Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Spying

I just realized why the solid energy spies are such a big deal: spying on civilians is supposed to be the role of the government. This is especially the case when the spying is on the pretext of defense against illegal actions as solid energy claims. So if the Happy Valley Coalition (or greenpeace for that matter) is such a threat to the laws of this country why doesn’t solid energy leave it up to the police, SIS or other such body to investigate them? The answer, that environmental campaigners are more of a threat to corporate profits than they are to the government. I don’t know whether this is a good or bad thing and I know that the government is monitoring us as well but I thought it was an interesting point. In future will we continue to see more and more extra judicial policing? What role will private security forces play in squashing anti corporate activity? And how will the public take this?

These questions are becoming especially pertinent as public space becomes increasingly rare, making corporate targets hard to get to and giving private security forces the legal ability to shut protest down. And with the media almost completely controlled by a few rich men will the brainwashed public even find out about corporate repression? And what do we do when corporate spy's and police forces are working hand in hand with state forces?

To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place[d] under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.” (P.-J. Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, translated by John Beverly Robinson (London: Freedom Press, 1923), pp. 293-294.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Silly Protest Videos

Top gear



This was actually really illuminating “the police explained they had better things to do than deal with three middle class boys chained to a bus” and of course they do dealing with lower class people committing some infringement or other.

Clown Army


More clowns


Stop shopping



Destiny church






Language

I spent the weekend at a workshop which was for the most part around the language we use as activists, community workers and generally great people. It was an interesting experience and provided time to reflect that we don’t normally have when we are in the thick of crisis after crisis. One of the key things that came up was the power of stories to shift consciousness. Another was the need to reframe the debate so we are no longer arguing about better growth or quality of life but instead we are asking about how people feel working 60 hours a week (we have the second highest working hours in the world). Or how it feels to not ever get a chance to see your kids, when on the defensive to forgo scientific speak and instead to speak from personal experience of the destructiveness of our culture.

When it comes down to it all of us are being fucked over one way or another by the system and those who aren’t are the privileged who will never listen to us anyway, instead of browbeating people into submission letting them tell their own story and planting seeds is much more likely to bring about transformation than a heated debate about GDP. Making people feel vaguely uncomfortable about how they are living is a start and better than making them hate you. As we deconstructed the word sustainability it became obvious that I should try to be explicit with the language I use not letting catch phrases or slogans get in the way of what I’m trying to say. And that my personal belief and story is much more powerful than the leaflets and sound bites we come up with.

There were a few other interesting points but the second half of the weekend was overshadowed by the spies who have infiltrated the activist movement in Aotearoa. The fact that a 19 year old could join an anti war movement and an animal rights network and then systematically report back every single action those groups took for two years is beyond belief. I have no idea how the two could have done it, how students could knowingly work against people that called them friends and how they could have sabotaged people fighting against factory farming and the arms trade. I hope the damage done by these two is not irreparable but it is a severe blow to a small overworked and underappreciated group of activists.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


The Contents of Your Daily Life

How many hours a day do you spend in front of a television screen? A computer screen? Behind an automobile windscreen? All three screens combined? What are you being screened from? How much of your life comes at you through a screen, vicariously?
Is watching things as exciting as doing things? Do you have enough time to do all the things that you want to? Do you have enough energy to? Why? And how many hours a day do you sleep? How are you affected by standardized time, designed solely to synchronize your movements with those of millions of other people? How long do you ever go without knowing what time it is? Who or what controls your minutes and hours? The minutes and hours that add up to your life? Are you saving time? Saving it up for what?

