Thursday, 4 May 2023

Remuera-dwelling Tesla drivers - Where are the clean car rebates going?

This is the title of an article in the NZ Herald published 3-5-2023- unfortunately pay walled (link below).

Prior to reading the Herald article I had written the following in a forthcoming NZ Sociology article on the climate change policies of the Green Party:
"The so-called Clean Car fees are substantial and can add up to $2875 to the cost of an imported used vehicle. Since low-income and lower-middle income earners are unlikely to be able to afford an EV, this funding model is regressive. If one adopts an intersectional perspective, in effect members of the blue collar working-class and/or Māori and/or Pasifika, are subsidising the purchase of EVs by relatively affluent Pākehā and tauiwi." 
The Herald article confirms the highly socio-economically regressive effects of this neoliberal funding model. 
For example, "Tesla owners have been the big winners of the Government’s clean car discount to date, with the buyers of 9730 Teslas getting a combined total of $83m in rebates from the scheme since it began in July 2021 - averaging about $8500 a car."
"Nine buyers of Alfa Romeos collected $12,257 in subsidies, three Jaguar buyers claimed $10,350, and a single Porsche buyer got $2300 for their Cayenne."
The main suburbs where buyers of EVS are located are either suburbs where the rich live, or suburbs where big companies domicile their vehicle fleets. 
And which politician put in the official info request that the article is based on? Someone from the Greens? No. Simeon Brown from National supposedly concerned about the ute taxes being paid by farmers and tradies. Fair enough - but National will probably exempt them, while the predominately female, Māori, and Pasifika working class will continue to subsidize the purchase of flash cars by National and ACT supporters. The Greens support for the 'clean car levy' - in the absence of prior progressive tax reform and progressiveness in the configuration of the levies - is appalling. 
Finally, no one in either Labour or the Greens seems prepared to acknowledge that the life-long carbon footprint of an EV is around 55-60% of an equivalent petrol powered vehicle. Once the maintenance of the roading network is factored then moving the entire national light vehicle fleet to EVs will only reduce overall emissions by around 30% - at best.
So what are some progressive changes that could make a real difference to reducing emissions? Use regulations - not socio-economically regressive levies - to discourage use of high emitting vehicles and the number of vehicles that can be owned per household. Among other things, there needs to be much more government investment in public and active transportation, clean green renewable energy generation (wind, solar, hydro, tidal, wave, and so forth), eco-housing, native afforestation to create long-term carbon sinks, and better waste management infrastructure.

Monday, 27 February 2023

POLS 323 Marxism - Classical and Contemporary - 2023


This is where I'll be putting links to audio-visual and other material for POLS 323 Marxism: Classical and Contemporary during Semester 2, 2023. I will be adding to, editing, and updating this blog during the course of the semester. So it is a work in progress.

Some of the av-material and links overlap with POLS 208 Democracy, so check that blog out as well.

The lecture schedule is outlined below.

Lecture Schedule
1.      What is Marxism? Is Marxism Still Relevant? Why Classical and Contemporary Marxism?
Section 1: Laying the Foundations: Karl Marx and Frederick Engels
2.      Karl Marx: Brief Biographical Sketch and ‘Marx in Soho’
3.      Karl Marx: Intellectual Significance, Biography and Historical Context
4.      Marx’s General Theory of History: Dialectical and Historical Materialism
5.      Marx’s Critique of Capitalism: Analysing Capitalist Exploitation
6.      Marx’s Critique of Capitalism: Analysing Capitalist Economic Crisis
7.      Marx’s Critique of Capitalism: What is Alienation? What’s Wrong with Liberal Democracy?
8.      Frederick Engels’ Contribution to Establishing Marxism: Biography, Early Development of Historical Materialism and Marxian Socialism, Dialectics, and Critical Analysis of Women’s Oppression.
Section 2: Classical Marxism: Overview, Context and Key Figures
9.      German Social Democracy, Classical Marxism and Vladimir Lenin’s Theory of Revolution
10.    Marxist Conceptions of Socialist Organisation from Marx to Lenin and Beyond
11.    Rosa Luxemburg: Reform or Revolution?
12.    Rosa Luxemburg: The Mass Strike and Luxemburg’s Critique of the Bolsheviks
13.    Leon Trotsky: The Fight Against Stalinism
14.    Antonio Gramsci: Hegemony and Contradictory Consciousness
15.    Georg Lukacs: History and Class Consciousness
16.    The Classical Marxist Vision of Socialism: Revolution, Socialism and Participatory Democracy

