I fear the combination of intense political polarisation, a steep economic depression and the explosion of disinformation via social media hate algorithms could generate political violence in the 2023 election.
The immediate threat of political violence comes from the far right. The QAnon movement in NZ is disconnected from this dimension of reality, they believe in Sovereign Citizen Sherifs who are ’empowered’ to hang enemies of free people. They are fucking lunatics who are capable and philosophically compelled to commit an act of political violence. Add to them far right white supremacist bad faith actors and Alt-Right extremists and you have radicalisation combining with fear grifters to generate a febrile landscape of existential fears that can only be combated by justified political violence.
Out of this cauldron of self loathing and projected cultural hate is the possibility of a lone wolf actor or small cell group committing an attack on a Politician.
If the threat from the Left breaches political violence thresholds, it will be generated because of a ratcheting up of protest responses to the extremism of a National/ACT Government attempting to implement hard right policy.
Let’s be very clear, ACTs call to strip the Treaty out of every law would start a race war.
Game it out:
- David Seymour cuts a deal with National in 2023 and launches its purge of every Maori political win since the Treaty was signed.
- Shutting down every co-governance arrangement would provoke absolute outrage within Māoridom and spark a vast number of immediate legal cases which would jam down any legislative process as every single decision made after Parliament passed the law ending co-governance would become challenged. Political protests would erupt around the country and local councils would find local resistance as Māori groups universally set up occupations of shared governance assets.
- Likewise, abolishing Māori seats would ignite enormous protests, many of which would quickly escalate into violence. The UN would criticise NZ snuffing out indigenous voting rights and we would face global condemnation.
- The New Government would then attempt to find anyone within Maoridom who would willingly negotiate new Treaty ‘provisions’ with them. No one within Māoridom would willingly negotiate these and so the New Government, while dealing with increasingly violent weekly protests in the street, would announce that they are universally negotiating these new provisions on behalf of Māoridom. The news that not only has the New Government ended co-governance and abolished the Maori seats but are also now redefining the entire Treaty by themselves inspires all out violent protest and the New Government respond with increasing use of special terror laws and paramilitary Police to keep a lid on the escalating fury within Māoridom at the loss of their political rights.
- Increasingly global media attention is scathing towards the New Government.
- Donald Trump calls the New Government ‘wise’.
- While ending co-governance, abolishing Maori seats AND renegotiating the entire Treaty on their own, the New Government then announces that the Waitangi Tribunal is being ended. This causes an eruption of anger within Maoridom that manages to eclipse the current rage and entire regions are now in open revolt.
- Before the New Government are even in a position to remove consultation processes, Maori customary rights and any Māori funding, the country is plunged into a full blown race war which the New Government are not able to control.
- Vast chunks of the military refuse to open fire on a public demonstration after the New National/ACT Government order them to.
In this scenario, the threat of political violence from the Left is generated by protest actions. I see any political violence from the Left as reactionary, not premeditated.
Ultimately the only winner here is the domestic state intelligence apparatus. The sudden need to police and use mass surveillance to control and monitor internal political dissent in the wake of an attack on a politician from far right protagonists or escalating protest movements against far right policy will be immense.
We haven’t seen radicalisation like this on a mass basis before and with economic conditions set to only get far worse, the triggers for political violence extremism are possibly already smouldering.
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