Monday, October 30, 2006

A culture of symoblic protest

In New Zealand and generally in left wing politics we have a culture of symbolic action, our events are generally reformist reactionary and pointless. In itself this is almost always negative sapping energy and empowering those we ask to do stuff for us. This culture of symbolism is so entrenched that real action is quashed attacked and those that do it are betrayed by their "comrades". At meetings of so called "activists" or "protesters" any idea which directly confronts and directly attacks the society we live under is opposed. We have come to rely on the police and the state to uphold our right to fight against the state. The reality is if we are not being opposed by the state we are living under then we are not being effective. The capitalist system we live under depends on on destroying the planet to survive. As New Zealanders we have one of the most resource intensive lifestyles on our planet. Our neighbors and politicians are part of the problem and it is up to us to educate and take action.

Our reformist action strengthens the system we live under, ending poverty in New Zealand with our current lifestyle is merely moving it oversease- poverty is a fundamental part of capitalism. Unless we are simplifying and changing our lifestyles we are not achieving anything much.

Our society is built on a cheap energy supply and for the nations we live in to give up cheap energy supplys such as oil and coal would cripple them. They will not do that willingly. If we truly believe that we need to cut carbon emissions we need to disable the systems that provide those energy supplys and we need to teach people the skills nessacary to live without cheap energy.

We must be willing to take all levels of action to fight against the state we live under. And those that want to write letters or go to select committes must be willing to support their brothers and sisters that are directly fighting the system. We cannot have those currently in the activist movement fighting against those involved in non symbolic direct action.

I believe that the average person will not willingly give up their cars electricity and resource intensive lifestyle. They will not willingly stop their destructive practices just as the state will not dissolve itself willingly.

We live in a society that relies on violence to bring about submission. If we are presenting a threat the state will respond violently. Non violence as a tactic can be highly effective but it is not the be all and end all. Our planet and all live on this planet is being killed any any effective action is justified in response to this.

We will not stop climate change by signing petitions or partying we need to take down the system that we oppose because no one else will do it for us. If our actions are not effective we should not be pretending that they are. We must force this system to change

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Take back the night a males perspective

Last night a successful upbeat take back the night rally and march followed by discussion groups of both genders was held in Auckland city. The event began in Aotea square with food distributed to participants and those in the surrounding area by food no bombs, followed by speakers and a fundraising raffle for womens refuge. The speakers included a speaker from Auckland Anarcha Feminist Syndicate (the group organizing the event), a speaker from rape crisis who discussed the dismal statistics of conviction of rapists and the lack of support in our communities of womyn who have been victims of sexual abuse and violence. A group of home birth midwifes from Waiheke island who had participated in take back the night marches 30 years ago, spoke about the medical and patriarchal demonising of womyn who are taking control of their own bodies and pregnancies.

After the speeches, waiata and raffle the event moved onto Queen st with chants such as "2 4 6 8 no more date rape" and "whatever we wear, where ever we go, yes means yes, no means no". The march was lead by the women with men following carrying a men against gender violence banner. Soon after moving onto the road a unmarked police car started nudging the rear of the march and 2 more marked cars attempted to drive into the march to force us onto the footpath. Eventually 5 police cars and a paddy wagon blocked the march forced us onto a sidestreet with police pushing people back. The march then crossed the road and kept going this time on the foot path. Chants of "2 4 6 8 no more police rape” were used and those participating in the march refused to be intimidated by the high police presence. As the march went into Greys ave police cars parked in front and behind the march boxing participants in and then threatening to arrest them for blocking a fire station entrance. The march then continued down Greys ave on the foot path in single file in silence surrounded by aggressive police officers and at least 7 marked and unmarked police cars.

Once we reached Myers park the march then broke into discussion groups of those who identified as males and females with the mens group discussing sexism in our society and our responsibility as males to confront sexism in our daily lives. The male group was a powerful experience for all involved and regular meetings are going to be held to carry on the points brought up in the group and to take action to support and aid those combating sexism and patriarchy. The womens group was a social workshop with the purpose of empowering womyn to share their thoughts and feelings on contentious subjects in a safe womyn only environment ended with a loud drumming circle and lanterns.

During the march i was seperated from the group and searched under the pretext of the liquor ban present in the CBD I was forced to give my details under threat of arrest and the officer tried to confiscate my phone. When i asked questions about my rights I was told i would be arrested for obstruction a friend was also threated with arrest for watching my questioning. The officer threated that if he saw me taking photos again i would be arrested for harrasment and when i said i was taking photos because I thought the march was interesting he got angry and yelled that he had seen me before taking photos.

All in all a powerful night and a great experience for all involved.

Also posted on
Photos from take back the night

Take Back the night video

Friday, October 27, 2006

Climate change hot topic at present

Labour are having a workshop on climate chage at their national convention this weekend at which they will be screening al gores an inconvienient truth. Unfortunately no time is being given for discussion or planning and no real steps are expected from the weekend regarding climate change.