Section 3: Contemporary Marxism

17.    Marxist Educational Sociology: Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education

18.    Marxist International Relations: Capitalist Imperialism & War from its Origins to the End of the Cold War

19.    Marxist Economics: The Global Financial Crisis and its Aftermath

20.    The Political Economy of the Covid 19 Pandemic: Origins, Spread, Impact, Policy Responses.

21.    Marxist International Relations: US Supremacy (1990-2007), the Rise of China after 1978, and the Decline of US Hegemony (2008-2025)

22.    Marxist Ecology: Analysing the Causes of Resource Depletion, Declining Biodiversity, and Global Warming

23.    Socialist and Marxist Feminism: Capitalism, Gender Inequality, Intersectionality and Women’s Liberation

24.    Digital Disconnect: The History and Political Economy of the Internet and Smart Phones

25.    The Ideological Bias of the Corporate Media: Manufacturing Consent?

Conclusion: Results and Prospects
26.    The Democratic Socialist Alternative to 21st Century Capitalism.

Videos and Links
Introductions to Marx and Marxism
Marx in Soho performed by Brian Jones
This play provides both a genuinely amusing and accurate account of Marx's life and central ideas. Well worth watching. Learn stuff and have a good laugh while doing so. 
'Karl Marx' 30 minute humorous introduction to Marx by Marx Steel (in 2003). Unfortunately the only online version I have been able to find is very low definition- but it is still well worth watching.
 Marx's Theory of Surplus Value - An Excellent 10 minute Intro.

David Harvey on the Global Financial Crisis and Crises of Capitalism.
Animation of David Harvey providing a 10 minute oral outline of the Marxist analysis of capitalist economic crises. 

Roland Boer, 'In Defence of Engels', published on the Philosophers for Change blog site.
An interesting article by the author of a very good book on Engels:
Roland Boer, Criticism of Earth: On Marx, Engels and Theology (Chicago and Leiden: Haymarket and Brill, (2014 [2012]).
 Among other things, argues that Engels' "
writes of ‘two great discoveries, the materialistic conception of history and the revelation of the secret of capitalistic production through surplus-value …. With these discoveries Socialism became a science’.[31] As ever, Engels attributes these discoveries to Marx, but they were also very much his achievement."

New Zealand
For New Zealand material, some of which is relevant to this course, go to:
For other useful NZ sources and links go to:
The Russian Revolution

The most accurate short (20 minutes long) video documentary on the Russian Revolution that I have been able to find currently (2016) available on Youtube is:
Timeline: The Russian Revolution - by British socialist John Rees - produced as part of a historical 'timeline' series of historical documentaries produced by Islam TV in the UK.

Rosa Luxemburg - Then and Now

An excellent slideshow with Alistair Hulett singing the Internationale in the background.  

Lenin - What is Soviet Power?

Five minute speech by Lenin with English subtitles.
Another interesting short speech by Lenin:


Antonio Gramsci - Five Lectures

There are some interesting, informative and illuminating lectures on Gramsci available online. Here are the best five (in my view).

1. Peter Thomas – ‘Gramsci and Hegemony’ (37 minutes)
If you only have time to listen to one of these lectures, then catch the excellent lecture by Peter D. Thomas – author of the best book on Gramsci published during the past decade.

2. Alex Callinicos - ‘Gramsci and the Art of Politics’ (66 minutes)
A superb lecture on Gramsci is by Alex Callinicos.

3. Megan Trudell – ‘The Uses and Abuses of Gramsci’ (65 minutes)
Megan Trudel provide a critique of common misinterpretations and misrepresentations of Gramsci.

4. Paul D’Amato – ‘Life of a Revolutionary’ (69 minutes)
This lecture provides a superb account of the historical context of Gramsci’s intellectual and political life from 1914 to 1926.

5. Bob Jessop – ‘The Life and Work of Gramsci’ (62 minutes)
This lecture by Jessop provide a very clear account of key concepts in Gramsci’s thought, but doesn’t put enough emphasis on the context of Gramsci’s intellectual and political life, nor duly acknowledge that Gramsci was a resolutely revolutionary Marxist.
Key Marxist Websites and Links 

The best way to check out the contemporary analysis and politics of the Marxist tradition is to search the websites of some of the more significant anti-Stalinist Marxist intellectuals and organisations. These sites have lots of articles providing useful discussions of a wide range of issues.

Michael Roberts Blog - Blogging from a Marxist Economist

         Michael Roberts worked in the City of London as an economist for over 40 years. He has closely observed the machinations of global capitalism from within the dragon’s den. At the same time, he was a political activist in the labour movement for decades. Since retiring, he has written several books.  The Great Recession – a Marxist view (2009); The Long Depression (2016); Marx 200: a review of Marx’s economics (2018): and jointly with Guglielmo Carchedi as editors of World in Crisis (2018).  He has published numerous papers in various academic economic journals and articles in leftist publications.

Socialist Alternative: and

SA is the largest socialist organisation in Australia. It is based in the International Socialist tradition but has no formal links to the organisation that founded this tradition- the British Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP). As well as coverage of international issues such as Brexit, the US presidential election, the refuge crisis, and global warming, it also provides socialist analysis of political developments in Australia, such as the racist politics of Pauline Hanson, the anti-worker policies of the federal Liberal Government, Australia’s racist immigration and refugee policies, and so forth.

We Are Many:

This site is sponsored by the Center for Economic Research and Social Change, which also hosts Haymarket Books and which published the International Socialist Review. “We are simply trying to offer a small sampling of the best radical audio and video sources we know of. We know that the internet provides vast opportunities to share information and ideas, but we do not believe that this can replace the real actions of real people. We encourage our visitors, friends, fellow-travellers, and comrades to take inspiration from the people included here into their own struggles for justice.”

International Socialism Project:

This is a revolutionary socialist organisation based in the international socialist tradition formed by former members of the ISO (US) in the wake of the ISO's disbanding in 2019.

Solidarity: Against the Current:

Solidarity is a Trotskyist organisation in the U.S. Its main publication – Against the Current carries useful articles on a broad range of topics.

Democratic Socialists of America:

The DSA, which now has over 60,000 members, produces what has become an important Marxist journal: Jacobin. Available at:

The ‘About the DSA’ section of the website states: ‘The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States. DSA's members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics. At the root of our socialism is a profound commitment to democracy, as means and end. As we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, DSA fights for reforms today that will weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people. For example, we support reforms that: decrease the influence of money in politics; empower ordinary people in workplaces and the economy; restructure gender and cultural relationships to be more equitable.

We are activists committed to democracy as not simply one of our political values but our means of restructuring society. Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism — a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society. In this web site you can find out about DSA, its politics, structure and program

International Socialist Organization (NZ):

Established at the University of Otago in 1993, the ISO now has branches in Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin. Although still very small, it is not as small as the other socialist groups in Aotearoa. Recent articles on its website have focused on: the TPPA, Gramsci, Brexit, the struggle for a Living Wage, disability rights, workers’ struggles, ANZAC Day, Maori struggles, the 2018 and 2020 elections, the climate strike movement, Covid-19 pandemic, and the Ardern Labour-led Government.

Inequality: A New Zealand Conversation:

This site contains useful and interesting articles on inequality in New Zealand.

