You Cowed?

Written By: - Date published: 3:21 pm, January 11th, 2018 - 94 comments
Categories: activism, community democracy, Left, Politics, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, useless - Tags: ,

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume I wasn’t the only one gobsmacked on reading about, in the words of The New York Times:

A Louisiana teacher who stood up at a school board meeting and asked why the superintendent was getting a raise while educators and support staff were not was ejected from the room by a marshal, handcuffed on the floor and put into a patrol car.

There are various reports across several papers you can refer to, and the entire debacle has been up-loaded and is available for viewing. The first six minutes is more or less the routine tedium of a board meeting. At 6min and 40sec, the wee guy with the gavel tries to shut down uncomfortable questions and pull the meeting to order, and then…

 

It was while watching the recorded footage that my blood began to boil. See, not one person stepped up to kill the situation. People simply bleated ineffectually and recorded what was happening.  It struck me as being not a million miles away from a Black Mirror episode called “White Bear” where people simply record the distress of the main protagonist…except in that instance the people doing the recording are part of an elaborate set-up and they have been instructed to be passive.

Then I remembered this other and very similar situation from early last year when United Airlines removed a passenger from an over-booked flight. Yet again, people bleated and people hit “record”.

 

Compare and contrast with the following footage from a KLM flight out of Amsterdam that the authorities sought to use for the purpose of deportation.  That shit wasn’t happening. And it wasn’t happening because people spoke up, stepped up and didn’t back down.

I don’t know what it is when people won’t have one another’s backs. It’s fcking beyond me. And I don’t know what it is when people will just meekly allow authority to do as it will. Thankfully, that attitude isn’t ubiquitous. I came across the following story from March of last year while searching out the links for this post, and it gave me some heart, though, I’ll just quietly note that, unsurprisingly, instances of direct action don’t seem to attract much mainstream media coverage. From Vice: –

On Tuesday night 17 activists made their way airside at Stansted Airport and blockaded a Home Office privately chartered deportation flight. Live-streaming their action to the Facebook page Stop Charter Flights, the protesters locked themselves to the wheel of a plane set to remove around 50 people to Nigeria and Ghana.

End Deportations, a coalition of campaigns fighting against immigration detention and deportation, took responsibility for organising the protest alongside supporters from groups like Plane Stupid and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants.

“I think, for me [Lily May from End Deportations], it needs to be a collective resistance alongside those who are most affected. That’s how change happens,” she said. “People who aren’t in detention and aren’t facing deportation can risk their safety for the empowerment and ultimate liberation of people who aren’t able to. For sure there are many different ways, like targeting the companies involved, but this is the only time we have shut down a charter flight, so direct action does seem to be effective and necessary.”

To end, let me bring the whole notion of direct action back to a broader context. Some people deplore the thought of civil disobedience (the bleat and record crew) or have been cowed to the extent they only feel able to bleat and record. Well, here’s Voltairine De Cleyre, who I’ve only recently discovered, from her essay Direct Action (pdf pp 271)

Every person who ever had a plan to do anything, and went and did it, or who laid his plan before others, and won their co-operation to do it with him, without going to external authorities to please do the thing for them, was a direct actionist. All co-operative experiments are essentially direct action.

So I ask again. Are you cowed? Because there’s enough stuff going in the world right now that would suggest we need to be having one another’s backs. And cowed doesn’t cut it.

 

94 comments on “You Cowed?”

  1. ianmac 1

    How come the Marshall was there so quickly? Do Parish meetings regularly have police presence? “Resisting arrest” so I suppose others feel intimidated by the marshall action. Would we jump on the Marshall or protest in due course should there be court action? That might make it worse perhaps.
    Edit: The Marshall is employed by the Board! Hells Bells!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      Nope, you have to get in their faces and calmly explain that what they’re doing is wrong. Perform a citizen’s arrest if necessary. Remember that a human rights violation is a crime in progress perpetrated by the powerful unless you stop them.

    • Bill 1.2

      There were more than enough people, and more than enough time, for people to simply blockade the door from the corridor.

      But sure. Opt for the “due course” and listen to the fear riddled (or is it middle class and is there any difference anyway?) voice about not ‘maybe making things worse’, bearing in mind that the whole point of direct action in that kind of situation is to make things impossible – like the passengers on that KLM flight who, by simply not “taking their seats”, made take-off impossible and so stopped a deportation.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.1

        That’s why they have the right to bear arms, no? So they can protect themselves against their government. Snort. The hippies were more effective.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    It’s the attitudes exposed by eg: the Lerner and Milgram experiments, and the various studies that confirm their findings.

    And yes – the appropriate response is to get in ‘the man’s’ face and refuse to back down. Thanks for posting this, I’ve been thinking the same since I saw the footage.

    • Stunned Mullet 2.1

      “And yes – the appropriate response is to get in ‘the man’s’ face and refuse to back down. Thanks for posting this, I’ve been thinking the same since I saw the footage.”

      When the man with the face is armed and wearing a badge I would suggest that is a daft response.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        Calmly, politely explain how things are going to work. Don’t back down. Remember they respond to authority, so project authority.

        Don’t try and intimidate them, that’s what they want. They’re already intimidated enough by the situation. Obviously there’s strength in numbers, but there’s also strength in strength.

        PS: this doesn’t work when you’re drunk and naked at the Sevens.

