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!

LEAK: NZ Cops Brag About Bashing TPP Protesters – U.S. Embassy “Happy”

This week the NZ corporate media, in concert with the NZ police, put forward a young female protester as a scapegoat for the repeated violence demonstrated by officers & security guards at the December 8 TPPA Shutdown protest at Sky City, in Auckland.

The combined protest movements of It’s Our Future, Occupy New Zealand, Aotearoa Is Not For Sale and Socialist Aotearoa, among others, were depicted as violent, framed as volatile and dangerous and falsely accused of wanton assaults on police officers.

Despite this Occupy NZ flooded the alternative media sphere with THE TRUTH:

* multiple sets of unedited live coverage thanks to Occupy Eye & Redstar309z

* comprehensive info-filled blogpost

resources / viewing guides/analysis

But never did we dream that the protesters written about so libelously in the national media would now be suddenly exonerated in so spectacular a fashion as has unfolded!

Global Peace & Justice Aotearoa has published a press release containing a leaked tape.

The tape is of internal police conversations regarding the approval of the U.S. Embassy of the police actions that day, a tape of which GPJA says;

In the recording the officer acknowledges Saturday’s melee was sparked when an officer “broke ranks” and ran into the crowd.

The admins on Occupy Auckland & Occupy New Zealand have had a hell of a week. Not only have they had to deal with constant paid trolls on You Tube videos posting false “witness testimony” (sure they were there! With a uniform on…) we have also had to deal with many of our own loyal supporters who weren’t present, and who took the corporate media/police line at face value.

It seems the entire country forgot our track record of a year straight of non-violent protest actions.

As with the violence displayed at the Occupy Auckland evictions and the constant bashings dished out by police at Glen Innes Housing protests, there was already a mountain of evidence that the blame for the TPPA unrest lay at the feet of authorities.

For an organisation that has promised to change its culture surrounding the handling of crimes committed by its employees, it needs to take a serious look at why it is expending its resources targeting normal legislative democratic dissent and not dealing to the abysmal social issues that continue in Auckland seemingly unabated.

When the police make the general public the enemy, who is left for them to protect and serve?

It is difficult for someone not involved to realise the full significance of this now-famous photo of Motorbike Cop – NZ’s own version of Pepper Spray Cop.

"What kind of a cop is this? No ID, No badge, No uniform, A crash helmet. He roamed around beating up on young girls." says an eye-witness http://t.co/eFWWrKH9 #tpp #tppa #d8

“What kind of a cop is this? No ID, No badge, No uniform, A crash helmet. He roamed around beating up on young girls.” says an eye-witness http://t.co/eFWWrKH9 #tpp #tppa #d8

The member of the public in the above photo is wearing a Power Shift t-shirt. Power Shift had an event at the university on the morning of the TPPA protest, and are a very straight-laced coalition of climate change protesters, many of whom then attended the TPPA shutdown on a whim.

While to corporate eyes the young man’s skin colour may condemn him, as with the other victims of Motorbike Cop he was quite obviously undeserving of the ill-treatment so publicly meted out to him.

Likewise some police may have been fooled into thinking it is an accomplishment to hit John Minto. To us, it is the utmost shame to beat a man of his age. Those who physically abuse someone they can’t outmatch intellectually are the definition of thugs.

The city cops that policed Occupy Auckland for the first four months of our occupations, were the opposite of the thuggery displayed at the TPPA negotiations.

It seems whenever police are imported from other locations there is brutality, but the regular city cops especially under the guidance of Inspector Danny Meade, have been constantly affable, supportive and generated goodwill amongst activists.

To have those efforts so callously destroyed for the sake of testosterone and blatant political discrimination, let alone on the world stage where it is being played out, is pure embarrassment.

This month we have worked so hard to move the world to analyse and reject the TPPA, with great success. Even going so far as to host foreign citizen journalists, to spend money filming and documenting the momentous events here, creating a pure historical record.

Occupier Kereru of Occupy Auckland said: this is the year of instant karma. All actions will be held immediately accountable.

It seems this is precisely what has played out here. Despite the police and corporate media machines being set firmly against us – the truth has slipped through the cracks and the perpetrators have revealed themselves and their intentions, to the world.

D8 TPPA Shutdown Protesters Refuse To Be Ignored

(Updated D10 2012) The frequently foolish John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, has a long track record of outright “ignoring” mass dissent amongst the population, boiling for over a year now.

When 8,000 protesters amassed on the steps of Parliament in May, John Key claimed from inside that very building, to be unaware of their presence.

Only last week, he told the NZ public to outright “ignore” the TPPA protesters.

Today those protesters showed that they will not be ignored.

The mainstream media version of today’s events is that a rogue female protester assaulted a cop, resulting in the unrest. However, eye witness testimony from those on the ground paints a vastly different picture.

As does the extremely valuable live video coverage of the event, broadcast by Occupy Eye (NYC, DC) and Redstar309Z (Auckland, NZ) from the ground. Their streams are a must-see.

Below is a mash-up of media from the day – videos, photos, and tweets. We will continually add links and information as able.

These boxes contained 750,000 signatures from people worldwide who are against the TPPA

These boxes contained 750,000 signatures from people worldwide who are against the TPPA

After Professor Jane Kelsey from Auckland University School of Law was denied entry to hand over the petition, the boxes were set it alight in protest. #d8 #tpp #tppa

After Professor Jane Kelsey from Auckland University School of Law was denied entry to hand over the petition, the boxes were set alight in protest. #d8 #tpp #tppa

(Last two photos by @keyweekat of Occupy Auckland Media Team)

Keyweekat’s video of the symbolic burning of the rejected petition signatures:

At this point, several scuffles broke out between police and protesters with livestream footage showing officers throwing punches, kicking & shoving & using various tactics against protesters of all ages and walks of life.

There was much furore after the cop in this photo allegedly attacked a number of protesters including women. He was then intercepted by a group of protesters who began to return the favour, at which point according to Occupy Eye, the rest of the cops “came in swinging” to get him out. (Refer to the livestreams to see these events for yourself).

"What kind of a cop is this? No ID, No badge, No uniform, A crash helmet. He roamed around beating up on young girls." says an eye-witness http://t.co/eFWWrKH9 #tpp #tppa #d8

“What kind of a cop is this? No ID, No badge, No uniform, A crash helmet. He roamed around beating up on young girls.” says an eye-witness http://t.co/eFWWrKH9 #tpp #tppa #d8

The protesters then scattered with a large group gathering for debrief at Aotea Square, which was quickly surrounded by police, apparently intent on kettling those still within the vicinity.

However the display of violence against the young female had infuriated the crowd, who openly confronted the police, telling them to stand down & leave immediately, which they apparently wisely chose to do.

This 12 minute video filmed & edited by Occupy Eye is a must-see.

For a thorough time-stamped analysis of the above video please read this viewing guide.

Police Walk Of Shame from Aotea Square after assaulting protesters incl. young women:

Eye-witness testimony regarding police assaults on protesters:

2nd eye-witness testimony regarding police assaults on protesters:

Middle-aged protester shows her bruises from being physically grabbed and thrown by police #d8 #tpp #tppa #anfs

Middle-aged protester shows her bruises from being physically grabbed and thrown by police #d8 #tpp #tppa #anfs

3News (who have a long track record of misrepresenting protest actions in New Zealand) claim there were 30 police present. In reality, there were a multitude of squads of 30-45 police each and likely in excess of 30 police vehicles.

We might wonder where TV3 and the other corporate media get their information from. However, we know full well where they get it from. In fact, we captured them getting it!

Is this why the NZ corporate media are reporting fiction?

Is this why the NZ corporate media are reporting fiction?

3News report there were 30 police present. You be the judge.

