Planned climate extremist disruptions risk alienating wider support

Growing significant support for taking more urgent and more meaningful and effective action to minimise and mitigate predicted possible effects of climate change may be jeopardised by extremists who claim extinction and who seem to be using climate change as a reason to drastically change the world economic and political systems.

Following a widely popular series of countrywide protests last week, more extreme action is threatened for Wellington on Monday, with more extreme goals. I think that this risks alienating popular support.

The future of the human race could be in jeopardy due to pollution, over-consumption and climate change, but using that threat to force what would effectively be a revolution – ironically one goal is to undemocratically impose a different sort of (unproven) democracy – could be a bigger risk.

The cure could be worse than the ailment.

Stuff: Wellington will be first city targeted for ‘disruption’ in worldwide climate change protest

Monday morning commuters could face delays, with climate change activists set to “disrupt Wellington” with protest action in the central city from 7am.

Police, Wellington City Council and NZTA are gearing up in anticipation of the protest, which is part of what has been called a “global rebellion”, with Wellington the first of more than 60 cities worldwide targeted for climate activist disruption.

The protest is organised by the Extinction Rebellion, a group formed in October last year in the UK, with branches all over the world, including New Zealand.

The action is coinciding with a “Rebel Camp” running in Paekākāriki from Saturday to Wednesday, which will include training in “non-violent direct action”.

Extinction Rebellion Wellington spokesperson Dr Sea Rotmann said the New Zealand branch would disrupt Wellington traffic with a street party and expected arrests.

The news report includes odd looking staged photos of Dr Rotman who seems to be trying to depict themselves as something extraordinary:

Dr Sea Rotmann, Wellington spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, says "it is time to draw the line and to take whatever non-violent action is necessary".

Weird, and I’m not sure that will attract a lot of support.

The Extinction Rebellion website said it aimed to “support and encourage a citizens’ uprising in Aotearoa New Zealand”.

That would involve “low level and higher risk acts of civil disobedience by some”.

“When ready, create a participatory, democratic process that discusses and improves a draft manifesto for change and a new constitution.

“This will involve creating a genuine democracy, alongside an economy to maximise well-being and minimise harm.”

So they intend using a revolution to create “a genuine democracy”. That doesn’t sound very democratic.

Suddenly and drastically changing the economic system would be at more risk of maximising harm and adversely affecting wellbeing.

This all seems like an idealistic experiment that if forced on us could cause more disruption and harm than climate change.

What does Extinction Rebellion want?

Extinction Rebellion has three demands of Government:

1. “Tell the truth” and declare a climate and ecological emergency

2. Act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse emissions to net-zero by 2025

3. “Go beyond politics” and set up a “Citizen’s Assembly” on climate and ecological justice

I wonder if they are aware that a “Citizen’s Assembly” should be inclusive of and represent all citizens, and not just a minority of extremists.

Drastically changing all of the world’s governments immediately seems to be a totally unrealistic aim.

Extreme action and extreme demands are much easier to dismiss as extremist nutters.

And more immediately, disrupting Wellington traffic on Monday is likely to alienate a lot of people rather than attracting popular support.

I think that we should be doing significantly more to address possible affects of climate change, and reduce waste, and reduce pollution, but I think that Extinction Rebellion could be counter-productive to getting support to do this.

Their website home page says:

JOIN THE REBELLION

Enter your details to join Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa. Stay up to date with our latest direct action events, news and volunteering opportunities.

To create the change the world so desperately requires we need everyone’s support, we’re in this together.

You’ll be joining part of a larger global movement dedicated to preserving life on earth.

ISSUES

We are unprepared for the danger the future holds. We face floods, wildfires, extreme weather, crop failure, mass displacement and the breakdown of society. The time for denial is over. It is time to act.

Conventional approaches of voting, lobbying, petitions and protest have failed because powerful political and economic interests prevent change. Our strategy is therefore one of non-violent, disruptive civil disobedience – a rebellion.

Historical evidence shows that we need the involvement of 3.5% of the population to succeed – in Aotearoa New Zealand this is 170,000 people.

