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Fightback withdraws from Organise Aotearoa

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A statement approved by the Fightback Editorial Board and sent to the National Secretary of Organise Aotearoa, 14th January 2020.

When Organise Aotearoa was launched, it appeared potentially the healthiest socialist organisation in the country. The only organisation not to emerge from a split, the largest, and youngest – all promising signs. Fightback – an Australasian socialist media project – agreed to get involved in the organisation.

Yet issues have emerged that seem unlikely to be resolved, especially on questions of internationalism. Even though the OA leadership has changed personnel over the last year or two, the prevailing politics of that leadership on what they call “internationalism” could be best described in our terms as “soft campism” (see our 2015 article, “Against Campism”: https://fightback.org.nz/2015/11/05/against-campism-what-makes-some-leftists-support-putin/)

Members of the leadership have specifically stated that they feel that “internationalism” for Leftists in New Zealand should mean only opposing imperialist actions by the New Zealand state and explicit allies of the New Zealand state (e.g. the USA or the UK). Some have even argued that for us to criticise the People’s Republic of China in particular – even on the subject of the attempted genocide of the Uighurs and the repression of popular protest in Hong Kong – implies a certain “colonialism”. This misuse of radical theory to suggest that Western imperialism is the only imperialism, or to support authoritarian capitalist nationalism in “non-Western” countries, is in opposition to Fightback’s basic principles.

However, being in a minority position on internationalist questions alone would not be enough in itself to cause us to break with OA. The breaking point for us has been a culture within OA of avoiding honest and comradely debate, and on characterising political disagreements in terms of personal attacks.

Attempts to debate the question of what internationalism means have been met with either studious silence, or negative personal characterizations of Fightback members. Instead of seeking clarity on these questions, the approach of the OA national leadership has consistently been to seek a lowest common denominator “fudge”, where positions are taken on the basis of minimising any opposition or sharp debate.

For example, after our extensive internal discussion documents arguing for support for the Syrian revolution were met with no reply, Fightback members proposed a motion at the last national AGM condemning all intervention in Syria – US, Turkish, Russian and Iranian without distinction. Two different arguments were given by its opponents, who had the majority at the AGM:

1. The now-National Secretary of OA submitted a document arguing that the central issue as far as they saw it was to oppose “US imperialism” (given that Turkey is a member of NATO) – even when, as any unblinkered observer could tell you, the main imperial power causing damage, destruction, murder and oppression right now in Syria is Russia.
2. It was also suggested at the AGM that it would be premature for OA to take a position when there’s disagreements among members – an explicit admission of OA’s culture of fudging important political questions.

Fightback are not the only comrades to point this out. Last year, one of us co-wrote a position paper with a Marxist-Leninist OA member, who disagreed entirely with Fightback’s internationalist position but agreed that:

Currently, nothing is being done to collaboratively increase the political acumen of OA members on both theoretical and practical issues, beyond what comes up planning events. In fact, there is a culture within some parts of the organisation that disregards this vital part of any left organisation in favour of a forced, sterile ‘unity’ – in effect, sweeping political differences under the carpet.

OA currently seems to instinctively “duck for cover” on issues around which there are strongly conflicting views upon within the organisation. There have been several issues, particularly around internationalism, where debate has simply been shut down and deferred until an unspecified “right time”; or alternatively, debate has been avoided with specious arguments that (for example) certain issues are simply “out of bounds” for our group because the New Zealand state is not directly involved in them.

The issue of the Syrian conflict – which has come up multiple times in discussion on internationalism – is a glaring example of this. Anyone who has followed these issues will know that the two authors of this document have had completely contrasting positions in this debate. However, we now find ourselves united in frustration and opposition to the way in which the leadership and many other members of our organisation have not wanted to have the debate at all.

As of time of writing, nothing has changed in terms of the lack of political education for OA members. It is simply the case that if an organisation’s political unity relies on a continuous process of “fudge”, there can be no internal political education because all the hard questions must be avoided.

Most distressing in OA is the culture where criticisms of the leadership or their political line are met with personal attacks. At the AGM, a Dunedin member who raised issues with the problematic behaviour of a leading member was met with a shockingly dismissive attitude, accused of trying to launch a ‘weird coup.’ The Dunedin member’s recommendation of a No Confidence vote was voted down. Later, on social media, members of the OA leadership responded to criticisms from a Fightback member with negative characterizations of that member’s character and tone, refusing to deal the political issues altogether.

While Organise Aotearoa remains the largest socialist group in this country, it appears to have no plausible strategy to grow further, let alone found a mass party as was the stated aim. Many observers (including those with no connection to Fightback) have described the attitude of the OA leadership as “grandiose” – that is, that they have an unrealistically high vision of OA’s potential and power, which is bound to lead to disappointment and disillusionment if they don’t reassess their capacities more modestly. Discussions of local body strategy in Auckland, for example, seemed to massively overestimate the ability of OA to gain large votes or even win seats in working-class South Auckland. The organisation seems to have no interest in learning from the past experience of socialist and communist groups in this country.

With a political line in turns campist and confused and with no realistic strategy, it is no wonder that the OA national leadership can only respond to political disagreement with personal attacks and the other moves of “clique politics”. At this time, Organise Aotearoa only has its size to recommend it – with members taking frankly terrible positions on international issues, exhibiting problematic behaviour, and no culture of open debate or accountability that could address these issues. While we believe we were right to attempt to get involved in the project initially, we believe our time and energy would be better used to work with organisations who are prepared to engage in honest, respectful debate.

Fightback members are therefore withdrawing our membership from Organise Aotearoa as of now. We are sorry to be stepping away from our friends and good comrades within the organisation, and we look forward to working closely with Organise Aotearoa comrades in the movements and on particular projects. But we believe that our withdrawal will be a relief to both Fightback and the Organise Aotearoa leadership.

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Housing crisis a disgrace – Maori Council

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“These people need to get a hotel room and get the housing crisis sorted. Maori are sick and tired, as are all New Zealanders, of the incessant blame game of who didn’t do what when they said they were going to it.” Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council.

The New Zealand Maori Council has said that people are sick and tired of the mess that is the New Zealand Housing sector and has called it deplorable that there is not a tit for tat blame game going on about the increasing waiting list for housing:

“The waiting list for public housing has been a pox on both their houses and, as a result, we are seeing it blow out to more than 14,000. That’s 14,000 kiwis waiting for a home which begs the question where are they living now? They are living on the streets, in car parks outside the supermarkets, packed into housing with whanau, motels and hotels. It’s a national disgrace that in a first world nation we have this sort of tragedy and crisis.” Tukaki said

“And it not just those on a benefit or pension – it’s also our working poor who cannot afford market rents or the bond to get into a house. They are barely making end’s meat, never have a chance to save for a deposit and so on. In other words, all we are doing is driving people further into poverty. When it comes to these numbers Maori are chief among the list.” Tukaki said

“What we need are viable and workable solutions that are agreed on no matter what the color of the Government may be – in other words we must start agreeing on the big stuff while they can still differentiate themselves in the eyes of the voters on other matters – but housing is not a game that these two major political parties should be playing when it comes to the lives of our people.” Tukaki said

“In March the Maori Council will be supporting a national housing summit. We want to get down to the nitty gritty of depth of the problem as well as more solutions one what we can be doing. In addition to this the Council is looking at models around land and housing bank so we can both open up land to social housing developments but also models around financing people on lower incomes into a first home. This, at the same time, as looking at the Loan to Value Ratio’s calculations and advocating strongly for a sustainable first homeowners deposit for first time buyers.” Tukaki said

“Whatever we do it must include both the affordable housing rental market and solid pathways to home ownership – and my warning to Government and the Opposition is to either get on the bus and come together or be taken on at the ballot box with an army of homeless people, their whanau and those on lower incomes with a baseball bat.” Tukaki said

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National Party position on climate change is abysmal – Citizens Environmental Advocacy Centre

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CEAC supports Government for elevating clean ‘Rail Transport’ over truck transport, for moving more freight onto rail, thereby keeping our CO2 ‘climate emissions’ at a far lower levels, potentially stabilising climate changing weather events, saving taxpayer spending, keeping all our public highways /local roads safer, reducing road surface destruction from trucks causing immense road/bridge surface damages, saving taxpayer costs.

