Slugfest: Being a fellow traveller of Maori nationalism is no bed of roses - just ask Scott Hamilton.
SERENDIPITY on stilts! If any of Bowalley Road's readers would like to get a taste of the rancour and bitterness that plagued the Left in the early 1980s, I would urge them to check out the commentary thread to Scott Hamilton's posting on Reading the Maps entitled "What Jose Aylwin could teach Chris Trotter". Imagine the bitter exchanges between Scott, "Skyler" and the veteran Maori nationalist, Mike Smith, multiplied a hundred or a thousand times in scores of progressive organisations, and you will get some idea of what those awful years were like.
Ah yes, but at least it was comprehensible rancour and bitterness in those days Chris.
For a delightful exemplar of the surreality of NZ politics since around 2004, take a wee stroll through the comments at Stuff on the latest twist in the MoFogate saga: a veritable tsunami of confused and often hilarious ("Rt Hon Key - that's racist innit!") "outrage" from across the spectrum - and how about this for food for thought: the most repeated and vehement denunciation of Hone and the MP is, wait for it... "Racist" !
Progression truly doth move in mysterious ways...
Ha! I thought you'd enjoy the scrap with Smith, Chris. And I do certainly have some sympathy with you if you had to tangle with Donna Awatere in her 'prime'.
But here's the thing: I've been involved with left-wing politics on and off for over a decade, have taken part in quite a few campaigns with majority Maori 'membership' - the foreshore and seabed hikoi and the response to the Urewera raids are two that come to mind - and also worked on a desk in the Maori section of the Auckland museum, where I talked to many visitors who were advocates of tino rangatiratanga, and yet I've very rarely met any Mike Smiths. Most supporters of tino rangatiratanga are not firebreathing anti-whites who accuse anyone who disagrees with them of racism at the drop of a hat, but believers in what Jose Aylwin calls pluri-nationalism. The beauty of the pluri-national idea is that it makes rooms for both our peoples. As Linda Munn said, let's fly our flags side by side...
Well, Scott, you're luckier than I ever was in your Maori nationalist encounters. Perhaps that's because you've been operating in the historical backwash of the 1980s.
By the early 2000s, Labour's 1985 reform of the Waitangi Tribunal, the Bolger-Graham Tainui and Ngai Tahu settlements of the 1990s, and the work of the Labour-Alliance Government between 1999-2002 had already drawn most of the poison from the Maori nationalist Katipo.
Perhaps that is why your interaction with the movement has been so much less fraught than mine.
Indeed, I would argue that it was the rapid decline in the political temperature of Maori-Pakeha relations that made Maori nationalists so determined to exploit the angst aroused by the Foreshore & Seabed legislation, and later, by the anti-terror raid on Ruatoki.
The formation and entry into government of the Maori Party was the outcome of all this agitation and propaganda. But, the Party's political trajectory has surprised and dismayed a great many nationalists.
The behaviour of Turia and Sharples has validated the political and economic analyses of Dr Elizabeth Rata - and then some.
The entrenchment of neo-traditionalist ideology, brokered deals behind closed doors, and the promotion of neo-tribal capitalism - rather than pluri-nationalism - has been the fruit of the Maori Party tree. And, as it says in the Good Book: "by their fruits ye shall know them".
Same old tired political exploitation of Maori .... left right left right left right left ..... Attention! ...... about face! .... left right left right left right left! ..... two side's? ..... same coin
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