Internet Party of NZ Crowd-Sources Candidate Selection – Live!

A mainstream TV outlet recently referred to Occupy NZ Media as “cynical protesters”, yet despite our inherent distrust of electioneering and politicking, we are proud to have been present for the crowd-sourced candidate selection event held by the new paradigm political organisation, the Internet Mana Party of New Zealand.

While outlets like NewstalkZB (which we have affectionately renamed ‘Stratfor FM‘) and other establishment media have seemingly morphed into full-time Internet Mana Party disinformation channels virtually overnight, the rest of New Zealand has been eye-witnessing historic moments in Kiwi politics.

20 crowd-sourced candidates that people can actually relate to packed out the Q Theatre on Queen Street yesterday, and we live tweeted the event on @OccupyNZ. The event was also livestreamed nationwide and internationally, and we were pleased to see a sign language interpreter (apparently a Party Member) present on stage throughout, providing a separate stream for the hearing impaired.

Top Kiwi rapper, friend of Occupy NZ and Aotearoa Is Not For Sale MC King Kapisi gave a rousing speech, hyping the crowd and congratulating everyone for caring enough to participate in active efforts at change rather than just zoning out in front of our TV’s watching sports!

One of the most heartening parts of the candidate selection process was seeing real people that all Kiwis would interact with in their daily lives, making it through to the shortlist.

We were blessed with the opportunity to meet candidate Herena Meteka and her lovely daughters, who she says are her “I.T. geniuses”, that finally convinced her to join Twitter only yesterday!

Alongside the neighbourhood Mum and girl/boy-next-door candidates, was a very familiar face – a fellow Occupier!

Last year our #GCSB hashtag-activism quickly spiralled into a broad-spectrum bi-partisan political movement and apparently it has had a major impact on several of the candidates, who raised #GCSB-related state spying as a significant issue facing New Zealanders.

While many of the candidates mentioned #GCSB as an influence, none did moreso than the very humble and very edifying Chris Yong – an accomplished Kiwi musician, DJ and entertainer that is fast approaching Russell Brand levels of awake.

We were extremely psyched that he accepted our spontaneous interview request and he answered our extremely contemporary and unorthodox questions incredibly well.


After the event we were over the moon to get cuddles with old school wahine toa Laila Harre. Recently announced as Internet Party Leader, Laila is a stalwart of Kiwi activism with legendary roots that stretch back decades.

Many were surprised that the Internet Party chose a woman for its leader but we think it is a brilliant strategic move as Laila’s resolve and diverse support base are perfect for shaking the status quo from their stagnation.

Back in October of 2011, prior to the last General Election, an original member of the Occupy Auckland Media Team said –

“With the upcoming General Election, and what I witnessed yesterday, I have very real concerns that this apolitical occupation’s impact risks being diminished, by political factions seeking to further their own agenda. This is not the place for electioneering.

We are the 99%… not the 5% that supports party X, the 15% that supports party Y, or the 40% that supports party Z, but the 99% that makes up our society, from all sorts of cultural, political & spiritual backgrounds.”

 

This is a very true and insightful statement. And it was on that very basis that after the multiple and quite possibly illegal, co-ordinated violence of the “evictions” of Occupiers that we collectively decided to open our media platforms to use by all of the 99%.

We have covered developments about and actions by the Green Party of New Zealand, the Mana Party, the Internet Party, the Pirate Party(s) here and internationally, the Wikileaks Party, and a handful of other minor parties that may or may not have ever reached threshold to formally establish.

Just as we have covered dozens of actions by social justice and environmental organisations including Greenpeace, Global Peace and Justice Aotearoa, Auckland Action Against PovertyKia Ora Gaza, Aotearoa Is Not For Sale, NZEI, MUNZ, and other Labour Unions, and countless more.

We have amplified, brought attention to and given a voice to thousands of Kiwis, some unaffiliated with any organisation, many of whom no mainstream platform would give voice to at all.

The reason we chose to do this is two-fold. Firstly because all of the above are part of the 99% and we do not wish to discriminate or become access gatekeepers to the platforms which we feel the 99% inherently owns.

The second is because we feel that any and all efforts to effect social change and progress in New Zealand, and any and all actions that attempt to regain our independent status and sovereignty, deserve equal support.

In Roshi Joan Halifax’s “This Is What Compassion Looks Like” essay about Occupy Wall Street, she says;

It calls to mind the words that Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy spoke at the 2003 World Social Forum:

‘Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.'”

 

Therefore we make ourselves available in solidarity and appeal to every New Zealander to set aside the labels, colours and old paradigms which were constructed expressly to divide us, and to instead embrace the reality; that we are all born into the same mess – one which we cannot fix without each other.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

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!

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!

“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.

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.

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

Solidarity With Gaza – Global Peace And Justice – Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland protesters fly Palestinian flag from the U.S. Embassy flagpole!

Yesterday’s Global Peace and Justice “Solidarity With Gaza” march from Aotea Square to the U.S. Embassy in Auckland, New Zealand, was one of the most exciting Auckland actions to date.

The turn-out was huge despite short notice and pouring rain that had us all soggy in no time (causing slippery cellphone syndrome for us citizen journalists!) with as many as 300 or more protesters in attendance.

The march visibly swelled as it snaked its way down Queen Street towards the U.S. Consulate on Customs Street, near Auckland’s Princes Wharf.

Umbrella’s of every colour of the rainbow shielded the crowd from above, while colourful costuming and signs galore provided ample eye-candy to accompany the consistent chanting of people’s voices in protest at the atrocities of the never-ending Israel-Palestine conflict.

The most astonishing and unexpected aspect of the event was the disparate if not entirely invisible police presence. There were in fact NO marshalling police vehicles on the Queen Street march (a first-time experience for us, in every action we have covered there have been police marshalling and/or mustering and/or significant police and private security presence, sometimes into the many hundreds of officers.)

We assumed (the mother of all…) that the police must be amassed at the Embassy yet once we all arrived there, only 2 police vehicles and a half dozen police emerged and were VERY low key about their presence.

At the Embassy the crowd watched in awe and amazement as a Palestinian flag was raised above the Consulate, on their very own flagpole!

Approximately 30 protesters threw old shoes at the Embassy to display their disgust at U.S. foreign policy. There were several speeches from the soundtruck and a song.

That an action on such a contentious topic as this could go virtually unattended by the NZ Police is a massive shift in tactics on their part.

That the events ended naturally with protesters peacefully dispersing of their own accord, entirely unmolested by authorities, makes a pleasant change from the constant brutality exerted against the public at the student’s Blockade The Budget protests, and at the Glen Innes House Defense protests, throughout 2012.

It was certainly nice to see the police film squad also absent. At least, the uniformed ones anyway!

We hope this signals a new focus for police; away from unnecessarily expending resources on suppressing democratic dissent and shadowing activists to instead funneling those resources on fighting actual crime, and surveilling actual criminals.

Video of Palestinian flag flying above embassy: (clarification; we did not see the U.S. flag come down so flagpole may have been empty with no ambassador in residence however Palestinian flag was raised and flown above the consulate!!!)

Protesters throwing their shoes at the U.S. Embassy in protest:

We are still processing pics from the event, and will insert a gallery here ASAP. In the meantime, tons of pics of the event are already published in our online newspaper; The Occupied NZ Herald

Other resources:

Global Peace & Justice Website

Official event press release

Facebook event page

Other noteworthy coverage;

Amazon News Media

Socialist Aotearoa

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM