Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Shut up and wave the flag

Shut up and wave the flag

Two peace activists were denied entry to Parliamentary grounds today
during the Government’s Vietnam War event. This in the day after the
Wellington High Court upheld the convictions against Valerie Morse and
another activist for burning the flag and disrupting the speech of the
Secretary of Defence on ANZAC day in 2007.

The first person denied entry to Parliament grounds is a Quaker peace
activist who worked in Vietnam for 2 years during the war as a civilian.
He had officially registered to participate in the government’s ceremonies
at a cost of $95. He marched at the back of the parade with a wreath
dedicated to the “Vietnamese civilians killed in the war.” When he
approached the Parliamentary grounds, he was told that he was not allowed
to enter.

The other person approached the Parliamentary gates after attending a
small silent vigil on Lambton Quay. Carrying a sign that said, “Helen
Clark, Phil Goff: 1974: Anti-war activists; 2008: military recruiters,”
the woman was blockaded from entering the gates and told she would be
issued with a trespass notice. When she replied that it was a public
space and asked why she was not allowed to enter, she was told only that
“she was not allowed.” A filmmaker on the public footpath outside of the
gates of Parliament was also warned. The woman was then formally turned
away from Parliament grounds.

The actions of Parliamentary security are hardly surprising. The
government will spare no effort in extinguishing dissent on the left, no
matter how small or ‘legal.’ In the run up to the election, Labour is
determined to illustrate that ‘there is no alternative’ to its re-election
by continuing to carefully brand itself ‘left’ while occupying a space
ever further to the political right.

More to the point, however, is that these tactics are not unique to a
particular political party. They are part and parcel of the maintenance of
state control through violence and a manufactured national identity
constructed through war mythology.

The ANZAC day ruling demonstrates the intolerance of the state for any
actual challenge to its hegemonic discourse. The High Court Justice Miller
upheld the convictions in the flag-burning case saying that the protest
‘went to far.’ Justice Miller’s opinion that handing out leaflets and
giving away free food was fine, but actually challenging anyone’s ideas,
particularly the government’s was offensive behaviour. In fact, he
suggested that some might consider it an act of ‘desecration’ so high was
the symbolic value of the act of burning the flag.

By his ruling, he declared that ANZAC day is too sacred for criticism.
Noting that the day is bathed in the “aura of dignity and respect,” the
High Court Justice effectively removed it from the realm of any debate.
ANZAC day is precisely what the Government says it is: a day of
commemoration; just as today’s Vietnam ceremony was a “commemoration,” a
place inappropriate for political debate.

The placing of military ceremony into the realm of the sacred is a clever
tactic indeed. No longer can anyone be blamed for what actually happens;
it is enough to say it happened, it was horrible; let us remember those
poor soldiers who had to endure it. But under no circumstances should we
draw any comparisons to Afghanistan today or illustrate any hypocrisy,
like the failure of the government to acknowledge the thousands of
ordinary people exposed to the same chemicals in Agent Orange, compliments
of the Ivor Watkins Dow Chemical plant in New Plymouth.

No no, we can no longer think, we must simply shut up and raise the flag.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Our Unreal Optimism About The Economic Impact Of Coronavirus

At this week’s Chinese New Year celebrations, PM Jacinda Ardern was resolutely upbeat that business with China would soon bounce back to normal – better than ever, even - once the coronavirus epidemic has been brought under control. To Ardern, the adversity has only accentuated just how close we are to Beijing Nothing wrong with being upbeat, if it can calm the nerves and turn business sentiment into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The problems begin when the optimism detaches itself from reality. What has been very odd so far about the coronavirus episode is that global share markets – normally spooked by mere sneezes or sniffles in the world’s major economies - have continued to be fairly positive, even as the epidemic has unfolded... More>>

First Published on Werewolf here


 

Gordon Campbell: On The Political Donations Scandals
Even paranoids have real enemies. While there has been something delusionary about the way New Zealand First has been living in denial about its donations scandal, one can sympathise with its indignation about Paula Bennett and Simon Bridges being among its chief accusers. More>>

ALSO:

UN Expert: NZ Housing Crisis Requires Bold Human Rights Response

This is a press statement from UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing at the end of her 10-day visit to New Zealand. The Government of New Zealand has recognized that the country is facing a housing crisis, said Leilani Farha, UN Special Rapporteur ... More>>

ALSO:

2020 And Beyond: National’s Economic Plan

National Leader Simon Bridges has today outlined National’s economic plan heading into election 2020. “National understands the economy and how it impacts on New Zealanders day to day lives... More>>

ALSO:

Abortion Legislation Committee: Abortion Bill Report Presented To The House

The Abortion Legislation Committee has presented its report on the Abortion Legislation Bill to the House. A copy of the report is available here. The bill seeks to have abortion services provided like other health services... More>>

ALSO:


Auditor-General's Report : Water Management

The Auditor-General’s report Reflecting on our work about water management was presented to the House of Representatives today. Over the last two years we have been looking at how well public organisations are carrying out their water management ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels