FORTY YEARS AGO, New Zealand was convulsed by mass protests against the touring Springbok Rugby team. For 56 days, in big cities and small provincial towns, tens-of-thousands of New Zealanders risked injury and arrest to obstruct the South African tourists’ progress. Hamilton’s Rugby Park pitch was invaded by several hundred anti-tour protesters who, aided by what today would be described as a ‘credible terrorist threat’, succeeded in having the game called off. (A Waiuku farmer, Pat MacQuarrie, seemed ready to fly a rented Cessna aircraft into the stands, and the Police Commissioner could not be sure he was bluffing.)
New Zealand was extraordinarily lucky that no one – on either side of the Police barricades – was killed in the Springbok Tour protests. So high were feelings running that a murderous cycle of retaliation could very easily have been set in motion – with tragic and politically poisonous consequences.
Throughout the protests, however, one vital piece of information remained uppermost in the anti-tour movement’s strategic deliberations. They were a minority – and a relatively small minority at that. Set against the scores-of-thousands of Rugby fans who packed the stands, the thousands protesting outside Carisbrook, Lancaster, Athletic and Eden Parks must have looked pretty feeble. New Zealanders who believed that politics and sport should be kept separate vastly outnumbered those who argued that, thanks to Apartheid, the two had become inseparable. In 1981, the battle for the hearts and minds of the majority had yet to be won by the opponents of racism.
Being in the minority does, however, allow protesters to bear witness to their beliefs with the moral strength that numerical weakness often, paradoxically, confers upon a cause. Even their opponents can be impressed by the dogged determination and courage displayed by those willing to put their bodies on the line – non-violently – for a principle they hold dear. Think Gandhi. Think Dr Martin Luther King.
Forty years on, however, I can’t help thinking how self-righteous we must have seemed to a great many of our fellow citizens. There is a famous incident described by Geoff Chapple in his book 1981: The Tour:
“‘What is this? A rising of the workers?’ Yelled a passer-by on his way to the [Hamilton] game. ‘You’d better hope not fella,’ [Tim] Shadbolt yelled back. ‘Because most of the workers are down in the park.’”
The protest movement against the Springbok Tour was, overwhelmingly, a movement of the educated middle-class – and their offspring.
A few years later, in the clutches of Rogernomics, I often asked myself whether the indifference of so many tertiary-educated middle-class New Zealanders to the suffering of the working-class victims of the Fourth Labour Government’s brutal reforms was in some strange way an expression of their contempt for (and fear of) the “Rugby Thugs” who backed the Springbok Tour.
That formative historical event certainly widened many of the fissures dividing New Zealand society in the 1970s and 80s. The Tour exposed a lot of ugly truths about the way Kiwi men regarded Kiwi women. It shone a light on the tortured relationship between Maori and Pakeha. Most of all, however, it revealed the vast gulf between the educated middle-class and the people Rob Muldoon, the prime minister who made the Tour possible, liked to call “the ordinary Kiwi bloke”.
At the end of those eight tumultuous weeks the pollsters of the day discovered something quite remarkable. Public opinion had shifted. No longer was the support for sporting contacts with South Africa anything like so one-sided. Whether New Zealanders’ change of mind was due simply to the vituperation and violence unleashed by the tour; or to the penny finally dropping on the true meaning of apartheid; it became clearer and clearer that they didn’t want any more years like 1981.
It was a victory of sorts.
I suspect that we anti-tour protesters would have considered it an even bigger victory if we’d been told that our children, forty years hence, would be engaged in a revolutionary campaign to stamp out all forms of sexism and racism in Aotearoa. That the 2021 equivalents of those Rugby Thugs who, forty years earlier, had attacked their mums and dads, would soon be facing charges of “hate crime” and “hate speech”. And, this time, the Police would be on their side.
Truly is it said: “Be careful what you wish for.”
This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and the Greymouth Evening Star of Friday, 9 July 2021.
Now I wonder why Israeli Apartheid doesnt get the same treatment. I feel even more of a minority speaking up for Palestinians.
So George Orwell had it right then - there is no revolution, or hope, in the proles?
