Civil Disobedience and the TPPA

When you supposedly live in a democracy and the government the voting population elected to lead the country repeatedly and defiantly refuses to listen to the majority of the people, and insists on ramming through change that the majority of the people oppose then your democracy is broken.

The people can march peacefully on parliament and sign and present petitions in an honest effort to change the direction the government has chosen to take but if the government still refuses to listen to the will of the people and even becomes belligerent towards them and dismissive of their actions then the only option left for the people is organised acts of civil disobedience.

Such is the situation in New Zealand right now. The secret negotiations and intent to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement by the New Zealand government has become the catalyst for mass protest in New Zealand. Our Prime Minister John Key was instantly dismissive of the tens of thousands of concerned citizens who got up and voiced their reservation towards, and distrust of the TPPA and rallied to stop the government from signing this agreement unless they show everyone what the treaty involves and open it up for public scrutiny and debate. Our government refused to meet this demand and chose instead to label us as breathless children and now the situation has escalated.

Civil disobedience is a bold and sometimes necessary move within a democratic society.

If it is not done properly it can result in unintended consequences for those directly involved in action against the state system. Even if it is done properly and peacefully those involved can be directly brutalised by by the system they are moving to hold to account. Leaders of direct action can and very often are targeted with intimidation tactics or worse throughout the process of change by agents of the incumbent system.

The group Show Us Ya Text recently organised and mounted an act of civil disobedience in Wellington New Zealand with the purpose of searching for and seizing the transcript of the TPPA from MFAT (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) this is first time in a long time that such action has been taken and was and is necessary in this country.

This was a very well executed demonstration that resulted in mass arrests by the state police force without violence and no charges being laid against the participants in it's conclusion.

The organisation of this event was thorough, and the way it manifested was a credit to all involved. Including the New Zealand Police who were communicative with the organisers of the protest throughout the day and mostly kept themselves in check as did the protesters.

The police turned up in force for this demonstration.

This action is a template for future actions of civil disobedience in New Zealand and the government of this country is currently leading the public to take drastic steps to keep our leaders under some form of control.

In the near future if the government does not “pull it's horns in” then actions like this will become bigger and more widespread.

In the worst case scenario, hundreds if not thousands of people could shut down entire cities with “sit in” blockades of main carriage ways around places like parliament to ram the message through and the police would be massively outnumbered.

The police could of course resort to tactics like water cannons or worse to disperse crowds but that would be detrimental to them and bring even greater animosity and distrust towards them from a public that has seen all manner of scandal involving police in the last few decades.

The most important thing for everyone to remember when they involve themselves in action like this is to remain NON-VIOLENT.

I cannot stress how important that is right now because I see things continuing down this path and the last thing reasonable people want in their right minds wants is people turning violent towards each other and people getting hurt.

All of that said. Our current government seems to be provoking disorder. The people need to bear this in mind as they take direct action to hold a government to account that currently cares not what the people want.

The protest that went down on this day resulted in mass arrests. 26 in total. This is unlike anything this country has seen for a long time in matters of political protest.