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  • Sandy Taing

You are political whether you like it or not.

Words by Sandy Taing (she/they)

As Campaigns Officer this year, I’ve learnt that a petition doesn’t do shit because most people don’t give a fuck. They’re just here for a good time, not a long time.

Imagine Brian. Brian is satisfied with a few beers, good music, video games and a night out. Brian will probably either inherit a property or make enough money in some soulless job to live happily. In Brian’s world, why should he give a fuck about injustice when he is much happier playing Baldur’s Gate and drinking beer at 6pm on a Tuesday? Thinking about the world, or pondering concepts like the end of late stage capitalism, are all just recipes for a migraine and a mental breakdown. How could he, a single person, possibly make a difference?

As New Zealanders, we love being ignorant. We are safe here, cocooned from things like war and severe poverty. And we owe this safety to the conquest and continued dominance and exploitation enabled by colonisation. Life is great when it's not political. 

But the thing about Brian is that everything he does is politics. When he chooses work in a field that is actively contributing to a negative outcome for others for his own financial gain, he is actively destroying futures. When he normalises a 40 hour work week, he reinforces capitalist exploitation. When he does not speak up about racism or lack of representation for others because he’s afraid of losing his job, he is preserving a world where both job insecurity and racism are used to keep people miserable and in servitude. Or maybe he isn’t even educated enough to realise he, himself, is being racist! 

Politics affects you when you sleep, when you eat, where you live, what you do for work, even who your friends are. Politics controls every part of your experience whether you like it or not. 

If you have the choice not to be political, you are privileged. And when you are privileged, you have power and responsibility to use that privilege for the benefit of others. It is likely that if you are at university, you are privileged.

Being political isn’t just about protests, it is about shaping the future and creating a world you’re actually proud to be a part of. It means you might be able to wake up to a world where you’re not an employer’s little bitch or being exploited by your landlord. Being political is not being complacent in a system which fucks us all over. 

Being political is as simple as having influence in your own whānau or friends. You make a difference. When you live out your politics, others will follow. When you have the balls to give a fuck about others, to talk with your mates about ethics and morals, or about what they’re going to do with their inheritance, or what kind of voices they’re going to listen to when they’re at the top. Being political is trying to ensure that after you die, the world will be less shit. 

Real change is living out the politics you wish to see. And if you’re happy with the status quo, then you’re probably just an asshole who is riding on the wave of privilege inherited from slaughter and colonisation. 

Your choice really. 

P.s if you relate, have any pātai, ideas or whakaaro, email me (Sandy). It’s my job to make being political easier for you.


Sandy Taing (Te Aka Tauira - VUWSA Campaigns Officer) 

Pronouns (she/they)

(whakapapa to Cambodia and South China, born and raised in NZ).


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