Green MP Chloe Swarbrick has written an eloquent assertion of the right to protest.
“Our communities don’t evolve and progress by sitting around, hoping for the best,” she says in the New Zealand Herald. “Rarely, if ever, does change come from the top.”
She goes on to reflect that “many of the developments we’re proudest of as a country” – she cites the revitalisation of te reo Maori, rainbow rights and the stands against apartheid and nuclear weapons – arose from protests that were “typically pretty tense” and “didn’t come easy”.
She adds: “They never would have happened if protesters had relied solely on pre-existing ‘official’ avenues for civil engagement.”
Perhaps most pertinently, she says: “Peaceful protest often involves putting your body on the line in pretty inconvenient places. The point is to occupy space and time. The point is to make a point. It’s a spotlight firmly on the issue … it’s to show the difference between what is legal and what is ethical.”
Swarbrick’s opinion piece was inspired by the cyclists who defied the police by riding across the Auckland Harbour Bridge, but all of the above applies equally to the people who maintain peaceful vigils outside abortion clinics in protest against the killing of the unborn.
Can we, then, expect Swarbrick to vote against Labour's so-called “Safe Areas Bill”, which is aimed at denying those people their right to protest (or to be more correct, to highlight the fact that abortion involves extinguishing a life)? Or is she just another left-wing hypocrite?
There is a tendency of a certain stamp of politicians to say "right-thinking New Zealanders think..." or 'all NZer's agree that X' or as Ms Swarbricj says "our greatest achievements...' That is to take one's own viewpoints or concerns and project them on the nation. It has hints of a reprise "of the will of the people" or "the will of the revolution." A significant proportion of the people are not involved in left-wing causes and activism; a significant proportion of the people might see other things as great achievements; a significant proportion of the people have diverse opinions on just about everything.
One could say the antiwar movement was a great achievement with the pulling out of troops from South East Asia. Some people- survivors- in Vietnam and Cambodia may well take a different view given the death of 3 million-plus people as the two Communist regimes swept into power.
Some perspective on difference, humility and caution are needed before speaking on behalf of everyone to acknowledge diversity and avoid group think and its moral agenda.
Unfortunately I think you summed it up with the last sentence. Freedom of speech and protest only applies to one side of the debate these days.
Actually, debate is not the right word any more. Belief in the righteousness of their truth is no longer questionable. Disagreement will soon be judged illegal under hate laws.
Also, will she publically support the right of Speak-Up for women to book and use library meeting rooms to discuss the upcoming gender self ID bill, a right that has been denied to them?
She is just another Left Wing hypocrite.
Actually Karl, I think Swarbrick would reply along the following lines...
I do not deny them (the vigil protesters) the right to protest, they can still perform their vigil but at 50 or 150 metres (whatever the mandated distance is)
I balance their right to protest against the right of the women entering the clinics to do so quickly and with minimum fuss or distraction. The bill operates in just the same way as police do when they move protesters back from protest sites all the time.
Yep, just as left-wing protesters are always careful to maintain a respectful distance and would never dream of impeding people going about their lawful business.
I think a precise example to illustrate your point is that while the current government will create a "safe space" for women having an abortion away from quiet and stationary vigilists, it will not create a "safe space" for New Zealanders attending a conference on oil exploration away from loud, noisy and physically obstructive protesters.
It is not hypocrisy just ideological bias under a self-serving and sophistic veneer of concern.
In addition to the above, it's worth drawing attention to the unintended irony of the "Safe Areas" bill. Safe for whom? Certainly not for the foetuses that are being aborted.
Karl wrote "... just as left-wing protesters are always careful to maintain a respectful distance and would never dream of impeding people going about their lawful business."
"Safe for whom? Certainly not for the foetuses that are being aborted."
To speak to the former, I believe the left refer such as "mostly peaceful protests".
To speak to both, both are just classic examples of Orwellian's "double-speak", wherein the left controls the language to control the narrative.
Our time is just surreal
As others have commented, the Left regard "free speech" and the right to protest as legitimate only in the case of approved causes like Extinction Rebellion or BLM. Anything else is "Far Right", or possibly even "White Supremacist", and must be punished. These through the looking glass values are nicely captured in a column today by Melanie Phillips about the recent anti-Semitic demonstrations in London:
"The police are quick to feel the collars of Christians publicly preaching Biblical passages against homosexuality. But they are not moved to similar action, apparently, when Muslim men scream for the blood of Jews on a London street.
The reason is that the police are terrified of being thought racist or Islamophobic. So Muslim Jew-baiting and incitement to murder Jews get a free pass."
Panicked New Zealanders gave the Left a mandate at the last election to do their worst and you can be sure they will do their best to achieve that.
Will she 'eck as like!
Hear. hear, re the 'Speak up for WOmen''job's worth' cowardice from libraries. I was at the ChCh one and I didn't notice any trembling from Woolston Club staff, who were probably bemused why such a meeting was apparently 'controversial' in the 1st place. But it was a predictable response from Council staff who run libraries, which have become naffly anodyne.
I do find it amusing that a member of parliament can approve of a mass breach of the law. In this case she labels it "protest".
However, where does the line get drawn ?
What other criminal activities would an activist MP maybe approve of?
We all condemned the French for bombing the Rainbow Warrior, but the bombers received a hero's welcome when they returned to France.
If Swarbrick thinks that it takes protests to make real change in NZ then how does she justify taking a parliamentary salary where by her own admission she is totally ineffectual? Doug summed it up well, another left wing hypocrite.
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