Too much of a Nazi thing?

I’ve considered writing about the Internet Party since it launched. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Firstly, because it was difficult to separate the party from the personality. Secondly, I wanted to avoid getting into heated debates about whether or not Kim Dotcom (KDC) was a Nazi sympathiser.

So I know I’m a bit late with this post since its already been covered extensively but it occurs to me that it is unfair and not particularly transparent on my part to criticise other leaders, parties, activists and politicians while staying silent on the KDC issue, especially when this particular issue is very significant.

My position is that based on the cumulative effect of the undisputed information available and KDC’s response to it, that it is incredibly inappropriate for KDC to be anywhere near political authority in NZ.

On its own, purchasing the copy of Mein Kampf and other WW2 memorabilia isn’t in my view sufficient evidence for claiming that KDC is a Nazi sympathiser. It might raise questions about his character, however, collectors do in fact purchase these kinds of items and we cannot ignore the news coverage of the raid on KDC’s mansion that referred to him as a collector of sorts.

But I think Giovanni Tiso is right about social norms in Germany and the improbability of German’s finding pleasure in collecting Nazi artefacts or posing for photo’s wearing Nazi memorabilia.  Tiso writes from his experience and understanding as an Italian, the difference between how neo-Nazism is approached in Italy versus Germany:

One of the reprehensible lines used in defence of fondly reminiscing about Italian Fascism is that we weren’t as bad as the Germans. German people don’t have that luxury, and although I cannot speak from any direct knowledge of this, it seems they have kept a firmer grip on what can and cannot be published, what will or will not be sold. Neo-Nazism, of course, exists (as it does outside of Germany), but it’s more effectively cauterised from institutions and the wider society than neo-fascism is in Italy.

Which makes it all the less likely that a German person would wear a Waffen-SS helmet as a joke, or do so out of mere ignorance.

I do have my reservations as to whether there would have been as much public interest or even outcry if only a single event tarnished KDC’s name. I’m sure there would still have been questions that lingered and general suspicions. Interestingly or even perhaps unsurprisingly, many bloggers who support KDC have limited their focus to a single factor attempting to minimise the weight attributed to the claims against KDC, including a post promoted by Vikram Kumar entitled The power of an open mind that hinges only on the fact that KDC owned Mein Kampf.

To my knowledge, KDC has not even made a decent attempt to apologise for his offensive behaviour or comments. Instead he dismisses the claims or events as unremarkable, or offers up excuses and weak justifications for his actions.

It is worrying the support people are willing to throw behind KDC, at his word, without all the necessary information to make an informed decision. Even if the anti-KDC articles and posts do form (in some way) part of a smear campaign, he and his supporters really need to grasp that there is a reason the claims made against him carry so much weight and there is some naivety in thinking that these actual acts together with the alleged acts are politically insignificant.

This post isn’t intended as a smear against KDC and I am by no means convinced that KDC is a Nazi sympathiser and an anti-Semite; however, I’m in no position to say that he isn’t either. I guess thats my point, neither is anyone else who is simply taking him at his word. KDC cannot escape the inferences drawn from the cumulative effect of the undisputed information against him, and as such I think people should be very cautious in deciding whether they will support his political agenda.

On the other hand, The Internet Party has potential as a participatory democratic party, which is desperately needed in NZ politics. On launch it did (and continues to for many) induce a sense of excitement and freshness in approach in stark contrast to the traditional, dry approaches of every other party.

The participatory mechanism for the formulation of policy to calls for assistance in building their wikipedia page is a very progressive start:

and it appears the NZ Greens are impressed to in that they seem to have borrowed from this participatory ideal for their Arts, Culture and Heritage policy:

Other interesting features from the Internet Party are broadening monetary policy debates to include digital currency, and in particular, how a dual currency system might work in NZ, changing or updating copyright protection rules and introducing a Digital Bill of Rights.

However, there is absolutely no way that I could throw my support behind a political party whose founder appears to find some pleasure in collecting or fetishising Nazi memorabilia, and whose membership appear to support him to those ends.

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4 comments

  1. I agree that the Internet Party appears to offer a lot of potential around participatory democracy. However, I don’t think that runs very deep. If you read the party constitution, it gives a lot of power to the party board and the party “visionary”, with very very little power to the members.

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  2. G Tiso’s reasoning over the SS helmet doesn’t follow. Wearing the helmet likely was a joke, a stupid one, but that seems to be part of KDC’s boyish-boorish character. Don’t forget he left Germany under a cloud, he’s a non-conformist, but no evidence that he’s a fascist. Prince Harry also wore a Nazi costume to a party, another silly joke.
    Gordon Campbell’s Scoop column on “Mana and Dotcom” is a good read. I hope Hone is just blowing off steam on capital punishment for drug manufacturers. The Internet Party is a good idea I think, as it gives young people another option.

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  3. Good post! I agree that having him as the driving force behind the party sullies the brand. The internet party philosophy, a continuation of the Pirate Party trend from Europe, is a legitimate philosophy – though in my opinion as a stand-alone philosophy quite flawed. The idea of Dotcom overseeing it makes the party more like an NZ MMP trend of dependency on a strong figure. As for the defence of Dotcom, he’s become symbolic of state surveillance overreach and civil liberties, and certain people want to associate with that symbolism. But it’s like the case of Julian Assange: you can’t rely on the reputation or symbolism of one person to build a philosophy no matter how much merit it might have, otherwise that philosophy could fall with that person.

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