Graffiti, boot camps and the hatred of youth

January 30, 2008

The bogeyman for the 2008 general election seems to have been decided – “wayward” youth. Those who have dared to have the gall to have not grown past age 18 yet can expect to be the recipient of constant attacks from politicians and the media for the rest of the year. Like immigrants and solo mothers before them, youth (some of whom no doubt fit into the other two categories as well) are a seemingly easy target for the rich, white and powerful, as they seek to increase their power and influence across New Zealand society.

In the last two days, first opposition leader John Key, and later Prime Minister Helen Clark have both laid out their own attacks on youth. Key went first, with plans including lowering the minimum age for offenders to appear before the Youth Court, compulsory army (and possibly private contractor) run boot camps for under 16 year olds convicted in the Youth Court, and electronic movement monitoring ankle bracelets for youth “offenders”. It is the boot camps that have attracted the most attention. Dubbed Fresh Start, they would last for a year and include 3 months of residential detention. It is, in effect, a return to compulsory military training for some youth, and could, once established, conceivably lead to a return to compulsory military training for all New Zealand youth, a policy which has been mentioned several times in different quarters over the past few years (most notably from the NZ First Party). Along with the attacks on youth, Key’s plans also include attacks on parents, with the Youth Court able to force parents of youth who go through the court system to attend parenting classes. Lastly, Key announced that under a National Government, youth who left school at 16 or 17 and did not enter another registered education provider or find work would be unable to receive any form of benefit.

Prime Minister Helen Clark’s plans, less heavy on detail thus far, include raising the minimum school leaving age to 18. John Key’s speech seemed to rest on making the streets safe for “people like you and me”. Given that Key is New Zealand’s richest MP, somehow I don’t think the “you” referred to anyone I know. Press commentator Colin Espiner also noticed this, pointing out:

Key also blew some not-so-subtle dog whistles to the mostly over-50, white, middle-class New Zealanders sitting in the audience, worried about their personal safety, with his reference to people being randomly beaten to a pulp as they walked home.

Those in the audience did not actually look like they walked anywhere…

Meanwhile, the complaints about street art in general, and tagging in particular, reached a new level in recent days with the stabbing murder of 15 year old Pihema Cameron in Manurewa by 50 year old businessman Bruce Emery. Cameron was apparently about to tag on Emery’s fence, when Emery burst out, chased him with a knife and stabbed him to death. Since the murder, discussion in the media and talkback radio has revolved around the supposed evilness of tagging and understanding (and even some support!) for Emery’s actions. Christchurch City Councillor, Barry Corbett, was quoted in today’s Press as saying “If I was on the jury, I would let him get away with it”. Jo critiques the liberal response to the murder on National Radio on her blog Stanselen, which is well worth a read.

It could be a very tough year for under 18s, and, regardless of who ends up winning the election, it looks like some serious new anti-youth policies will be enacted. Lastly, one simple lesson to remember:

street art
THIS IS ART.
target
THIS IS A TARGET FOR YOUR ANGER.

“Urewera 16″ Arrestee Launches Book In Christchurch

January 16, 2008
“Urewera 16″ Arrestee Launches Book In Christchurch
PRESS RELEASE: Katipo BooksFOR IMMEDIATE USE

Anarchist, author and “Urewera 16″ arrestee Valerie Morse will be in Christchurch on Friday 18th January to launch her book, Against Freedom: The war on terrorism in everyday NZ life , an in depth examination of the legislation and climate created by the Labour Government in the name of the “war on terrorism”. The launch will take place at 7:30pm on Friday 18th at The Green Room, 16 Bedford Row.

Against Freedom, published by Rebel Press [1], was released in 2007, before Morse and 15 others arrest in supposed “anti-terror raids” and contains predictions that eerily parallel what has occured since the raids of October 15th.”It is clear that political dissent is now more perilous and more treacherous than before September 11th. Given the new counter-terrorism laws, the possibility of being not only labelled a terrorist in the media, but prosecuted as one, is a reality. By casting political dissent as terrorism, the government, its agencies, the media, and other vested interests assault our freedom of expression” [2]

The book launch is presented by Katipo Books [3], a Christchurch based workers co-operative online distributor and publisher of radical political books. Katipo is proud to be able to bring Morse to Christchurch, where people can hear about her book, and her experiences during the raids, court hearings and her month in prison directly from her mouth. Katipo Books will also have copies of Can’t Hear Me Scream, a 14 page zine written by Morse while she was in prison, available for sale.

