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

Flashback Interview Transcript: Chris Yong On #GCSB

FLASHBACK INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT:

Suzie Dawson (@endarken) interviews @chrisyong for @OccupyNZ

ENDARKEN: Hi Chris, thanks for talking to Occupy New Zealand today. We had a great time at the candidate selection for The Internet Party.

CHRIS YONG: Wasn’t it something else?

ENDARKEN: It was amazing! We thought your speech was really standout because of your references to Snowden, and also to the GCSB movement last year and the way that it inspired you. I’m really interested to know what you think about the Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone statements that came out today, where they mentioned that hundreds of devices can be surveilled by the state due to any one warrant. What impact do you think that has for New Zealanders?

CHRIS YONG: OK, well first of all, we’re talking about warranted searches, but we’re also talking about the fact that it can go two hops wide. In my opinion, that’s just too far. It’s one thing that if there is a legal reason to find out information, and there’s a warrant for it, OK, that can be acceptable and understood. But when you’re going two hops wide, you are going to catch a whole heap of innocent people in this grand spy information gathering network and possibly innocent people can be dragged… well.. they could be connected to something which they don’t even know. Data is all about how you interpret it. When there’s too much data and someone is trying to fit an agenda to that data, it’s just bad news. So, two hops – far too wide, far too much.

ENDARKEN: So what can we do to take back possession of our data in New Zealand? How do we get away from being pigeon-holed into the databases of corporations?

CHRIS YONG: Look, I think… one of the revelations that has come out recently is just, for starters, getting secure in every single device that you use. Find out, all the sites, all the apps, what you can do to protect yourself from that easy level of spying. I mean, obviously there’s the next level again, where they’re suggesting people can go in through the backdoors of these IT companies, and that’s a whole other issue that needs to be looked at. But in the short term, when it comes to the basic things you can do, just use secure connections.

(Cameraman: do we need an explanation on what the two hops is exactly?)

ENDARKEN: Sure! Do you want to tell us about the two hops – I know that it was Keith Alexander of the NSA who first let it be known that was two hops – we assume by default that the GCSB also implements two hops being that we are a member of the “Five Eyes” Echelon network. [CORRECTION: It has been suggested that this was actually first revealed by James Clapper, DNI]

CHRIS YONG: Well, OK, if you think about it, two hops is essentially… another way to think about it is two degrees of separation. Two degrees of separation will cover every single New Zealander in this country. What that effectively means is that if intelligence has targeted one person that they want to look at, they’re going to be able to gather data on every single person, they’re going to be implemented in this particular warrant. That is unnecessary. That is just… it’s, once again, they’re looking for a needle in a haystack and everyone is going to be considered a suspect. You could be completely innocent, I mean hell… two hops, you could hardly now someone, but you’ll be that connection.

ENDARKEN: We know that 88 New Zealanders AT LEAST were illegally spied on by the GCSB, but they won’t confirm who they are. Would you like to see that list of names released, would you like those people to know what happened to them?

CHRIS YONG: Absolutely! I mean look, the fact of the matter was, is that, under the law then, that was illegal OK. And I don’t agree with the change that happened in August of 2013. But the fact of the matter is, they got targeted, they were caught up in something that noone had a right to do. So at the very least, I absolutely think that they should be told about it and then, if we can do it, get a formal apology but at the very least they need to know that they were the target of this mass surveillance that was illegally performed.

ENDARKEN: And it would certainly bring a lot of people a sense of closure to know, exactly what did happen. Thanks so much for talking to us Chris, that’s awesome, we appreciate your time.

CHRIS YONG: You’re welcome.

SOURCE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRgSqghnK9o

FOOTAGE COURTESY OF @OCCUPYNZ, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Big Turn Out for #StepItUpNZ Progressive Workshops

Several members of our media team had the pleasure of attending the inaugural #StepItUpNZ workshop series at Auckland University this past weekend. The event brought together a who’s-who of environmental activism and digital media in New Zealand and we scored a couple of great interviews.

Firstly, us interviewing Generation Zero founder and StepItUp organiser Kirk Serpes (@KirkSerpes) about the event:

…and this must-watch interview with ex Green Party leader Jeanette Fitzsimons where we discuss current political issues in New Zealand including the new surveillance bill being rammed through Parliament, and the fall-out from the Dirty Politics scandal.

