Tuesday 4 June 2013

Forewarned Is Forearmed

Composite Image: The release by party insiders of material outlining what amounts to a far-right plot to take over and drive the National Party sharply to the right indicates a level of factional intrigue that should give all New Zealanders pause. Godwin's law notwithstanding, the 1930s German precedents bear close scrutiny. Exposing the plotters is always better done sooner than later - before it is too late.
THE PHOTOGRAPHS could have saved 60 million lives. They were taken on 4 January 1933, outside the Cologne residence of Baron Kurt von Schroder, a well-connected German banker. Captured on film as they passed through the baron’s gates were Adolf Hitler, Rudolf Hess, Wilhelm Keppler and Heinrich Himmler. A little while later Franz von Papen, the recently dismissed German Chancellor and intimate friend of Reich President, Paul von Hindenberg, joined them.
Within hours, this photographic evidence of the Cologne conspiracy was in the hands of  Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher. By the next morning Berlin’s newspapers were denouncing Hitler’s “secret meeting” with von Papen.
It proved to be too little and too late. By 30 January Hindenberg had replaced von Schleicher with Hitler. The new Vice-Chancellor was von Papen.
Had the saner elements within Germany’s ruling class acted earlier, and with General Kurt von Schleicher’s readiness to expose the Nazi Party’s behind-the-scenes machinations with politically-driven bankers and businessmen, the world might have been spared the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust.
As the political philosopher, Edmund Burke, rightly observed: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
New Zealanders should breathe a large sigh of relief that “a few good men” can still be found in their country’s own ruling class, and that they have seen fit to act earlier – and, hopefully, with more positive effect – than their German counterparts of the 1930s.
The leaking of documents allegedly penned by the right-wing political consultant, Mr Simon Lusk, should be sufficient to forestall what can only be described as a sinister “long term plan to move the political centre to the right.”
Let me state very clearly at this point that I do not consider Mr Lusk to be a Nazi, nor indeed a fascist of any kind. If the material attributed to him (and he has not disowned any of it) offers us any guide, then Mr Lusk’s political beliefs match very closely those of the extreme right-wing of the United States Republican Party.

New Directions: Simon Lusk appears to be drawing his political inspiration from the far-right-wing of the US Republican Party.
What he appears to favour is the establishment in New Zealand of an outright plutocracy: a state in which, although the formal institutions of democratic government remain in place, their capacity to impede the interests of the very wealthy has been rendered ineffective by the intimidating tutelage of an ideologically-driven bureaucracy, and pressure weighted with crushing quantities of cash.
This impression is, once again, confirmed in the leaked documents, which state quite openly: “This means reducing the size of government, weakening the power of those who believe in big government, and investing for at least 20 years to ensure that these changes are permanent.”
Mr Lusk appears to have been pursuing his plans for a plutocratic (or, to use the language of the leaked documents “fiscally conservative”) government, led by members of an ideologically re-booted National Party, for at least three years. Tellingly, the earliest documents look to the United States not only for inspiration but funding.
In the document dated July 2010, it is proposed that the highly professionalised political culture of the United States be transplanted to New Zealand so that, over time, and with the interest accruing from an initial investment of $5 million from conservative American donors, “an enduring centre right majority, with a pro United States outlook on the world stage” can be elected to parliament.
There are those who dispute the attribution of “evil” motives to the author of these documents. They point to the fact that Mr Lusk has devoted considerable time and energy into making himself one of the very few professional political consultants operating in New Zealand. Is it not possible, they argue, that these documents, intended for the eyes of like-minded National Party members, might simply be Mr Lusk “writing his own job description”?
Well, yes, of course it could. But, even if that’s true, the sinister aspects of the plans attributed to Mr Lusk are in no way diminished. He is already credited with assisting four individuals into parliamentary seats: Sam Lotu-Iga; Louise Upston, Chris Tremain and Jamie-Lee Ross. Political commentators are constantly linking his name with the alleged leadership aspirations of Justice Minister, Judith Collins. The documents he is said to have authored speak openly of the present National Government being “a disappointment to fiscal conservatives” and promise “there will be a clean out” following the party’s next defeat.
New Zealanders deserve better than a hollowed-out democracy in which government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy becomes the norm.
Nor should it be forgotten that any political figure openly promising to make his economic and social programme “permanent”, is also promising to prevent its opponents from mounting a successful challenge. Ever.
And when the programme fails?
Who will there be left to complain?
This essay was originally published in The Press of Tuesday, 4 June 2013.


Kat said...

"New Zealanders deserve better than a hollowed-out democracy in which government of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy becomes the norm"

How deserving are the 800,000 plus that didn't vote in the last general election?

While every eligible person in this country has the right to vote and exercises that right then true democracy will become the norm.

Anonymous said...

It is rather my view, that a more moderate version of what Simon Lusk has been attempting to acieve, is already implemented.

What we have is a government entering special, preferential deals, and offering favours in return, with corporates and their owners, like Sky City, Hollywood film studios, mining and petroleum drilling multinationals.

Also should the influence of those few extremely rich New Zealand business owners and investors not be underestimated, who maintain oligopolistic market influences.

There are Australian banks, some Australian retail chains, US, Japanese, certain European and also Chinese business interests here, who most certainly want a government that makes life easy for them.

This governments agencies have behind the scenes apparently also been working with US security services and FBI (see Dotcom), there is the Echelon network, Fonterra is a dairy giant that has almost a monopoly. There is Fletcher Building, there are others.

We have an Owen Glenn visit now and then, while otherwise residing in Monaco, to drop off a few morsels for a good cause, and in little NZ all major business persons know each other well, they have in general some very common interests, and the National Party offers them the best conditions, apart from ACT, but they are virtually non existent now.

So Mr Lusk may have wanted to take things yet a bit further, and to also form a tighter relationship with the US, but I feel, he is being over-rated, and is not really needed by Nats and the big business and wealthy of NZ.

The media is also largely private and corporate owned, they are "mindful" of the government, instantly rubbish anything the opposition may suggest to "harm" business, so it is clear, who "rules" this country, it is not you and me, and the Joe or Jane Average casting a vote every 3 years.

We already have a farcical democracy, where most are just there to work harder, longer, hand over money, rights and entitlements, and where people hurry and hush up in their homes after work, not daring to raise major questions.

Davo Stevens said...

With all the "Privatisation" taking place we finish up as a mini version of the US.

Monopolies, Duopolies, and Cartels.

We have a duopoly with Telecom and Vodafone with just a few small players nibbling around the edges.

Most of the reason people don't vote today is because the realise that their vote doesn't really count. Often they don't know why that is, they just know it. Elections are just a silly game we play every three years. It doesn't matter who gets in, we just get more of the same.

There has been a concerted effort on the more extreme Conservatives to get full control of Govts. over the last 40yrs or so. It appears to be working.

I re-call my heady days at Uni back in the 60's where we were out protesting every weekend and if we didn't have anything to protest then we protested because we had nothing to protest!!

Where are the student protests today??

Butler said...

Can't say I agree with you on this one, Chris.
The outing of Lusk wasn't the good deed of 'a few good men'. Rather it was a hit on Lusk after he took out Gilmore and made National look bad.

Here's my understanding of the situation: Lusk ran Gilmore's unsuccessful bid for the chch east seat. Gilmore didn't pay him and so, when presented with an opportunity (I'm sure there were many), set him up with the help of his buddys.

The resulting fallout was so bas that Key et al had to retaliate.

Anonymous said...

" Who will there be left to complain?"

That's right. Why can't Shearer and Labour see this?

Gary Young said...

Scary stuff Chris. I worry a little though that in penning this article you aren't providing certain factions of the Right with the script for their next few political moves.

In the event they hadn't already considered these possibilities for themselves perhaps we shouldn't be giving them food for thought.

KJT said...

Doesn't this describe what we have already.

A rotating dictatorship of two political parties dependant on corporate funders, for both election and jobs after parliament.

Alma said...

How truly depressing, and depressingly true.