Building a movement: acting local, talking global

Written By: - Date published: 12:41 pm, January 29th, 2013 - 42 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, Environment, greens, human rights, poverty, privatisation, public transport, sustainability, trade, workers' rights - Tags:

To change the dominant political and media landscape and move away from the “neoliberal consensus”, it is necessary to apply pressure from below.  Political parties will always be channeled towards a narrow centrist position by the political, corporate and wealthy elites, and the commercialised, corporate-dominated MSM.

At the weekend, the Green Party launched an initiative to build a movement that doesn’t require party membership.  They pointed to the success of the campaign to gain signatures for a referendum on asset sales, as the way forward.

It does seem to me that Kiwis come out in reasonable numbers for demonstrations that have a concrete focus on things that matter to them personally and/or impact on their daily lives: the cost of electricity (asset sales), the importance of the outdoors (anti-Schedule Four mining protests).  They don’t usually get out on the streets in large numbers for broader campaigns that challenge the international power structures, corporate elite and political establishment (anti-TPP demonstrations).

The Occupy movement caught the imagination of many in the general population through it’s targeted slogans (1% versus 99%), and the focus on the rip-off merchants that dominate the banking system.  This touches people where they live, in struggling to survive and live a reasonable life.  While the movement continues among many who are committed, it’s slipped off the MSM agenda.

Opposition to Canada’s right wing government has has resulted in some strong grass-roots political campaigns and provide some potential guidelines.  The actions of groups like Idle No More and Common Causes.

common causes

These groups are taking on PM Harper’s “neoliberal” agenda, as reported by Archana Rampure in the article: ‘Neoliberalism no more: Making common cause to defeat The Harper agenda‘.  The article reports on Harper’s policies and approaches that support the “neoliberal” elites in a way similar to many things our NAct government is doing or planning:

Stephen Harper has an agenda and it is all about turning Canada into a resource-extraction economy. He would like to make sure that nothing and no one stands in the way of exploiting the oil and the gas, the minerals and the water.

Protests and criticism are countered with racist slurs and by labeling the critics as “radicals” and “terrorists”, while trade unions are demonised as being “big labour”.

The article argues that Harper’s agenda is most clear in his record of joining as many bi-lateral free trade agreements as possible.  And it is seen in his government’s on-going and ruthless attempts to negotiate a free trade agreement with Europe: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).   It sounds scarily like the secretive TPP agreement that our current government is negotiating.  The Rampure article says CETA will limit the ability of Canada’s elected governments to regulate, impact on procurement processes by local governments, allow foreign corporations to by-pass Canada’s legal systems and “appeal to secretive tribunals”, and,

The EU’s demands around intellectual property translate into billions of extra dollars for brand-name pharmaceuticals.

To get Kiwis motivated, it’s necessary to  focus on local issues that have a fairly immediate impact on people’s lives.  In the course of the local actions, the global and wider political connections can be mentioned and explained.

Consequently I think the Green Party idea to focus first on Auckland’s transport is a good idea.  Bomber, in a post today, gives the background that shows why a focus on an Auckland campaign will also be good for the Green Party.  He was disappointed by the low attendance at the picnic.  He points out they only recently have acquired an Auckland MP (* update below), and lists the Auckland electorates with the telling percentage of votes the Greens go in each electorate in the last election.

Auckland isn’t the only city or region where a local campaign would be beneficial in stimulating a building a broad movement.  However, the size of the city makes it one (but not the only one) that should be at the forefront.

It remains to be seen whether a genuine flax-roots movement can be led by a political party.  However, the Greens do have a visibility wider than something like the inspiring Auckland Action and Against Poverty.  Their 3 day advocacy for beneficiaries was an imaginative and practical action that any movement could learn from. Street protests only engage the already politically aware.  So maybe any Auckland action should look at ways to draw attention to public transport use – smart mobs on peak hour trains?  Well I’m not so great on thinking up practical and innovative forms of action.

How can we best mobilise the politically disengaged in NZ, to join a movement for change?

[*Update: The Green Party has more than 1 MP residing in Auckland.  The Green Party website shows that Denise Roach,  Julie Anne Genter, and David Clendon live in Auckland.  I am also told that Kennedy Graham now lives in Auckland.

42 comments on “Building a movement: acting local, talking global”

  1. Bill 1

    I’m a bit intrigued by the Green Party’s suggestion of building a movement. Actually, I hope their intention is to help build a movement and not attempt to lead it.

    Which kind of pre-empts my response to : –

    It remains to be seen whether a genuine flax-roots movement can be led by a political party.

    No. It can’t be done and shouldn’t be attempted. All that happens when some group tries to ‘headline’ a movement is that they themselves become a barrier erected against attempts to increase participation rates. In this instance that would come in the form of having to implicitly accept the philosophies or whatever of the Green Party as a sort of conditional provision of involvement.

    But can the Green Party be an important and integral component of any nasceant movement? Of course they can. But they really do need to be careful about how they approach their role or they risk undermining the very thing they hope to construct.

    • karol 1.1

      Bill: But can the Green Party be an important and integral component of any nasceant movement? Of course they can. But they really do need to be careful about how they approach their role or they risk undermining the very thing they hope to construct.

      Agreed. And maybe the greens shouldn’t have called it a “movement”, which is something that would involve a network of groups and organisations, without any one of them being the leader.

      It’s interesting that Chris Trotter, in his post on the Greens’ initiative, doesn’t use the word “movement. He tends to use the words “initiative” and “engagement”, when referring to it.

      I think the Greens are really attempting to engage support, without requiring people to be part members. So it is somewhere in between a movement and a party activity.

      They should be looking to work with other groups and parties on various issues.

      • Bill 1.1.1

        Ah, bits of that post by Chris Trotter had me chuckling. But that aside, this bit caught my eye :-

        the goal of “I’m in – for the future” is to enlist activists around specific progressive issues and causes (like affordable housing) trusting that the Green Party message will be absorbed through the osmosis of engagement

        (my emph. added)

        If that’s an accurate assessment, then I have to say that the whole thing is arse about face. A political party’s interaction with a movement – if it wants the movement to flourish and make some incremental gains for itself – can only ever be one whereby the party is the one absorbing some messages of the movement by osmosis.

        It’s up to the party to take those parts of the larger movement it finds palatable and find a way to succesfully project them back into parliament.

        In other words, the party takes what is useful or usable, adapts it to its parliamentary circumstances and continues to support and celebrate the wide diversity of democratic expression and aspiration of the movement and takes care to do nothing that might hobble it.

        What Chris Trotter envisages is just more of the tired old politics of command and control and a bending or usurping of the common weal to serve narrower interests. A hobbling straight off the bat as it were. And that goes nowhere over the medium to long term – if it even manages to go anywhere in the short term.

        edit. Sorry. I meant to respond to your point about networks of groups and/or organisations. That can never constitute a movement. That’s always going to be a coalition and subject to a whole host of fucked up and destructive dynamics.

        • Colonial Weka 1.1.1.1

          “the goal of “I’m in – for the future” is to enlist activists around specific progressive issues and causes (like affordable housing) trusting that the Green Party message will be absorbed through the osmosis of engagement”

          I think that says more about Trotter than the GP. At this stage I am willing to believe that the GP intends to align itself with the new majority, rather than co-opting them to its own agenda. That the GP will get votes out of this is a beneficial side effect of doing the right thing, not the goal in and of itself.

          • Olwyn 1.1.1.1.2

            Be fair to Trotter here. For one, he says “the Green Party message” which is a message that the Green Party stand behind and presumably want people to take seriously. Hence he seems to understand that for the Greens getting the message out there takes precedence over petty politicking. However, because he is comparing the Greens favourably to Labour, he is also noting that this approach amounts to better progressive politics as well. You do not get far in politics if there is not a group of voters eager to hear what you have to say, and eager to see you implement it.

      • George D 1.1.2

        Perhaps the Greens could call them ‘affiliates’? 😉

        I think the comparison between and Labour’s labour movement is a good one. In that case, they formed a relationship with existing mass-movement organisations, rather than attempted to facilitate one. I’ll be interested to see how this works for the Greens.

        • karol 1.1.2.1

          “Affiliates” is a good term. Actually, there are green organisations, and the green movement is seen as being wider than any political party.

          Bill (@2.25pm: I think political parties are most usually expected to tread a fine line between showing leadership and listening to the people.

          However, in the Green Party’s favour is that their organisation and structure gives members quite a bit of say in the policies adopted and choice of list MPs.

          • CV - Real Labour 1.1.2.1.1

            I reckon the term “Associates” is better for the Green Party. It means a group not as tightly identified with the party in terms of agenda, or as implicated in the nuts and bolts of the party’s machinery, and which is quite free to come and go on various issues at various times.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    They don’t usually get out on the streets in large numbers for broader campaigns that challenge the international power structures, corporate elite and political establishment (anti-TPP demonstrations).

