Phillip O’Sullivan: Topics in Pacific Art
ARTH335 Dr Peter Brunt 2011 - More Expanded Version July 2012

 

A New Consideration of Colonial & Post Colonial concepts of Indigeneity in the Light of a Masculist and Capitaliste critique. (This in the Original. Note)

 

Writing this preamble at a time when the Pacific economy and its main investors and supporters have received credit downgrades and loses to currency values. While it has recovered ever so slightly new news tells of further serious European Bank credit downgrades. In the last 30 days or so the New Zealand dollar has lost 15% off total value. (A yearly rate of this would see NZ in Soviet Union meltdown territory by July 2012). If significant, which this writer believes it is, this can strongly effect the funding of various Pacific cultural institutions and culturally based ideologies now prevalent throughout the Pacific region. Amoung these would be notions of anti-colonialism, gender equalities and feminist initiatives, and the luxury of, or new initiatives for, economic independence for concepts of national or ethnic sovereignty, indigenous group support (finance and funding) further treaty rights, expanded human rights and other expensive proposals. Make no mistake: our cultural sensitivities cost real money: human rights cost a great deal in funding, yet the sky appears to be the limit for those who advocate them, study them and research them. As for drawing money for racially based protocols, especially ones inimicable or even hostile to the host culture, these insults are often the largest draw downs of all in taxpayer funding. Pity the poor taxpayer whose real taxes are compounded of all forms of compulsory payments; such as GST, ACC, IRD, Registrations, Fines, penalties, imposts, other fees and charges, plus Rates. These are all forms of Government revenue that on an average wage NZ$40,000 can easily take Half that, 50%, or $20,000 (Sufficient to take the family on a world trip, or build a deck or swimming pool, add another balcony, room or refurbished kitchen or bathroom to the house, buy a new car: or one of these for every year of paying taxes!)... does the New Zealand Government, over ten years, give you the thrilling lifestyle equivalent value of a world trip for the family, a new car, boat, deck, pool, new kitchen, new bathroom, new boat, second car, bach, accumulating trust fund compounding your wealth and so on... I doubt it. Yet they themselves live like this on your money. Is it not time we woke up and take back what it stolen from our families?

Attitudes to ‘Pacifika’, cultural funding generally, the relatively benign tolerance of these as ideologies, and such like general things not geared to direct and immediate economic outcomes, may well cease through lack of funding. We would instead be fighting for our economic lives: and currently, are. On this basis this essay wonders aloud whether there is not exactly half an argument missing within cultural debates, within critical theory, one part of which exactly deals with economic issues. Can we not make honest the purely negative criticism of the Frankfurt School of 'critique alone' (as no solutions, and their obligatory costings are provided). Why there is this constant whingeing element: did the colonizers do no good? Surely transport systems and infrastructure are useful, as paid for by the colonial powers: surely roads, rail, harbour, wharves, ships, planes and airports have cost us dearly to provide. Not to mention education, health and administrative infrastructure. Banking is better than barter, for it formalizes what barter does naturally, takes the most portable barter element and gives it greatly increased symbolic value: much as cigarettes in a prison, even holding full symbolic value for those who do not smoke... along the way to seeing how paper money having little use value as a sample of paper unless it is a Mugabe dollar or german Weimar liberal-Keynesian mark, but normally holding much in the way of useful symbolic value; until we get digital virtual-entries that are even more highly symbolic (also potentially suffering, like cigarettes too from glut conditions). Try getting a liberal, or socialist, Laborite, greenie or social credit person to see this is beyond them: they just cannot handle anything higher than simple addition. Dynamic financial operation, such as shorts, puts, futures, derivatives, investment, insurances, trusts, interest, profit and costs are entirely beyond them. I do not mean the management, application or administration of Pacific post-colonial arts funding but the very cast, costs and character of the Pacific cultural debate itself. For the sake of accuracy we must address this. The cultural debate on indigeneity, minority indigenous peoples, cultural rights and prerogatives and political standings is almost always cast in the mould of either feminism or Marxism: two much failed ideologies that have destroyed the civilizations in which they have held sway. This mould does not contain the equivalent and counter availing shape of either a Pacific Island Masculist (An assertion at the ideological level of a cultural and fully self-cognizant patriarchy or of ‘colonial positives’, ie gratitude, and economic or capitalist innovation or finances). Yes, there is the issue of IMF inputs into the Pacific region that carry such stringencies that the Islands are subsequently more impoverished. Yet why is such ‘colonizing’ funding sought in the first place?

