White Supremacy and Islamophobia in New Zealand

New Zealand’s Dark Days

Al Jazeera (2019)

Film Review

This documentary examines New Zealand’s inglorious history of Islamophobia – something most Kiwis don’t want to talk about. A Somali migrant who works with refugees talks about battling threats from white supremacist skinheads his whole life. Christchurch, especially, is known as a hotbed of white supremacy. Last October, local Muslims found white supremacist graffiti at one of the mosques that was subsequently attacked.

Many in the Muslim community claim the New Zealand police has been totally dismissive of these threats – that they have been too busy monitoring Muslim migrants for possible terrorist ties to monitor white supremacists. Former US intelligence analyst (and 20-year resident of New Zealand) Paul Buchanan agrees. He’s skeptical the Christchurch shooter acted alone, given the large numbers of white supremacists who followed the livestream of the massacres – both in New Zealand and overseas.

Buchanan is also concerned about Islamophobic statements by Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki. The latter leads a Pentecostal sect with 10,000 followers in New Zealand and Australia. Tamaki has always maintained that Jesus is the only true God, that refugees who settle in New Zealand should accept this country’s religion. In 2005, he called the New Zealand Parliament “evil” for allowing an MP to take their oath of office on a Koran. He was also highly critical of the National Radio decision to play the Muslim call to prayer to honor slain Christchurch victims.

The film also reveals that two complaints were made to New Zealand police about the Dunedin gun club the Christchurch shooter attended. Visitors to the gun club were concerned about members wearing camouflage (equated here with militia activity), talk about NZ defense forces needing to shoot Muslim terrorists in the street, and references to New Zealand’s 1990 mass shooting at Aramoana (1990)

In both case, the police dismissed the complaints without acting on them.

How Elites Use Mass Immigration to Suppress Wages and Destroy Unions

The Making and Breaking of Europe

Al Jazeera

Film Review

The Role of the CIA in the Formation of the EU

This is a fascinating documentary tracing the political forces leading to the formation of the EU and the rise of right wing nationalist movements that threaten to break it up. I wasn’t a bit surprised to learn of the role the CIA played in the formation of the EU, via the millions they spent on the Action Committee for the United States of Europe (1955-1975). The CIA’s main goal was to create the false impression that European unification enjoyed wide popular support. There’s never been any doubt in my mind that the EU and the state-like bureaucracy it has created in Brussels mainly serves the interests of banks and corporations seeking to undermine and/or control the democratic process.

Working Class Communities Bear the Brunt of Mass Immigration

This film also takes a refreshingly honest look at mass immigration, a policy European elites championed to support the post-World War II economic boom – it was far cheaper than investing in technological innovation or retraining domestic workers. In fact, this is the first acknowledgement I have seen in mainstream media acknowledging that 1) working class communities have always born the brunt of mass immigration policies and 2) the massive influx of people from other cultures creates immense tensions in any community.

The Use of Immigrants to Crush Unions

In the late 1970s, Thatcher and other neoliberal leaders deliberately used mass immigration in strike breaking and other strategies aimed at crushing unions. The de-industrialization of northern Europe and the loss of good paying jobs would only amplify the tensions this created. As would the 2001 war on terror, the targeted Islamophobia propagated by US and British intelligence and ultimately the painful austerity cuts resulting from 2008 global economic collapse.

There seems to be strong agreement among the four “expert” panelists* that the anti-immigrant backlash should have been predictable – there is no possible way for the EU to accommodate the millions of refugees resulting from the US proxy war in Syria.

Since 2015 the strength of this backlash has fueled electoral victories for right wing nationalist groups in nearly all EU countries. All have campaigned on a dual anti-immigrant and anti-EU platform. In Britain, the rise of the United Kingdom (UKIP) party would lead to Brexit (and a 52% vote to leave the EU) in 2016.


*The panelists include a former Greek prime minster, a member of Hungary’s ruling party and Dr Alina Polykova, research director at the Atlantic Council and co-author of the 2015 The Dark Side of European Integration.