" Оптимизм - отсутсвие реализма "
"Optimism is the absence of realism"
"Optimism is the absence of realism"
---Boris, an acquaintance of 30 years ago
New Zealanders sleepwalk into fascism
Corporatism is the new fascism
In the weeks leading up to the election I wrote about "dirty politics" and the deep corruption that is pervading politics in this country - and the country as a whole - and predicted that the elections would, despite the revelations, return a Key government to power. I also said this would signify that New Zealanders were sleepwalking into fascism.
As it turns out, all my worst fears have been borne out and the Nats are able to rule on their own even without their crony parties and the Left (1.26% for Internet-MANA) and Liberal - Left have been routed in the polls with Labour having its worst result since the early 1920's!
In the last six years we have seen an erosion of openness and democracy over this country as well as policies designed to make opposition to their policies of:
- Stimulating a failing economy through taking national debt to unprecedented levels;
- Supporting dairy farming to the exclusion of everything else
- Opening up the country to open sea oil drilling, fracking and mining
- Supporting the United States and NATO in its aggressive moves to war
- The use of smear campaigns against opponents and 'inconvenient' individuals through outlets like right-wing blogs that can be kept at arms-length while the PM can maintain his image of "Mr Nice-Guy" - although most of us have seen the smile replaced by a sneer.
- Secret negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) that would give foreign corporations the right to sue the NZ government and allow US agencies to oversee NZ legislation to see if it complies with the agreement. In effect it represents the annexation of this country
- Co-operation with other members of the Five Eyes to develop XKeyscore an other programs for mass surveillance of New Zealanders (whether by the GCSB or the NSA) as well as spying on our regional allies and trading partners
Instead of that things have gone in the opposite direction.
It seemed that as soon as revelations about "dirty politics" by Nicky Hager came out politics became even more openly "dirty" as we saw the spectacle of the mass media coming out and attacking anybody who was vaguely connected with the "Left". I have become increasingly disgusted at the attacks on individuals on what is supposed to be a reasonable and objective state-owned radio station, Radio New Zealand.
Even today there was the disgusting spectacle of a right-wing presenter, Mary Wilson, putting the boot into Leader of the Opposition, David Cunliffe in the moment of defeat at a moment when a degree of graciousness might have been called for.
Key individuals were singled out for attack. We had a prime minister who decided to forgo any pretence of dignity by calling a respected journalist 'a henchman' and a 'loser'. We had the whole of the media uniting to mount ad hominem attacks on Kim Dotcom as well as on Hone Harawira.
Kim Dotcom 'bought' the election.
As if it was Kim Dotcom who had his image on billboards (like some sort of cheap dictator) round the country and whose tape-recorded message was left with households over the country!
The one single party that was able to replace billboards the instant they were deface and was awash with cash wasn't buying an election?!
The one thing that Kim Dotcom and Internet Mana were guilty of was to speak Truth to Power - and for this they had to be punished and neutralise.
Yesterday I watched a debate on RT on the Scottish referendum. Listening to them talk about Scotland they could just as easily be talking about New Zealand.
There was much more at stake in the Scotland vote for Westminster and for NATO and the Untied States, so it was a shock rather than a surprise to hear about credible accusations of voter fraud and vote fixing in the elections.
I am not suggesting that this happened here - but with all the attacks on individuals, the inordinate ability of the government to spin their own image relative to other parties and the media manipulation we are just a few small steps away from election fraud.
How a party with policies that are rational in terms of NZ politics, arguments that are largely fact-based and with a likable leader, David Cunliffe, who is a descendant of Richard John Seddon, ends up with the worst results since 1922 is a mystery to me.
This takes us back to the New Zealand electorate.
I said that if the electorate, in spite of the revelations, in spite of the dirty politics still voted for Key and his cronies it would indicate that the country is sleepwalking into fascism.
That is exactly what is happening and it seems to be even worse than I thought.
It seems as if Kim Dotcom, the Labour Party and others are actually being punished for being the messengers of bad tidings.
It is as if we have an entire nation (or at least half) of it in denial, that does not want to hear the worst about what is happening to this country and are willing, not only to continue to support, but actually increase its support for political forces that are dangerous and toxic to this country like nothing we have ever seen.
They have heard the messages about the need for strong government and a powerful leader and they have heeded the message.
Does this sound reminiscent of other events in history?
You bet it does!
A country that has a proud tradition of democracy is having its democratic foundations made a mockery of.
Democracy is in name only.
What we are seeing is that political power is being exercised in the interests of the rich and of local and foreign corporations and the power of the people to place controls on the actions of them, as well as of government, is being subverted.
This is called fascism
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."
-- Benito Mussolini
Sometimes the distinction between fascism and the more overtly racist nazism (which is what we are seeing in Ukraine) is blurred.
Just as Sinclair Lewis said about America, "when fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" there is not doubt that New Zealand fascism will come disguised with traditional New Zealand values and masquerading as parliamentary democracy.
I can recommend to you the excellent 2007 article by Naomi Wolf, Fascist America, in 10 easy steps as well as the excellent 14 signs of fascism: the US gets a perfect score.
