Category Archives: The State

Should the others vote?

The state is a safe space, that’s its job. From inception, bringing six constables to the shores in 1840 those organising a state on the islands of New Zealand have used variations of creating “law and order”, economic stability, integrated cultural conformity, gender normalisation and security to justify intervention in the lives people living in Aotearoa. If not overtly mentioned by those calling for, maintaining, and defending the state these goals are largely expected by those who vote to be delivered in some way in exchange for their taxes.

Today’s New Zealand has not achieved this at all. Unknown and untested chemicals flood across the borders causing unknown short-term and long-term damage to those who use them and those who love those users. The state continues to target cannabis plants with generations of anecdotal knowledge and decades of scientific research behind its use giving clear and known risks. In the interests of public safety and economic stability it’s easier to get methamphetamine than cannabis in New Zealand, with the most damaging drugs of all available for purchase in most supermarkets and yet change is angrily resisted.

This is far from safe and can be seen as related if you understand protecting our profit earning overseas by signing trade deals and allowing streamlined entry of goods into the country. So you can buy cheap products online, while police are “protecting the public” with violent raids on anything grown on our own soil, this means synthetic drugs and their precursors will always be cheaper and easier to get and produce than an actual weed that will grow wild.

Not A Party has argued for a “don’t vote” strategy in previous elections and I want to encourage the party to change tack entirely for the reformist coalition leg of bipartisan dictatorship. We have in office the party that oversaw the 15 October 2007 “Operation Eight” raids. Aside from the horrifying fallout of neo-colonial troops armed with assault weapons yet again on the confiscation line in Te Urewera, searching school buses and elderly at gunpoint in the interests of “national security”. The police apologised for that.

The police also on that day raided multiple addresses of political activists, taking computers and documents and proving absolutely no one was actually guilty of any terrorism at all under the law adopted on US government request by New Zealand, the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002. The outcome of court cases aside, pay attention to what the police believe the most dangerous threat to security is. Activists who target and protest the actions of corporations and anyone who feels their people should have dignity, self-determination and freedom on these islands from the post-colonial settler state government.

In Terror In Our Midst Brendan Hokowhitu explains what has happened since adopting this law, based on a perpetual war against “terror” in Western society.

Essentially, the discourse promoted by the Bush administration, in cahoots with other western governments such as Britain, was fostered on the grounds “others” had fewer rights than the normal population. Interestingly, the transforming morality is regressing in part due to the pre-enlightened discourses espoused by the Bush administration especially. Discourses based on ‘the will of god’ and ‘good and evil’ have quickly positioned the Other as ‘evil’ and the self as ‘good’. The moral retrogression has served those in power the mandate to enact absolute sovereign-like justice.

The “terrorists” are defined by the state in the first place then labeled instantly the other, the “bad” because the state is always “good”. So we have a drone war summarily executing the others in the middle east with robots to provide us all with the illusion of security and a “defence force” that attacks the mental health of journalists like a state sanctioned internet troll before being forced to admit the SAS did raid the village in Afghanistan killing civilians as outlined by Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager in Hit and Run. The police have raided journalists repeatedly since the inception of our war on terror with following legislation passed at the urging of the Obama administration by John Key reducing the rights of journalists when doing the job they should be of holding a microscope to society. No terrorists have yet been found amongst us, the others, and as we know the state does not see what it does as terror.

Far from delivering us from the real threat of the day, the introduction of this legislation and resulting raids did not create a safe space to stop the 2007 GFC causing a retraction of the economy, a rise in suicide rates, and paving the way socially for a massive increase in the “legal” flood of synthetic drugs into dairies and stores destroying many working families. Also directly affected were those who the then incoming PM described as an “underclass”, an “other” that once he got into office were to be given less rights than the “good” Kiwis. Drug testing and invasions of beneficiaries’ privacy up to the then Minister of Social Development releasing personal details of her critics to media while suing anyone threatening to release hers.

Why does any of this mean you should vote in the next election or any referendum? Just because John Key is out and GenXers run most wings of our pluralist dictatorship the ‘underclass’ he othered into economic doldrums have not gone anywhere. The level of control over others the police are willing to exert has not diminished. The hold-out NZ First still lead by the old guard, has for 24 years been seen as “picking the winner” in many a media talking head pluralist analysis prior to elections and has actually played this role three times. Forget your electoral colleges, we have Rob Muldoon’s apprentice picking our governments. Two pieces of legislation jump out to me as furthering the othering of some minority groups, neither is the upcoming New Zealand cannabis referendum. One is the waka-jumping bill that gives enormous power to the “good” party leaders over their “bad” disgruntled MPs who want to leave their party, possibly to do something from inside the Parliament on behalf of their perceived voter base to represent them.

The second and more important in my mind is to make all referendums binding. This most certainly has the ability to be misused to push a majority agenda brutally down the throat of those who disagree with it or are born different from its enforced norms through state sanctioned terror and violence. I hear the concerns of some groups and inside Not A Party and counter we already have that now. It happens now from birth to the grave. The state is using coercion, fear, and violence on us “others” to protect its “good” self. Direct democracy may lead to direct oppression of minorities, some of those minorities being party leaders.

Representation relies on the person you voted in interpreting how you would vote on issues introduced for discussion in Parliament. The party leaders can now interpret how they will as long as their caucus supports them and fringe opinions can be othered out of Parliament entirely to be replaced by a new representative. Having to get the majority to back your rights in a referendum will be no easy feat, the alternative is to see party leaders take the last tool your representative has to rebel (whether you voted for one or not) which is quitting the party and fighting out the term on behalf of either their own naked self-interest or from their perceived opinions of those like yourself who put them in Parliament.

If you made it this far you are already an other to the state somewhere, I’m guessing. Environmentalists have been othered by the state forces since their inception despite having a party inside the government proving they are in fact no longer others but members of the state attempting to create a safe sustainable space for their children in the future. Most of us never become so othered by the state that they will raid our communities like we are housing enemy combatants in the perpetual terror war. Or be othered so much we are detained and forced into medical treatment we don’t want. And it’s mostly to preserve the “good” state. By holding a population at gunpoint as if the entire community is a threat to the “good” state or targeting activists to be removed carefully (although not quietly) from their “good” communities the police have shown how they intend to enforce the terror laws here. The subsequent raids to collect evidence from journalists Heather Du Plessis-Allan and Barry Soper after Du Plessis-Allan showed you can now buy firearms online without a licence as if the problem is yet another case demonstrating glaring flaws with their safe space neoliberal state model. It is as if the real threat to state internal safety of the population does not lie with large corporations producing chemicals for “research” that turn out just to be poisons or addictive synthetics. Or banks producing CDOs that turned out to bankrupt working people with bad mortgages, no job and an eviction notice. Or that success stories like Trade Me are wide open to unsafe use by violence minded people. The corporations and banks are always cast as “good” in this environment and their victimised and lied-to consumers the “other”. Those of us who point this out are now the truly bad and may well become “terrorists” in the eyes of police whose primary job as they see is to protect the “good” from us “the others”. Many of you will at some point be othered by the police for political views alone, and if you get challenging enough your othering will lead to terrorisation BY the police of your community while removing you from it.

Pushing for cannabis law reform shouldn’t need to be argued here, but I will, in that it removes a tool the police can use to harass and oppress us others with very real threats of violence for failure to comply. Forcing CIR to be binding will be another othering tool in some hands, but it could be the leaders of those parties we can other with it. If not, this will get worse, it probably will anyway despite the Labour Party’s noises about child poverty, a 24% increase in house prices corresponding with less than half that in wage growth during the first six months of Jacindamania. We can expect that, like Helen Clark’s promises of universal student allowances or John Key’s promise of wages climbing to Australia’s level, we will see the young, the non-white immigrants, Maori, LGBTIQ, and anyone whose politics isn’t “good” enough for state security forces to be othered economically and blamed for our outcomes by enthusiastic supporters of the state. This administration complete with Winston Peters telling us capitalism has failed many of us spent its first six months signing among other things the CPTTP thus strengthening the very concept of corporate rights as good and local independence as the other which has failed so many Kiwis already.

If only we could run a binding referendum that Prime Ministers do the unthinkable and are forced to enact serious economic reforms they have promised to on the campaign trail?

Election is Not the Same As Selection!

