Wellington demo in solidarity with people of Oaxaca

October 31, 2006

Around a dozen people went to the Mexican embassy in Wellington on Monday 30th October to express their disgust at the murder of four people in Oaxaca over the weekend and the continuing repression targeted at the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO).

22_2.jpg

The dozen people taped a poster reading “MURDER, RAPE, TORTURE ON YOUR CONSCIENCE” to the glass door of the Embassy, made lots of noise with drums and demanded to get inside, but the Embassy staff kept the doors locked and all but two remained in the lobby.

As those in the lobby decided to leave, the two people inside the embassy attempted to join them, but embassy staff refused to unlock the door until Police arrived.

Around 10 police officers then proceeded to take the details of the two activists inside the embassy and one who had remained in the lobby (a Mexican citizen), before issuing them with verbal trespass notices effective for two years and allowing them to leave.

29_1.jpg

For more, see Aotearoa Indymedia or Global Indymedia. Or join irc.indymedia.org channel #radioappo for live translation of the APPO radio station broadcasting from Oaxaca.


Paramilitaries attack Oaxaca, NYC Indymedia volunteer murdered

October 28, 2006

From Indymedia:

NYC Indymedia volunteer Brad Will killed in attack by Paramilitaries in Oaxaca

Federal Police and Paramilitaries attack the barricades near Oaxaca’s office of justice, in the Calicante municipality. There aresereveal injured and one person dead.

Indymedia New York’s reporter, BRAD WILL, was shot in the chest and die before get the hospital, while Oswaldo Ramírez, photographer for Milenio Diario, has also been shot and is injured in the foot.

THIS IS WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR ABOUT BRAD FROM A PERSON WHO WAS THERE WITH HIM:
– He was at the Santa Lucia Barricade
– He was shot from a distance of 30-40 meters right in the pit of the stomach
– They say it was urban paramilitary priistas in plain clothes who shot him
– People then pulled him away to safety; its confirmed that he’s dead; his body is at the red cross in oaxaca
– 3 additional dead (4 total); 1 member of radio universidad was injured, he went to the hospital in a volkswagen cuz no ambulances would come

All my love and solidarity goes out to the people of Oaxaca and to all those who knew Brad. Much more (including a brief rundown on the buildup and reasons for whats going on in Oaxaca) at Angry White Kid.


Police are honest, for once

October 26, 2006

“[the Police] are the coercive arm of the state that must be able to impose the will of the state on those who would thumb their noses at the laws, and we must have the power and ability to do that.”

That quote, showing surprising honesty, comes from Greg O’Connor, the Police Association President.

It comes in response to the Police’s trial of tasers, a weapon that has killed almost 200 people in the USA alone. Police Commissioner Howard Broad is now saying that if the current taser trial does not result in Police permanently getting these disgusting weapons, there are “strong forces” pushing for all cops to carry guns.

a Police Association conference that was told officers wanted to get in the face of criminals – and wanted liberals to get out of their way.

It’s comments like the above that make me wonder why people can still harbour any illusions whatsoever as to the role of the police – an inherently violent and oppressive force. The majority of Police violence and brutality occurs out of the eye of those Police supporting liberals – it is inflicted upon those who are already most discriminated against in our society. For liberals, it seems, ignorance is always bliss. Maybe comments like these will serve to wake them up, but somehow…I doubt it.


Fascists chased out of Wellington

October 21, 2006

From Aotearoa Indymedia:

Over 100 anti-fascist protesters chased approximately 20 members of the fascist National Front out of Wellington today when they attempted to hold a rally at the Cenotaph.

The day started when Steve Larsen and George Walters, two members of another fascist group, New Right, were spotted across the road taking photos as antifa were gathering. A group of approximately 12 antifa went over to let them know that their presence was not welcome, and they were soon forced to run away.

The National Front, attempting to hold their third annual rally, had hoped to hold it at the Cenotaph next to Parliament, but anti-fascist activists had already occupied the area, blocking entrances with banners and setting up barricades with large plastic road barriers which were found nearby.

Upon arrival, the Police removed the barricades and attempted to move the antifa off the Cenotaph, but the high number of antifa compared to police meant they soon gave up. Upon arrival, the National Front were redirected by Police to Parliament, where they were surrounded by a ring of police.

Over 100 antifa soon followed up the hill to Parliament, repeatedly forcing the police lines back towards the fascists. Sid Wilson, National Front fuhrer, attempted to read a similar speech to the previous two years but was drowned out by chants of “Follow your leader, shoot yourself!”, “National Front, Nazi fascists!”, “More hair than brains”, “Twenty members nationwide”, “No room for racism/fascism”, “Run, run, Nazi scum!”, “Nazi scum your time has come” and more.