Some does not need any commentary. Other aspects are more indirect - one example of which would be New Zealand's continuing and active support for US and NATO militarism while at the same time having an army that could lose if it went to war with Fiji.
- Power of corporations protected. This is perhaps the most important as laws are passed to protect companies from drilling here and protest is outlawed. The secret provisions of the TPPA are testament to this;
- Power of labour suppressed or eliminated - This has been a constant policy of governments over a quarter of a century. Now firms have the right to sack workers at will, strike action is restricted and the only jobs available are "Big Mac" jobs;
- Obsession with crime and punishment - No comment needed here. Every election is obsessed with this as well as tax cuts to the exclusion of everything else. Popular with a reactionary public; National policies emphasise 'working prisons' and bootcamps.
- Rampant cronyism and corruption- No need to look any further than the revelations in Nicky Hager's book and stories of corruption over six years. Nick Smith, Judith Collins, Maurice Williamson - this is only the beginning;
- Set up an internal surveillance system - Thanks to Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden and Kim Dotcom this has become public knowledge and there is no doubt about this unless you choose to ignore body language and believe our PM is telling the truth;
- Harass citizens' groups- Any public organisations or NGO's that are critical of government policy are the targets of ridicule. We saw the minister of climate, Tim Grosser, respond to justified criticism of government inaction over climate change with a vicious ad hominem attack;
- Target key individuals - We have seen this over the years with the treatment of the Urewera Six, the government crusade against Alan Hubbard and the recent government/media joint attacks on Kim Dotcom and the Internet MANA Party;
- Disdain for the importance of human rights - Disdain is the PM's second name. We can see this across the board; New Zealand has a Bill of Rights but this takes second fiddle when in conflict with other considerations;
- Control the press - We already have a corporate print and television media to control information and spin news to help the government and attack opposition figures. One upsetting thing has been the decline in Radio New Zealand and changes in news presentation to be more partisan and 'attack' in nature. Dirty Politics clearly shows the symbiotic relationship of the news media with right-wing blogs linked directly to the National Party (such as Whaleoil or Kiwiblog);
- Dissent equals treason - This has become more and more clear with time, but particularly so recently when former GCSB chief described those who exposed mass surveillance and illegal spying as 'traitors'
- Fraudulent elections - This is routine in the US and has been observed in the recent Scottish referendum. Not obvious here but with ample corporate funding for advertising far beyond anything available to the Opposition, and media spin - elections are
- Suspend the rule of law - At present we have an independent judiciary (this has been shown recently with the investigations into corruption and the response by the ombudsman. The extent to which this will be subverted in the next 3 years remains to be seen; the declaration by the government and the SFO of Alan Hubbard as guilty long before he appeared in court is a very worrying sign;
- Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism - Not hard to detect from the National Party. One only needs to think about the Rugby World Cup. Forget about celebrating art, literature or music! Remember, Helen Clark was the minister of culture.
- Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. - Described above, but likely to become more so the more pressures there are locally and moves to war, Think of the 'War on Terrorism'
- The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. - well, yes, not really (we'd probably lose out if it came to a direct conflict with Fiji's army!) - but this government unreservedly supports militarism and aggression overseas, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or Ukraine. Watch this space for geopolitical developments and the NZ government response
- Rampant sexism - not to mention ageism, scapegoating workers, beneficiaries and the poor. Not hard to spot coming from the right. Anyone who has dropped off the edge is 'a loser"
- Degradation of education - One of the first acts of the government was to scrap funding for adult, community education and enviroschools. It introduced an unannounced policy of setting up charter schools while allowing public education to be degraded
We have to see the whole of New Zealand politics in the context of what is happening globally;
- We are seeing a worldwide shift to fascism and to right-wing parties.
- The economies, especially those of the US, Europe and Japan are in a process of decline and collapse;
- Energy decline is ocurring everywhere leading to a universal grab for oil and gas whereever it can be found, whether by drilling for oil in the melting Arctic, deep-sea drilling; fracking for shale oil or tar sands in Alberta - all of these a form of collective suicide that is accelerating the destruction of the Living Planet;
- We are already in a process of catastrophic climate change that has unleashed many positive, self-reinforcing feedbacks including the accelerating release of methane from the sea floor in the Arctic and other areas. Mankind is looking down the barrel of exinction within one human lifespan.
Governments around the world are expecting, and preparing for mass civil unrest. In particular, in this region, we are likely to see massive pressure from the populations of Pacific islands that have become uninhabitable due to sea level rise.
This is in addition to, and prior to social dislocation and unrest that is set to be blindsided by economic breakdown and the effects of all the above factors.
In this context, even if we are not seeing it now, we are going to see wholesale repression in this country.
Julian Assange talks about 'turnkey tyranny'.
This eventuality is being prepared for now by this government.
All it will take is the flick of a switch.
A PERSONAL NOTE
I have been very concentrated on domestic affairs in the last month or so,leading up to this last election. I do not intend to continue this but to resume looking at the big picture, at the things that are going to effect us globally.
I am preparing for a visit to New Zealand at the end of October by Guy McPherson.
Let those few in this country who are willing to listen hear what Guy has to say.
Beyond that I have no clue what next.
It feels like the end, or the end of a beginning. Watch this space.