The Tour was about both sport and the lack of respect shown for a class of people (leaving race apart). The 'hate speech' momentum now, unlike the Tour protests, is a desire to continue protest forever by law, and in every word we say. And mixed with that is a different desire in the trans-rights group to strip away our sense of being, our sexuality matching our bodies, and leave us in a limbo-state, neither Arthur or Martha.
It is a good thing to look at the drive behind the protesters in 1981. But they weren't attacking the culture of being human, they wanted fairer behaviour. They wanted people to be able to live a naturally good life as respected citizens, not separated as if one side were lepers by another side with all the power.
The present concern is more convoluted than just racism, and allowed to go forward with the 'hate' speech as its vanguard, wants to decimate the culture that it says it wants to change. The inheritance will be a heap of ashes. I would hate that to happen; hate is a strong emotion that requires attention, perhaps adjustment after enabling it to be declared and discussed, establishing the grievance, and looking for a practical response to repair the perceived fault. That is the way, mental health has established that talking therapy* heals, and there are many wrongs that need to be revealed and healed.
Lake Alice is just one area of damaged lives, causing hate; how many more? So preventing 'hate' speech just drives the shards of broken values deeper. What is wanted at the end, is new approaches through policy that is monitored in the style of its delivery so that the right outcomes result and this applies both to individuals and to all policies that are introduced by government to manage the real disadvantages of colonialism and capitalism combined that have erupted in our society.
* https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2014/06/03/11-intriguing-reasons-to-give-talk-therapy-a-try/?sh=6fc7b0cf4ebb (There must be something in it if Forbes finds it useful.)
Race, colonialism have been looked at by this young man coming from one place where he lived amongst it to another where conflict was caused by it.
The book by French Martinique Frantz Fonan that is excoriating about colonialism and mental health, living conditions and slavery to the incomers.
He worked in an Algerian hospital during uprisings against the French there.
In his book 'The Wretched of the Earth' he considers the past and present and says in concklusion:
'The West saw itself as a spiritual adventure. It is in the name of the spirit...that Europe has made her encroachments, that she has justified her crimes and legitimised the slavery in which she holds four-fifths of humanity...
Yet some Europeans were found to urge the European workers to shatter this narcissism and to break with this unreality. But in general the workers of Europe have not replied to these calls; for the workers believe too, that they are part of the prodigious adventure of the European spirit...
...what matters is to stop talking about output, and intensification, and the rhythm of work. No, there is no question of a return to Nature...What we want to do is to go forward...in the company of all men. The caravan should not be stretched out, for in that case each line will hardly see those who precede it; and men who no longer recognise each other meet less and less together, and talk to each other less and less... [And not 'draw their inspiration' from Europe, in 'an imitation, which would be almost an obscene caricature'.] ...if we want humanity to advance a step farther, if we want to bring it up to a different level than that which Europe has shown it, then we must invent and we must make discoveries.
Bloody hell Grey, you strike a chord, attacking the culture of being human thats a powerful statement.
When I look at all of these demands it appears that fairness is not enough, my gut tells me that they want to do more than redesign us, and our heritage. It appears the target is the whole Western project, to be destroyed as worthless due to its indescretions. No replacement of equivalent value tested over time is offered, merely destruction of all, nihilism.
I was there in 1981 protesting racism, desperately denying an equal urge to watch the rugby. Ending apartheid was more important.
Now Im old stale pale male. Certain recent ideologies express that merely by being me, and by extension to other pale males, our whole institutions and culture are racist. It is a truly racist assault. Back to the barricades.
I like your style Chris albeit I am not on the same page. I have not previously commented on your columns. However your remark about self-righteousness moves me to share.
Picture my Dad. 61 years old at the time. Non-English speaking immigrant. Sent to sea at 13. Abused. Five years a soldier, three and a half years a Japanese POW. Fought his own battles all his life and eventually after much tribulation found quiet domesticity at the bottom of the earth.
Leisurely walking to the bus stop one day and someone shoves a petition in his face and asks him to declare his opposition to the Tour. He says no. The petitioner responds with "so you support Apartheid then".
