Since he launched the Mana Party last Saturday his political enemies have been hurling abuse and insults at Hone Harawira . Given that he himself has admitted he can fly off the handle much too easily, he has been remarkably restrained in the face of what has amounted to a campaign of personal vilification and downright character assassination.
He hasn't quite become 'a face of evil' but the political establishment are definitely working on it.
He has, among other things, been described as a 'racist', 'untrustworthy', 'extreme', and a ' Osama bin Laden supporter'.
On his Radio Live show yesterday the right wing Michael Laws flatly described Harawira as 'stupid'. Clearly oblivious to his own hypocrisy he then castigated Harawira for describing neoliberal zealot Don Brash as a 'fascist'.
It seems that his political enemies can call Hone anything they like but if he dares to fire a few criticisms back he's, once again, 'that nasty Maori who hates whites'.
The suggestion that Harawira is a defender of bin Laden's terrorist campaign is particularly odious but demonstrates the level that Mana's enemies will stoop to to marginalise the Mana Party and silence its political message.
As far as I can ascertain, only Martyn Bradbury on Tumeke! has actually reported what Harawira said in an interview which was:
'...they [bin laden's family] mourn for a man who fought for the rights, the land and the freedom of his people..'
Bradbury has also pointed out, which I'm sure will be ignored by the corporate media, that the New Zealand Herald deliberately misquoted Harawira and published that he personally 'celebrated Bin Laden's life'
The corporate media have also chosen to ignore the fact that for much of his life Osama was regarded as a 'freedom fighter' by the west and funded his military campaign against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Osama bin Laden was a creation of the United States
I suspect that some of the same people who are now accusing Harawira of supporting Al Qaeda would also have once described Nelson Mandela as a 'terrorist'.
Before anyone accuses me of wearing rose tinted glasses as regards to Harawira I will point out that I am not a supporter of bourgeois Maori nationalism but, equally, I am not going to stay silent when a campaign has been mounted to take out the messenger rather than honestly debate with the message. Especially when that messenger has some good things to say.
And its not just the usual suspects who are trying to take out the Mana Party but also the bankrupt leaderships of the Labour Party and the Green's (one of them at least).
Both Labour and the Green Party, thanks to a corporate media that have connived to support the charade, have been able to pass themselves off as 'centre left' and even 'left wing'.
But, boy, look what happens when a real left wing party arrives on the scene. The new boy on the block is instantly set upon. Suddenly the 'old boys club' is in danger of being outflanked.
Goff, the man who tells us there is 'no alternative' to the free market and neoliberalism, says that neither he or the Labour Party will work with the Mana Party because its values and core policy have been shaped by Hone Harawira.
Putting aside the fact that its untrue that Harawira has decreed Mana's core policy, what policies and values is Goff so upset about. What 'extremism' should we all be worried about? This is from the Mana website:
Mana is also seen as the natural home to a growing number of ordinary Kiwis cast adrift by this National government, and despairing of Labour’s inability to provide a viable alternative.
Government is giving tax breaks to the rich, bailing out failed finance companies, selling off our natural resources, turning prisons into private profit ventures, and spending $36 million on a yacht race on the other side of the world, while ordinary New Zealanders are starving, workers are being forced into slavery by the 90-day bill, and Maori rights are being drowned in the Raukumara Basin.
In the land of milk and honey, those massive inequalities are unacceptable.
To me, this philosophy seems to be the basis of a left social democratic manifesto that the Labour Party once aspired to before Roger Douglas and friends (including Phil Goff) arrived on the scene, quoting Milton Friedman.
Similarly little Russel Norman, a former socialist, thinks its 'old hat' to try to build a left wing political movement in this country that represents ordinary New Zealanders rather than the wealthy and the corporates.
Norman, of course, subscribes to neoliberalism and believes in the 'power of the market' (his words). His failed neoliberal policies, of course, have their origins in the late 18th century.
Dr Norman - people are looking for something progressive and forward-looking that actually is oriented to the current century rather than the eighteenth century.
The attacks on Hone Harawira and Mana have been intensely hostile because a potential political force has emerged that is not prepared to buy into the cosy neoliberal consensus that has existed in this country for nearly three decades.
The Mana Party says its time for real change - not the kind of 'change' that sees Tweedledee taking over from Tweedledum every few years.