Such an economic scenario as above may abate, cease for a time, or, as surely return; either way the future outlook is grim. However, while we have not in recent history been quite here before, and it is scary, it too may pass. Let us hope so. These thoughts are the current reality we are faced with. While it may pass for now, it will return again some year soon. The minister of finance Bill English rightly stated this will be here for another generation, at least ’20 years’, differing from my economic view only in that a generation, in population economics covers a further 20 years for a full forty years before a hopeful stringency can effect real differences from an economy lowered by heavy population depredations. The western hegemony and its place as our Pacific sun may soon fade. Thus global indigeneity is the issue as the host economies face examination of their own European ethnic origins, homeland sovereignty, whakapapa and historical roots, and need to decide what to do for the future of these things. We need consequently to recast why, when, where, how and with whom we do these things, continue these things and ask what we can learn for ourselves, for self application, what it is to respond to being colonized (as we may be by Asian economic forces; as we are being colonized by such means). We need reasons above all. We may need to discern across a whole range of options as to which ones we can afford or must expend ourselves to do. Thus the tools that have been fashioned as cultural critique may well serve usefully to aid host economies rebuild their own cultural consciousness. In that light Pacific concepts of colonialism, processes of cultural influence and example, indigeneity, sovereignty, cultural rights and copyrights, cultural treasures, pride and intellectual property, protocol, anthropology and traditional integrity; may well serve as instruments applicable to the global, universal and European experience. Of which then the Pacific Islands serve as example, case history, ‘clinical trial’, especially in being an entire ‘encapsulated’ historical civilization. The context today is that Europe is in more than economic difficulty; cultural integrity and innovative national identity preservation also top the bill. Its history is over examined, much ‘texted’, documents and situations too abounding to be amenable to objective a study in an emergency examination. Pacifica studies can thus lend its supporting experience to one of its own past main supporters. So much contained in so little, complete and compact Pacific Island cultural adaption’s can be our wider exemplar.

All nations have been colonized from elsewhere in their deeper histories. All peoples are indigenous to the planet earth. All peoples have the right to a ‘sovereign-and-forget’ attitude to their homeland. Insecurity on this point is the cause of all the cultural and ethnic conflicts worldwide. Enforced’ tolerations’ (U.N. style) are not an option; and have never worked in Northern Ireland, Tamil Sri Lanka, Kurdistan, Cyprus or Myanmar’s Karin State. When we travel to China we see Chinese people, India we see Indians, Mexico Mexicans, Japan Japanese. Yet formerly ‘liberal-white’ nations have deliberately opened their doors. This ‘favour’ is hardly returned anywhere; try migrating as a European to Indonesia, Arabia, China or even India; it is virtually impossible. If the poor or adventurous of New Zealand wanted to migrate it is almost exclusively possible only to other formerly liberal nations. Our Eurocentric-ethnic-liberal-multi-cultural –society –‘open door’ entry policy, are not policies emulated anywhere else on the globe. Nations we receive migrants from do not receive equivalent status migrants in return. There is no Quid-pro-Quo. Poor nations do not handle the ideal multicultural mix well either; though some city-states like Singapore and Hong Kong do because of wealth and vastly increased opportunity. If host multi-cultural nations such as New Zealand become poorer, social and cultural stresses could abound in such impoverishment. Where then do we go? That is the primary question, having the greatest tension, as immigration, lower European birth rates, and high migrant birth-rates change forever what it was to have been a host-patron nation serving the world’s poor. We see these social envies, tensions, rivalries and conflict in Fiji, the Solomons (where many non-ethnic, non-indigenous peoples, such as Chinese business families became victims; shops burnt to the ground, beatings and murder) and in countries where wealth is in short supply. What is the Eurocentric place in the world when that world is no longer European?

