Year End Summary.

datePosted on 11:16, December 31st, 2015 by Pablo

Kiwipolitico continues to chug along in its niche space in the NZ political blogosphere. We published 41 posts this past year, all but three of which I wrote. Kate guest posted in May (on universal human rights) and Lew wrote posts in July and August (on Labour’s inept pronouncements on race and the Auckland housing market, and tasers). We averaged around 4 posts per month, with April being the high mark (5 posts) and February and November being low points (2 posts).  Our readership continues its gradual decline, slipping to around 3500 views per month. In a sign that readership is indeed content driven, the biggest month for views was February (4900) even though it was a month when only two posts were published. That included the most viewed post (on NZ’s role in the anti-Daesh coalition), which was followed in views by the recently published post on the Police search for Rawshark as part of the sequels to the Dirty Politics saga. The third most viewed post was Lew’s July post on Labour’s clumsy attempt to layer race into the debate about Auckland’s housing market.

Most of what I wrote focused on comparative politics, foreign policy, international relations, intelligence matters and security. I did a couple of “lighter” posts (on Donald Trump and cricket sledging) and  a few on NZ politics (including the post about the NZDF’s defamatory treatment of Jon Stephenson), but in the main it was my usual repertoire of subjects.

Most of our traffic comes directly from search engines and other NZ Left-leaning blogs. Twitter and Facebook also provide significant traffic and were instrumental in sending viewers to the most read posts. Mention of a post by larger blogs such as The Standard or Kiwiblog also sends more viewers than usual our way.

We have a dedicated core of readers and commentators who help inform discussion of selected topics. One area of success has been the significant reduction in the number of trolls even though we have not had to ban anyone this year. The pests from the past have not returned and the new ones–especially the NZ government employee writing from his work computer and feebly trying to cover his IP tracks with common misdirection techniques that are easily overcome with reverse tracking technologies–have come to realise that there is no point in trolling because all they do is get slapped silly. I must admit I do miss “peter quixote”/”lolita’s brother”/Paul Scott, who voluntarily stopped posting his reactionary diatribes for reasons unknown to me.

An ongoing source of concern is the lack of diversity in our contributors and the one man show aspects of the blog. Lew is busy with life balance issues, Kate was and perhaps will be a very occasional visitor, and the last remaining member of the original cadre, Anita, has all but disappeared. I write on KP as an outlet for more ideological toned and personal missives, since my business writing has to be non-partisan, neutral and ideology-free. My hope is that the other members will return to writing more regularly and/or that we pick up another member willing to contribute regularly. That is important because we need to expand the range of subjects we write about and I cannot do that on my own given the limitations of my “expertise” and interests.  Having said that, I will endeavour to do my bit to keep KP rolling as an alternative source of analysis and interpretation of social dynamics, both foreign and domestic.

In any event I would like to wish our readers the best for a productive and happy 2016.  Cheers!

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19 Responses to “Year End Summary.”

  1. Korakys on December 31st, 2015 at 14:07

    I subscribe with RSS by the way.

    It’s hard to find people who can talk about NZ security (and related) issues intelligently so thanks for that this year.

  2. peterlepaysan on December 31st, 2015 at 22:24

    Your blog is always one I look for. May the new year be a good one. Cheers!

  3. Chris Webster on January 1st, 2016 at 08:20

    Kia ora Paul. We too read your column regularly because of your expertise & knowledge. Often for us it is a ‘long read’ & many times revisited to understand the nuances & application to the circumstances of the topic. We remain readers, supporters & will continue to recommend Kiwipolitico to family & friends. May your success continue in 2016. CW.

  4. Anne on January 1st, 2016 at 08:37

    I don’t profess to fully understand all of it, but your knowledge and experience of security and related matters both in NZ and elsewhere has been a source of enlightenment for me. Your expertise has become very much a necessity given the increasing waste of space that is the NZ MSM.

    Long may it continue.

  5. Pablo on January 1st, 2016 at 10:53

    Thanks all. It is a honour to have dedicated readers who appreciate the writing here. I am hoping that I can get Lew to write more frequently because he is superb in his take on things (even if we disagree from time to time) and with some luck bring a new author on board. All suggestions welcome.

  6. Andrew R on January 3rd, 2016 at 06:39

    This blog is one of my check at least weekly blogs. Keep going.

  7. Heidi on January 4th, 2016 at 19:49

    ^^^ Lurker, first time poster.

    I often pop in here when I need to check my sanity; following exposure to the mainstream tripe. Happy New Year.

  8. Pablo on January 4th, 2016 at 21:22

    Thanks Andrew. I appreciate your readership and commentary. It is also good to know that Heidi is “lurking.”

  9. CHris on January 6th, 2016 at 21:48

    Hi, Thanks for your posts. I too look for them weekly – if not daily. I very much appreciate them & the work you put into them. Stay strong.

  10. Philip Ferguson on January 17th, 2016 at 13:05

    One of the issues I’d like to see you tackle Paul is the changing make-up of the power elite in this country and the connected changes to the dominant ideology.

    I realise that you don’t especially identify as ‘left’ or ‘right’ – fine by me if you write good analytical stuff – but it seems to me, as a leftist, that much of the left is chronically out-of-date in its analysis, often talking as if we were still in the Muldoon era in terms of social policy (and as if we were still in the neo-liberal era in terms of economic policy).

    Now a plug. One of the things that we at Redine have been trying to do since we began in 2011, and before that in print publications, is get to grips with these issues.

