Saturday, November 25, 2006


Buy Nothing Day Celebrated at St Lukes Mall in Auckland



International buy nothing day was marked by several members of the public today at st lukes mall. They handed out pamphlets asking people to "Live A Little and Buy Nothing" as well as offering free budgeting services. The day is the start of the official christmas shopping period and inside the mall santa was taking the stage along with a full show. Outside those marking buy nothing day talked to people about alternatives to buying christmas presents and the real impacts of our purchases. One family talked to us about how "they never buy christmas presents" and how for them "every day day was buy nothing day"
The stall was interrupted by security who ripped down a banner aggressively and followed participants through a carpark and out onto the road. The stall was restarted at the main entrance of St Lukes but was again interrupted by management, security and police who told us the street was owned by the mall and that we had to leave.



Handing out leaflets to motorists and passers by.



"If the world was to consume like the affluent West, we'd need 3 more planets worth of resources to sustain our lifestyles.A 1998 UNDP report points out that one child in a developed country will consume, waste and pollute the equivalent of more than 50 children in a developing country. "

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Don Brash Resigns


In the coolest news in weeks, don brash just announced he wil resign on monday. All of a sudden i feel a whole lot better. I also want to read Hagers book a hell of a lot more which he annouced at the press conference will now be released by giving Hager copys of the emails - so they wont be stolen. Brash claims that he was planning to resign for a long time and that hagers book was a mere coincidence - whatever the truth Hagers book is ensured commercial success. Im sure brash will be looked back on very negatively by historians and the general public alike. Cullen has described brashs foray into politics as a sad period in brashs life and says brash was never suited to politics.

The new leader will be elected at the national caucus on monday but whoever it is and their are not many options will be severely tarnished by this whole affair.

John Key has just announced that he intends to stand for the position as leader of the national party though he says he does not know if he has the numbers to take the position. Key has spent 20 years in commerce but is a comparitive newcomer to politics. Whether he has the ability to lead the national party through this saga remains to be seen. Michael Cullen puts it nicely "The Labour Party relishes the prospect of having nearly two years to highlight Mr Key's inadequacies. We look forward to the next leader and the one after that,"

Hagers book should be available in bookstores from tomorrow morning as distibution has begun immediatly.

Video available at http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/488120/899755

http://www.nbr.co.nz/home/column_article.asp?id=16790&cid=15&cname=Politics

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3875981a6160,00.html

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nicky Hagers New Book


Nicky hager has written a new book called the Hollow Men regarding the deception the National party was part of leading up to and after the election. Its contents are supposed to be shocking, suprising and to reveal criminal activity on the part of the National party. It cannot be released due to the injunction regarding Don's emails gained on friday but im sure this will be the big news over the next few weeks and months. From the limited information available i think this could cause very serious damage to the national party. The links to lobby groups and right wing groups are especially concerning, Im just glad they have come to light.

Nicky Hager states in the forword and his press conference that those high in the national partys leadership were aware of what the Exclusive Bretheren were going to do and that Don Brash and John Key knew months before hand. Nicky Hager is saying that the national party lied on major matters and that key events such as the Orewa race speech were cynically planned. None of this comes as much of a suprise but having documentation leaked from insiders is particualrly pleasing.

Marilyn Waring " I would expect to see much of the evidence set out in the book reported to the Electoral Commission, Parliamentary Services, the police and the Auditor General" she also calls this book one of the best political thesis in New Zealand praising its research and quality of journalism.

At 350 pages and with 3 years research interviews and leaked documents this book will certainly be worth the legal battle.

More info here http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0611/S00368.htm

Monday, November 20, 2006

G20 protests in Melbourne


The victorian premier has just called anti G20 protesters who masked up cowards
"I thought the attacks were cowardly ... covering faces, covering identities,''
this while a specialist team taskforce Salver is set up to track down those involved in protests outside the G20 over the weekend. The team will be looking through footage taken by undercover officers over the weekend to attempt to identify and arrest those that were involved in active rather than passive opposition to the conference. This use of good quality video equipment, snatch squads plus new anti terrorism measures must shape our tactics in future.

The mainstream media is hailing the police as heroes who were simply defending themselves in the face of violence. 10 officers were injured in the protests the most serious of which is cuts, bruises and one broken wrist. Innacuracys regarding the level of violence, number of violent protesters and other details were also present. Mounted charges against the protesters recieved little mainstream media coverage as well as a violent attack on women and children singing and dancing in mueseum foyer. Their is a general sense that the violence on the part of the police on saturday evening and on sunday was pay back for the trashed police van and skirmish at a police barricade.