Another issue in the news this morning is that a paper detailing the effects of climate change is to be presented to the british government next week. The guardian article (which is well worth reading here ) includes quotes such as that:

"Climate change could tilt the world's economy into the worst global recession
in recent history"

The report goes on to say that climate change could have similar economic effects to the great US depression or the two world wars. Regarding sea level rises the report says that hundreds of millions of people will be displaced.

another quote from the article regarding The IAEA
"The International Energy Agency predicts that $15 trillion (£8 trillion) of
investment in new energy sources will be required over the next 15 years. The massive investment programme that's ahead of us is an opportunity for us to move towards a zero carbon energy system. "

I have no illusions that either the labour party conference or this report will bring about any real action on climate change but I think that it indicates a growing public and government awareness of the issues around climate change. I believethat direct action with a focus on economic damage to those who are the biggest causes of climate chage will have some public and some government sympathy and if the direct action is significant and targeted that concerned members of the public can have a real impact.

The link between climate and food production is particularly worrying with global warming set to cause droughts, storms and disruption to almost all of our current agricultural systems. Im particularly concerned that planning is not being put inplace to create food production systems resilient enough to survive significant climatic disruption. Permaculture and Agroforestry need to be adopted on a widespread nature throughout New Zealand if we are to continue to produce a regular fod supply particularly in drought prone regions like canterbury.

It is positive that the huge economic damage and the hundreds of millions of lives that wll be disrupted or ended is being talked about but the kind of change needed to halt climate change would require an end to our current consumerist lifestyles. Because the changes needed are so great I believe that change must come from the grassroots and it must come from those that will be most effected by rising sea levels and falling economys. It is not just humans that are being affected by climatic disruption and action needs to be taken on behalf of the rest of the members of this planet urgently.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Picket Against Climate Change

Today a picket promoting the climaction protest next saturday was held on the corner of k rd and ponsonby road. Leaflets were handed out to motorists waiting at the light and to passers by. A one news crew turned up and filmed the action. Chants used included "system change not climate change" "hey helen listen up, kyoto it aint enough" and "while cars are driving tides are rising" Hopefully this will be start of an escalating campaign of direct action against climate change.
I have been unimpressed with the open opposition to direct action shown by many members of the climaction coalition and the wisdom of openly organising direct action in large groups. Im particularly concerned around strategy on the day with several press releases ensuring a high police presence. The success or failure of the action next saturday will really show whether the organising structure is effective or not.

Hi sory for the absence in posting, its due to a whole bunch of end of year assignments and exams coming up on me.

I have been approached to conduct a hydroponic lettuce trial and have been given permission to use a field at another place for a trial involving traditional cropping systems so will post on them when i have time. I will also post on the up coming climaction actions ( when I have time and the problems associated with those actions.

Peace out

Sunday, October 08, 2006


This is an area north of taupo consisting of virgin forest and a cool mountain, its surrounded by farmland and plantation forestry. It was one of the coolest forests i have ever been in. These are thes tree's are in was fought for by maori in the land wars and then occupied by forest and bird members around 1978 according to our lecturer and it is only this ongoing defence that has prevented this area from being clear cut.

Clearfelling of pine right up to waters edge, the destruction when compared to the native forest next to it was quite depressing. Pine plantations are rumored to deplete the soil and some think you can only get a few rotations out of them before the land is severely depleted. When compared to normal agriculture pine plantations have much less erosion as the soil is exposed once every few decades rather than multiple times, or continuously throughout the year.

The clear area is clearfelled pine. The forest was a mixed species podocarp forest with a canopy of totara, rimu and toro.

The stream quality was phenomenel with clarity 5 times better than the stream running through unitec and species that were the most sensitive one can find. Following the stream through farmland and monitoring results would be an interesting exercise.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Street Party planned for November 4th

An international day of action against climate change is planned for the 4th of November to coincide with a meeting of world leaders who will be discussing climate change. In Auckland a reclaim the streets carnival is planned for November the 4th. The carnival will begin at 1pm in Aotea square, in the centre of Aotearoa's economic capital. The plan is for the carnival to go on for several hours and those interested are welcome to bring children, family, games, food and a picnic basket or come ready to dance!

The carnival themed action is an act of creative resistance and recognises that the time for civil disobedience and economic disruption of the society of the spectacle has come if we want to preserve out planet for those who were born today and tomorrow. For this day of action members of a wide range of environmental and social justice groups have come together in Auckland City and are planning to take to the streets in an act of civil disobedience to call for the government to take real action on climate change and to raise awareness of the pressing need to immediately and drastically lower our Co2 emissions by up to 80%. Members of Solidarity, the Greens, Radical Youth, Save Happy Valley Coalition, Socialist Worker, Greenpeace, The Auckland Regional Council, Auckland Animal Action, Residents Action Movement and many other organisations have come together and all are reiterating the strong need for immediate action to prevent climate change from reaching catastrophic levels. The carnival on november the 4th has to demands free and frequent busses in Auckland City, and for the government to go beyond the kyoto protocol both at a domestic and an international level. Behind these demands was a realisation that created climate change is the most serious problem facing humanity today and that a transition to a post-fossil fuel society is needed now!

At the meeting tonight the need to stop climate change was recognised as one of the most serious and immediate threats humanity faces and that the movement around climate change must be as powerful as the struggle for civil rights in the 60s. For the sake of all of our futures the time has come to mobilise, to educate, to raise our voices and our fists, to organise, to demonstrate, to disrupt and most importantly to revolt against and resist capitalism and ecocide! This Action on November the 4th is the beginning of a strong movement relevant to people's daily lives, found in the streets, rooted in our communitties and committed to ending climate chaos.To get involved email