The anger at the dinner table was remarkable not helped by the fact that my working class dad was no less able to ascertain the illogic of the binary choice he was given than anyone more educated.
If he were alive today I am sure my Dad would see in that exchange as I do the seed of middle-class sanctimony that has blossomed into today's cancel culture.
a ‘credible terrorist threat’
Yes, and yet look at the praise and respect laid upon MacQuarrie's head by anti-Apartheid protestors.
Always worth keeping in mind every time I have to deal with some Lefty hysteric going on about whatever Right Wing Gargoyle has been conjured up for the moment.
One man's terrorist is another.... etc, etc.
The protest movement against the Springbok Tour was, overwhelmingly, a movement of the educated middle-class – and their offspring.
That formative historical event certainly widened many of the fissures dividing New Zealand society in the 1970s and 80s.
I must see if I still have a copy of The Listener from July 1982. Looking back from the vantage point of only one year the writer/s (?) observed that the protests had been as much against the whole, locked-down, little world that was NZ at that time as South Africa.
Given what was to come in just two years time, I think that they perhaps wrote more than they knew.
We will not slaughter whites just yet, says South African firebrand
Don't understand the last paragraph. Appreciate your vision of that experience we share. Feels like a post-mortem. You got right the thinness of the Left middle class politics originating in anti-Apartheid and Manapouri Dam resistance, and how it produced the '84 class of Labour MPs, apart from the baronet (tears of blood). And they killed 1935 dead.
You've been in-spiriting me for 30 years, by water and fire. Tears in the eyes and heat in the heart, as I weeded and cut back (gardening basics).
Everyone and everything has left us, but we're not wrong. What a humble way of saying everything now should be overthrown. Immediately. With 100 times the violence of our original socialists. That that is so impossible is why the human species ceases soon. Though tech is still out there.
Only someone who is blind to reality would think that so called racism and sexism will "go away"
Sexism has come to include the recognition that males and females are fundamentally different. This is why there is a belief by some that gender is a social construct and isnt real.
Sexism has come to include the very reason that all who have ever been born exist.
The same sort reasoning applies to racism. Recognition of racial difference is impossible to ignore. Cultures have all sorts of different belief systems. I think that Islamic and Maori spiritual beliefs are just mumbo jumbo. I recognise that these beliefs are real to the followers but when it comes to expectations that I should become an adherent then thats when I say "enough".
Religious and Cultural belief systems have been "spread" by followers ever since we came down from the trees - and theres no reason to expect any change.
'Racism' will not only be with us forever but also has a lot of upsides.
New Zealands legal system is based on what is now called Racism. And Islamic countries legal systems are based on Racism. One could only think that these systems are good for the various groups.
Slightly off topic but worth considering is how "protests" look in todays USA.
I thought to have a look at Portland and Antifa, searched on Youtube, got Andy Ngo, a man GS described as not a journalist. I would challenge GS and all readers to watch this graphic violence and tell me that Antifa are not a violent and criminal organisation, the antithesis of the kind of protesters we were.
The heroes of 2021 will be the protestors on the barricades defending the right of free speech against the neo-Marxist disciples of Wokeness.
"Beinart assures us with the same confidence with which he prophesised Shia-Sunni harmony in post-Saddam Iraq that Israelis and Palestinians would live peacefully in a unitary state. His catastrophic lack of foresight then has not inspired any humility."
A heated exchange between Act leader David Seymour and Lee Williams, the man who lost his job because of the far-right content of his channel, has been posted online after the two men attended an Act Party event in Ashburton.
Williams, who was recently fired from Synlait after being accused of spreading extreme white supremacist material online, angrily approached Seymour, telling him he is not "standing up for freedom".
"You're saying it's okay if 10,000 people sign a petition to get a man sacked from his job and destroyed and cancelled - you're saying that's okay?" Williams asked Seymour on Thursday night.
The Act Party leader remained calm but distanced himself from Williams' views, telling him he needed to ask himself why 10,000 people felt that way and signed that petition
Seymour also said Williams had a "choice" and was now facing the consequences of his actions.
"People make choices, you've made your choices," Seymour told him.
"I was expressing my freedom," Williams responded.