Can you put a value on a beautiful day, when the birds are singing and people are walking around together? How many dollars an hour does it take to pay you to stay inside and sell things or file papers? What can you get later that will make up for this day of your life?
How are you affected by being in crowds, by being surrounded by anonymous masses? Do you find yourself blocking your emotional responses to other human beings? And who prepares your meals? Do you ever eat by yourself? Do you ever eat standing up? How much do you know about what you eat and where it comes from? How much do you trust it?
What are we deprived of by labor-saving devices? By thought-saving devices? How are you affected by the requirements of efficiency, which place value on the product rather than the process, on the future rather than the present, the present moment that is getting shorter and shorter as we speed faster and faster into the future? What are we speeding towards? Are we saving time? Saving it up for what?

How are you affected by being moved around in prescribed paths, in elevators, buses, subways, escalators, on highways and sidewalks? By moving, working, and living in two- and three-dimensional grids? How are you affected by being organized, immobilized, and scheduled rather than wandering, roaming freely and spontaneously? Scavenging? (Shoplifting?) How much freedom of movement do you have--freedom to move through space, to move as far as you want, in new and unexplored directions?

And how are you affected by waiting? Waiting in line, waiting in traffic, waiting to eat, waiting for the bus, waiting to urinate--learning to punish and ignore your spontaneous urges? How are you affected by holding back your desires? By sexual repression, by the delay or denial of pleasure, starting in childhood, along with the suppression of everything in you that is spontaneous, everything that evidences your wild nature, your membership in the animal kingdom? Is pleasure dangerous?

Could danger be joyous? Do you ever need to see the sky? (Can you see many stars in it any more?) Do you ever need to see water, leaves, foliage, animals? Glinting, glimmering, moving? Is that why you have a pet, an aquarium, houseplants? Or are television and video your glinting, glimmering, moving? How much of your life comes at you through a screen, vicariously? If your life was made into a movie, would you watch it? How do you feel in situations of enforced passivity?

How are you affected by a non-stop assault of symbolic communication--audio, visual, print, billboard, video, radio, robotic voices--as you wander through a forest of signs? What are they urging upon you? Do you ever need solitude, quiet, contemplation? Do you remember it? Thinking on your own, rather than reacting to stimuli? Is it hard to look away?
Is looking away the very thing that is not permitted? Where can you go to find silence and solitude? Not white noise, but pure silence? Not loneliness, but gentle solitude? How often have you stopped to ask yourself questions like these? Do you find yourself committing acts of symbolic violence? Do you ever feel lonely in a way that words cannot even express? Do you sometimes feel yourself ready to LOSE CONTROL?

Taken from crimethinc

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Transforming the suburbs

Sorry for the break in posts recently things have been fairly flat out, Im doing a bit of design and implementation of gardens and home orchards for a few people and have received a couple of unsolicited expressions of interest in developing gardens including a local school. My garden is looking great but I have filled up all my current garden beds and the lawn is looking more and more tempting. I’m still thinking about how to turn the pool into a pond and will probably begin working on this within the coming months. As I begin to fully utilize the horizontal space I’m being forced to use more and more vertical space particularly for storage with my garage roof covered in tyres bamboo and other building materials which aren’t needed at the moment. I’m beginning to grow a bunch of fruit tree’s both to plant around my area and to distribute to anyone wanting to start backyard orchards.

The meeting of the urban sustainability group went very well on Sunday with about 12 people turning up to the Unitec gardens. A mixture of experienced and new permaculture practiotioners we toured the Unitec gardens before sitting down to talk about what we were passionate about and wanted out of the group. It was decided that regular tours and working bees will be held at propertys around Auckland. Everyone seemed to be on a similar wavelength after talking we made compost and did a bit of planting.

The next meeting of the group will be on Sunday the 3rd of june at Horizon gardens 16 Erson Ave Royal oak. A tour and working bee will be followed by a potluck.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thoughts on suburbia.


I did an interview for the Aucklander (a local rag) about an upcoming gardening course at Horizon gardens which I’m taking a class at. The focus of the interview was around growing food in the city so I got to talk about peak oil gardening and food forests. The venue was the strangely appropriate Howick historical village (a pretend 1800s village), appropriate because it mirrors how we will have to live in a few decades. The houses were small; every house had a fire a garden and a few fruit trees. Chickens roamed the back yards compost piles were visible and a small pond was full of ducks. The roads around the model village were narrow and their were plenty of places to work within walking distance of the houses The only car in the village was delivering barrels to grow plants in, the rest were parked at the entrance. This was in stark contrast to the sterile suburbs surrounding the village, a monoculture of prefab brick and tiles with wide roads and no shops or jobs in site. The number of fruit trees in the model village probably outnumbers the surrounding housing developments. The suburbs around the village were dominated by high speed cars and very wide road, easily 20% of the land was taken up with driveways roads and parking lots.

It seems rather ludicrous that I have to explain how and why to grow your own food but its only a slight exaggeration to say that no one knows how. The knowledge that was present 50 or a 100 years ago in the suburbs has disappeared sped by smaller properties longer working hours and very cheap food. This loss of knowledge is almost complete in rural areas as a generation of farmers raised on tractors monocrops and pesticides farms most of the world. The first thing that needs to happen in a transition is education, we need to regain knowledge about living simply and we need to learn how to live sustainably. This knowledge must be gained through experience or else it will not be applied and it must be backed up by support and advice. Another thing that needs to be in place is easily available seeds and fruit tree’s thankfully garden centers still sell some fruit trees but the range available is narrow and variety’s bred for specific areas, soils and conditions don’t exist any more.

As much as anti poverty activists may disagree with me I am convinced that the price of food must rise drastically if we are to ever produce food in the suburbs again. There is no way to sustainably produce a loaf of bread for $1 or a sack of potatoes for $5. Currently the economics of home grown food hardly stack up and the main argument is the higher nutritional and environmental benefits of home grown food but this will change. The price of oil has become intrinsically linked to the price of food, and with higher fuel prices more and more of our food will be poured into the gas tanks of rich suburbanites. Living in a rich western country we are insulated from the effects of oil prices but unfortunately the number of starving will rise at the same rate as the oil price climbs.

Whether we will undergo any of these changes voluntarily is an open and shut question (we won’t). I do however think that we have a higher chance of getting a network of community gardens and permaculture activists across Auckland than a workers lead revolution (feel free to prove me wrong). The entire city needs redesigning - the way we eat work and live will change whether we like it or not it’s just whether we choose to change or are forced to.

As my experience over the last few weeks has highlighted there is no way that council is going to even begin making any of the changes that need to occur. Relying on central government or any other elected body would be equally stupid. And if no elected body can solve these problems there is no point appealing to them through protests and lobbying. The task is instead much easier and much harder: to create the solutions ourselves. Easier because its much more enjoyable to spend the day gardening and planting fruit trees than it is to attend protest after protest. Focusing on creating solutions is easier mentally and has more rewards than protesting does, its also fairly socially acceptable. But harder because to admit that no leader can solve our problems is to take an immense task on. Creating alternatives to our current way of living is a daunting process which wont see real results until we run out of the resources that keep this mad way of life going.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Institutionalization
I have used domestication as way of describing our behaviour in the past, while I believe that line still holds this is another angle on why our society functions as it does.

Institutionalization is a behavior observed in inmate’s, mental health patients and those who have had their freedom deprived for a long period of time. Upon release the institutionalized person feels restless, uneasy and is unable to carry out functions considered basic to the rest of society. After years sometimes decades of having every decision made for them these people are unable to cope in the outside world. After spending a large portion of their life inside institutions these people lack the most basic of skills and often several years of intense work is needed for these people to be able to live by themselves in the outside world. Institutionalization is most notably a desire to return to the institution they were released from, the prisoner may go out and commit a crime and the patient may try to recommit themselves.

