Sovereignty under attack



Congratulations to everyone involved in last Thursday’s protests against the signing of the TPPA in Auckland. They were creative, flexible, highly disruptive and deeply effective. People didn’t allow themselves to be bogged down by the police and were therefore able to maintain so many seemingly spontaneous but well-organised protests.

Civil disobedience has an important place in protest and it was applied very effectively to heighten public awareness of the TPPA and ensure public opinion will continue to move against the agreement as many more people follow the ongoing debate.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to these protests was the negative (sometimes hostile and sometimes even hysterical) attitudes of some who opposed the TPPA but worried that civil disobedience might undermine public opposition to the agreement. A little bit of history tells another story. Situations like Rosa Parkes refusing to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger; black Americans staging sit-ins in whites-only restaurants and Nelson Mandela leading Umkhonto we sizwe to disrupt South African infrastructure all advanced those struggles. Disruptive protests by Màori and Pakeha at Waitangi a generation ago and land occupations at Raglan and Bastion Point are a few local examples where civil disobedience played an important part in resistance to state oppression of one form or other.

The biggest political advance from last week is probably the heightened understanding of sovereignty amongst Pakeha New Zealanders, most of whom previously saw it as an abstract concept.

On the other hand Màori have seen sovereignty at the core of struggle since the Treaty signing in 1840. Màori have experienced the loss of sovereignty through the loss of land, economic resources, political power, language and culture.

It was not surprising then to see Màori at the forefront of the anti-TPPA protests. Màori get it and now Pakeha are rapidly getting it too. Losing so much of our sovereignty to foreign corporations has come to the fore in public understanding of the TPPA as it should.

Congratulations also to Josie Butler whose simple protest (tossing a dildo at Economic Development Minister Stephen Joyce as symbolic of the government “raping our sovereignty”) carried the anti-TPPA message to a wider audience. I know it was not to everyone’s taste – no pun intended – but nonetheless it will be remembered widely with its dramatic, incisive message.

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Prime Minister John Key said he was appalled at the incident and yet just a couple of months earlier was taking part in a joke about prison rape. Key’s moral compass spins in circles.

The overwhelming effectives of last week’s protests can be measured directly by the extent and intensity of right-wing attacks on the protests from establishment media and right-wing commentators and columnists.

They know they are losing the argument.


  1. Time for the flour bombs John, you know that was what changed the Springboks test issue, so now we need a similar event to demonstrate not sit and wait for someone else to act.

    I know as I was there and felt the whole political stage change that day.

    We need to repeat a good symbol of action again to enter into history our distain of the Corporate carpetbaggers who are coming to rape and pillage our country.

    • UFD’s over Waitangi.

      Unidentified Flying Dildos.

      Symbol of John Key and the cabal’s disregard for democracy and for calling Maori “Mickey Mouse”.

      Good to hear Radiolive’s Duncan Garner, interviewing Shane Jones aka, National’s Uncle Tom, supporting the PM’s decision to bypass Waitangi in favour of being booed at the Auckland Nines.

  2. Congratulations to the protestors, expressing freely held opinions is a wonderful privilege. How you can suggest that NZ will lose ‘so much of our sovereignty’ is truly mystifying when the TPP allows for nothing of the sort, but good on those who voiced their opposition.

    • Oxyood, you’re still parotting that bullshit that we’re not surrendering our sovereignty?? Even Groser was honest enough to concede that all nations sacrifice a “bit of their sovereignty” when signing free trade deals.

      Your dishonesty is becoming more apparent with each of your posted bs.

    • Oxyood;

      How you can suggest that NZ will lose ‘so much of our sovereignty’ is truly mystifying when the TPP allows for nothing of the sort, but good on those who voiced their opposition.

      As usual, Oxyood, you demonstrate your complete ignorance in such matters. As Theodore quite rightly pointed out, even National’s Trade Minister, Tim Groser, had to admit that countries lose sovereignty in trade deals;

      “Of course trade agreements involve concessions over the sovereign rights of countries to do things. That’s the point of international law.”


