“Now the work of movements begins”: government corruption, media bias, youth voting and the role of revolutionaries



I am so tired of the dirty politics of the National government, aren’t you?

I am tired of John Key and his pathetic attacks on award-winning journalists who have spent their careers fighting and digging for truth and good. The sad reality is John Key’s crafted ignorance and spin seems to seduce so many into still believing he is ‘just your average kiwi bloke’. I am tired of watching and listening to politicians squabble and talk over each other like kids at kindergarten fighting over the best toys. I am tired of listening to so many candidates and MPs pay lip service to women’s rights, and push policies to end violence against women when I  know how little so many politicians really care about the serious brutalities so many women face today. ‘Women’s and Minority issues’ have rarely mattered to the fat cats in parliament.

Thank god for MPs such as Jan Logie who was a volunteer for women’s refuge before joining the Greens, and refuses to allow violence against women to be a ‘non-issue’ in parliament. Billy Connolly once said “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever being one.” This surely does not apply to every person who gets into politics, as Logie is proof of.

I am tired of the media’s obvious bias and hard right-wing leanings that mislead the public and I am tired of Paul Henry and Mike Hosking saying the most racist and sexist things and paying no consequences for their vile. In fact, they are paid a lot of money to dispense their ignorance as if it was gospel!

Amy Goodman said in her book Breaking the Sound Barrier:

It is the responsibility of journalists to go where the silence is, to seek out news and people who are ignored, to accurately and clearly report on the issues – issues that the corporate, for-profit media often distort, if they cover them at all.

If this election and the last six months in the trenches of Aotearoa’s political battlefields teaches anyone anything, it is just how corrupt our media is.

From the revelations of Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, which exposed National Party’s attack dog, the right-wing political blogger Whale Oil for what he is: an extension of National’s propaganda machine who has done the dirty work of MPs such as Judith Collins, who is, at best, a disgrace to politics. To political blogger David Farrar who amounts to Whale Oil’s snivelling lap-dog, licking up the scraps Whale Oil leaves behind. It is clear that in our New Zealand media we have a small handful of political, mostly white male, pundits who as Amy Goodman wrote “know so little about so much, explaining the world to us and getting it so wrong”.

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The journalist and film maker John Pilger has stressed for nearly his entire career “the media is the invisible government”. In our left movements we are demanding a change in government, but what we should also be demanding is a change in media.

You want revolution? Occupy the media.

We need a progressive media, not Paul Henry whinging about protesters burning Israeli flags and whose sexism was typified when he asked scientist Michelle Dickinson if she had sex with Richard Branson, live on his show. We need a media as Amy Goodman suggests that breaks the sound barrier, and expands the debate, a media that cuts through the static and brings forth voices that are shut out. We need a media that is connected to community not corporate interest.

There is so much hype about getting National out and Labour in, at least in our left-wing movements and on my facebook feed. I guess many of us young people might be harder to fool when it comes to believing there will there be some kind of radical change if Labour get in – at least for us.

Unless, of course, in our everyday lives we the people hold whatever government takes power after the election to account…

I completely understand why so many young people refuse to vote or just cannot be bothered – I know, I have been one of them. I felt pretty alienated from politics when I was in my teens and early twenties. So I find it easy to understand why so many young people read Russel Brand’s political essay ‘We no longer have the luxury of tradition’ for the New Statesman last year in which Brand declared he had never voted and you shouldn’t either, and felt a real connection to Brand’s words and opinions. Governments around the world have rarely included the young in an authentic or meaningful way. Internet/Mana may be using a political language that is more accessible and exciting for our youth, but the proof will be in whether youth actually turn out to vote this year.

Sure, I fist pumped the air a lot while reading Brand’s words last year but despite my excitement at Brand calling for a spiritual rebirth and chants of ‘fuck the government’, I am voting this year. I am voting not because I think Labour will make life particularly easier for the poor, the beaten or the disenfranchised but because I know you do not elect a government to make change, you elect one that will make is easier.

I have little faith in parliamentary process but I do believe I need to be part of the democratic process of voting.

What I do have faith in is the global activist movements that have forced governments to hear the voices of the people and to behave themselves.

It was environmental activists who pushed Obama to delay a decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, proposed to run from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. I have faith in the anti-war activists such as Cindy Sheehan who camped outside Bush’s ranch and refused to move until she gained an audience with him so she could tell him what it felt like to lose a child in the Iraq war. I have faith in the all-female 20,000 strong Pink Sari Army in India who distil their own brand of justice with their pink-batons against men who beat and rape women. These women in pink who grab fate with both hands are winning back their lives. I have faith in the performance art and punk group Pussy Riot whose female member’s destabilised Putin’s regime and started a global movement.