Notes

1: Rebel Press was set up in response to the dearth of local radical literature and the overabundence of, particularly, American literature. In an effort to begin talking about issues and conditions unique to Aotearoa and the wider South Pacific they have started encouraging the writing of local content, and publishing it as cheaply as possible. www.rebelpress.org.nz

2: Against Freedom: The war on terrorism in everyday NZ life, page 82

3: Katipo Books: www.katipo.net.nz


2007 – Indymedia Highlights

January 16, 2008

An Aotearoa Indymedia feature that I’ve been working on for a few days, and just finished…

European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, International Heliophysical year and Year of the Dolphin2007, what a year! Here are some of the stories that YOU published on your local Indymedia Centre in 2007. As always, the struggle continues! [ Highlights 2006 | 2005 ]

Your Aotearoa Indymedia Crew

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October 15th Raids
In a wave of massive state repression in Aotearoa / New Zealand, 300+ para-military police carried out dawn raids at houses around the country on Monday October 15th 2007, making 17 arrests. Search warrants were carried out in Auckland, Whakatane, Ruatoki, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington and in Christchurch in the South Island. The police wanted to charge 12 people under the Terrorism Suppression Act (TSA). A massive solidarity campaign formed around Aotearoa and the world to support the activists in jail and after almost 4 four weeks in jail, the Solicitor-General, David Collins, announced that he would not be granting permission to the police to lay charges under the TSA. Everybody got released on bail. However, 16 people – people from Tūhoe, Te Atiawa, Maniapoto, Pakeha; indigenous activists, anarchists, environmental and anti-war activists – are still facing charges under the Arms Act. More information: The Struggle continues… | October15thSolidarity.info | Te Mana Motuhake ō Tūhoe | State Repression in Aotearoa

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Tino Rangatiratanga – Tangata Whenua

In Janurary, Tūhoe set up a blockade at Paekoa Rd in Ruatoki. On Waitangi Day, the Tino Rangatiratanga did not fly on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. However, it flew around Aotearoa and the world (and in May was flying/jumping on/off the bridge). In April, Ngati Haua was occupying their ancestral Maunga Whakakoro in the far northto stop it from being alienated from the Hapu forever. Maori Revolutionary Syd Jackson died in September. Thousands of people attended his tangi in Hastings. Michael Cullen had to be protected from angry protesters after being verbally abused and jostled at Taemaro Bay in December. Ngati Aukiwa has been fighting for their land for years and oppose they oppose the Office of Treaty Settlements negotiations with the Ngatikahu ki Whangaroa Trust Board. In late December, activists started to gather in the Urewera to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the occupation at Waikaremoana.

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Pacific

In February, Australian composer Martin Wesley-Smith’s piece Papua Merdeka (Free Papua) was dropped from the Asia Pacfic Festival in Wellington after pressure from the Indonesian Embassy. May saw the relese of The Nu Face of Youth Rebellion, a film produced for Aotearoa Indymedia on the uprising in Tonga in late 2006. An Indonesian Military officer started a course in NZ in May, sparking protests from human rights activists. The same month, Auckland University students protested against a visit by former Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas. Five Tongan People’s Representatives were charged with sedition in June. June also saw progress towardsa Free Trade Area of the Pacific. While the G8 met, the people of Tuvalu becamethe global face of climate change. As the Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory in Australia came under renewed attack, people mobilised to support them across Aotearoa – Resistance is Existence: Aotearoa stands in solidarity against Australian Racism, International Day of Action: Stop the Genocide on Stolen Aboriginal Land & “Stop the Genocide!” – Protests Across Aotearoa. Helen Clark visited Jakarta in July, and ignored the abuses taking place in West Papua at the hands of the Indonesian Government. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer came to Auckland to speak to the National Party in July, and was met with protests. August saw Fijian public sector workers on strike despite intimidation and death threats from the military government. Meanwhile, Indonesian Police used guns to threaten a West Papuan activist who toured Aotearoa in 2006. As the US-NZ Partnership Forum prepared to meet in Auckland, AIMC carried analysis of the effects of the policies it promotes in the Pacific.

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Animal Rights

Animal Liberationists were active early in 2007, while in February the Sea Shepherd confronted Japanese whalers. In March Animal rights activists prepared to protest against a meat conference, which took place in April. The Open Rescue Collective exposed a pit of chicken corpses with a live bird inside, while Auckland Animal Action protested against the start of duck hunting season in May. In June, an AAA activist was arrested for using a megaphone at an anti-fur protest. October saw a Christchurch Open Rescue group publicise their first rescue of battery hens.

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Workers Rights

In April, sacked hotel workers fought back, while the EPMU and Labour colluded to sell out Air NZ workers. May Day was celebrated across Aotearoa in May, and a Subway franchise was taught the power of worker solidarity. Meanwhile, Filipino unionist Dennis Maga went on a national speaking tour and Protests haunted the tour of Phillipines President Arroyo in June. The exploitation of migrant workers was exposed, while South Auckland hotel workers fought against poverty wages, a demonstration in support of Rainbows End workers was held and coal miners across Aotearoa went on strike all before the end of June. July saw 800 hospital cleaners locked out after strike action and Aotearoa Indymedia provided updates throughout the lockout – Day 5: 800 Pickets Resisting – Your Support Needed! & Day 6: “Give Spotless the Boot!”. In August Auckland hotel workers were locked out, while the year finished with Maritime workers taking the fight to gates of Port of Napier.

(Anti-)Patriarchy

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Convicted rapists Brad Schollum and Bob Shipton were found not guilty of raping another woman in March, with protests held across the country, and as International Women’s Day came, more nationwide demonstrations demanded justice for rape survivors. September saw the reinvigoration of the Anarcha-Feminist Network of Aotearoa.

Environment

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The Save Happy Valley Coaltion continued its fight in January, while the Coalition began a second occupation, at Mt. Augustus, in February. The Department of Conservation supported Solid Energy against the Coalition, while Solid Energy announced they would sue SHVC in March. That same month, a reclaim the streets was held in Auckland. Save Happy Valley blockaded a coal train in April in Christchurch, while Rio Tinto loomed over the South Island in June. Solid Energy’s legal battle against Save Happy Valley continued in July, while in September, Genesis announced plans to decomission the Huntly coal power plant.

Indymedia

Aotearoa Indymedia had 113 features and many more newswire articles and comments in 2007. The year began with a convergence in Auckland at the start of February. Meanwhile, more mass media mergers and more lies were on the way. March saw AIMC host a “Boot Camp” in Wellington. A report into news media ownership in New Zealand was released in August, while September saw the announcement of the first ever Aotearoa Indymedia Newsreal, which should be finished and released in the coming weeks.

Peace

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January saw the 20th annual Waihopai Spybase protest, while in February it was announced that Australian Prime Minister John Howard would be heading to Wellington. When he arrived, he was met with an angry protest by Peace Action Wellington and friends. The repression in East Timor was discussed in March, while the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq was marked by protests across the country. The role of Kiwi troops overseas was raised in April, including in protests at ANZAC Day ceremonies. Anti-ANZAC riots rocked East Timor in August, while in October, delegates to a weapons conference could not escape protesters.

Community

Otautahi Food not Bombs resisted police in January, while May saw the launch of Aotearoa’s first online radical bookshop and Food not Bombs and Christchurch students reclaim public space. May also saw the exposure of corporate spies inside two Wellington and one Christchurch based activist group. Protests were held after Mercury Energy cut off power to an Auckland woman, causing her death in July. An anarchist conference was announced for September in Auckland. 14 were arrested in Christchurch attempting to save a youth space in August, and councils were urged to implement user-pays for water. September saw protests against the US-NZ Partnership Forum in Auckland.

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Global

March saw the eviction of a Danish social centre, provoking riots in Copenhagen. That same month, mobilisations were held across Central and South America against George W Bush’s tour. May saw police repression at the ASEM protest in Hamburg, Germany, while the Burmese people rose up against military rule in October. December saw 25 people sentenced to 110 years jail over charges from the 2001 G8 protest in Genoa, and the year finished with the Lakota Sioux declaring sovereign nation status.

Check out www.indymedia.org for more stories from all around the world.

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Prison and Borders

In April, Hossein (Thomas) Yadegary, an Iranian refugee, was released from Mt Eden Prison after 30 months inside. Protests continued in May in support of two other Iranian refugees inside Mt Eden. In May, the New Zealand Immigration Service conducted dawn raids in Northland. June saw protests in support of the imprisoned Iranian refugees continue, and the tour of former Black Panther leader Angela Davis. Ali Panah, one of the imprisoned Iranian refugees, went on a hunger strike, and Aotearoa Indymedia provided updates – Dying Ali Panah kept in handcuffs – Day 34, HUNGER STRIKE DAY 49: SATURDAY PROTEST TO FREE ALI PANAH & Ali Panah: “Starving for Justice” – Seven activists arrested at Mt.Eden. After Panah’s release on bail on September 3, the focus turned towards freeing the last of the Iranian refugees, Amir Mohebbi, who had been in jail for 3 & 1/2 years. In October, Mohebbi was also released on bail. In November, an Aotearoa anarchist was arrested in Sydney on year old rioting charges stemming from the G20 protest in Melbourne. After initially being held in custody, he was granted bail after a few days.

p.s. Yes, we know – everything is connected! But just for the sake of putting stories into one box only, the struggle of Fijian workers, for example, ends up in the ‘Pacific’ section and not under ‘Workers Rights’.


Genetically modified trees cut down near Rotorua

January 16, 2008

A quick feature I wrote this morning for Aotearoa Indymedia:

Genetically modified trees cut down near Rotorua

Anti-GM protesters have cut down 19 genetically modified pine trees at a research site near Rotorua. The attack happened at some stage over the weekend.