Intersection of Albert & Wellesley, #d8 #tpp #tppa

Intersection of Albert & Wellesley, #d8 #tpp #tppa

Albert Street #d8 #tpp #tppa

Albert Street #d8 #tpp #tppa

Intersection of Albert St & Victoria St West

Intersection of Albert St & Victoria St West

Victoria Street West, Auckland #d8 #tpp #tppa

Victoria Street West, Auckland #d8 #tpp #tppa

Federal St, Auckland. Entrance of the Sky City Grand Hotel #d8 #tpp #tppa

Federal St, Auckland. Entrance of the Sky City Grand Hotel #d8 #tpp #tppa

Intersection Federal St & Wellesley St, Auckland #d8 #tpp #tppa

Intersection Federal St & Wellesley St, Auckland #d8 #tpp #tppa

There were squads of cops like this at each corner/entrance to Aotea Square, blatantly attempting to kettle the protesters who had fled to Aotea to escape the violence at Sky City

There were squads of cops like this at each corner/entrance to Aotea Square, blatantly attempting to kettle the protesters who had fled to Aotea to escape the violence at Sky City

Police face off against protesters after assaulting numerous people (as per http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/27569157 live footage)  #tpp #tppa #d8

Police face off against protesters after assaulting numerous people (as per http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/27569157 live footage) #tpp #tppa #d8

Also check out this must-read blogpost with more commentary and pics & vids shot from different angles.

Thank you to the world for watching. Special thanks to Global Rev & Ustream for carrying the livestreams today. Big boo to Sky News for stealing Occupy Eye’s stream without permission. More to come about that!!!

Help Occupy NZ Put #TPPA Under International Spotlight

Occupy NZ have invited Political Fail Blog, CourtneyOccupy & OccupyEye to come to New Zealand and blow the lid on the “secret” TPPA multi-country “trade” negotiations being held at Sky City Convention Centre in early December.

Together, this TPPA Stream Team will broadcast multi-faceted live coverage of the events to an international audience.

Working in concert with both Occupy Auckland and Occupy New Zealand Media, the team will cover the week’s major broad-based Auckland protest actions, also attending the December 4th Wellington action and topping it off with a trip to Christchurch to hear from eye-witnesses of the devastating Christchurch earthquakes; to see first-hand the current needs of the residents and to amplify their voices to the world.

It will be a fantastic opportunity for New Zealand to show off our beautiful country and the best spirit of all the peoples of Aotearoa who are lifting their voices in protest against the many implications of the TPPA.

Our combined media reach is substantial, and the trip will result in copious amounts of livestream and still video footage, livetweets, blog posts on multiple different major Occupy-related websites, the opportunity to capture historic photojournalism, and the utilisation of Occupy’s vast social media network, across many platforms.

Many occupiers will be opening their hearts and homes to support the team.

You can support them too, by simply sharing this message.

Donating from New Zealand:

PledgeMe have published our trip project here. Please check it out! There is tons of links and further details in it.

Donating from elsewhere:

Please follow on Twitter: @Pfailblog @CourtneyOccupy & @OccupyEye and donate to them here

More info on the dangers of the TPPA:

From N.Z. perspective:

TPPA Non-Transparency Has Hit New Low”
It’s Our Future” website, full of topical info.

This short video is also a must-watch.

From U.S. perspective:

Important note: We have only one week to resource this trip! Please help spread the word!

Thank you! 

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

#N3 Street Party Against Privatisation #ANFS

#N3 was amazing. The Street Party Against Privatisation shutdown of K’Road by ‘Aotearoa Is Not For Sale‘ (#ANFS), ‘Socialist Aotearoa‘, Occupy and others, closed down the main block of the 2nd most famous street in New Zealand for approximately four hours.

The most famous street – Queen Street – was already shut down on July 14th.

