thanks to Matthew Russell for permission to put up his essay, It was originally printed in Red & Green # 5 in 2005
Expressing his surprise that people ever consented to submit to their governments David Hume elegantly wrote, "Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. Tis therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular." (Russell, 1995, p632) Considering Hume was hardly a libertarian by the standards of the day, this is a revealing quote. It is recognition of the simple principle that in societies where obedience can no longer be maintained solely by the whip, containment of thought becomes the foundation of state.
While this truism has been basic to the most divergent of revolutionary thought, and employed for the most divergent of revolutionary purposes, it has been perhaps most usefully theorised by Antonio Gramsci through his concepts of hegemony and passive revolution. I think these concepts provide a useful theoretical context in which to analyse the development of contemporary Maori protest, a movement which started as a direct challenge to the legitimacy of the colonial state and the capitalist social/economic system, and was steered on a course that lead it far away from any such challenge. The first half of this article focuses on the development of Maori militancy in Aotearoa/New Zealand between 1965 and 1980, drawing primarily from Evan Poata-Smith's insightful analyses of the period. (1996, 2005) In the second section I will discuss the strategic modes of power employed by the Pakeha state to circumvent this threat. Finally, I will look at what these developments mean for the future of Maori self-determination. Firstly, a brief outline of terms is required.
Hegemony refers to the processes whereby certain social groups maintain social authority through the manufacturing of consent, that is, achieving a monopoly over the means of discourse circulation to such a degree that they are able to frame all competing definitions within their own discourse, so that subordinate groups, while not necessarily controlled, act within an ideological framework that is essentially invisible. By achieving a level of ideological saturation throughout all dimensions of social life the dominant discourse appears natural, "to lie outside history." (Simon, 1982,p49) Ideology is rendered inescapable and becomes a framework for making sense of the world such that its very taken-for-grantedness makes it a completely lived relation. A hegemonic order does not simply determine the content of ideas, but it does attempt to set the boundaries within which the ideas and conflicts of subordinate groups are articulated and resolved. When these boundaries are respected hegemony is strong; when they are challenged or transgressed there is a crisis of hegemony. In this way hegemony attempts to naturalise the prevailing structures of power, it serves as the foundation of their legitimacy. The burden falls on the critical analyst (read: everybody) to pierce this taken-for-granted veil of normalised forms, to expose the set of rules and conventions that are at any time 'given' and 'natural' for all of society.
A passive revolution is the path hegemonic groupings will usually follow when faced with what Gramsci termed an 'organic crisis': "immediate and fundamental political and economic problems requiring a reformation of state institutions and the dissemination of new ideologies, and characterised by incessant and persistent efforts which are made to conserve and defend the existing system." (Simon,1982,p39) This is a notion derived from conservative tradition going back to Burke who argued that society had to change in order to say the same, that sometimes superficial institutional and ideological reorganisation is required in order to preserve the essential features of a status-quo. (Adams,1998,p75) While a passive revolution is geared towards the re-establishment of hegemony, any required institutional or ideological modifications are usually made from above, through the agency of the state apparatuses, without relying on the active participation of the population. The key point with both passive revolutions and the concept of hegemony is that is that the consent they aim to create and sustain is not simply a false consciousness in the Marxian/Feuerbachian sense, but is built on real albeit limited concessions and negotiations - it is more concerned with the incorporative deflection of opposition, rather than simply ushering it out of existence with 'ruling class ideas'. Hence for a passive revolution to be successful, it depends on the flow of real resources within the hegemonic system, and they serve to encumber and deflect the development of a counter-hegemony.