You’ve got the power to choose who will rule the country after September 23rd – we’re all waiting on your input! Your vote will help elect a Prime Minister and ruling party. You will have a range of choices of both electorate and party candidates – some voters will have over 25 options. That’s democracy, right? The people choose, right? Not really.

The tricky thing is that your input regarding the selection of the candidates is not asked for. The process that led to either Bill English or Andrew Little becoming one of your only two choices for Prime Minister is not under your influence, not even in the slightest.

As Richard Goode of Not A Party pointed out in a recent address, New Zealand has had either a National Party Prime Minister or a Labour Party Prime Minister for the past 80 years.

And you don’t get to select either of those. You get to vote for one list of people that you have zero input into, or another list of people that you have zero input into.

So what your vote amounts to, as an elector, is little more than a ceremonial acknowledgement of the completion of a process that started a long time before election day. Like the Queen cutting a ribbon to open a new library, it’s merely a show for the cameras.

The process that matters – where the political power is – is the process that puts a person into the position of leading their party in the first place. And the Establishment will have seen to it, as it does every other time, that both the National leader and the Labour leader are their puppets.

So it doesn’t matter if you vote for the left wing or the right wing of the shitbird – the leaders of both wings have been selected by the people who really have all the power in society, and it isn’t you.

That’s why Andrew Little and Bill English are indistinguishable when it comes to several major social issues. On the issue of cannabis law reform, Little is no less conservative than English, constantly harping on about brain damage, and the Labour Party policy webpage makes no mention of cannabis law reform whatsoever (although funding a motion-capture studio in Dunedin was important enough to mention).

In the end, we shouldn’t expect Little and English to be distinguishable. What the rulers of this country want is to frighten the markets as little as possible, and that means reducing democracy to a sham election between two candidates pre-selected for their total absence of any capacity for novel thought.

Ultimately, the people who benefit from the status quo have far too much invested in it to allow it to be upset by plebs like you!

Not even voting for a third party is possible. Watching the Green Party mortgage their soul at ever-increasing rates of interest over the past 18 years taught us one thing: a maverick third party can only win power in our system to the degree that it makes itself indistinguishable from those who already have it.

That the country will be led by someone who sees you as a unit of livestock to be milked for productivity and taxes is a given. It might appear that the only reasonable course of action was to refuse to vote and to work on building a parallel society away from the gaze of psychopaths beholden to international banking or ideological interests.

Election is Not the Same As Selection!

The Police Will Kill to Enforce Any Law, No Matter How Trivial

There are many power-worshippers in the world today who think it would be just great if their area politicians passed a law banning this or that – some minor irritation that probably does not affect the quality of their life in any meaningful way but which they believe ought to be stamped out for the sake of maintaining good order at the very least.

These people are as dangerous as any fanatic that put a dictator into power.

The reason for this is that the Police, who are tasked by politicians with enforcing laws, will go as far as killing any citizen to enforce any law that they have broken, no matter how trivial.

A lot of people balk at this assertion, usually because they have neither encountered Police officers in operation nor thought the whole process through as a thought experiment.

But if you think it through as a thought experiment, the meathook clarity of it cannot be denied.

Take the case of a medicinal cannabis user. If you have a psychological condition such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or if you have pain related to terminal cancer and do not want to take opiates, you might end up as another of New Zealand’s hundreds of thousands of cannabis users.

Now let’s say that the Police come to your house with a search warrant, on the grounds that they have reason to believe that you have cannabis in your possession or a cannabis operation in your house. They are going to arrest you, and you know that you face up to seven years in prison for the offence.

You might well protest that you are fully within your rights to use cannabis as it is a medicine which legitimately alleviates human suffering, whether physical or psychological. And so the search warrant is not valid, because it was granted on the grounds that a crime had been committed, and none has.

This is perfectly reasonable – after all, you have harmed no-one. But what will happen at that stage is violence. The Police will escalate to violence at this point, probably by forcing their way into your home.

Let’s say that they are unsuccessful at doing so, either because you manage to lock the door in time or because you brandish a weapon in an effort to show them that you are willing to respond to their violence with violence of your own in order to defend yourself and your home.

In that case, you can probably assume that the Police officers will withdraw – and come back with the Armed Offenders Squad. They will call the AOS on the grounds that you threatened a Police officer with a weapon – the fact that you were only doing so to defend yourself against an immoral attack will not help you at all.

The AOS will then lay siege to your house, as they did to Jan Molenaar. This may even involve, as it did in Molenaar’s case, the Special Tactics Group – formerly known as the Anti-Terrorist Squad.

Jan Molenaar ended up shot dead at his own hand, probably in full awareness that escape was impossible.

Note here that this pattern of escalation of violence all the way to your death will happen if you don’t submit to the Police for any reason, no matter what it is.

It doesn’t matter what the crime is. It could be a hundred counts of serial murder, or it could be a parking fine. The inescapable rule is that you must submit to any state-allocated legal punishment for any offence you have been deemed to have committed, no matter how vindictive and cruel the punishment or how petty and victimless the offence, or the Police will kill you in the enforcement of it.

This is why there is cause to think very deeply before deciding that something should be illegal. Constable Len Snee would not have been shot dead if cannabis had not been legally prohibited, as Jan Molenaar would have been left in peace to treat his mental condition in the way that he knew best.

Anyone who supports a law also supports the consequences of enforcing that law. Those consequences might involve the Police shooting up a house with no-one in it, as happened in Napier last year.

In the case of cannabis prohibition, this means also supporting the expense of $400,000,000 per year and the occasional death of a Police officer – is it worth it?

The Police Will Kill to Enforce Any Law, No Matter How Trivial

Murder by proxy

This may annoy some of you, S.F.B.I.

I feel the need to explain something that has been bothering me since 2012 when I was journalist at a pirate radio station where we called a civil war a civil war before anyone else did, a civil war still going on. The world’s two largest arms exporters have savaged a country run by an autocratic dynasty involved in massacres of insurrectionaries over multiple generations of the same family. A leader who was taught in a school with the children of the British elite to be an autocratic dynastic leader. A leader who manipulated the government of neighbouring smaller nations for his own ends.

He is backed by an autocratic former secret policeman who rewrote his constitution to maintain power, organises the overthrow of regimes he doesn’t like, poisoned the leader of a neighbouring country, invaded three and is nicknamed “the butcher” for carpet bombing cities and having journalists and environmental activists beaten and killed by state security forces. The second biggest exporter of arms on the planet.

On the other side is the world’s number one weapons exporter. A rapidly evolving surveillance state, invader of many nations also prolific in overthrowing regimes it despises to install dictators and also expert at bombing civilians, executing without any trial including some of its own citizens, torture and targeting journalists and environmental activists with state forces.

I am of course talking about Syria. I fail to see how anyone concerned with human rights can support either Russia or the US in this fight. One side kills less than the other? Charles Manson killed less people than John Wayne Gacy that doesn’t mean we should cheer for Charles Manson. Both the US and Russia are bombing civilian areas, both use proxy forces on the ground, both are mass murderers who demonise the refugees fleeing their slaughter as potential terrorists.

The avalanche of state sanctioned propaganda from the two sates currently singing “Drill baby Drill!” in the rapidly dwindling Arctic wilderness is rather frightening, not because two oligarchies I have followed and been horrified by for decades are telling lies about Syria the media repeats. But because people who otherwise oppose despotism, oligarchy, arms exports, bombing of civilians and torture are sharing this propaganda and suddenly falling victim to the lesser evil argument that one imperialist is preferable to the other. A leader who inherited daddy’s autocracy is not someone anyone should legitimate, mercenaries have been actively engaged with some factions to subvert Assad and replace with a US client since 2012.

It’s not like there isn’t any other option, the Rojava Kurds are most terrifying to both Russian and US imperialists for daring to attempt direct democracy, decentralised power and arming women. If their collectives are allowed to survive it might give the rest of us ideas for our own autonomous regions and we may destroy their other clients. The oligarchs in the US and Russia could even be overthrown and replaced themselves by actual freedom!

If you want to argue about this I have been paying attention for years, my politics have not really changed on Syria. But I can’t really be bothered. That’s not why I wrote this. I want you to just think for a bit about it. All imperialists are enemies of freedom, environmental vandals and warmongering oligarchs. How can you in good conscience support any of them?