Here’s the latest;

• While Labour/NZ First have produced the new updated “National Rail strategy” which shows climate change leadership;
https://www.budget.govt.nz/budget/2019/wellbeing/transforming-economy/investing-in-rail.htm

Contrast Labour/NZ First to National;

• National has vowed to scrap the RMA . https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/118223167/national-promises-to-repeal-and-replace-rma

• National Instead plan to build massive highways for more (dirty emissions of CO2 using truck freight. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1912/S00153/national-to-deliver-on-housing-transport-and-infrastructure.htm

• National also are deliberately refusing to plan for rail freight, thereby are encouraging no rail freight to and from all provincial ports. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/118223167/national-promises-to-repeal-and-replace-rma

National promises to repeal and replace RMA.

Winston Peters and Phil Twyford as Minister of Transport have been outlining the rail potential benefits in this new rail policy here; https://www.budget.govt.nz/budget/2019/wellbeing/transforming-economy/investing-in-rail.htm

Quote;

• “Rail makes a vital contribution to urban public transport. Moving more freight by rail is economically efficient, and reduces carbon emissions as well as deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

• “Previous Governments have taken a hands-off approach and left rail in a state of managed decline.

• “That’s why we instigated the Future of Rail review to make sure we are taking a long-term, joined-up approach to rehabilitating rail.

• “Our New Zealand Rail Plan will outline the Government’s strategic vision and give a 10-year programme of indicative investments and benefits,” Phil Twyford says.

• KiwiRail will report on progress on implementing the Government’s vision for rail and further funding will be considered in Budget 2020.

Unquote;

CEAC hereby adds our support to Government for elevating clean ‘Rail Transport’ over truck transport, for moving more freight onto rail;
• thereby keeping our CO2 ‘climate emissions’ at a far lower levels,
• potentially stabilising climate changing weather events.
• saving taxpayer spending,
• Keeping all our public highways /local roads safer.
• Reducing road surface destruction from trucks causing immense road/bridge surface damages.
• Saving taxpayer costs from rising from paying for every day on roads all around our country.

 

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Proposed whitebait rules are pitiful, won’t save native fish – Forest And Bird

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Forest & Bird is calling on New Zealanders to demand better regulations for the endangered native fish that make up the whitebait catch.

A public consultation document proposing changes to whitebait fishing rules was released today by the Department of Conservation.

“The options put forward are pitiful and won’t do enough to protect our native endangered fish,” says Forest & Bird Freshwater Advocate, Annabeth Cohen.

“We have a chance to protect whitebait right now. There must be a catch limit, licence and data on how much fish is caught and where.”

“Why these options aren’t in the proposed changes makes no sense. All other species commercially fished have a catch limit. Why should whitebait be any different? We are talking about endangered native fish, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.”

“The Department of Conservation says they don’t have the resources to enforce a catch limit, which is a pathetic excuse. A licencing system could easily include a small fee to fund enforcement.”

“These fish are an important part of the cultural fabric of New Zealand. We need better rules around whitebait fishing to ensure these precious fish are here for future generations.”

“Rebuilding damaged and destroyed habitat for whitebait fish to grow up into thriving adult populations is the long-game. Basic fishing rules is what we need now, and they are long overdue. Whitebait regulations haven’t changed for over 20 years, meanwhile four of six whitebait fish species are in decline.”

“Continuing to catch and sell these threatened animals, with no catch limits, licence or data, could be the final nail in the coffin.”

In a Department of Conservation survey last year, nearly 80% of respondents said they’d like to see a catch limit and 60% said they’d support a fishing licence.”

“We encourage the public to write a submission and go to their local public meeting. We must demand at the very least a licence, catch limit and data on what is being fished and where.”