Other speakers included Roger Fowler from Kia Ora Gaza, Simon Oosterman, Sue Bradford, Chris Hay, Nico Ward, Giovanni Tiso and Russell Brown.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

Kiwis As Far As The Eye Can See Say #TPPANoWay

Once again, #TPPANoWay has taken the world by storm with a series of protest marches in more than a dozen New Zealand cities, in coordination with other anti-TPP groups worldwide

Trending #1 on Twitter in Auckland, #1 in New Zealand and #2 worldwide, citizens across the globe helped ensure the mainstream media’s virtual black-out of the event was rendered utterly impotent.

Topsy

It is very clear from our above live, unedited video footage of the Auckland event, that the turnout was significant and newsworthy. (To say the least!) Yet, other than misleading and disparaging articles down-playing actions in fringe locations, the mainstream media was mostly silent.

Their usual press of cameras were entirely missing in action, despite the iconic photo opportunities as Auckland, for a day at least, transformed itself into a mass of civil protest on a scale only previously seen in the likes of Lisbon, Rome, Madrid, Vancouver or Mexico City.

Indeed, from the below bird’s eye view posted by The Daily Blog editor Martyn Bradbury it is clear that the media’s reports of “1000” and “2000” attendees at the Auckland action, is laughable.

Meanwhile, the media resources pastebin that we sent to international media contacts got over 1,700 hits and this Greenpeace NZ initiative facilitated over 25,000 anti-TPP submissions to New Zealand politicians.

The #TPPANoWay Thunderclap reached 174% of the required support and a PledgeMe project to fly a banner over the event was also successful.

The OccupyNZ You Tube channel has more than a half dozen videos of the Auckland event and there are hundreds of pictures on the hashtag: #TPPANoWay and on the official event accounts: @ItsOurFutureNZ & @TPPANoWay

All in all we proved several things –

1. The World IS Watching
2. Misrepresentations and omissions by corporate media will not stop groundswell support building, and
3. Together we are unstoppable. Another world IS possible.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

Sweeping The Globe: #MillionMaskMarch Impossible To Ignore

Over 400 cities worldwide demonstrated what a REAL “Wave of Action” looks like, celebrating Guy Fawkes Day (November 5th) by congregating in major city centres the world over, to spread messages of awakening to their fellow citizens and commemorate the growth of the Anonymous movement.

Becoming ever larger with each passing year, the Million Mask March (known as MMM) 2014 marks the first major penetration of the event in mainstream media, who had tried so desperately hard to black-out MMM in previous years.

With this year’s event covered by Reuters and The Guardian, and not just RT, it does seem that the MSM worm is turning.

And as the BBC have now learned the hard way – if you refuse to cover thousands of protesters converging on a major city centre, they may well just bring their grievances to your front doorstep, leaving you little choice but to acknowledge their presence.

Even the alleged (and very familiar) reports of post-event manipulation of Google results could not suppress the massive onslaught of citizen and independent media, as participants have long since learned to become the media, replacing the inauthentic  filtered echo chambers of the past, with their own authentic and untrained voices.

As usual, ex-CIA agent Ray McGovern discussing events on RT, is a total must-watch:

As is this extremely powerful video from London, where the crowds of protesters swelled into the tens of thousands, marching on a half-dozen locations simultaneously, and vastly outnumbering the police present:

Also check out this awesome picture montage video already up on Vimeo. Lovely stuff.

A collection of the best of the event media we have seen so far is below, for your viewing pleasure.

Section 1: Citizen Media (by city)

Auckland, New Zealand:

(There is also 7 short video solidarity statements from Kiwi Anons published in @endarken‘s article about covering #MMMAKL found here: “We Must Never Sanitise Or Homogenise Our Messages Or Our Pain)

Glasgow, Scotland:

Peru:

Belgrade, Serbia:

Halifax, Canada:

Ferguson, Missouri:

Japan:

Detroit, Michigan:

Section 2: Established Media

The Independent: ‘Thousands Gather For Anti-Capitalist Protest In London’

The Dallas Observer: ‘Dallas’ Anonymous Million Masks March’

TruthDig: Million Mask March – The New Face of Protest

The Daily Dot: Inside Anonymous’ Million Mask March

Section 3: Complaints of Media Silence/Bias

Section 4: Other Significant Videos

A section of the Washington DC march splintered off to the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover Building – causing some police there to have a complete meltdown before the crowd all put their hands in the air and chanted “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” Ferguson-style.