One antifa was arrested for assault at Parliament, but was later released and his charge withdrawn, after spending an hour sitting handcuffed in a paddy wagon.

After a short time, the National Front were forced to leave down the hill, where they were surrounded by antifa, harassed and pelted with dumpstered bagels and other projectiles. This continued all the way to Wellington railway station, where antifa again pushed through the police line trying to keep us out of the station so the fascists could escape.

The fascists ran onto a train, which soon took them to the Hutt, where they are staying at Top 10 Hutt Park Holiday Park, the same location they have used for the previous two years.

You can call Hutt Park Holiday Park on 0800 488 872 or email info@huttpark.co.nz and accom@huttpark.co.nz to let them know how you feel about them hosting fascists.

NO ROOM FOR FASCISM! NO PLATFORM FOR FASCISTS!


Holiday camp hosts fascists – Let them know how you feel!

October 20, 2006

Fight Dem Back! press release:

Australasian anti-fascist campaigners Fight Dem Back! are appalled at the hospitality shown to the New Zealand National Front (NZNF) by the Top 10 Hutt Park Holiday Park. The holiday park, part of a nationwide chain, is to host the fascist group for two nights, during which time they will hold their AGM and a rally at the Cenotaph.The NZNF are to stay at the park on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st October, with their AGM to be held on Saturday afternoon.

“It is an absolute disgrace that this park is putting out the welcome mat for a group of organised racists. In recent years NZNF members have been linked to the theft of explosives [1], racist attacks on Somali youths, vandalism of Maori carvings [2] and attacks on Mosques and Jewish cemeteries” said Fight Dem Back! spokesperson Asher Goldman.

“The NZNF have stayed at the same holiday park in previous years, and the owners of the park cannot be in any doubt as to their beliefs. With swastikas and other fascist symbolism tattooed onto many of their bodies, their abhorrent beliefs are there for all to see” said Goldman.

“While the holiday park tries to project a family friendly image, its actions in hosting a violent group of racist thugs such as the NZNF show where its true sympathies lie,” said Goldman. “The NZNF do not deserve to be given a platform from which to spread their vile message of hate.”

// ENDS

NOTES

[1] http://www.fightdemback.org/files/nfexplosives.jpg

[2] http://www.fightdemback.org/archive/people/cullinane-troy/

Take Action!

Call or email the Top 10 Hutt Park Holiday Park and let them know how you feel about them hosting fascists.

Freephone: 0800 488 872

Email: info@huttpark.co.nz, accom@huttpark.co.nz

Call the Top 10 chain head offices in Aotearoa / New Zealand or Australia and demand they take action against Hutt Park Holiday Park.

0800 867 836 (Toll-free within NZ)

1800 121 010 (Toll-free within Australia)


Hidden Camera Found At Protest Site

October 10, 2006

Press release from the Save Happy Valley Coalition:

Hidden Camera Found At Protest Site

camera.jpg

The Save Happy Valley Coalition has discovered several thousand dollars worth of spying equipment on public land, camouflaged near the start of the track into their occupation. The equipment, which included a camera with 27x optical zoom, over one hundred metres of cable, a hard drive and four dry cell batteries, was hidden in bush and would have been able to identify -in detail- every single person who joined and left the legal occupation, which has run for over eight months.

Solid Energy previously admitted to hiring Thompson & Clark Investigations Limited (TCIL) [1] after two TCIL employees were discovered spying on the campsite in February.

“Solid Energy has already invaded our privacy, by employing private investigators to hide out watching our camp. Now they are taking photos of people visiting the occupation. If Thompson & Clark Investigations Limited purchased or set up the camera, they are in breach of the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act” [2] said Save Happy Valley Coalition spokesperson Frances Mountier.

“There is no justification for any employee or contractor of a company owned by the public of New Zealand to spy –with a hidden camera- on people camping on public land.”

“Solid Energy’s behaviour is nothing short of a disgrace. We have found this camera, but how many others have Solid Energy put out to surveil those who disagree with their policy? To ensure our safety, we demand Solid Energy guarantee that there are no further cameras or spying equipment targeted at members of the Save Happy Valley Coalition, and that they will not attempt underhanded tactics such as this at any time in the future.”

“The camera, hard drive and other equipment have been removed from their location and the owners are invited to call and arrange a time to pick it up.”

