Women Warriors Of The Global Revolution Part 4: ‘Tentmonster’ Sara Kerrison

Occupy Savvy Exclusive! One of the coolest things about activism is that it doesn’t have celebrities – it has role models. Recently, we put 7 poignant questions to five of the world’s most inspiring women. These women hail from Iceland, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and for their profound actions, deeds, words, generosity, heart, and perseverance, we deem them “wahine toa”.

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, we describe a fearless woman of soul and substance, as “wahine toa”. This very loosely translates to “woman warrior.”

The Maori dictionary explains it as;

wāhine: (noun) women, females, ladies, wives.

toa: (stative) be brave, bold, victorious, experienced, accomplished, adept, competent, skilful, capable.

But wahine toa is even more; to us she is;

kaitiaki: (noun) trustee, minder, guard, custodian, guardian, keeper.

She becomes;

ūkaipō: (noun) mother, origin, source of sustenance, real home.

She is “atua” in the sense of; “a way of perceiving and rationalising the world”.

If it were audible; we could almost hear our ladies blushing through the screen. The truth is; they deserve every accolade we can give them, as they live this wild journey called life to the fullest, inspiring so many of us to follow their path, by discovering our own.

These next few days, you will see the same 7 questions posted here, again and again. But you will see vastly different answers. All of a unique and immeasurable insightfulness that is a gift, as a reader, to absorb.

Part One saw us publish the heartfelt words of Turtle Island, Canada’s Min Reyes.

Part Two was an exclusive interview with Iceland’s very own Birgitta Jónsdóttir.

Part Three was an introduction to Aotearoa, New Zealand’s Marama Davidson.

In Part Four we cover an Occupy Melbourne institution that rightly went viral; an original “Tentmonster” – Australia’s Sara Kerrison.

Tentmonster

The proverbial meat of this article is going to start unconventionally. By making you wet yourself with laughter. In case you missed it back in December 2011, it is our great pleasure to introduce: the Occupy Melbourne Tentmonsters.

If you’ve taken the 4 minutes out of your day to watch the above; you will be shocked by the contrast of what happened next. Apparently the Melbourne Police didn’t get the joke. Their retaliation was swift, brutal and left an innocent young girl who had lightened the world with laughter, an extremely public victim of the self-evident Police State.

tentmonsters

The sickening assault circled the globe. In one fell swoop Melbourne Police did their international reputation irrevocable damage. The grassroots fallout was instantaneous.

Within hours the entire Occupy movement was expressing both their outrage and their empathy with Sara, then swiftly replicating the “tentmonsters” tactic in spontaneous solidarity actions worldwide; spawning “International Wear A Tent For Human Rights Day“.

There were no longer just tentmonsters in Aussie. They sprung up in locations as far flung from Melbourne as possible; including the Occupy National Gathering (2012) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. In Occupy DC… and at Occupy Santa Cruz, California.

There were even tentmonsters in attendance at the famous Occupy Oakland Port Shutdown II. (Pics courtesy of CIAbook) They even popped up on livestreaming legend Oakfosho’s Ustream, the following January.

With these serendipitous events, Sara was unwittingly thrust into the global spotlight. A Wikileaks activist and Bradley Manning supporter, she had fought injustice but never sought to be the public victim of it.

True occupiers have an innate ability to turn attacks on them into personal and societal victories. Sara did exactly that, putting her profile to good use. She is now a co-litigant representing Occupy Melbourne in the Australian Federal Court in Muldoon Vs Melbourne – a constitutional case that is testing fundamental principles of political communication and freedom of expression.

As Min Reyes said in Part 1 of this series (paraphrasing); the movements come in waves, each a little bigger than the last, all blurring into each other until the individual banners are meaningless and meld into one.

In Part 2 Birgitta Jónsdóttir described the revolution as an ongoing process; where we needed to abandon ego-logy and embrace ecology.

Part 3 saw Marama Davidson deliver the stark reality; we can no longer attempt to be the human boss of Earth. Such wankery is running us into utter ruination.

Here follows Sara’s insightful answers to the same 7 questions we put to the other wahine toa featured in this series.

Q1. Occupy Savvy: Strong women abound in the Occupy and Idle No More movements. Did you ever foresee that you would contribute as meaningfully as you have, to such momentous events?

Sara: Occupy Melbourne was the real catalyst of my participation in social
change. I immediately recognized something in Occupy, some truth in life
and myself that had always been missing and that perhaps subconsciously I
had always been searching for; a sense of community and a belief in my
inalienable right to direct the outcome of my own life. I definitely
didn’t plan to get so involved, but the moment I experienced it I knew
that here is something that EVERYONE deserves to feel! It is moving to be
involved in something much larger than yourself.

Q2. Occupy Savvy: An ONZ admin says “Activism didn’t radicalise me; the state response to activism radicalised me.” Can you empathise with this statement?

SaraI completely understand, we expressed a similar sentiment after our
eviction in Melbourne because we experienced and witnessed some pretty
brutal things happen to the people we cared about and to everything that
we had built. It was this experience that was instrumental in making me
fully internalize the gravity of the situation, what they are capable of
and how necessary it is for us to persevere. But in the end I feel that
more important than what radicalized me is what keeps me going, and
perhaps it was anger and outrage that ignited me, but it was hope that
kept me going.

Q3. Occupy Savvy: Activism messages appear to be increasingly penetrating the public consciousness. What is your experience of this awakening?

