Working people have the right to hate our enemies.
I got my first lesson in life on this issue when I was studying British history at school and came home with some comment about the British Prime Minister during World War 2 Winston Churchill being a great war hero. I was soon put right by my mum who was brought up as a miners daughter in Blackball on the West Coast. She knew that Churchill was a despicable enemy of humanity who got tossed out of government the first chance the British people got in 1945 – before the war had even ended. His crimes were many and varied – smashing the UK miners in 1926, prosecuting colonial wars in the Middle East, resisting any progressive welfare laws to protect the weak and vulnerable (does he remind you of anyone?). My mum hated Churchill with a passion and she had a right to do so.
There are a few people from history I also despise with a passion. They are not the awful historical figures like Hitler who I haven’t had any personal experience with but the ones I have lived with over the last 4 decades of conscious political activity. I despise these people because they are directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of human beings in unnecessary wars. I despise them because they have removed health and safety regulations in the mining and timber industries in New Zealand and are directly responsible for killing amd maiming hundreds of hard working kiwis. I hate them because they introduced economic and social policies that in the 1990s produced an economic and social catastrophe in New Zealand (and many other countries in the world, including the UK and USA).
I lived in South Auckland during these years and saw a deliberately engineered depression hit that community. Official unemployment rates in my community hit 15% or more. For Maori and Pacific people official unemployment hit 30%. For South Auckland this was no recession – this was the equivalent to the unemployment levels of the Great Depression. I saw friends and families lives being wrecked. I saw kids commit suicide. I saw anger and frustration and demoralisation turn into crime, violence, drug and alcohol abuse. And I saw the capitalist politicians who imposed the policies that created this wreckage (Labour and National) go on to lead “respectable” lives. One of the worst of these scum was Ruth Richardson – National’s finance minister from the early 90s and subsequent founder of the Act Party. Rather than living a despised and isolated existence she continues to be fawned upon by the establishment and given lucrative directorships – including by the last Labour Government which left her on the Reserve Bank Board.
The same is true for Margaret Thatcher – UK Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. I am of Irish descent so my mum taught me a few truths about British imperialism in Ireland. In the 1980s I was witness to the frozen grin on Thatcher’s face as she watched the 10 hunger strikers die one by one. She presided over this vicious little war in an area and population not much bigger than Auckland that saw 3500 killed, 47,000 injured, and thousands imprisoned without trial. She was also a friend of the South African apartheid regime and denounced Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. She was a friend of the Pinochet military dictatorship in Chile that saw thousands of workers and students slaughtered. She (along with US President Ronald Reagan) refused to even criticise the French government for its act of terrorism in New Zealand when they blew up the Rainbow Warrior and killed Fernando Pereira the photographer on board.
I will continue to hate these people until my dying day. As they each pass away I will open another bottle of champagne to celebrate their passing – just as I would expect some of my enemies to do here when I go. I would far prefer they do that than have them shedding fake tears or making hypocritical speeches in remembrance.
The establishment and their press get all offended when we don’t bow down to their view of the world and celebrate their heroes. But I would like you all to compare how they reported the passing of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez just a few weeks ago and then compare that to the coverage of Thatcher. Chavez’s was a life genuinely worth celebrating as he had radically reduced poverty for the vast majority in his country and introduced free health care and education. He had more elections in his time in power than virtually any other country yet the establishment press continued to dismiss him as a dictator – even after his death.
Thatcher in the UK, Reagan in the USA, Roger Douglas & Ruth Richardson in New Zealand presided over policies in the 1980s and 1990s that have left the big majority of people today no better off in real terms (in fact worse off for many) than when they came to power. That is actually the first time in the last 200 years that there has been no significant improvement in working peoples living standards for a whole generation. There is nothing to celebrate in that achievement.