// ENDS

NOTES

[1] Jo Thompson of Thompson & Clark Investigations Limited can be contacted on (09) 302 0113.

[2] The Private Investigators and Security Guards Act 1974 states:

“Every person, who, in the course of or in connection with the business of a private investigator, -

(a) Takes or causes to be taken, or uses or accepts for use, any photograph, cinematographic picture, or videotape recording of another person; or

(b) By any mechanical device records or causes to be recorded the voice or speech of another person, – without the prior consent in writing of that other person, commits and offence [against this act]“


Social change not climate change!

October 8, 2006

Recently, I participated in a panel discussion in Newcastle, Australia, via the magic of the internet (which isn’t a truck, but rather a series of tubes!). The discussion, on climate change and social change, was part of the Earthling festival which, in turn, was part of This Is Not Art.

Other than me, the panel was all in a hall in Newcastle with an audience of around 70 people. The rest of the panel consisted of people from the Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace Australia, Rising Tide Newcastle, and Friends Of The Earth Australia.

The format was 3-5 minutes at the start to put forward our opinion, followed by questions from the audience for discussion. The question put to the panel was:

While the preliminary effects of climate change are already being felt, the potential effects are enormous. The future of human civilisation, and indeed life on earth, is under threat. If the effects of climate change are unprecedented and profound, so are the implications of solving it, because civilisation as we know it is founded on fossil fuels – the root cause of the problem.

We are now being told that global greenhouse pollution needs to be phased-out almost completely, and fast. Yet even the tiny targets of the Kyoto Protocol are not being met. While governments quarrel over climate change and what to do with about, it seems everybody agrees on one thing – economic growth must be maintained at all costs. The growing global economy demands cheap energy, and lots of it.

How does this expectation fit with the challenge of climate change? Can consumer-capitalism and the growth economy exist in a zero-emissions world? And if dealing with climate change really does require radical social change, do we really have time to achieve that?

What follows are some (not all) of the things that I talked about during the discussion (which went for 2 hours). These are typed up and expanded from notes that I’d written for myself, so excuse the scattered nature.

The first question is very important to decide the path from here. Capitalism/the growth economy are incompatible with environmental sustainability. In fact, wholesale environmental destruction is frequently GOOD for the economy. One of the other panelists mentioned Richard Branson’s announcement that he’ll be donating money to help combat climate change – at the same time, he announces tourist flights to space lasting just 2 and a half hours! Sheer hypocrisy.

Kyoto has shown that Governments are unwilling and unable to seriously fight climate change – despite being totally inadequate, its targets are still not being met! Focusing on a national level is never going to accomplish anything – climate change is a global problem that requires global solutions. Looking at it on a national scale simply enables emmission denial – the idea that one shouldn’t be held responsible for emissions created from the burning of fossil fuels that were extracted simply because they were burnt in another country.

Equal to the futility of viewing climate change through a nationalistic framework is the futility of viewing the solutions at an individual level – this is frequently the mode of thinking for those who have power in current society and are unwilling to relinquish it, such as Al Gore. Buy a hybrid car, buy energy saving lightbulbs, buy a solar panel for hot water heating, buy this, buy that. This only results in increasing the pressure on those who are least able to handle it – placing demands such as these on people who are already financially struggling (due to capitalism) is tantamount to demanding they starve. On top of that, most emissions come not from individual lifestyles, but from industry and agriculture, which cannot be seriously adjusted by anything but systemic change.

Looking at solutions to climate change on an individual level also mistakingly makes the assumption that all are equally responsible for causing climate change, and that all are going to feel its effects equally. This could not be further from the truth. Those who are affected the most are generally those who contribute among the least, and are among the least able to cope. A previous speaker mentioned the Carteret Islands, who’s inhabitants are about to be evacuated to Papua New Guinea as their homes are fast being covered by rising sea levels. To quote one resident of the Carterets:

‘“We are frustrated, and we are angry at the same time. We are victims of something that we are not responsible for. We believe that these islands are ours, and that our future generations should not go away from these islands.”

“I think it’s about time these industrialized countries realized that these island countries in the Pacific are taking the toll. We are bearing the brunt of all these gas emissions. Millions and millions of dollars are spent on wars all over the world. Can they save people like ourselves?”’

