Growing up in South Auckland, it was impossible to avoid gangs. I even worked for a few as a 14-year-old. I imagine I still have more of a connection to this world than the average Kiwi: I was recently invited to play bass for a Black Power blues band an old associate was putting together. I politely declined.
With close to 30 years of distance from this world, I was a little taken aback by that offer, but it was a reminder that you never, ever truly leave your hometown. Do I retain a little black book of underworld connections? I know people. Could I, in 2023, be able to purchase a gun on the black market? Even three decades later I imagine I could get my hands on one in 2 days.
I’m not chest-beating when I say any of this. I admitted in an earlier piece to being completely out of my depth in the criminal underworld. It was always a reluctant flirtation, but I wanted to keep up with my peers. I discovered the guitar, and all the other carry-on disappeared for me pretty much overnight.
This isn’t a parading of my credentials before starting on an anti-gang harangue, either. I understand and accept they are woven into the fabric of our, and probably most societies. We will never be rid of them, and I stand against most of National’s anti-gang policies that seem to focus on gang identity rather than actual crimes.
Having to navigate your way around and through the gang world is extremely educational and expanding. For example, if you didn’t have the gift of the gab before getting into a tight encounter with the patched ones, I can promise you you will develop one with surprising speed.
I’m also on record personally supporting the rights of gang members, and would do the same tomorrow.
But I do feel I know what they are, while the faux Left does not. In fact, on this, and many matters concerning the underclass, they wouldn’t know their arsehole from their elbow.
That’s my generous interpretation.
A much less charitable reading is that the faux Left senses recent gang activity could trouble their preferred political party come election time, so they want to play down if not outright dismiss this menace. Commentator Russel Brown has been retweeting every ‘nothing to see here’ tweet he can find in relation to gang activity in Opotiki, overlooking the homocide, a ‘revenge’ arson attack, and a Police seizure of weapons and ammunition.
Why run this cover?
Because gangs only really affect the poor. And why risk one of the most bourgeois-pleasing governments we’ve ever had over the silly bloody poor?
I stumbled upon this tweet which perfectly encapsulates how contemptuous the faux Left today are of our underclass.
The leafy, predominantly white suburbs, where e-bikes roam free and the average dog can fit in a purse, never see, let alone have to contend with gang members. Stray .22 bullets aren’t rocketing through their children’s bedroom windows. They also don’t tend to generate the type of people who become gang members, either – children molded by poverty and neglect. Violence isn’t a form of currency among the Pt. Chev aristocracy. It can’t open doors for you.
I knew a former hitman for a gang who told me that he wasn’t naturally violent growing up and really had to work at it. Because, unloved and unwanted, violent outbursts were the only thing that got him attention. One day it would earn him a patch – and with it a respected place – in a new, close-knit family.
A central irony to this all is that the faux Left won’t stop rabbeting on about the dangers of a far-Right while defending gangs who are actual, real-deal fascists. There’s a glaring clue in how they present: their appropriation of recognised fascist symbols isn’t clever satire. They are also society’s most unscrupulous capitalists – nefarious corporations – dedicated to the worst forms of exploitation, often of women and the young. They are militaristic, viewing themselves as soldiers, and are heavily armed and always ready for war. Their pads are quite literally fortresses.
They are the absolute antithesis of anything Left wing.
But none of this matters, of course. Because they only trouble the poor. It’s when they trouble the security of bourgeois governments that the faux Left seeks any sort of intervention.
While the poor want groceries, and to shield their children from the allure of gang life, the e-bikie gang want power purely because they see it as their right. We need to challenge their propaganda, and possibly remind them that the Left never existed for them. In a word, we desperately need to take our Left back.