  3. Whispering Kate 3

    You are commentating about the USA here, no wonder people are cowed. Honestly I would be too. It would be keeping the head under the parapet for me – at least I own it – its not the place to expose your head for anything.

    • The Fairy Godmother 3.1

      I would be as well. If not for myself I would be scared for my family. I have just finished a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the violence and intimidation in this instance seem similar to what happened in the thirties when the Nazis where on the rise. Before someone quotes that ridiculous Goodwin’s law at me I say if we ignore history we are condemned to repeat it.

      • adam 3.1.1

        Goodwin’s law don’t apply – it’s about real nazis.

      • halfcrown 3.1.2

        “I say if we ignore history we are condemned to repeat it.”

        !00% TFG

      • Tracey 3.1.3

        And some of the responses on here show the insidiousness of tghe propaganda. Yes propaganda. That war never ended. People are deep down scared to stand up for another for fear of losing their life. Seems sensible but there are numerous examples in history of the atrocities this has allowed.

        We have all been subject to propaganda all our lives… from our education to the words utterered by our politicians to the monied groups manufacturing “scientific opinion” to ensure their money river doesnt stop flowing.

        Who wants to leave their comfort? Not many who have “stuff” to lose. But tge more we push into the category of nothing to lose the bigger the chance of it ending badly.

        As long as we acknowledge we are complicit and cowardly in our silence we have self awareness…

    • Bill 3.2

      And Voltairine De Cleyre (quoted and linked in the post) was talking about the US too. At a time in it’s history when a huge amount of institutional violence was meted out to workers and others. Hell, “half” (exaggerating) the IWW she mentions in her linked speech were eventually lynched or deported and it wasn’t uncommon for workers to be shot dead or flung into prison for organising or striking.

      They weren’t cowed though.

      And direct action does not mean “going it alone” and walking headlong into the annals of the martyrs.

      Are you honestly telling me you’d be too scared to simply sit or stand in front of a door at the end of a corridor (say) with 20 others and not do as you were told?

      • weka 3.2.1

        In NZ, I wouldn’t be scared to do that. In the US I probably would (would probably do it anyway). In parts of the US at least, the people who would take action are the ones prepared to be arrested and/or physically assaulted.

        “And direct action does not mean “going it alone” and walking headlong into the annals of the martyrs.”

        Well it might mean going it alone if no-one else stands up with you. In communities with the direct action skills and knowledge, it would just happen that many people would react in the right way. I don’t think that was one of those communities though.

      • adam 3.2.2

        He a summary of labour related murders in the USA. Wikipedia so the numbers are on the conservative side.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_worker_deaths_in_United_States_labor_disputes

  4. Anne 4

    They are cowed Bill.

    The teacher was asking why a superintendent was getting a rise while the teachers who were doing all the teaching get nothing. She was arrested for “intimidation in a public place.” She was articulating a fair point and intimidating nobody.

  5. greywarshark 5

    Referring to how people often don’t speak up and support important ethical matters.
    I had a look at the Simpsons. Mayor Quimby decided to get the monorail while Marge worried about the roads that needed fixing etc. The money wasn’t being spent in the right way.
    Monorail meeting:

    Now Marge is standing for Mayor –
    “The Old Blue Mayor She Ain’t What She Used To Be” largely commits to examining how Marge’s rise to power as Springfield’s new mayor relies upon how the knee-jerk, irresponsibly swayed townspeople are susceptible to manipulation based on their basest, most selfish instincts.

    The Simpsons isn’t a cynical show so much as it resists the temptation to either demonize or lionize civic-mindedness or patriotism. The people of Springfield, tonight, flock to Marge not because she’s clearly a better candidate and person than perennially elected, womanizing, cartoonishly corrupt Diamond Joe Quimby, but because resident political operative Lindsey Naegle convinces her to use Professor Frink’s micro-targeted campaigning. (She’s seen catering to both Springfield’s “yokel Objectivist” and “exotic pet owners” lobbies.)

    The same goes for Marge’s motivations, too, though, as she’s spurred to challenge Quimby not by his legendary moral turpitude so much as by how his sexist condescension at a town meeting discussing the most recent monorail-related Springfield disaster makes her grind her molars.

    Lisa seizes on the feminist aspect of the conflict to urge Marge to run, and Lisa’s right that Springfield (and by extension, Earth) needs a serious lesson in female empowerment. But Lisa’s also running away with the issue for her own ideological reasons, losing sight of both Marge’s real concerns, and any more specific needs the town has.
    https://www.avclub.com/the-simpsons-does-some-lightly-effective-political-sati-1820381738

    It’s hard sticking to the principled point and speaking up for it when there are buttoned- down people you know all around you. And you can get side-tracked by your own individual belief or obsession.

    (Sorry about changing the format of this around. Hope it hasn’t confused you too much if you have been trying to read it. I have finished now and hope it is clearer.)

  6. I don’t know what it is when people won’t have one another’s backs. It’s fcking beyond me.

    It’s what we’ve been taught all my life. That what happens to other people is other people’s business and you shouldn’t get involved.

    We need to start teaching that, actually, you do need to get involved in such affairs because it probably does involve you and will negatively affect you if you don’t.

    Unions used to teach it but not very well.