It pays to remember, during this election time, who the people are that have stood up against goliath, and won.

During the riots and protests in Greece an activist scrawled on a concrete wall ‘fuck heroes, fight now’.

It is the unknown people who refuse to sit down and stay silent when they are witness to injustice and oppression, who, through their countless small actions, as Howard Zinn stressed till the day he passed, radically change this world. We do not need heroes to rescue us, even if Hollywood is busy trying to convince us otherwise. And we cannot rely on the policy makers to write inequality, poverty and violence out of our futures.

The real work of social change and justice is done by change makers, not policy makers.

Right now the battle cry for the massive environmental movement in America is: ‘To change everything, you have to change everyone’. A  change of government in New Zealand may make some of the inequalities a little less ‘unequal’ and a bit more ’bearable’ but it is the radical movements that have drastically changed our world and shifted the public conversation and consciousness for the better.

Never forget this.

It was the Occupy Movement that forced massive inequality on to the public agenda and now it is common knowledge that most of the wealth is coveted by 1% of the population – and millions of people are getting more and more angry at this incredible display of concentrated wealth.

It was ex-members of the Black Panthers, not Bush’s government, who organised massive community rebuilds in New Orleans after the levies broke and washed away homes, lives and families. And it was a group of  women  who founded Women’s Refuge in New Zealand in the 1970s. (At the time domestic violence was not on the government’s agenda. The women of refuge used their homes to hide and shelter women, often at great peril to themselves, who had survived the most horrific and barbaric beatings and rapes at the hands of their intimate partners.)

Governments rarely hold themselves to account – as John Key’s consistent denial of the staggering evidence in Dirty Politics, that incriminates his government is proof of. It is up to us, the people, to demand accountability from our political parties and leaders.

Whatever political party is elected, whether it be a National coalition again or a Labour-led one, this is when the work of movements begins.

We live in a country that has never had such a huge divide between rich and poor; one-in-four children now live below the poverty line in Aotearoa. The Greens and Internet/Mana have progressive policies to eliminate this disgusting example of inequality – of violence. Because poverty is a form of violence.

But it is not-for-profit organisations such as Auckland Action Against Poverty who are on the ground right now, engaging in direct action; whose members and volunteers are fighting to end poverty and challenging National’s cuts to welfare that have plunged people further into desperate poverty.

The time is now: to connect with our communities, to listen to the silenced majority and, most importantly, to refuse to allow our government (whoever that may be after the 20th of September), to ignore and minimise massive social problems and continue to serve corporate interests and the super-rich of this country.

Do not wait for change – patience is not always a virtue.

Force it – demand it.

We are the leaders we have been waiting for: it is people power that will radically change this country for the better – not Labour, and certainly not National.




  1. Thank you for such a clear picture of what is, what needs to be and the role we are all responsible for taking if we are to get it. The commitment to life is life long commitment.

  2. Thankyou Chloe. What next then?

    Just one pic about the domestic violence march on parliament yesterday. Unless you can link a video here please?

    Nothing in the writeup about Key refusing to meet the protestors on the steps of parliament.

    And yesterday, also, NZ were being held to account in front of the UN -people with disabilities from acts of sexual and violent crimes being denied access to justice – but cannot see any reporting on this!
    A rather large representation from NZ govt was in attendance at the UN, along with the wonderful instigators who have and are working so hard to fight the regime from within.
    Why was this ignored?

    Do you have a plan Chloe – what next?


    • How you implement your revolution is up to you. I am training as a volunteer with women’s refuge, I write and I make street art these are my forms of protest. And of course I protest and rally and I also just talk to people and speak my truths. Chomsky said he just used to invite people to his house and give lectures about Gaza and the astrocities in this world. With all your western privilege and power, it is up to you how you will choose to weld it.

  3. Great article Chloe – changing the government means we can START the work of changing the country.

    I wonder if Russell Brand would say don’t vote if he lived in New Zealand. The thing I say to people who don’t want to vote is to go for Hone Harawira. If you hate the establishment then he’s your guy. The establishment can’t stand him and the more votes he gets the more pissed off they will get.

    We actually have a genuine protest vote here.

  4. We have enough intelligent and creative people in NZ to make change.

    Civil disobedience is the most effective means of beginning change, and you only need about 3.5% of the population engaged to start it. ( – from analysis by Erica Chenoweth).

    This is much more effective than violence, and non-violent change leads to more peaceful and stable solutions.

    Whatever we do, we need to do something! A great many of us are already engaging in small things we see we can do. I hope it grows, and reaches critical mass, and forces change.

    We need to stop our government spying on us for a start!

  5. I’m sorry but the TPPA, the mass surveillance and the Dirty Politics should all be more than enough to bring a government down. I used to be apathetic and did not want to vote out of complete indifference to this parliamentary system we live in – but there’s just too much at stake here. This election is the most important one we’ve seen for a very long time, and we have a lot to lose if the status quo remains.

    The worst thing is: these things are not even provoking anything! There is a severe lack of angst, and a clear blind passivity of our citizens to let our rights to sovereignty, transparency and privacy erode into an abyss. John Key isn’t being at all hounded to give us the answers we deserve and the answers we have the right to know (and truthfully, as well).

    Don’t people understand what is happening here!?

    We’ve lost our ability to think critically. The media (aka the corporates) are clearly promoting an agenda. Such an agenda has become hegemonic; the Herald is in partnership with NewstalkZB… Fairfax controls a large part of our media. TVNZ is an official National Party mouthpiece… and Radio NZ isn’t even taking the Town Hall meeting seriously.

    For all the vitirol Kim Dotcom receives, I ask you to reflect: when the only genuine left-wing party in the country needs the resources of Kim to compete, then your system is seriously flawed. Kim is not the problem here, it is us.

    • Yep, well said. I’m encouraged by this blog, the comments and the people who support social change and a participatory society – not a plutocracy. Bring it on. As a Kiwi expat living overseas, the entire political, MSM landscape has made me feel like a lone voice. But, now I see there is an underlying movement of Kiwis who really do see what is happening here. Wonderful. I can feel my pride returning.

      • I’m glad that you’re feeling such sensations. However, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. We need to start thinking, and blogs like this help facilitate that. For too long, people have been prompted to “Act now. Do something.” But they do this without thinking it through. For example, communism is an idea I support in theory but hasn’t worked in practice (well, it was absolutely shambolic – the worst humanitarian disaster of the 20th Century). I sense that they rushed things there: they tried to do too much and too soon, and it’s not surprising that it failed. Where was the thinking? We need to thoroughly interpret the world and our situations before we act. When we think, we will reach an answer that we haven’t found yet because the answer will come from the collective. The collective will have to work out how they will organise themselves. And when we do act, we will do so being theoretically informed and we will do so using the will and spirit of the collective for good causes.

        The first thing to do is vote on Saturday, and encourage others to vote. However, that is only the first step. The next step is to start having these big discussions – isn’t this what a democracy is? And we will have discussions prioritising personal lived experiences, especially of those marginalised, instead of the usual media-centric experiences and perspectives that favour corporates.

        Citizens of New Zealand, you stood up to the US and the world in the fight to be nuclear-free. It’s now your time to stand up again. Your rights are on the line.

  6. Thank you Chloe, that is a heartfelt and profound analysis.

    I have recently become Chair of a not-for-profit, NGO of the kind you mention. Safer Wireless Technology NZ (Inc),( SWTNZ)If would not exist if the msm actually did it’s job, ie. investigate, warn and inform the public about issues that effect us.
    If the media had reported on the adverse effects of smoking (first research published 1939) unimaginable human misery would have been averted. SWTNZ’s aim is for NZ to have at least the same level of protection from (WHO Category 2B ), potentially carcinogenic microwave emissions (from cellsites, etc),as Russia, India and even China provide their citizens. This is not unreasonable and if the Fourth Estate had any honour, NZ would have had safer regulations years ago.

    • As a former Telecom technican, who knows how this technology works, and now a health practitioner and student of medcial anthropology, I support you 100 percent in that. It is a bit “off topic” for this column, but you have my support!

  7. I have little faith in parliamentary process but I do believe I need to be part of the democratic process of voting.

    What sets English democracy or NZ democracy apart from humanism is the nature of the rights of the minority, those natural and inalienable rights which cannot be taken by force, only lost by forfeiture. Human rights, on the other hand, are essentially fictions that are used as bargaining chips in the political process.

    I believe that in order to participate in democracy it is necessary to understand what real democracy is and how it differs from the civil process used by the NZ state. To that end I’ve put together a wiki which attempts to document the essential ideas.

  8. This is a great piece, Chloe, thanks – I’ll be sharing.
    I agree that one of the most critical ways we can act is through the media right now. NZ journo’s have dropped the ball MASSIVELY, however perhaps with such control it is inevitable. Up the blogs and the ‘zines – it is the only place to find people holding the government to account.
    There are a few days left to amp apathetic potential voters up – let’s do it.

  9. Would it be useful if we flooded the MSM/National Party/John Key/Labour etc Facebook/twitter feeds with pertinent questions en masse that need answers? It amazes me constantly that no one asks the obvious questions on tele/radio/papers etc.

  10. Your words ring true, Chloe. I recall when the Terrorism Suppression Act was enacted – by a Labour government – that I was woefully silent when that vile piece of legislation was passed.

    No more.

    Our work won’t diminish when we have a change in government in four days’ time. Our work will have just begun.

