Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Occupy: Don't call it a protest

312 Responses

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  • BenWilson,

    Bernard's suggestions are very reasonable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Bernard's suggestions are very reasonable.

    I think so too. But we would say that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I guess I'd leave out #7. Not because I disagree, but because it's more ideological than helpful. Trade discussion is a massive part of the economic picture and the USA is a massive part of that, so flouncing doesn't seem likely to help. But it might help if we stopped calling them free trade discussions. Mutually beneficial trade discussions might make more sense, since it's not like tariffs and subsidies are the work of Satan, to anyone except neoliberals.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    occupiers will need to bear in mind that they're sitting on a precious piece of green space intended for working people in the city

    United Future candidate Pete George wants them off his lawn at Dunedin's Octagon. The influence of organised parties in that city's Occupation is discussed at Te Standard.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • kei rivers,

    I like what Anne said better than Bernard, but that might be because I don't support an itemised list right now.

    "Although there has been wide-spread speculation over the Occupy movement’s true goals, Jones refused to confirm rumours Occupy Auckland wanted to secure the best seating to watch the game live." made me laugh legitimately, at any rate.

    Re the rumours - I turned up last night in Christchurch to watch The Corporation and it got postponed because we had to discuss the possibility instead. :( It was an important conversation though and we're voting on a proper plan tonight, which I'll miss but will catch up on tomorrow - from the discussion I'm pretty sure I won't be opposed to the consensus. I ended up on overnight security and it turned out the wind was the only thing we really had to deal with, though I was the only one awake for the couple of hours before dawn so even though we were pretty sure nothing would happen it was just slightly nerve-wracking with the "hmm, but what if..."

    Ben - they're not mutually beneficial.

    Christchurch, NZ • Since Mar 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Mutually beneficial trade discussions might make more sense

    Only if the first two words actually apply.

    snap

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to BenWilson,

    I think any benefits of FTAs are grossly overstated. If we produce stuff that people want, they'll buy it, FTA or no FTA. And a typical FTA with the US involves massive concessions from the victim state and none from America, where protection rules.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Remember the threats to flour-bomb Eden Park during RWC2011, and the Granny's tut-tutting? Those fears - and threats - proved unfounded.

    Meanwhile, the NZIER's chief economist basically says, "la la la la la, can't hear you!"

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I think any benefits of FTAs are grossly overstated. If we produce stuff that people want, they’ll buy it, FTA or no FTA. And a typical FTA with the US involves massive concessions from the victim state and none from America, where protection rules.

    That's the thing. A FTA with the US is unlikely to be worthy of the name. The current TPPA demands from the US are simply offensive.

    OTOH, Closer Economic Relations with Australia has been of very great benefit to New Zealand, and as global agreements GATT and the WTO have certainly been more good than bad for us. We do tend to forget how bad the era of trade wars and tariffs was.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to kei rivers,

    Ben - they're not mutually beneficial.

    Perhaps not, but it's a better aim than "Free" which doesn't even have to imply any kind of benefit other than to the ideological placation of a very small sector of the population. It is perfectly conceivable that we could have mutually beneficial trade with the USA, without it being "Free".

    I like what Anne said better than Bernard, but that might be because I don't support an itemised list right now.

    I think you're right in terms of the movement, which is still building momentum and consensus. But Bernard is putting up a list of things a sensible opposition could campaign on right now for the election, which is really, really soon.

    Welcome, by the way, to PAS. Hope to hear more from you, Kei.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Hutchings, in reply to Sacha,

    @Sacha
    The trade agreement we have with Australia seems generally well liked by both people and business in each respective country......

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Re: FTA’s – I second that. For free trade to work it needs to be a 2-way street, as is mostly the case with CER. In practice, cargo-cultism (such as the calls to repeal the anti-nuke laws) and vested interests (ie, the DMCA and Big Pharma) have often perverted it, as the TPPA looks to be. On the other hand, Fred Bastiat had a point when he wrote “where goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.”

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Meanwhile, Occupy Wellington is being asked to move for the rugby parade. And they're handling it sensibly:

    Occupy Wellington hospitality volunteer Cole Gunn said they hope they can keep the Wharanui and Kai tent on Jack Ilott Green and said they didn't want to ruin the party.

    "The last thing we want to do is to piss off rugby fans," Mr Cole said.

    Camped near to the rugby fanzone, Mr Cole said there had been a lot of "craziness" going on and occupiers had entered into the spirit providing face painting for rugby fans before Sunday's final.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Gary Hutchings,

    The trade agreement we have with Australia seems generally well liked by both people and business in each respective country

    mutually beneficial, even :)

    a 2-way street, as is mostly the case with CER

    quite

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    On the other hand, Fred Bastiat had a point when he wrote “where goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.”

    Heh. Or smugglers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    I guess I'd leave out #7. Not because I disagree, but because it's more ideological than helpful.

    Sure it's ideological, but it's also powerfully symbolic, like the various "#occupy"s themselves; the idea that policy comes from within our democratic process, and not from secret deals with foreign powers, is worth reinforcing.

    it's not like tariffs and subsidies are the work of Satan, to anyone except neoliberals.

    And like any other of his works, politicians of all stripes - even Neolibs - will embrace them if they think it'll win them favour with their constituents. Something National understand very well when it comes to farming and roads.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I'm curious why a land-tax is preferred over capital gains. Any ideas?
    (My reservation: it seems to punish hippies, greenies, tree-huggers, indigenous folks , etc- anyone who doesn't believe forcing land to produce max $ is always its best use.)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    I’m curious why a land-tax is preferred over capital gains. Any ideas?

    It's Simpler To Administer, that holy grail of economists, taxmen, businessmen and no-one else the world over (I think).

    (My reservation: it seems to punish hippies, greenies, tree-huggers, indigenous folks , etc- anyone who doesn’t believe forcing land to produce max $ is always its best use.)

    Yep, although I'm not sure if it typically applies to land area or value - if the latter, then it might have a larger intensifying effect on sub/urban land than rural, which would be a good thing environmentally speaking. Talking out of my hat here though.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    I'm curious why a land-tax is preferred over capital gains. Any ideas?

    My guess, CGT is easy to avoid - never sell. We do already have land tax, it's called rates. I'm not entirely sure I think it's so cool, though. It's taxing something that isn't money, and could have perverse outcomes, forcing people off land, just because they don't profit from the land.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    Did the entrance to the civic carpark still have the strong stench of the occupiers piss?

    Kingsland • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I went to visit the Wellington Occupy yesterday. They have just put out the first edition of the Occupied Dominion Post which reveals that many of them are about to sit university exams, or are employed, unlike some of the media stereotypes.

    It had grown since the last time I visited and tents covered the little grassy bit off the City to Sea bridge and about a third of the nearby Ilott green (where there is the most hideous statue you have ever seen and this is why the rugby supporters want to go there). A blackboard advertised the times for today's discussions (eg politics at 2.45 and the role of the university at 3.30). There was quite a strong gale and some of the bigger tents were being taken down in a very cooperative manner. I don't know why anyone thinks the Occupiers are in any way soft. Camping in Wellington's spring weather is very challenging.

    There are lots of chalk messages everywhere but no party political or union banners to be seen. It all seemed very well organised and responsible. A large group returned from a march around Wellington and then they all got into a large circle on the grass for communal catch up. They have started using a human mike (when everyone repeats the previous few words that one person has said) which Occupy Wall Street developed when amplification was banned, and there is a great youtube clip of Michael Moore addressing them using that method. To onlookers the whole effect is almost primary school like, until you hear what is being discussed. When we asked what we could do to help they said that it would be good if we could tell the council that they aren't causing any harm and are happy to cooperate with them, such as sharing the space with the march. The police are just across the road and there are concerns they they could do the Sydney thing and raid without warning.

    I know I'm a child of the 60s and I find this whole global movement pretty heartening but there definitely is something very positive and happy about the Wellington Occupy, as if a lot of gentle little elves have come to visit, and as a result the city is somehow blessed.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s taxing something that isn’t money, and could have perverse outcomes, forcing people off land, just because they don’t profit from the land.

    On that note it also incentivizes agricultural production at a time when we desperately need to wean ourselves off that particular teat, so to speak.

    ETA: Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself (I am large, and I am not an economist).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi,

    I love how various commentators of various stripe try to maintain that 'the occupy movement' is coextensive with the people in various camps in various cities. Who are they trying to kid? It's interesting seeing who still thinks they're better off serving other people's interests. Who still thinks we're all gullible.

    The cops, in other counties at least, with their particularly stupid institutional mentality, seem to think they can deal with the movement by violently breaking up the camps then flushing out and harassing the remnants. Most individual cops I've met are fine, some good value even, but put them all together to make decisions and something weird happens...

    (And how many people know someone busted for pot who's had a much smaller amount than what they had taken from them put before the court? Those cops swore on oath that that was true. And everyone took them at their word.)

    All the usual suspects trying their usual tricks. Then looking down the barrel perplexed when all they hear is a 'click'. Is it a click? As some guy explained 'that Gramsci shit', the gun's in each of our heads.

    The cops at least are about to openly show who's making their decisions: the good ones or the 'bad apples'.

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    There are lots of chalk messages everywhere but no party political or union banners to be seen.

    Interesting. Auckland is much more of a Unite presence, and there are some well-known faces to the fore.

    But it still feels somewhat different to, say, a Global Peace & Justice do, which is a good thing for them. John Minto scowling on camera is never a very appealing look.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Camping in Wellington's spring weather is very challenging.

    There are lots of chalk messages everywhere but no party political or union banners to be seen.

    These two statements may be related.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19680 posts Report Reply

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