Like the prisoner or mental health patient we suffer from institutionalization on a society wide scale. Throughout our entire lives we are continuously deprived the ability to make our own decisions and are conditioned from birth to unquestioningly accept whatever those higher up in the hierarchy tell us. This begins at birth and continues for around twelve years of formal education before moving into a lifetime of work. We are surrounded by and have become reliant on hierarchy to survive. Like the prisoner we are reliant on others for the basic necessities of life with no knowledge of how most of the world works, no knowledge of how to grow our own food, how to build our own shelter how to dispose of our waste and a million other functions all currently looked after by other members of the institution we live in.

Perhaps the most striking feature of our institutionalization is how when fired, laid off expelled we wander aimlessly for a while before returning to the safety of the office or worksite. The almost unavoidable return to an environment in which we are told what to do in which someone else is making decisions in which we feel safe. Those that are jobless display the same tendencies of the prisoner freed after decades in prison we wander aimlessly don’t know what to do with ourselves and feel stressed by the new decisions we have to make.

And if we do get over the lack of motivation and stress we feel without someone telling us what to do we have the struggle of learning how to function in the real world. The released prisoner has access to social workers that will teach him how to go shopping and pay the bills he probably has a half way house he can stay at. But we have don’t have this support, no guide who will show us the wild edible plants around us no teachers who will show us how to build a composting toilet and few halfway houses we can stay at while we get used to living without the civilization

Our society is almost completely institutionalized to some degree or other, twelve years of having to ask to go to the bathroom in school and being made to feel bad every time you question authority is enough to break almost anyone. Add to that the stress and difficulty of trying to live independently of the system and it’s a wonder that people try and break out at all. And like the inmate if we stay in the system we are almost guaranteed a bed to sleep in and regular meals. Of course having no control over your own life is not a particularly pleasant experience and the symptoms of this manifest throughout society, drop outs dreamers artists back to the landers rebels whatever you want to call it there is always an undercurrent of society rebelling against and trying to live outside the system. And the mental health figures show that living in an institution isn’t a particularly pleasant.

Because the institutionalization is so ubiquitous and runs so deep I don’t think we are in for a revolution any time soon, and if we were to have one tomorrow how would we possibly decolonize our minds to live without hierarchy? Would we like the prisoner return to the prison we had escaped from when we grew hungry and needed somewhere to stay? The police and government will have to grow very hard handed before it overrides our psychological reliance on them. More likely is that the current system will break down and we will be kicked out onto the streets stumbling round desperately looking for someone in charge to tell us what to do.

The good news is that we like the prisoner can learn how to live in the outside world, it may take years of learning and we may struggle to learn what a child in a non civilized society would learn without effort but the window is open to us. And the more of us that leave now the more social workers will be available for when the prison collapses and people come flooding out.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Urban Sustainability Group

We will be having the first meeting of the Urban Sustainability group on sunday the 20th of may at 9am at the Unitec Organic gardens in Auckland. I would appreciate it if you think about some of the questions below. At this meeting we will work out what people want to do and will decide on our next visit, anyone got a property that needs some work????

Look forward to seeing you on the 20th

Program for the day

Introductions

Questions

What was the journey that led to your current world view and position.

What are you passionate about

What are things you know or want to know about

What do you want to do in this group

How frequent do you want to do things

How do you want the balance between practical and theoretical to fall.

tour of the gardens

Practical task (planting a field of broad beans, onions or maybe working in the food forest)

Directions

From carrington road go in gate three go down your first right and you will drive past a sports field at the intersection turn left and the organic gardens are about 100 meters up on your right.

If you open any of the maps on this page the are we will be in will be buidlings 37 - 40

Friday, May 11, 2007


Taken from here
And on a similar topic The savages truly are noble by the anthropik network, I was wondering why it was taking so long to read then I realised it was 59 pages long, I have no idea how they write as well or as frequently as they do

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I was about to say it but someone said it better.

Something happened to me, at some point during the making of What a Way to Go. A switch got flipped. A river crossed. A tipping point tipped. Somewhere in there I became somebody new. A different sort of person.