We are the local branch of the Extinction Rebellion International. We are everyday New Zealanders just like you. We are supported by journalist Naomi Klein, academic and renowned dissident Noam Chomsky, and around 100 other prominent international progressives calling on “concerned global citizens to rise up” and join us.

OUR VISION

A world where we build thriving connections within our society and environment, bringing hope and enabling us to decide the direction of our lives and futures. An inclusive world, where we work consciously to ensure fair processes of collective decision-making, where creativity is prioritised, and where our diversity of gifts are recognised, celebrated and flourish.

OUR MISSION

To spark and sustain a spirit of creative rebellion, which will enable much needed changes in our political, economic and social landscape. We endeavour to mobilise and train organisers to skilfully open up space, so that communities can develop the tools they need to address Aotearoa New Zealand’s deeply rooted problems. We work to transform our society into one that is compassionate, inclusive, sustainable, equitable and connected.

OUR PURPOSE

Support and encourage a citizens uprising in the Aoteaora New Zealand involving low level and higher risk acts of civil disobedience by some (with others willing to support those that take actions). When ready, create a participatory, democratic process that discusses and improves a draft manifesto for change and a new constitution. This will involve creating a genuine democracy, alongside an economy to maximise well being and minimise harm.

 

Alt-right slight might

The ‘alt right’ organised protests in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch yesterday – see ‘NZ Sovereignty’ rallies against immigration.

Someone tweeted about someone at one of the protests having a swastika tattoo on his head…

Sad and a little shocked to see neo-Nazis out and proud. In Wellington, New Zealand. In 2019.

…but otherwise things seemed quiet and low key.

Another view of ‘good turnout’ from Greg Presland:

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

Whale Oil had been promoting the protests, including yesterday – Rallies against the UN Migration Pact TODAY 4PM.

They report A tale of two very different rallies: Christchurch & Wellington

Our Whaleoil citizen journalist reports that around 100 people turned out for the Christchurch rally against the UN Global compact on migration. There were no hecklers and no drama. There were no representatives from the National party at all but the New Conservative party fronted and “put on a good performance.”

Our reporter chatted with David Moffett afterwards and was impressed with both him and his speech.

Moffett has been generally quite unimpressive on Twitter. May he has learned from his mistakes.

The Wellington rally was quite different. Owen Llewellyn from the blog RightMinds writes that Leftist bullies disrespected the National anthem and tried to intimidate the female speaker.

SB makes this claim:

If you watch the video you will see the same tired techniques being used to try to smear and silence the message. A man with a swastika tattooed on his head was targeted as being supposedly representative of the rally. I would not be surprised at all if he was a plant by leftists as that is a common tactic to enable them to smear those who are pro-free speech as Nazis.

If they were a plant were they a Greenie? A silly joke i know, but that’s what a conspiracy theory like this deserves. It is a common tactic of leftists and rightists to make ridiculous assertions about the other extremity.

Also from Whale Oil: Humour at the Auckland rally: ‘ Want to smoke some weed?’

Was that the highlight? Whale Oil keeps promoting Elliot Ikilei from the New Conservatives. They are toxic to everyone else.

Presland (mickysavage) has a report of the Auckland rally at The Standard – Auckland’s yellow jacket protest, and concludes:

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

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

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

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

It looks like the rallies had as much impact as the TPPA protests after Labour and Greens got in to Government.

At this stage the alt-right seems to have very slight might.

 

The Streisand-Brash debate – free speech and protest allowed

There was a debate on free speech in Auckland last night, and of course most of the attention was on Don Brash and a few people protesting against him.

I didn’t watch the debate, I had more important things to do, but it was covered by some in comments here: Brash up-platformed in university debate tonight

RNZ:  Protesters confront Don Brash during debate

Former National Party leader Don Brash was last night front and centre of the free speech debate that’s been been making headlines in New Zealand and around the world.

Dr Brash was nearly booed off stage at the University of Auckland debate, before counter-protesters persuaded him back by chanting his name.