It started out terrifying – with S.A., ANFS & Occupy all posting on social media pages that the NZ police had declared the event an illegal gathering & had threatened to mass arrest everyone.

In transit to the city, we cursed the fact that there was not a single radio station even mentioning what was unfolding, in the middle of the city.

Sure enough, upon our arrival we realised things had got heated really fast, with one cop in particularly shoving several people and one arrest (veteran Kiwi activist Malcolm France), during several scuffles between the cops and the public.

This is a short video of the battle of the pagodas – initially the police were successful at removing stuff from the street but after this a bunch of people grabbed hold of all the poles of each one and had a brief and bizarre tug of war with the police.

Then a group of marchers bearing a huge banner came around the corner towards us, and the police ran off to try to intercept them and the second their backs were turned, everyone piled into the middle of the street and within seconds the entire carnival was firmly established.

Everything from front and rear road cones and barriers/banners/signs, the children’s tents, all the activities, chalking and face painting, was going within minutes of the police confronting the other marchers.

People power prevailed! The party began.

(To see that and more, check out @Redstar309Z’s livestream footage. Note the cops with NO BADGES DISPLAYED at 20:40 on his stream)

Our favourite moment was after the fracas had subsided and the speakers were finished, when this amazing band (with three female vocalists) really got the crowd going. We captured one of their songs on video and it’s well worth the watch.

OK photo time. There was lots of Chalkupy goodness. Will update all the captions when we can.

Enjoy 🙂

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Occupy Solutions: Financial / Tax Reform

Some proposed solutions for financial / tax reform in the USA courtesy of inequality.org… seems pretty straightforward. What do you guys think?

 

Eric Holder Says The USA Can Kill US Citizens On Foreign Soil Without Oversight

A speech by Attorney General, Eric Holder, hit the topic of American citizens being targeted for assassination, for allegedly being involved in terrorist activity.

It seems that Eric Holder is defending the Obama administration’s decision to assassinate American citizens in other countries if they are perceived as an “imminent threat”; without going through the judicial system, or opening up the targeting process to public scrutiny.

With terrorism laws being used for an increasingly broad spectrum of offenses, it scares us to think what one day this policy may be utillised for. Extra-judicial killing is an unjust practice not befitting the self-described pillar of democracy and freedom that the USA claims to be. The right to a trial should be a human right protected by the governments of the world.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/holder-us-can-lawfully-target-american-citizens/2012/03/05/gIQANknFtR_story_1.html

The Internet Blueprint – End Users Help Shape The Future Of The Internet

The Internet Blueprint is a site intended for a discussion to take place between users of the Internet to form bills that Internet users think would make the Internet a better place for everyone.

After successful SOPA/PIPA protests, US policy makers asked what the protesters thought would make the Internet better. This is the reply.

http://internetblueprint.org/content/about

Drones in Texas and Tanks in Tampa

Stephen Salibury, from tomdispatch.com has released an article examining the US government initiated legislation “NDAA” that has initiated spy drones monitoring US Citizens on US soil as well as tanks now rolling through American cities.

It appears the US government has no qualms about using military technology against unarmed civilian populations – even its own.

 http://www.alternet.org/story/154404/drones_in_texas_and_tanks_in_tampa:_inside_the_out-of-control_weaponized_homeland_security_state/

Kim Dotcom Slams US Government Over Arrest

Kim Dotcom hasn’t said much since his arrest in January over allegations of copyright infringement, but in one of his first sit-downs since making bail, the Megaupload mastermind is outspoken about one thing for sure — that his arrest was political.

For his involvement with the file-sharing storage site Megaupload, international authorities held Dotcom for five weeks without bail.

Now finally out and able to enjoy life alongside his expecting wife as he awaits his next hearing, Dotcom is quick to condemn the entertainment industry and the politicians they’ve purchased for a legal proceeding that he explains to New Zealand’s 3news as simply crazy.

Read More: http://rt.com/usa/news/kim-dotcom-itnerview-political-645/