Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Favourable Reference: Why John Key's Worst Enemy Is The Left's Best Friend.

My Enemy's Enemy: The Right's hysterical response to Kim Dotcom's involvement in the Internet-Mana Party suggests two things. 1) They believe he has been "turned". 2) They will do anything to destroy him. This should be enough to persuade the Left that the man and his money are there to be engaged, if not to their own advantage, then, at the very least, to their enemies’ disadvantage.
 
“IF HITLER INVADED HELL I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.” Winston Churchill’s famous quip, directed at the hard-line anti-communist MPs of his own Conservative Party, followed Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.
 
Churchill recognised immediately the urgent strategic need for Britain to range itself unequivocally alongside Stalin. If the Soviets could hold off Hitler’s blitzkrieg until the Russian winter, then his Nazi regime would face an intensifying war on two fronts – Germany’s worst strategic nightmare. The invasion wasn’t quite as good news as the USA entering the war (that would follow in December) but it was close.
 
Inevitably, however, there were rumblings from the extreme Tory Right. A number of Churchill’s critics had been involved in the British intervention of 1919-21, during which British troops and British spies (including one Sidney Reilly) did their best to bring down the Bolshevik government of V.I. Lenin.
 
If the hard-liners had their way, Britain would have made peace with Hitler and backed his assault on the communist enemy. Churchill’s brilliant quip was an imaginative repackaging of the old adage “My enemy’s enemy is my friend”. Not only was it intended to silence the mutterings of the Tory ultras, but also to remind the British people that one thing, and only one thing, mattered: the complete and utter destruction of Hitler and the Nazi regime.
 
I’m drawing on this timely (last Friday was D-Day) anecdote because it illustrates the importance of strategic clarity – a quality severely lacking in the left-wing critics of Kim Dotcom, the Internet-Mana Party alliance, and their media supporters.
 
The Right’s unrelenting assault on Kim Dotcom should have alerted the whole of the Left to the possibility that the man and his money could be engaged, if not to their own advantage, then, at the very least, to their enemies’ disadvantage. Those who took the trouble to observe Dotcom’s performance during the anti-GCSB protests of 2013 witnessed a thoughtful and extremely shrewd individual whose devil-may-care lifestyle had been shattered by the US-sponsored Police raid on his home in January 2012. In the terminology of the intelligence agencies, here was a man who, if he hadn’t already been “turned” by his experiences, was very obviously ready for “turning”.
 
The Right recognised this possibility far sooner than the Left – which is why their blackguarding of the man became so vicious and unrelenting. Thwarted in their attempts to get him out of the country quickly and quietly, and severely embarrassed by his exposure of the GCSB’s illegal involvement in his surveillance, it was vital that Kim Dotcom be transformed into a hate figure from whom all decent New Zealanders should run a mile.
 
For those on the Left with a keen historical sense, the demonization of Dotcom should have raised a whole forest of warning flags. Individuals and institutions are only demonized in this fashion after they’ve been identified as clear and present dangers to the Right’s political hegemony.
 
The National Party and its media surrogates went after Kim Dotcom in exactly the same way that the US Right went after left-wing artists, intellectuals and trade unionists in the late-1940s and early-1950s. Their antipathy towards the large-living German IT entrepreneur was not based upon the fact that he had a criminal record (they knew that when they granted him permanent residency) but because their botched attempt to have him extradited to the US had transformed him (and his fortune) into a folk hero – and potential ally of the Left.
 
The Internet Party was proof that the potentiality of an alliance with the Left was on the cusp of becoming a reality. Accordingly, the Right set about strangling the infant political organisation in its cradle. But, in doing so they could not hide the fact that Dotcom’s American and New Zealand persecutors were still hard at work. Clearly, he remained under close surveillance in his Coatesville mansion, and, equally clearly, international law enforcement agencies were still assembling and releasing whatever they could lay their hands on that would contribute to the blackening of Dotcom’s character, the destruction of his credibility, or both.
 
He was accused of having Nazi sympathies (why else would he possess a signed copy of Mein Kampf?) and the details of his wife’s, Mona’s, past as a Filipino glamour girl, were posted on the Internet. The Right complained loudly about the way he treated his former business associates and employees – even as they pumped these same individuals for incriminating information concerning Dotcom’s colourful past.
 
And still the amiable giant – like a Germanic version of Jonah Lomu – rolled over the top of his enemies; moving steadily across the field from Right to Left.
 
It was at this point that Hone Harawira, demonstrating all the strategic and tactical fighting skills of his Ngapuhi ancestors, reached out to Dotcom with an offer that neither party could refuse. Availing themselves of the same sections of the Electoral Act that validated the Alliance’s participation in the 1996, 1999 and 2002 General Elections, Dotcom and Harawira brought their parties together in a way that significantly boosted their chances of becoming critical players in the post-20 September period of political bargaining.
 
Just how gravely this development was viewed by the National Government is demonstrated by what happened next. Firstly, and most predictably, a cacophony of party political and media condemnation was unleashed against all of those participating in the newly-formed Internet-Mana Party.
 
Secondly, the country was suddenly invaded by high-powered legal teams representing the US movie-making and recording industries. They’d come to prevent the “disbursement” of Dotcom’s considerable assets. Not only would this materially hamper Dotcom’s ability to mount an effective defence, but it would also prevent him from donating large sums to his favourite political parties. They arrived too late to prevent the latter (Dotcom had already donated upwards of $3 million to the Internet Party). Whether or not they secure the former lies in the hands of the New Zealand courts.
 
That Holywood’s finest were here at all, quipped the cynics, suggested that, even in Los Angeles, one good turn (The Hobbit) continues to deserve another.
 
For the moment, the third indication of how gravely the emergence of an unprecedentedly well-resourced electoral force dedicated to the utter destruction of John Key’s government is being viewed by both its electoral and ideological enemies remains hidden in the darkest recesses of the Right’s domain. All that can be heard at present are whispers. Rumours of something huge and terrible waiting in the wings. Something that the IT entrepreneur’s enemies have uncovered, the revelation of which will destroy the Dotcom phenomenon once and for all. Allies and associates are being warned to distance themselves from “The German” lest they be sucked down with him in a scandal of career-destroying power.
 
Pinning down these rumours is extremely difficult, The best guess as to their content, for the moment, is that Dotcom’s enemies have “discovered” a cache of incriminating files that he had “hidden” on the so-called “Deep Web”. If this turns out to be the case, the Left would do well to remember that the only agencies with the resources to plumb the depths of the Deep Web are the very same law enforcement agencies involved in Dotcom’s arrest and arraignment. Nor should it be forgotten that there is a world of difference between “discovering” evidence and planting it.
 
That rumours of this sort are being circulated – not least for the purposes of silencing all actual and potential supporters of Dotcom – indicates how very seriously his intervention in the 2014 election is being taken by the New Zealand Right. It also suggests that the latter are now convinced that Dotcom has indeed been “turned” by his experiences with the US and New Zealand “national security” regimes, and that his alliance with the New Zealand Left is genuine.
 
If that is so, and since armed police, aided (illegally) by the GCSB and acting on behalf of the FBI with the approval of the New Zealand Government, have already invaded his Coatesville mansion, shouldn’t the Left make at least a favourable reference to Kim Dotcom in the battle for control of the House of Representatives?
 
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog on Monday, 9 June 2014.

29 comments:

Samuel Cohen. said...

I am interested in the following from your post.
"Inevitably, however, there were rumblings from the extreme Tory Right. A number of Churchill’s critics had been involved in the British intervention of 1919-21, during which British troops and British spies (including one Sidney Reilly) did their best to bring down the Bolshevik government of V.I. Lenin.
If the hard-liners had their way, Britain would have made peace with Hitler and backed his assault on the communist enemy."
I have read about this period of British history reasonably extensively and have never heard of this before.
Can you supply names and verified statements to support this assertion.