Dr Brash was joined by the New Conservative Party’s deputy leader Elliot Ikiley in arguing that PC culture gone has too far, to the point where it is limiting freedom of speech.

However, Dr Brash only got a few seconds to argue the point before he was drowned out by protesters.

At one stage a scuffle broke out and it looked like he was not going to continue speaking, before a section of the crowd beckoned him back.

Eventually he did get a chance to address the crowd of more than 500, arguing that the protests were a demonstration that the culture in New Zealand is inhibiting free speech.

“Anything which is a bit beyond the pale you really can’t talk about frankly,” he told the lecture theatre. “Issues relating to religion, sexual orientation, family structure, the rights of people of different races, climate change – you name it – you’ve got to tiptoe through those issues in New Zealand today.”

In the end, debate chairman Chris Ryan left it to the audience to decide who won, with both teams getting loud applause and cheers from the crowd – as well as a fair few boos.

Brash and the protesters dominated the report, with no indication given about the merits of the arguments of all the debaters.

But possibly most significantly, the right to free speech was a winner, as was the right to conduct protests.

The Massey event that was cancelled and this debate have proven the Streisand Effect – “a phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely” – has given Brash and the events far more publicity than they would have had if there were no bans or protests.

Fraught family issues and intimidating judges

Relationship breakups and family arrangements can be fraught with problems. Fathers in particular can be put in difficult positions, often feeling helpless in the legal system, with preference often given to mothers.

Some estranged fathers have been taking their frustrations too far.

NZH: Police protect judges at home from ‘intimidating’ Family Court protesters

Judges are being protected at their family homes by police as angry dads protest outside with placards and megaphones.

A group of fathers, many of whom are disgruntled at losing custody or visitation rights to their children, are gathering outside the homes of Family Court judges in Auckland, say multiple Herald sources.

It is understood the protests, which have largely taken place during weekends over the past few weeks, against about three judges have so far been peaceful with no reports of trespassing or property damage.

So they don’t seem to be breaking the law, but they are unlikely to sway judges with their protests.

Minister of Justice and Courts Andrew Little called the protests “very disturbing” and said there was no excuse for people taking their case to the front door of a judge.

“The reason for that sort of protest is to create some level of intimidation and that is entirely unacceptable.”

It does seem a bit disturbing, but fathers can get desperate in their attempts to maintain contact with their children. This is understandable – and far better than walking away from their parental responsibilities.

And they have succeeded in highlighting a problem faced by many fathers.

Perhaps having the law and the Courts stacked against them is also entirely unacceptable, and drawing attention to this is a valid if perhaps misguided reaction.

A third review into the Family Court had also been ordered by the Government, Little said.

A review panel and expert advisory group would talk to families who had been through the Family Court process, he said, while he had also asked specifically for a “human rights approach” to look at the views of both parents and the children.

More details of the review were expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Changes to the Family Court were introduced by the former National Government in March 2014, aimed at empowering families to resolve their matters outside court and without lawyers.

The reforms were also intended to help the Family Court focus on those cases which required immediate legal attention, such as those involving family violence.

Little said the review would evaluate whether the reforms had achieved their objectives.

In last month’s Ministry of Justice newsletter, Little also wrote: “Public confidence in the criminal system and family law has been eroded and a managerial approach has failed. We can do better, and we will do better.”

Swadling said there were “significant problems” introduced in 2014 when legal aid was removed and lawyers became unable to represent parties for some court processes.

“If protestors wish to be heard they would be best served by ensuring that they make submissions to the review panel rather than targeting particular individuals, especially judges who are unable, by convention, to defend themselves,” she said.

It is never easy sorting out relationship and family disputes, and it is a real shame that children get caught in the middle of parental legal battles.

While the care of the children should be paramount, both parents should be given a fair go by the legal system. This seems to be one thing where the system is often stacked against men.

Disingenuous protest

Penny Bright has been in the news again lately, as the Auckland City Council forced sale of her house for unpaid rates seems more imminent (nearing the end result of a protest that has lasted many years).

Stuff: Auckland protester’s home to be sold following 11 years of unpaid rates

An Auckland activist’s home will be sold to recover more than $34,000 unpaid rates and penalties dating back more than 10 years, but she’s not moving.

A High Court judgement ruled Penny Bright’s Kingsland home would be sold by tender on April 24.

Bright had been in a bitter stand-off with Auckland Council for 11 years over unpaid rates after she stopped paying them in 2007.

She said she wouldn’t pay up until the council was more transparent about its spending.

“I’m making a stand and because I am a whistle blower I’m being singled out and targeted. I am not leaving this is my home. I always intended to pay back the rates, which I think has been lost in all of this. This could be simply resolved. The mayor and councillors need to instruct Auckland Council’s chief executive Stephen Town to open up the books.”

She isn’t in a great position to be making demands. It could have been simply resolved by paying rates due.

She must be one of the most frequent protesters in Auckland, and one could ask whether she picks her battles wisely or not.

She features again here in Bikelash, paralysis – and progress:

This is the new bike lane up the hill to West Lynn shops. Its completion was briefly delayed when Occupy Garnet Road leaders Lisa Prager and Penny Bright occupied a digger, with a ‘Save the Trees’ sign. This was odd, given that no trees were being removed. At all. Indeed, the new lane diverts around a couple of trees before heading up the hill along the top of the steep grass berms.

(I’m told the Occupiers’ new objection to the path is that it is bad for the environment because it’s made of asphalt.)

She is not the only one geing disingenuous about protesting.

It’s easy to dismiss this sort of protest as nutty – as long as their bills are paid.

Nation Front clash with anti-racism protesters

A permitted National Front protest at Parliament grounds today was met by a counter protest by anti-racists, including two Green MPs.

NationalFrontvAntiRacists

Stuff: National Front members chased away from Parliament

Hundreds of anti-racism protesters have chased National Front members from the grounds of Parliament.

The National Front had a permit to protest on the land wars memorial day but a counter-protest was organised.

Green MPs Golriz Ghahraman and Marama Davidson spoke at the rally.

Hundreds gathered for the Aukati Stop Racism rally, which chased various National Front members to Wellington’s railway station.

As more National Front members made their way to Parliament, the rally chanted “refugees welcome, racists not”.

A few scuffles started but police intervened, surrounding the National Front members to escort them away.

Man dies after protest at Parliament

The man who is reported to have set himself on fire in a protest in the grounds of parliament yesterday has died.

More on this when available.

Poisonous protests in Nelson

Poisonous politics seems to be a thing in Nelson.

Yesterday on Stuff: Three arrests as Brook Sanctuary poison drop in Nelson turns nasty

A controversial poison drop in Nelson has turned nasty, with three arrests and a helicopter’s fuel supply sabotaged.

Sabotaging a helicopter is very nasty, and potentially (human) life threatening.

Two helicopters and 75 people are involved in the first of three planned drops at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, near Nelson. They are spreading bait laced with brodifacoum, a common rodent poison that is toxic to humans and animals. The operation aims to eradicate all rodents from within a 14-kilometre pest-proof fence that was completed last year at the 691-hectare sanctuary, to allow for the reintroduction of native wildlife.

Wildlife sanctuaries tend to be quite popular and are viewed positively, as is eradicating introduced pests.

Today from Stuff: Pair rub poison in face of Nelson MP Nick Smith, threaten family

Nelson MP and Environment Minister Nick Smith says he has laid a complaint with police after rat poison was rubbed in his face and his family was threatened.

Smith said he was not harmed by the incident, which happened about 11am on Saturday at the Nelson Market.

“It was blue rat poison,” he said. “I went and had a shower afterwards.”

The incident came as the first of three planned drops of bait laced with brodifacoum got under way at the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, near Nelson.

Smith said a man and a woman protesting over the operation threw poison at him.

“The situation became quite frightening when it escalated from verbal abuse and throwing rat poison at myself and volunteers to physical shoving and rubbing rat poison over my face and clothes,” he said.

It was at that point, police were called and the pair walked away “but continued threats to poison myself and my family”.

“I’m quite tolerant of peaceful protest but this has gone too far and I have lodged a formal complaint with police,” Smith said. “The incident was disappointing because people are generally respectful at the Nelson Market even when they disagree with Government policy or my views.”

“You get a bit of lip; that goes with the turf but this went too far,” he said.

Throwing poison and threatening MPs and their families is extreme protest that warrants severe penalties and deterrence.

Universal access to state housing?

There were protests outside the National Party’s northern regional convention in Auckland in the weekend, making a number of demands.

Newshub: Protesters square up to police outside National Party conference

Around 50 Auckland Action Against Poverty representatives squared up to police in Mt Wellington, demanding a living wage and universal access to state housing.

One of the protesters was reportedly arrested for trespassing after running past police and trying to enter the Waipuna Conference Centre.

Group spokeswoman Vanessa Cole told Fairfax the protest was timed with Mother’s Day to acknowledge sole mothers, who “face economic punishment from Work and Income”.

Cole said unemployed people and low-waged workers are facing “crisis”.

Universal access to state housing was also mentioned in other reports, but ODT (from NZME) have a different description in Protests at National Party conference:

Spokeswoman Vanessa Cole said the group was calling for three key systemic changes to alleviate poverty – the mass building of state housing, a living income for everyone, and the end of penalties against beneficiaries.

Here  they describe it as “the mass building of state housing”.

On their website Auckland Action Against Poverty (which features Sue Bradford) they say:

Solutions

We have many ideas about solutions to unemployment, poverty and a broken, punitive welfare system, including a government commitment to the creation of decent jobs for unemployed people, total reform of welfare, a major state housing programme and the eventual introduction of a progressive UBI (universal basic income).

AAAP calls on political parties, unions, church and community organisations to join us in 3 key demands:

  • Lift benefits to levels people can live on
  • Overturn National’s welfare reforms; treat people with respect & dignity, not intimidation & punishment
  • Require government to ensure that  everyone has access to secure, healthy & affordable housing.

‘Universal state housing’ isn’t mentioned as far as I can see on their website.

In a press release promoting the weekend’s protests: Mother’s Day protest to grill Bill

“On Mother’s Day it is important to speak out against the economic punishment of sole mothers who face hardship and discrimination under our welfare system,” says Vanessa Cole, spokesperson for AAAP.

“AAAP will be demanding the mass build of state housing, a livable income for all and the end of sanctions imposed on beneficiaries.

“People should not have to choose between basic necessities. All people should be entitled to state housing and a livable income.

Not quite ‘universal access’, but that states “all people should be entitled to state housing” as well as a “living income”.

It’s good to aspire to everyone having good housing and good incomes but that’s going much further than is ever likely to happen – or if the Greens get to  run Government is unlikely to be affordable for long.

Trump protest in New Zealand

NZ Herald: Trump protesters clash in Auckland

Opponents and pro-Trump supporters squared off during a protest in Aotea Square which saw an American flag burned and heated confrontations.

People opposing Trump’s election announced this morning that they would be staging a peaceful protest at 2:30pm, run by a group calling itself ‘Aotearoa Against Trump.’

The group describes itself as a ‘grassroots movement established in reaction to Trump’s election to facilitate education, discussion and ultimately, change of the system that has led us to this point.’

What next, the Greens to start an anti-Trump petition?

People want to express their opposition, for whatever reason, maybe just to vent, but protesting in New Zealand is fairly high on the futility scale.

Ah, I was joking about the petition but there have been a number of petitions against Trump at change.org over the past year, including a post-election petition:

Impeach Donald J. Trump

Donald Trump has won the 2016 presidential election. It is clear something is wrong if an openly homophobic, racist, xenophobic and sexist individual can become the most powerful man in the world.

Make it clear you do not want this man leading our free nation. Donald Trump as POTUS is a danger to the entire world.

By signing this petition you are taking your stance and requesting the immediate impeachment of Donald Trump – to remove his position as President of the United States of America.

Stand with us!

This petition will be delivered to:

  • U.S. Congress
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • President Barack Obama

Searching change.org for Donald Trump returns 3,754 results! So far none of them appear to have been successful.