"It has consequences, and now you're suffering the consequences of your actions," Seymour told him.
The YouTuber called Seymour a "fake" and "a bloody fraud" and said that "Māori will own 50 per cent of the country by 2040".
The man then turned to the crowd and introduced himself under the name of his YouTube channel, as well as Lee Williams.
And what was his argument because people can't hear what is being said? Was the point he said he hadn't been convicted of any crime relevant? Who is the mover here - government - but govt needs to remain popular and the corporates prefer govt as a neighbour than a raw smelly public.
Far-right or far-left?
Although you're probably right to emphasise the New Middle Class basis of the Anti-Tour Movement, Chris, I don't think there's enough evidence to support your contention that it was overwhelmingly so ... the sole evidence from the marches themselves was a survey carried out in 1981 by Jock Phillips & his students ... and it was quite flawed (as Phillips conceded at the time) to the extent that we should be very cautious about uncritically relying on its findings regarding protesters' class position.
[And it's also, of course, important not to infer a comfortable middle class childhood / family background simply from the occupation they held in 1981 ... we may well be dealing with many protesters - [including, for example, my then middle-aged Parents who participated in 3 Anti-Tour marches] - who worked in lower middle class occupations [in their case, Clerical Worker & Early Childhood Teacher] but emerged from poor / low income backgrounds ... [in my Parents' case, we're talking something approaching 1930s-40s Poverty as kids and pretty low socio-economic status right through to the mid-1970s].
And unfortunately in terms of wider opposition to The Tour (regardless of whether they actually marched) none of the various Opinion Polls conducted on issue in the run-up to the Springboks touching down included class, occupation or income breakdowns.
Nor should we automatically assume that the ""rugby thugs" who backed the Springbok Tour" were necessarily working class ... Rob's Mob, for instance, were first & foremost lower-middle class (as Preferred PM breakdowns from an early 80s Heylen poll revealed).
But as for your final sentence ... ha, haaa ... spot on !
'Recognition of racial difference is impossible to ignore'
Sorry Bazza, but race as a biological category is long debunked, I am pretty sure your easy recognition is based on superficial characteristics that prejudice sees as racial.
What do you make of these commenters 'informed' by the sewage pipes swilling from the American plutocrats? 'Good stories' over ruining facts. Freedom has about zero to do with our central challenge. How 'good stories' widely broadcast can overtake 'our good thing' in NZ and can kill humans a bit sooner. Information is one of the central issues we need to address. This shit from America and Murdoch is killing us. Yet this Tobacco Institute level crap can be entirely refuted intellectually, and so, most assuredly, by the right approach.
There are two narratives about Andy Ngo. One is that he's a journalist and a victim of unjustified violence – this is pushed by the extreme right. The other is that he provokes violence in various ways, in order to get a story. And to some extent exaggerates his injuries.
He certainly been accused of doxxing various left-wing figures, and causing them to be harassed or assaulted. And he's made at least a couple of hundred thousand dollars out of his assaults. Which will probably more than cover any medical bills.
Andy is known to actually lie in his stories.
"Ngo presented a London sign reading “alcohol restricted zone” as evidence of Islamic dominance in the Whitechapel neighborhood; it was actually a public safety ordinance designed to discourage public acts of drunkenness from patrons of nearby pubs, bars, and strip clubs."
And yes, somebody crossed the line when they punched him. But the video carefully avoids showing anything he might have done to provoke it. Antifa policies to physically confront fascists. Personally I think it's fine to physically confront people who are themselves violent. My father was old enough to remember the battle of Cable Street. But you still can't condemn a whole movement – and that's all it is, because there is no formal structure which makes it difficult to pin down who's doing what – just because a couple of people assaulted a provocateur. It's not as if they've murdered anyone yet – unlike the fascists. With whom Andy seems to have an agreement apparently.
"though members of antifa have committed violent acts, that number is dwarfed by those committed by far-right extremists, says Hankes. That’s also the truth according to FBI director Christopher Wray, who has said that white supremacists constitute “the vast majority” of domestic terrorism threats."