    Here are some recent samples:

    ‘Respect for diversity’: modern NZ capitalism’s necessary ideology: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/respect-for-diversity-modern-nz-capitalisms-necessaryby-ideology/

    Capitalist modernisation and the NZ left: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/capitalist-modernisation-and-the-nz-left/

    The Key-English government in the context of capital accumulation in NZ today (the stuff in this was written in 2008/9 and has stood up well I think): https://rdln.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/the-key-english-government-in-the-context-of-capital-accumulation-in-new-zealand-today/

    Phil

  11. Pablo on January 17th, 2016 at 14:16

    Thanks Phil.

    I hope that KP readers will check out your links. One of our internal debates here is the basic structure versus superstructural argument. I am of the opinion that class and a class line must be the core of any Left strategy and praxis. Lew is a champion of the view that identity politics are the core of the new Left. This has been a point of difference that has animated our discussions over the years, to which other dedicated readers have added their own thoughts.

    Unfortunately, due to the press of outside concerns, our discussions of Kiwi politics have diminished recently. It is my hope that Lew will return to the fray and that we can pick up some new writers with an interest in such things. Cheers.

  12. Philip Ferguson on January 17th, 2016 at 14:30

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    On class, folks might check out Class, class consciousness and left political practice: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2012/10/24/class-class-consciousness-and-left-political-practice/

    Regarding identity politics, one of the key reasons that the left is more disconnected from the working class than ever is that the left has abandoned so much of the working class.

    Often the working class is seen as the repository of political backwardness rather than as the agent of fundamental social change.

    But one of the interesting things about the gay marriage referendum in Ireland last year was that the vote for gay marriage was strongest of all in the poor, working class heartlands of Dublin. 62% of those voting in the referendum voted ‘yes’ to gay marriage, but in polling booths in poor working class areas in Dublin, the vote was in the 70s and up as high as 80%.

    Phil

  13. Philip Ferguson on January 17th, 2016 at 14:31

    We need more class politics and less political correctness!

  14. Pablo on January 17th, 2016 at 15:45

    Phil,

    The irony of the Trump and Sanders candidacies in the US is that they both purport to speak to and for working class people (the code phrase for which is “middle classes”). But whereas The Bern is speaking to them sincerely using his version of a class line, The Donald is exploiting their false consciousness and fear by focusing on race, religion, ethnicity, country of origin, etc. My hunch that much of the overlap between the two campaigns will resolve in favour of Bernie once independents make their choices but it is interesting to see how both sides are speaking to that section of the electorate..

    On another note. My background and experience with Left politics is markedly different than those of most natural born Kiwi leftists. Based on that dissimilar trajectory it seems to me that one of the major weaknesses in Kiwi Left thinking and praxis is derived from the fact that it has never experienced armed conflict of any significance and has not had real confrontations as a class since the 1951 waterfront strikes and the anti-Springbok Tour protests of 1981 (and the latter where not entirely class based). And even these confrontations were relatively minor when compared to the struggles of other foreign working class movements.

    The crucible of class struggle is shaped by historical experience, which in turn helps determine the nature of future struggles. In that measure I believe that the relatively peaceful nature of class relations in NZ, to which can be added co-opted unions that accept capitalist logics, corporatist labour legislation, the centrifugal effects of identity politics in a heterogenous society such as ours and the myriad bread and circus diversions presented by the corporate media, has weakened the ability of working class people to see the fundamental bases of the inherent conflict between them and the propertied classes for whom they work and to whom they submit politically.

    I also happen to believe that class compromise is a core aspect of liberal capitalist democracy. But for that compromise to be genuine it must be negotiated by opponents who respect each other based on their past histories. Because of its history I do not believe that NZ managerial and political elites respect the working class (much less fear them) nor do I have faith that the current ensemble of working class agents truly represents the interests of their principals rather than those of themselves. Hence the dire state of the NZ Left as a social force and collective organisation in pursuit of the common good.

  15. Phil F on January 18th, 2016 at 14:26

    I agree with all this.

    Which, of course, still leaves the issue of why the NZ working class is the way it is.

    An interesting contrast for me is two industrial disputes in two different countries in 1913.

    Here, the workers fought for six weeks and complained about being batoned by mounted police.

    In Dublin, the workers fought for six months and, when the cops attacked them (and killed two of them), they formed an armed workers’ militia and ‘put manners’ on the police.

    Two working classes but worlds apart.

    One knows how to fight, one knows how to whinge and play victim.

    Phil

  16. Phil F on January 18th, 2016 at 14:31

    I start to deal with the Irish and NZ working classes here: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/1913-ireland-and-new-zealand-when-workers-fought-back/

    But I want to write something much more substantial.

    There is also a difference between the working class in Australia and NZ; Australian workers are quite a bit more Bolshie. May have something to do with the fact that NZ got well-behaved agricultural labourers and domestic servants as migrants from the British Isles, whereas Australia got rebel Irish and English convicts (ie people who would rather steal bread than see their families starve).

  17. Phil F on January 18th, 2016 at 14:32

    There is also a difference between Maori and pakeha workers. Maori workers are much more prepared, in general, to ‘have a go’.

  18. Phil Sage on January 26th, 2016 at 09:50

    Pablo
    Happy New Year. You have diversity. I still read and comment occasionally! ;-)

  19. Pablo on January 27th, 2016 at 09:24

    Thanks Phil. All the best to you as well.

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