Solidarity #12 – September 2010

September 5, 2010

Issue 12 - September 2010

Download issue in .pdf format (1.1MB)

The 12th issue of Solidarity, free newssheet of the Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement. Download the .pdf above, or click below to read the contents online.

Contents:

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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’.


Breaking the illusion of consensus

December 29, 2006

If Not Now, When?

A short film in which Jews speak out against the illusion of Jewish consensus on Israel. From Jewish Conscience.

Don’t see the embedded video? Click here to watch it.

Looking back on my Sunday school lessons, I felt that I had been hoodwinked. Indeed, it was a remarkably similar history to the one I had learnt at school about Australia’s colonial past and its treatment of Aborigines. In both cases, inconvenient facts were whitewashed. I was taught about the creation of Israel, but not about the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants. We discussed Arab terrorism but never what may have caused it. Zionist pioneers were praised for their ability to turn an empty land into a fertile Jewish homeland. Perhaps most disturbingly, though, we were told constantly that the only believable reason anyone might hate Israel is antisemitism. The morality, or otherwise, of Israeli actions was never questioned, let alone given context. In the eyes of this dominant Zionism, Jews have always been and remain blameless victims and visionary pioneers.

From My Israel Question by Antony Loewenstein.


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.


Otautahi/Christchurch teach in on Israel/Palestine

September 22, 2006

If you’re in Otautahi/Christchurch, you should come along and listen to me (and other people) speak on Saturday at the TUC. If not, I’ll put my speech and powerpoint presentation online sometime next week.

How To Foster Peace & Justice in the Middle East

Saturday, 23 September 2006
12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

What the news media don’t tell you.

Teach-in to learn and discuss ways we can contribute to peace in the Middle East

12pm – Dr Ron Macintyre
The Situation Today

1pm – Dr Bill Shepard
Religion: Part of the problem or part of the solution?

2:10pm – Asher Goldman
Peace initiatives on the ground in Israel and Palestine

2:40pm – Dr Philip Ferguson
Repression and resistance

3:20pm – What to do next? Time for a Middle East solidarity group?

Saturday 23rd September

Please bring koha for afternoon tea

Location:
TUC Building, 199 Armagh St, corner Armagh & Madras


My enemy’s enemy sure as hell isn’t my comrade

August 29, 2006

The following article was written for a zine called Intifada, which should be out in a week or so :)
Since Israel’s latest brutal invasion of Lebanon, some leftist groups and individuals have seen fit to declare their support for Hezbollah. This support has manifested itself predominantly in writing on the Internet and on solidarity marches, protests and demonstrations. In this article, I hope to show that no leftist should support Hezbollah – a sexist, homophobic and anti-working class organisation.

The socialist left (and sadly, some anarchists), both in Aotearoa and globally, seem to formulate their support along one of two lines, described here by the UK Class War Federation in their statement delightfully titled “HezBollocks and IsRabies”:

Firstly, wholesale adoption of the Islamist agenda, cheerleading Hamas or Hezbollah without qualification or criticism. This ‘Idiot anti-imperialism’, the trademark of today’s SWP [The UK equivalent of Aotearoa's Socialist Worker], says my enemy’s enemy is my friend and any criticism of them, no matter how mild, is ‘racism, islamophobia, and Zionist pro American warmongering.’

The second approach is slightly more subtle – Hezbollah is fighting back, therefore we must support Hezbollah and the slogan ‘we are all Hezbollah’ is an act of basic solidarity with those who are fighting back against imperialism – the slogan is compared with the Parisian students who, when Danny Cohn-Bendit was attacked in the bourgeois press as a German Jew, marched through Paris chanting ‘nous sommes tout les jiufs allemands!’ (we are all German Jews).

This argument is crap – Hezbollah isn’t a nationality or a racial epithet, it is a political party/militia

My enemy’s enemy is my friend. Surely there are few justification for political support that are stupider! Zionists fight antisemitism, should we support them? Neo-Nazis oppose Israel, should we support them? The support for Hezbollah can only be explained on one of two grounds – complete ignorance of their beliefs, or the limiting of ones politics to hatred of Israel (and perhaps the USA) to the exclusion of the global working class, women, queers and revolution.