Our native fish
Kōaro (at risk – declining), shortjaw kōkopu (threatened – nationally vulnerable), banded kōkopu, giant kōkopu (at risk – declining) and īnanga (at risk – declining) are the five migratory galaxiid fish in the whitebait catch. Common smelt is also a native fish that is part of the whitebait catch.
The Conservation status of New Zealand freshwater fishes 2017 lists the threat status of New Zealand’s freshwater fish.

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School trustees present options for future of schooling – NZ School Trustees Association

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The New Zealand School Trustees Association is calling on the government to extend the 6-week consultation period on the Education and Training Amendment Bill to ensure that school communities, including boards, staff, students and parents have the opportunity to engage fully with them.

This will not be possible in a 6-week period that coincides with the beginning of the end of the school year, external exams, and a three-month summer break.

The extended consultation period should be used to engage in a series of focussed engagements at school, cluster, regional and sector levels throughout Terms 1 & 2, 2020 to promote genuine engagement and consensus.

NZSTA has also called on all political parties to commit to cross-party consensus on the community engagement process and the direction of change for the education sector in advance of the 2020 general election and to observe a moratorium on political point-scoring at the expense of genuine educational reform in the 2020 general election and beyond.

The requests are contained in NZSTA’s recently published green paper, Now What for schooling in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Education’s role as ‘steward of the sector’ with a focus on strategic, sector-wide policy should be reinforced and they should retain responsibility for system monitoring and reporting to inform changes to policy settings but all operational advice, support, advocacy and compliance monitoring should be reassigned to other bodies.

Expanding the Ministry of Education’s operational activities to form a new business unit that owns and operates the proposed network of regional support centres is not an acceptable option, says NZSTA.The Ministry should not be in a position to act as judge, jury and executioner on decisions that affect schools NZSTA says, as this creates a situation where Ministry decisions effectively cannot be challenged.

NZSTA makes a number of other recommendations in the paper, including

– Extend the Donations Replacement Scheme to underprivileged students in all schools

– Provide resourcing on the basis of students’ actual and reasonable needs

– Ensure that the new Act includes provisions that commit the crown to provide sufficient support and resourcing to meet its obligations

– Permit trustees to take time out from regular employment without penalty when called upon to perform their community-based roles, similar to the provisions for Jury Service or other similar community service

– Develop cross-sector strategies to develop the capacity and capability of the children’s workforce within the next 3-5 years

Now what for Schooling in New Zealand can be downloaded from the NZSTA website free of charge.

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Can Drinking Alcohol Ever Be Good For Your Health?

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Alcohol use is a controversial issue; there are many myths and misconceptions about its effects on health. Because setting up a website using medical templates has never been easier, many healthcare providers and experts have shared their opinions online. But what’s the real story when it comes to alcohol consumption?

Let’s look at how alcohol affects the body.

 

The Positives: Alcohol Can Reduce Your Risk Of Serious Diseases

Some evidence suggests that light to moderate alcohol consumption can lower your risk of heart disease. (On the other hand, drinking heavily raises your risk.) Moderate consumption can benefit your heart by lowering your blood pressure, increasing your HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”) levels, lowering your risk of diabetes, lowering your levels of fibrinogen (which contributes to the formation of blood clots), and temporarily lowering your stress levels.

Alcohol can also prevent Type 2 diabetes. Sensible drinking can reduce insulin resistance, which underpins the unsteady blood sugar levels seen in those with the condition. Enjoying a drink as part of a meal is particularly beneficial.

A study with 365,000 participants published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, found that people who drink alcohol in moderation cut their risk of dementia by twenty-three percent. Although scientists aren’t sure why this is the case, alcohol may subject brain cells to stress that strengthens them, making them more resilient to the damage associated with dementia and cognitive decline.

Finally, despite the fact that alcohol is responsible for many preventable deaths each year, moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to a lower risk of early death.

 

The Negatives: The Dangers Of Heavy Drinking

The best-known negative effect of alcohol is liver disease. Excessive drinking causes inflammation of the liver and fatty liver disease. Fortunately, it is usually reversible as long as the patient stops drinking. However, if someone drinks heavily for a long time, their liver cells may start to die. These cells are replaced with scar tissue. This causes cirrhosis, a condition that can necessitate a liver transplant.

The link between alcohol consumption and cancer is well established. Research shows that drinking – even in moderate amounts – can raise your risk of breast, liver, throat, mouth, and colon cancer. The more you drink, the higher your risk. However, your susceptibility to cancer depends on many other factors, including your age, sex, and genetics.

Women who drink during pregnancy are putting their babies’ health in danger. Alcohol is a common cause of congenital disabilities. Expectant mothers should avoid drinking even small amounts of alcohol. Binge drinking is particularly dangerous.

Alcoholic drinks contain calories. If you don’t account for these calories, they can lead to weight gain and obesity, which carries a host of health risks, including heart disease and diabetes. Although there is no conclusive evidence, some people report that drinking alcohol increases their appetite. This can trigger overeating.

Some people develop a dependency on alcohol. This is sometimes referred to as “alcohol abuse,” “alcoholism,” or “alcohol use disorder.” Symptoms include a feeling of being out of control around alcohol, drinking to keep withdrawal symptoms under control, and changing your lifestyle to accommodate your drinking habits.

If left untreated, alcohol abuse disorder can be devastating. It can cause severe occupational impairment at work or school, damages relationships, and can lead to risky behaviors and accidents. Alcohol abuse disorder often occurs alongside depression and other mental illnesses.

 

What’s The Healthiest Alcoholic Beverage?

The quantity of alcohol you drink is more important than what you drink. However, some beverages are more beneficial than others. Red wine is the healthiest choice because it contains high levels of antioxidants.

 

How Much Should You Drink?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, women should have no more than one standard drink each day. Men should limit themselves to two. A standard drink is defined as a drink that contains 14 grams of alcohol. This is equivalent to approximately 12 fl oz of beer or five fl oz of wine.

Do not go on drinking binges. Excessive drinking causes a range of health problems, including brain and liver damage. Moderation is key. If you know or suspect that you have a problem regulating your drinking, seek help from your doctor or a counselor specializing in addiction.

 

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New campaign to tackle low awareness of ACC’s role and services

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ACC’s research indicates that almost half of New Zealanders and nearly 60% of Māori have low awareness of ACC’s role and services. To address this, ACC is launching an awareness campaign that will highlight the scale and range of services it delivers across injury prevention, care and recovery.

“Low awareness and understanding of ACC can stop people from coming to us for help when things go wrong – it’s something we want to change in order to positively impact health outcomes of New Zealanders”, says Emma Powell, ACC’s Chief Customer Officer. The more awareness New Zealanders have of us and our range of services the greater chance we have of achieving that.”

The six-month campaign will cover a range of topics, with an initial focus on some of the more surprising things ACC is involved in across water safety, sport, healthy relationships and workplace injuries. It will feature across digital, radio, print and outdoor locations, reaching over 98% of New Zealand, with a budget of up to $3.35 million.

“We’re using locals, rather than professional actors, in our videos which show there are two sides to the everyday situations we find ourselves in. Our storytelling points to the moment where things could go well or not so well and allows us to use that moment to point to our role. It’s all about encouraging awareness of our surroundings and watching out for each other to prevent injuries.”

“At ACC we’re huge supporters of people getting out and embracing the Kiwi way of life and following their passion, whether that’s mountain biking, doing bombs off the local wharf, exploring Aotearoa’s great walks or a game of rugby with mates. We want people to enjoy life knowing that ACC is supporting them to stay injury free and to get back to everyday life if the unexpected happens.”

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Waatea News Column: 14,496 waiting for Public Housing highlights how far Government has to go

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The housing crisis that helped propel Labour into Government has not diminished for the most needy.

Figures released this week show 14, 496 New Zealanders are waiting for Public housing right now.

The spike in need has been partly driven by more people coming forward for help believing Jacinda’s politics of kindness rather than National’s beat the poor mind position, but part of it is because Labour tried to use free-market solutions in a housing market broken by those market solutions.

