Tonight on 'Citizen A': Martyn Bradbury recalls the rotten documentary series he made for TV3. Then he and Chris Trotter compare facial hair growth. Hilarity ensues. This show is better than 'Melody Rules'!

Chris Trotter, 'New Zealand's leading left wing commentator' (Paul Henry),  is fully engaged in the New Zealand political arena. Are you thrilled yet?

Chris Trotter,  political commentator and loyal  Labour Party supporter, has been criticising me again. I can assure you all though that I  am happily immune to Trotterism.  So you can still visit this humble blog safe in the knowledge that you won't be confronted with posts nonsensically defending the Labour Party.

I view Trotter's politics in much the same way that Rosa Luxemburg  probably viewed the dismal politics of Eduard Bernstein. But I'm not, of course, suggesting that I'm of the same intellectual calibre as Luxemburg. But Trotter, given  his political buffoonery, may be of the same intellectual rank as Bernstein. Poor Chris.

But in one of his recent  criticisms of me  Trotter suggested that my politics prevented me from being  fully engaged in the  New Zealand political scene. I might add that Trotter meant the bourgeois political scene.   I have many friends and comrades within the left, both here and overseas.

But this is what Trotter said specifically:

It's your incapacity to deal with the real that limits your contribution to NZ politics, Steven, and which leaves you only the barren alternative of indulging in a ceaseless and unconstructive criticism of all those who refuse to participate in your political negativity.

That's telling me, isn't it? Take a 1000 lines, Mr Cowan - 'I must not limit my contribution to New Zealand politics by criticising the Labour Party all the time.'

In contrast to me living in my state of unreality, Chris  Trotter thinks he is usefully contributing to New Zealand  politics.  He does this apparently by writing newspaper columns, talking on various  radio and television shows and, of course via his blog. As 'New Zealand's leading left wing commentator'  (Paul Henry) Trotter is a man whose opinions are sensible enough to safely air in the corporate media.

But when Chris is not being erudite with Duncan Garner, he is busy shining his light of wisdom  on what remains of the  Labour Party. 'Never fear, Chris is here.' he calls out into the darkness. 'Solidarity forever - but only if you are not a bloody socialist'.

Trotter, you see,  also views his role as alerting Labour's  'rank-and-file to any possibilities for radical change that their MPs may have missed or rejected.'

I would of thought that the possibility of Labour advocating radical change was about as likely  as me joining the National Party but, then again, Trotter's idea of 'radical change' is promoting David Cunliffe to Labour leader. But then, Dave Shearer showed that he might be radical about the power companies but then Labour's deputy leader spoiled everything when he  said that the party  didn't believe  in interfering with market forces. So maybe Dave isn't radical anymore. And the other Dave is. Probably. Maybe.  But that might change again. Possibly. Chris hasn't worked it out yet. It sounds like an episode of that old sitcom Soap, doesn't it?

But seriously. Chris's favourite revolutionary leader (can you guess who it is?)  once observed:

In ordinary times, the state, be it monarchical or democratic, elevates itself above the nation, and history is made by specialists in that line of business--kings, ministers, bureaucrats, parliamentarians, journalists.

Does this not apply to Chris Trotter?   There  he is, above us all,  making history with his specialist mates like Duncan Garner, Martyn Bradbury, Wendy Petrie, Ali Mau....Danny Watson. There goes dear old Chris - 'fully participating' in New Zealand politics on Martyn Bradbury's  Citizen A show. Gosh.

Are the rest of us consigned to be just mere participants while political giants like Chris Trotter make history on low rating television shows?

Am I depressed?  Yes I am actually. I've been downcast about the awful season my beloved Newcastle United have  had  but I don't break out in a cold sweat at night worrying why I've never been  invited on to TV3's Election Night specials.

It was Trotter's  favourite revolutionary hero who wrote that  ordinary folk were not permanently doomed to be mere participants while history was made  by their  so-called 'representatives':

But at those crucial moments when the old order becomes no longer endurable to the masses, they break over the barriers excluding them from the political arena, sweep aside their traditional representatives, and create by their own interference the initial groundwork for a new regime...The history of a revolution is for us, first of all, a history of the forcible entrance of the masses into the realm of rulership over their own destiny.

Encapsulated here is an absolute  refusal to capitulate to the political establishment  and his unshakable belief in the capacity of the downtrodden to struggle for their own emancipation and construct a new society.

I believe in that and always will. Chris Trotter doesn't and never will.


  1. You appear to be of the view, Steven, that political discussion and debate is of no value: I disagree.

    You also appear to believe that, in the intervening years between those infrequent and all-too-often ineffectual eruptions of "the masses" into "bourgeois politics", the socialist's role is to simply sit back and throw stones at all those who feel that their time might not be entirely wasted in trying to make life in the non-revolutionary periods of history as bearable for working people as possible.

    Once again, I disagree with your hard-line approach to these matters.

    That aside, I must congratulate you on yet another manifestation of your magnificent obsession with my good self. As Oscar Wilde remarked: "The only thing worse than being talked about - is NOT being talked about."

  2. Another deliberate misinterpretation of socialism. Socialists are some of the most determined promoters and defenders of reforms that benefit people.

    Your comments are wildly inaccurate but are to be expected from someone who continues to foister delusions abut the neoliberal Labour Party.

  3. Observing from the sidelines, I've noticed that the more enmeshed people become within the 'political scene' the further they drift from us ordinary folk. I've seen it time and time again and only a few manage to resist the temptations of the rarified air, the well padded pay packets and the name dropping . Meanwhile, I trudge off to my cleaning job, my broken-arsed corolla costing me more and more to register every year , my power bills are rising ..I rage against both Right Wing Parties here in NZ Labour/National Coke/Pepsi , they don't actually give a fuck, it's a career , a pocket padding exercise ... ( oh and now I see another Caygill is about to try his hand at slurping at the public trough ) . I wouldn't mind a commentator's job, getting paid for yabbering , get to sit with all my media pals ( all right wing ) and chuckle about this or that politician. meanwhile my son's house has raw fuckin sewage all over the back yard every time it rains in ChCh and his family is always ill because of it and jenny fuckin shipley is getting paid..HOW MUCH ? ... to sit on some Earthquake committee...and Norm Kirk would roll in his grave at how right wing Labour has become .... sigh But...I'm alright Jack


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