Nov 3, 2011

Stand Up - a lesson in political expression

Mana has released a brilliant piece of electioneering. Stand Up is a fusion of reggae, rap and hip hop from Genocide and Rah. The song is an outstanding example of political expression. The message is immediately apparent – stand up and join the political process – and the subtext is easily understood too – join/vote Mana for change. Given the genre (reggae/hip hop) the song is clearly aimed at a younger demographic. One of Mana’s focuses is the youth vote. So far the movement has relied on the fact young people are naturally drawn to Hone’s “rebel” persona and anti-establishment rhetoric and policy, but until now the movement hadn’t really taken many active steps to encourage young people to participate in politics (I should clarify that when I refer to young I don’t mean all young people - mainly Maori and Pasifika and, but to a lesser extent, poor Pakeha). The lyrics are reminiscent of the protest songs of the 80’s. The song speaks of the 1% “taking our land” (aimed at Maori voters), the “streets” (aimed at urban youth), but I particularly enjoyed the line “the left and right paradigm obey the corporations”. The song creates a clear dichotomy – it’s us against them. The 99% vs the 1%. Now I don’t think this song is going to take off, I do think it will play a part in encouraging more young people to vote Mana though, but it’s not going to generate a mass movement.

(Sorry I'm having trouble embedding the video so you can follow this link instead).

UPDATE: Josh points out in the comments section that there is no authorisation statement - this could spell trouble.


  1. There's no authorization statement on that song or on the profile, and it is pretty clearly an election advertisement. I'm thinking a fine could be incoming.

  2. Tru nada. Bah it's a protest song that talks about the 'mana movement' not the Mana Party

  3. 'Authorization'? Must be American. In any case the purpose of the Electoral Act is to ensure spending limits are adhered to. I'm sure you can make arguments about whether promoters in S.204F extends beyond the party candidate and executive, and whether placing political material on a personal youtube of facebook page counts as advertising for the purpose of the above act.

  4. Tis a worrying thought, its a brilliant video that captures the feel of young, urban angst and push-back really well. I did wonder if it could pass as movement rather than party oriented, but knowing the machinations of election rules and regulations I'm picking not. Could be an issue on election day too, when promotional material is supposed to be absent - is this possible with a video? Modern technological challenges to antiquated 'democratic' practices (I'm reminded here of the difficulties of court-imposed name suppression in an internet age), this could get interesting!



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