Building 5800 State Houses in 3 years as Government and hoping that a KiwiBuild market would do the rest is not a solution to this problem.

Building 30,000 more state houses that are warm, dry and sustainable is a solution that then forces the rest of the slum lord market to begrudgingly upgrade their rotting rentals.

Seeing as Māori are over-represented in these statistics, there is an extra emphasis on outcomes and social justice.

We want Jacinda’s politics of kindness and transformative policies, but currently, this Government’s priorities are not matching their promises.

First published on Waatea News.

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Political Caption Competition

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This Nikki Kaye’s cat.

It is shaved.

You can think it, but you aren’t allowed to say it.

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The Daily Blog Open Mic – Thursday – 16th January 2020

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Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

Moderation rules are more lenient for this section, but try and play nicely.

EDITORS NOTE: – By the way, here’s a list of shit that will get your comment dumped. Sexist language, homophobic language, racist language, anti-muslim hate, transphobic language, Chemtrails, 9/11 truthers, climate deniers, anti-fluoride fanatics, anti-vaxxer lunatics and ANYONE that links to fucking infowar.

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Dem Debate: Warren plays her woman card while insinuating Bernie is sexist – why Biden wins

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24 hours after leaking an allegation that Sanders told Warren privately that a women couldn’t win as President (minus any context to this alleged comment), Warren used this allegation to frame a narrative that progressive Democratic women should dump their support for Bernie and Biden to support her because women can win (except for last time when one didn’t).

Warren had some set lines to attack Sanders with on this which makes the timing of the leak deeply suspect.

Warren showed she has the ability to throw a punch and set an opponent up while championing identity politics at its most tribal, so she won the night.

That Warren pulled back from shaking Bernie’s hand at the end will only signal all out war online between both factions.

I suspect the Bernie Bros will be firing up at the Machiavellian tactics being employed and the mud throwing to paint Sanders out as sexist which of course will unleash a lot of Democrat feminists who are still bitter from the Sanders/Clinton primary in 2016.

Sandistas and Warrenites will turn on each other between now and the Iowa Caucus with a ferocity that makes the moderate Democrat voting block baulk and flock to Biden for safety.

Sanders vs Warren is the Class vs Identity Politics schism on the Left.

 

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TWITTER WATCH: Woke social media lynch mobs, virtue signalling olympics & suicide in the new age of selective rage public shaming

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I like/love Drag Queens, they party like Kings.

I think it is beautiful that Drag Queens read to kids at libraries, it is a lovely way to promote diversity and empathy and bring down walls.

I disagreed with the right wing protestors who aggressively protested a Drag Queen reading event in Australia this week as petty and unacceptable in that it frighted the children present and that can never be ok as political activism.

I didn’t jump in on the social media outrage and lynch mob bandwagon that erupted because giving someone that petty any oxygen is more than their bitterness deserves.

The next day the young gay right wing activist who led this deeply flawed protest had committed suicide because of the social media hatred dumped upon him…

After protesting drag queen library event Gay conservative dies, suspected suicide

With his thumbs in his pockets, Wilson Gavin stood at the front of the crowd, leading a videotaped chant that would quickly go viral: “Drag queens are not for kids.”

As the president of a conservative group at his Australian university, the 21-year-old had steered protesters into a public library in Brisbane, where they barged into a room full of families attending “Drag Queen Story Time.”

Inside, the group faced off with a sequined, costumed performer who had been reading from a children’s book.

Kids in the audience asked what was happening. Parents called the police, and a handful filmed the confrontation. As their videos spread across social media, politicians chimed in – most of them condemning the protest as a hateful act.

The next day, Gavin, who was openly gay, took his own life.

…this tragic episode has the intersectionist Identity Politics woke tied in knots trying to work out who they should cancel and deplatform first.

A lot of scrubbing of woke Twitter accounts last night in NZ as those so gleeful to join the original mob lynching quietly deleted their timelines in remorse and shame.

