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Auckland’s yellow jacket protest

Written By: - Date published: 1:14 pm, February 3rd, 2019 - 24 comments
Categories: act, immigration, International, Politics, racism, us politics - Tags: ,

Yesterday on a bright and sunny day I popped down to Aotea Square to see what the extreme right was up to.  There had been a fair amount of social media promotion of the yellow jacket rally and I wondered what sort of turnout they would get.

I had thought that there might be some interplay between the left and the right.  Love Aotearoa had organised a migrant’s picnic nearby.  Most people there were obviously having a good time and apart from a few activists that I know most people stayed away.

The rally was underwhelming.  There were maybe 30 yellow jackets there with perhaps another 30 supporters.

They seemed to think that the media was a purveyor of fake news. The criticism may have some basis in fact but not in the way they thought.

And they seemed to have a thing about socialists and think the current Government was a socialist government.

I tried engaging with a few.  Their beef was the Government support of the UN Global Migration Pact.  I have covered the background in this post.  Basically the pact is a feel good exercise that creates no binding obligations but sets aspirational goals for states to work to.  But it has been converted in the minds of some into a World Government grab of our sovereignty.

One of the yellow jacket wearers, who from his accent was clearly a Dutch immigrant, said that he had read the Pact and the words stating that it created a “non-legally binding, cooperative framework” but still thought the courts would use the pact to change our law.

When I asked him to name one case where this has happened before he walked away.

The rally was kicked off with the singing of the National Anthem in english.  I was pleased that they then sung it in Te Reo.  I was even more pleased that some of them knew the words in Te Reo.

The movement has clearly engaged in some analysis of their messaging.

They were keen to point out that they supported biculturalism, Maori and Pakeha, but were opposed to the multicultural stuff.

They would be happy to have Maori rednecks join them in their struggle.  They were still almost exclusively white.

The speeches were an interesting collection.

The first speaker went on a bit of a historical monologue and even talked about the great depression but forgot to mention the role of the first Labour Government in solving it.

ACT’s Stephen Berry also spoke.  The tenor of what he said is recorded in this press release. He thought that there would be a chilling effect on the right to freedom of speech if Governments engaged in awareness raising campaigns to “inform public perceptions regarding the positive contributions of safe, orderly and regular migration”. He needs to get out more.

There was this continuous dichotomy about how they were exercising their rights to freedom of speech, which is a good thing, but wanted to keep the UN, which is a bad thing, out of our country because it will affect our rights to freedom of speech. They seemed genuinely surprised when I pointed out that freedom of speech was something that the UN declaration of Human Rights preserved.

Marc Daalder from Spinoff has written this interesting article on yesterday’s events where he delves into the background of the groups and also discusses how local media should handle them.

He has delved deeply into their social media and describes it in this way:

While the total numbers of those involved remain small, many of them have coalesced online in a number of inter-connected Facebook groups. Here, they share news articles from fringe sources and worry about the coming Muslim invasion, particularly after the UN migrant pact is signed. For example, in ‘Yellow Vest New Zealand’, a Facebook group run in part by NZ Sovereignty leader Jesse Anderson, a simple search reveals calls to “ban Islam in NZ”.

Another post in the group enters some bizarre territory. “Porirua where i live is immigrant city including Newtown In wellington”, a commenter writes. “Combine that with 9+ mosques in Auckland. Its partially here and 99% of our food are halal which by Islamic Shariah law is under their law”. It’s unclear what the user means by “under their law”. They finish by warning it’s only a “Matter of time untill NZ has no go zones”, referencing the popular conspiracy theory that Muslim immigration in Europe has turned some cities into “no-go zones”.

Islamophobia is not the only fashionable prejudice in these right-wing groups, however. One user shared a post they had written about the UN’s official agenda for 2030, in which they warned the United Nations sought to “Criminalize Christianity, marginalize heterosexuality, demonize males and promote the LGBT agenda everywhere. The real goal is never “equality” but rather the marginalization and shaming of anyone who expresses any male characteristics whatsoever”.

In another thread, users debated the extents to which they would allow anti-Semitism. One member threatened to leave the group “if I see anymore posting […] of this zionist programming”. A second retorted, “come out of the cave mate”. A third: “What is the difference between Zionists and deep state? Imo it’s same thing, very much current”.

He also notes the crossover between this group and other anti establishment groups like anti vaxxers and 1080 opponents:

There is, however, a section of New Zealand society that is vulnerable to the far-right but is not yet inherently left- or right-wing. This is the second potential constituency that Spoonley sees. He calls them adherents of “new wave conservative conspiracy politics. For example, the opposition to 1080, the opposition to fluoridation, the scepticism about vaccinations. These communities are not inevitably part of the constituency [of the far-right] but they offer up some activists who are capable of translating their opposition to the modern state into far-right politics.”

The dangers here are two-fold. First, as Spoonley indicates, these groups are already predisposed towards anti-state behaviour. Second, their mentality extends beyond that into a refusal to acknowledge almost any traditional authority. The media, health professionals, and academic scholars are all summarily ignored by anti-vaxxers and their brethren. The combination of these factors make them easy pickings for the far-right.

Indeed, there is considerable crossover between the two groups. Conspiracy theorist David Icke, who believes a race of lizard people secretly governs the world and that vaccines are dangerous, is a popular source in the anti-UN Facebook groups. A poll in ‘Yellow Vest New Zealand’ about whether vaccines should be mandatory prompted a number of outraged comments. “No vaccination fascism!” cried one. “No fluoride in the water where I live, I can still use my pineal gland”, promised another.

And he points out that in the United States after the media abandoned the traditional “he said she said” approach to reporting on Trump the media has recorded improved levels of trust.

After adopting new methods of covering Trump in the age of fake news, American outlets have enjoyed a veritable trust renaissance. In mid-2018, a poll found a majority of Americans had “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in media, for the first time since Trump burst onto the scene.

Whether the far-right comes about in New Zealand is not yet a foregone conclusion, but it is certainly possible. Vigilance is sorely needed to prevent that movement from prevailing – and today’s march will prove the first test for New Zealand’s media and the country at large.

His comment about the need for vigilance is prescient.

To repeat one question which I heard asked a number of times yesterday, where has multiculturalism ever worked?

We were in Aotea Square.  There were young Chinese and Indian, Pacifica, a mother and daughter wearing a hijab, all peacefully coexisting.  Across the road there is this wonderful Turkish kebab shop.  There are no less than two Sushi shops within 100 metres of where we were. Queen Street is littered with businesses owned and run by different nationalities showing the really good side of globalisation.

Within the city there are plans to celebrate Waitangi day, Chinese New Year and the Festival of colours all within the next month or so. People from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences all happily living together.

I am cautiously confident that New Zealand is showing that multiculturalism is working fine and that the Yellow Jackets will not gain traction. Time will tell if I am right.

24 comments on “Auckland’s yellow jacket protest ”

  1. rata 1

    Good report.

  2. joe90 2

    One of the yellow jacket wearers, who from his accent was clearly a Dutch immigrant, said that he had read the Pact

    I wonder how many of these fools have bothered to read the Gilets Jaunes people’s directives.

    • Pierre 2.1

      I wonder how many of these fools have bothered to read the Gilets Jaunes people’s directives.

      Exactly!

      I think the context in which people decide to appropriate the gilet jaune symbol tells us more about their own situation than it does about the movement.

      In France it’s the return of the Great Anger, a proletarian revolt against a right-wing government. The political character of the movement is split, which on multiple occasions has led to battles taking place within the protests between fascist/anti-fascist militants. However, the left is present, you see CGT banners and red flags on marches, and the major parties of the left (the PCF, la France Insoumise) support the movement. This is necessary: when the people are in motion, the left must be there.

      Rassemblement National also supports the movement, but le Pen has repeatedly stated that she is against resumption of the ISF, against raising the minimum wage. The Right can offer no solution to these problems, because in order to solve them you must interrupt the market and place political limits on capital. The CGT and SUD-PTT have called for a round of strikes on Tuesday, and we’ll see where that leads…

      I attended the Yellow Vests UK protest last month – and there was a conscious effort to reclaim the ‘yellow vest’ symbol for the left. The rally was addressed by John McDonnell and Laura Pidcock – notably figures in the Labour Party who are oriented towards the social movements. They used their platform to call for a general election. Again, there were scuffles on the fringes between left-wing protesters and right-wing ones, although overall the right-wing yellow vests were outnumbered.

      Also, and this is important: in France they shut down several major motorways, while simultaneously blockading the country’s main ports. The French labour movement has always understood that there are pressure points in a country: the oil refineries, power plants, railways… Meanwhile in Britain we did not barricade the streets, and the riot police did not attack the protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets. The spirit was the same, but the content of the protest was completely different.

      Micky has done a great job here of documenting the Yellow Vests in New Zealand. That gaggle of 60 or so conspiracy theorists and libertarians are so completely divorced from the situation in France that it’s difficult to see them as part of the same movement.

  3. Macro 3

    Thanks for this MS. Highly ironic how these people – who are clearly immigrants – can take such a selfish position.

  4. Chris T 4

    Meanwhile, everyone else is just enjoying the weather…..

  5. A 5

    The use of the term Yellow Jacket is close enough to Yellow Vests (socialist IMHO) to be confusing.

  6. observer 6

    I walked through Aotea Square (on unrelated business). It was a pitiful protest. Outnumbered by bemused tourists.

    They might be dismissed as the extreme fringe, except let’s not forget – they were actually supporting the official policy of the official opposition.

    Simon Bridges might want to think about that. With friends like these …

  7. tabletennis 7

    It’s unclear what the user means by “under their [Islamic Shariah law] law”.
    writes Marc Daalder, perhaps this helps to clarify (and this is just NZ):

    “Anyone who undertakes halal slaughter (halal slaughterman) must also meet a number of competency requirements including NZQA unit standards that cover knowledge of Shariah Law; knowledge of stock recovery; knife handling and sharpening skills; hygiene and food safety and work safety.”
    https://www.mia.co.nz/what-we-do/trade/halal/

    And this – where the NZ law was rewritten, purely based on religion grounds (“putting religion above the law”)-:

    “MPI said it was monitoring the number of animals slaughtered using the shechita method to ensure it does not exceed the number necessary to meet the needs of the local Jewish community and kosher-observant visitors to New Zealand.”

    *Exceptions were in place for the Jewish community and home kill butchers and the 2010 commercial slaughter code of welfare was designed to remove those.”
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/rural/244598/safe-condemns-kosher-sheep-kill

    (sorry, I can’t find more up to date figures on the numbers of animals that have to undergo this kind of end to their short lives.),

  8. phantom snowflake 8

    Meanwhile in Wellington:

    New Zealand National Front have been promoting these rallies on their site, where, unsurprisingly, they’re also creaming themselves over the forthcoming visit by incel-comforter Jordan Peterson.

    • Gabby 8.1

      Wonder if that chap works in a bank.

    • Muttonbird 8.2

      I’d like to see a few of our comedians put their talents to use by sending up Mr Jordan Peterson when he arrives here.

      • DJ Ward 8.2.1

        That was funny. Peterson says he doesn’t like them. Peterson is not responsible for his plain and simple truths being liked, as they are universal truths. It’s unavoidable that sane and rational thinkers, as well as the insane, the Neo-Nazis agree with him.
        All that’s left that don’t like his right to free speech is irrational thinkers hiding behind imaginary walls, thinking they are the sane ones. Demanding his silence, organising anti free speech protest, asking comedians to make fun of him.

        If you put a comedian vs Peterson debate on who would get “sending up”.
        If the best solution is to just make fun of someone then it’s proof you lost. Take Peterson on in a contest of ideas. Yep that would be funny.

    • Anno1701 8.3

      There should be NO platform for fascists, now where did I put that brick…?

  9. Anne 9

    ACT’s Stephen Berry also spoke. The tenor of what he said is recorded in this press release. He thought that there would be a chilling effect on the right to freedom of speech if Governments engaged in awareness raising campaigns to “inform public perceptions regarding the positive contributions of safe, orderly and regular migration”. He needs to get out more.

    So, he’s saying that telling the public about the good things legitimate and peace loving migrants can contribute to this country and the measures taken to ensure NZ is safe from overseas terrorists is a good thing for freedom of speech but not if it’s being said by the government?

    Or is he saying that public perceptions of freedom of speech is at risk if migrants come to this country and the government should not be raising awareness of the positive contributions they make as that will have a chilling effect on… I dunno something?

    Or could he be saying…………………………….. I’ve lost his plot. 🙁

    • DJ Ward 9.1

      Yes he is not making sense.
      I myself support safe, orderly and regular migration. Most on TS don’t which is maybe what these guys think this law will result in. The US example. Notice the word legal is missing from his comment, and the implication it won’t be safe and orderly but forced on us by the UN. Clearly that’s not what the UN implies but who knows what the future holds.
      It’s not surprising a Christian group is against Islamic immigration as they have been mortal enemies, fighting over the souls, and incomes of vulnerable people from there beginnings.

      • Sacha 9.1.1

        “I myself support safe, orderly and regular migration. Most on TS don’t”

        Lovely strawman you have there.

  10. Gabby 10

    Dingle Berry is saying that nazi snofwakes will be aw upset and lose their freedom of lie if people have facts.

  11. mauī 11

    Wonderful to see Ed there with his boycott all NZ msm media sign. Thank you Ed. If I had a dollar for the amount of times he’s mistaken for a rightie…

    • Sacha 11.1

      The email address might sway most of us.

      • veutoviper 11.1.1

        And also the Facebook listings for New Zealand Sovereignty and NZSovereignty.

        • Sacha 11.1.1.1

          Is he involved? (I do not have facebook but also do not want to skew their algorithms)

          • veutoviper 11.1.1.1.1

            Could not see anything on the Facebook pages I looked at that appears to link/identify Ed as we knew him (or rather his latest iteration).

            However, the very last line of the placard held by the person in the third photo in the post (who presumably Maui is referring to as Ed) appears to have the facebook sign with then the words “New Zealand Sovereignty” followed by three letters I cannot read (Inc or and?) followed by “NZSovereignty”. So presumably the person holding the placard has some form of association with them and/or got a generic placard from them to which he has added his own main message. Otherwise, why put the facebook refs on the placard?

            The Facebook pages seem to be very new. When I have time will check them out further.

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