    • JanM 6.1

      Quite the opposite of the way I was taught. My father was a Methodist minister and supporting others was fundamental to his ethos, and, indeed, of his colleagues. In fact, I would have said it was it was an important aspect of most of the major world religions, whether practised or not.
      Martin Niemoller (you know -“First they came for the communists – etc) was a minister of religion and hs stance cost him a number of years in prison.( My father actually met him in the 1950s at a World Council of Churches conference in Crete, I think).
      I think the development of the ‘precariat’ has made many people afraid for themselves and their families; of losing the means of material comfort, or even survival, pretty much in most countries of the world now

      • Quite the opposite of the way I was taught. My father was a Methodist minister and supporting others was fundamental to his ethos, and, indeed, of his colleagues. In fact, I would have said it was it was an important aspect of most of the major world religions, whether practised or not.

        The majority of people don’t have ministers for parents. This majority live at the whim of the capitalists and they certainly don’t want people sticking up for each other – note the attack on unions.

        Martin Niemoller (you know -“First they came for the communists – etc) was a minister of religion and hs stance cost him a number of years in prison.

        Exactly.

        I think the development of the ‘precariat’ has made many people afraid for themselves and their families;

        Yes. Thatcher said that there was no such thing as society and then went to work destroying it because it gets in the way of major profits for the well off.

        • Bill 6.1.1.1

          What you were taught, or what you learned is different to what JanM experienced. There’s no “all encompassing” small t truth.

          Are there general attitudes affected by culture and general structural position in society? Yup. Can those attitudes be accepted or rejected? Yup. Is there a demarcated route towards either acceptance or rejection? Nope. Is one persons acceptance or rejection of a general attitude a guarantee their children will will similarly accept or reject said attitude? Nope.

  7. Sanctuary 7

    Louisiana has a population of 4.6 million – about the same as NZ. Police fatally shot 19 people in that state in 2016. The New Zealand police shoot and kill 2-3 people a year in recent years in the same sized population.

    US Police are poorly trained, come from a tradition of a psychopathic level of compliance policing, are heavily armed and know they can murder people with more or less impunity.

    In Arizona, population 7 million, the cops kill 52 people a year. The Arizona cop responsible in the video below (caution: extremely disturbing) was found not guilty.

    Of course people are cowed. You’d do nothing as well if you thought the consequences of physically intervening to prevent that womans arrest could easily be a gun happy cop shooting you dead.

    • Bill 7.1

      Yeah, Sanctuary. Because 20 people blocking an exit…the cop’s going to pull out his pistol and shoot his way through. 🙄

      • McFlock 7.1.1

        Easy to doubt until the cop gets nervous and draws.

        And it is the nation that has “one riot, one ranger” as part of its national mythology.

        But more to the point, the cop might also be perfectly happy to walk up and down the barricade spraying pepper spray. And when backup arrives, arresting everyone.

        • Bill 7.1.1.1

          Do you not understand that it. does. not. matter. if everyone is arrested, because then, if nothing else, you get to have an impromptu party in the cells. (Yes, that does happen and has even happened here in l’il ol’ NZ)

          But in your world solidarity dies when a fcking cop says your being naughty. ffs – I hope no-one’s ever in a situation where they’d need you to be covering their back 🙁

          • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1

            And in your world cops carry guns for decoration.

          • weka 7.1.1.1.2

            “Do you not understand that it. does. not. matter. if everyone is arrested, because then, if nothing else, you get to have an impromptu party in the cells. (Yes, that does happen and has even happened here in l’il ol’ NZ)”

            Or, you get locked up in a dog kennel, strip searched, beaten (that was Standing Rock protestors, but try telling comfortable-ish white people that that can’t happen to them).

            Not saying direction action shouldn’t happen, but I don’t think it’s as risk free as you are suggesting.

            • McFlock 7.1.1.1.2.1

              +1

            • Bill 7.1.1.1.2.2

              I never suggested it was risk free. Different actions have different levels of risk attached to them.

              • weka

                tbh, you haven’t been that clear on this point. e.g. you appeared to be saying that in the meeting, those people could have blocked the policeman from removing and arresting the woman without risk to themselves. I’m not sure that is true (or that we are in a position to judge that).

                So sure, more could have been done. If it were NZ, I would have had no problem standing up and saying things directly to the meeting or the policeman, because here it’s unlikely I would get arrested. In the US, in that situation, it’s pretty much a given that shit was likely to happen. How much shit is hard to say.

                • Bill

                  I also put up two other videos of people on planes either standing up to authority or backing down to authority, and a link to a piece on more full-on direct action carried out at Stanstead Airport.

                  The only way to know if some arse is going to nut out if a doorway is blocked, is to block the doorway. But some (“only doing this if they won’t nut out”) attitude can’t be the motivation, because in that case, they (who-ever ‘they’ happen to be) will, as they tend to do anyway, just issue blustery threats….and walk away unimpeded.

            • Tracey 7.1.1.1.2.3

              It is pretty risk free for a room of white middle class people yet sit there they did.

          • joe90 7.1.1.1.3

            if nothing else, you get to have an impromptu party in the cells.

            Being man-handled, processed, strip searched, assessed for self harm, personal items/clothing confiscated and detained in a freezing, reeking, piss soaked lock up with who-the-fuck knows for who-the fuck knows how long ain’t a party in the cells, Bill.

            /

            • Bill 7.1.1.1.3.1

              No. That wouldn’t be. But since I was merely referring to an actual situation instead of letting my imagination conjure up all types of bad, and certainly not “party conducive” shit….

              • weka

                well the actual situation in question is that meeting, surely?