"The sort of protesters we were"? While I remember that it was the police that started the violence in the 1980s, I also remember plenty of demonstrators who went prepared for it.
I really don't see why you have this obsession with antifa and BLM. Particularly BLM, where a lot of the violence has been cheated home to white extremists. Looks to me almost like you're harvesting some of the manufactured right wing outrage here.
Ah...And I just noticed that Quillette, which seems to be popular among some people round here has removed Andy's byline. Seems reasonably significant to me, at least about his journalistic integrity – or lack of it.
So GS you did not watch it. You merely took the line of bullshit that both sides present as justification for their violence. Oh the other side do it so its fine to do it back? And Antifa havent murdered somebody? Watch it a find out who, when, why?
I suspect GS that either you are too partisan to face realities that dont fit your opinions, or that you too believe that violent extremism is acceptable. Watch the video.
I distrust daytime commenters, so the whole common-poverty of most letter-writers to blogs. Wisdom of years but that quick underminement of no longer being engaged. A towel-flick.
Something else that occurred to me in the middle of the night in periods between my old man's sleep. I don't remember you criticising right-wing violence Nick – not to the same extent you seem to criticise BLM and antifa. I don't remember a huge fuss from you when a neo-Nazi drove his truck into the crowd and killed a woman. And just recently apparently a reporter was killed by neo-Nazis in Georgia. There was a reasonably prominent article about it and the Guardian. Are you going to write as a couple of posts about how terrible this is? Have you succumbed to the modern conservative necessity to live on anger and outrage?
No GS, I havent succumbed to modern conservative outrage, but I have succumbed to outrage at extremist actions and opinions masquerading as mainstream Leftism. Unlike yourself I wont besmirch the Left by ignoring authoritarian extremism and violence from "our" side.
Nor have I succumbed to advocating violence in a tit for tat way that you do. Yes the Right has its share of violent idiots, but what you refuse to ever admit is that Antifa is exactly that, violent idiots. And BLM /CRT, forget it, that is fundamentally racist.
Nick. I'm not going to watch 55 minutes of a YouTube poster by someone who is obviously biased against BLM and antifa, yet doesn't seem to care that the Fa are violent. Down to the Bullshit asymmetry principle. But I have watched the assault on good ol' Andy. And the provocation is never shown. At least not from his side. I certainly wouldn't watch anything by Andy Ngo, as he is a noted liar who associates with neo-Nazis. I wouldn't believe him if he told me he tie his own shoes. I've already given you one example of his outright lies when he was writing a story about the Muslim takeover of Britain. It would have taken you more than a second or 2 to read that let alone 55 minutes. Here's a few examples of his lies which will take you considerably less to consume than 55 minutes.
Whenever working class people or black or brown people get to "uppity, there is a barrage of propaganda against them. Particularly in the US, but also in the UK and New Zealand.
They reviled Martin Luther King as a "communist". These days of course he's guilty of identity politics. But nobody ever says that, now conservatives keep telling us he was a conservative. Because he is no longer reviled. This is just more of the same, and you are being a "useful idiot" by passing it on.
Okay, I've now done more research on Andy Ngo then I really should have. Because when you do this sort of thing and spend hours on it and come back with a reasoned critique using actual evidence, the response is usually something like "Meh, you don't know what you're talking about." So it is largely a waste of time, but there might be people out there who don't know, so I post it for them.
Every – EVERY reputable mainstream media organisation that I have come across has characterised the man as a liar. Not just someone with a political point of view, not just someone that shades the truth, but as an outright liar. The man who pointed to a normal "no alcohol" sign put up by a city council just like the ones we have in our local strip mall, and used it as evidence for a Muslim takeover of Britain.
A few used journalist in scare quotes, but most of them simply called him a provocateur.
It sort of scares me Nick that is a left-wing person purportedly, you are so gullible as to believe this far right propaganda, but whatever I'm not writing for you. Neither am I going to spend 55 minutes listening to a liar. Life's too short.
