Occupy Achievements: Revolutionising The Roles Of Teacher And Student

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

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

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

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

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

Always a Teacher, Forever a Student

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

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

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

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

Access

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

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

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

Cost

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

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

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

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

Qualification

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

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

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

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

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

Content

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

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

The Democratising Effect

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

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

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

Non-punitive

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

The End Result

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TO BE CONTINUED….

Written by Suzie Dawson (Member)

OCCUPY AUCKLAND MEDIA TEAM

Occupy Achievements: Proving Unemployment Is An Illusion

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

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

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

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

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

Modern Employment and The Great Myth

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

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

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

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

The Working Groups (Just Do It!) 

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

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

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

The Big Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And unemployment? 0% baby.

0%.

In Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

TO BE CONTINUED….

Written by Suzie Dawson (Member)

OCCUPY AUCKLAND MEDIA TEAM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you!

“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.

20140415_221002    20140415_181226   20140415_195149 20140415_195511 20140415_195626R   20140415_213632

 

20140415_194821

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

High Court Denounces Evictions; Vindicates Occupy Auckland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The very body that is supposed to represent our interests.

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

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

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

But of course, Auckland Council got a visit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rise like lions and roar.

OCCUPY AUCKLAND MEDIA TEAM

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.

D8 TPPA Shutdown Protesters Refuse To Be Ignored

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

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

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

Today those protesters showed that they will not be ignored.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eye-witness testimony regarding police assaults on protesters:

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

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

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

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

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

Is this why the NZ corporate media are reporting fiction?

Is this why the NZ corporate media are reporting fiction?

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

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

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

Albert Street #d8 #tpp #tppa

Albert Street #d8 #tpp #tppa

Intersection of Albert St & Victoria St West

Intersection of Albert St & Victoria St West

Victoria Street West, Auckland #d8 #tpp #tppa

Victoria Street West, Auckland #d8 #tpp #tppa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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