Being patron state, and a wealthy liberal political host in its later years to so many, means that Western civilization could by then afford the mea-culpa, hand wringing and guilty-white-liberal pose afforded by the luxury of hegemony and dominance. For in earlier days New Zealand ascendancy over Polynesia had our military called ‘the Junkers of the Pacific’ as we asserted national force projection, and had a jingoistic will, borrowed from our Imperial homeland, Great Britain. In its turn this corrective bias has overstepped all balance to the point where the term ‘racism’ for instance has become itself actually a racist term. In that in function and practice the idea acts as if meaning the underlying unwritten code for it is ‘what white people do to black/brown/red/yellow’, with the foremost party of mention is always the perpetrator: so used in praxis the term then is racist, dysfunctional, unfair, unjust and plainly badly misconceived. Stepping back from this to reassert actual dictionary definitions or state contrary examples is not to escape the dysfunctionality of the term as the habit immediately creeps back in. By default then the accusation ‘racist’, and its near cousins, ‘insensitive’, ‘bigot’, ‘ignorant’ and so on works to silence debate and cut off qualifying questions. It is nearly always said with such fierce hatred, bigotry and fanaticism: remembering here in Wellington where some skin-heads were set upon and bloodied by a screaming, hate-filled ‘liberal’ mob. Meanwhile workers who say ‘shut up you black bastard’ invariably do so with a smile, sleep with Samoan girlfriends and drink with some Tongan buddies. Liberal layers in culture accept meanwhile the more middle-class Islander and seek careers for themselves serving the ideology of tolerance from a well defined ‘professional’ distance. The deep irony was thus complete. These terms in the street of real intelligence have virtually no meaning whatever.
The postmodern ‘indigenous minorities’ philosophy has become Hitlerian: tell the selected terms lie often enough and it becomes the truth. A Professor Lloyd Geering ‘transvaluation-of-all-values’ situation, that boils down cultural value and ideas into so much intellectual sludge. It is a shock to realize people whose main quality is supposed to be tolerance can spit out such cold and cynical intolerance and hatred, while using the ‘correct’ terms incorrectly. We must do better than that. Examining an entire society in miniature can help reorient ourselves, even if the dislodged cultural values, there too, need re-aligning correctly: for the complete field and its wider historical actions and arts can be more comprehensively surveyed.

In New Zealand such artists as Peter Robinson have prospered when emphasizing their minority status as Islander or Maori; why is this? Is it a fashion just for a time in our cultural life where such aboriginal sentiments can be expressed? Has it passed? I would suggest by the recent harsh and retrospective measures the current Government has passed in Parliament over the ‘Napalm Bomb’ incident in the Ureweras, and the National Governments continued fierce popularity despite this; that indeed the fashion for hand wringing celebrations of our ‘native’ artists and cultures has evaporated. A Maori academics remark, about some white immigration being ‘racist’, inflamed many, and possibly incited some to unkind reprisals on our new immigrants. The rising new breed of South Africa’s ANC for instance seems to be following in the footsteps of Mugabe by granting precipitous ‘indigenous’ land rights over European farmers land, thus encouraging new migrant outflows from the Cities. In two decades of fairly reasonable Mandela Government, one million whites still left S.A. leaving four million behind, a subsequent decade saw one million more go under more restrictive laws. About 3 million remain. At this point 24 hour power, a basic industrial and commercial requirement, is not maintained in some S.A. cities (this is a serious breakdown in governance). The latest political situations could drive southern Africa into Mugabe-like territory: the ‘critical-theory’ view in culture, politics and social comment ignores these events as discomforting to its half-baked Marxist-feminist utopia view of the world. This is a dangerous lapse; as it disallows certain uncomfortable questions. Could New Zealand be next along this path? The failing European economies and banks have alarmed many and consequently patron/host individuals here who have supported this ‘Pacifika’ emphasis have their own ultimate indigenous homelands to think about.

Our strange accommodation to entrenched, incorporated and enlarged Treaty values gives our politics an Apartheid tinge of its own. For instance a Maori artist can be regarded so legally with only one sixteenth ‘Maori-blood’, whatever that means. What does she do with the other fifteen sixteenths? Donate them to an anemic albino? The treaty claimants on that basis probably really have no claim at all. Dr Ranganui Walker quoted in Dr Peter Brunt’s article says the Treaty of Waitangi is ‘our’ ‘foundation’ ‘document’; I would dispute that utterly. It applies only to Iwi-identified Maori: possibly, it is of no legal use to Islanders, Asians, and Immigrants or to the host/patron peoples generally. It cannot promote, protect, defend, advance or encourage European, Foreign, Tourists, Migrants, Asians, African and, very many Maori too, residing or traveling through New Zealand. Approximately 90% of New Zealanders, travelers or visitors, while here do not have any legal cover from it at all, it only guarantees some Maori, some limited Maori rights. It is a fairly limited and highly privileged contract that happens to be early. The elevation of a fiberglass copy of this fake document into the three story high wall at Te Papa, changes not one iota of its incredible uselessness. It is not today a friendly document, as it can be used against 90 percent of New Zealand residents: but never for them. Of the remainder only a few gain benefit from it and that, on other, and as dubious, grounds. Any art created in the light of it then is as false. When nations fight over an old treaty and hostilities cease a new treaty is created; where is our new treaty? Cutting down the flagpoles of a treaty party in the past was an act of war nullifying the treaty then. The winner enforces the terms of new conditions. The beneficiaries, under the old treaty, being those tribes who continued support of the Crown, anything else encourages rebellion, which is what we are seeing now in New Zealand, hence the Urewera ‘napalm bomb’ and the real fear of an incipient uprising.
The Maori hold copyright over the Haka, it is not ours, ‘ours’ being an appropriate counter military challenge on State occasions, representing then, in light of the above, approximately ninety percent of remaining New Zealanders. Perhaps a vigorous ‘Present Arms!’ would suffice: and a suitable equivalent to the similarly military inspired, battle created, Haka. Anything other than this is cant and hype having no basis in reality. Things that are false die a quick cultural death. May the myth in indigeneity be one of them. Minorities do not have more rights than the majority. Each is 'other' to the other, we must love one 'another'. I am your other, you are mine. Step into my shoes for a time: I am probably the one paying your bills. Maybe a little mutual gratitude and appreciation is in order. I hate it when you say you own my water. I will share it: your ownership will not. I cannot afford to treat with you in any form, as your claimed extra laws have me at a disadvantage: your privilege is my hatred, and you thoroughly deserve it, for do we not despise lawyers for their privilege, and politicians for theirs? As it is privilege without built in teeth of constraint that makes hatred right. Yes, right: because an unearned privilege without the teeth of fierce constraint positively deserves our despite, our righteous hatred and a deservedly thorough loathing as being totally against humanity and human experience, Contempt for government, groups, parliament, courts and so on is as natural as breathing where they behave in a contemptible way: and privilege of any kind: of judge, courts, state, crown or king, without constraining teeth that bite frequently: is fully deserving of complete human contempt. Treaty Maori therefore, by adopting a privilege over their fellows (including most other Maori, city Maori and non-iwi identified Maori) have inviting absolute racism on their own heads. I hate Treaty Maori privilege as much as I hate smarmy liberal lawyer murder-accessories, who's privilege it is to let murderers go to kill again, (on their behalf: perhaps they ought be in the dock bearing full and complete punishment while the murderer takes their seat and practices: law or the bench... Most of us would hardly know to see any of the differences in subsequent performance) and politicians privilege is widely despised, feared, and yes, hated.

Minority ‘indigeneity’ is something, of inadvertent design, stemming from an accident of cultural ideology: the biased and half-representative Marxist feminist ‘interpretation’, arising from the Frankfurt School. Cut the minority any way you like it still stinks and is always to someone’s advanced privilege and another’s disadvantage. Why an individual gives way in a queue, seeming to give but one place forward, yet in fact putting all behind her one step back, -yet that ‘gifting’ person never abdicates their own place entirely (going all the way to the rear of the queue) but remains in place. So it is with a compelled compassion, the receiver feels no gratitude, knowing full well that the giving agent herself has not donated the goods or money, nor do they expect gratitude, there is no grace in the situation, it is just ugly all the way, and the real contributors can but feel taken advantage of and ripped off. That is how a society of good people can end up punishing good behavior where viciousness and evil lies, cleverly told, are well rewarded. Such is the treaty mess we are in. The Frankfurt School being the foundation for the quasi-Marxism, and todays theoretical feminism, that is behind literary theory, art theory and cultural studies: this basis is only half of what a fully conversant cultural critique could be. It obviously lacks an answering capitalist (I prefer the term Capitaliste’) cultural ideology and also a masculist cultural answer or social critique. These ‘other halves of the story’ are almost entirely lacking. So that we have is a Marxist view of Marxism and a Marxist view of capitalism but not a capitalist or masculist view of feminism or a capitalist view of Marxism: this is then blindly presented uncritically as a complete description or construction of how the world actually works. No other views allowed. This is deliberate as well. There may also be more viewpoints to consider: these ones deliberately omitted here are the glaring ones. No actual capitalists or patriarchs are mentioned ever! Recently in one writing one was mentioned, a very obscure 'patriarch' from over 400 years ago: apparently this dire plot against women and the proletariat is so frightening none dare give out their names though they are accused of sorts of things. Can any basis for intellectual critique be so blindingly daft and silly! A half baked ideology so configured can only lead the Pacific nations (and any nation) into a half baked future. Strictly speaking given the illustrations above: it is only a one quarter story that is told as if it were the whole tale of economics, justice, entitlements and so on; underneath the very silent majority is extremely angry and could explode into right wing rebellion at any stage. For the full story, and to avoid a necessarily fascist denouement, (my friends are amazed that one can even see this high-likelihood in the ‘new’ multicultural New Zealand), in stepping away from this stage we need the other side of the cultural inheritance of the Pacific Islands and of Kiwis generally. This raw essay is but the barest sketch of such a possibility, even now six months later. In this light we may recall how the UK minister for Universities cut all government funding for anything even looking like one of the University departments above: 'no story at all' is at least outwardly neutral as to cultural studies funding, perhaps a fifty year span of full on right wing fundamentalist cultural outlooks, based on men’s cultural power expression and espousing the contributions of the extremely wealthy poets artists and writers, would fully balance and really neutralize , as long as we keep at it, the snobbery of victimhood, by 2060 or so. For every cultural paradigm, by civil protocol, meets its equal and opposite reaction to reign, as long and as well as they, off the fat of the same land, thus thrusting them aside.