Elsewhere in DC, protesters made a stop at the Monsanto HQ. Monsanto is of course the pro-GMO corporation widely believed to be responsible for the decline of the global bee population.

And the icing on the cake: a video shot from inside the BBC headquarters in London, with swathes of British protesters massing outside in anger at the BBC’s frequent and famous suppression of anti-government protest events. Not this time, though!

We also love this amazing photo but have been unable as yet to establish where it is from; if you know, please leave a comment and tell us!

Thank you and solidarity to all who participated in the #MillionMaskMarch, around the globe.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND 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

Global Peace and Justice Auckland Hold Anti-War Rally

Global Peace and Justice Auckland held an anti-war rally in Aotea Square, Auckland, yesterday followed by a silent march downtown to Britomart.

We were there and pleasantly surprised to see ex Labour leader David Shearer speaking passionately about his experiences in Iraq and in Palestine.

We were also able to snag a quick interview with another ex Labour leader, Phil Goff, about his past experiences in activism and his opinion of ISIS and of Islam.

Despite the short notice (we only heard about the event the night before) and the relentless pouring rain, the spirit of the rally was really good. Thousands of passersby on the city streets stopped to watch the march go past, with several cars tooting their support as we passed, and the event unfolded without any issues whatsoever, dispersing peacefully.

For more pics and commentary on the event please check #GPJA on Twitter.

 

OCCUPY AUCKLAND MEDIA TEAM

Snowden, Assange, Greenwald and Kim Dotcom Speak in New Zealand

New Zealanders burst into spontaneous cheers, stomped the floor until the floorboards shook and gave standing ovation after standing ovation to Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Amsterdam, Kim Dotcom and Laila Harre tonight.

You would not know this, however, from the national NZ media coverage, which appeared as institutionally embroiled in #DirtyPolitics as ever. The Kim Dotcom smear campaign exposed by Nicky Hager’s book remains operational, and complicit elements of the media are eager to continue  to spoon-feed New Zealanders the same tripe, irreverent of, or oblivious to, the public’s awakening.

Our (above) playlist of videos from the night contain countless real stories, none of which are represented by the elitist “yawn” of corporate media, who instead of discussing the multitude of serious issues being raised, instead deemed themselves arbiters of whether or not #MoT lived up to their particular preconceptions based on their own prior wanton and largely irrelevant speculation and in some cases coloured by ulterior motive.

As always however, their complacency and single-mindedness left them wide open to being scooped by independent media. We were there and made sure the whole world was watching.

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM

Our pastebin of event media resources here

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

“They Got The TV – We Got The Truth” – Boots Riley Visits NZ

With Boots Riley‘s visit to Auckland last week, we again discovered no matter how much you’ve heard of someone second-hand, it can all become completely irrelevant once you meet them in person.

Despite having a quarter million views on his latest video (featured below) Boots arrived with zero airs and graces, blending in within minutes, as if we’d always known him.

Yet what else could we expect, from the man who rapped:

“They’ve got the TV –
we’ve got the truth.
They own the judges –
We’ve got the proof!”

The gig was hosted by the Mana Movement for the People, in Mangere, and it was The People who turned out for him on the night.

Gig organisers/activists kick it with Boots Riley after the gig

Gig organisers & activists kick it with Boots after the gig

We spent the afternoon with Boots, interviewing him at his press conference and spending time with him before and after the show.

(Our video interview playlist is below: transcripts to follow)

There were plenty of familiar faces on the night, having a welcome respite from the daily grind of putting their lives on the line to fight for human rights and social justice.

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Fresh watermelon backstage

The highlight of the set was definitely this acoustic version of ‘The Guillotine’ – apparently the first time this song has been performed live with just voice, guitar and bongos.

Our earliest memories of Boots related to his participation in the famous West Coast Port Shutdowns of November and December, 2011, where hundreds of thousands of striking members of the public shut down the Ports of Oakland and other ports across the West Coast of the USA.

Shout out to the awesome @nishneb for sending us this nostalgia clip of Boots speaking at the December 12 Port Shutdown II, an event we witnessed live thanks to Occupy Oakland livestreamers.


Video streaming by Ustream

(Click here for our archive of articles about Occupy Oakland)

OCCUPY NEW ZEALAND MEDIA TEAM