A Bright Spark Burning…

Written By: - Date published: 1:39 pm, March 11th, 2015 - 40 comments
Categories: activism, community democracy, democracy under attack, democratic participation, International, Left, patriarchy, political alternatives, political education, Politics, Revolution, Syria, vision, war - Tags: , , , , , ,

Yesterday ‘The Guardian’ reported on the death of Ivana Hoffmann who was fighting in the Rojava region of Syria. She was apparently a member of the MLPK. The MLPK is an organisation predicated on old school Marxist-Leninist ideology. In short then, they’re authoritarian.

From my perspective, the presence of such organisations fighting alongside people who are attempting to forge genuine democratic forms of governance is a very bad thing. I do not ascribe to the view that my enemy’s enemy is my friend. Time and again such organisations have laid their own Marxist-Leninist blueprint over attempts to organise democratically. In summary, they elevate themselves to be the true guardians and gatekeepers of ‘the will of the people’ and exercise authority via the ‘The Party’ that they force upon people as an instrument of governance.

Anyway, putting the  threat of democratic centralism aside for a moment, what is happening in Rojava is a cause for celebration and hope. The excerpts that follow, coming as they do from a mainstream liberal news outlet, is something I find both heartening and surprising. I don’t expect to see too much more of it. Liberalism, in case you are unaware, is no more a friend to democracy than is Leninism.

But to Owen Jones’s piece in today’s Guardian (with the original links included)…

Consider what beacons Syria’s liberated Kurdish cantons are in the Middle East. The region is dominated by western-backed dictatorships, fundamentalist tyrannies and murderous reactionary terrorists. Israel boasts it is the Middle East’s sole liberal democracy, a claim fatally undermined by the country’s subjugation and occupation of Palestine.

In northern Syria, the struggle is led by the Democratic Union party, a radically democratic, feminist, leftwing force and an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ party. Once Stalinist, the PKK has evolved, now drawing inspiration from the libertarian socialism of the US theoretician Murray Bookchin. “This is a genuine revolution,” according to the anarchist thinker David Graeber, who has visited the cantons. He has spoken of how the eventual aim is to give all citizens six weeks of police training, with the idea of abolishing the police. In a Syria being shredded by a secular dictatorship and reactionary fundamentalists, is an anarchist enclave being forged?

Isis is notorious for its misogyny. Appropriate, then, that its archenemies are radical feminists. The Kurdish activist Mehmet Aksoy explains to me that this is, in part, a “woman’s revolution”. It is not driven simply by women’s oppression and exploitation in the Middle East, and by their lack of representation in politics and civil society, but by the PKK’s own reading of history.

“The first revolution, the agricultural revolution, was instituted by women,” he says, “and the first counter-revolution and the first negative hierarchies were created by men.” In one pamphlet the PKK’s leader, Abdullah Ocalan – now languishing in Turkish jail – writes: “Liberating life is impossible without a radical women’s revolution which would change mentality and life.” He coins the concept of “total divorce”, or “the ability to divorce from the five thousand years old culture of male domination”.

And then the bad news that should have democratically inclined leftists everywhere knocking down the doors of their respective national parliaments.

The PKK is still designated a terrorist organisation by powers such as the US. Turkey, a key Nato state, waged a dirty war in the 80s and 90s, wiping 3,000 villages off the map during the offensive, according to Human Rights Watch.

Turkey facilitated the rise of Isis, allowing its militants to flood across its porous border with Syria. With a de facto Kurdish state already existing in northern Iraq, Turkey fears another liberated enclave that could embolden its own Kurdish minority. Western allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait have proved crucial in exporting fundamentalist ideology, as well as funds and arms for jihadi groups.

Isis is the bastard child of Assad’s repression of the Syrian people, catastrophic western intervention and the scandalous role of the Arab despots. That socialists and anarchists are helping to drive it back should be a source of immense pride for the international left.

Indeed.

Now, how do we get the terrorist designation of the PKK lifted? How do we get the travel bans to the region that have been imposed on us lifted? How do we get the economic and political embargo of Rojava lifted? What can we, both individually and collectively, do?

40 comments on “A Bright Spark Burning…”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    What we can do.