CarbonGuilty said...

You seem to be confusing JK and supporters with 'The Right'. But are you really thinking of your current bugbear, the enemy within, those you label Right wing in Labour? They are hysterical about IMP because they see it actually should give more to KJ & Co than will be gained by the Left. So from JK's position IMP is welcome to join in as it further divides the Left and consolidates the Right, overall.
The only histrionics about the Dotty-Commie Party I am hearing and reading is from the Left.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

There was a small group led I believe by Lord Halifax who thought that there should be a truce in 1940. But very little support in Cabinet.

SHG said...

Carbonguilty, exactly. The only hysterical response I've seen has been from the Labour caucus. The collective response from National so far would more accurately described as "mild amusement".

Guerilla Surgeon said...

As I said before,Dotcom's money is going to be the wildcard. At least he's managed to get some of it into the hands of the party. But spending doesn't seem to have helped Eric Cantor in his primary – apparently he outspent his opponent 20 to 1 and still lost :-). IMO this is the most interesting aspect of the election. It's settling down to be – as Professor 'Chumpman' once said in an Auckland University capping review – "the best little election I've held for some time."

thesorrow&thepity said...

I'm sorry Chris but you've really put your blinkers on with this cause! I can understand you & the left don't like John Key, but are you really willing to throw all common sense out the window?!
Kim dot com is a CONVICTED fraudster, twice convicted in Germany & once in Hong Kong, now awaiting deportation to the United States to face further criminal charges.
One simple question Chris, why do you think it is that dot com started the internet party? If you honestly think it has nothing to do with trying to stop his impending extradition then you're sadly only kidding yourself.
You say the right's after him because he "turned" please, the truth is he tried to gain leverage through donations to Banks & when dot com didn't get what he wanted he threw him under the bus. Now he's trying the left & you think he won't throw them under also if he's still not getting his way?! The man's a sociopath with a megalomaniac's ego & will end up taking down everyone on the left with him.
If you're that desperate to get rid of Key that you'd willingly overlook the titanic flaws of a convicted criminal…. mmm actually I guess this is what Cunliffe's thinking also.
Middle NZ will turn their backs on Labour in droves all because of the MMP corpse of dot com which Cunliffe is now feted to!

Mark Unsworth said...

Hey Chris -can we have a long rant about the centrists in the Labour Party who don't share your view that ethics count for nothing when a slab of cash has been offered ?
Whats that you say? You have already written 10 in the last few weeks and you are obsessed on the issue.
Ok Sorry I asked

David said...

SHG, absolutely right, but using such emotive mis-descriptors such as "hysteria" suits Chris's thesis. Remember when Clare Curran presented a paper in which she posited that whoever controls the language, controls the debate, this is just another attempt to control the language used to describe the current situation and thus try and put forward a credible scenario which may move a few die-hards into taking a last gasp at supporting a failed idealogy.

Chris is becoming increasingly desperate as he tries to wind up those of the Castle St Branch ilk who are either still drawing breath or have not had their blind beliefs knocked out of them by dint of the reality of getting on with making successes of their lives.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but another unverifiable assertion...

"The (Nazi) invasion (of Russia) wasn’t quite as good news as the USA entering the war (that would follow in December) but it was close."

This is misinformation perpetuated by the US and UK Governments.

Would the Allies have attempted D-Day if the great majority of the the German army was not in Russia?

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2014/06/05/russias_role_also_key_on_dday.html

Chris Trotter said...

Are you on holiday, Mark? Or is Labour in such dire straits that even the head of their polling agency has time to waste on the blogs?

If I was one of the poor NZLP members paying your wages, mate, I might feel that there were more constructive activities you could be engaged in.

Of course, you might not be the real Mark Unsworth - in which case I've got more important things to do.

Chris Trotter said...

To: Anonymous@9:09

You'll get no argument from me on the "Who won WW2?" debate.

Europe owes its freedom not to the UK and the USA, but to the people of the Soviet Union - 20 million of whom perished in the fight against Nazism.

What puzzles me is how you drew any other conclusion from the above posting.

Chris Trotter said...

Well, when it comes to people gasping their last for a failed ideology, David, the neoliberal diehards in Labour's caucus are pretty hard to beat.

And it's their selfish refusal to accept that neoliberalism has failed, and that it is necessary for them to move on and make way for a new Labour vision, that makes it necessary for people like myself to alert both the party and the public to the huge problem they pose for Labour's future success.

My reference in an earlier posting to the problems encountered by the Castle Street branch back in the 1980s is simply to demonstrate that the cuckoos who took over Labour's nest 30 years ago have yet to be definitively ejected.

Until they are thrown out, Labour cannot hope to recover.

Victor said...

This is what Churchill actually said when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union. To my mind, it doesn't read much like an endorsement of Uncle Joe:

"The Nazi régime is indistinguishable from the worst features of Communism. It is devoid of all theme and principle except appetite and racial domination. It excels all forms of human wickedness in the efficiency of its cruelty and ferocious aggression. No one has been a more consistent opponent of Communism than I have for the last twenty-five years. I will unsay no word that I have spoken about it. But all this fades away before the spectacle which is now unfolding. The past with its crimes, its follies and its tragedies, flashes away. I see the Russian soldiers standing on the threshold of their native land, guarding the fields which their fathers have tilled from time immemorial. I see them guarding their homes where mothers and wives pray - ah yes, for there are times when all pray - for the safety of their loved ones, the return of the breadwinner, of their champion, of their protector. I see the ten thousand villages of Russia, where the means of existence was wrung so hardly from the soil, but where there are still primordial human joys, where maidens laugh and children play. I see advancing upon all this in hideous onslaught the Nazi war machine......."

Davo Stevens said...

Chris at 10.18, I agree. There is still too many rightwing socialists in the Labour Caucus. Time to shuffle them out into the political boonies where they belong.

My concern is Cunliffe able and willing to do so? As it stands right now I don't believe he is or even wants to.

I would like to see Labour get back to its grassroots original charter: to represent the ordinary working people.

Chris Trotter said...

Ah, Victor, full marks for locating the actual speech.

Yet, I would hazard a reasonable wager that Churchill himself knew the only line of it that would ever be remembered was the one I quoted.

rouppe said...

Essentially you are saying "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"

Since you have brought up the Nazi comparison you should include the betrayal.

Hitler (by then having abandoned his socialist union movement beginnings) on the conservative Right befriended Stalin of the Communist Left, even though his Nazi Party had a pathological hatred and mistrust of Communists.

The parallel being DotCom on the right befriending Hone on the left.

But what happened? Hitler betrayed Stalin and it all ended badly.

The same is going to happen between Mana and the IP. There will be betrayal.

mark Unsworth said...

Hi Chris
Suggesting I have the ability to be a pollster is a wonderful compliment but 64 in School Cert maths was my highlight and I would struggle to differentiate between a standard deviation and a deviated septum.I don't know where you got the idea that I have ever been on the Labour Party ,or any party payroll ,for that matter.I think you may be confusing me with Stephen Mills from UMR
I am the guy who once disagreed with you at a corporate political briefing over whether Richard Worth was going to be a star MP
mmmmh
Cheers Mark

Chris Trotter said...

My God, Mark, you're right! Poor old Stephen Mills! Fancy being confused with the Dark Lord of Lobbyists Mark Unsworth of Saunders-Unsworth - PR consultants to the lowest of Wellington's low bastards.

But, crikey, Mark, it kinda makes everything worse doesn't it? You slumming it down here with the bloggers?

I'm inclined to think that Bowalley Road must have stumbled over something dark and malodorous which you and your minions would rather no one had given the slightest thought to.

Hmmm? What could that be? Perhaps I should ask Claire Trevett.

What do you think?

Chris Trotter said...

To: Rouppe

Adolf Hitler was never a unionist - he loathed every aspect of the German Left.

The German Workers Party which he joined (and later renamed the National Socialist German Workers Party) was set up by the aristocratic Thule Society as a way of luring working-class Bavarians away from the Marx-inspired Social Democratic Party.

Do some reading for God's sake!

Victor said...

"I would hazard a reasonable wager that Churchill himself knew the only line of it that would ever be remembered was the one I quoted"

Possibly true. But you then need to look at what Churchill actually did (or refused to do). He held off from a second front in the Europe heartland for as long as possible, partly because he was haunted by the losses of World War One and partly because he was not unwilling to see both Germany and the USSR bleed each other.

And it wasn't just the Soviets and their "useful idiots" who wanted a second front as quickly as possible. George C Marshall, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff was of the same mind.

So do not over-estimate the value of a "favourable mention".

mark unsworth said...

Delighted that you have me sorted Chris.Claire Trevett stole a march on the beltway with todays column didn't she .I don't have anywhere near her insider info sorry .That Red Wedding scene she talks about was really very very messy wasn't it .

markus said...

Yeah, I smiled at Rouppe's nonsense, too.

The Nazis only included the term "socialist" because they assumed they would make their electoral breakthrough in metropolitan working-class areas.

A strategy that signally failed - the urban unionised working-class comprised one of the key demographics that overwhelmingly rejected the Nazis - not only through the 1920s but as late as the final free election in 1932.

Haven't got the exact figures at hand, but at a time when the Nazis were at their electoral apex and taking 37% of the vote nationally, sophisticated quantitative analysis suggests only about 16% of the Big City working-class supported them.

To their utter amazement, the Nazis in fact made their initial electoral breakthrough (1920s) in rural and small-town Protestant Germany and any vague pretensions to winning blue collar affinity by cynically exploiting the word "socialism" went out the window.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I can't see anything in that Trevett article that couldn't be sourced by a bit of general knowledge about New Zealand politics. Or are you guys talking in code so we lesser beings can't understand?

Chris Trotter said...

Sorry, Guerrilla Surgeon, I suppose we were a bit cryptic.

It's just that the rule referred to by Claire Trevett

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/best-of-political-analysis/news/article.cfm?c_id=1502734&objectid=11272182

is one not more than a score of NZers would have heard of - and all of those deeply involved in the Labour Party.

It only appears in the very latest iteration of the NZLP Constitution (issued around August last year) as an Appendix to the main text.

So, my guess is that somebody deep inside the Labour Party drew the provisions of the rule (or, perhaps, someone's idiosyncratic interpretation of the provisions of the rule) to Claire's attention for reasons we can only guess at.

The three-month window Claire refers to begins on 20 June - so keep your eyes peeled for something untoward on or after that date.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Ah, page 56 rule 12 :-). That's one of the reasons I can't be bothered with political parties anymore. The ones that seem to rise to the top are the ones that love to read the rules :-).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Oops – forgot to say thank you :-).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous again, really appreciate Ur blog always insightful.
If the US entering the war was 'better news' than the invasion of Russia my inference was that their contribution was considered more significant? splitting hairs really, but I get annoyed with the 'mainstream' historical revisionism.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

We could argue ad infinitum about the relative contributions to victory in World War II of the USSR and the U.S. But it is worth recognising that without massive U.S. aid, particularly in the areas of food and transport, the USSR would have had far more trouble defeating Germany.

Debbie Sullivan said...

cynical and sadly accurate Mr Trotter....to those of us of more advanced years IMP electioneering strategy may appear shallow and silly but I sense it may very well appeal to many of the target electorate.