    That, IMO, is because they don’t know how the system actually works which is why we have to work on educating everyone on what actually happens in finances. People don’t believe (and don’t want to believe) that the private banks create money far faster than any government and that the reason for the governments of the world (particularly the US, UK and EU) is to try and offset that massive amount of creation.

    Stephen Harper has an agenda and it is all about turning Canada into a resource-extraction economy. He would like to make sure that nothing and no one stands in the way of exploiting the oil and the gas, the minerals and the water.

    Don’t forget the most important part of that agenda – that those resources will be taken out of public ownership and handed over to private control so that the rich can get richer.

    How can we best mobilise the politically disengaged in NZ, to join a movement for change?

    And that is the $64 million dollar question.

  3. Cayte Shepherd 3

    The Green Party is not The Leader in the petition for referendum on Asset Sales.

    It is a COMMUNITY lead initiative involving Grey Power, Labour Party, NZ First, Mana other community groups and individuals who make up community and society and the Green Party.
    The Green Party is not the only group which has contributed to the signature count.
    Placing credit where it is actually due is an option we all have.

    • CV - Real Labour 3.1

      I understand that the Green Party collected more signatures than any other single group you mention. At least in that respect of performance, they “led”, even though that is probably not the usage of the word you meant.

      • King Kong 3.1.1

        I hope the Greens got more signatures than the rest as they did use tax payer funds in order to employ proffesionals to collect names.

        Obviously too lazy to do the heavy lifting themselves these days. A couple of years with a bit of dough and a few perks on the tax payer and it’s – “lets just get a man in to do that”.

    • karol 3.2

      Nowhere did I say, nor, I think did the Greens say, that they led the asset sales petition signature gathering. They just point to the asset sales campaign as a model for ways to build a movement. In my above post, my link on it is to another post by me ont he success of the petition. The first link on that credits several organisers, including Grey Power, the Council of Trade Unions, the Green Party and Labour.

      And then my asset sales post goes to a quote from a Grey Power spokesperson.

      However, this does come back to Bill’s point above, that a political party can have a role in building a movement, but they need to be careful about how they approach it.

  4. The Greens are coming across as increasingly responsive to people.

    Although it is sensible to put a warning in re that the Greens shouldn’t lead the movement (or need to take care how they approach it), I view this move as being responsive to a line of thought and attitudes (or a “movement”) that are not being represented in NZ politically or in the media currently, rather than leading it.

    It seems like both a very empowering and positive thing to do. Empowering because it is using the financial resources and platform they have to harness the power of numbers, and positive because I noticed Metiria’s speech was picking out the best attitudes from our culture and thus emphasizing and encouraging them. Makes a very nice change from politicians bringing out the worst and most bigoted attitudes and enhancing them, ultimately, for their and their mates own advantage.

    What this appears to be is pretty much what I would hope that politicians were interested in doing; representing and empowering their constituency.

    Well done The Greens, may this be the start of a positive shift in political approaches.

  5. Shane 5

    FYI – actually there are now four Green MPs based in Auckland now – Denise Roche, David Clendon, Julie Genter (I think Julie moved when she was elected) and Kennedy Graham (who has moved up from Chch recently).

    • karol 5.1

      Thanks, Shane. I got that from Bomber’s (linked to) post. Actually, looking again he says that Denise Roach is Auckland’s first MP & that Dave Clendon doesn’t count.

      It’s not clear from the GP website bios that Genter or Kennedy Graham are now in Auckland, but it is for Clendon and Roach. I will update my post accordingly.

      • George D 5.1.1

        That’s not true either 🙂 Keith Locke, Nandor Tanzcos, and Sue Bradford were all Aucklanders for much or all (in Keith’s case) of their parliamentary careers.

        The party has had a slight geographical bias, as the MPs are selected by the membership, and the membership votes in people they know. As both the membership and voters tilt somewhat southward, this is what you get. There’s been a mild readjustment led from the party to correct for this.

  6. The Fan Club 6

    I hate to say it, but this seems doomed from the outset to be a glorified membership drive, given the simple fact that all the Greens have done is filed the serial numbers off membership. (At best; at worst it’s just going to turn into a mailing list.)

    George D’s comparison to the Affiliates is close, but shows why it’s absurd. You don’t join the EPMU to join Labour, you join the EPMU to be part of organised labour. As part of that you get invited to the Labour Party, but it’s not the driving motive. But why would you join “I’m in” unless you want to join the Greens? At which point just join the Greens!

    Good luck, though, increasing membership’s a really good strategic idea for the Greens. Especially given the top heavy, media driven nature of the current Green Party, it’ll be interesting to see how the Greens handle having on the ground activists.