On a more positive note

"Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon said protesters used guerilla tactics to test new crowd-control barriers and police resolve" she went on to say that the barriers were not wholly effective but will be used in future.

The protesters were also described as

"A small group of people intent on making their name heard, without identification, in a way that was obviously bold, obviously provocative and obviously against all those great principles we have of proper and peaceful protest,"

This statement sums up the protest fairly well and shows what those in authority want us to do - protest in a symbolic manner that does not cause any damage and that does not take any power off those in charge. The most serious activists appear to have been wearing white overall thingys and i would be curious as to whether this makes it easier to single out where they are moving to and who they are.

It appears the numbers of "violent" activists is less than 1-200 and that apart from a car that was locked down the only shutting down of the conference and surrounding area was done by the police. The use of smoke grenades and cornflour "slime bombs" by the activists is rather novel and their did appear to be a level of sophistication to those involved in the more serious activity.


"There is a hardcore militant and violent element among these protesters," Australian Treasurer Peter Costello, the G20 meeting's chairman

http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2006/11/131243.php

http://melbourne.indymedia.org/news/2006/11/130885.php

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Protest strategy.

Just 3 points on protest strategy

Who chooses the location?

One of the keys to winning your battle/protest is who gets to choose where the battle is fought, derrick jenson covers this well in endgame but i will attempt to summarise. If the state gets to choose the location eg around a conference and gets to put barriers, police etc around the location where conflict is to take place then we are immediatly at a huge disadvantage. If we turn up to this location and attempt to fight them here then we are playing into their hands and will have to have local superiority or better tactics to beat them. An example of this is gleneagles G8 summit, a location surrounded by hills, rivers and open country was chosen far from areas of dense concentration. Fences and high troop concentrations prevented activists from getting near the summit and helicopters could easily move troops to areas where their were breaches in the perimeter. Their were also seveveral thousand marines, police, riot police etc protecting the summit.

Activists can also shape territory to their own advantage, blockades, concentrations of activists and choosing where and when to have actions all shift the advantage to our side.

Local superiority

Having more or better trained units at a protest gives the balance of power to the activist, an example of this is the seattle G8 riots in 2001 here activists willing to use force blended with non violent activists and then "swarmed" on key locations via cell phone coordination. The actvists fought for a while and then dispersed back into the crowd before state forces could move to the area. Most of the time the state has local superiority this is aided by the fact we often tell them where we will be, this places control of the situation directly into the states hands.

Who chooses the tactics?

In the protest movement our tactics are shaped far more by public opinion than their actual effectiveness, this is another way the state gains an advantage over us. Violence from the state aimed at protesters is accepted and often condoned by the protest movement and blame is often shifted to those activists who feel this violence. Violence aimed at the state on the other hand is almost universally opposed by activists. This results in a situation where the police are willing and looking for an excuse to use violence and activists are unwilling or unable to fight back. Through strict nonviolence on our part we reinforce the states monopoly on violence and allow them to choose what tactics are used.

Overall

These three factors location, number of forces and tactics often result in a situation where we are fighting on their ground against more or better trained forces using tactics which put them at an advantage. If activists are serious about winning we must start thinking outside the box and start planning for success.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

This is a few ideas i have been thinking about for a while now, it gelled for me this afternoon when i was wandering round newmarket watching all the glassy eyed consumers.

Training for domesticity

Studies of almost all domesticated animals show that brain size decreases in comparison with wild animals. This is because a large intelligent brain finds it hard to deal with enclosed spaces large numbers of people around them and the noises and stresses that go with living in a domesticated environment. It is a small step to take this from animals such as dogs and lab rats to humans. Indeed studies have shown that brain size has decreased in so called “civilised” people and that brain structure and function may have been permanantly changed by living in a domesticated environment.

The kinds of traits that would help humans survive in the wild do not help in a civilized environment. Take instant decision making and hyperactivity – in the wild these may have proved incredibly useful to a hunter or someone surrounded by a changing wild landscape, in the office school or farm though these traits are labeled “disorders” and are treated as problems. This is because to live in a city or go to work you need to be submissive passive and able to ignore large amounts of stressful events.

Think about how you would train an animal to be well behaved, quiet and submissive. Commands such as sit, teaching them to be quiet by yelling at them if they make noise and rewarding them if they are quiet. Teaching them to give up all the wild free parts about them such as barking hunting and doing what they want. These are all things which are taught to us through schools our parents and those in authority, being told to “sit” and rewarded for “good behaviour” are all things which are part of domesticating and destroying the things which make humans human and are part of creating a person that will do what is is told.

