Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Brash's ugly facebook

Karl du Fresne is upset at the left. The Wairarapa-based journalist has used his blog to link the recent anti-globalisation riots in Hamburg with the alleged ill-treatment of Don Brash here in New Zealand.
According to du Fresne, Brash and the Hamburg police are both victims of the 'self-righteous rage of the left'.

Brash is the frontman of Hobson's Pledge, a group set up last year to campaign against Maori seats in parliament, Treaty settlements, and all Treaty-based legislation. Hobson's Pledge can be seen as the successor to Treatygate, the campaign that John Ansell, another former Act Party personality, fronted back in 2012. Like Ansell, Brash has held public in country towns and placed expensive ads in the mass media. Like Ansell, he is struggling to win the public's attention. The audience for a widely advertised meeting in Rotorua was small and unenthusiastic.

In a recent post to facebook, Maori activist Joe Trinder described Hobson's Pledge as a 'hate group'. Karl du Fresne thinks such a description is outrageous. He argues that Hobson's Pledge was founded to 'promote the concept of equality before the law, regardless of ethnicity'. When he uses the term 'hate group' Trinder is trying, du Fresne complains, to put Hobson's Pledge on the 'same level as the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party'. Du Fresne complains about some of the comments that appeared beneath Trinder's facebook post. Some commenters threatened Brash with violence; others suggested that Hobson's Pledge billboards should be torn down.

Karl du Fresne has obviously been paying careful attention to Joe Trinder's facebook posts, but I wonder whether he has visited the facebook page run by Hobson's Pledge. The page's anonymous administrators have made hundreds of posts, and attracted thousands of comments. If du Fresne scans some of the posts and comments, then he might find his belief that Hobson's Pledge stands for equality hard to sustain.
On  June the 11th Hobson's Pledge posted this image, which originally appeared on a facebook page called Southern African Memes. Like much of the material on Southern African Memes, the image is designed to call up fond of memories of the era of white minority rule in Rhodesia and South Africa, and to contrast the supposed golden age of apartheid with the present.

Between 1965 and 1979 Rhodesia's white community, which never numbered more than three hundred thousand, enjoyed political and economic power over more than six million blacks. Rhodesia's white regime barred blacks from voting and from most high-paying jobs, and restricted their ability to move about the country. Blacks and whites were forbidden from marrying and lived in separate neighbourhoods of the country's towns and cities. Cinemas had separate entrances for blacks and whites and restaurants had different rooms for diners with different skin colours.

Not surprisingly, Rhodesia's black majority protested the status quo, and in the 1970s waged a guerrilla war against their white masters. A deal brokered by Britain ended white minority rule, and in 1980 Robert Mugabe took power. The Rhodesian agricultural production that Hobson's Pledge celebrates was achieved with the help of indentured black labour. After the war began, the white regime deliberately kept grain and other foods from parts of the country where the guerrillas had most support, creating widespread malnutrition.

Robert Mugabe is a despot who has brought misery to many of his people. But Hobson's Pledge's suggestion that the white Rhodesia that preceded Mugabe era was somehow a pleasant place is fantastic. It is hard to see why an organisation dedicated to equality would seek to glorify a state based explicitly on racism.

The predecessor of Hobson's Pledge also seemed to have a soft spot for Rhodesia. The website of John Ansell's Treatygate campaign featured a long article by one of Ansell's supporters, the Dunedin anthroposophist Colin Rawle. Rawle's article insisted that Rhodesia 'was a success story by any yardstick', and lamented that it had been 'destroyed' by the same sinister forces that were advancing an 'anti-white' agenda in New Zealand.

When it hasn't been advertising white Rhodesia, the Hobson's Pledge facebook page has been promoting local white supremacists. Hobson's Pledge has offered a link to the website of Martin Doutre, the promoter of the theory that New Zealand was home thousands of years ago to a technologically advanced white civilisation that was later conquered by the ancestors of Maori. Doutre is a Holocaust denier and an admirer of the British neo-Nazi David Irving.

A couple of months ago the Northern Advocate ran a front page article about the supposed discovery of ancient Welsh skulls in the Northland countryside. The article credited Noel Hilliam with finding the skulls, and said that Hilliam was working with Martin Doutre and Kerry Bolton, the former secretary of the National Front and this country's most prolific neo-Nazi writer. Historians, northern kaumatua, and other journalists quickly pointed out that Hilliam has no academic training, and noted Doutre and Bolton's white supremacist views; the Northern Advocate dropped its article, and was later reprimanded by the Press Council for not checking Hilliam's weird claims before it published them.