                • Bill

                  Just like you afterwards gave an account of the aftermath of Standing Rock arrests, so I originally gave a brief snap-shot on the aftermath of a fair sized NZ based arrest I experienced.

                  I get that some people want to grasp at fear (worst case scenarios) because it justifies inaction. And I’m not saying truly terrible things can’t happen. But generally speaking, because we’re not usually dealing with long running and highly charged situations (eg – Standing Rock), that’s not the case.

            • Bill 7.1.1.1.3.2

              So whereas it’s okay to allow some cop to arrest a teacher who (in your mind) might be exposed to being man-handled, processed, strip searched, assessed for self harm, personal items/clothing confiscated and detained in a freezing, reeking, piss soaked lock up with who-the-fuck knows for who-the fuck knows how long…it’s not okay to prevent that from happening because then you too might wind up being man-handled, processed, strip searched, assessed for self harm, personal items/clothing confiscated and detained in a freezing, reeking, piss soaked lock up with who-the-fuck knows for who-the fuck knows how long

              What the fuck’s that about joe90?

              I’d have thought that if there was a risk someone would be man-handled, processed etc, etc then that would serve as all the more reason for fucking well stepping up.

              But no. Seems not.

              • joe90

                What the fuck’s that about joe90?

                /

                Your wrong-headed notion that principaled disobedience earns you a party in the cells.
                /

                • Bill

                  Sure. Referencing an actual thing that happened following arrests for a direct action is “wrong-headed”. And running off to arm wavy “the sky will fall in” extremes of possible repercussions for a group of mostly middle aged and middle class white women who might have hampered or stopped the progress of a cop making a trivial arrest (the equivalent of trespass) is appropriate and level-headed.

                  On balance, given the situation and circumstances of the first vid, I’d put money on the repercussions tending far more towards my take than yours.

      • Tracey 7.1.2

        Room was almost entirely white…. the cops have less of a record shooting white middle class people in a room

      • Gabby 7.1.3

        You think you’re being sarcastic brother bill but verily you speak the truth. You’re quite safe though.

  8. weka 8

    I think the situations in the post are all quite different from each other. The US is basically now an early stage fascist state. I agree people are cowed. They’ve had a whole year of fascist playbook intimidation, socialisation, and strategic acts by the government to not only make them cowed but to normalise that state. Sarah Kendzior and others were talking about this shit in the year before the US election, and many have been documenting it since the inauguration.

    I also think race/ethnicity is a factor here. White people for the most part still think they have things left to lose. So standing up in a situation like that were they face arrest or beating or fear of being shot, is a big ask. I agree that surrendering to the threat and perceived threat is a losing proposition in the medium and long term, but I understand why in the short term it’s what is seen as viable (plus the room had kids and elderly in it).

    I’m guessing none of the people in the room had training or experience with direct action or probably even protest.

    I think what some of the people did was good. Recording is very important (and uploading). Also good to see that quite a few people followed them out once they realised she was being arrested. I think close ups of the officer’s ID would have been useful, as would have been some quick organising to go to the station with her (it did look like friends were there to do that). And following up with action afterwards, both for her arrest and the issue in the meeting itself. Get the media involved, organise, etc.

    Beyond that, it’s exactly communities like that that are the risk for fascism arising, because by the time they realise they need to be activists it will be too late. Hopefully that will have woken some more people up but I suspect it’s going to get a lot worse before enough people get skilled in taking action.

    What interests me more is what the similar situations are in NZ and how we would respond here. I see some good stuff happening in the activist communities esp around climate change and in Māori communities, but mostly I see people who are ok to not rock the boat *too much. I don’t know what the solution to that is.

    • Sanctuary 8.1

      “…What interests me more is what the similar situations are in NZ and how we would respond here…”

      It is difficult to think of an analogous situation here. For a start, it would be highly unusual to even have a police officer at such a middle class meeting of teachers and administrators. Such is the level of gun violence in the USA, I guess they regard that as necessary at any public gathering.

      Secondly, an obviously armed cop at a small public meeting here would be regarded as impossibly provocative and would be more likely cause a riot than prevent one because middle class New Zealanders respect police officers, but don’t particularly fear them. The idea a cop might shoot them for public disorder offences is simply beyond our imaginative framework.

      That means to me a single cop trying to carry out such an arrest here simply would be prevented from doing so, either by means of a human blockade or being physically set upon and restrained by the crowd.

      Really though, the cultural and psychological gulf between the two societies is so deep that we can scarcely imagine how it must be to live with that sort of gun soaked policing.

      • Bill 8.1.1

        That means to me a single cop trying to carry out such an arrest here simply would be prevented from doing so, either by means of a human blockade or being physically set upon and restrained by the crowd.

        I see. So take away the “excuse” of ‘fear of gun’, and everything suddenly changes? (Oh, and gets really fucking stupid and descends to the level of assault 🙄 )

        Except it doesn’t. And that’s the point. Actually, I’ve seen it attempted once. But that was down to some “undesirable types” cajoling a large crowd of dock workers to not listen to their union officials and back their mates who were being held by the cops behind the wharf’s wire fence.

        A deal was eventually struck that allowed the cops to save face (unfortunately) and the two guys they were holding walked.

        And I could go through example after example of kiwi’s exhibiting extreme (to me) levels of abeyance before authority, whether that be a cop, a boss or a whatever.

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          Might be more useful to explore where we don’t/didn’t. During the Tour was one of the most obvious ones in my personal experience. And that had the middle classes engaged.

