Photos from a demo outside MAF

July 28, 2006

From Aotearoa Indymedia:

Animal rights activists protested outside the Ministry of Agriculture offices in Wellington today. The protest was a reaction to the news that Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton is overruling parliamentary legal advice and supporting the use of battery cages.

While it was a small protest called without much notice, it seemed to really upset the Ministry of Agriculture, who seemed offended that we named and shamed David Bayvel of MAF. Several MAF staff came out and took photos and video film of protesters and scuttled back behind the police when challenged.

Despite overwhelming public opposition, Minister of Agriculture, Jim Anderton, has yet again interfered with the democratic process to protect
the profits of the egg industry.

Parliament’s Regulations Review Committee recently ruled that battery cages do not comply with the Animal Welfare Act, and they must be phased out over time. Jim Anderton has overruled the committee and says he will ignore their advice, ignore science, and ignore public opinion. Instead he defends the cruel egg industry and will allow them to continue cramming birds into tiny cages for their entire lives.

Protesters said today “It’s time we stopped tolerating these spineless apologists for the animal abuse industries. Jim Anderton and the rest of the Labour led government have done nothing to help these animals, despite overwhelming public opposition to factory farming for years. The faceless bureaucrats at the Ministry of Agriculture who advise the Minister are also to blame. People like David Bayvel, Director of Animal Welfare at MAF, who hasn’t done a thing for animals since he got the job”.

If you want to really help animals, forget the politicians, forget lobbying, and help us to hit the industry where it hurts – in the pocket.
Boycott battery eggs and get involved in our campaign to expose and disrupt factory farming!

And here’s some photos I took at the demo:

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Photos from Wellington 90 day bill rally

July 28, 2006

Here’s some photos and a short video I took at the Wellington rally against Wayne Mapp’s proposed 90 day no rights for workers bill. Reports on the rally and activities in other parts of the country can be found on Aotearoa Indymedia.

Click here to view a short video of cleaners from the Clean Start campaign drumming before the rally.

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Anarchist Resistance In Israel

July 27, 2006

The following is a brief article I just wrote for the upcoming edition of the monthly Magnetic Fridge Diary, an activist and community events diary in Wellington. The MFD is expanding a bit from this coming issue, and will now also contain more writing on a specific theme each month. Wicked! If you’re in Wellington, you can pick one up from Oblong/The Freedom Shop in Left Bank, or the Central Library or a number of cafes and other spots around the city.

Anarchist Resistance In Israel

The small anarchist movement in Israel is very active in the wider movement of radical anti-occupation activists. There are a number of collectives that organise in many forms, including protests and street theatre, education and direct action. Many have served jail time for refusing their compulsory service in the Israeli army. Additionally, many Israeli anarchists are also involved in the small Israeli animal rights and environmental movements.

The largest group is Anarchists Against The Wall. AATW works with Palestinian communities and organisations to oppose the barrier Israel is building around (and within) the West Bank. It has been involved in a peace camp in the village of Mas’ha in 2003, direct actions tearing down sections of the barrier and more recently weekly demonstrations in the town of Bil’in. It has faced repression from the Israeli army, including one of it’s members being shot in the leg with live ammunition during a demonstration.

Many members of AATW are also involved in a group called Black Laundry, a radical queer anti-occupation group that has been involved in both direct actions in the occupied territories and street theatre within Israel. Black Laundry is currently organising the global Queeruption festival from August 3rd – 13th in Tel Aviv.

Another group with anarchist involvement is the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. ICAHD focuses on preventing the demolition of Palestinian houses by the Israeli army both via legal methods and direct action, and members also help Palestinian communities to rebuild houses that have been destroyed. The group also maintains an infocentre in Jerusalem.

Lastly, Salon Mazal is an anarchist infoshop in Tel Aviv, with a bookshop, library, vegetarian cafe and space for meetings, lectures and film screenings. It is currently in desperate need of funds in order to be able to stay open!


Flyer calls for the murder of queers in Israel

July 13, 2006

With all the insanity currently going on in Gaza (and now Lebanon), it’s easy to ignore domestic insanity in Israel. Haaretz reports today of a flyer circulating in an ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Jerusalem offering a 20,000 shekel (approx NZ$7200) reward for the murder of any queer person.

The flyer, with the heading “Death to the Sodomites”, also included instructions on making firebombs. It comes one month before an international World Pride festival is scheduled to take place in the city. The radical queer DIY Queeruption festival is scheduled for the same time period in Tel Aviv.

