Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Minto vs Trotter

As I was saying, the collective noun for leftists is 'a split.'

John Minto has written an open letter (1) to Chris Trotter, scolding him for subscribing to the 'police thesis' over the raids and the detention of the 'Urewera 17':
Your immediate instinct was to duck for cover and cut adrift a group of activists you can only surmise about. You preferred the long shadow cast by the state's forces than, for example, engaging in battle to prevent the anti-terror laws being used for the first time ... You then went further and gave active support to what you describe as the police thesis of an alliance between "Maori separatists and eco-anarchists". Unlike other commentators you weren't prepared to wait and see what evidence the police produce. Instead you've been busy doing your best to bolster the state's case in the public mind ... you have aligned yourself with our state forces against good New Zealanders. (2)
This doesn't fit with my reading of Trotter's position. Trotter has been arguing that the police may have been responding to their perception of a real threat from radicals intent on pursuing violent means (note use of 'their perception') rather than being part of "the next wave of masonic/illuminati suppression of the native populations of the world" (3).

Rather than accepting the 'police thesis,' Trotter said we should wait and see what that thesis actually is before concluding that the 'Urewera 17' are innocent. It is Minto's friends and allies in the activist community who are prejudging the situation. In the bleary minds of the far left, the police are always liars and agents of fascist oppression. They are the ones who 'weren't prepared to wait and see what evidence the police produce.'
1 - 'Letter from John Minto to Chris Trotter,' press release from John Minto, 30th of October, 2007. (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0710/S00415.htm)
2 - ibid.
3 - Yes, I will keep quoting this one over and over, because it is fantastic in its derranged lunacy. It is an anonymous comment on an IMC Aotearoa forum:


Anonymous said...

Hey Lurgee,

Another difference between Chris Trotter and John Minto is that Minto has actually been in contact with some of the accused and presumably knows what they are accused of and some of what actually happened.

Trotter on the other hand knows very little - through no fault of his own. But it is hard to swallow your claim that he is saying we should 'wait and see' before making a judgement, given the content of his columns, which are all about decisions and temptations of leftists to engage in terrorism.

In his last column Trotter makes no reference to the current case but presents an allegory, cunningly describing the temptation of his younger self to engage in terrorism. This is clearly intended to inform his readers that indeed young hot-headed leftists do think about such things, even though it says more about himself than any of today's accused.

Mike Beggs

lurgee said...

Minto's links to the activist community might give him some insight, but it may also blind him to what else is going on off his radar. While he's intensely admirable (as Trotter said on Jim Mora's panel last week) he isn't infallible. His comments about the government using the riads to push through the new anti-terror laws is an example of this - a conspiracy theory too far.

I hink your reading of Trotter's columns is also too 'finely tuned.' Fond memories of being chased by Howard Broad and dreams of dynamite reflect his over-riding concern has been to fill his column inches. he seems to be stretching himself a bit thin of late, what with his myriad columns, TV and radio appearances, best selling histories (now being burned by activists across the country). He's in danger of becoming unbiquitous, in the manner of Nicole Richie or Aja Rock.

Given some of the bilge that has been spouted on line - the threats against Trotter, the attempts to smear Bomber Bradbury, the insane calls for a 'Cuba style' revolution in New Zealand, the dire threats of white blood running in the streets - I think his comments about violence are justified. For all that the left eschews violenc, there seem to be a lot of people calling for it.

Strangely, the opprobrium is directed at Trotter, not at the snakes who are making the sickening comments on fora like IMC Aotearoa.

Anonymous said...

Hey again Lurgee,

So far the only use of force we are certain of has come from the police. Your references to crazy anonymous comments on indymedia (hardly representative) and Trotter's mentions of Baader-Meinhof and his own youthful fantasies are simply smears. Guilt by association may be enough for the police but it is not in law and ought not be for leftists.

And then you accuse others of prejudging the situation! Of course, most of those arrested are effectively prejudged by the corrections system, if not by the law, as they wait months on remand for a trial. I can see why their friends and others at risk would feel strongly about it.

Mike Beggs

lurgee said...

So far the only use of force we are certain of has come from the police.

True-ish - though nothing is certain. If we automatically disbelieve the police, then we're as stupid as the people who unquestioningly believe them. I'm quite willing to accept that several of those arrested are innocent of any significant wrong-doing, but I'm equally certaint hat the police, after an $8 million, 18 month operation with a mole operating inside the camps, haven't got some pretty hard evidence agains tsome of those involved. if it turns out otherwise, I'll join the condemnation, but in the mean time I have - JUST - enough faith in the police to allow process to be followed.

The police have responded to the perception of a threat. Their response may have been an over-reaction, but they aren't simply rounding up activists for the sake of it - or as part of a war on indigenous peoples. Nor was it a stunt to assist anti-terror legislation through parliament. Why would our Machiavellian masters draw attention to odious legislation in this way? They'd hustle it therough with as little debate as possible.

Guilt by association may be enough for the police but it is not in law and ought not be for leftists.

Again, half right. Associating with criminals doesn't make you a criminal, just as associating with angels doesn't necessarily impart angelic tendencies. But is someone does associate - however niavely - with people planning some violent action, then they can't be surprised or putraged when police action includes them.

Most of the Urewera 17 are pronbably guiltless of anything other than naive association, but if some of those arrested were planning some sort of terrorist campaign, then those who associated with them will cop some fallout. 'Collateral damage,' I think is the phrase in vogue. It isn't good or right, but it is an inevitable consquence of people not thinking, "Hang on, what do we really have in common with these guys?"

I think the left has been pretty naive in welcoming all manner of factions and groups, united only by their anti-establishment stance. Lets face it, no sane socialist should be associating with someone like Jamie Lockett - he's a n ex-debt collector, for goodness sake. He make his living out of intimidating and threatening people in the worst situations possible. Why would socialist have anything to do with him? Equally, why the left is so eager to embrace Maori seperatism is something which I find very puzzling. What could be less socialistic than a community based on racial exclusivity?

One positive upshot from this mess might be that it administers a reality check to the left, and makes them question whether idiots advocating racial violence, and McCarthyite subversion junkies are really an asset to the cause.

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