GUEST BLOG: Joe Carolan – Right wing. Libertarians. Geeks. Racists. Neo Nazi sympathisers.



Right wing. Libertarians. Geeks. Racists. Neo Nazi sympathisers. Some of the words used by elements of the Left to describe the nascent Internet Party formation. None of them based in reality. If anything, the Internet Party was born out of a struggle for freedom and civil rights, the same way the Mana movement was. I remember the huge degree of co operation between the radical left and the Maori tino rangatiratanga movement after the Terror Raids in the Ureweras, and how it built the trust between us which later manifested itself politically in Mana. When a few years later we saw the same black ninjas storm Dotcom’s home, in the name of defending Hollywood’s profits, that civil rights movement expanded its constituency to include the generation of Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and yes, Kim Dotcom.

I’d met many of their future base at a mass meeting against the GCSB in Mt Albert War Memorial Hall, where Dotcom spoke eloquently about the dangers of a mass surveillance state . I was so impressed I made a light hearted observation to Matt McCarten. You can blame the Party all on me if you like 😉

I’ve met Internet Party members out on the streets opposing the TPPA. Young smiling students, many of them new migrants, waving their purple flags alongside the black, red and green banners of other progressive organisations. It didnt ring true when I heard that these people were dangerous, racist libertarians.

So now, with the appointment of union leader and left winger Laila Harre leader of the Internet Party, we have a personifcation of the political projectory of the party. Remember that Laila had to fight Helen Clark to extend paid maternity leave to 12 weeks? Clark only wanted six. She broke with cabinet protocol, joining striking NZ Herald journalists on the picketline when she was a Minister of the Crown. And when Labour sent the troops to Afghanistan, she fought to uphold the Alliance Party’s opposition to war, ultimately choosing principle over parliament.

There is now a real possibilty that by September, our movement will elect Laile Harre alongside Hone Harawira, John Minto and Annette Sykes. The combination of the 1.5% or so that each party brings could be much more, if the possibility of a radical left alternative captures the imagination.

Reaching out to new groups of young people who are politicising around issues of civil rights in the information age, and marrying those concerns with solutions to the economic crisis of late capitalism, could see a similar rise as those of the Pirate Parties of Germany and Sweden, who scored 7 and 8% in many regions. However, the meteoric rise and fall of these organisations abroad happened precisely because outside of the internet, these parties had no solutions or common policy to the other major issues their supporters faced. Allying with Mana ensures the Internet Party benefits from a strong economic and social critique of an unjust system which seeks to privatise the commons, be it digital or public.

Revolutionaries take risks for the good of all. Conservatives play the same old game and paint by numbers. I’m proud of the leaders in Mana who’ve helped build a movement with the Internet Party that provides the strongest left alternative to the status quo Aotearoa has seen since the Alliance. However, there are lessons to be learned from that experience. Ones which I’ll fill you in on in my next communique. 😉

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Joe Carolan, Senior Organiser with Unite Union, writer for, Mana founding member.


  1. It strikes me that a lot of the Internet Party supporters appear to be people who are not really particularly interested in politics, normally. But the charismatic and rebellious Kim Dotcom has awakened an interest in them, perhaps it is New Zealanders’ natural dislike of someone being hounded by a paternalistic foreign power. To try and label them as leftist, centrist or rightist misses the point, I think. They are more of a people’s protest movement but now that Laila Harre is the leader they have an experienced politician that might just take them a step further.

    • I hear the same statements from KDC supporters that I do from Key supporters “oh but have you meet him? He’s such a NICE man.” And this may well be the case. After covering the military trials of Romanian ministers who had plunged their country into a human rights hell I have become wary of the voters’ vulnerability to a seemingly nice person. whether it be from the left or the right. The sense that KDC is being chased by a foreign power has caused him to be elevated in status by the left in New Zealand but who is the man, what is his background and what are his motives? I don’t apologise for a cynicism has grown out of realising that the social psychopaths that ruled Romania – the men who were devoted fathers and grandfathers, intelligent caring people in one setting – were also the brutes who committed despicable crimes against humanity in another.

      • So, let me see if I understand your argument

        Just because our government illegally spied on KDC, spent millions of dollars on an unnecessary raid which terrified his family, arrested him on behalf of the NSA at the behest of Hollywood DOES NOT exclude the possibility that should IMP get a couple of MP’s he will be in a position to abuse state apparatus in the same manner as our current PM?

        Seriously? Did you have LSD for breakfast?

        Your point about voting for personalities rather than policy and past actions is relevant. It just gets a bit lost in all the crazy.

      • I’d go for an attempt to use judgement rather than pure cynicism myself.

        Kim Dotcom was never part of the establishment, he built his empire very quickly via the internet and without any need to defer to the financial elite. The absurdly gleeful manner in which is displayed his new found wealth would only have reinforced the distance between him and those elite and it’s probably that separation from the elite power centers that saw him singled out as the fall guy amongst the many upload websites that were available.

        I’m not saying money didn’t have a corrupting influence on him either – money corrupts everyone it touches – but the suffering he went through with the illegal raids on his home will have bought him back down to earth in a way that doesn’t usually happen to the super wealthy (it’s also appears that the whole experience has radicalized him as well.)

        Yes, it could still blow up in everyone’s face but there are a great many indicators that this is worth pursuing for the moment. He may be rich but he’s been rejected by the establishment just as much as the average beneficiary.

        BTW, anyone else think a similar level of suffering dispensed to every member of the National caucus would go a long way to putting some empathy back into this government?

  2. There were racists in the Internet Party, the sort of “I’m not racist- Hone is the real racist!” type of racists. Thankfully, those people have all jumped ship following the alliance with MANA, and no doubt any libertarians did too.

  3. The Pirate Party has a Member of the European Union Parliament, three MPs in Iceland and many state and local government representatives around Europe. The main reason for less support at the polls recently is that Pirate Party policies are being adopted by mainstream parties. That is a success as far as we are concerned.

    The geography is changing. Eastern Europe e.g. Pirate Parties in Slovenia and the Czech Republic have seen a large increase in votes. South American countries and especially Brazil are also seeing strongly growing Pirate Parties.

  4. That’s right, Kim Dot Com gave John Banks 50 grand because he thought he was best-placed to smash the capitalist state.

    • Still wasting everyones time trying to sound clever breadcrumb? Funny thing is, that your half witted, utterly self obsessed drivel is doing us a favor, by reminding us just what a pack of lying piles of goat feces we have for a govt… We just have to have the occasional reminder of the sort of person who supports them.. Cheers bro!!

  5. I remember some years ago when the Labour Party elected millionaire Mike Williams its president. The left rightly condemned the decision on the basis that it was yet further evidence that the party had long abandoned its working class roots. Had Williams been a victim of state harassment, his class credentials would still have been such that criticism of his appointment to the party’s top administrative post would have been entirely valid. Now the Mana Party’s founding membership, many of whom I have great respect for, are celebrating their merger with Kim Dotcom and his Internet Party as a great boost for the left.

    I cannot join in this enthusiastic cheerleading for the billionaire Dotcom, who only 4 years ago donated $50,000 to an ACT Mayoral campaign. Dotcom will not keep the money flowing if IMP get too uppity. They say when you sup with the devil you should use a very long spoon. It seems Mana have chosen instead to dispense with the cutlery and dip their fingers directly into his trough – an extremely dangerous game I would have thought.

  6. John’s right.
    As for “Revolutionaries take risks for the good of all” Joe, maybe they do , but there ain’t no revolutionaries in this scrum formation. Just a bent billionaire funding an opportunist election coalition seeking vague watery reforms.
    Activists expecting social justice progress from this will be disappointed.

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