Industralisation and centralisation (of production, power and money) have destroyed the environment and alienated society from it. A radically decentralised and democratised society would reconnect people with ecology and the effects of their lifestyles on their immediate environment – thus producing a higher level of environmental consciousness and simultaneously giving people the power to live environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

The second question is harder to answer – depending on which studies you read, we’ve either reached the point of no return, we are close, or we are still decades away. Regardless of which you believe (if any), however, to me the question seems irrelevant to deciding where to go from here – If it is too late, we should work for radical social change in order to make the most of our remaining time on earth. If it is not too late, we should work for radical social change in order to save the earth. Either way, we still must work for radical social change. It is better to act now and find out later that it was too late, than not to act and find out later that we still had time.

I closed with the thought that the biggest barrier to radical social change is not those who do not think it is desirable, but rather those who desire it but deny its possibility.

The event closed with each panelist suggesting 5 things that those present could do. My suggestions were:

  1. Educate yourself about climate change – the causes, the effects, the facts and figures and the personal stories
  2. Once you know what to look for, keep an eye on the news, and, perhaps more importantly, try to notice what misses the news and why. The internet is your friend.
  3. Get active! Work with groups fighting for environmental and social justice, for radical social change.
  4. Talk – to friends, family, strangers on the street. Let your passion ignite the passion of others.
  5. Don’t forget – don’t let climate change become another fad that is forgotten about by most – forgetting will not make it go away! Don’t put it in the too hard basket.

Self-Imposed Vegan Exile

October 1, 2006

The fourth Carnival Of Empty Cages is about to hit us and I thought I’d contribute to this one.

A few months ago now, I moved into a new flat. I had long given up finding a vegan flat, and eventually realised I’d probably have to go back on my promise to myself that I wouldn’t live with meat-eaters. That horrible smell of burning flesh that I thought I’d never have to live with again? If I wanted to have somewhere to live, I figured I’d probably have to deal with it. So, I went to visit a flat that seemed to have everything else going for it – big backyard, nice flatmates with good taste in music, walking distance from most places I’d want to go. It was great – and then the discussion turned to food, and my heart sunk:

“We all cook together, is that going to be alright with you?”

Then, just as I began to respond that I was vegan and thus wouldn’t be able to buy and cook food together with them, one of them added:

“Oh, and we’re vegetarian, I hope you don’t mind.”

Brilliant! I told them I was vegan, and they came out with even better news:

“That’s sweet, we hardly ever drink cows milk anyway, we all prefer soy. I reckon we could cook vegan real easily.”

And so it came to pass – my flat isn’t fully vegan, they do add cheese to their meals sometimes (after dishing up my portion), but by and large its pretty easy, and they’re really good about it – in fact, when friends came over for dessert one night and bought a non-vegan cake with them, one of my flatmates baked a vegan cake just so I wouldn’t go without!

I could almost get used to this…and, it seems, I have. Thinking back over the last few weeks, I can think of a number of occasions where I have declined invitations – to friends houses for dinner, to parties and other things, simply because I don’t want to put up with being around burnt flesh (and to a lesser extent other animal extracts). I appear to have put myself into a self-imposed vegan exile, away from my non-vegan friends and away from situations where I know I’ll find myself having to say

“No thanks, I don’t eat meet/cheese”

It’s not that I don’t feel confident in my own reasons for being vegan – when I feel the need to, I can talk for long periods of time about them. It’s simply that, for the most part, I can’t be bothered, and unfortunately, most people don’t get the hint when you wear “I love tofu” badges. There’s only so many times you can repeat something before it begins to lose all meaning.

So, how to get around this? Well, I’ve only just realised I’m doing it, and, to be honest, at this stage I’m not sure it’s even a bad thing – I definately need more time to myself, and if this gives me an excuse to get it, I’m gonna keep making the most of it. But I’ll throw the question out there – have any vegan readers of this blog encountered something similar?


Grassroots Resistance in Israel & Palestine

October 1, 2006

Just over a week ago, I posted the topics for a teach-in that I spoke at. It went really well, there were some interesting talks and I was really happy with how mine was recieved, given it was the first time I’d spoken on that specific topic.

Anyway, my talk was based on a powerpoint presentation I made, which you can download by clicking here. Thanks to Anarchobase for hosting it! I also showed a 5 minute video of one of the weekly protests in Bil’in, which is available on Mishtara.org.

I’m not going to type up my speech, as…well, I kinda made it up as I went along, to be honest, using the presentation to guide the topics and groups I spoke about. If anyone wants to know more about anything in the presentation though, feel free to ask questions in the comments, and if there’s enough maybe I’ll write something more detailed. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, a short post of mine from a little while ago on anarchist resistance in Israel may be worth reading.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers