Saturday 23 January 2016

Let’s Not Lose Our Tempers: If John Key Wants A Riot Outside Sky City – Don’t Give Him One!

Setting A Trap? The readily predictable consequences of his decision to host the signing ceremony of the TPPA at the Sky City Casino – mass protest action, with a high probability of violence and property damage – may be exactly what the Prime Minister, John Key, wants to happen.
ON THE FACE OF IT John Key has made a serious tactical blunder. By insisting on hosting the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) in New Zealand, just two days before Waitangi Day, at the country’s most notorious beneficiary of crony capitalism, he would appear to have given his opponents an unparalleled opportunity to rally their forces and reinvigorate their campaign.
Frankly, I’m suspicious. Because John Key is not prone to making tactical blunders. Which raises the worrying possibility that the readily predictable consequences of his decision – mass protest action outside Sky City, with a high probability of violence and property damage – may be exactly what he wants to happen.
The Chinese philosopher-general, Sun Tzu, wrote: “If your enemy is of choleric temper – irritate him.”
Few would argue that, at present, the opponents of the TPPA are in a very bad mood indeed. Even fewer would suggest that they have not been extremely irritated by the National Government’s decision to host the official signing of the TPPA at Sky City in Auckland on 4 February.
Is John Key setting them up?
That might be the case if it was within John Key’s power to refuse to host (or, at least, delay) the signing ceremony. To decline this honour (as the NZ Herald describes it) would, however, involve a tremendous loss of face by Key’s government. It was, after all, New Zealand that set the whole process in motion more than a decade ago. It would be an unthinkable humiliation for its government to ask another signatory to host the signing ceremony.
But if Key has no option but to host the signing of the TPPA, he most certainly does have a choice as to where it takes place. Which raises the question: Why Sky City? The ceremony could just as easily have been staged at the exclusive Millbrook Resort outside Queenstown. This was where President Clinton stayed in 1999, and where the Intelligence Directors of the “Five Eyes” nations gathered just a few years ago. Far away from New Zealand’s major cities, and easily defensible by a relatively small number of police and security personnel, the Millbrook Resort would not only have offered splendid “visuals” but also the smallest chance of disruption.
Which brings us back to Sun Tzu.
What does the Prime Minister know, that the people he is goading into besieging the Sky City complex do not know?
My best guess is that over the summer, Key and his pollster, David Farrar, have been drilling down deep into New Zealanders’ thoughts and feelings about the TPPA. Judging by the Government’s actions, this is what they have discovered.
That most New Zealanders are quite relaxed about the TPPA. Any fears Kiwis may have had about it in 2015 were allayed by a combination of Helen Clark’s pre-Christmas endorsement of the agreement, and the mainstream media’s generally positive coverage of the final draft. The media has painted the TPPA as being nowhere near as bad as even some of its supporters feared it would be, and that, overall, it will be of considerable benefit to New Zealand Inc.
It is also highly likely that the polling data has revealed the opponents of the TPPA to also be dyed-in-the-wool opponents of John Key and the National Government. Such people can be used, as they were used in the 2014 “Dirty Politics” furore, to reinforce the prejudices of National supporters, and shift the views of those who describe themselves as being undecided. This is especially likely if they can be manoeuvred into behaving in ways that cause “mainstream New Zealanders” to view them as irrational and potentially dangerous “nutters”.
Something John Key is reported as saying in this morning’s (22/1/16) NZ Herald also makes me think that Farrar’s polling may have revealed that Prof Jane Kelsey is viewed by a majority of New Zealanders as being akin, politically, to Nicky Hager. That is to say, as a left-wing “stirrer” hell-bent on embarrassing the Government. How else should we interpret this morning’s thrust from the Prime Minister:
“I suspect people who are vehemently opposed are, broadly speaking, opposed to free trade agreements because the arguments they have put up have been proven to be incorrect. It doesn’t matter how many times we say Jane Kelsey is actually wrong, in the end she doesn’t want to believe she is wrong, and the people that follow her don’t want to believe that.”
When I read those words, my instant reaction was “uh-oh”. A politician doesn’t dismiss someone of Jane Kelsey’s standing in those terms unless he is pretty damn sure that a majority of the electorate already shares his views.
If that is the case, then an angry protest, or, worse, a violent riot, outside the Sky City complex will rebound, almost entirely, to the Government’s advantage. Not only it will reinforce the prejudices of Key’s supporters, but it will also alienate those who are still making up their mind on the TPPA.
Anarchist Or Agent Provocateur? The vandalism of masked "Black Bloc" protesters in demonstrations overseas has played directly into the hands of a news media primed and ready to broadcast images of violence and destruction.
It is, therefore, vitally important that any protest against the signing of the TPPA be absolutely non-violent. Every effort must be made to persuade anyone planning on forming, or joining, some sort of “Black Bloc”, to refrain from doing so. Masked militants are a gift to agent provocateurs from the security services. The experience of mass, anti-capitalist protests overseas is that Black Blocs are easily infiltrated and used to supply the mainstream media with the most provocative and violent footage from the protests.
The fight against the TPPA must not be waged on the streets – where John Key wants it to be waged – but in the hearts and minds of those New Zealanders who are still not sure that the agreement will, in the end, be good for their country.
If John Key wants a riot at Sky City, then that’s the very last thing the anti-TPPA movement should give him.
This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 22 January 2016.


Anonymous said...

The problem with TPPA is no one knows the implications. How can you put on a ninja uniform and riot when TPPA is just a blur?
And why should anyone trust the left any way?

The destruction of the wage class was largely accomplished by way of two major shifts in American economic life. The first was the dismantling of the American industrial economy and its replacement by Third World sweatshops; the second was mass immigration from Third World countries. Both of these measures are ways of driving down wages—not, please note, salaries, returns on investment, or welfare payments—by slashing the number of wage-paying jobs, on the one hand, while boosting the number of people competing for them on the other. Both, in turn, were actively encouraged by government policies and, despite plenty of empty rhetoric on one or the other side of the Congressional aisle, both of them had, for all practical purposes, bipartisan support from the political establishment.

The left-wing is full of people who have grown up in affluence and suffer from a Jesus complex (they will bless the loaves and fishes)

Jigsaw said...

Will you be there Chris? In the front line? Side by side with those that New Zealanders so loath - Minto and Bradford?

Cemetery Jones said...

I guess that would make it two false flags from Key in 2016....

Anonymous said...

He's got the balls to take it to Waitangi,
fuckwits. backstabbers. racists. Greens and Labour take note.
He is fucking you to oblivion.

Anonymous said...

Yes says John,
Yes and No says Andrew,
Yes says John.

NZ "the Yes's have it 3 Yes's to one to uncertain No".

Jane ,'I shall protest'.

Andrew, Good idea. I hate John Key.

Andrew, vote for me, "jobs, jobs, jobs" or "shared prosperity" or "future of work" or "Yes and No" for our country, you know its our turn so do the right 'thingy'.

Nick J said...

Showing opposition is a must or Key says TPPa is a good thing. But if protest appears it must treat the event as a funeral. Carry a coffin labelled "sovereignty', place it down, sit down, mourn, lament, BUT no violence or obstruction, just shaming. Make the bastards think, "what are they protesting about?"

blondewithaniq said...

I absolutely agree with everything you have said here Chris with the exception of this..

'A politician doesn’t dismiss someone of Jane Kelsey’s standing in those terms unless he is pretty damn sure that a majority of the electorate already shares his views.'

A politician may not, a caricature of a politician with absolutely no loyalty to this country and a vulture/hedge-fund mentality would. Especially one who has personally avoided doing so himself, and ensured all his ministers from Groser to McCully, English to McClay have never been pitted in a one to one debate against Professor Jane Kelsey, or any of the other extremely learned and articulate people who singly or collectively could and would eviscerate this government's elastic or even downright mendacious ( in my opinion) statements on the TPPa.
The same people who could also concisely explain what will most certainly only be negligible benefits short or long term across many sectors, but far worse for Key, would also demonstrate in specifics how potentially damaging and far reaching many of the implications of ISDS and other sections will be in the future for the generations following. Many of whom will never ever know what it is like to have secure jobs, own homes or even be able to compete with the influx of people fleeing their own countries all 11 more of them. As even Groser admitted the TPP does indeed infringe on NZ's sovereignty and will also constrain her ability to be governed autonomously by future governments unimpeded, once it is enacted. Not even the worst scenario, but bad enough I see the TPPa , comparative to the U.K's dilemmias with the (EEC) Common Market, in addition to them (as it looks like we are since 2008) becoming more and more subordinate to an increasingly Asia paranoid and hegemonic U.S too. Because that has worked so well for the British people hasn't it?

I don't intend alienating those who are still making up their mind on the TPPA. On the contrary Key's speech has motivated me more than ever to do the opposite.. His betrayal of them and his own supporters will ultimately be his undoing in my opinion. Protecting the kind of people he did to win another term at any cost, similarly a bonus. Political liquefaction.. Can you hear it Chris?

pat said...

Sadly whether the protest is peaceful or not i believe it will not succeed in making anyone not already concerned about this deal take an interest nor change their opinion....that i believe this can only occur through intensive highlighting of the real life consequences of this deal in stark detail by the MSM and have the myriad of people of position presenting their deep concerns under the noses of apathetic middle NZ on their TVs, radios and in their morning newspapers....and that angle has been well and truly wrapped up.

Hi Vis. said...

I SHALL be at the Protest in Auckland, wearing my work in garb , with the Hardhat also. I would be ashamed to look back with a grandchild and admit that I did not make a stand and admit to being one of the " silent supporters " of the TPPA.

A O said...