No GS you are too lazy. Too lazy to watch and question, filter. You'd prefer the Google Archipelago approach of echo chamber to back up your own deliberate blindness. You remind me of the Leftists who made excuses for the Soviet once the gulag was exposed. All you prove is how authoritarian and innured to violence you are. Thats the part of the Left that mirrors the extreme Right, and I will fight their politics just as hard
Too lazy to listen to a liar? Why on earth would I do that? I might as well be listening to Goebbels. And you know nothing about my laziness or lack of it other than what you read in these posts. It's difficult to make judgements about people depending on what you read on Internet comments. But if I were to make a judgement about you, which I would never do of course, I would say that you are gullible, and wilfully ignorant about the extreme right and as I said acting as a useful idiot. And I haven't seen you fighting any of the right wing authoritarians to be honest, but who knows you might do it outside of these columns, so I won't make a judgement about that.
Further to that Nick it's interesting how you categorise me as authoritarian when I support anti-authority groups. But here we go. I have tried to keep this discussion on the level of ideas, rather than personalities – maybe not entirely successfully perhaps. Although of course the content of Andy Ngo's character is of relevance. But you have dived into the ad hominem. Obviously is not the worst thing I've been called on this site and the site isn't as bad as some others which are ferociously abusive, particularly from the radical right, but it's hardly what Chris imagines it to be in his preamble. Now if this were a more modern site, I would have probably taken the decision to mute and block you for now. Because to be honest even though your criticism of my character is reasonably mild I've had enough of this spread over half a dozen blog sites to be a little sick of it. So I think I'll take a bit of a holiday and stick to those sites where ad hominem attacks are frowned on, or where I can avoid those who indulge in them. See you maybe sometime in the future.
Three replies, strike a nerve? GS, too lazy to watch people being assaulted on film, see the injuries. You dont need to listen to Ngo, just watch the people you support in action. The fists boots and weapons fly, the blood runs. All you can do is repeat ad hominem attacks on Ngo from partisan sources. And support violence because you don't like the victims. Nuff said.
You have my sympathy Nick, the chances of having a reasonable debate from that quarter are remote.
"The Google Archipelago" good one! Yes you can search and find anything on the WWW to support the most foolish ideas. I note, with a good measure of schadenfreude, that the founder of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, has come out strongly against his former baby and the BS that characterises much of the media generally.
"Because there is a lot of influence. Wikipedia is known now by everyone to have a lot of influence in the world. So there’s a very big, nasty, complex game being played behind the scenes to make the article say what somebody wants them to say."
"We trusted outlets like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube with our data, and allowed them essentially to take over the media world. What we trusted them with was our liberty and our privacy, that basically that they weren’t going to shut us down. But they stabbed us in the back, essentially."
"You want the tools to think about an issue…When we are trying to get some basic information in understanding a topic, we do not want to be led by the nose, right? We are free individuals who want to make up our own minds"
David, agree. On the matter of big tech the brilliant Ugo Bardi has an interesting view upon Google ruling us, not sure I agree totally but scary.
You can take it for granted Nick that I prefer to be considered lazy to being considered gullible. You obviously haven't got a brain in your head given that you fall for every bit of right wing propaganda and conveniently ignore what the right does by way of violence.
Nothing wrong with Google, you just have to have the brains to sort out the bullshit from the facts which you obviously don't or perhaps simply can't do.
Just as David can't sort out the bullshit that Jordan Peterson espouses the whole time. Another brainless clown.
See, I can fling insults around to, but this whole insult business gets up my nose just at the moment. You people are pretty much amateurs at it compared to the Americans, but I still can't be arsed with you at the moment. Perhaps BECAUSE of your rank amateurism.
But thankfully your replies have won me five dollars Christ I wish I'd made it 20. Goodbye for a while.
Good grief, the thread is still, thanks to quick un-retirements, so I may as well put this on the subject of protests, based around NickJ's 1981 experiences as a protestor an his contrasting that with Antifa:
... the antithesis of the kind of protesters we were.
Absolutely. I've been following these people for a while now and the following is classic Antifa training:
It’s not boxing, it’s not kickboxing, it’s like destroying your enemy.”…
“Practice things like an eye gouge. It takes very little pressure to injure someone’s eyes,”…
“Don’t be that fucking guy with the Goddamn spike brass knuckles getting photos taken of you. We need to fucking hide that shit.”