The majority of the civilians killed by Hezbollah were not the Israeli bourgeois, but rather the poorest sectors in society. The rich of the North moved South to stay with friends or family during the rocket attacks, or hired houses for a few weeks. The middle class had bomb shelters in their houses or apartment blocks. Meanwhile, the poorest sectors of Israeli society (predominantly Israeli Palestinians and Israeli Jews from Arab countries), not able to afford bomb shelters, were left to fend for themselves. Meanwhile, in Lebanon, Hezbollah push a sexist and homophobic agenda, especially in the South where their power base lies.

Surely, as revolutionaries, we should be expressing our solidarity with the working class of Lebanon, Palestine and Israel, not with their reactionary oppressors. We should be supporting the work of Lebanese, Palestinian and Israeli leftists, anarchists and all those working for that old cliche, peace with justice and self-determination. For, to quote again from the Class War Federation:

Re-jigging the lines on a map will create new oppressions, new grievances and new horrors, and we as revolutionaries should have no part in assisting that.

How would this be manifested? To quote one example of a positive, liberatory force in Lebanon that wholeheartedly deserves our solidarity and support:

7 Lebanese youth working with the R.A.S.H., the antifascist Red Anarchist Skinhead collective in Europe decided to return to Lebanon to help with relief work as the death toll in their country mounted. Within a few days they were risking their lives walking through southern Lebanon with 80lbs of food and water on their backs to arrive at villages near the Israeli border that humanitarian organizations had deemed unreachable. With Israeli missiles falling all around them, they supplied food to starving people unable to evacuate their villages.

The left is often criticised by Zionists for being antisemitic. From what I have seen, read and experienced, this is not the case. There are few antisemitic incidents on the left, and I think most of them are probably unconscious. However, a community can be unwelcoming to Jews without being antisemitic. It seems to me that support for Hezbollah, while not antisemitic in or of itself, does tend to make a community extremely unwelcoming for Jewish leftists.

I can think of a number of Jews who waver from leftist Zionism to cultural Zionism to non-Zionism to anti-Zionism, and I know that for many, comments such as “we are all Hezbollah!” are likely to push them far away from both Jewish anti-Zionist voices and from the radical left in general and back into the mainstream Zionist fold. Is this what we want?

We need to be fostering and encouraging revolutionary currents, and not supporting reactionary religious fundamentalist organisations simply because they happen to be physically confronting imperialist forces at a given moment.

And if Hezbollah is victorious in their goals, then what? Does blind support for them swap into opposition? Good luck finding Lebanese leftists struggles to support then, because Hezbollah’s success will naturally mean the end of the secular left in Lebanon.

Seeing the world in only black and white is perhaps the most destructive force in existence for much of the left. Rather, we should recognise that the struggle against capitalism and imperialism does not simply come from one angle. Fascists struggle against modern capitalism (although they are also often used by modern capitalism against leftist anti-capitalists), and likewise, Islamists struggle against imperialism. The Three Way Fight weblog phrased it thus:

The idea that there are significant right-wing forces radically opposed to both the left and global capitalist elites doesn’t just come from encounters with neonazis. If the concept of right-wing anti-imperialism has relevance anywhere, it’s in the Middle East. The Iranian Revolution was a wake-up call for me because it showed how militant, mass-based hostility to U.S. hegemony could take a right-wing form — and because so much of the U.S. left failed to understand this. Three-way fight politics is an attempt to go beyond old leftist categories because the old categories don’t adequately describe political reality today — including political Islam.

A commenter on Three Way Fight proposes a way forward from here:

Rather than trying to figure out the right “anarchist” line on conflicts like in Lebanon, wouldn’t it be better to simply understand the underlying forces of the conflict, using the best tools of materialist analysis, as well as the connections to U.S. domestic politics (not just foreign policy)? This would enable us to concentrate on our real task: building a radical working class in this country. In other words, the problem for revolutionaries is not to lend abstract “critical support” to this or that struggle overseas but to build a movement here, one that renders the U.S. incapable of propping up apartheid states like Israel or right-wing fundies like the Mujahadeen.