Like a glassy eyed zoo animal spending hours sitting and stareing at nothing we sit and stare blankly at tvs, computers or just off into the distance. These are signs that we like that zoo animal have been broken. That we like that zoo animal have become shadows of our wild self. Anyone in our society that does not submit to this domestication is drugged like an animal that refuses to do what it is told or thrown into prison or asylums.

Like a lab rat taught to pull levers for less and less rewards until it does it for no reward we sit in class rooms filling out pages of meaningless symbols or sitting in an office working for a faceless corporation doing work which has no meaning to us we like the lab rat have been trained to push levers for a reward which we then attempt to use to buy some of the freedom we have been denied.

Over one quarter of our population suffers from depression and many more regularly take sleeping pills, alcohol, marijuana or dozens of other drugs and techniques to attempt to quiet internal anxiety about the numbing boredom and emptiness of our current lives. Having been domesticated we have lost any excitement meaning or risk in our lives and are now merely shadows of our wild selves. Living in citys and interacting with hundreds of people daily we must constantly supress the urge to fear or distrust those around us creating a constant strain and tension that permeates our lives.

It is only by learning to become passive and obedient, only by learning to be quiet and well behaved that we can deal with what has come to be expected of us.

And why did we make this trade? Who asked us if we wanted to be taught to submit constantly? And why do we keep pushing levers or forms until we die? Well we as individuals were never asked and the cultures and races we are from were never asked indeed entire races would not accept this loss of freedom and they were either literally beaten into submission or exterminated for this refusal This domestication is a vital part of keeping civilisation running and to keep people from quitting their jobs or walking out of their schools.

We must come to accept that there is no reward that can make up for this loss of freedom, that domesticated reality is only a shadow of what we as people we could be. It is only through rejecting this culture of submission and domestication that we can hope to ever get anywhere, we must not trade a paycheck, tick in a schoolbook or drugs for the chance to live a wild life. Rejecting civilisation and embracing the wild is an important step to a real, meaningful life.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Drinking Age Bill Defeated
Democrats win lower house

The drinking age is going to stay the same!!!! New Zealand politicians have seen sense and decided that the problem may well be a cultural one not a legal one. Changing the drinking age was never going to change our culture and may have made it worse. Facing their generations drinking problems and setting responsible examples of drinking patterns is what is needed not legislation that eliminates the freedoms of adults. The primary source of alcohol for underage drinking is parents changing the age was never going to have changed much.

I hope the coming review on underage drinking does not use teenagers as scapegoats for a wider problem. I hope alcohol advertising is banned and that some of the bottle stores on every corner in mangere where i live are closed.

Im normally not partocularly interested in what goes on in the US "democratic" system but i am buoyed by the democrats victory. Perhaps this points to a larger number of people disillusioned with right wing politics and philosophys? Unfortunately both the democrats and republicans will pursue oil and resources wherever they are found. Both believe in infinite growth and both are proud proponents of capitalism.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Domestication of crops and animals

The first crops to be domesticated were all crops of edible seeds, wheat, barley, peas, lentils, chickpeas, bitter vetch and flax these crops were easy to domesticate and grew quickly – selection for plants with larger heads or heads that stood upright would quickly bring about the changes in the domesticated varietys we see today also sowing and harvesting at on etime would have promoted uniformity with only plants that were mature at harvesting surviving. these are crops which naturally grow thickly and with a high energy payoff in return for the amount of work put in. these crops would have allowed yields up to 100 times higher per area unit than hunter gathering. .

For unknown reasons it appears that important crops such as corn and wheat were domesticated near simultaneously in different locations around the globe, a possible explantion for this is a shift the the earths climate which is thought to have occured over 10,000 years ago. Their is also a sliding scale in terms of agriculture with mant hunter gatherer groups raising some plants especially medicinal plants but this was almost always on a small scale and never with quite the same purpose as agriculture. A large amount of traditional agriculture also mirrored natural processes and did not completely reshape ecosystems as our current agricultural systems do.

The domestication of animals allowed for the accumulation and storage of wealth as animals could be transported from place to place and slaughtered as needed. This contrasted strongly with more hunter gatherer societys in which if food was not eaten quickly it perished. This accumulation of welath by some doubtlessly contributed to inequality as due to various factors some people had more than others.