In New Zealand state hegemony over white settlers has only been called into question in extreme circumstances, such as the periods of dire economic decline suffered during the depression era of the 20's and 30's, and the fiscal crises of the 70's and early 80's. As a whole however, it has been efficiently maintained through consent. By contrast, rule over Maori for much of the past 150 years has been exercised via coercion, primarily legal and economic, what Jane Kelsey has termed "legal imperialism". (Spoonly et al,1984, p20) During the late 1970's and early 1980's the state was confronted with a crisis of legitimacy brought on by the failures of the capitalist system, as well as the increasingly militant reassertion of Maori economic and political rights guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi. This forced the New Zealand government to engage in a passive revolution, redirecting the ethic of tino rangatiratanga into the legal, bureaucratic and political channels of state hegemony. In essence, this was the subjugation of a refractory social group through consensual means at a time when coercive methods had become ineffectual. In order to elucidate this process it will be necessary to look at the history of Maori protest.
The collapse of the post war boom and the emergence of the new left between the 1960s and 1970s saw an unprecedented resurgence of political engagement internationally, events that were closely paralleled in New Zealand. Maori protest groups formed part of the progressive social movements of the time and sought to broaden the fight against racism and Maori oppression. A close working relationship was formed between Pakeha anti-racist groups such as CARE and HART which galvanised around opposition to sporting relations with the South African apartheid regime. The dramatic increase in strike activity and class struggle provided an organisational base for Maori protest groups demonstrated in the emergence of Te Hokioi and the Maori Organisation on Human Rights (MOORH). Both organisations had solid trade union links, and both advocated an alliance between Maori and progressive sections of the Pakeha working class. For Te Hokioi, the fundamental cleavage in society was between labour and capital, and racism was seen as symptomatic of class domination and inherent contradictions within the capitalist system. Both Te Hokioi and MOORH embraced the Treaty as a means to Maori autonomy in a harmonious bicultural society, providing past injustices were redeemed. Both groups advocated a pan-racial struggle along class lines as the most effective strategy for resolving racism and Maori inequality. (Poata-Smith,1996, p101)
The momentum of these groups subsided gradually during the early 1970s as the drive of the movement shifted towards the brown power of Auckland protest groups. Organisations such as Nga Tamatoa and the Polynesian Panthers were heavily influenced by the black power philosophies of American revolutionaries Stokley Carmichael and Huey Newton, and forcefully emphasised the goal of Maori self-determination. The Polynesian Panthers saw the roots of Maori and Pacific Islander inequality in the oppressive social relations embodied in the capitalist system, and promoted a strategy of liberation based on complete overthrow of the capitalist system. "The revolution we openly rap about is one of total change. We see that many of our problems of oppression and racism are tools of this society's outlook based on capitalism; hence for total change one must change society altogether." (Poata-Smith,1996, 102) As these movements developed however a rift formed between those who saw the whole system as fundamentally flawed, and those who sought real change for Maori through existing political structures, who believed that providing the appropriate legal measures were implemented, New Zealand capitalism coupled with the parliamentary system could be cleansed of racism and provide the basis for Maori success. Nga Tamatoa was especially polarised between revolutionaries and reformists which lead to its eventual collapse in the late 70's. Nevertheless, as Poata-Smith writes, "Despite the divergent political and strategic philosophies, there was no room to mistake the object of protest and the enemy of Maori as anything other than a state which was seen as being both racist and capitalist." (1996, p105)
Although the reformist tendency was present throughout early Maori protest, the failures of the third Labour government to halt land alienation and secure Maori rights crystallised the movement's challenge to state hegemony. The 1980s land rights movement fuelled intense political activism and mass civil disobedience demonstrated in the land-occupations at Bastion Point and Raglan, mass protests such as the hikoi of 1984, and the systematic militant boycotts of Waitangi day celebrations. These direct action tactics brought together the diverse Pakeha left and generated wide public support, solidarity actively promoted by many Maori activists. As Te Roopu o te Matakite, the organising committee behind the 1975 Land March on parliament published, "We seek the support of workers and their organisations as the only viable bodies which have sympathy and understanding of the Maori people and their desires. The people who are oppressing the workers are the same who are exploiting Maori today." (Poata-Smith, 1996, p110) The high level of political intensity which characterised the period provided the environment for the emergence of a more radical leadership and a level of group solidarity that the Maori protest movement has yet to regain. By the early 1980s Maori had become a cohesive and powerful protest group that directly challenged the legitimacy of state, and could no longer be efficiently contained within the hegemonic system thorough purely coercive means.
The push towards Maori autonomy was only one part of a general legitimation crisis suffered by the colonial state between 1979 and 1985. The politicisation of gender and ethnic inequality, political turmoil, a rise in unemployment as well as fiscal instability and extreme economic immiseration brought on by the natural tendency in capitalism for the general rate of profit to fall seriously endangered the hegemony of the ruling political forces. In order to resolve its organic crisis the colonial government was forced to engage a passive revolution on two fronts. The first an economic policy based on radical neo-liberal economics and ideology known as Rogernomics. The second a race relations policy aimed at pacifying and containing Maori demands without disrupting the economic and political structures of the Pakeha state. The latter was principally achieved through the Waitangi Tribunal, and the official policy of biculturalism.
Kelsey describes the judicial initiatives of the fourth Labour government to ostensibly 'expand' the Waitangi Tribunal as "a shift from overt contempt to a much more subtle and pernicious form of subjugation, and the evolution of the Waitangi Tribunal as a panacea which helped stabilise, and later actively legitimate the Pakeha state." (Spoonley et al,1991, 108) The Tribunal was constructed as an ideological state apparatus concerned with shaping the nature of Maori demands and integrating a recalcitrant social group into the hegemonic system. This was carried out through a judicial rewriting of the Treaty which eschewed the contradictions between the Maori and English versions of the texts, and the dilemma of applying rules of Treaty interpretation which would give primacy to the Maori text, and hence tino rangatiratanga. The court's rewriting of the Treaty via the principles of the Treaty gave precedence to the colonial version and dictated the Tribunal's mode of operation. This was essentially a redefinition of the government's obligations under the Treaty to make them compatible with the absolute authority of parliament to make laws and policy, including corporatisation. Thereby, "The Tribunal was a victory for all parties it had provided sufficient relief to satisfy the specific and limited demands of the Maori litigants, whilst reinforcing the legitimacy of the state." (Kelsey,1991, p111)
The Tribunal was soon revealed to be a toothless tiger, limited to making recommendations on particular claims on which the government was under no obligation to act. While the Tribunal has served a positive function, protecting Maori rights in specific areas, (mostly through the dedication of under-funded and under- resourced personnel) it has been easily marginalized in times of political turbulence and Pakeha reaction and cynically lionized in periods of cultural conflict. Its subordinate position has been made clear by the Court of Appeal, "However persuasive its research, findings and recommendations may be, they do not approach those of the character of a court or of judicial decisions. While some of its insights are valuable, and while they cannot bind us some of them deserve attention for their careful analysis of the Treaty and its principles." (Walker,1987,p76) Furthermore, the processes by which commercially restructured iwi authorities were able to position themselves as the principle Maori authorities in negotiating the parameters of the Treaty settlement framework meant that by the early 1990s, those representing tribal corporations and Maori business interests were able to exert a powerful influence over the formation and framework for settling historical injustices. (Poata-Smith, 2004, p74) Thus the Tribunal can be described as having 4 main functions: (1) a legitimation and consolidation of colonial legislative and state hegemony, (2) a safety valve for more radical Maori demands, (3) circumvention of the Maori version of the Treaty, (4) channelling Treaty resource reallocation back into the capitalist system.
The second dimension of Labour's passive revolution was the doctrine of biculturalism. In theory this was framed as a final break with the colonial ideology of assimilation to a society based on the recognition and celebration of ethnic diversity. In practise, biculturalism aims at recasting images of nationality and the nation state in terms of unity through diversity, rather than a system of domination and subordination, and exclusion and inclusion. Biculturalism has a specific functionality within societies based on ethnic domination; just as liberalism and egalitarianism have a specific functionality in societies based on class domination. As Pearson has written, "in their various cross-national forms, both multiculturalism and biculturalism have been shown to consistently reify culture to the detriment of class and race such that these divisions within society are simply glossed over by elites, majority or minority, who are the main beneficiaries of ethnic and class hierarchies." In other words, biculturalism in class or ethnically stratified society is ideological in the sense it represents an individual's imaginary relationship to their real conditions of existence.