And now I no longer seem to belong anywhere.What was that switch?
There are a million ways to say it. What comes to me in this moment is this: I now know, deep in my bones, that the collapse of the dominant global culture is unstoppable, that the crash of the human population is inevitable, that both of these changes have already begun and are quickly gaining momentum, and that both of these processes are the best possible news for the community of life as a whole. People speak of hope for the living world. To my mind, collapse and crash are that hope.

It’s one thing to know this. Knowing it changes everything. But it’s another thing altogether to speak it. To share it. To put it out into the world. Knowing it forces me to confront meaning and purpose and change and loss and death at every point in my life. Speaking it forces me to confront my own power, my own identity, my own limitations. I must face my own deepest fear: will I be enough to speak my truth?..........

I would not switch back, if such a thing were possible. The sense of sanity on this side of the mirror is worth every bit of the pain and upheaval it takes to get here. But because my whole world has tilted, I cannot walk easily in the world I once inhabited – what some have called “the consensus trance”. I try. But more and more often, I fail. It’s as if there was a trick I once knew, but can no longer quite remember. As if there was some password that would get me into that club, some key I could use to unscramble that cipher. I go to conferences, to lunches, to meetings, to parties, to dances, I go to the various gatherings I have always attended, but now I can barely open my mouth. My heart clunks. My breathing quickens. And as soon as I can, I slip away, out the door, back into the open air of solitude.......

How many are we, we few thousands in a world of billions? How many haunt the peak oil websites, the climate change listservs? How many are peering right now into the void, trying to decipher how the mass extinction of species and the towering human population intersect with economic meltdown and political insanity and religious fundamentalism and corporate conspiracy? How many are we, we who can no longer walk easily in the consensus trance? How many?

Mutants! Open your mouths and make yourselves known! Flit through the forest, slip through the seas, skim the skies, cross the high passes. Glow and blink and call out your names in the night.

Perhaps we are more common than we realize. Perhaps, right next to you, there sits another mutant, feeling as alone as you. Perhaps.

Remember the words of the Hopi elder: The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Though there are many of us, in absolute terms, who can see both collapse and crash in all of their obvious reality, we are, in relative terms, so few, and so spread out, that we’re often effectively on our own in our own lives. There’s a bone-chilling loneliness that sets in that can deaden the soul and dim the mind. New mutations splashing about in the meme pool, we signal in the night for others of our own species, glowing and blinking and calling out our existence, hoping against hope that another mutant has arisen nearby that can receive our message, and see us, and hear us, and really, really get us.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Videos

I highly reccomend this video "pickaxe The Cascadia Free State Story" an amazing look at one forest campaign in the states. Was heartwrenching to watch in places but the access and quality of the filming was beyond belief, one of the best environmental videos I have seen in a long time.

And this video is good

More on Youth Consultation

Well I spent the afternoon at a multi council forum on the Draft Long Term Sustainability Framework for the Auckland region, as part of the youth feedback I talked about the need for change to come from the bottom up and for councils to empower communitys. I used the example of transtion town Totnes (see here) which educated the community about the challenges facing us such as peak oil and the need to relocalise and then allowed the community to come up with its own solutions. The presentation was alright but I think most of the council knew how badly the problems are allready, the radicals of the 70's are now in power and they are comfortable, everyone wants to bring this screaming beast to a halt but no one has the commitment or vision to do it.