“the whole goal of this, right, is to get out there and do dangerous things as safely as possible.”
That's from a video recording made by a man who infiltrated Rose City Antifa. The guy doing this "training" was identified as Nicolas Cifuni, who runs a bar in Portland. No doubt this is "doxxing" but I think people like him should be exposed, and of course he knows it, hence the emphasis on secrecy.
You can see that training in effect in this 30 second video where a man is confronted by a group of open-faced people yelling at him, only to have a person clad in the usual Antifa Black Block outfit reach between the crowd to smash him over the head with a bike lock, before melting back into the crowd. Classic provocation, hoping to start a riot.
In that case it didn't work and the guy was identified and arrested. Turned out he was some professor from a Bay Area university. But never fear anarchists, the oppressive forces of the State mere got him for three years probation - for multiple bike lock attacks that day on Trump supporters at a "Free Speech" rally.
But that's ok because such people are Nazis and they're the only people Antifa hit, correct?
BTW, penetrating their secrecy and videoing and photographing their attacks is what Antifa regards as "provocation". It always pays to investigate exactly what they mean, because their meaning for a word is not the same as that of an ordinary person, who might think that Andy Ngo was taunting them or something.
Just a couple of notes on Andy Ngo, given that he's been blackguarded by Antifa supporters.
He responded to the Islamic incident here:
I met Sohail while researching an article about Islam in Britain. This was eventually published in the Wall Street Journal on August 29. It was called ‘A Visit to Islamic England.’ The article briefly became a Twitter sensation, for the wrong reasons. I made a mistake, which was widely picked on. I described the existence of ‘alcohol restricted’ signs in Whitechapel, East London, and implied it was because of the heavy Muslim presence in the area. Such signs actually exist in various areas across the UK and have nothing to do with religious sensibilities.
So, an actual admission of a mistake, something I cannot recall seeing from countless reporters at "reputable" news sources when mistakes, outright fakery and lies have occurred (see CNN or MSNBC in 2020 in particular, but outfits like the WaPo and NYT were not far behind). You might also cut Ngo some slack given that he's gay, like the Muslim man, Sohail, that he references in that piece, and they're a group that Islamists are not exactly fond of.
Second is the whole "Andy Ngo hangs with Right-Wing extremists" attack. I guess such groups are getting rather Catholic in their admission policies if they're letting in slightly built, gay, Vietnamese-Americans.
That attack is based on a single video released by an Antifa supporter who went undercover (fair is fair after all) at some outfit called Patriot Prayer. That noted Neo-Liberal, Extremist, Fascist, Far-Right magazine of Libertarians, Reason, looked at the same video:
The problem, of course, is that the video — which mostly depicts a small group of people standing around, discussing which side of the street they should walk on when and if they approach Antifa, and conversing with the undercover Ben — proves no such thing. I have watched it from start to finish at least five times, and it does not even establish that the group of right-wing agitators planned an attack — let alone that Ngo was aware of such a plot.
Far from being engaged in conservation with Gibson's associates and intently involved in what they are saying, Ngo appears in the video only occasionally, and is mostly in the periphery, pacing and incessantly checking his phone.
I especially liked the attacks on Ngo about him "smiling" as the dastardly plans were laid:
He admits he responded with a faint smile "out of pity" when someone mentioned that Antifa had them outnumbered.
"On a good day they're outnumbered like 10-to-one," said Ngo. "It's futile, really. I view these demonstrations that they're doing in Portland as futile, so that's why I smiled."
From such things have the likes of "Jacobin" magazine conjured up the usual Far Left abuse they pour on their enemies. And look at the name of that magazine: consciously summoning up and glorying in the leaders of the first modern revolutionary Reign of Terror.
Finally it should be noted that other reporters have "provoked" poor old Antifa into attacking them:
Reporters with The Oregonian, The Portland Tribune, freelance photographers, and a local TV station reporter and crew complain they’ve been attacked and/or threatened by Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists at the so-called Red House Autonomous Zone.
They seem to have been surprised about this, but then basically everybody are the enemies of Antifa.
40 Years later
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