Domestication of plants and animals combined with hierachy and ownership of propertyleads to the notion that humans can somehow have ownership over other living entities and the land around them. Private property owned by individuals and used for agriculture becomes something that one must have sole control over to ensure one eats and it must be defended to make sure all your hard work is not in vain.

Population growth is almost always inevitable in an agricultural society as the sedentary lifestyle allows one to have children frequently because you dont have to carry them around with you. More children also means more labourers and allows you to increase your food production level. The change in diet which agriculture brought about may also have increased the number of children that are born.

As the population increases agricultural communities tend to expand and displace surrounding hunter gatherer communities. This process has accelerated throughout the past ten thousand years placing us in a situation where our populations increase exponentially.

The rise of complex civilisations

Civilisation as posted on wikipedia is defined as a society where a large proportion of people live in citys and gain their food via agriculture. And with complex social hierachys and institutionalised governments. Civilisation arose through the food surplus agriculture provided and the complex organisational structures which typically arise in agricultural societys. Civilisations inevitably brings about complex alienation as people no longer rely on their surroundings for food instead having to fight nature for harvests. Added to this you have a large proportion of people which have no contact with how their food is produced and you have a society which comes to believe it is seperate from and above nature.

The complex social hierachys inevitably rely on domination and forcing those below you to do what you want. This process is almost impossible to avoid in a sophisticated society - for instance if your supervisor in charge of irrigation decides to take a few weeks off to go hunting then crops fail and people starve. Thus violence or symbolic violence is used to make sure people sustain this system.

As society quickly comes to rely on complicated distribution and production networks it becomes harder and harder to opt out or turn back. If people decided to stop doing what they are told and stop maintaining these systems people would starve and their would be enormous social disruption. Add to this that most people live in citys and have no experience relying on nature or growing their own food and you have a situation where people rely on a system of oppression and because of this they will defend it.

Bringing it down

If we accept that civilisation relies on the domination of humans and non humans then the next step is to look at how to reform or end it. I do not believe that civilisation can be reformed so i will focus on how to bring it down.

Currently over half the worlds population lives in cities, these are people with almost no experience of wild nature and with no substantial connection to their food or surroundings. They live cucooned in boxes relying on fake entertainment to replace real interations. Living in fragmented nuclear families we are insecure and desperate for a sense of place or community. Schooled since birth in hierachy our relationships, jobs and families are framed by oppression and domination.

To change things we need to wipe away 10,000 years of domestication and oppression, we need to make people reliant on their surroundings and help people experience the sacredness of wild nature. This can be done by gradually converting people one by one and by helping people increase their self reliance. This is something we can all do - starting in our own lives we need to take the time to reconect ourselves and to try and strip away our reliance on domination to gain food and in social relations.

I also believe that some people will need to be forced that so many people are so reliant on civilisation that they will fight and die to defend it. For these people we will need to destroy the complex networks of domination they rely on to survive. Dams need to be brought down, power stations need to be destroyed and animals inside factory farms need to be liberated - this will happen inevitably as our civilisation collapses due to overexplloitation of resources but the sooner it happens the better for the rest of those that share this planet with us.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Agriculture

Agriculture allows a greate amount of edible food to be produced from an area than hunter gathering which until recently fed everyone. Why agriculture came to be developed is a complex question as agriculture generally takes more work than hunter gathering but it is thought that climatic disruption may have played a role. The greater amount of food agriculture provided allowed for fast population growth and a surplus in food production allowed for the development of a class of people that were not directly involved in the process of growing food eg artisans and priests. This seperate class was part of the development of hierachy which we see today but more about that later.

The need to irrigate crops lead to massive irrigation projects (eg mesopotamia) these projects required a high level of social organising in construction, maintenace and to regulate the use of irrigation water. This required either a coming together of autonomous groups to work together or a form of government.

The other major development which is of critical importance is sedentary communities, previously in a hunter gatherer society one could not hoard much wealth as one was moving frequently, and due to the types of foods most prevalant eg wild animals and fleshy crops food storage was difficult. This movement and lack of fod storage made giving away excess food and wealth a logical strategy, and in these sorts of societys status is often gained by giving things away.

The development of agriculture allowed for wealth to be hoarded through permanant communities villages and cities. For food to be stored through the use of domesticated animals and grains which stored well). For the development of a non labouring class through a food surplus. And agriculture often brought about a need for high level organisation for things like irrigation and for trade.

I would also argue that as well as the physical realities posted above Agriculture contributed to a spiritual alienation from the land with people switching from relying on the land to provide to fighting against it to provide food. This may be evidenced by religions such as christianity which place an emphasis on dominating and conquering the land.

Next Domestication

Sunday, November 05, 2006

This is to be the first in a series of posts surrounding civilisation.

Revolution aint enough.

A quick overview of the past ten thousand years.

Hunter Gatherers Civilisation is thought to be a least partially a product of agriculture with the conventional theory going something like this. Humans slowly started growing plants with seeds gathered nearby springing up around semi permanant settlements. Gradually people started planting seeds and started relying on these human planted crops for survival. This process may have taken many thousands of years and many groups of people got some way along the path of relying on human planted crops while others came to rely almost solely on these crops.

The modern kind of agriculture we are all familiar with is thought to have arisen 10,000-12,000 years ago. Things began to change humans gave up the lifestyle that had served them well for their entire existence and switched over to a new radically different way of life.

To fully appreciate the magnitude of these changes some background knowledge of our existence is in order.

For 99.6% of our existence we lived as hunter gatherers, as hunter gatherers we relied on the wild plants and animals in our surrounding environment, lived in fairly small bands not thought to be more than 100 people and lived a semi nomadic existence moving from place to place after food and as seasons and climates changed.

Living in small groups and not predating soley on one food source we had a fairly low impact on our environment – we drove few species extinct, had few major environmental disasters and certainly few toxic waste spills. We had a fairly constant population level with very little rapid growth even in productive areas. Population control was active - refraining from sex and abortion were both probably tools used to maintain a population suitable for the environment.

And contrary to the starving wretches we now think of as "primitive peoples" these hunter gatherers had a fairly high standard of life, one which was certainly not the “short brutish” lies spread by by philosophers and missionaries. For starters their diet was high in protein and with a wide mixed balance of minerals - it exceeds that of the modern man or womyn this was a result of the incredibly varied diet with for example between 3000 and 5000 plants gathered as food in North America.

"Work" hours were fairly few, in many cases no more than 2 or 3 hours a day; evidence of some anthropologists point to the fact they might not have even considered these few hours work at all. Life span was definitely longer than those agriculturalists that followed with bodys of early agriculturalists showing considerable stress from famine and the hard lifestyle necessary to survive as an agriculturalist. Study’s of remaining hunter gatherer groups show that hierarchy was probably limited with no one that was not involved in getting food and no full time rulers or priests.

As semi nomadic people it would have been impossible to build up any significant personal wealth and long term settlements were impossible in all but the most naturally productive regions, these two facts made private property and even the concept of private property non existent. Concepts of territory were firmly entrenched in these peoples minds though. Hunter gatherers are also less vulnerable to famine than agriculturalists as a wider food base buffers them from any failure of one crop. This is startlingly evident in the skeletons of hunter gatherers compared to agriculturalists with those of the agriculturalists showing signs of regular food shortage.

next the rise of agriculture
Reclaim Queen St

a block of queen st was closed for 2 hours yesterday after climate activists told the council they would be holding a street party on queen st. The party was attended by over 200 people with more coming and going as the afternoon went on. The police directed traffic and were incredibly well behaved. Music a trailer load of ice, stalls, speakers, chalk and dancing all kept the crowd entertained and kept people focused on the reason for the reclaim the streets - imminent climate change.

I was supprised by how well the day went and that the street had been closed off for us to have the event. Things went incredibly smothly and testified to the hard work a lot of people put into the event. The event got TV coverage and several News Papers were present at the event.

I hope this leads on to bigger and more targeted mass protests in future and inspires those there to start making changes in their own lives.









Friday, November 03, 2006

A few photos

A few pictures i took today


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Why protests fail
One of the key reasons our current protest movement is failing is a lack of any real personal conection with the issues we are fighting for. While we are not completely commited to our success on an issue - while we are not emotionally connected to issues we will keep doing half assed actions that are not effective. As a movement we need to reconnect ourselves with what we are fighting for - we need to learn to love our environments and the people we are fighting for.

If we are just organising because we think an issue is important if we are just organising because we think we should be doing it we are doomed to failure. Movements such as the Animal Rights movement, the Civil Rights movement - the Korean farmers fighting against free trade these are all cases where those involved cannot accept defeat and their tactics reflect this.

I dont think personal connection is enough to win but i think its enough to get real commitment. Once you have commitment then you can decide on which tactics will be most effective.

Our lifestyles are killing the planet - to compromise is to condemn the rest of those we share the earth with to extinction. We must come to accept the situation and come to fight like we really cared.