          • Bill 8.1.1.1.1

            I think I’ve covered it off about as much as I want to in reply to whisperingkate at 10.1 below.

            In essence, some people will have your back and actively defy authority (KLM passengers). And others, the cowed, (United Airline passengers) will with an extra long roll of toilet paper worth of excuses if need be, drop you in the shit every time.

            I don’t really have anything more to say on the matter at the moment. (Some responses have been “interesting”)

            • weka 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Not sure you are if you are saying there are only two kinds of people, but it kind of comes across as if people don’t act in the way that you deem useful, they’re cowards and useless. That’s not been my experience.

              It’s easy enough to slam people. Much harder to build bridges or effect change.

              • Bill

                Cowed is when a person is browbeaten, acculturated or downtrodden to the extent they believe themselves to be powerless. A coward is a different beasty altogether.

        • Sanctuary 8.1.1.2

          I expect from your dogmatic certainty you must have some sort of lofty qualification, perhaps in the field of crowd dynamics? Could we be so blessed perchance as to it being a wise and insightful dissertation by way of a PhD? If so, if you could be so kind as to point me in the direction of your learned treatise, I look forward to eagerly consuming it’s forthright prose, full as it surely must be with your clearly demonstrated grasp of the lucidity of the English language and incisiveness of conclusion.

          Otherwise, I fear I might have to ascribe your certitude to the arrogance of the ignorant, and being of a sunny disposition towards my fellow Standard readers I would hate to be forced to contemplate such a horrid thought.

          • Wensleydale 8.1.1.2.1

            Let it never be said that Bill isn’t prepared to enthusiastically defend his opinions. And that’s about all I have to say about that. Probably because I’m cowed.

      • weka 8.1.2

        “Really though, the cultural and psychological gulf between the two societies is so deep that we can scarcely imagine how it must be to live with that sort of gun soaked policing.”

        I agree, very different. But in terms of what Bill is getting at, I think we have our own situations. I’m white, middle class, and a woman living in part of the country where the police aren’t known to rape women, so I feel relatively secure in dealing with the police in most situations. Try asking a Māori woman living in a more violent part of NZ, or some of the women who were Louise Nicholas’ peers how they see the police and you’ll get a different story. Or a young non-white man. Or someone living on the streets. Or beneficiaries who’ve had bad experiences with the new security at WINZ. Plenty of people in NZ at the coal face of fear of police. How they’re going to respond is going to depend on lots of different things.

        I think the dynamic that Bill is pointing to exists here, just in a different form. Who are the people willing to put things on the line to help others and to resist fascism? Who are able to? Who are the ones who are still too comfortable or feel like it’s not their job or that there’s no point or simply just don’t care? Who are the ones in between who can be supported and encouraged to pick a side and do something?

      • JanM 8.1.3

        Here you would be subject to constructive dismissal and if you have a complete breakdown in the process that is seen as a plus. Read some of the education articles about what has happened to teachers here at the hands of Boards of Trustees 🙁

    • The Fairy Godmother 8.2

      I looked at the follow up videos and the community are behind her and taking action the union is supporting her.

  9. Obtrectator 9

    Having sat through all nine and a half minutes of the goings-on in that KLM aircraft, I have to say I found very little that was edifying in it. Just a bunch of burly aggressive men doing a lot of shouting. Then having the effrontery to complain about some frightened children when it was probably their own threatening behaviour that did most of the frightening. I’m not saying they were out of order with their protest, just the manner of it. If you’re going to make a stand, then do it quietly but firmly, keeping as still as practically possible.

    (And did anyone else notice that when it wasn’t those men being shown, it was often just people recording people who were themselves recording?)

    [PS to Bill and others: I’m more inclined to be receptive to arguments that don’t have to be expressed with unnecessary expletives (or implied ones).]

    • greywarshark 9.1

      Ob….
      The occasional expletives, or implied ones presumably with dots for missing letters, are just part of our robust discussion and not overwhelming. I am sure if you have been very well brought up, you will have heard a few swear words.

      • Obtrectator 9.1.1

        Sure I did. And I agreee that well-judged use of expletives can at times achieve a startling effect not otherwise attainable. But one has to beware of overdoing it, and nowadays I just seem to hear or read too many of them. They’ve become, to use the currently fashionable term, “normalised”.

        The trouble is, when that happens, they lose their force and become incapable of providing the release of emotion that a good old swear-up used to bring. And when you’re deprived of a verbal means of relief, what are you left with? That’s right, a physical expression of your frustration/anger/whatever. BASH!

        (Case in point: I once had a serious disagreement at work with my manager, a nuggety little fellow whose every other word at times seemed to begin with F or S. Because he’d got so hacked off on this occasion, the usual cuss-words simply weren’t adequate for his purpose, and he started to be physically aggressive as well. I had to remind him sharply to get out of my personal space.)

        Often enough, it’s only laziness on the writer’s part, a quick grab for the first “strong” word in the vocabulary. A moment’s thought, replacement with a “regular” word carrying almost equal force, or perhaps employment of some striking piece of verbal imagery, can be just as effective in getting your message across.

        • Molly 9.1.1.1

          Because using swear words is a stress valve for you, it doesn’t mean that it is for all. Many people use swear words as their go to adjectives or nouns, whether angry or not.

          You are describing a difference in stress and anger management – that is not necessarily linked to vocabulary.

