Monday, March 28, 2005



Sedition by Example XI: James Kellman

(A continuing protest against the existence of ThoughtCrime in New Zealand law)

Poster distributed in Wellington, July 1940:

Fraser, Mason and Semple - Guilty of

MURDER!

A wave of horror has swept Wellington on receiving the following word from Keva Bronson :

"24/6/40 - We are nearing Panama and I am writing to you for all members of our organisation. Many thanks for all they did for Golda (Mrs. Bronson) and myself. I think they understand how much we appreciate it.

I am not writing much except that Golda lost the baby five days ago. The distress caused her by our "friends" Peter and Robert had its effect. There was no doctor on board and not even another woman, and Golda and I had to manage with the assistance of the steward. Golda had a bad time."

Keva Bronson was seized and, without trial placed on board the ship "Port of Wellington", for deportation because of his anti-war activities. Mrs. Bronson chose to go with him rather than remain here, unprovided for, and facing the permanent or indefinite separation from her husband.

We recall to you that leaflets and deputations at the time of the deportation publicised the fact that Mrs. Bronson, an expectant mother, was being placed on a boat without a doctor, and had, after a period of great anxiety, to travel over war swept seas.

Mr. Fraser as Prime Minister, Mr. Mason as Attorney-General and Mr. Semple because of his personal antagonism to Bronson, which was in part responsible for his deportation (Semple referred to Bronson as "a dirty East London Jew"), are directly indictable for wilful murder of a human life.

These twentieth century cannibals deserve the greatest scorn and contempt from all workers and humanitarians!

Fraser assured women in Wellington that Mrs. Bronson would be alright - he assured women in Auckland that there was a doctor on the boat.

Perhaps it is not surprising that those gentlemen who occupy so much of their time in organising the destruction of human life have no sympathy for the creation of life.

MOTHERS ! Would you entrust your son's life to these people?

Protest by letter, by telephone and by telegram to private residence of Ministers and direct to the Government! Demand to know where the Bronsons are now!

ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE PEACE AND ANTI-CONSCRIPTION COUNCIL.

The poster's author, James Kellman, was prosecuted for sedition and jailed for twelve months.

(Source: Out in the Cold: Pacifists and conscientious objectors in New Zealand during World War II, by David Grant, Reed Methuen, 1986)

Correction: I have been led astray by my source; as explained here, Kelman was not prosecuted for sedition, but subversion - a slightly different (though equally odious) "crime".

3 comments:

I'm amazed there was an anti-war movement in WW2 in NZ. Were these people crazy? That period of time was incredibly dangerous and anyone agitating against the war could have seriously undermined the leadership. I can certainly understand why the person was jailed, probably just to shut them up.

Posted by looke : 3/28/2005 10:41:00 AM

Looke: of course there was an anti-war movement, and they were suppressed under draconian emergency regulations. But Kellman wasn't prosecuted for sedition for criticising the war or encouraging people to refuse to fight - he was prosecuted for criticising the government over an embarassing deportation case.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/28/2005 11:22:00 AM

Oh, ok. It happened during WW2, was published by the anti-war movement, but was not directly relating to anti-war. I'm still amazed there was an anti-war movement at all.

Posted by looke : 3/28/2005 11:32:00 AM