Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bloody hobbits!

I work in the film industry occasionally (and believe me, occasionally is as good as it gets in this industry), and the last few weeks have been dominated by the incredibly ugly Hobbit dispute. Almost all the full time paid film work in wellington involved working for Peter Jackson or on international films using his studios. There has been no major international film work in Wellington for about two years so everyone is pretty desperate for work. None of that excuses the embarrassing and slightly disgusting pro hobbit and anti union marches organised by film workers and actors who seem to have no idea where their own long term interests lie.

I haven't got time to write a lot, I will do it one day next month, but until then, remember that not all film workers are anti union. many are disgusted by what has been happening, and despairing of our fellow workers who have been so short sighted by siding with the bosses. Like them, we would quite like well paid and fairly permanent work on a major film production. Unlike them, we don't have the boss, the government and large sections of the mainstream media on our side, so a lot of us have to keep our mouths shut if we want work.

In the meantime check out the collection of links under this post by Bryce Edwards:
‘We are not for the Hobbit workers, and we are not against them’ – Labour Party
and this one on readingthemaps:
Off the Fence Comrades!


  1. I was meaning to wish you best of luck with the blogging, Mark. It was interesting reading your 2004 piece on the anarchist scene - I actually went through Imminent Rebellion, which I hadn't read before, and looked at the replies (I'm a geek, I know) to see if your complaints were accurate. They certainly seemed to be! Because my partner comes from a Steiner school background, I have over the last few become very familiar with the lifestylist approach to politics your article discusses. It is a type of politics which can be rather trying, although I suppose it can be seen as a response to the colourless nature of much of the traditional left (EP Thompson said that Marxism missed a great opportunity late in the nineteenth century, when it failed to make to acknowledge the importance of human creativity by making William Morris into one of its canonical, founding father figures) and also an expression of the longstanding Kiwi tendency to reject society by 'going bush' and trying to become self-sufficient, or at least more self-sufficient (I think Goff actually nodded slightly to this instinct in his recent Labour Conference speech, by speaking of the typical Kiwi as someone who loved to get away from it all by going camping...)

    I suppose I wonder why, given your longstanding dissatisfaction with 'actually existing anarchism', you don't just quit calling yourself an anarchist.

  2. Hi,
    firstly, thanks for the being the first person to notice my blog. I won't be updating it as regularly as yours or even most blogs, as I go for months without writing anything and then am suddenly seized by a desire to rant, often on wildly different topics. so this is a place to put my political rantings.

    As for anarchism, my dissatisfaction has always been with the anarchist movement, rather than anarchist ideas. I'm actually feeling more positive about anarchism in this country than I have for years. As i said in the intro to the first article, there are now several class struggle anarchist organisations in NZ, and although the 'non organised' and 'non class struggle' part of the movement is still there, it is becoming more and more irrelevant.

    Which is not to deny groups like AWSM are tiny, but at least there is potential for being a useful part of a movement. Personally my main problem is I'm burnt out and exhausted, and right now I'm enjoying being a part time troublemaker who is part of a group that has real potential.


  3. and, I should say, at least one of the authors of the imminent rebellion articles that opposed my view of class, is now a member of Beyond Resistance. so things are improving somewhat :o)

  4. Fair enough. I've pretty politically inactive for the last few years except for wittering on about things in print/online. My wife far surpasses me - she's co-Pres of a big union branch - and she's not even that interested in the ins and outs of political -isms. There might be a lesson there...

    But I guess I was wondering what made anarchism special for you, and worth all the bs from the punkers, anarcho-Grenvilles, etc...what about if - I know this is hard to imagine - some kickass group with hundreds of members got going which was impeccably democratic and very much into grassroots activism, and yet it called itself Marxist. What'd be your beef?

  5. I don't have much problem with the various sorts of non leninist marxism. I do find them a bit theoritical and academic for little old me, but generally the bits I can understand, I agree with. We even have the odd self-described marxist in AWSM. I do have a huge problem with leninism because of its total lack of analysis of authority. Every Leninist party to gain power has quickly become a very nasty corrupt dictatorship. Leninists generally blame Stalin for this but the problem was there from the very start. Anarchism has always been about figuring out how to bring about communism/socialism while maximising freedom. While anarchists have often stuffed this up, I much prefer Anarchism to an ideology like Leninism, which pretty much ignores the issue.

    If a kickass group like you describe came along, I would generally be very supportive. It's not what it's called that's important, but what it does. But I think anarchism provides a criticism of authority that is essential for any revolutionary movement. Without a critique of authority a revolution will be doomed to turn into something horrible like the Soviet Union.