The other half of the Post Colonial story is the continuing colonial one. Its basis is the good brought by Western powers to the Pacific region in the form of ideas, schools, teaching, reading, writing, mathematics and science. These are not sufficiently celebrated in biased post-modern, post-colonial critical readings of the cultural situation (by 'critical' here we mean unrelenting NEGATIVE criticism, no obligation to offer constructive alternatives - of any kind- are either felt or offered - it is deliberately cruel, harsh and inexorably destructive- as if to lob a cultural napalm bomb- to burn, corrode and destroy: for that is exactly its aim: war by other means. Destroy capitalism, liberal democracy from within: its true aim is Marxist, to show how destructive... Yes, that schizophrenic...capitalism is) ...how foolish, all it does show is how treacherous such ideological teachers and academics are: they ought to be arraigned for culturally destructive sedition. The target is not other political types but sensitive artists, deeming writers and political ones too alert to their twisted word games and rotten logic. They create an unimpeachable, untestable antithesis of vagueness, their tools, like the catechisms of the old Catholics, unanswerable dogmas, applied in easy victories to sensualists, how they must secretly hate them. This cafe communism is crap, this armchair Marxism a miserable little lie. Rotten fruit fallen fallow upon the field of history: as it does not even posit a thesis to examine of its own. It is a cowardly, shifty piece of shitty work, doomed to the dunghill, sewer and long-drop of history along with the equally stupid feminists. Workers of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our chains! The point of Philosophy is to change the world! So the world changed them: they murdered millions more than Hitler, even then it was the Vatican Rothschild that murdered them ,unmolested in both Berlin and Paris, gulag denial is the vastly bigger atrocity, war crime, lie and is the standard of their very ideology: dominate by denial. Spoilt bourgeois mummies boys who refuse to see that others suffer. They hate 'truth' because it tells so much against them, confuse by silence and attack the lesser case relentlessly backed up by Jewish money. It is the big Jewish money bankers who do the vile Vatican’s dirty work: whose only aim is to manipulate the trillion dollard (sic-slip-dullards) fortunes of the Vatican’s centuries old riches for mutual money manipulations, profit and power; and the exclusive right to exercise it. Corrupt Jews and rotten Christianity, gone in the teeth, O Tiresias, your-greasy-asses, killing not-softly for empty power ending in death. Their rich man’s denial satisfying their Sardenopolous syndrome with the piled up suttee deaths of unwilling, innocent, and vulnerable others: you cannot ever take it with you. Their regret becomes a deadly spite: living death to others. Rise up O World and destroy this cackling priest whose golden fingers finger little boys and whose minion is a mincing Khazarian who copiously and piteously murders his own. Their guilt cruises outer space, lining their ugly faces, and constipates their writhing bowels. All is so very extremely sick. The mad Jewish Marxism, the Catholic matriarchy joined in ditch common vileness, no wonder people can see such a dark story straight: their crimes and lies almost unbelievable. They palm their guilt off onto us all via this mindset. Therefore an untrue or ‘unreadable’ situation arises. How can we find our way in the story if its links are lies and deliberate mis-representations driven behind the scenes by such powerful, malignant diseased and wrongheaded ideas? Do they not know their own favourite ploys shall destroy them utterly? Europeans, for instance, do not claim a cultural copyright over the good things. Transport, communication, postal and administrative systems were set up largely at no cost to the Pacific: contributing wages, viewpoints, vision and widened horizons for free. The Pacific Islands were freed from superstition, slavery, cannibalism, blood sacrifice and ignorance. Who would argue that the entire traditional ‘package’ was better; though lovers of the ‘ancient traditions’ need to be very selective in what is remembered or mentioned, the past becomes highly censored territory. Heaven help us if we tax Pacifica for video games/DVD/TV/texting/giros/Money Orders/Computers as indigenous European copyrights: imagine a ‘Marconi’ fee.

References
Brunt, Peter
. “Since Choice”: Exhibiting the “New Maori Art”, in Lydia Wevers and Anna Smith (eds.), On Display: New Essays in Cultural Studies, Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2004. (3000 words)

 

4490 words

What do you think?

Send us feedback!