In New Zealand biculturalism was (and is) characterised by the large-scale appropriation of Maori personnel, Maori models of organisation and Maori social practices and cultural symbolism and their incorporation into the institutions of state. The hegemonic system easily accommodated ethnic rhetoric, giving the illusion of partnership as enshrined by the judicial rewriting of the Treaty and thereby marginalizing more radical demands. While no significant gains were made towards rectifying the peripheral position the majority of Maori occupy in New Zealand society, the policy of biculturalism did result in an expansion of opportunities for middle class professional Maori within the hegemonic apparatus. Indeed, Labour actively pursued a strategy of containment, co-opting key members of the protest movement within the institutions of state, forcing many Maori elite to walk the razors edge between pushing the movement forward and maintaining the status-quo. For Poata-Smith, "The prestige and wealth that went with such privileged positions within the settlement process meant that Maori leaders became increasingly removed from the concerns and vitality of the flax-roots Maori struggle." (1996, p109) The result of such divisive tactics was demonstrated in the 1994 Sealord deal where the National government embarked on a series of clandestine negotiations with select Maori elite for a full and final settlement of fishery claims under the Treaty. The undemocratic nature of these negotiations fuelled intense anger and an upsurge of Maori protest, pointing to the fact that no matter how successful a passive revolution may be in the short-term, it can only ever be a temporary respite.
The massive state dissemination of bicultural ideology provided the environment for a dramatic shift in Maori protest and the emergence of 'cultural nationalism', a political strategy also concerned with the reification of Maori culture. This was a widespread ideology throughout the 1980s and 1990s and was endorsed by affluent right wing ideologues such as Donna Awatere who argued that all social disjunctions in New Zealand occurred within a common cultural matrix. Stratified society was said to reflect certain inherent Pakeha cultural characteristics such as materialism, competitiveness, and destructive self-interest, which had undermined traditional Maori egalitarian values. Maori culture was said to possess an intrinsic integrity that had been systematically debased since colonisation. The solution was an immersion in Maoritanga, or Maori identity as a way to combat social alienation.
This was essentially a reactionary ideology that characterised Pakeha as homogeneous and monolithic cultural blob, all of whom apparently confronted Maori in a universally antagonistic manner. (Poata-Smith, 1996, 2005) Perhaps more dangerous, cultural nationalism, as reified binarism, served to obscure the class differences and conflicting class interests within Maori society itself. Such an approach that aims at harnessing the fear of the Other, stabbing the master with their own knife, necessarily negates all the all the messy, oppositional, dynamic, ceaselessly turbulent ensembles of discourses that constitute any culture, elements best left undiscerned by tendentious ideologues who are content to view the Other through the binary gaze, as an object of fear and hostility. While ethnic identity and cultural self-determination should be the start and end point of any movement attempting to subvert colonial hegemony, an introverted and ideological focus on identity alone does not pose a threat to the underlying social relations of capitalism, and secures the continuation of the primal sociological causes behind ethnic hierarchy and racism. Strategically, such an approach encumbers the necessity of building alliances with other progressive social movements aimed at the change or transformation of society. The pervasiveness of cultural nationalism has been crucial to the longevity of the passive revolution and the containment of tino rangitiratanga.