SaraMy personal experience of activism messages being taken on by the public
was when I wrote a short essay about the need for rEvolution which gained
some small notoriety and popularity on the internet. I was grateful that
so many people related to it because it means that many others are having
similar revelations, and realizing the need for us to OPEN OUR EYES!

Q4. Occupy Savvy: What has been your most satisfying moment of the global revolution, to date?

Sara: Even though it is constantly challenging, and sometimes very painful and frustrating, everything about the rEvolution is satisfying, because no matter what happens you know you are involved in such a worthy cause.

Something that particularly touched me was when I saw the videos of the General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street. I was so captivated by this group of strangers, so hands on and involved, so organized and dedicated to their ideals, and so willing to confront hard and real truths about life and the condition of humanity. I was taken aback, because this involvement was a totally foreign concept to me. When the camera swept across the crowd and you saw all of the people, there was a look on each of their faces quite unlike anything I’ve seen before, maybe it was renewed hope.

It’s a simple scene but it really moved me, and I keep coming back to that memory, to remind me to persevere not just against the injustice in the world but for all the beauty that is possible.

Q5. Occupy Savvy: In what way would you most like to see the global narrative shift, from this point?

Sara: I see sustainable self-sufficiency as a practical foundation upon which all great global change can occur. So I want to see solar panels on every roof in every city, water collections in every gutter, vertical farms on the walls of every skyscraper and community gardens in every vacant lot! If each person is able to provide for themselves their most basic needs, society itself will be inadvertently changed, because we will no longer see each other as competitors, and we will have the freedom necessary to interact more meaningfully with each other, our communities and our planet.

And really these ideas aren’t that farfetched! Every single thing that we require to liberate us exists already within ourselves and on our planet. We possess the most awe-inspiring technologies; we could make our reality here into anything that we want! But somehow along the way we managed to convince ourselves that we must work a wage for someone else to pay back the debt of our own existence, and to buy back our freedom. Well our lives aren’t loaned to us by the big banks, so why do we feel we have to spend our lives paying them back?

Q6. Occupy Savvy: What advice would you give to a woman becoming involved in activism for the first time?

SaraDon’t get distracted by small things such as the police and drama of activist groups. I’ve seen too many activists get sucked into the vortex of interpersonal politics, and use up all of the energy that could have been spent furthering their cause on fighting each other, and eventually self-destruction.

The same goes for the police. They can do things that OUTRAGE you, and yes they can HURT you, and make you ANGRY and make you want to FIGHT BACK. But don’t, it’s just getting caught in their trap. So be gentle with yourself, and take breaks because if you burn out you won’t be helping anyone.

Always listen to people who have the opposite opinion to you, there is no point preaching to the choir. Don’t try to be a badass, and don’t get paranoid about governmental implants involved in your business, because they probably are.

It can all probably be summed up by this Dr. Seuss quote:

“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot
with your left.”

Q7. Occupy Savvy: In what way have you seen your country change, over the last 18 months? In what way would you see it change, in the next 18?

SaraI haven’t seen my country change nearly enough in the last 18 months! And I wonder to myself why that is, what it is that we are doing, or not doing in our public advocacy that isn’t persuasive?

Grand ambitions aside, the change I want to see is within the protest culture itself, there needs to be a paradigm shift within activism. A transformation from specific issue-based approaches, to an approach that acknowledges the systemic nature of our problems here on Earth.

Problems that are inherent in the very structure of the system our societies are built on, and that permeate to the core of its people and so warrant an approach in activism that also deals with the issues at their very source and encompasses the entire panorama of problems.

It’s something that I’ve been contemplating for a while but can’t fully articulate yet, but I’d love to start throwing around ideas with any and all people who are feeling the same thing.


That concludes the fourth part of “Women Warriors Of The Global Revolution”. We thank Sara for repping Australia in this series and for being such a fantastic role model for women in her country. Keep an eye out in the coming days for interviews with the final wahine toa to be featured in this series; a staunch female activist hailing from the United States of America.

This site operates on a $0 budget & so if you loved this article all we ask is that you share it with your friends and family. Help us spread the sentiments expressed by these ladies, around the world. Thank you!

Women Warriors Of The Global Revolution Part 3: Marama Davidson

Occupy Savvy Exclusive! One of the coolest things about activism is that it doesn’t have celebrities – it has role models. Recently, we put 7 poignant questions to five of the world’s most inspiring women. These women hail from Iceland, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and for their profound actions, deeds, words, generosity, heart, and perseverance, we deem them “wahine toa”.

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, we describe a fearless woman of soul and substance, as “wahine toa”. This very loosely translates to “woman warrior.”

The Maori dictionary explains it as;

wāhine: (noun) women, females, ladies, wives.

toa: (stative) be brave, bold, victorious, experienced, accomplished, adept, competent, skilful, capable.

But wahine toa is even more; to us she is;

kaitiaki: (noun) trustee, minder, guard, custodian, guardian, keeper.

She becomes;

ūkaipō: (noun) mother, origin, source of sustenance, real home.

She is “atua” in the sense of; “a way of perceiving and rationalising the world”.

If it were audible; we could almost hear our ladies blushing through the screen. The truth is; they deserve every accolade we can give them, as they live this wild journey called life to the fullest, inspiring so many of us to follow their path, by discovering our own.

These next few days, you will see the same 7 questions posted here, again and again. But you will see vastly different answers. All of a unique and immeasurable insightfulness that is a gift, as a reader, to absorb.

Part One saw us publish the heartfelt words of Turtle Island, Canada’s Min Reyes.

Part Two was an exclusive interview with Iceland’s very own Birgitta Jónsdóttir.

In Part Three we introduce you to Aotearoa, New Zealand’s Marama Davidson.

Marama - Idle No More

Our first reaction to hearing of Idle No More was that it was a Christmas present from the universe. Stretched to our limits and battered from the endurance race that was 2012 in activism, to see the first nations and indigenous people begin to rise worldwide flooded us with immense pride and relief.

The people’s cavalry, had arrived.

Privately we joked; “they might be able to mess with white kids from the suburbs; good luck to them trying to infiltrate every marae (indigenous community space) in the country”.

Idle No More clearly heralded the beginnings of the public groundswell we had anticipated for so long.

In our small nation (which yes, does have cities with skyscrapers and ridiculous traffic congestion, as well as countryside, mountains, farmland and endless beaches) there is none of our generation more qualified to represent the concept of wahine toa than Whaea Marama Davidson.

Thus it was innately satisfying to see her so avidly answer the call of Idle No More, for the mobilisation of international indigenous nations.

As Min Reyes said in Part 1 of this series (paraphrasing); the movements come in waves, each a little bigger than the last, all blurring into each other until the individual banners are meaningless and meld into one.

In Part 2 Birgitta Jónsdóttir described the revolution as an ongoing process; where we needed to abandon ego-logy and embrace ecology.

On the other side of the planet, down here in Aotearoa, New Zealand, Marama is cut of similar ideological cloth. Cherishing both history and living culture, she is a heartfelt advocate for kaupapa Maori (indigenous critique), rangatiratanga (heritage), kaitiakitanga (conservation, guardianship) while righteously demanding equality and promoting kotahitanga (unity) in new generations of Kiwis.

A founding member of Occupy Auckland & of Aotearoa In Solidarity With Idle No More; Marama is a high-profile blogger on ONZ admin Martyn Bradbury’s TheDailyBlog.co.nz and a member of Te Whare Porahou, an influential Maori women’s collective.

Here follows Marama’s very gracious answers to the same 7 questions we have put to the other wahine toa featured in this series.

Q1. Occupy Savvy: Strong women abound in the Occupy and Idle No More movements. Did you ever foresee that you would contribute as meaningfully as you have, to such momentous events?

Marama: In the Occupy Movement in Aotearoa, my small contribution was merely to speak up as a Māori woman and for our group Te Wharepora Hou (TWH). TWH is a group of wāhine Māori who support each other to use our voices collectively and individually as we feel the need to. The imperative to speak up recognises that for too long there has been a silencing of the diverse voices and opinions of Māori women, in spite of the incredible staunch wāhine that have been instrumental to positive change in our communities and our nation. Our purpose is to have a say on all issues that impact on the well-being of whānau (family), hapū (extended family) and iwi (tribes) and our natural living system. By this standard we could provide a critique on every issue under the sun and moon but we do what we can when we can. We do not claim to have any mandate to speak on behalf of all Māori but we surely claim our voices as Māori women, as mothers, as grandmothers and as members of our respective whānau, hapū and iwi.

Around the world many other indigenous people and groups were already highlighting the need for the Occupy Movement to decolonise itself. The Occupy philosophy needed to link the very neoliberalism it was opposing to the ongoing colonial imperialism of the indigenous people of each of the lands that the movement was occupying. Indigenous critique was calling for widespread acknowledgement that indigenous peoples had been fighting those very oppressive approaches for hundreds of years. The imperial poison of greed and privilege had now started to negatively impact on almost ‘everyone else’ and it could only benefit and strengthen the movement to accept this. As Māori women, Te Wharepora Hou felt a responsibility to continue that global conversation in Aotearoa and also to support our indigenous relations where ever Occupy was happening in the world. We most definitely saw value in joining in a call to end neoliberalism, but not without the indigenous thought to uphold the truer struggle. And then we realised it was us who would have to provide that very indigenous thought. We did so via blogs, Maori media, press releases, social media interviews, and camping with the movement in Aotea Square. I don’t know if anything we did was meaningful – but it was what we needed to do.

The Idle No More movement however has been one that we have worked tirelessly for to support indigenous uprising and sovereignty around the world through protecting lands and waters. Idle No More is an ongoing strive to decolonise the world and insist on a new way living together that honours our living systems and each other as people. It is the movement that starts with the very critique that we were asking of Occupy. Again Te Wharepora Hou has attempted to raise awareness, provide information and offer a voice while encouraging others to organise their own ways of supporting the movement. There have been many other groups and individuals helping to keep this conversation alive as well, and it is a conversation that needs to go on for decades at the very least.

Q2. Occupy Savvy: An ONZ admin says “Activism didn’t radicalise me; the state response to activism radicalised me.” Can you empathise with this statement?

Marama: As a Māori woman the State response to activism is a stabbing reminder of what lengths they will go to when there is resistance from the ground. Our Aotearoa history is littered with the State flexing its muscles against any uprising that dares question its authority. This has pissed me off since I was a young wee girl when my parents dragged me to watch Merata Mita’s movie ‘Patu’. Observing the violent State response to anti-apartheid protests actually disgusted my young girl spirit. There have been many more moments of such disgust at the State so yes I can definitely empathise with this statement.

Q3. Occupy Savvy: Activism messages appear to be increasingly penetrating the public consciousness. What is your experience of this awakening?

Marama: I can only hope that progressive messages are indeed planting seeds in the garden of public consciousness. Often it feels like a depressing slow uphill climb but the beauty of the awakening is also finding other kindred spirits around the planet, and indeed unearthing them in my own backyard. In the ongoing development of my own critique this kindred networking has been essential to me having a small role in awakening myself and others. I have had ongoing feedback from so many people, particularly women, who are finding their own morning breath as the world around them wakes up to try and change for the better. My experience of the awakening, is that I am starting to wake up. That is the most important awakening of all for me.

Q4. Occupy Savvy: What has been your most satisfying moment of the global revolution, to date?

Marama: I feel like it is more of a global murmuring still as opposed to a revolution, and this might be the healthy way for it to grow peacefully and sustainably. I am not denying the war and violence that exists across communities of the world however the aspirations to change that existence are coming slowly but surely. My most satisfying moments personally are when ordinary people, people who have felt afraid to speak up – have been inspired to speak up themselves finally. I have had mums, or grandmothers, or young women just come and say “I want to be part of this, even from a distance” and that is a win. We need to be inspiring and stirring peoples’ hearts and minds to want to belong to and own their own revolutions.

Q5. Occupy Savvy: In what way would you most like to see the global narrative shift, from this point?

Marama: It is clear that we need to reclaim our place as one small part of the planet living system as opposed to one dominating human race over it. We have totally lost our kinship with our plants, our rivers, our seas, our forests, our animals and each other as inter-dependent species of an intricate and complex survival system. Instead we want to be the human boss of Earth – how wanky is that? More of us need to stop being wankers.

Q6. Occupy Savvy: What advice would you give to a woman becoming involved in activism for the first time?

Marama: The bigger your mouth, the more targeted you will be. That can suck but have a good cry and gather your authentic friends and support network around you – dig deep and keep going. And laugh. Never stop laughing.

Q7. Occupy Savvy: In what way have you seen your country change, over the last 18 months? In what way would you see it change, in the next 18?

Marama: The neoliberal narrative is frightening and has become more and more aggressive. We are so sucked into the vortex of blaming individuals and denying the structural and historical contexts to our social ills. This is why the progressive narrative is essential – we all have a responsibility to bat back the lies whenever possible I believe. Over the next 18 months I would so love to see the current deficit stories being flooded by the insightful critique and analysis of voices that have been quiet in the background so far.

There is real joy for me in the community and grassroots initiatives that have been rising up as well. Community strength can do so much for local neighbourhoods and families to shine despite the oppressive structures that surround them. But we cannot rest our work simply on the hardworking communites. We have to destroy the current constructs for those very communities to really flourish.


That concludes the third part of “Women Warriors Of The Global Revolution”. We thank Marama for repping New Zealand in this series and for being such a fantastic role model for women in our country. Keep an eye out in the coming days for interviews with two other wahine toa; from the United States and Australia.

This site operates on a $0 budget & so if you loved this article all we ask is that you share it with your friends and family. Help us spread the sentiments expressed by these ladies, around the world. Thank you!

Women Warriors Of The Global Revolution Part 2: Birgitta Jónsdóttir

Occupy Savvy Exclusive! One of the coolest things about activism is that it doesn’t have celebrities – it has role models. Recently, we put 7 poignant questions to five of the world’s most inspiring women. These women hail from Iceland, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and for their profound actions, deeds, words, generosity, heart, and perseverance, we deem them “wahine toa”.

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, we describe a fearless woman of soul and substance, as “wahine toa”. This very loosely translates to “woman warrior.”

The Maori dictionary explains it as;

wāhine: (noun) women, females, ladies, wives.

toa: (stative) be brave, bold, victorious, experienced, accomplished, adept, competent, skilful, capable.

But wahine toa is even more; to us she is;

kaitiaki: (noun) trustee, minder, guard, custodian, guardian, keeper.

She becomes;

ūkaipō: (noun) mother, origin, source of sustenance, real home.

She is “atua” in the sense of; “a way of perceiving and rationalising the world”.

If it were audible; we could almost hear our ladies blushing through the screen. The truth is; they deserve every accolade we can give them, as they live this wild journey called life to the fullest, inspiring so many of us to follow their path, by discovering our own.

These next few days, you will see the same 7 questions posted here, again and again. But you will see vastly different answers. All of a unique and immeasurable insightfulness that is a gift, as a reader, to absorb.

In Part One we published the heartfelt words of Turtle Island, Canada’s Min Reyes.

Part Two is an exclusive interview with Iceland’s very own Birgitta Jónsdóttir.

Birgitta Making A Stand Against NDAABirgitta Jónsdóttir is a POETician and activist (member) of the Icelandic Parliament (since 2009), Chairperson for the International Modern Media Institute, Chairperson for Pirate Party in Iceland. (“These titles mean nothing really for I live by the rule of the circle of power“). She is an independent parent of 3 children, and was the first Icelandic female to develop websites.

A volunteer for WikiLeaks in 2010, she co-produced the video Collateral Murder and was on the Bradley Manning advisory board.

Birgitta is also a member of the International Network Of Parliamentarians On Tibet and an avid supporter of the civil liberties foundations EFF & the ACLU.

She describes her current role as “pretty much being the mosquito in the tent“.

This is the second time we’ve had the pleasure of writing about Birgitta. The first being the most popular Occupy Savvy post to date; last August’s “How Did Iceland Sack Its Government?

It is our privilege to call her friend. Without further adieu; our exclusive interview with Birgitta Jónsdóttir.

Q1. Occupy Savvy: Strong women abound in the Occupy and Idle No More movements. Did you ever foresee that you would contribute as meaningfully as you have, to such momentous events?

Birgitta: In my wildest dreams: NO. I am forever humbled by the fact that my actions have somehow inspired others to act, to be changemakers in a world that so desperately needs for people to claim their responsibility of co-creation before it is too late.

Q2. Occupy Savvy: An ONZ admin says “Activism didn’t radicalise me; the state response to activism radicalised me.” Can you empathise with this statement?

Birgitta: I have always been radical, so it didn’t need any encouragement to carry on from oppressive response. I can empathize with this statement for I saw it happen to many of my fellow activists.

Q3. Occupy Savvy: Activism messages appear to be increasingly penetrating the public consciousness. What is your experience of this awakening?

Birgitta: I define myself as an activist in parliament, the role of activists is to push the threshold of norms; if normality as we know it has become unsustainable and harmful, the need of activists is even greater. I have been told by other parliamentarians that I have changed the parliament by my methods of working there. It says a lot about this change we are experiencing that a person like me is accepted by the mainstream by being voted into the role of the lawmaker. Perhaps that is a signal that the times are changing.

I do at the same time feel that people are losing steam and feel that their activism is not giving needed results of change and feel in some ways that it is useless to engage. Sometimes positive change can take a long time, especially when it means total transformation. I want to urge that we cant give up midstream. We are so many, we have so many great minds, so many visionaries who need to come together in order to draw together the blueprint for the future.

I feel many people understand what is wrong with our societies but I feel we lack joint vision from going from here to solutions. The solutions are all there but we need to draw them together and start to work on them in a joint global effort. It is of utter importance to get people inside the system in order to understand how it works in order to change it.

Q4. Occupy Savvy: What has been your most satisfying moment of the global revolution, to date?

Birgitta: There is not one moment for me, rather the fact that the global revolution is an ongoing process, and the satisfaction evolves around the fact that it is still going on, new countries getting into the loop, new actions, more creativity, to see that many realize it is a long haul.

Q5. Occupy Savvy: In what way would you most like to see the global narrative shift, from this point?

Birgitta: Direct democracy and transparency is key to make the changes we are demanding take root. It is easy to get a revolution going compared to finding solutions in maintaining people engaged and to create social structures based on that engagement.

We need to transform our thought of power and lack of power. Pyramids are not a natural order, the circle of power however is. We need to move from EGOlogy to ECOlogy. Understand that we are all connected and that no individual has all the answers. Move from needing leaders to lead us from the mess and accept that our strength comes from being strong together rather then seeking strong leaders.

We are running out of planet and it is really important to remember that no change starts anywhere except through our own actions.

Q6. Occupy Savvy: What advice would you give to a woman becoming involved in activism for the first time?

Birgitta: Follow your gut, dont think things too much through. Just do it:)

Q7. Occupy Savvy: In what way have you seen your country change, over the last 18 months? In what way would you see it change, in the next 18?

Birgitta: In 2009 we saw some really impressive possibilities for changes in Iceland. Clear demands for fundamental changes were put forward and adopted by all of the political parties who got voted into office in 2009, except the right wing party. The most important demand was that the people of Iceland would write a new constitution by and for the people.

Those that have held the reigns of power since we claimed our independence from Denmark in 1944 have done EVERYTHING in order to destroy this process of modern democracy, and now it looks like they are winning. We have elections late April and ignorant people seem to think they can entrust the very same people who caused this country to have the world 4th largest financial meltdown in recorded history the power to look after their interests.

We have seen many positive changes occurring that would not have been possible unless we had a good crisis. Perhaps the crisis was not bad enough in order to push the needed fundamental changes through. We have seen similar development in other countries. It leads me to the conclusion we need to know exactly what we want in the aftermath of crisis and implement it very fast, just like bad laws and fundamental changes are imposed during times of shock.

Iceland has been made into some sort of poster child of the revolution, and i guess many feel they need to see prove that activism and revolutions change things for the greater good. The fact of the matter is however, that we are far from a poster child. We are far from having achieved the things set in motion during times of crisis. But if we are fortunate enough to understand when crisis will hit again that we need different approach to democracy, our current system is outdated because of many factors, if we are wise enough to offer alternatives that the common people can rally behind we will change things and transform politics as we know them.

I am a pragmatic anarchist and I understand and accept that many do not want to spend their time as responsible citizens, they want to transfer their power to someone else, thus I want to help create the tools in order for this transfer of power to be truly democratic and revokable. This is why I have helped create a Pirate Party in Iceland, in order to experiment with liquid democracy from our own internal work to the representatives in parliaments.

I understand that the suffering of others is my suffering, I understand that despite the fact I live on an island that we are not islands, but interconnected, and that the fate of humanity rests on those that are willing to accept the responsibility of co-creating our societies.

It is time to zero the dysfunctional self serving systems and create smaller systems that will be crafted from our love for our societies and respect for ecology, and the fact that we are all equal in the circle of power.


To us, the best way to finish an interview with Birgitta is by sharing her poetry. It is the raw narrative of revolution. Once again, she has blessed us with a piece. A living reminder, that some things have no monetary value. Gifts of the heart are priceless. For us this poem is a taonga – a sacred treasure. Thank you Birgitta.

Changes – by Birgitta Jónsdóttir

Something big is happening
Gaia has regained her consciousness
her way of surviving

A picture
growing in my mind

A whole universe of possibilities
to make the invisible seen

Be a part of
this movement
of awakening

Learn to listen to our mother’s voice
through her infinite creations

I keep making the picture bigger
so I won’t lose myself

Earthquakes move through me
volcanic eruptions of insight
as the revolution
of silent changes
begins.


If you haven’t seen “The Mouse That Roared”, a background documentary about the Icelandic Revolution; it is a must-watch. Embedded below for your viewing pleasure!


That concludes the second part of “Women Warriors Of The Global Revolution”. We thank Birgitta for repping Iceland in this series and for all the time she has invested in us. Keep an eye out in the coming days for interviews with other wahine toa; from Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

This site operates on a $0 budget & so if you loved this article all we ask is that you share it with your friends and family. Help us spread the sentiments expressed by these ladies, around the world. Thank you!

Women Warriors Of The Global Revolution Part 1: Min Reyes

Occupy Savvy Exclusive! One of the coolest things about activism is that it doesn’t have celebrities – it has role models. Recently, we put 7 poignant questions to five of the world’s most inspiring women. These women hail from Iceland, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and for their profound actions, deeds, words, generosity, heart, and perseverance, we deem them “wahine toa”.

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, we describe a fearless woman of soul and substance, as “wahine toa”. This very loosely translates to “woman warrior.”

The Maori dictionary explains it as;

wāhine: (noun) women, females, ladies, wives.

toa: (stative) be brave, bold, victorious, experienced, accomplished, adept, competent, skilful, capable.

But wahine toa is even more; to us she is;

kaitiaki: (noun) trustee, minder, guard, custodian, guardian, keeper.

She becomes;

ūkaipō: (noun) mother, origin, source of sustenance, real home.

She is “atua” in the sense of; “a way of perceiving and rationalising the world”.

If it were audible; we could almost hear our ladies blushing through the screen. The truth is; they deserve every accolade we can give them, as they live this wild journey called life to the fullest, inspiring so many of us to follow their path, by discovering our own.

These next few days, you will see the same 7 questions posted here, again and again. But you will see vastly different answers. All of a unique and immeasurable insightfulness that is a gift, as a reader, to absorb.

We are kicking this series off with the answers of Canada’s very own Min Reyes.

thegorgeousminMin is described by Wikipedia as a ‘political commentator’ but she has been much more. She was an early participant in the social media blitz that has formed the backbone of the communications networks of the 99% in all its forms.

Without discrimination, she has been a conduit, a voice, for those who without her may not have had one.

From her incredible compositions at her blog 404 System Error, to her 135,000 tweets, Min has experienced – and amplified – the highs, lows, ebb, flow and slow crescendo, of the global revolution.

It is our privilege to call her friend. Without further adieu; our exclusive interview with Min Reyes.

Q1. Occupy Savvy: Strong women abound in the Occupy and Idle No More movements. Did you ever foresee that you would contribute as meaningfully as you have, to such momentous events?

Min: I have had the privilege to meet and learn from great women and men through Occupy and Idle No More movements. I have never really defined myself nor my ‘social and political’ roles based solely on my race, age, class or even gender. While I am not undermining the arguments for feminism nor the efforts of those who day after day are working for social justice for women, I must state that I have tried to maintain a sense of self through the numerous factors that influence my perspectives such as my surroundings and my experiences in their totality. I have learned that choosing one particular aspect to define my role in any given social movement tends to be rather exclusive and thus limiting, often resulting in the creation of an “other”.

In regards to contribution, I do not honestly believe I have meaningfully contributed yet as I am constantly re-evaluating my role in this long journey. As my perspectives and understanding of my surroundings (including social and political spheres) shift, so do my priorities and course of action. I do not believe I have ever set out a specific goal to achieve in terms of “social movements,” but perhaps that’s exactly what keeps me going and evolving as needed.

I am not sure exactly how I would have contributed – if at all – to the larger goals of these movements. But I know that having engaged with them in one way or another has greatly helped me identify and overcome a lot of my personal limitations, assumptions, and shortcomings.

Q2. Occupy Savvy: An ONZ admin says “Activism didn’t radicalise me; the state response to activism radicalised me.” Can you empathise with this statement?

Min: Radicalism has been a concept appropriated by those who are invested in maintaining the current disruptive status quo. I guess in this context, the concept of “radicalism” is not much different than that of “terrorism.” In order to maintain the current system and culture of war, both concepts must remain vague, to potentially apply to none while applying to all.

The only aspect that changes is the increasing elusiveness of the so called “enemy”, by design.

I think a lot of us are responding to radical government policies that undermine human rights and dignity, environmental sustainability, and peace. I myself refuse to adopt the narrative of those invested in criminalizing citizens who are expressing legitimate concerns. Thus I will NOT say that the state or its actions have radicalized me.
Let’s keep the facts straight and simple: money in politics, corruption, and greed have radicalized politicians, the very people who have promised to serve and protect the people. In Canada, even petitions are now considered forms of “attack” by the current government. Who are the radicals here?

Q3. Occupy Savvy: Activism messages appear to be increasingly penetrating the public consciousness. What is your experience of this awakening?

Min: People are waking up to global patterns of oppression and corruption. We are beginning to realize that there is a much larger system working above the imposed boundaries of geography and nationality, limitations that do apply to citizens though.

I have never considered what I do as activism per se. Many of us shy away from the term activism because it implies we are taking on more than we are required to. We are not only exercising our rights but we are, more importantly in my opinion, fulfilling our responsibilities as global citizens.

In regards to movements I am learning that they materialize in waves. The Arab Spring, Spanish Revolution, Greek Revolution, European protests against austerity, Occupy, Maple Spring, Idle No More, all seem to be manifestations of the same global revolution. And whereas at the onset they do seem to form under banners, the spirit of the revolution can no longer be contained under one specific banner. This revolution no longer belongs under one specific banner… it’s all banners coming from all sides creating a tidal wave. No one owns it, no one can claim it… everyone is becoming a part of it. And I believe it will only grow from here as more and more people become affected by the current broken system.

Q4. Occupy Savvy: What has been your most satisfying moment of the global revolution, to date?

Min: I don’t necessarily have a specific favourite moment… Personally I find that the effects have been cumulative in the sense that global awakening has many faces, many voices, and numerous moments. Each moment, each voice, just strengthens my resolve and belief that we are as a species on the right track.

Q5. Occupy Savvy: In what way would you most like to see the global narrative shift, from this point?

Min: Wherever we look today, narratives are divisive, fragmented, reduced to extreme polarities. This is not only true of politics and mainstream/corporate media but also within social movements and progressive groups. This zero sum game approach dominates our debates.

We seem to lack the willingness to find compromise. What is more important, we seem to have forgotten the merits of meaningful listening. Whether in politics or in social movements, everyone has something to say… but far too few are actually willing to listen to and elaborate on opposing and dissenting views.

I would like to see a global narrative revolving primarily around human dignity; a narrative that is constructive rather than destructive, holistic rather than fragmented, inclusive rather than exclusive. But before we even get there, we need to find a way we can actually build a new narrative based on mutual respect, understanding, and most of all, listening. I guess we need to learn to meaningfully communicate before we even decide what we want to communicate about…

Q6. Occupy Savvy: What advice would you give to a woman becoming involved in activism for the first time?

Min: Be true to yourself. It is easy to fall trap to group think and confirmation bias. Every so often, remind yourself that this journey of change begins within oneself. Keep an open mind and be, above all, honest to yourself.

Don’t despair when faced with challenges. When tired, take a break. Make sure you take the time to enjoy your life so that you don’t lose sight of what you are fighting to protect. Constantly ask yourself whether the choice you are about to make is driven by love or fear, recognize that these are the two driving forces.

Q7. Occupy Savvy: In what way have you seen your country change, over the last 18 months? In what way would you see it change, in the next 18?

Min: Canada is undergoing some radical policy changes under the current conservative government. But I remain optimistic as more Canadians are becoming aware of the social, economic, and political implications of these changes.

Although Occupy Canada, the Quebec student movement, and Idle No More have been defining movements, there have been many countless other protests and demonstrations that have helped maintain momentum and increased local awareness and engagement throughout Canada.

I have no blueprint for change. All I wish is for Canadians to become a little more aware and engaged especially in issues related to human rights and dignity. I think it’s time for Canadians to take on a greater sense of responsibility on important issues at home but also abroad.


That concludes the first part of “Women Warriors Of The Global Revolution”. We are extremely proud of Min for repping Canada in this series. Keep an eye out in the coming days for our interviews with four other wahine toa; from Iceland, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

This site operates on a $0 budget & so if you loved this article all we ask is that you share the articles in this series with your friends and family. Help us spread the sentiments expressed by these ladies, around the world. Thank you!

High Court Denounces Evictions; Vindicates Occupy Auckland

They say the wheels of justice turn slowly but indeed they are turning.

At long last, some measure of vindication for the countless legitimate protesters victimised by Auckland Council.

At the close of business today March 6th 2013 the corporate media began reporting that the High Court in Auckland has finally found in favour of Occupy Auckland.

The extremely sparse media reports (no more than a few short paragraphs and almost uniform wording across a slew of mainstream news sources) don’t tell you much other than that the violent evictions imposed by the Council despite our pending court appeal “went too far“.

Indeed, lawyer Ron Mansfield suspected as much, when he warned us that the conduct of the Council surrounding the evictions may have breached the terms of their own by-laws. That stealing and storing our belongings in a supposedly “vacant” hangar at the same airforce base the FBI were flying in and out of that very week; miles out of town; may be onerous.

That their demanding private information about anyone who did manage to get out to the airbase to “claim” their belongings; may not be legal.

The human cost of the evictions is impossible to calculate and goes far beyond the dozens of arrests on January 23rd & 26th, 2012.

The evictions crippled the physical presence and daily functioning of the four simultaneous and autonomous occupations in Auckland Central – (Occupy Aotea Square; Occupy Te Herenga Waka at Victoria Park; Occupy Albert Park and Occupy Queen Street)

The occupations created organising hubs for the public to engage in political activism that should be encouraged in any healthy democracy and indeed is enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

From the homeless protester in his 80s who suffered multiple heart attacks and was hospitalised after his heart medication was unlawfully seized by “security”, and the Occupy liaisons who frantically tried to negotiate with the Council for the return of the medication, only to wait 48 hours for a response…

…to the middle-aged grandmother who had never been arrested in her entire life until Occupy, never had a tent or stayed overnight at an occupation, but was named in litigation by Auckland Council and hauled relentlessly through Court, unjustly…

…to the intelligent and sincere young man, of whom images were plastered all over the national media after he was lifted off the ground by his neck by police alongside mercenary corporate private security companies hired by Auckland Council at ratepayers’ expense…

…to his petite girlfriend, trapped outside the temporary fencing Auckland Council erects on a whim at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, screaming with raw fright and fear as she witnessed what was happening to her partner before her very eyes…

…to a little 5 year old boy, who the police and Auckland Council staff alike, left in the middle of Aotea Square; after they arrested his father in front of him, without even noticing the child…

…to the woman who scooped up the child onto her hip, marched into the congregation of police officers outside the paddy-wagon-filled Auckland Council carpark and publicly scolded the Inspector in charge for the display of utter negligence…

…to the uni student, who was one of the first to feel the cold touch of publicly-funded Council-ordered surveillance, so early on in Occupy that he was not believed; surveillance that, although later confirmed by the Council to have been undertaken, escalated until his entire life fell apart around him. Despite being so young, he was forcefully institutionalised and temporarily drugged into apathy… all on our tax dollars… his persecution paid for by our rates…

…those who suffered profound loss because of Auckland Council are too many to be counted on all our fingers and toes. Thousands of people per week became active in their communities at grassroots level because of Occupy and collectively housed, fed, educated and cared for hundreds residing in the occupations.

…to every person who ever learned something because of Occupy; taught someone because of Occupy; fed someone because of Occupy, was fed by Occupy – to everyone who for the first time in their lives saw that we CAN provide for each other and we CAN provide for ourselves…

…to those who were slandered, libelled, suppressed, oppressed, victimised by many of the mechanisms of the state, most visibly, Auckland Council.

The very body that is supposed to represent our interests.

Whether there can ever now be reparation remains to be seen. So much was lost that cannot be returned. Many occupiers may now not even be alive. Many have had such financial pressure and mental stress applied to them that they have lost or are losing what assets and opportunities they had.

Many have been served with questionably legal trespass notices; intimidated out of returning to the CBD or outright threatened in various forms.

Last October 15th, 2012, the 1 year anniversary of Occupy Auckland, protesters performed flash occupations at the original sites and at other places of significance to our movement.

But of course, Auckland Council got a visit.

Occupy Auckland Council As did TVNZ, the national broadcaster who had participated in the corporate media blackout, and then smear campaign against Occupy.

TVNZ, who utterly failed to fairly represent the voices of the people, or to sufficiently educate the public as to the global and viral nature of the movement, found their staff entrance temporarily occupied.

Occupy The MediaBut also on the flash occupation list was the High Court in Auckland.

High Court
Yet this recent ruling begins a process of restoring the faith instilled in us by the human rights lawyers at Occupy Auckland, so long ago.

We DO have the right to the basic necessities of human life even though Auckland Council denied us water, power and the tools of communication.

For we do and should have the right to peacefully assemble. The right to free association.

The right to dissent and the right to seek redress from our systems of Government.

We have the legal right not to be discriminated against on the basis of our political opinion.

We have the right to participate in our democracy. All of us.

And we must. For the viability of the continued existence of our entire planet, depends upon what we do now.

E tu Aotearoa. Stand up and fight back. Don’t let them sell what scraps they have not already stolen. This is our country. It is priceless.

Rise like lions and roar.

OCCUPY AUCKLAND MEDIA TEAM

“Call the blogpost ‘They Sent A Helicopter For 10 People'” #F28 #SchapelleCorby

Candlelight vigil in solidarity with #SchapelleCorby #F28 Aotea Square, Auckland, New Zealand Feb 28 2013

Candlelight vigil in solidarity with #SchapelleCorby #F28 Aotea Square, Auckland, NZ

“Schapelle, you are so important, that they sent a helicopter here. For this. For people sitting and eating together and singing songs and lighting candles…. they sent a helicopter. To hover above our heads and surveill us.” (5:24)

There are so many hilarious and astonishing quotes from the livestreams of our #F28 #SchapelleCorby candlelight vigil at Aotea Square that it is tempting to transcribe it in full.

Instead we’ll ask you to watch these two short livestream clips; the first filmed in the light; the second in the dark, during the vigil. Both with the sound of an overhead black helicopter endlessly circling Aotea Square, above the heads of participants in the vigil.

At one point the helicopter stopped and directly hovered over our head. While an “ex-military” Auckland Council security employee stood next to us, pretending it didn’t exist.

When questioned directly and repeatedly; she claimed no knowledge. The entire encounter was so ludicrous, that there was nothing else we could do but laugh at the inanity and flagrant waste of presumably public resources.

HelicopterNot only was the Police State swung into full effect, all in the honor of a dozen Schapelle Corby supporters holding a candlelight vigil, but Auckland Council conveniently walled Aotea Square off with perimeter tape and strategically placed 40′ shipping containers. This prevented line-of-sight from the main street to the Square and confused many attendees, who reported that they left after being completely unable to see where we were.

However for us this wasn’t a numbers game. As an inaugural action, even if only 1 person and 1 candle showed up, it still would have been a major increase from nothing. Instead what occurred was an extremely relaxed gathering of like-minded people that lasted over 3 hours. We created a vigil of 50+ candles and gorgeous posters of Schapelle, spread our blankets on the grass and lounged on cushions, discussing her case.

AwesomePeople

Different groups of supporters came and went, with arrivals as late as 9.30pm (the event started at 6.30pm). Some supporters had driven for over an hour, coming up from the Waikato, to participate.

There were awesome signs and a fantastic banner. Songs and heartfelt words.

Matua

It was suggested by attendees that we continue to meet monthly until Schapelle has been freed. Thus we have committed to repeat our candlelight vigil on the last calendar day of every month, until justice is done and Schapelle is released.

KiaOraSchapelleFreeSchapelleCorbyFor more details please refer to our previous post about this event

For everything you could ever need to know about Schapelle’s case visit Expendable.TV

Pics & livestream in this post by @Redstar309z