A 1.5 metre hole was found along the fenceline, made of 3.5 metre high electrified wire. The crop destroyers are assumed to have burrowed through that hole before chopping down the trees, almost 1/4 of the 80 trees on the site.

Police found a spade with a “GE Free New Zealand” sticker on it leaning up against the fence. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Rotorua site was the same one protested against in 2005, where four people were arrested, one of whom was also pepper sprayed by Police.


Brackenridge Estate strike – Day 2

January 12, 2008

Just been out on the picket line supporting these folks, came back and wrote this (and uploaded the photos) for Aotearoa Indymedia and LibCom.

Brackenridge Estate strike – Day 2

The second day of the strike at Brackenridge Estate, a Ministry Of Health run complex for the care of intellectually disabled adults, saw around 40 workers and their supporters on the picket lines, under shade from the 30 degree plus heat. Friday, the first day of the 48 hour strike, saw around 100 people on the lines.

The Brackenridge workers do not receive any overtime rates despite frequently working extra shifts to cover staffing shortages. They also do not receive any evening rates and only a minimal weekend allowance. Most of the 140 striking workers are members of the National Union of Public Employees, with some members of the NZ Nurses Organisation.

On Friday, a plumbing contractor showed his solidarity with the striking workers by refusing to cross the picket line. Saturday afternoon saw a scab, not-so-affectionately nicknamed Wayne “The Wanker” speed down the driveway into the Estate at an estimated 80km/h, almost hitting a young girl in the process. Brackenridge Estate management have been sleeping in sleeping bags in their offices since Thursday night, and won’t leave the Estate until the strike is over.

Photos: Day 2

Links: Callout for support | National Union of Public Employees | NZ Nurses Organisation


Christchurch Book Launch – Against Freedom: The War on Terrorism in Everyday New Zealand Life, Friday 18th

January 9, 2008
Valerie Morse, author, activist, and one of the “Urewera 16” arrestees is soon to be in Christchurch to launch her book Against Freedom: The War on Terrorism in Everyday New Zealand Life. She will speak about the “War On Terror” and her experiences during the raids and in prison.Friday 18th, 7:30 @ The Green Room, 16 Bedford Row
Against Freedom: The war on terrorism in everyday NZ lifeThis book details the agenda against freedom, from the legislative changes since 9/11 to the suppression of dissent and the media manipulation of public understanding, in order to provide an alternative view of what is happening and what can be done to stop the war.

Also available at the launch will be Can’t Hear Me Scream, a 14 page zine written by Valerie while she was in prison, detailing life in prison, the bureacracy and arbitrary exercise of power, and how those on the outside can support those trapped within.

The book launch is presented by Katipo Books, who will have a large selection of other radical books and zines for sale at the event. Drinks and snacks provided. Or order online, www.katipo.net.nz


About October15thSolidarity.info

January 5, 2008

 Tena koutou,

:: 1. ABOUT October15thSolidarity.info
:: 2. HOW YOU CAN HELP
:: 3. CONTACT


:: 1. ABOUT October15thSolidarity.info

October15thSolidarity.info is an online project in solidarity with those affected by the “anti-terror” raids in Aotearoa/New Zealand in October 2007. Even though those affected by the October 15th Raids will not be facing charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act, they still face trials that could take years.

We hope to provide a platform to help support those affected by the raids and their wider communities. We also hope to strengthen the networks of existing and future support groups.

:: 2. HOW YOU CAN HELP

* WRITE *

We want to publish your NEWS, EVENT ANNOUNCEMENTS and ANALYSIS around the raids. As a long term project, we are especially interested in exposing the continuation of colonisation in Aotearoa and the parallels around the world.

We also hope to build an archive of information that will be useful long after the current wave of state repression is behind us.

If you or your group have anything you would like to publish, then please get in touch with us.

* TRANSLATION *

Given the local and global interest, we would like to provide not only a Maori translation but as many as possible translations of the website. If you would like to translate documents on this site, then please get in touch.

* SYNDICATION *

We want to syndicate any news from other sites dealing with the October 15th Raids. We are also interested in making links with other solidarity campaigns around the world. If you are running a solidarity website that outputs an RSS feed then let us know.

* PROMOTION *

Let your friends and whanau know about october15thSolidarity.info.

:: 3. CONTACT

october15thsolidarity.info/
Email: october15thsolidarity.info/contact/Get_in_touch_with_us or
info (at) october15thsolidarity.info

* Encrypted email *

Please communicate with us using GPG encrypted email whenever possible. Our key is attached and is also availiable from pgp.mit.edu.

Fingerprint: 3D22 9618 5959 5E93 78EE 812D A8CE BC44 8154 DF13

Love and Solidarity
October15thSolidarity.info Crew


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