The Standard:

The most widely read left-of-centre NZ-based source of online news and commentary. Well worth reading in relation to developments and events within New Zealand.

The About section of the site states:

“We’re a cooperative who saw a gap in the New Zealand political blogosphere and decided that we should have a go at filling it here at The Standard blog site. We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization.”

We come from a variety of backgrounds and our political views don’t always match up but it’d be fair to say that all of us share a commitment to the values and principles that underpin the broad labour movement and we hope that perspective will come through strongly as you read the blog.”


Counter-futures: Left Thought and Practice in Aotearoa:

Currently New Zealand’s most important left-wing academic journal.

RS21: Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century:

About: “Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century (rs21) is a news, comment, analysis and campaigning website run by a group of revolutionary socialists in Britain.”

Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP): Publishes Socialist Worker (UK) (weekly socialist newspaper), Socialist Review (monthly magazine) and International Socialism (quarterly journal of socialist theory and analysis).

Still the largest socialist group in Britain, the SWP emerged from the most serious crisis in its history in 2013 less than half the size that it was prior to the crisis. Nonetheless, it has recovered and its main publications contain useful socialist analysis of developments and issues taking place internationally and in the UK.

The Fourth International:

This is the main English language publication of the Fourth International that was established by Trotsky in 1938. The FI is the other major Trotskyist current with affiliated organisations in many countries. One of the major issues that divides the ‘orthodox Trotskyists’ of the Fourth International from the ‘neo-Trotskyists’ in the IS tradition concerns their different analyses of the rise and international spread of Stalinism. But on many, if not most, issues there is broad agreement between the member organisations of the two largest anti-Stalinist socialist currents. Quite apart from this, International Viewpoint carries very good socialist analysis of international political developments and issues.

The Alternative Press Centre:

As a very large online directory of radical (anarchist, feminist, environmentalist, and socialist) periodicals, with links.

Climate Change and Capitalism

The Titanic:

• To access the 2021 major assessment report (AR6) by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), go to:

• To access the 2014 major assessment report (AR5) by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), go to:

If you want to download the most important graphs and figures then go to:

• To access the 2007 major assessment report (AR4) by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),
go to:

• Video showing thinning of Greenland polar ice based on international study using satellite data and photographs from the University of Leeds website.

• See also the British channel 4 news report on the study (2012) at:

• "2012 Record Low Artic Ice Sheet". The Arctic ice cap is melting at a rapid rate and may shrink to its lowest-ever level within weeks as temperatures continue to rise. Al Jazeera's Nick Clark joined an expedition travelling deep into the Arctic Circle to Qaanaaq, in Greenland. Three minute report on the melting of the Arctic ice caps. Well worth watching.

• Very interesting report on the 'carbon bubble' on the Guardian website. Highlights which stock exchange listed companies have the greatest carbon assets and the financial risks that they face if these assets become unburnable due to the introduction of more effective environmental policies addressing the causes of climate change. This also indicates just how powerfully motivated these companies are to lobby governments to prevent them introducting more effective environmental policies to counter global warming.

• Really interesting article in The Guardian: "The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests."

• John Bellamy Foster gives lecture on capitalism and climate change.

• Climate Central - a US based research foundation - has an interactive 'Surging Seas' map that allows you to see the degree of encroachment on land of sea level rises.
Comparative Statistics on Gender Inequality

• UN Women provides lots of interesting and useful comparative data on gender inequality and women's participation in government.

The (2011) Progress of Women report can be downloaded from:

The World's Women 2010: Trends and Statistics can be downloaded from:

The World's Women 2015: Trends and Statistics can be downloaded from:
        The World's Women 2020: Trends and Statistics isn't downloadable as a single PDF but rather presents 100 'data stories'. Available at:
         • Statistics New Zeland bar graphs describing female representation in parliament and local government from 1996 to 2014 can be found at:

Digital Disconnect: Robert McChesney on How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy

• Short 17 minute segment on the capitalist political of the internet with Aaron Swartz and Robert McChesney (from Democracy Now!).

• This is a lecture on capitalism and the internet by Robert McChesney.

He gives another lecture on the same topic at;
Manufacturing Consent 9 Minute Summary:

Amy Goodman: _How_Capitalism_is_Turning_the_Internet_Against_Democracy

Videos on the Global Justice and Occupy Movements

Showdown in Seattle- 'This is what democracy looks like'. Part V of the Indy Media documentary on the global justice protests that successfully shutdown the millenium round of the WTO at the end of 1999. This sparked the dramatic growth of the global justice movement during the first half of the 2000s.

• Occupy Wall Street Video: Global Day of Action, 15OCT
Six minute video focusing on the protests of Occupy New York.

• The Guardian: Occupy Protests Mapped Around The World

• The Guardian: Images of the World Social Forum 2013 in Tunis

• A Twenty Year Programme of Neoliberal Fiscal Austerity?
British Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, said in 2013 that the cuts pushed through by the Coalition did not go nearly far enough. He said that there was a “very long way to go” and added: “This is not a two-year project or a five-year project. This is a 10-year project, a 20-year generational battle to beef up the economy in ways that we have not seen for many, many decades.”

The Neoliberal Critique of Marxism

• Milton Friedman - Redistribution of Wealth Chicago and monetarist economist, Milton Friedman, providing a neoliberal justification of the unequal distribution of wealth in advanced capitalist societies.

• Hayek on Socialism Friedrich von Hayek providing a brief critique of socialism.

Music Videos 2023

323 Videos
The Guardian - "Apple and Disney among companies backing groups against US climate bill"

Lecture 1
• Wet Leg - Chaise Longue
• Curtis Harding - Hopeful
• The Guardian

Lecture 2
• London Grammar - Hell to the Liars
 • For those I love - Birthday
• SAULT - Free 
• Wolf Alice - Delicious Things
Lecture 3
• Big Thief - Masterpiece
• PJ Harvey - The Wheel

Lecture 4 - A
• The Uncluded - Delicate Cycle 
 • Courtney Marie Andrews - Table for One
Lecture 4 - B
• Florence and the Machine - Hunger
 • Courtney Barnett - Depreston
Lecture 5
 • Jamie XX - Loud Places 
  • Sunflower Bean - Crisis

Lecture 7
  • Valerie June - Shakedown
• Wolf Alice - Lipstick on the Glass
• Wolf Alice -Don't Delete the Kisses
• The Interrupters - Take Back the Power
Lecture 8
• For those I love - You stayed / to live
Lecture 9
• Slowdive - Star Roving
• Arcade Fire - Ready to Start

Lecture 10
• Rage Against the Machine - Take the Power Back\
• Sunflower Bean - 2013
• Daughter - Smother
Lectures 11-12
• Linton Kwesi Johnson - Reggae Fi Peach
• The National - Bloodbuzz (Ohio)
• Mazzy Star - Fade into You 
• First Aid Kit - Emmy-Lou
Lecture 13
• Boots Riley - The Guillotine

Lecture 14
• The Clash - Call Up

Lecture 16
• Lana Del Rey - Mariners Apartment Complex
• The Specials - Ghost Town
• The Interrupters - Take Back the Power
• P J Harvey - Good Fortune  
Lecture 18 (first after lockdown)
    The Shins - A Comet Appears
     Shapeshifter - Monarch
• Big Thief - Mary

Lecture 20 (first after lockdown)
    Nirvana - Never Mind
• White Stipes - Seventh National Army
Lecture 21 
 Sonic Youth - Kool Thing

 Lecture 22
Curtis Harding - Hopeful
• Arcade Fire  - The Suburbs
Lecture 23
• Wolf Alice - The Beach II
Lectures 24-26
• The Shins - Pink Bullets
•Radiohead - Creep
• Palma Violets - Best of Friends
Slowdive - When the Sun Hits