The council were predictably patronising but some of the people there seemed to get it. My feelings to the event were summed up by a councillor a former womens lib campaigner who said to us "I like you being here and it makes us feel good, but arent you being co-opted? and shouldnt you be on the outside?" The full extent to who deluded some people still are was conveyed brilliantly by the mayor for my city Manukau Barry Curtis who approached one of us at the end and said with no trace of humour that "everything will be fine in 50 years cars will fly and run on water"

The sustainability framework is a plan and nothing more, I am as convinced as ever that Auckland will burn to the ground before it undergoes a voluntary transition. I'm also pissed off that the generation in power knows more than my generation, that my generation my peers appears to have little vision, drive or even awareness of the magnitude of the problems facing us.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Permaculture Media



My recording of the David Homgren lecture at Auckland University is now available here, it has static at the start but otherwise isnt too bad. To download the powerpoint which went with the presentation click here. Thanks heaps to stephen for the help :)


Here is an interview with with David Holmgren about peak oil and permaculture

Here is a talk by David Holmgren and Richard Heinberg about peak oil and permaculture.

Here is an interview with Bill Mollison

Here is a video interview with Adam Fenderson and David Holmgren about permaculture and its role in an energy constrained world

And here is the wikipedia article on permaculture its a decent intro to permaculture

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The fallacy of wilderness

This article here highlights the fallacy of wilderness as it is viewed by westerners. Here is an extract which sums up my thinking almost perfectly.

“Wilderness is a start, but it can't be the end. We also need to reconcile our relationship with the non-human world, and permaculture represents an opportunity for precisely that. Humans have a place in nature, and just like any apex predator, it is a keystone role. The problem is not with humanity itself—we do not eradicate the "wilderness" simply by existing. The problem is simply with one way of life of the many we've tried, one that eradicates anything and everything in its path. We know other ways of life, and for the sake of the wilderness—and that means for our own sakes as well—we'd best remember them with all haste.”

I don’t know how I could say it as simply and as elegantly as that so I won’t try but I will reinforce that walling off large areas while important is only part of the solution. We must create a society in which humans and other animals can continue to evolve side by side. If we are not part of nature and continue to define nature as “out there” then we are not living sustainably.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Activist Block Boat ramp

Animal rights activists yesterday blockaed a boat ramp preventing duck haunters from killing birds for over two hours. Full story and more photo's here.

These are some photo's







David Holmgren Lecture


David Holmgren spoke last night about permaculture and the need to transform the suburbs in response to the twin threats of climate change and global warming. He ran through what permaculture is and some of the background behind both the permaculture movement and the problems facing us. One of the key themes running through the process was energy and the currently wasteful energy intensive nature of our society.

I recorded the lecture and will try and put it online once I figure out how. The talk was interesting and I came away inspired to keep doing what I’m doing. I think though I was looking for a road map for change. I and I think most of the people in the room knew what is wrong with our society and most know we need to transform the suburbs. Some clear guidance on how to get this change snowballing would have been nice.

Some of the key points I took from the lecture were that we will have to retrofit what is currently existing, all the problems and opportunity's facing suburbia now are what we are stuck with. That we need to vastly increase the use of suburbia we will need more people, jobs and food production in our suburbs. That we need strong examples to inspire change and to teach the horticulture and living skills which are currently being lost.

At the end of the lecture someone stood up and asked about the blogger who was thinking of starting an energy descent group. I was feeling quite tired and this was just the boost I needed to tell people about the new group being formed. I got half a page of interested contacts and I know of several other interested people so once I spend some time working out what how it will run I will email everyone and set up a time and place to meet and get the ball rolling. It was good to hear David and was great to see so many familiar faces throughout the packed room. If anyone reading this wants to get involved in a energy descent/permaculture group in Auckland city leave your email in the contacts or email me at aucklandsburning@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Youth Consultation


Over the last couple of days I have gone to two youth consultation forums at the Auckland City Council, and I know what your thinking “why the hell would he subject himself to that?” and yea I agree but I thought I would meet some interesting people an there was free coffee, poor excuses I know but its all I have. Both of these events were about getting “youth” advice on the councils and the regions short and long term plans. The first one had about 50 people including the co chair of permaculture New Zealand, a few greenies and a large number of youth politicians. To cut a long story short the morning was a complete waste of time and by lunch time I was seething at the knowledge that this was just a chance for the council to rubber stamp the report with “approved by youth”. So it was with some delight that I knew that the mayor of Manukau City (Barry Curtis) and the mayor of the North Shore (George Wood) would be attending for a brief Q and A session.