    [Also I think that describing Idle No More as “anti-neoliberal” is facile and improper, given that the rights they seek have been trampled by every kind of government.]

    • karol 6.1

      Missing the point, TFC. Joining the “I’m in” is about being part of a network willing to engage on specific issues. Everything doesn’t need to be done in the same way the Labour Party has done it. and it. “Affiliates” is not a word coined by, and only applied to its specific use by the Labour Party

      Currently the Canadian Idle No More is focused on opposing the Harper “neoliberal” agenda. It’s not a nonsense. Certainly recent governments of all persuasions in Canada, as here, have adopted many neoliberal policies. But Canada was more progressive than most prior to the Harper government. It has gone aggressively for new Right policies.

  7. The Fan Club 7

    How is it a network? Where does the networky-ness reside?

    And what’s the difference between joining a “network willing to engage on specific issues” and just, you know, joining the Greens?

    Yes clearly everything doesn’t need to be done the same way Labour does, which is kinda my point. The Greens are a disciplined, homogenised, and unitary party, that tends towards democratic centralism. Labour, on the other hand, is a broad-church, federalist, and poly-centric party designed to allow for many ways to be Labour.

    One of the ways to be Labour is in-addition as it were — that’s the affiliates. But there’s no reason to apply that analogy to this “I’m in” thing. What are you joining that means you join this in-addition to? Nothing; that’s why the affiliates analogy breaks down and is misleading.

    • karol 7.1

      It’s a network focusing on various bits of action, and not involving any commitment to attending party events, and participating in formulating policy etc. There’s no commitment to help with campaigning for the Greens.

      The current parliamentary wing of the Labour Party looks like its very much into autocratic centralism, while the membership is aiming for democratic participation. The Green Party is very much into democratic participation. Green activism can take many forms. Your comparison doesn’t hold up.

      • The Fan Club 7.1.1

        So again, how is it a network i.e. possessing side to side communication? Would it be possible, in principle, for this movement to act without reference to the Green centre? And how does a network that can not participate in policy setting and strategy have any power or value to an activist?

        How is “join in on our demos but don’t have any say in policy or strategy” any different from the classic dem cen treatment of rank & file members? (In fact worse, because after all the dem cen party at least theoretically allows for changes at the centre.)

        I’m not making a comparison, Karol. I’m pointing out that you can’t make one between the affiliates and this, as George did.

        • bad12 7.1.1.1

          Simplified, the Green Party is simply saying that while you may not want anything to do with the Green Party, x individual, even a National voter might want to join an organization opposed to asset sales, for food in schools, or against mining the DOC estate…

          • The Fan Club 7.1.1.1.1

            But, uh, that’s pretty problematic. Because if you don’t want anything to do with the Green Party, why would you join a Green-led organisation?

            My guess is the key demographic here is someone who doesn’t quite want to be a party hack, but would like to be part of an organised political movement (i.e. member of a party). And this is a way to do that, and hopefully it works for the Greens.

            • bad12 7.1.1.1.1.1

              The Green Movement tho is far larger and of greater numbers than just the Green Party, i am pretty sure the Green Party would happily admit such,

              Parts of that Green Movement even view the Green Party as philistines,( you only need read jenny’s comments to see that), in such a movement the Green Party simply acts as a facilitator,participant, and of course a researcher on behalf of future political actions/directions working from the front foot if you will,

              It’s damn clever politics from the Green Party that for it’s size in Parliament has as a first admission that they are not the be all and end all of community concerns but will sure as hell be at the head of the queue when such community concerns are raised and require a political solution,

              But then that’s the Green Party, an eagle among dinosaurs, damn smart when it comes to evidenced based opposition, and, more so when it comes to proposed solutions…

              • The Fan Club

                But again, if I’m in the broad Green movement & suspicious of the Green Party, why do I sign on to this front group (because that’s what I’ll see it as). Especially, if I am suspicious of the Green Party why would I go on demos when I have no control over the strategy, the position, and the demands, given that those will all stay controlled by the Green Party?

        • karol 7.1.1.2

          They are trying a new strategy in keeping with current context where people are often into social networking, will join in a particular campaign that they favour, but don’t want to commit to a party membership.

          The new context is something that Judy McGregor talked about at the 2012 NZLP conference – that these days many people will support individual actions, but don’t have the commitment to join a party.
          She saw it as a problem that has impacted on the NZLP in terms of declining membership. The Green Party MPs are well into using social networks like twitter, and are seeing the positive in the networking approach – rather than seeing it as a problem to be worked around.

