Thursday, 25 October 2007

Chris Trotter "Exploring the case for armed struggle"

I wonder what Chris Trotter was thinking as he scanned the pages of IMC Aotearoa, prior to writing his latest column (1), exploring the left's response to the raids. He'd caertainly been browsing, as he quotes from one of the more excessive examples of lunacy posted post-Urewera.

While it is largely a re-working and expansion of his earlier column (2), he also considers the possible consequences for the left next year - when the those arrested may be coming to trial and there is the small matter of a general election. He homes in on the point that this may fatally split the left, and hand National the next election - almost certainly if cool heads don't prevail in the Greens and Maori party.
1 - "Exploring the case for armed struggle," by Chris Trotter, in the Independent Financial Review, 24th of October, 2007. (
2 - "Actions of arrogant idiots," by Chris Trotter in the Dominion Post, 19th of October, 2007. (


Idiot/Savant said...

As far as Labour is concerned, it's lose-lose. They either face a right-wing backlash against "left-wing terrorism", or a left-wing backlash against government oppression. And I can understand why Trotter would be upset about that and lashing out at its cause - those foolish enough to have placed themselves in the police's sights by speaking up too strongly for the things he ostensibly believes in. At the saem time, I also think he's wrong. Some things are more important than being in government, and the right to protest without having the police kick in your door and loot your flat for the SIS bagmen is one of them.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Trotter's argument is that it assumes the police are basically right.

I know several of those accused and it's really hard to see them as political terrorists. I know that both the friends of those arrested and friends of the police are insisting that if we knew the full story innocence or guilt would be proven.

I can understand people with no immediate connection or information beyond what has been in the press wanting to sit on the fence. But I don't understand why you want to jump the gun here. Does Trotter know something we don't? The only information he references in the columns is from Bomber, who has clarified what he said and denies he thinks any real terrorism was committed. Then he also refers to a belief that the cop in charge of the investigation is a decent bloke. Is that it?

Those arrested have a good chance of being in prison for months before coming to trial if terrorism charges are laid. If you haven't already, I suggest you read Alistair Thompson's thoughtful comments on Scoop yesterday: (

Why jump to conclusions? Political differences are irrelevant - it is a human rights issue if people are at risk of being held on dubious charges ('_collective_ possession of illegal firearms'?) for months before a trial. They ought to be bailed.

lurgee said...

I'd agree 50% with what you say, I/S. Though I see you're on the other side of the fence from me on this one, I think we're still probably closer than you are to the flibbertigibbets on IMC Aotearoa.

Totally agree that the right to protest without being targetted by the police and nefarious goons from the intelligence services is more important than clinging on to power. Ruth Richardson said "being in government is worth everything," so we can safely assume the opposite.

Right of protest doesn't extend to those taking up arms against the state. Given the sort of bilge being spouted on IMC, and Tumeke, I wouldn't be surprised if the police hadn't derailled some sort of - shambollic, clownish - militancy in the offing. Not wworthy of the use of terrorism legislation, but still deserving police attention.

As for the benighted terrorism legislation, there is a window of opporutnity for the Greens and the Maori party, because if they are the mainstays of a 2008 coalition, that is probably the best chance of getting the terrorism legislation reviewed. National governing on its own won't do it, and I doubt ACT will have enough influence over National in a coalition to force a rethink.

I agree that some who have been arrested are innocent of anything more than naive association and mouthing off. But if the courts are refusing bail, it raises questions about what reasons for that are. I'm not aware of any special lowering of threshold for bail under the terrorism laws - and the new bail laws set the threshold for refusing bail pretty high, so the inference is that that requirement is being met.

Matt McCarten pointed out that some of these held are unlikely to endorse violence, as they are vegans. Perhaps ... but (speaking as a vegetarian), I've always felt uncomfrtable around vegans, as they're always prone to being extreme and judgemental.

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