Twitter is an ocean of the bullied who have finally found strength online and that taste of power is too addictive to ever leave. In a post #MeToo world where allegation is the new evidential threshold, virtue signalling subjective rage is almost as important as the constant sadfishing olympics where wounds and scars are held up to the foaming public demanding attention.

As politics polarises around identity and not class solidarity, tribal micro-aggression policing is only going to get more puritanical on social media because those who need this vehicle gain too much emotionally from its self-aggrandising algorithms.

Public shaming and the visceral thrill of blood the safety of the mob provides is the new morality…

Public shaming is not a new phenomenon by any stretch, but as Russell Blackford, a writer, philosopher and lecturer at the University of Newcastle explained, civilisations moved away from it “partly in recognition of its cruelty”.

The explosion in growth of social media platforms over the past decade has seen its return, but Blackford describes it as a very new form of shaming.

“These types of mobs are just devastating for people and I don’t think those who participate in them fully understand just how destructive they can be,” Blackford said.

“One of the things that worries me is the sheer glee and cruelty that can be shown by these mobs when they’re out to destroy people.”

There have been countless examples of Twitter mobs “cancelling” or “deplatforming” those who commit some kind of moral indiscretion.

He examined a number of incidents for his book The Mystery of Moral Authority and said the consequences can be significant.

“With social media, the whole world opens up and you can find yourself piled on by huge numbers of people, often with threats … it’s a significant storm.

“It’s often massively disproportionate to the original incident.

“Any second chance someone gets comes much, much later. But that aside, there can be a sheer psychological impact that can make any redemption almost beside the point.

“I’m actually surprised more people haven’t (died by) suicide over these kinds of things. People have lost their jobs, there have been devastating effects on families, and on and on it goes.”

…French existential philosopher once said, Hell is other people’. I’d suggest, ‘Hell is other people’s social media feed”.

In an age of 24/7 immediate shallow connection we are more alienated and lonely than ever before.

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Why Bernie Sanders is the only one who can beat Trump & why that matters

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Here’s my opinion.

More than any other Political President before him, Donald Trump has understood, harnessed and manipulated cultural political resentment in a manner that has tapped into deep seated economic anxieties caused by free market globalisation.

This union members who voted Barack twice and then voted in Trump aren’t racist, they’re the working classes who feel burnt by the Democrats for embracing neoliberalism.

Trump gave them hope that someone, even a racist sex offender, might hear their economic pain.

Trump is a master of negative populism and plays to the worst angels of our nature.

Winning the popular vote in America means nothing if you can’t win in the Electoral College and in those states Trump needs to win 2020, he is competitive.

Those working class voters in those States are the ones the Democrats must win over to defeat Trump, and I think Bernie Sanders offers those working class voters the best policy line up to convince them to vote Democrat this year.

You counter negative populism with positive populism, you offer hope instead of fear. Free education and free health care is positive populism, so popular that the Democrats created ‘Super Delegates’ to ensure a positive populist who challenges the Military Industrial Complex and the rigged casino crony capitalist state in favour of domestic universal social policy can never become the Democratic candidate for President.

That’s what happened in 2016, the Democratic establishment rigged the primary against Sanders so that a positive populist couldn’t become the nominee.

You can see the gathering nervousness by the Democrats and Republicans as Bernie starts to lead in polls and has had a surge in donations. The same corporate gatekeepers and Billionaire Plutocracy that rules the Republicans dominate the Democrats as well. Someone like Sanders who is such a threat to private health and private education interests at the cost of the Military Industrial Complex will never be allowed anywhere near power so the Democrat establishment will do everything to kill his candidacy off again.

Which is inane because the hope Sanders offers with free education and health would be the best chance of beating Trump’s negative populism.

I can see Sanders beating the shit out of Trump in those debates, where as I only see Biden tripping over himself during the debate or some ridiculous chest puffing bumping into each other fiasco which makes him look weak and loses to Trump.

You counter Trump’s hate not with Warren’s policy geekery or Biden’s passive progress, you beat Trump’s hate with Sander’s hope.