In order for a non-reductionist reading of Gramsci it is necessary to note what sets him apart from classical Marxism, from which he takes his pedigree. Gramsci has, and will always remain relevant precisely because he was a Marxist neither in the positivist, scientific, dogmatic, orthodox or religious sense, and explicitly set his face against the economic reductionism of the 'classic' base-superstructure model canonised at the time of the Second International. For Gramsci, there is never a single, coherent unified 'dominant ideology' that radiates out from above and incorporates everything. His concept of hegemony is a 'moving equilibrium' in which ideology is an uneven and differentiated terrain of varied, competing and clashing discursive currents, what is best described as an ideological ensemble or a discursive formation. Moreover, hegemony does not simply mirror the class structure of society, nor can hegemony be directly reduced to its economic content or function. Because hegemony relies on the winning of consent it has a multi-arena, multi-dimensional character - so while we may perceive its most concentrated and lurid form within the state and state apparatuses, it cannot be said in any meaningful way to originate from within and radiate out from the state. The exercise of the kind of power that requires consent only has meaning as a power relation - it requires active participation.
Gramsci went to great pains in stressing the diversification of social antagonism, and the dispersal of power throughout society. Consent is maintained through allowing the greatest level of articulation between the will-to-power of subordinate groups and the will-to-power of the dominant social alliances, the 'historic block'. Unless hegemony is to collapse into a purely coercive class-domination model, there must be a flow of real resources and real compromise within the hegemonic system, and these must be substantial enough to assuage the will-to-power of a significant proportion of the masses, without debasing the fundamental political and economic foundations of the dominant hegemonic groupings. Thus a historic bloc, if it is to maintain a position of hegemonic supremacy, depends on articulating its own power agendas with, in Foucaultian terms, the 'capillary' power at the level of organic society i.e.; schooling, the family, churches, cultural and economic organisations, but most importantly the so-called private sphere; gender, sexual relations, ethnic identities and so-forth. These connective hegemonic mechanisms between civil society and the historic bloc have both a material and an ideological dimension. In regards to the latter, Gramsci distinguished between two 'floors' of ideology, 'philosophy' and 'common sense'. Ideology depends on a solid, coherent philosophical elaboration, but in order to enter into and influence the directions of social interaction, it must ground itself in the everyday, practical and lived consciousness of the population - common-sense. Common sense is not wholly organic, nor is it wholly a reducible to the agencies of hegemonic dissemination or the material relations of capitalist society. Rather, as Hall writes, "Common sense is usually disjointed and episodic, fragmentary and contradictory. Into it the traces and stratified deposits of more coherent philosophical systems have sedimented over time without leaving any clear inventory. It represents itself as the traditional wisdom of the ages, but in fact, is deeply a product of history." (1996, p431) Common sense is important because it is the arena in which the lived consciousness of the masses is formed, it is the 'taken-for-granted' terrain on which all political and social ideologies must compete for articulation. Thus, when those social groups who are in a position of political and economic supremacy wish to pursue their agendas within the framework of consent, they are forced to enter into a kind of dialectic with these structures of popular thought. The Western state can never be simply an administrative and coercive apparatus, it is the point from which hegemony over society is ultimately exercised and condensed, though it is far from the only place where hegemony is constructed and sustained.
Thus we can see how hegemony in New Zealand incessantly seeks to articulate itself with capillary level power. One such development evident since 1984 has been the way in which the state has relied on representatives of iwi, hapu and urban Maori communities to sell the idea of Maori capitalist development and self-advancement. (Rata, 2000) This strategy has been effective since it appealed to the material interests of those Maori linked to the Pakeha bourgeoisie and has found no forceful opposition from a movement that no longer specifically links capitalism with ongoing Maori oppression. Indeed, the fourth Labour government introduced legislation that allowed iwi to enter into privileged arrangements with government and the private sector on the condition that they restructured themselves along the dictates of corporate organization. After 1990, National governments increasingly recognised restructured 'neo-traditionalist' corporate entities as the orthodox representative bodies for receiving and managing the assets that would flow from compensation deals with the Crown. For Elizabeth Rata, "the appropriation of these traditionalist ideologies serve to present these developments as reviving traditional, non-exploitative, democratic, communal relations of production within iwi and hapu while concealing the underlying exploitative character of tribal capitalism." (2000, p102) The cultures surrounding 'the corporate warrior' and 'tribal corporatism', as with the current Clark government's 'culturally sensitive' initiatives on Maori education, encouraging the 'pursuit of mana' through Pakeha educational and employment institutions are all lucid examples of hegemony working itself through capillary terrain.