          In spite of your claims, TFC, that it means centralising, in fact it means decentralising, encouragement rather than dictating to people, and leaving then the choice as to the events/actions they engage with.

          I’ll be interested to see how this initiative goes. I hope it also involves linking/networking with other groups, like Auckland Action Against Poverty, green organisations, Unions, Auckland Transport Blog, Global Peace and Justice, etc, as relevant to the specific actions.

          I recall some people commenting that part of the reason for the large turn out to the Auckland demo against Schedule Four mining, was that Green Peace had extensive networks through which they notified people of the demo in advance.

          We are in need of a left broad left wing movement, made of loose networks. In my time in London, especially in the late 70s, early 80s, that was the nature of the Women’s Movement. There was no umbrella organisation, just various groups and initiatives that arose when people saw the need and had the time. Some were directly affiliated to other organisations (especially left wing ones like the Labour Party, & the Socialist Workers’ Women’s branch).

          However, in NZ right now, I also would like to see more flax roots, non-Party groups building some momentum, like the Canadian Common Causes.

          • The Fan Club 7.1.1.2.1

            But if you’re into a specific campaign, why would you join this amorphous “I’m in for the future” thing? (Or rather, if it is conceptualised as being for specific campaigns why launch in this amorphous way?) Surely specific campaigns would have specific targeted memberships, the way that the MMP, or the marriage equality, or S4 mining, for example, did.

            My read is that it’s not targeted at single issue people (as you seem to be suggesting.) My read is that it’s an attempt to rebrand Green membership. If I was being really really catty I’d say it’s a front organisation.

            I think your desire for this to be something it’s not is tainting your analysis here karol. I’d love to see more broad left activism; I just don’t think that a Green Party strategy to engage with a segment of society skittish of formalised party membership is that. Because, again, how is “come on our demo but have no say over our strategy or our policy” particularly empowering? I mean, it’s not like the Labour or Greens force anyone to participate in anything at the moment. That stuff’s all optional. (I dunno, maybe you’re an ex-swappy burned out on paper sales :p ?)

            • karol 7.1.1.2.1.1

              Welcome to the 21st century, TFC. Social networking works a lot for many people, anf=d many do get involved with actions and activities of their choice as a result of the networks they connect with.

              New kinds of things happening. Actually, I should imagine it’s a bit like the Global Peace and Justice emails I used to get. They were very useful for seeing what’s happening locally, re talks, actions etc. I especially found it useful when I was very busy.

              But, I don’t expect a Labour Party fan boy to welcome any new idea from the Green Party.

              • The Fan Club

                Hey I think this is a great idea, if the Greens can get some more “members” that’s awesome. And if there’s some fancy social networking stuff going on (though I doubt there is) that’s pretty cool.

                I just don’t think “here’s a mailing list, we’ll tell you when we’ve organised some stuff” is anything to write home about from the point of view of empowering people.

                I’m quite interested in this, and I do hope it works out. I just don’t think it’s the thing you want it to be.

                (PS Labour fanboy hahahaha are you actually a Swappy? Did that cut too close to home or something?)

                • karol

                  Actually, I don’t know what a “swappy” is. Went over my head, and didn’t really register.

                  Anyway, I am one of the people more likely to join this Green initiative than become a member of a party. Towards the end of Judy McGregor’s NZLP conference speech (that I linked to above), she described the kind of political approach of the “young” social networking generation: less likely to join a party etc., more likely to respond to specific issues. Even though I’m no longer young, I felt I was kind of like that.

                  I’ve never been interested in committing to a political party by becoming a member. I feel it would obligate me to vote for them. I decide on an election-by-election basis which party to vote for – depending on their policies, the current issues and how well each party aligns with my left wing values.

                  I do however, have a long history of joining in to support particular political actions. Currently, the Green and Mana Parties are the ones I most favour. I will join single campaigns led or supported by these parties. Time will tell if this initiative works, but if not, I hope we learn valuable lessons from it of new ways to approach politics.

                  • The Fan Club

                    Swappy is a (UK) nickname for Socialist Worker’s Party member.

                    I do hope this works — apart from anything else, if it does, it would be good to steal it for the NZLP.

            • bad12 7.1.1.2.1.2

              The Auckland march against mining, all Green Party members, nope, Green Movement based, supported by the Green Party yep, but Movement and Party two different birds entirely…

            • bad12 7.1.1.2.1.3

              If i was being really catty i would say that your being a smart arse wanker trying to promote a schism between Labour and the Greens or suggesting that the Green Party membership has collapsed when it’s obviously doing the opposite…

  8. The Fan Club 8

    [See above]

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    3 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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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