          Some of the most chilling words can be spoken without swearing:
          “You are not allowed to see your family anymore”
          “This is our little secret”

          • Obtrectator 9.1.1.1.1

            “Some of the most chilling words can be spoken without swearing”

            My point exactly. And I don’t necessarily condemn the ones who really do know few (or indeed any other) intensifying words. It’s the highly articulate people – of whom Bill is clearly one – whom I’d like to see trying a bit harder.

  10. Whispering Kate 10

    It is hard standing up and making a stand. I was a Union Rep once upon a time and stood up on behalf of my fellow workers seated around me and none of them backed me for what I was fighting for although they were in support of our claims and I got in the gun for it. I had to have a meeting with the boss and his hench man – my partner turned up for me as he was well and truly versed in how to deal with this sort of dispute and when the boss found there was equal numbers of people to fight the case I was let off and came out of it unscathed.

    Its easy to say stand up and not be cowed – I always remember my dear old Grandfather saying to me “you cannot beat city hall” – he is dead right – unless you have tons of dosh and weight behind you and fellow workers who you can rely on – forget it – its martyrdom if you try. Its disheartening but a fact of life – the little man hasn’t got a dog’s show.

    • Bill 10.1

      I was a Union Rep once upon a time and stood up on behalf of my fellow workers seated around me and none of them backed me…

      And that shit, that bad shit, happens far too often. It’s the “we’re right behind you” mentality that means “behind” as in far behind, out of sight and poised to duck for safe cover. It’s the United Airlines passengers as opposed to the KLM passengers.

      And guns or fear of guns have got nothing to do with it. It’s the shameful behaviour of the cowed.

    • weka 10.2

      I think you have to pick your battles, and have strategy and skills. I’ve been in some losing situations, and I’ve been in some ones where I came out with my power intact and/or I got what I was after. In retrospect I can tell the difference in what happened. Direct action takes skill and experience, and working together. It’s that last one that’s the stumbling block IMO. NZ now is particularly inured to individualism.

    • Anne 10.3

      It is hard standing up and making a stand. I was a Union Rep once upon a time and stood up on behalf of my fellow workers seated around me and none of them backed me for what I was fighting for although they were in support of our claims and I got in the gun for it.

      Yep. Same thing happened to me. I only took on the job of being the ‘PSA Rep’ because my colleagues begged me to do it. Then when a dispute turned sour they left me hanging… and (metaphorically speaking) I was subsequently hanged.

      “I think you have to pick your battles, and have strategy and skills…”

      Not always as simple as that. When you have an arsehole of a boss – as happened in my case – who deliberately undermined and provoked with the purpose of creating a dispute, then all the strategy and skills in the world count for nothing.

    • Rosemary McDonald 10.4

      “…and none of them backed me for what I was fighting for…”

      Been there WK. Winter 2014, and after three deaths of significantly disabled young people at the hands of state funded residential care providers my partner (a wheelchair user) and I had had enough. We knew one of the children, had cared for him ourselves, and knew it was criminal neglect for him to have drowned, alone, in a bath. The Health and Disability Commission had their annual Disability Conference (middle of winter…disabled people..talk about unsubtle messaging) and we decided to stand outside the conference room holding placards listing the names of the three lads, that they were neglected to death and we were demanding criminal charges for providers who killed. We set ourselves up in a prominent but unimpeding position just opposite the table where the H&D Commission Help Elves were handing out the conference info and goody bags.
      Now…most of the attendees were representatives of disability groups, contracted care providers and a few suppliers of disability equipment. It was white table cloths and glassware and little bowls of lollies…you know the type of do.
      When it was obvious what we were doing…silently I might add..we were almost totally ignored, by everyone…including the Help Elves at the registration desk.
      Two parents of disabled children sidled up to say, quietly, ‘good on you’ and admitted what we knew already that they’d love to join us but were too scared in case they pissed off someone and they lost their funded supports.
      Scary, right?
      Tariana Turia was opening the conference and she arrived fashionably late and after we had been snubbed by mostly all and sundry. Her advance guard came and had a chat, and after ascertaining we were mostly harmless led the boss over.
      I’m no fan of Tariana and the Maori Party…but credit where it is due…she listened and got it that it was the mothers of these dead boys who took the blame on themselves in the absence of the providers being held legally to account. She went in the conference room and did the speech thing and got applause and finally the attendees burst through the doors for morning tea break.
      Turned out that Tariana had not forgotten her activist roots and had mentioned us in her opening speech. We had the approval now from the government representative…the same government that funded all of the DPOs and NGOs in attendance…and all of a sudden we were the centre of attention…from some any way. Our persona non grata status had been diluted and it was considered nearly safe to be seen associating with us.
      We politely turned down an invitation from the Help Elves to join in the Conference, waiving the $45 fee. Job done. My partner had got to speak at some length to two attendees who were in a position to push the issue and it has been gratifying to hear his words come through in some of the subsequent reports.

      • Bill 10.4.1

        You’re comment exposes what the post was trying to highlight rather fucking well Rosemary. Thank you.

        • red-blooded 10.4.1.1

          Although I also think it supports the point others have been making about context, Bill. Yes, it takes commitment and a kind of courage to make a public stand to highlight an issue of concern in this kind of protest and I guess it would have taken a different kind of courage to publicly associate oneself with that protest at a gathering of this sort. But it’s not the same as the courage to confront a US cop with a gun.