    1. Listen. Have they requested our assistance, and in what forms?
    2. Ask them.

    Some answers to (1) can be found here:

    International pressure must be exerted on Turkey in particular to open its border crossings so that food, materials, medicine, and aid can get through…The international community must help channel aid into Rojava…

    Is it being too optimistic that our membership of the security council can help Turkey and the PKK come to terms, and lift the terrorist tag? That has to be a top priority, for obvious reasons: aiding “terrorists” being a crime etc.

    • Bill 1.1

      The parliamentary representatives who govern us have designated the PKK as terrorist. Therefore, their presence on the security council is, in this instance, irrelevant. The only way our government’s presence there could have relevance is if we first of all pressured them to lift their own designation of the PKK as terrorist.

      As for assistance, I take your point about listening and asking, but also acknowledge there are immense problems associated with communicating with a ‘terrorist organisation’ that’s sitting behind economic and political embargoes.

      And I can’t just go there with (say) medical training or engineering expertise, not just because I don’t have those particular skill sets, but because the whole area has been designated as ‘out of bounds’ for western travel. (Australia is imposing a mandatory 10 years in jail for any Australian citizen or resident who travels there).

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Have they designated? Or gone along with the designation?

        Either way I think if Turkey can be persuaded to drop their objections that will be a major step. I hope the recent ceasefire will help them make the right decision.

        And yes, communicating with them would be very risky for exactly the reasons you suggest.

        Perhaps the best we can do is lobbying. If so, that pretty much sucks, and it’s better than nothing.

      • dave brown 1.1.2

        So there you have the answer to your question, what can we do?

        Ignore appeals to Western governments led by the US warmonger, the UN and NGOs working for ‘human rights’ as these will always put their economic interests first, and hence call anything ‘terrorist’ that is fighting for liberation from Western domination.

        Those who want to advance the interests of revolutionaries in the Middle East or elsewhere have a duty to stop their own ruling class from being part of the “war on terror”. That includes refusing to be designated a ‘terrorist’ at home.

        We don’t do this because we have been invited to do so, but because it is our duty to stop imperialism and its lackeys like NZ from participating in all wars of oppression.

        Of course organising the working class to overthrow the ruling class in any country is a very Leninist thing to do (since nowhere has it succeeded outside Russia – except as a result of the prior success of the Russian Revolution).

        But as long as we do it ‘democratically’, as part of workers councils, train ourselves as part of a workers militia, and then discipline ourselves to act as a collective class force, then we can all be revolutionaries without distracting labels.

        • Tiger Mountain 1.1.2.1

          Yes the labelling is unhelpful. “Leninism” as used here is really anti communism or anti the seizing of class power by the workers, but expressed by another route. What became the degenerate workers states of Eastern Europe were a phenomenon of their time not something to hang around the necks of those prepared to fightback for evermore.

          In modern conditions what is wrong with workers organisations maintaining a core of committed people with security measures to defend against the myriad of ways the state forces undermine or directly intervene?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2.1.1

            what is wrong with workers organisations maintaining a core of committed people with security measures

            The only valuable security measures we have are our voices and solidarity, and they’re our culture, otherwise there are no organisations at all.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2.2

          What we can do.

          That includes refusing to be designated a ‘terrorist’ at home.

          Well, I suspect the definition of a local “terrorist” group is governed by a legal process, rather than a gobshite Prime Minister running his mouth.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    With all the usual reservations about the medium, The Lions of Rojava have a Facebook page.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      PS: Apologies for not saying this before: it comes with a ‘pictures of dead people’ warning.

    • esoteric pineapples 2.2

      Thanks for the link – amazing!

      What other Middle Eastern fighting group would put out a statement marking International Women’s Day . I don’t even think New Zealand soldiers would do that.

      “YPJ (Women’s Defense Units) General Command has issued a statement to mark International Women’s Day, stressing that there can be no revolution and freedom without women.”

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        I checked the NZ Army facebook page and you’re quite right.

        Hearts and minds, soldier!

        Edit: assuming it isn’t an ISIS honey trap or something.

  3. M Scott 3

    My sister is a maritime lawyer in London. Much of her work these days involves oil and gas supply. (In the past she represented Boris Bereshovsky’s (spelling?) company Ukos and got monstered by no lesser individual than Putin himself. Back to the point. She has clients who sell oil on behalf of the kurds who are still able to extract and export a bit in the areas they control and this of course helps their people and their fight against Daesh. Perhaps we should lobby those sweet little multinational oil companies to buy from them and not Saudi Arabia?

    • Colonial Rawshark 3.1

      Multinationals aren’t very interested in suppliers who can be shelled within the next week.

  4. Philip Ferguson 4

    The response of the US-trained Iraqi army when faced with ISIS has often been to run away. It is the Kurdish militias that have stopped ISIS and pushed it back.

    The fact that the PKK is on the terrorism list in this country is indicative of the lies of successive NZ governments about the region and their involvement in it.

    If the NZ government was primarily motivated by the desire to help defeat ISIS in order that the people of the region could improve their lives, they could just hand over a load of weapons, medical supplies and money to the Kurdish fighters, with no strings attached.

    Instead, they have made it illegal in this country to help one of the key Kurdish movements which stands for people’s liberation and that has thrown back the ultra-right forces of ISIS.

    Several things can be done here:
    1. Demand that the PKK be removed from the NZ government’s list of terrorist organisations
    2. Demand that people here be able to raise funds and other support for the Kurdish liberation movement; and people could raise support and funds for them anyway, regardless of what the government does
    3. Demand the government not send NZ forces but hand over to the Kurdish forces the equivalent in funds and/or equipment of what they would spend on having NZ armed forces there; this to be handed over with no strings attached. In other words, if the deployment of NZ forces to Iraq was going to cost X million dollars, then X million dollars should be handed over to the Kurds.

    The Kurds have been screwed over continuously by western powers – for instance, when France and Britain carved up the Ottoman Empire after WW1, the Kurds never got a country.

    Some pieces:
    The Kurds: treated as pawns by the western powers: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/the-kurds-treated-as-pawns-by-western-powers/
    The ‘other’ Kurds fighting the Islamic State: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/the-other-kurds-fighting-the-islamic-state/
    PFLP calls for international support for Kurds fighting ISIS at Kobane: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/pflp-calls-for-united-revolutionary-support-for-kurds-at-kobane/

    Phil

    • weka 4.1

      ” 1. Demand that the PKK be removed from the NZ government’s list of terrorist organisations”

      Does anyone have the list? Or know the processes by which the list is made and maintained? I don’t even know what govt department would have repsonsibility for that.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1

        So far as I know we follow the UN’s lead.

        In turn, I’m pretty sure the UN is following Turkey’s lead.

        Correction: for UN substitute NATO: this looks like something decided locally.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1

          Correction: wrong target for second link.

          This is the right one:

          Statement Of Case To Renew The Designation Of Partiya
          Karkeren Kurdistan [PKK] As A Terrorist Entity.

          Authored by the NZ Police.

          • Bill 4.1.1.1.1

            Many thanks for digging that out OAB!

            Busy at the moment, but I’ve downloaded the doc with the intention of going through the justifications (supposed PKK acts of terror) with a particular eye cast on the impartiality or otherwise of the sources used and any contrary reports of the incidents used in the report.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1.1.1

              If there’s any way I can share the load: eg: a list of sources that you’d like checking for bias etc, post it here and I’ll do likewise.

              I note that section 8. addresses the issue of credibility, then lists the Wall St. Journal as a source 🙄

              • Bill

                If you are okay with me sending you a direct email, I’ll send you through the links I’ve managed to isolate from that report.

                There are maybe three or four that I couldn’t locate.

                On first blush, the whole thing’s a crock of shit.

                They have relied on, sometimes, inconsistent and/or contradictory reports of ‘terrorist’ incidents and, it seems, given a lot of weight to Turkish Government claims that have nothing of obvious substance behind them.

                Oh yeah. And then there’s the cut and paste justifications from the Australian Security Service…

                Also discovered that the European Court of First Instance ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Court_%28European_Union%29 ) have found that it was illegal for European countries to have put the PKK on their terrorist list. Not surprisingly, the countries are ignoring the ruling.

                http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2008/4/turkeykurdistan1779.htm

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I am ok with you sending me a direct email, and before you do, please consider whether it can simply be posted here. I’d like this discussion to be as open as possible, given the subject matter.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Why not crowd source it? I’m not going to email anything (on this subject) I wouldn’t post at The Standard.

                    • Bill

                      Yup…am thinking how to fashion a succinct post rather than throwing a pile of links into a thread. Will put it together either tomorrow or the next day….busy.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The police have concentrated on the case for designation, and ignored the case against it. You cited the European Court of First Instance ruling. Wikipedia also mentions that “the government of Switzerland has explicitly rejected Turkish demands to blacklist the PKK” – citing this article (in German).

                      Then there are the recent actions of the Turkish government to consider.

                      an ongoing peace process, which aims to resolve the Kurdish–Turkish conflict.

                      The Police document cites the Crisis Group, who had this to say last November.

                      the two sides, having realised that neither can beat the other outright, say they want to end the armed conflict. The government has now matched the PKK’s ceasefire with a serious legal framework that makes real progress possible.

                      The PKK clearly enjoys widespread popular support in its area of influence. The “terrorist” designation is getting in the way of the real need for assistance to people threatened by the Daesh.

                    • Bill

                      From the link you provided …ie, recent actions of the Turkish Government… “On 25 April 2013, PKK announced that it withdraws all its forces within Turkey to Northern Iraq.[27] According to government[28] and to The Kurds[29] and to the most of the press,[30] this move marks the end of 30-year-old conflict. Second phase which includes constitutional and legal changes towards the recognition of human rights of the Kurds starts simultaneously with withdrawal.”

                      The references are worth looking at.

                      I’m sure there must be provisions within the ‘terrorist act’ or whatever it’s called for an immediate lifting of any given designation…

                      [Because of the limited nesting, further comments are at the bottom of this thread] – Bill

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Ok, as for the rest, the International Crisis Group has its critics, including The New Left Review – an admittedly partisan source.

              International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK) is “an independent think tank” based in Turkey.

              Silk Road Studies was established in 2007: another “think tank”.

              The others, Janes Terrorism and Security series, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, the BBC, Associated Foreign Press (AFP) and Reuters need no special introduction from me.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                PS: I’d like to make it clear that as Bill says, the PKK have been implicated in some heinous acts. The fact that Turkey was prepared to enter into a ceasefire agreement with them as late as last year indicates that they are not your average bunch of crazed wingnuts. Everyone needs to tread carefully: it’s not our fight; there are grievances beyond our ken.

  5. Murray Rawshark 5

    If the Kurds in general and the PKK in particular are happy to have volunteers from the MPLK fighting alongside them, far be it from me to criticise them. Their urgent task is to protect themselves from first the Kurds, then from Turkey, NATO, the US and the puppet regime in Syria. Apparently they follow the Enver Hoxha Albanian line, which I don’t like much at all. However, I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder in disputes and protests with comrades who also followed Hoxha. I found them trustworthy and they focussed on the issue at hand, rather than making criticisms from afar by someone who doesn’t like the idea of democratic centralism.

    • Bill 5.1

      The simple observation I intended to make was that authoritarianism is incompatible with notions of democracy.

      The presence of authoritarian elements in forces fighting the daesh and who-ever, whether they be liberals or marxist-Leninists etc, only becomes problematic in the aftermath and in the event they seek to influence or shape the make-up of the post-conflict Rojavian society.

      I guess I could have been clearer on that front.

  6. the pigman 6

    +1 to Murray above, and caution against deciding from afar which of these small initialized groups of freedom fighters/terrorists/micro-democracies/rogue states we like and those we don’t. It is well-documented that the PKK were pretty ruthless in their own right (as was the punishment and persecution meted out on them by the Turkish government)

    Adam Curtis did a good blog on this which I’m sure you (Bill) have read: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/entries/5a7b18b5-0ec3-3d3e-a307-54820a7c6a59 – good archival footage of the PKK preparing for armed rebellion. But kinda blurs the line between what constitutes a “bright spark” and a “terrorist training camp”, doesn’t it?

    • Bill 6.1

      It’s the potential for democracy that animates me. Recognising that both liberal democratic thought, as well as any notions of a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, run counter to the realisation of democracy (because of their respective authoritarian bents) really hasn’t anything to do with favouring one group or set of groups over others.

      That the PKK were absolute ruthless bastards is a given. But they have moved on, renounced state centric marxist-Leninist ideology and are now seeking to forge and secure a non-state, highly democratic future that is, in many respects, streets ahead of any western notions of democracy.

      That’s a massive shift in political thinking that offers, potentially, a huge opportunity for the international left to latch onto an example of what is possible, and haul itself from the quagmire of authoritarianism it’s been sunk in these past 100 years.

  7. Sable 7

    Ugh more quotes from the Guardian. In my opinion the only thing that rag is good for these days is wrapping fish and chips.

    Given Kerry and other’s in the US administration want Syria’s president Assad’s head on a pike its hard to know if so called insurgents or freedom fighters in the country are fighting ISIS or fighting for the overthrow of the nations government at the US’s behest. Maybe its two for the price of one.

    Whatever the case lets hope Syria’s leader does not go the same way as Gaddaffi (bayonet in the ass and bullet in the head) who had the temerity to want to develop an African banking system, telling the IMF to sod off. So much for Western democracy.

    • Bill 7.1

      I’m no great fan of The Guardian ( I still equate it with useless wooly jumper wearing English liberals) but Owen Jones does write some bloody good stuff…just like Fisk writes good stuff in The Independent.

      God knows, there are precious few good journalists able to get their stuff out through mainstream outlets…

  8. Bill 8

    [These comments are a carry on from here]

    On lifting the designation, it would seem that the mere public have no say in the matter!!!

    34 Revocation of designations

    (1) The Prime Minister may at any time revoke a designation made under section 20 or section 22, either on the Prime Minister’s own initiative or on an application in writing for the purpose—

    (a) by the entity who is the subject of the designation; or

    (b) by a third party with an interest in the designation that, in the Prime Minister’s opinion, is an interest apart from any interest in common with the public.

    (2) Without limiting subsection (1)(b), a party may have an interest in a designation apart from any interest in common with the public through—

    (a) possessing or controlling, or having an interest in, property to which section 9 applies as a result of the designation; or

    (b) making available property or services to which section 10 applies as a result of the designation; or

    (c) having an especially close association with the designated entity or its interests or objectives.

    So, unless you have a financial stake in the matter or are associated with the group in a manner that probably means that you are considered by the government as being a terrorist yourself…..

    So that’s good. Legal petitioning is a dead end. Public pressure then 😉

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      “So, unless you have a financial stake in the matter or are associated with the group…”

      Not quite: “Without limiting subsection (1)(b)…”

      That allows for other interests than financial – humanitarian for example – to be considered.

      Also: Section 33:

      Judicial review of designations
      Nothing in this Act prevents a person from bringing any judicial review (whether under Part 1 of the Judicature Amendment Act 1972 or otherwise) or other proceedings before a court arising out of, or relating to, the making of a designation under this Act.

      A good reason for a judicial review might be that the Police don’t seem to have considered any arguments against the designation.

  9. Bill 9

    So, this is what happens when you try to support democracy….

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/13/british-teenage-girl-charged-kurdish-forces-fighting-isis

    A teenager from London, who was allegedly trying to join a Kurdish military women’s unit fighting Isis in Syria, has been charged with a terrorist offence.

    Shilan Ozcelik, who is of Kurdish descent, was arrested earlier this year at Stansted airport. She is believed to be the first British citizen to be arrested for trying to join the campaign against the jihadis who control eastern Syria and western Iraq.

    She was arrested by on 16 January at as she returned from Brussels. Neither the YPJ nor the YPG, the main men’s Kurdish peshmerga militia in northern Syria, are banned organisations in the UK.

    The charges against Ozcelik are understood to relate to the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK), which is outlawed in Britain and has spent decades fighting the Turkish army in a separatist conflict

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      This is what happens when a government allows its foreign policy ambitions to over-ride its commitment to human rights.

      So far as I’m concerned, terrorism is actually just murder. Or blackmail, extortion, etc.

      The reason for the designation is foreign policy, not policing.

      In any event, judicial review of the flawed case that the PKK is a terrorist organisation is a no brainer.

  10. One Anonymous Bloke 10

    Following from my observation that a good reason for judicial review might be that the Police don’t seem to have considered any arguments against the designation.

    What are the others?

    1. Humanity: the designation is a significant barrier to humanitarian aid to the regions and peoples affected.

    2. Turkey is negotiating a cease-fire with the PKK. Negotiating with ‘terrorists’ much?

    3. The whole notion of ‘terrorism’ diminishes the power of the judiciary to decide criminal cases.

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    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    3 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    5 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    5 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    5 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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