At Point of Order, we like to think the advocacy of good ideas and the strength of the arguments in support of change will help create a better New Zealand. Organise Aotearoa more ambitiously – and with a greater inclination to robust physical action rather than rhetoric – is intent on changing the world.
On some things we agree. The notion that “politics is for everyone”, for example.
We are not so sure about the nature of the political system that would be set up by Organise Aotearoa.
Their website says:
The current way of doing politics puts up barriers that stop ordinary people from getting meaningfully involved. In this system, politics is reduced to a vote that happens every few years when you get to choose which members of the ruling elite will rule over you from Parliament.
Organise Aotearoa believes in a different way of doing politics. We believe that politics is the domain of everyone. Because the current parliamentary system fails to reflect Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the common good, we propose a politics which engages everyone equally and honours the intent of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We’re committed to building a democratic society where everyone’s voice matters.
We may suppose this democratic society won’t involve governments or leaders being elected by people casting votes for the candidate or party they favour, because last week Organise Aotearoa occupied the Brazilian Embassy in Wellington to protest newly inaugurated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s first day in office.
Their press statement declared:
Activists occupied the embassy in solidarity with the people of Brazil. Jair Bolsonaro controversially emerged victorious in Brazil’s national elections last year despite huge public outcry. His plans to rollback protections of the Amazon forest and attacks on indigenous and LGBT rights in Brazil threaten working class Brazilians.
Organise Aotearoa’s spokesperson Kat Buissink notes “It was important to occupy the embassy today because the Brazilian Embassy in New Zealand represents a fascist government, we want to make it clear to the Brazilian regime that the people of Aotearoa do not accept fascism in any form, including a diplomatic presence.”
Bolsonaro most certainly would be an unlikely coalition partner for New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, if he was hoping to implement his brand of politics in this country. According to Action Aotearoa, he has moved responsibility for the demarcation of indigenous land to the Ministry of Agriculture, allowing it to be opened up for commercial land grabs; lowered the minimum wage, and abolished the Public Safety, Social Development, Labor, Culture and Environment Ministries.
The new Minister of Human Rights, Family and Women is opposed to abortion and sex education. Bolsonaro has also made comments which are said to endorse violence against indigenous groups, women and the LGBT population.
Organise Aotearoa will show him how wrong he is. It is calling for the expulsion of the Brazilian Ambassador to New Zealand and the recall of the New Zealand Ambassador in Brasilia.
“We occupied the embassy under a banner reading ‘No Relations with Fascist Nations’ and will continue to stand by this principle and resist the Brazilian government’s presence in Aotearoa.”
Next day a followup statement brayed that
… the New Zealand-based socialist organisation, Organise Aotearoa (OA), has gone viral and drawn the ire of the Brazilian far-right, following its occupation of the Brazilian Embassy in Wellington yesterday in a protest against its new far-right, fascist President.
Thousands of homophobic insults, death threats, and rape threats have been sent to OA’s supporters and members by supporters of the new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who’s government came into power this week. A live video tweeted by OA has attracted more than 50,000 views.
According to spokesperson Kat Buissink, the sexist and homophobic backlash was horrible, but unsurprising, and to be expected from supporters of the bigoted Bolsonaro (a substantial portion of the Brazilian population).
“Bolsonaro is a vocal homophobe and misogynist. He is on record saying that if he saw two men kissing, he would want to beat them up. He’s said that he would rather have a son that was dead, than gay, and has told a female political opponent that she’s too ugly to be raped,” says Buissink.
“His unapologetic bigotry and subsequent rise to power has emboldened fascist and homophobic movements in Brazil, who are committing hate crimes with impunity.”
Organise Aotearoa reiterated its demand for the expulsion of the Brazilian ambassador from New Zealand, and the recall of the New Zealand ambassador from Brazil.
“As long as New Zealand continues diplomatic relations with Brazil, we are complicit in its regime of bigotry and fascism.”
Organise Aotearoa explains on its website why it believes it is entitled to interfere in the affairs of another country:
Our struggle is global because colonialism and capitalism operate across national borders and exploit economic inequalities between nations.
Radio NZ provided an instructive measure of the political strength of the protest.
They told RNZ the 10 protesters went to the lobby of the Brazilian embassy in Wellington, with a banner emblazoned with ‘No Relations with Fascist Nations’ and then live-streamed a series of short speeches.
Ten? We should sever diplomatic links with Brazil and its democratically elected government on the strength of 10 malcontents?
Let’s learn a bit more about their intentions:
Organise Aotearoa is a new movement for liberation and socialism. We believe that the current political and economic system is rotten to the core. This system is killing our planet, creating massive inequalities, and undermining the tino rangatiratanga of Māori. If we want to live in a truly just, fair, and democratic world, we need to do things differently. We need a system that puts people and the environment before corporations and their profits. We are fighting for socialism because we need a system that shares wealth and prosperity among all people.
Didn’t Marx bang on about that sort of brave new world?
We cannot simply rely on politicians in Parliament to do what’s best for us. Time after time, politicians have made promises and failed to deliver. Even worse, most politicians don’t even try. History has shown us that people in power only make the changes we actually need when everyday people get organised and demand them. That’s why Organise Aotearoa wants to do politics differently. We’re committed to doing politics in a way that enables all of us to transform our living conditions together. We want to build the power of ordinary working people so that our collective needs, desires, dreams, and aspirations can’t be ignored. Together, we can make Aotearoa a more equal and democratic place, where everyone can thrive.
This sounds suspiciously like the socialism introduced by Lenin to the USSR,
As to the nature of the system to be introduced by Organise Aotearoa, they say they are currently writing a programme.
Our programme will outline in greater detail what we think is wrong with the system and how we hope to change it. As we write our programme, we will be holding hui around the country. We will be talking with everyday people about the key issues affecting their lives and the changes they want to see. We want to hear from you about your hopes for how we can fundamentally change things like housing, work, and justice.
But hold on a mo’.
How does this differ from the form of governance and decision-making being practised by the Ardern Coalition?