          • Tracey 10.4.1.1.1

            Courage is courage. I do think the people behaved cowardly but know I would have been a coward too. Bill is right. Most of us are cowed by self interest. Lets be honest about it rather than… gun or no gun…

            • Rosemary McDonald 10.4.1.1.1.1

              “Most of us are cowed by self interest.”

              This.

              And context.

              And having nothing to lose….which kinda takes care of the self interest factor.

              For my partner and I anyway.

        • Tracey 10.4.1.2

          I just wish people would be honest and say I woukdnt do anything cos I dont want to get shot and the issue isnt important enough for me.

          Anything else, imo, is BS windowdressing.

          I have often asked myself if I had been in Germany would I have hidden a jew knowing I could be killed. I honestly think my answer is no. I would not hide them. Maybe if the situation actually happened I would behave differently. I think I would be a coward and put my life first. I woukd feel guilt about it for sure.

          Part of our problem is a hero now is a basketball player or rugby player earnibg millio s NOT genuinely selfless acts.

          • red-blooded 10.4.1.2.1

            Well, that’s a really honest comment, Tracey, and it’s probably true for most of us (whether we want to admit it or not).

            Having said that, hiding a Jew from the Nazis was attempting to save a person from extreme misery, suffering and probable murder. The risks are more extreme, but so are the need and benefits. People stepping forward in the meeting Bill linked to would probably just have been saving the woman from being ejected from the meeting and getting a warning of some kind. They would have been risking making the situation more extreme, exposing themselves and others to a possible risk of harm and not achieving anything like the benefit of someone hiding a Jew during the holocaust.

  11. Carolyn_Nth 11

    I do think that in NZ, a lot of people are timid about speaking out to authority to defend people’s rights – more so than my experiences in the UK.

    I would stand up verbally, but when any physical violence is threatened I do take a step back.

    Especially now that I am a small older woman with a minor permanent injury, which would be majorly made worse by any physical force it would probably require immediate surgery.

    You assume able-bodiedness and average capabilities in standing up for others in the face of physical threats or intimidation.

    • Bill 11.1

      I too would have to step back these days in some situations due to a precarious permanent injury. The post was intended to highlight attitude, not physical capability. I only have the former these days, but even when I had the latter, it was never the idea to get hurt.

      • weka 11.1.1

        Well that’s confusing. Because I thought you were calling the people in the meeting cowards because they didn’t physically blockade an armed policeman from arresting and removing someone from the meeting, irrespective of the physical capability of those people.

        • Bill 11.1.1.1

          And the people on the KLM flight? And the people on the United Airlines flight?

          The post covered more than one situation pertaining to direct action, but I’m hardly surprised the thread has focused and run with “cop has gun, can’t do jack-shit” type lines that generally appeal to the spectre of physical harm.

          • McFlock 11.1.1.1.1

            Not “can’t do”. Just that the risks are real and should be taken into perspective before showering contempt on people who were there.

            With the KLM vs UA comparison, the main difference seems to be that the US security were willing to beat the living shit out of someone for no reason. “Bleating” is speaking out. Not as much as you want, but not nothing. And the recording was the thing that actually made the airline accountable.

            • Bill 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Sure. US plane security were going to beat the living shit out of ‘half ‘a planeload of passengers if they’d been quite simply and literally standing up. 🙄

              Right fit buggers, those US plane security wallahs, if that’s even close to a possibility.

              • McFlock

                Who needs to be fit if you have a motorola?

                • Bill

                  You’re a card McFlock!

                  First a lone cop was going to shoot his way through a group of middle aged women, and then “half” a planeload of people were going to be tazered for not sitting in their seats? Just…wow. 🙂

                  • McFlock

                    You remind me of a time at school when a teacher who was notoriously free with the strap had to step out for 20 minutes. Some genius said “he can’t strap us all”, and the entire class had a fine old time.

                    Guess what happened? Yup, sore hands all around.

                    Tasering? Bah. The real issue is a rough arrest that results in hospitalisation (like what happened to the first dude), being detained under whatever aviation security regs they have there (probably risking insane penalties), being bunged on the no-fly list for the next decade, and still being in a city they’d already paid to leave.

                    Now, if someone is willing to lose all that, there’s nothing stopping them. But resisting a dickhead on the assumption that the worst case scenario won’t result? You only need to be wrong once. That’s why people give armed robbers the cash.

                    • Bill

                      These comments you’ve written…I was struggling to not write you off as morally bankrupt. But I’ve finally given up.

                    • McFlock

                      Whereas all I’ve done is acknowledge that people face real risks in standing up to power when they have stuff to lose. It’s not the almost trivial matter that you describe.

                    • McFlock

                      And where do you get off calling me morally bankrupt? I’m not the one saying that everybody should take risks because the worst that can happen is a party in the cells, ffs.

                    • Bill

                      When you constantly pitch your take to the point of nth fear, and use that pitch to justify doing nothing and throw in random, so not necessarily connected, vignettes demonstrating how (apparently) people routinely respond fearfully to situations, then it seems, from your comments, that you wind up in a place that couldn’t give a damn for – carelessly abandons or condemns – anyone who might act from a sense of solidarity or compassion for their fellow human beings.

                      In the context of your surrounding comments, when you write “if someone is willing to lose all that, there’s nothing stopping them” – that, for me, conjures a picture of you sitting on that plane casually reading through some in-flight material or a newspaper you’d bought before boarding, ‘tolerating’ the inconvenient delay to your flight while quietly waiting for the authorities to “just get on with it” and give people what, in your mind, they deserve.