“This flyer is part of an incitement and de-legitimization campaign on the part of Mayor [Uri] Lupolianski and the ultra-Orthodox public against the gay and lesbian population in Jerusalem,” said Sa’ar Netanel (Meretz), a member of the Jerusalem city council and a leader of the gay community in Jerusalem.

The situation for queers in Jerusalem is already difficult. The 2006 Queeruption site states

In June 2005, during the last parade that took place in Jerusalem, the homophobic incitement by the Jerusalem municipality soared. With the support of the mayor, more than a thousand people demonstrated against the parade, cursing and throwing objects at the marchers. The day ended with a stabbing and injuring of 3 marchers by an ultra orthodox Jew (he was arrested by the police and is now facing a court case for 3 attempted murders).

The numbers who will attend World Pride and Queeruption are not known. There is a website set up encouraging queers to boycott both events in protest against Israel’s occupation of and cruel practices towards Palestinians.


My cat is an anarchist.

July 6, 2006

So, today, I’m cleaning my room and building some shelves. Currently, all my stuff is just sitting on my floor in a big pile. This was obviously too inviting for my cat, who took it upon herself to relieve herself on it. Twice.

While cleaning, I discovered that

  1. She had pissed on a copy of The Listener, a liberal news & tv guide magazine.
  2. She had shat on a copy of Worker’s Charter, a liberal/marxist newspaper.

She didn’t touch any of the anarchist material in the pile, which probably accounts for about 90% of what was reachable for her.

I think it’s fair to say my cat is an anarchist, no?


Israel steps up attacks on Gaza

July 6, 2006

Edit: This is now also a feature on Global Indymedia. Sweet.

The following is a feature I wrote for Aotearoa Indymedia yesterday.

The already dire situation in the Gaza Strip became even worse over the course of June as Israel stepped up it’s attacks on the poverty stricken territory. Israel has been pounding Gaza with air and artillery strikes, and ground troops have also crossed the border.

According to the independant Palestinian Maan News Agency, 55 Palestinians were killed by the Israel army in June, with 304 injuries. On June 29, Israel also abducted 64 members of the Palestinian parliament. On the night of July 1, Israel also launched an air strike on the headquarters of the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh.

Links: Global Indymedia Feature | Indymedia Israel | Maan News | Haaretz | Commentary on Anarchia blog | Electronic Intifada | Palestine News Network

The situation was escalated by Israel after Palestinian militants kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Sharit on June 25 following a fire fight on the Israeli side of the border near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom. Israel’s response was swift and brutal, with air strikes on Palestinian infrastructure and the invasion of ground forces to the east of Rafah in south Gaza.

Water shortage is also a huge issue in the Gaza Strip. With Gaza’s only power station mostly destroyed by an Israeli air strike on June 28, the pumps which spread water throughout Gaza ceased to function. Dr Majid Abu Ramadan, the Mayor of Gaza, said that because of the cut in electricity, sanitation pumps and garbage collection have stopped functioning leading to mountains of garbage bieng piled high in the streets. He said that this situation will bring yet another machine with which to kill Palestinians, namely diseases.

June 28 also saw attacks on many of the bridges in Gaza, virtually splitting the territory in two and making already difficult travel even harder. All border crossings into Gaza have been closed, meaning much needed food and medicine cannot reach those who need it. On June 2, Israel reopened the Karni crossing for 150 trucks per day for four days, a move which many see as woefully inadequate. Salim Abu Safiyeh, the Director-General of Palestinian Crossings, said on July 3 “that it was imperative that food and other essential items be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip if the world wants to avoid a humanitarian disaster.”

Another weapon Israel has used in it’s latest offensive is fear. Israeli jets are flying across Gaza at all hours, sometimes striking and sometimes not, forcing Gazans to live in a permanent state of anxiety. Additionally, Israeli jets are deliberately creating sonic booms over Gaza, following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s order “to make sure no one sleeps at night in Gaza”. The Maan News Agency states “The continuous sounds of shelling, warplanes and sonic bombs [sic] disrupts normal life both during the day, when it causes shock and fear, but even more so at night, when it induces real terror in Gazan residents who are enduring the sudden, loud and menacing sounds in the darkness.”

Meanwhile in Israel, many anti-occupation activists and groups have voiced their concern and demanded an end to Israeli state terrorism. Renowned journalist Gideon Levy stated in the Haaretz daily newspaper that “A state that takes such steps is no longer distinguishable from a terror organization.” He went on to state that “What we are doing now in Gaza has nothing to do with freeing him [kidnapped soldier Gilad Sharit]. It is a widescale act of vengeance, the kind that the IDF and Shin Bet [Israeli internal intelligence] have wanted to conduct for some time.” Anti-occupation group Gush Shalom has continued it’s call for the removal of Dan Halutz, commander-in-chief of the Israeli army, after having participated with local anarchists in a demonstration outside Halutz’s home earlier in June. The group also held a demonstration of over 100 peace activists outside the Ministry Of Defense within 24 hours of the Israeli incursion beginning.