    • @Frank Idle no more. We have all remained silent and regretted it that is how we know not to do it ever again. If key gets back in I want to riot the streets of Auckland lol. I am at the point where I do not care how many times I get arrested. I have 4 qualifications from university and I once again i find myself on welfare. I have nothing to loose. lol

  11. This is awesome Chloe. Thank you for your heartfelt words that ring true for all those walking in Justice, Love and Truth. It is definitely indeed the people who create change in movements. Rosa Parks one person refused to leave her seat and ignited the spirit of a nation and peoples. Most of the great leaders past and present never walked with the oppressors, instead walked with the people. Martin Luther King assassinated, Che Guevara executed, Aung San Suu Kyi home arrest, Nelson Mandela jail, Malcolm X assassinated, for Justice, Truth and Love. Power is with the people, if only they knew it! Inspiring post and shall share with friends and family. ” He tini nga whetu e ngaro I te kapua iti,” – Many stars cannot be concealed by a small cloud.

  12. Climate change, the end to cheap available fossils fuels, obscene inequality – the list goes on – all symptoms of the global financial system and the dollar/corporate controlled governments – and it is covertly being introduced to NZ. Change will only come from grass roots pressure – one such response is the global Transition Movement. Check it out.

  13. If we really wanted journalists reporting on this election and inspiring the young
    This would be on the front page of anything they read
    Awesome writing…..Thank you

  14. Awesome blog Chloe! Best commentary that I have seen so far this election campaign, bar none!

    With regard to the future, this campaign has taught me a great deal. The old-style electioneering methods that the parties are still stuck in are old hat now, and most of the politicians are really struggling to adapt to the new world of the social media, etc.

    JK’s FB page is a SICK JOKE, and Cunliffe’s is not much better.

    And, every day, I see politicians using Twitter as if it was an updated version of sending an old-fashioned telegram! While they are tweeting a load of bollocks, that nobody is interested in, the REAL action is passing them by!

    ALL the politicians, of ALL parties, are hopeless on Twitter. Twitter is all about short, sharp, witty, one-liners, and rapid-fire one-upmanship. David Lange would have been brilliant on Twitter. In a few short weeks, starting from scratch, I have had people like Gower, John Campbell, Bryce Edwards, etc, favouriting and retweeting my tweets, while the candidates of ALL parties flounder around putting out boring crap about attending a meeting at the local RSA, or whatever! BORING!!!! Or… bombing Twitter with endless policy announcements and similar crap, that nobody reads.

    Regarding how to get the attention of the “key” people in the lamestream media…. engage with them on Twitter, in an interesting manner…. by being fast on one’s feet, and witty, and using those opportunities to post really telling links and images, like Tui billboard images, jokes, cartoons, etc.

    Anyway… for the future, I suggest that us swithced on “progressive” activists, once this week is over, we need to sit down and discuss not only where we go from here, but also how we go about it, using the tools of the 21st century.

    All the best,

  15. Listen to this on the RNZ Nine to Noon show this morning,

    10:05 How global economic forces increase disparity
    In her new book, Expulsions, Columbia University sociology professor Saskia Sassen offers a chilling analysis of the dynamics shaping the global economy, including their effects of income inequality, expanding populations of the displaced, and accelerating destruction of land and water bodies. Dr Sassen has led several multi-year projects into the forces of globalisation, and says technological and economic advances of our time have seen a sharp growth in the number of people expelled from the core social and economic orders.

  16. Nicely written and very well informed.
    You have inspired me to further inspire my 18yr old daughter who wishes to be a writer but has to save up over $1000 to do an on-line course to perhaps start writing and perhaps submit it to the Daily blog to see if her work can be accepted or at least considered.

    I myself have been a “Keyboard Warrior” for a wee while now regarding learning and commenting regarding what is happening in our country and how perhaps we can change things and helping others to be informed with the hot topics or the hidden facts.

    We MUST keep challenging what the supposed authorities think they know what is best for us….ask and we shall tell you…should be the main question on all pollies lips!!!

    Keep up the good work xxx

    • Hey I really doubt your daughter needs to do a writing course, I have never done any writing courses and have only been writing for 7 months. Your daughter could simply start her own blog then she would not be reliant on on and editor excepting her work?

      • my advice to your daughter is just to write whenever she can and post it online on her own blog and not to BLOW a grand on an online course. She does not need it. She would be better off taking that money and using it to get a we designer to build her a cool website for her words.

  17. Here I want to briefly look at passages from two recent articles about President Obama that will illustrate this point in a crystal clear manner. The first short passage is from an article by Jonathan Chait in New York magazine in April, 2014. The second is from one by Elizabeth Drew in the most recent edition of The New York Review of Books. First the Chait article – here’s the passage:

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