                      If they don’t get the entire book thrown at them (your nth degree one), then I can only assume the authorities will be deemed to have acted reasonably and with restraint.

                      And to my reading, your comments under this thread are more or less in tune with your comments regarding the punishment meted out to the Dunedin musician who distributed his tapes for free by taping them to walls – he deserved it; what did he expect?; the authorities were right enough to respond as they did.

                      “Morally bankrupt” might not be the term that best captures that attitude and approach. And it’s true that a morally bankrupt argument does not mean that the person making the argument is necessarily morally bankrupt. So I apologise, unreservedly, for calling you morally bankrupt.

                      p.s. I did not say “the worst that can happen is a party in the cells” (I was merely referencing a personal experience and making a nod to historical events – IWW free speech campaigns referenced in the De Cleyre piece I linked). And I certainly didn’t say that direct action is trivial. It’s not trivial. It’s powerful.

                    • McFlock

                      So yeah, I read your comment this afternoon but had to go somewhere, but I did have a bit of a think about it.

                      The main similarity in my comments in the two discussions is that I expect people to understand why folks do what they do, rather than just railing against the stupidity of society and calling people cowards (sorry, that should read ‘someone who is cowed’). Then we can either work around normal human behaviour, or constructively try to improve it. Just bitching about it does nothing.

                      Maybe the UA crowd simply lacked a leader to take the first action – pre-empting the milling effect is the first step to crowd control. Maybe the situation was so unfamiliar that they didn’t know how to react, that the idea of resistance never crossed their minds not because they were “cowed”, but they simply didn’t have the cultural experience to respond in that way. Each option has different tactics to use if you want to change social norms.

                      The contempt you have for people who are in an unplanned and unexpected stressful situation is pretty fucking arrogant, as is your minimisation of possible repercussions for the actions you demand they should have done.

                      You had a party or two in the cells. The Standing Rock crowd sure didn’t. The KLM crowd got away with it. Lots of the peaceful Occupy crowd didn’t. Yes, cops back down sometimes. Sometimes they panic and overreact, maybe with lethal consequences. Sometimes someone saying or doing something different sparks a full crowd response, or merely a systemic one. Sometimes these responses should be completely predictable, other times maybe the people on the scene are better place to assess the risk they face.

                      Being absorbed with what one intends, one would do, or one has done, and then using that as a benchmark to fruitlessly criticise the majority of society is an excellent way to maintain the status quo.

                      Oh, and if you think that recognition that people might have something to lose by physically intervening in a situation means that people should just sit there calmly reading the inflight magazine, then you are literally ignoring the evidence in the footage of the UA incident, and the existence of the footage itself. But otherwise you might have to have a less shitty opinion of people.

        • The Fairy Godmother 11.1.1.2

          I think the people in the meeting have scored a big victory particularly if you look at the aftermath videos on youtube I think its a case of picking the right battles, losing a battle perhaps and winning the war. It could have been really nasty if they had blocked the policeman.

          • adam 11.1.1.2.1

            Would it though? The video went viral and that helped, but if the video had not, what battle, what war? And who loses?

            You seem to have forgot, Bill is not arguing for an escalation of violence, indeed that would be the wrong tactic in any situation. The point is to just say NO, stand up, and reject this type of violence.

            Why do you want to create a safe space for people to be violent under the name of authority? Why support violence of any type?

  12. The Fairy Godmother 12

    I watched it on U Tube and the aftermath videos. The teachers are all backing her and they are having a march all wearing black. She says she has had nothing but love and support from the families and staff. Perhaps that way is better than acting and blocking the officer who has a history of aggression apparently being involved in pushing an elderly man down causing injury. Perhaps they didn’t want to make it worse for the kids. She was released and will face no charges. She is talking with teachers union lawyers about further action. They might win a lot more this way.

  13. eco maori 13

    I’m in a situation where I’m being harassed by the police my neighbors just watch these sandflys break into my house they will have seen them letting down my tyres to my truck they no my human rights are being breached because the sandflys come up with a new spin when ever I check there last spin and tell eveyone in the neighborhood these lies . I have some people whom are close to me and they don”t have the private parts to help me . But I do have some people helping me behind the seens ECT I know who these people are many thanks for your Tautoko ka pai.

    I have help from others to but you will have to figure that out for yourselves .
    This is how the neo liberal control systems works everyone is has to many problems to solve themselves to bother to help people in need or they are to scared .

    I know that the sandflys are just a TEST TASKS A CHALLANGE for me to beat on my journey up my ladder of life . Someone is wiping away the hinu that the police are putting on the rungs of my lifes ladder . I know when I have completed the challenge that the justice system/ Gisborne man has laid in the path of my fate that my work will have just started I will have many challenges on my crusade for a safe environment for my/our mokos Papatuanuku health and EQUALIY FOR ALL this is my fait .

    Ka kite ano

  14. Obtrectator 14

    I realise the main focus of these comments has been on the Louisiana incident and its implications, but is it not rather telling that no-one bar the author of the original post has explicitly supported those boorish and intimidating Nigerians on the KLM flight?

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  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
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    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
    Fatal Contact: With the arrival of captain James Cook in October 1769, the islands of what would become New Zealand ceased to be the preserve of Polynesian navigators and settlers and became a part of both the world’s map and the world’s history.THE MAORI NATIONALIST assault upon the historical meaning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    49 mins ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
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    6 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago