Occupy Achievements: Revolutionising The Roles Of Teacher And Student

Much has been said about the achievements of the Occupy movement – that it changed the narrative both in the realms of political campaigns and at street level; that it awakened, engaged and activated the millennial generation; that it scared the shit out of those in power.

All these things are true but often asserted by those who looked in from outside the encampments, rather than those who were co-habitating within them. Without intending to detract from those externally affected and inspired by it, the experience inside each Occupy was exponentially more insightful as it gave a real-world example of how a different society could function, from within its embryo.

With this new series “Occupy Achievements” we intend to explore and translate, from an insiders perspective, some of the most significant social achievements of the Occupy movement and expand its acknowledged successes to include these major factors.

At the four autonomous occupations born from Occupy Auckland specifically, we witnessed and participated in the creation of new systems of employment, social justice, education, economics and distribution of resources, political representation and media.

These topics and more will be covered within the series. The first part was “Occupy Achievements; Proving Unemployment Is An Illusion

Always a Teacher, Forever a Student

It is said that the best instructors are “always a teacher, forever a student“. At the Free University offered by Occupy Auckland, everyone was able to be a teacher, and a student, and the roles were entirely interchangable at any given moment.

In fact, the rigidity of tertiary institutions as we know them was nowhere in evidence, yet the Free University functioned seamlessly – proof that organisations can be formed, grow and flourish without any fixed budget, staffing, infrastructure, rules, policy or resources – other than voluntary human resources and whatever was gifted by supporters.

At a physical level, the Free University was little more than a few workshop tents with a large whiteboard in the middle. The whiteboard contained information on what lecture was being held in what tent, by who and at what time.

Other fundamental points of difference between the traditional university structure and the Free University, included:

Access

There were no barriers to entry. You didn’t have to complete 13 years of prior education, have achieved good grades in a prior educational facility, or sit an entrance exam. There were no forms to fill out, no personal data was gathered on you and your ability to attend wasn’t dependent upon your or your parents ability to pay.

It didn’t even matter if you were a citizen or a resident. All you had to do was be a living breathing human being, be present and willing to learn/participate.

Because of this, people had the opportunity to access advanced information and be instructed on it in an approachable way, who never otherwise would have. This created a level playing field for the participants which in turn fostered a mutual respect. There was no ‘A’ student, no teacher’s pet. No one knew or cared whether you were homeless or had a PhD or both. Everyone had the same access to learning and the same opportunity to participate, without prejudice.

Cost

What good is a Free University if it isn’t Free? Not needing to pay for classes or for textbooks or even for the lecturers themselves, meant every person present was there entirely voluntarily, because they wanted and chose to be. Noone was obliged or obligated to do anything other than precisely what they wanted to.

Of natural causes, as some humans tend to do, resources were offered to the university in the form of impromptu gifting – where people could see a need, they attempted to fill it. This was viewed as a bonus rather than a neccesity. Whether it was something a lecturer could use as a pointer, or more cushions for students to sit on, or some other physical tool or minor comfort, the basic generosity of the human spirit came through to fulfil whatever need arose, without any actual money being involved.

Education without transactions: just the passing of knowledge, from the learned to the learner.

As the Free University had no compulsion to attempt to make money itself, it didn’t have a need to ‘control’ or quantify the learning environment in order to manipulate it to become profitable. This allowed its organisational structure to operate as a horizontal hierarchy on a purely voluntary basis. Nothing needed to be mandated, as there was no accounting to be done and no one to account to.

Qualification

No prior teaching or learning experience was required. There was no academic qualification, age or other demographic restriction on either students or lecturers.

The qualification for becoming a student was that you wanted to learn something about a listed topic, and chose to attend the lecture.

The qualification for becoming a lecturer was that you knew something about a topic and wanted to share that knowledge. There was no pre-requisite for lecturing, other than possessing some knowledge and/or having practical life experience to relate about your topic, and having the desire to share it.

If you wanted to lecture on a topic, you went to the communal whiteboard and wrote the name of your topic into an empty timeslot, and then anyone who wanted to learn about that topic came to your lecture.

This meant that people who never dreamed in their lives they would ever be in a teaching role, including myself, were given the opportunity to stand in front of an audience, speak their knowledge or their truth, and then interact with that audience just as a “normal” (read: commercial) lecturer does with their students.

Content

The lack of organisational form meant that there was no restriction on content. Lectures could be (and were) on any topic imaginable under the sun, with no apparent sequence. Due to the lack of dependence upon standardised textbooks, such as are found in a for-profit learning institution, the lessons imparted tended to rely heavily on relaying real world experience rather than pre-approved and universally accepted academic truisms, although as a number of “normal” university lecturers also donated their time to the Free University, there was some cross-over.

The lessons tended to follow the thought patterns of the lecturers, in conjunction with the direction of questions asked by the student, rather than any pre-set format. Therefore the same lecture could be given twice but impart different information based on the interactive nature of the sessions as rather than lecturing to 400 or more students packed into a theatre, teachers were talking to two dozen students in a tent.

The Democratising Effect

The voluntary nature and level playing field of the institution had a democratising effect. If someone attended a lecture and didn’t like it, they could simply leave. If they went to a lecture and felt it was too basic or too advanced, or that they themselves held more comprehensive knowledge or wanted to lecture on the same topic but from a different perspective or vantage-point, they could go to the whiteboard and schedule their own session with no harm done.

Therefore the focus wasn’t on expectation of others but willigness of self.

Everyone was equally empowered to benefit and equally empowered to give.

Non-punitive

Because the entire structure was non-punitive, the major stress factors were removed. There was no one to please or to impress but yourself. Nothing to gain but your own intellectual enrichment and the intellectual enrichment of others. Zero incentive to compete against your fellow humans. No scarcity. No judgement. No “right” or “wrong” answers; no examinations. No forfeiture, monetary or otherwise. No exclusion.

The End Result

The wonderful thing about such an open platform is that you could change or better put, expand your primary field of interest every day of the week. Imagine a university where you studied architecture one day, mathematics the next, music the following, social media techniques and political organising… the list goes on.

The inherent freedom in the facilitation inspired true learning – learning based on genuine willingness to give and to receive information. This in turn fostered a comeraderie between teachers and students as they recognised that their roles were interchangable. No one was better or greater than the other.

Unfortunately, just like the success of the other radical and revolutionary ideas put into practice at the occupations, all of the above constituted a serious threat to the status quo of the corporate state. Which clearly has a stake (many, in fact) in NOT allowing free education – be it monetarily free, or free by the measures entailed above.

Therefore, like the libraries and the other people-powered and people-resourced mechanisms of the occupations, the Free University was ultimately smashed to smithereens during the violent evictions of the occupations by a mixture of police forces and private security contractors.

While the captive mainstream media tried to make out that the evictions were targeted at unsavoury social stereotypes, what they were actually eradicating was the embryo of our new society.

When they deconstructed, smashed, and cleared out our learning tents, our whiteboards, our tools of information sharing, they were culturally as much as physically robbing the populace they were being paid to oppress.

But for those of us who remember what was achieved, whose lives were positively affected by the compassion and mutual aid engaged in at the occupations, whose imaginations were ignited – we do not forget. The evictions only served to scatter us like seeds on the wind – seeds that now propagate far and wide, and as the messages of Occupy continue to spread and penetrate, the work continues.

TO BE CONTINUED….

Written by Suzie Dawson (Member)

OCCUPY AUCKLAND MEDIA TEAM

Occupy Achievements: Proving Unemployment Is An Illusion

Much has been said about the achievements of the Occupy movement – that it changed the narrative both in the realms of political campaigns and at street level; that it awakened, engaged and activated the millennial generation; that it scared the shit out of those in power.

All these things are true but often asserted by those who looked in from outside the encampments, rather than those who were co-habitating within them. Without intending to detract from those externally affected and inspired by it, the experience inside each Occupy was exponentially more insightful as it gave a real-world example of how a different society could function, from within its embryo.

With this new series “Occupy Achievements” we intend to explore and translate, from an insiders perspective, some of the most significant social achievements of the Occupy movement and expand its acknowledged successes to include these major factors.

At the four autonomous occupations born from Occupy Auckland specifically, we witnessed and participated in the creation of new systems of employment, social justice, education, economics and distribution of resources, political representation and media.

These topics and more will be covered within the series, beginning with employment.

Modern Employment and The Great Myth

In modern times, the non-financial benefits of employment are well acknowledged. You feel better about yourself when you are productive and engaged with your peers; when you are active and outdoors; when you are serving others and enhancing yourself, your skills and attributes, completing tasks and achievements.

This is why the conventional concept of unemployment is not only financially crushing but also socially, spiritually, psychologically and even physiologically detrimental to the human condition.

Our countries and their governments are obsessed with unemployment statistics as a measure of economic performance and growth. We are conditioned to believe that unemployment has always and will always exist in some form, and that we’d best avoid it like the plague. Never is it suggested for a moment that 0% unemployment is an achievable goal, let alone one we could attain today, if given the will and the way to circumvent conventional thinking and employ (pun intended) a structural change for all our betterment.

For unemployment exists only so long as we believe The Great Myth that it always must, and fail to engage in what employment really is: service to others for mutual benefit.

The Working Groups (Just Do It!) 

This post isn’t about an idea, or a concept, or a dream. It’s about what has already been done and worked. The backbone of Occupy was its working groups. Dozens of times a day we had curious passersby that stopped to ask questions or just to chat, volunteer for working groups and embarking upon their first shift within half an hour of happening across the encampment. Why the enthusiasm? Simple. It was something new, novel and different sure. But the very nature of the working groups and the way they functioned, was alluring beyond reproach.

It was the easiest recruitment sell of all time. The barrier to entry? None. Required experience? Zero. What was required to participate? A living breathing body, with the desire to do so. Training? On the job, free of charge. Specialist skills? If you have them, use them. If you don’t, we still have a job for you anyway! Uniform? No thanks, we aren’t robots. Just a coloured strip of material or ribbon to indicate which group you were working with. Coordinator positions? On rotation, or as mandated by consensus. Hours? Four hours a day. If you want to work more you may. Everyone is a volunteer after all. If your job is done faster than a four hour shift, sweet. If your job needs more help, flag it so others can step up. Everyone works in small groups or autonomously if they prefer. Don’t like your team mates? Join another working group. You don’t even have to ask permission. Just rub your name off on the whiteboard and write it under another working group. Bingo, you’ve just changed career path. When can you start? Now!

Education programs allowed those with special skills to share them with an unlimited number of interested learners free of charge (this will be covered to a much greater extent in a later post.) But because there were no restrictions on curriculum, it wasn’t only the traditionally educated or skilled who were teachers. Anyone with knowledge about anything could pass it on to others, and only those interested in that knowledge need attend or listen.

The Big Questions

But who cleaned the toilets, you may ask? The people who wanted the toilets cleaned. With our own eyes we saw people who were “unemployed” and in many cases “homeless” transform in a matter of minutes to having shelter (a home), community (friends) and a job (activity).

The effects were immediate. We saw the eyes of people who had arrived in abject misery, light with the promise of opportunity. We watched them flourish, their pride and more importantly their hope, being restored in front of us.

But how can they survive without money, you may ask? Well here’s the thing. You can’t eat money, and you can’t build an effective shelter out of it. However, we can feed each other without money and we can house each other without it. Humans have literally been doing both since the dawn of history. The real human rights are the rights to food, shelter and love, because we had all three before money ever showed up on the scene. That we need money to live is as big a lie as that unemployment is a ‘fact of life’.

“Give What You Don’t Need, Take Only What You Need”

This is the true secret to how the economy operated though we’ll go into this deeper in a later post. It is more commonly known as mutual aid, a form of resource-based economy.

Occupiers emptied their houses, workplaces, friends and families’ places, of all the unwanted junk that is completely superfluous to modern living. No matter what items were donated, there was someone or some working group at Occupy that could put them to good use.

Farmers and fishermen who wanted to contribute something brought food and fish. Orchards brought bags of excess fruit. Anything that someone has in abundance is a cheap donation to them – but gratefully received by those without access to the resource under ordinary circumstances.

Participation in a working group, any working group, or if you saw a need you could even create a new working group, gave you equal rights and access to the resources and services of the occupation as every other participant. Thanks to the wonders of human innovation and collaboration, there was always enough to go around.

And unemployment? 0% baby.

0%.

In Conclusion

People can argue until the cows come home whether resource-based economies are workable, flawless systems or whether they are unrealistic. What they can’t do is deny that the systems we employed really did help people and make a meaningful difference in their lives.

The evictions of the Occupy movement didn’t just rob us of the use of public space, but had a terribly damaging impact on the lives of those to whom we had restored hope and opportunity. As usual, those in the most dire circumstances paid the highest price from the forceful dissolution of the occupations.

Those who were once again left with nowhere to go. No home, no shelter, no community, no job.

The real effect of the evictions was that once again, unemployment would pervade civil society under the guise of inevitability, in open denial and defiance of Occupy’s brand of evolutionary social progress.

But for those of us who remember what was achieved, whose lives were positively affected by the compassion and mutual aid engaged in at the occupations, whose imaginations were ignited – we do not forget. The evictions only served to scatter us like seeds on the wind – seeds that now propagate far and wide, and as the messages of Occupy continue to spread and penetrate, the work continues.

TO BE CONTINUED….

Written by Suzie Dawson (Member)

OCCUPY AUCKLAND MEDIA TEAM

Passionate Few Create A Massive Voice To Speak Out Against #Roastbusters Rape Boasters

[This post is now complete. Thank you for reading & sharing!.] On four hours notice a handful of passionate Aucklanders got together today to get their feelings out about the catastrophic #Roastbusters scandal and its fall-out.

Some really interesting information was shared and came to light, with the surprise attendance of two young ladies who went to high school with (some of?) the Roastbusters.

They made their feelings known as did lawyer and political reporter Catriona MacLennan, who, flanked by protesters, prepared and delivered this epic speech on live video:

This next video statement is an interview with the protest organiser, David, who absolutely nails it to the extent that we finished the video with tears in our eyes, as one of David’s sons voluntarily came into the shot to hug him in appreciation of strong spirit and his genuine words.

We caught up with old friend and 90s “Nick and Steve” MaxTV host Steve Hassan, (millennials like me were also massive fans of his 95bm Sunday night “Hugh & Steve” talk show with Hugh Sundae back in the day!)  who shared another candid perspective on the issues.

Catriona’s one-on-one interview with us (below) also raises some important points, and the transcript of her speech is absolutely mind-blowing and provides a stark contrast to the official positions of the NZ Police and all involved. We will paste it in full at the bottom of this post, if you would like to follow her on Twitter you can here.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated, who supported us, who amplified & amplifies us, and who is inspired by words like those that were shared today.

This experience demonstrated (hah!) beyond a shadow of a doubt that valuable messages are what it’s all about, not just numbers and crowd shots (like we will see at next week’s It’s Our Future New Zealand nationwide #TPPANoWay rallies!). So many valuable messages came through that we are proud of. At least the victims know we cared. Certainly they will feel heartened to know there are several other non-violent direct actions planned by various groups.

The public will not rest until justice is equally applied for the benefit of us all.


STATEMENT/TRANSCRIPT: By lawyer and political journalist Catriona MacLennan.

Tena koutou. Talofa lava. Malo e leilei. This time a year ago I spoke at the Bust Rape Culture march. That was soon after the details of Roastbusters had been publicised in the media. Then, I suggested quite a few actions the police could have taken and also a number of charges they could consider laying.

Today, we know that not a single charge is to be laid. Not one. About anything that was done.

So, today, I’ve got some questions for the police because I’m a lawyer and I don’t understand why no-one is being charged.

CONSENT
The issue of consent doesn’t arise for girls under 16. Under section 134 of the Crimes Act, sexual conduct with someone under 16 is an offence. Full stop. They can’t consent to it. We know that some of the girls were aged 13 to 15. It doesn’t seem to be denied that there was sexual conduct with them. An offence has been committed. There is no defence of consent. So we need the police to explain why there is insufficient evidence when they contacted 110 girls about this.

STATEMENT FROM COMPLAINANTS
The police don’t need a statement from a complainant to lay charges. At the start, the police put the onus on the victims by saying none of them had been “brave enough” to come forward. Not only was that not true. It’s not necessary in law. Other types of evidence can be used – in all that was posted by the boys on social media about what they did, was there not anything that could be used as evidence for a single charge ?

Here’s some charge that might apply
section 128 Crimes Act 1961 – sexual violation
section 134 Crimes Act 1961 – sexual conduct with young person under 16
section 135 Crimes Act 1961 – indecent assault
section 194 Crimes Act 1961 – assault on a child
section 197 Crimes Act 1961 – disabling (stupefying)
section 208 Crimes Act 1961 – detention without consent with intent to have sexual connection
section 216G – making an intimate visual recording (if pictures were taken)
section 160 Sale of Liquor Act 1989 – purchasing or acquiring liquor with the intention of supplying it to a person under 18.

So I’m amazed that, with all the alcohol, the police couldn’t even lay a charge of purchasing or acquiring liquor with intent to supply it to a person under 18. Obviously that’s a really minor charge and doesn’t at all deal with the sexual assaults but I’m surprised that the liquor charge couldn’t even be laid.

NOT ABOUT ALCOHOL
I want to mention something that Roastbusters is not about. The police said they were concerned about alcohol use by young people. But if boys respected girls, it wouldn’t matter how much alcohol either the boys or the girls had drunk. So, blaming alcohol seems to me to be getting dangerously close to asking about what clothes women are wearing when they are raped.
Alcohol doesn’t rape girls. It’s boys raping girls.

I’m also concerned that the police gave as reasons for not laying charges the age of the parties involved and the nature of the offences. I don’t understand that reasoning at all and I hope the police will explain it further.

WAY POLICE DEAL WITH SEX ASSAULT
The way the police deal with sexual assault offences has been a problem for decades. Louise Nicholas incredibly courageously publicised what had happened to her. As a result, in 2004 the Government set up a Commission of Inquiry. It spent 3 years investigating, before making a report with 60 recommendations. Implementation of the recommendations is being monitored for 10 years until 2017. But what the monitoring reports show is that the police are being woefully slow to make any improvements at all. One monitoring report said they were doing “technical compliance” and another said there had been no major change and some of the people training police were part of the problem.

The police failure to act in this situation once again undermines the trust of women in the New Zealand Police.

ACTION

We’re here today not only to show our anger, but to talk about what to do next. Everyone here can do something to help. And, please everyone, also ask 10 people you know to do something.

Rape is not declining and the way we deal with it is not improving. Please email, Facebook, meet with your MP and tell him or her that you want immediate action. We want change now.

Please also lobby the Prime Minister, leaders of all other political parties and as many other politicians as possible. They will only act when they realise that hundreds of thousands of voters want change. Please ask the new Justice Minister Amy Adams to make it a priority to complete and implement the Law Commission’s work on alternative processes for dealing with sexual offending. Please ask the Prime Minister and Bill English for proper funding for services for sexual violence survivors. Please ask the Government for courses in every school teaching boys to respect girls.

SCHOOL
Let’s talk about the school involved. What has the school done to support the girls ? The girls have been subjected to horrendous bullying and are fearful of making complaints to the police. What is the school doing to change this ? What is the school doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again ?

PARENTS
And parents, what are you teaching your children ? In the words of Beraiah Hales’ mother and sister since the police announced they weren’t laying charges, we can see exactly where these attitudes were coming from. His mother said she was proud of her son. That’s appalling. We need parents to teach boys respect for girls and also to hold them to account when they behave badly – not to support them and teach them that this behaviour has no consequences.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM
This isn’t something that’s happening only in New Zealand. Girls and women are being sexually assaulted in every country on the planet. Wouldn’t it be great if New Zealanders could work together to stamp this out and lead the way for every other country?


OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

Announcement: Auckland anti-#Roastbusters #Rapeboasters rally 2pm TODAY @ Britomart

“Go ahead. Call the cops. They can’t un-rape you” 
– Beraiah Hales, self-admitted serial pack rapist and member of the #Roastbusters rape crew, on Ask.fm

rbpThe NZ Police want us to just accept the fact that they aren’t charging the self-confessed #Roastbusters rape crew – a group of young MEN who boasted online for months on end about how they raped up to 30 CHILDREN (some of whom they stupefied first).

We absolutely do NOT accept that. The fact that serial pack rapists can boast about their rapes and get away with it is a source of international shame and disgust.

So while the cops don’t seem to care enough to independently press charges against #Roastbusters under the Crimes Act, instead displacing the blame saying they need minor children “to be brave” and ridiculously claiming there isn’t enough evidence (despite Auckland University researchers seeming to disagree with that), instead of watching the rugby or relaxing at the beach today, we’ll be congregating at Britomart at 2pm to let Aucklanders know that we DO care about the rape victims and we DO believe they deserve the justice that the NZ Police have deprived them of.

Please join us. And if you can’t, then post the link to this blog and/or the event image absolutely everywhere that you can, tell all your friends and family, and watch the livetweet of the event on the Twitter hashtags #Roastbusters and #Rapeboasters!

For a ton of background information, links and recent angles please read @TheSpinBin‘s latest article which can be found here (international) or at SpinBin.co.nz

Thank you!

Full House At Kim Dotcom Anti-Spying Meeting; March On #J27 #GCSB

Update 23 March 2014: the below article was never able to be finished due to constant technical interference with our WordPress install and domain. Although our media team has continued to livetweet and livestream events and promote them on various social media platforms in the interim, this blogsite was inoperable and the domain was then taken by “DEA Media” (!!!!) which has reset the share counters to zero on many articles which had in excess of 1000 shares on them. This has had the unfortunate effect of (presumably) breaking tens of thousands of weblinks to articles on the OccupySavvy.com domain. At some point we will update the gap in this blog with archive material from events covered but until we have the resources to do so we will be blogging new material going forward. 

After 2 hours of straight writing, this blogpost had a word count of over 1000 words when we pressed publish. That then changed itself to 0 words and all our text disappeared from the post, all our autosaves disappeared, and the working draft we had been using has also disappeared. (UPDATE: We are slowly fixing this post now so please check back over the course of the next hour)

The entire article was about #GCSB #J27 and all the people in the pics. At 2pm NZST we will be covering the Auckland anti-spying action organised by Kim Dotcom, @CitizenBomber and others, in Aotea Square, historic home of Occupy Auckland. Please keep eyes on @OccupyNZ @endarken @azlancat @keyweekat @TheDailyBlogNZ @CitizenBomber & @Redstar309z

manatoa msmaudiencebackaudienceaudience2 march techliberty cameras dcfim kdcprofjanekelseyrocksboys

Massive NZ March Coverage – NZEI ‘Stand Up For Kids’

Today, more people than the GCSB could ever perform illegal surveillance on came together for arguably the largest anti-privatision & anti-austerity action we have witnessed to date.

Nearly 10,000 people packed Queen Street & Aotea Square in Auckland Central today, to Stand Up For Kids. Children are the all too frequent victims of poverty in New Zealand and nothing about the current ruling Government’s education policy is improving that.

To the contrary, charter schools are leading us down the same terrible path as elsewhere in the world where their institution has already further devastated struggling communities.

Education should not be for sale. We do not want corporations owning our schools any more than we want them owning our prisons. Some things are too precious to have their integrity teetering on the balance of a profit margin.

Occupy Dunedin also rocked it. A show of force from our Southerner brothers and sisters:

Occupy Dunedin Dunedin Stands Up For KidsDunedin TeachersMeanwhile, in the capital; we were sent this utter GEM of a 1 min vid from Occupy Wellington;

Jai Bentley-Payne said it best. “Austerity is a scam!” But these guys aren’t far off. Asset sales are BULLSHIT!

Congratulations NZ for getting off your backsides and making noise. There are more of us doing it by the day and it is extremely heartening to see.

When people’s rights are under attack; stand up, fight back!

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

One Demand: FREE SCHAPELLE CORBY! #F28

If you remember Schapelle Corby being plastered all over the media but you haven’t seen the Expendable.tv website archives or viewed the “Expendable: The Political Sacrifice of Schapelle Corby” free documentary, please bookmark this page & watch it ASAP.

You will be astounded at the injustice & at the vast cover-up that has maintained it.

There is an International Day of Solidarity for Schapelle Corby on February 28th.

Please make contact with the wonderful admins at the CIAbook group “People For Schapelle Corby” if you can help with organising an action in your area.

Our F28 event: “ONE DEMAND: FREE SCHAPELLE CORBY” will be held at Aotea Square, Auckland, February 28th, 6.30pm

PRESS RELEASE: Monday 18 February 2013

For immediate release:

New Zealanders In Solidarity With Schapelle Corby are hosting a candlelight vigil at Aotea Square, 6.30pm on February 28th, 2013.

The hit free documentary “Expendable” (www.expendable.tv) compiles countless official government documents to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that Schapelle Corby is NOT guilty.

Despicably, the powers that be went to great lengths to blind the public to that fact.

Even despite it emerging that her suitcase (which was discovered 5kg overweight) was actually underweight when she checked it in, she has so far served 8 years of an outrageous 20 year sentence, in appalling conditions in a Balinese jail.

As if that wasn’t enough to topple the balance of resaonable doubt; as recently as December 2012 an drug-trafficking ring was arrested, for operating customs-side at Sydney Airport. Corrupt airport employees were using the baggage of unsuspecting passengers to ferry drugs around Australasia.

As the “Expendable” documentary spreads around the world, exponential numbers of people are discovering the truth about what really happened to Schapelle Corby.

An international day of solidarity will be occurring worldwide. With only one demand.

Free Schapelle Corby immediately. Let her out now, and the international events will be cancelled!

Julia Gillard: Act in good faith and give Schapelle back her life. She has lost so much of it already.

Event also endorsed by: the 14,000-strong Facebook page “People For Schapelle Corby” & Occupy Auckland, New Zealand.

Solidarity Against Violence and Rape Culture – SHAKTI

It was a proud moment attending today’s SHAKTI event: “Rise Up Against Rape Culture – a silent protest in solidarity with women’s struggle in India.” This 20 second video of the circle of silence shows staunch anti-rape supporters of all colours, shapes and stripes, together in solidarity, demanding an end to sexual violence and sexual crimes. 

We were lucky to get a number of amazing photos of the action and to live tweet it. The live-tweet of the event is available on @OccupyNZ on Twitter.

The event was organised on short notice but carried off without a hitch. It was good to see some conventional media there – actually attending an event is a pre-requisite to writing about it, as far as we are concerned!!

We tweeted a number of great pics of various signs and hope that if you weren’t able to attend, that they make you feel like you were there.

This panorama shot is our pick of the day.

panorama

4trees SHAKTI - Violence Free

6protect 7tellthem 8daughters 9solidarity 10culture 11wegivebirth 12pacifica 13samoa 14shasha 15solidarity   18messages 19messages 20statue 2shaktichalkupy 3dontrape5coal

UPDATE: hearing that there was a sister event held today in Wellington, in solidarity. Awesome!!