Similarly, today it seems likely that the anger and action generated by Labour's latest attempt to curtail Treaty property rights will be redirected and contained within the hegemonic system via an easily marginalized, politically ambiguous, and seemingly culturally centred Maori Party potentially dominated by elite interests. 1 While the Party has been ambivalent and deflective in outlining any clear policy on anything, Willie Jackson made it clear right at the start that tino rangatiratanga will not be on the agenda for the new party, Taraiana Turia quickly shied away from any suggestions of forming a separate Maori parliament, and Pita Sharples has been consistent in touting 'race based funding' as the best way to combat Maori inequality, rather than the fair and equitable redistribution of productive economic resources which is a fundamental Maori right as guaranteed under the Treaty, and the bulwark of Maori economic disadvantage. Certainly, considering the current climate of Pakeha reaction, and the lack of alternative avenues for struggle, the Maori Party hardly needs policy. Both the Party's unwillingness to situate themselves politically and the stated possibility of coalition with National are suspect in the extreme - astounding in light of Brash's recent spectacular attempts to cast Maori as deviant and use the subordination of an entire ethnic group as a vehicle for his own political aspirations. Asserting her support of the corporate iwi, Turia remarked in a recent Listener interview, "In reality, if you look at the history of the National Party, because of their free-market, private enterprise philosophy, they have actually allowed Maori people to participate and take back some control". (Black, 2005, p16) The utter devastation wrought on Maori communities by neo-liberalism is a non-issue, apparently. The Maori Party is quickly and clearly demonstrating the bankruptcy of the colonial state in achieving any real change for Maori, and its commitment to following the same orthodox and fruitless methods of parliamentary reformism that have largely dominated Maori politics for the past 20 years.
Most importantly however, hegemony in New Zealand has its foundations of legitimacy most firmly embedded in the capillary level will-to-power of the Pakeha majority, and it is this group that is responsible in the last instance for maintenance of hegemony. Pakeha cultural identity has been intimately formed around the cultures of colonial domination, and our ethnicity (if such a thing can be said to exist) draws most of its paltry substance from these very colonial binaries and ethnic hierarchies that secure Maori subordination. Pakeha, as the ruling ethnic group, does not recognise its culture as an ethnic one, but a national and hegemonic one, one that is so firmly established - through political and legal institutions; schools the media etc - as to be common sense, to exist beyond both history and consciousness. Our ethnicity, and its privileged position of a national one is of course deeply a part of history, and only the end-product of the systematic violence employed in the subjugation of another ethnic group. As Bell rightly stresses, "This conflation of ethnicity and nationality results in a primary identification with the nation on the part of many white New Zealanders in a way which helps to maintain their control over the organization of social life. Our way of doing things, our structures, our aims are normal and common sense. Conversely, those of others are strange and not to be countenanced in the organization of politics, work etc, but to be reserved for picturesque display and consumption in leisure, tourism, or wherever else exoticism may be required". (1996, p149) Pakeha ethnicity, as a hegemonic ethnicity, only has meaning contrasted to Maori marginalisation, and thus any transgression of Maori power onto Pakeha hegemony - whether it is simply an attempt to remind us of the historical facticity of our violently achieved hegemonic position, or a more substantial move to restructure our institutions of power along non-European lines - are perceived as a most personal threat that must be eliminated, the degree of transgression determining the degree of vehemence employed in its elimination. This is the will-to-power distilled: predictability, calculability, efficiency and control. The yearning to maintain these discursive fortifications of predicability; the power to mark, assign and classify reflects the most personal desire to exercise the greatest possible measure of control over one's social reality. Just how reliant Pakeha cultural identity is on these ethnic hierarchies has been demonstrated in depressingly clear terms over the past 13 months.
In concluding, while this essay, in the limited space I have here, has focused primarily on the economic and material factors which secure Maori subordination, this is certainly not to say these factors have any kind of determining character in perpetuating ethnic inequality and racism, or that a simple change of the relations of economic production will somehow correspond to a withering of racism within New Zealand society. While it is important to theorise on the strategies of hegemony that the bodies of centralised social power will employ so that we can predict on future patterns of reaction these structures may follow and thereby impede and subvert them, it is also important to recognise the limits of such an analysis. Any overriding 'classist' approach that seeks to prioritise economic factors over cultural factors in the perpetuation of ethnic hierarchies is of scant theoretical value. Racism, as with sexism, are not creations of the capitalists, and as shown here, the functionality of hegemony may be to protect the mastery certain social groups hold over the major means of economic production, but the consent on which this mastery is ultimately founded is explicitly cultural. For Gramsci, while common sense cultures can be influenced, manipulated, sustained, suppressed, augmented and altered via state power, they are by no means created by this power. The calls for a 'return to class', if this is taken to mean a corresponding retreat from culture - which appears to be currently fashionable within the discourse of the New Zealand left - seems to be a matter of false dichotomies and false solutions. An adequate understanding of how power operates within mature-capitalism reveals the needlessness of any such prioritisation, or any such separation at all.
Similarly, the corresponding leftist condemnation of Maori 'identity politics' is in need of discussion, since identity politics are the most powerful of all revolutionary politics, and do not deserve to be condemned. I would say any kind of identity politics separated from the transformation of society isn't real identity politics, it would be more accurately termed 'image politics' - in Debord's words, "the simultaneous negation of life and affirmation of appearance". (1994, p13) Because Pakeha hegemony cannot subsume real ethnic identity, it relies instead on the appearance of ethnic identity. Within the discursive circumscriptions of hegemony Maori identity is only permitted so long as it reaffirms the illusion of equality and obscures the reality of inequality. Whether it takes the form of a commodity as in the tourism industry, an icon of nationalism as with the haka or the Anzac day celebrations, Te Reo Maori in state subsidised classrooms, Maoritanga in Te Papa, taonga outside the Beehive or the specious biculturalism of government institutions concerned with the biggest confiscation of Maori land in over a century; Maori identity, at one time both reified and enshrined by the very establishment it once organised itself against is stripped of is subversive potentiality and serves as an affirmation, rather than a refutation of the status-quo. Biculturalism did not liberate but liberize Maori identity. In this way hegemony attempts to reduce Maori identity to a social role, a ticket issued by Pakeha society to be bought and stamped in return for initiation into Pakeha society. The role locates one in a representational hierarchy - whether at the top, bottom or middle, but never outside the hierarchy. In this sense, the desire for real identity, identity free from the circumscriptions of hegemony, must necessarily imply a way of living; relative cultural autonomy, ownership of rightful productive resources, self-determination in structuring modes of social organization, self-governance, equality - all goals of the flax-roots radicalism of the 60's and 70's. Identity should rightly be both the means and the end of revolutionary struggle.
So in sum the passive revolution has and continues to be successful to the degree in which it has diffused the elements of Maori protest which directly challenged the legitimacy of colonial legislative, political and economic hegemony and has succeeded in maintaining the status-quo through superficial institutional reorganisation. As stated above, a passive revolution is only a temporary respite, and we have seen a periodic resurgence of Maori protest demonstrated in opposition to the Sealord deal, the fiscal envelope proposal and Labour's foreshore and seabed legislation. However, the movement is yet to regain the intensity, depth and revolutionary ethic which characterised early Maori protest. The circumscription of Maori identity, as with economic inequality and group stratification are at the heart of New Zealand social organization, and will not be changed through the legislative and political institutions of the Pakeha state. It's true that a few drops of blood have been squeezed out of these particular stones, but this was overwhelmingly a result of the early protest movement, not the parliamentary diversion. It is my argument that a return to militancy will be required if ethnic equality in New Zealand is to become anything more that a seductive illusion, a militancy that perceives in the desire to destroy ethnic hierarchy the necessity of the transformation of society in total. History shows us that anything less is mere palliative.
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