Moana has a beautiful voice, Morgan is a squawker

by the Council of Disobedient Women

Moana Maniapoto, singer, songwriter, musician, activist and progressive voice

When Moana Maniapoto recently lamented that Rachel Stewart was no longer writing for the Herald,  political commentator Morgan Godfery was quick to brag on Twitter, like a schoolyard bully, how proud he was of “driving Rachel Stewart from the Herald”.

What a contrast Morgan Godfery is to Moana Maniapoto. She has for decades backed many freedom struggles. Her music has supported and uplifted the voices of Maori and other indigenous people, of women and of workers.

Moana’s tweet that set off Godfery’s gleeful boast was part of a discussion around free speech. She tweeted:

“I am reminded of Rachel Stewart’s original article inviting comment on a law change most New Zealanders were ignorant of. Her article offended people on Twitter and went nuclear. It shut down discussion on a significant issue, degenerated into an ugly mess and now we’re missing a commentator with a unique voice on a range of issues.”

Moana was referring to a Herald article in which Stewart criticised the use of the term TERF “as a derogatory and offensive label”. Stewart went on to note it “is used to shut down debate on the fraught subject of transgender rights.” She was raising concern about legislation that was unnoticed but had big implications: “Under the proposed new law, a man can call himself a woman without ever medically transitioning (most never do) and insert himself in female-only spaces such as changing rooms, women’s refuges, and prisons. Women would have absolutely no legal recourse to challenge such a move.”

A year ago today that legislation was stopped in its tracks thanks to the campaigning of Speak Up For Women, and other brave people such as Rachel Stewart.

Morgan Godfery may like to identify as being for the oppressed but he shows no understanding of women’s oppression. He also shows no regard to speech restrictions in reinforcing the power of the state and the ruling elites. A commentator worth anything understands that people should be free to politically challenge any idea, and would not be demanding McCarthyist blacklisting.
Anyone with a basic understanding of history knows the working class and oppressed people have historically been denied democratic rights, including free speech.Screen Shot 2020-02-25 at 6.32.49 PM
He could have sought to refute the argument put forward in Stewart’s column, but he did not. Instead, he called for her to be sacked. If Godfery had a serious counter-argument he should have put it. To hear different and opposing views is how people get to understand important political issues. The call for Stewart to be sacked was a particularly vicious action and not one of a commentator worth their salt. Although the paper did not bow to the demands of the censorship brigade they later became less resolute and Rachel chose to walk when they would not publish a piece she wrote on Massey University cancelling Feminism2020 a Speak Up For Women event.

Of course, in society it is inevitable that some ideas will offend and upset because there will always be a plurality of views. A diverse society by definition will see views clash.

Godfery says he’s proud of his part in harassing and suppressing the voice of Rachel Stewart. His enthusiasm for McCarthyist blacklisting is why he is not a voice for the oppressed. If he wants to change that he should listen to Moana.




One comment

  1. The chances of that happening are exactly zero. Godfrey does not recognise class because it includes those he’d like to exclude.

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