This matters because Trump has lied over 15 000 times since becoming President and his latest bewildering lie regarding the supposed ‘imminent threat’ from Iran highlights how dangerously erratic and pathologically deceptive this immoral orange tumour is to the body politic of a good faith Democracy.

Neither the United States or the Planet can survive another 4 years of this toxic narcissist, and that’s why the Democratic hierarchy must be considered responsible if they produce another candidate who protects corporate interests rather than a champion for the people.

 

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‪Actually the school curriculum for climate change doesn’t go far enough!‬

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Oh for the love of Christ!

David Seymour describes new climate change curriculum as ‘state-organised bullying of kids’

The new climate change curriculum for schools has been described as “state-organised bullying of kids” by MP David Seymour, who says it will “take us backwards as a society”. 

Seymour, leader of the ACT Party, said he’s concerned the curriculum doesn’t allow for students to debate the science, telling Magic Talk he fears it’s designed to suppress opposing views. 

“There is a supporting document that is all about how to deal with kids that disagree and one of the things it says is that if you’ve got a difficult kid that disagrees just change the seating plan.”

Seymour was referring to the “wellbeing guide” provided to teachers, which tells them: “With angry or obstructive students (depending on your understanding of them), consider seating plan, offer choices for ways to proceed, or share authority by delegating a student.”

…oh come on David! ‪Rather than consoling redneck snowflakes for their climate denial ignorance, students should be getting taught on how to nationalise all energy monopolies, transport networks + prosecution of oil industry for crimes against humanity!

I don’t care about the feelings of adult climate deniers, I sure as hell don’t care about the feelings of child climate deniers!

We. Face. An. Existential. Crisis!!!!!

The speed of climate change and the ability to trip built in tipping points inside the biosphere are so close now that only radical economic, social, political and cultural changes can help with the adaptation the climate crisis will bring about.

Melting frozen methane in the ocean and permafrost will cause a run away cascade heating event which can spike global temperatures up 8 degrees within a decade, that in turn melts Greenland’s ice shelf and the fresh water pouring into the Labrador Sea shuts down the Ocean conveyer current which in turn freezes Europe solid within the space of 5 years.

It is the extremes of these climate flips in the space of decades which will make vast swathes of the planet uninhabitable and our students should be made aware of the enormous threat that reality is.

Giving climate denying kids a cuddle is the least of our worries with this curriculum, that it doesn’t begin to go far enough is its real  problem.

 

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GUEST BLOG: Ross Meurant – PEACE BE UPON YOU: ASSALAAM ALEIKUM

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‘First step in right direction’: World reacts to talks between Libya’s warring parties in Moscow. 

Oh My Goodness!  Even BBC report this event.

Libya conflict: Warring sides meet in Moscow for talks. 

So, it took Russia and Turkey – and tag -along Mercurial Merkle, to consummate a peace process.

Why was this necessary?

America and its NATO allies abused a no-fly concession by Russia (during a domestic uprising against Ghaddafi – which followed the 2011 Arab Spring season), and took out Gaddafi.

Until that point, Libya had the best health care in North Africa and per capita income in the country of more than US $11,000, the fifth highest in Africa,

However, implementation of another step by America to deliver democracy to the world, resulted in total chaos – civil war and mass exodus of people fleeing to Europe.

[Perhaps you’ve noticed this justification for unlawful invasion and occupancy of foreign sovereign states, a number of times?]

The NATO intervention created the “unwanted illegal immigrant” conundrum especially for Italy and France but also Germany where Merkle had (initially) an ‘open door policy’.

Merkle’s ‘open door’ policy lost support- big time, with the emergence of Nationalist politics in Germany (again), putting Merkle’s party under threat.

In politics, there is nothing like the sight of the guillotine, to compel recalibration of policy.  Hence (I suggest), the reason for Merkle tag-along with Turkey’s Erdogan and Russia.

In this peace process, America and its poodle UK – you may have noticed, are nowhere to be seen.

Ross Meurant; a former high-ranking police officer, former Member of Parliament, formerly with commercial interests in Syria and Iran and  currently Honorary Consul for an African state.

 

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