I think this theory is perhaps the most practical solution I’ve heard yet. Creativity is needed if we’re ever going to create a better society, and this is as good a place as any to start. For, to quote one last time from Three Way Fight:

George Bush declared after September 11th: Either you are with us or against us. Surely we can do better than that.


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!


Anarchia Issue 1 – May 2006

June 8, 2006

Today I finally printed the first issue of my zine, also titled Anarchia. You can download it below.

Download Anarchia Issue 1 – May 2006 (1.4MB .pdf file)

If you want a hard copy, it will be available either now or very soon from the following locations:

Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington – The Freedom Shop, shop 204b in Left Bank (off Cuba Mall).

Otautahi / Christchurch – Food Not Bombs stalls most Fridays 11-2 cnr Cashel and Colombo, and other random stalls and events.

Otepoti / Dunedin – Black Star Books, 2nd Floor, Regent Chambers, 18 The Octagon.

Melbourne – Barricade Books, inside Irene Community Arts Warehouse, 5 Pitt Street, Brunswick

More locations to come :)

If you know of anywhere else that might be interested in it, then feel free to print the .pdf above, or email anarchiazine@gmail.com for hard copies or more details.


What do we do about Guantanamo?

March 29, 2006

What do we do about Guantanamo?

I was asked this question recently, to which I replied (somewhat glibly), “burn the fucker down”. The questioner, to her credit, did not accept this for an answer, and pressed for more detail, which I did not give.

Why? Because I did not think she would take my answer, global revolution, any more seriously than my “burn the fucker down” comment. To me, however, this is the only answer.

Sure, sustained protest/public pressure conceivably could (and hopefully will) see the end of the US torture camp at Guantanamo Bay. Until the current system is replaced however, more things like it will keep popping up. And we shouldn’t kid ourselves – plenty of other countries around the world are already doing the same thing, and worse.

In my eyes, attempting to build an open, inclusive and welcoming anarchist/activist community is going to be far more effective in the long term at bettering this world than standing around and shouting outside the US embassy (although the latter can certainly have a part to play in the former).

My revolution sees these anarchist communities, and their associated resources (for now community centres and food co-ops, but later as we grow health clinics and sustainable villages) steadily growing in size and strength until it reaches a point where there are only two options – either they will take over from capitalism’s institutions and usher in a new age, or, more likely, the capitalist institutions will attempt to crush the new society thus bringing in a time of violent repression and revolution.

So why then do I bother with non-community building activism, such as environmental, anti-fascist, anti-war etc? Firstly, I would make the point that all activism, if targeted in certain ways, can and does build community. The main reason I do these, however, is split in two parts.

I am involved in enviro-activism for one main reason – we can’t ever hope to have an anarchist society without a planet to live on. Capitalism is destroying the earth at ever increasing rates, and it is already likely to be too late to ever reverse some of the destruction it has wrought. So I am involved in environmental campaigns in order to do what I can to ensure the planet and what lives on it survives for long enough to create a more sustainable society.

The reasoning behind my involvement in and support for other forms of activism is a little different. With these, I acknowledge that I have grown up with a lot of privileges in my life. As a middle class white male, I have automatically been given a head start in this society that many others have not had. While my attainment of privilege was not something I could have controlled, what I do with that privilege is certainly my choice. To me, it seems selfish for someone with privilege not to support the struggles of those without.

So what do we do about Guantanamo? Build our own communities, ditch the system and BURN THE FUCKER DOWN!


Action in Israel to commemorate 38 years of occupation

June 13, 2005

One of the many actions taken on the 4th of June in Israel to commemorate 38 years of Israeli occupation was this rather amusing one, done in the area of Ariel, one of the largest settlements in the West Bank. Photos courtesy of Israel Indymedia.


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