates, language tuition etc also adorn it, and it is not the same as a department-condoned noticeboard on the next floor up.

To tell the truth, I love that you used the word "Zomfg" because it is an attractive word and I would like to use it again. But trying to ridicule me by making me sound like a pre-teen text messager isn't exactly a deep, convincing analysis of your own.

However, I "get" that what I wrote was offensive to you. In future, I won't call you an idiot. I'm sorry we disagree. All the same, I feel absolutely free to criticise any group that puts itself into the political spotlight, just as I would expect to attract criticism for my own criticism.

socialistdemocracy said...

"The very first reference to the WP, via google, on its own website, describes it like so: "The Workers' Party's ideology is pro-Mao, Marxism-Leninism; it is based on the teachings and practice of the great revolutionaries from Marx to Mao".

In the interests of accuracy, I would point out that the google reference is out of date - see http://workersparty.org.nz/spark-archive/party-history/

The current Workers Party is an amalgam of loosely pro-Mao and pro-Trotsky currents (as well as people who would describe themselves as neither). It does not have a party line on China under Mao or the former Soviet Union for that matter.

Thus the Workers Party as an organisation can hardly be held accountable for the errors of Mao, anymore than Christians can for the Spanish Inquisition or George W. Bush.

We are unashamedly Marxist, however that does not mean we uphold the actions of every indivdual or group who has claimed to stand in that tradition.

If you want to criticise us for our anti-capitalist politics and stuff we have actually written though I don´t have a problem with that and look forward to the debate commencing!

socialistdemocracy said...

More information for your edification here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers_party_nz

ellesappelle said...

"We are unashamedly Marxist, however that does not mean we uphold the actions of every indivdual or group who has claimed to stand in that tradition."

Fair enough. I guess the stance I take is that from my limited knowledge of the Russian revolution especially and other Marxist revolutions, I think that although other outcomes were possible, I don't think the possibilities were ever going to be much better. But I accept that is speculation and I could be completely wrong.

LEstes65 said...

OH my goodness - your last sentence made me laugh out loud!