Barry spent about 15 minutes explaining how he had made the economy grow and repeating his usual spiel about diversity and growing up poor and completely avoiding questions going so far as to ask “what was the question?” after talking for 5 minutes. George spent about 10 minutes explaining how to get a skate park approved and telling us to talk to our community boards while a councillor pointed out how much of a waste of time community boards were to me and those around me. So by this stage most of the room was getting frustrated and I decided to vent at the mayors for a while talking about peak oil, climate change and the need to radically transform. After yelling at them for a bit George asked what needed to be done, my reply “we need to start moving towards a city without cars” to which of course his reply was “impossible” and he then talked about one bus route he was building.

Anyway the next forum was similar with any suggestions for major change ignored and suggestions for things like more festivals or cycle lanes lept upon. I think this highlights not only the stupidity of local government but the fact that environmentalists are expected to and generally argue from within the current economic system. Our arguments are framed as how we can best make the economy grow and how to best maintain our current standard of living. And the public and those in power have come to expect these arguments from us. It is my opinion that maintaining thes arguments which never challenge the dominant system will never result in an overall reduction in the destruction of the environment. These arguments allow those in power to feel like they are doing somethign and lull the public as they look at their brand new bus lanes and groovy logo's while never questioning the wider system.
It didn’t help that those running the sessions at the council had a better knowledge of environmental issues than most of the youth attending or that most of the youth attending had no idea of the severity of the threats facing us. But I think this is typical of our current situation, those in power these days often know more than us, and the solutions we have to offer them are still stuck in the first wave of environmentalists. We need to move forward and constantly challenge those in power and those around us to envision and start moving rapidly to a completly different way of living. We need to question the very basis of our current society and be unafraid to say the environment and the health of ecosystems is more important than the economy. Of course these words must also be backed up by direct action aimed at crippling the current system by identifying and shutting down key infrastructure (go happy valley lock on's)

Anyway I’m thinking about putting a written and oral submission in to the council about these plans, just so I can keep yelling at politicians. I know it doesn’t really make a difference but at least it makes me feel better.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Radical Youth Relaunch Youth Rates Campaign.


Radical youth kicked off their youth rates campaign for the year with an 18 square meter banner and some street theatre at May Day in Auckland. Spokes person for Radical Youth said "its time for business owners and the labour party to give us equal pay for equal work" and that "when youth get discriminated against on a daily basis we have to stand up and fight back". This is one of the first events of the year in a campaign by groups such as Radical Youth the Youth Union Movement and Young Labour to force Labour to pass Sue Bradfords bill to get rid of youth rates.

The publicity stunt involved a boss in a flash suit dragging three young workers around yelling at the public asking "where's your children? give me your children" apparently searching for people under the age of 18 so he could pay them youth rates or less. It became apparent after a while that the boss was actually working for Pack and Save and was paying 15 year olds $5.70 an hour to stack shelves and work on checkouts. The boss pulled the workers through throngs of people choking them and yelling at them to move faster saying "I'm not paying you to muck round, work harder, faster". The workers eventually rose up against the boss cutting the leash the boss was holding onto and joining a protest against youth rates.

May Day was a lively affair with Radical Youth, Unite, EPMU and Solidarity flying dozens of flags as well as the occasional black or pirate flag. Numbers were average for May Day with about two hundred or so people present - with a large number of them union officials, delegates and activists. The lively and loud chants on the march were split between those about youth rates led by radical youth and militant union chants led by solidarity activists. One of the highlights of the event was the large number of locked out Amcor workers present at the rally as well as some of the locked out workers from last years Progressive Enterprises dispute. The speakers were not particularly noteworthy and numbers dwindled quickly once the march had finished.