The facebook page of Hobson's Pledge followed the controversy over the Northern Advocate's article closely, and repeatedly expressed outrage at the paper's critics. 'Where has freedom of speech gone?' the Hobson's Pledge page asked on July the 12th, after the Press Council had reprimanded the Northern Advocate.

It is curious that an organisation campaigning for equality would want to promote and defend the work of Martin Doutre, Kerry Bolton, and Noel Hilliam.
It is not only the posts at the Hobson's Pledge facebook page but the comments beneath them that make me sceptical about the group's commitment to equality. All too often these comments are schoolboyish expressions of racism toward Maori. This remark was made by Derrick Storey on June the 27th, in the aftermath of New Zealand's America's Cup victory:

The reason the America's Cup was so successful was because there were no Maori involved. Don't go and stuff it up by accommodating to their whims and tell them to piss off...There was a lot of Kiwi ingenuity, Blood, Sweat and Tears that went into winning the America's Cup and notice the overseas commentators referred to our team as the Kiwis or Team New Zealand. Not once did I hear the team referred to as Maoris or Team Maori. 

Derrick Storey hasn't been criticised for this comment or any of his other, similar comments by the administrators of the Hobson's Pledge facebook page. On the contrary, Hobson's Pledge has on occasion shared Storey's own facebook posts with its readers.

Karl du Fresne is right to criticise the commenters on Joe Trinder's facebook page who urged violence against Hobson's Pledge. Don Brash and his comrades have a right to free speech. But after looking at the self-righteous rage on Hobson's Pledge's facebook page, I can understand why Trinder has dubbed Don Brash's outfit a hate group.

[Posted by Scott Hamilton]

20 Comments:

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Anonymous Vaughan Rapatahana said...

Kia ora mo tenei Scott.

Ka nui te pai tau kupu mohio ki konei.

He kaupapa whakahirahira tenei.

Engari ko tahi patai anake mo ahau: he aha te raruraru ki nga roro o enei pouawai kuware raua ko haikiri?

Kaore ahau he mohio e hoa.

Heoi ano, kia ora ano.

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11:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Journalists looking for a quick quote this guy is shonky. He is an internet troll and is unemployed. He bludges off 2 women. Ask Skyler how he treats her. he is not a sociologist and is a big leftie. his books have got really bad reviews. zero stars

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Blogger Richard said...

It's a pity you get so much hash - as well as a comment by Vaughan, and it is good it is in Maori as that is what the right hate to see -- Scott. Otherwise (from the hash wanting to lend money etc) it is good to know about these fellows. Brash etc associated with neo-Nazis. Not surprising really. N.Z. remains a racist country. Nationalism is a kind of disease. After all it is really a fluke that someone is either "white" or some other or whether they were born here or China. In fact NZers...most of those white racists have a very easy life compared to those they critique, usually in absurd ways.

Mugabe. I read a book about him and he has two PhDs. He is very intelligent: there is a lot of lies and propaganda told about him by the right wing. It is the right wing and some misguided liberals who attack his integrity. Don't defend that lot. They are bitter as they do want the past back, the Empire restored. He studied while imprisoned. He was a key leader in freeing Kenya from the British Imperialists.

King Ansell started the National front. Is he related to the other Ansell? He is notorious for giving a Nazi salute at an RSA. He was beaten up. He turned up to take residence just down the road from where I am now about 20 years ago. Even then he attracted wrath.

3:01 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

All those neo-Nazis and anti-Maori blokes are connected to Doutre who is seen sitting on a rock holding forth. He starts by saying, well, he has no qualifications at all except he was a carpenter! Then all the academics are wrong. But he is connected to Titford, convicted of rape and arson etc, Bolton, also clearly a neo-Nazi, and John Ansell....when asked about Titford he goes on about how wealthy he was and how many possessions he had. His "evidence" for the original people here being European is based on his theory that a Maori woman has been shown to be genetically Iranian!!! And that they made there way (of course they did) from the Mediterranean, then to Peru, then Easter Island and to NZ. These are basically the fairy people, like the people a drunken Irishman would rant about as if they were real!! He claims to have "the real history"...

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12:52 am  
Blogger Dean said...

Hi Scott

I did my PhD at the University of Waikato, focussing on how conspiracy theorists use the internet. I came across ‘Reading the Maps’ during my research and have enjoyed reading it for the last several years. Recently I set up a blog for my research musings on conspiracy-related subjects. My most recent entries have involved a discussion of a new book in the NZ pseudo-history subgenre called ‘Forbidden History’ by Hamilton writer John Aldworth. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this book, but given that you are a key critical writer on this subject (I cite your seminal Scoop post in my discussion), I thought I’d pass on a link if it may be of interest to you: http://paranoidstyle.blogspot.co.nz/

Regards
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5:07 pm  
Blogger reda gamal said...

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