      Your attempt at re-writing events is positively Orwellian.

  3. Civil disobedience may well draw attention to any cause, for good or ill. However, let’s be clear, most advocates of disruptive causes are doomed to disappointment if all they can achieve is passing publicity (see the 99% movement et al). In the end the civil rights movement in the US and the anti-Vietnam war issue or the anti apartheid movement here, achieved traction because common cause was found with the “Establishment Classes.” And that means that those voices of caution (not necessarily hysterical or even hostile) will also need to be heard, because they are likely to come from just those sections of society which will be needed to achieve lasting success.

    No matter how unwelcome this information, it should nevertheless be considered seriously.

    Potential victory in the battle to save the country from this assault on our sovereignty will in the end be underpinned by the alliance between the Left and the Centre not by the Left and the Lefter. Which is a pity because those are the people most practiced in protest.

  4. Well said. and it is at the core and very heart of democracy that honest disclosure – on both content and intent of any issue is discussed with true disclosure and transparency.

    This has not happened at all with the TTPA.

    Some of the neo liberal right wing have sought to derail the issues at hand by using diversions and cliches – we have many such coming on forums such as these spouting off about ‘unemployed , layabout arts students and hangovers from the 1960’s ‘….

    These mental images and cliches are the only thing many of them can fall back on to resist the fact there was NO public consultation or discussion whatsoever on an issue of such magnitude as the TTPA.

    In fact , – the only way we the public ( and opposition leaders ) got to hear about it was through LEAKS from Wikileaks !!!!

    How anti democratic, patronizing and autocratic was that ???!!!

    Certainly not democratic at all . In fact, the exact opposite – anti democratic.

    And whether we like it or not – the democratic process can be long and messy.

    I would also add that one of the prime reasons Adolf Hitler despised the Weimar Republic was as he described it ‘ a rabble ‘ and ‘ineffectual ‘ … he despised the democratic process. He preferred autocratic rule and the absence of the interfering public’s opinion on issues.

    And so we have the lame excuse that we have had several years to discuss and raise objections to the TTPA.

    Absolute RUBBISH !!!

    HOW CAN THERE BE ANY democratic and intelligent public discussion when OUR OWN GOVT refuses to disclose the very contents and implications for the future of this country that this TTPA represents?

    What sort of skewed logic is that???

    One of the worst aspects was the fact that even our opposition party’s were not fully informed – it is bewildering just how utterly devoid of democratic participation this govt expects the people of this country to have to accept.

    They knew full well how bad this deal would be and how pathetic were any ‘benefits’… small wonder we find that John Key himself has vested interests in the TTPA deal,- I would imagine THAT is really at the heart of the matter , – not the state of our democracy at all.

  5. I suggest a more effective strategy might be to convince Andrew Little and the Labour Party to withdraw from the TPPA when they become the Government in 2017 otherwise all the protests no matter how well organised are a gigantic waste of time.

    • best be getting on with it then because their latest petition says they will renegotiate; fat chance as the U.S.A has consistently said it must be accepted in it’s entirety or not at all!

    • National signed the TPPA deal, not Labour. Stop diverting attention from 25,000 protestors showing their disdain for John Key’s decision and signing inside Skycity Corporate Headquarters.

      No wonder people boo him at the Auckland Nines and he is the only PM ever to have armed bodyguards in New Zealand.

  6. National will lead the polls, Labour and Greens will still be joined at the hip (frightening the soft left voters), NZ First will never form a Govt if it involves the Greens. It’s pretty much the same outlook as it was prior to the 2014 election, well OK I will admit I didn’t forsee such a collapse of the left bloc. 2017 will just be much of the same, although Little will not be leader at the election (Robinson will be). Thinking the TPPA will win the left the next election is truely pie in the sky stuff, but it gives you all a reason to get out of bed in the morning I guess and that’s a good thing!

    • ImRight – Muldoon was very popular as well. Right up to when he scuttled Labour’s superannuation savings policy and went on to wreck the economy. Now, let’s see, which party did he lead…?

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