All too true, mate, all too true. A privatized state and a privatized media, a hard combination to get around. Sky City, what an apt place to sign this charade.

Anonymous said...

The international press will be there covering it. We should stop the CBD of the city for the weekend.

Anonymous said...

Wise advice Chris,

I shall be at the protest march, if it gets violent I shall walk away.

Kevin Welsh said...

World events will overtake Key quicker than he thinks.

While the MSM continues its force-fed diet of haka's at weddings and the life and times of the Kardashians, those with enough brain power to look a little further afield realise that the economic ponzi scheme we are forced to conform to is disintegrating at a rapid pace. The economic and political landscape will be a much different beast in the next 12 months and I think the TPPA will be the least of our worries.

Anonymous said...

I know this is late but it must be said that John Key did well at Ratana yesterday and earned kudos from guests and visitors.
Andrew told a lie to exonerate himself from previous statements.
Every-one saw through the lie.

Victor said...

I agree with you in all respects other than one, Chris.

Perhaps I'm wrong but I get the impression that very large numbers (perhaps a majority) of New Zealanders remain at least a mite disturbed by TPPA.

I suspect that JK's polling told him this, which is why he may be seeking to turn it into a law'n order issue rather than one of trade policy and national sovereignty.

Get violent or too overtly confrontationalist and you end up playing his game. End up playing his game and he has a fourth term in office.

Ursula said...

"It is, therefore, vitally important that any protest against the signing of the TPPA be absolutely non-violent. Every effort must be made to persuade anyone planning on forming, or joining, some sort of “Black Bloc”, to refrain from doing so.

Very wise advice, Chris.

Charles E said...

Q'town booked out I expect by tourists. Simple as that perhaps. Also flight and weather issues can prevail there.

It's laughable that some bring up the T o W as an issue. As if that were democratic!
It was a treaty between an empire just starting to be partly democratic at home base, but really better seen as a military capitalist industrial superpower trying to be more humane for a change, and on the other side what? A collection of warlords, in their positions through force. The men with the guns, on both sides. And what did those Chiefs do? Gave away all sovereignty, not that they could have kept it anyway. Good on them. They knew the rule of law beats guns every time.

So don't give us any bull about democracy etc, we have it now so this new treaty has very solid democratic credentials indeed. It is also the way of the future: the rule of law again, this time international.

Guerilla Surgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Guerilla Surgeon said...

It's laughable that someone with such a paucity of knowledge about Maori culture should make such judgements about it. The chiefs were not warlords, and if they held power by force, then so did every other government in the world. Typical Eurocentric bullshit Charles. Probably from a book designed for teenagers.

Charles E said...

GS: As usual you miss the point and resort to intellectual snobbery. So laughable from someone who thinks spelling is the measure of a brain. It isn't. Not heard of dyslexia? John Britten would have twice the brain you had and he hardly could read or write.
And this time you unwittingly confirm my point as well! Yes GS, in 1840 here and everywhere power was very much through having guns, looking fierce, being the alpha male. Yes inheritance or blood counted too, on both sides. The alternative of violence ruling is key background to the admirable ToW but the world has improved hugely since then and little old NZ, thanks to the benefits of Western Civilisation's fervour for the rule of law is signing a modern treaty with the current superpower, without any guns on the horizon. So fine is this deal, the superpower may in the end decide not to complete the treaty itself, fearing loss of sovereignty among other things which is hilarious.. So much better a situation than the ToW, although perhaps the British wondered if it would hamper their take over of the place?.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Yes GS, in 1840 here and everywhere power was very much through having guns, looking fierce, being the alpha male."
Utter bullshit. Intertribal power might have been dependent on guns, but power within the tribe did not. There you go with your usual simplifications, based on nothing but – I can't think of what to be honest you've obviously never done any research on it. There is a place for intellectual snobbery Charles, usually when somebody such as you and your usual patronising way claims intellectual superiority :-).

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Sorry Charles, commitments. I will elaborate. You once said in a sneering fashion that my knowledge was Google-based. Interesting, because that indeed is a reflection on you. There are a number of people who post on this site whose arguments if not correct, are at least well thought out. For those I often have to go to academic databases to counter them. With you never. You're like those characters on American websites to go on about "why don't those moderate Muslims ever protest about Isis then?" When 30 seconds of googling finds half a dozen examples of exactly that. I have never – I tell a lie – ONCE I had to go to an academic database to see what you were talking about.
You see you make these grand/grandiose generalisations about subjects of which you know very little. You call it "having original ideas." Never mind the fact that there are pointy headed perfessors who have studied such things for their whole lives. You might as well write to them and say don't bother anymore I've got it all sussed. You particularly write stuff about other cultures, which simplifies them to the point of parody.
Your type of anti-intellectualism is half of what's wrong with this country, because we get policy based on half arsed ideology, where the evidence is either not sought or more often, it exist but it is ignored. Unfortunately Charles most politicians are just like you. Perhaps there's an opening for you?