The Landlord Has Gone Crazy

July 4, 2006

Unless you’ve been living in a hole lately, you’ve probably heard at least a little about all the shit that’s going on in the Gaza Strip at the moment. In an area already in a dire situation, things have got worse. After the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, Israel’s response has been swift, brutal and indiscriminate.

What does Israel want? According to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, he “wants the Palestinians to understand that the landlord has gone crazy.” And crazy is certainly an apt description of recent events. Another would be collective punishment.

Israel has conducted a sustained campaign of aerial and artillery bombardment on the heavily populated Gaza Strip. Unsurprisingly, there have been plenty of civilian casualties. The Israeli army can claim all it likes that it only targets “terrorists”, but when you have over one million people crammed into such a tiny area, it simply isn’t realistic to pretend you’re only effecting the “baddies”. Oh, and firing at least nine missiles into Gaza’s only power station and blowing up bridges (having the effect of splitting Gaza in two) probably doesn’t help your claims much either.

Ahmed Tibi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) says “it is not possible for tanks and mortars to bombard refugee camps and to say: ‘We hurt children and civilians by accident.'” The cartoon I posted yesterday offers a similar thought. It is this naivety that the Israeli army tries it’s best, but accidents happen, that I believe is embraced wholeheartedly by much of what passes for the Israeli left, and I hope to post more on this in the near future, but for now, back to Gaza.

Gazans are in a no win situation. If the groups that kidnapped Gilad Shalit, a young conscript, released him immediately, does anyone actually expect Israel’s offensive would stop? Of course not, it would continue, under the pretence that Israel “has to make sure it doesn’t happen again”. If Shalit is kept hostage, or if he is killed, the offensive will continue again, in some vain hope for retribution. So where do they go?

Olmert’s quote that he wants Palestinians to understand Israel has gone crazy is only one of a number of similar comments from Israeli politicians of late, both in government and opposition. Moshe Sharoni of Gil (the Pensioners Party) stated “We need to obliterate Gaza and call it the City of Murderers, the City of Terrorists.”

Israel has systematically destroyed Gaza over a long period of time. Poverty and disease are rife, unemployment is high and still, Palestinians yearn for self-determination. While I would argue that kidnapping is not the way to go about achieving it, and in fact will likely result in an even worse situation for Gazans, when you are backed into a corner with seemingly no hope, it doesn’t surprise me. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and times are definately desperate in Gaza.


Intentions are everything…

July 3, 2006

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Overcoming normative liberalism in broad-based campaigns.

July 3, 2006

The following is something I scrawled in a notebook a couple of months ago. I hope to continue this post soon with some more thoughts, and hopefully a positive conclusion, which I haven’t yet found.

There seems to be a general consensus that we need to break out of our anarchist ghettos. If we ever want to effect change on a global scale, there needs to be a radicalisation of the public.

In my eyes, there appears to be two key methodologies for achieving this. One is organising in our own geographical and labour communities – ideas like Food Not Bombs, Indymedia, food co-ops, free markets, bike workshops, (preferably syndicalist) unionism and more are appropriate here. These have the double effect of helping those members of our society who are most fucked over in their everyday lives while simultaneously exposing them to radical alternative structures and ways of living.

The second method of radicalisation is by involvement in broader based political groups and campaigns that involve people who have not previously been exposed to anarchist ideas and actions.

And it is this second method that I am struggling with here. The main problem I have encountered in these groups/campaigns is the issue of how to express my ideas, as an anarchist. Frequently, in groups with a large percentage of liberal members, anarchist and radical voices are discouraged in order to “avoid conflict”. Liberal methodologies are made normative and any questioning of them is frowned upon and seen as an unwanted distraction.

So how can we ensure that groups we are involved in don’t force us to choose silence as a prerequisite for participation? To be honest, I have no clue. I’m writing this, in fact, while sitting at a hui where I have silenced myself almost entirely. I don’t feel like my voice is welcome here, so I am instead putting my thoughts to paper.

It saddens me that we, as anarchists, frequently seem to be so ready to abandon our convictions. Surely we believe what we believe for a reason – why then is it not important enough for us to ensure our perspective is heard?


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