“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)


Boots Riley To Perform In Auckland Tomorrow

As old school followers of this blog will know we have closely followed Occupy Oakland throughout the years (and vice versa).

One of our favourite ever Occupy moments was watching Oakfosho’s Port Shutdown II footage of the live concert on the back of the soundtruck that included Oakland’s own Boots Riley.

So we were ecstatic to discover he is coming to NZ and will be interviewing him at his show tomorrow night.

Boots Riley Event Poster

Thanks to all who made this possible – full press release is printed below FYI.


Boots Riley to perform live in Auckland.

Mana Tamaki Branch are excited to announce that we have a very special guest, Boots Riley, coming to our very own neighbourhood!

On Tuesday April 15 at 7.00pm Boots will be hosting a political discussion and Q&A followed by an acoustic performance, at the Metro Theatre at 362 Massey Road, Mangere East.

Pictures, video interviews and commentary will be tweeted on the hashtags #BootsRiley & #Mana . Boots Riley is an American poet, rapper, songwriter, producer, screenwriter, humorist, political organiser and community activist, however is best known as lead vocals for The Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club.

Light refreshments will be provided as well as Mana merchandise available for purchase at the event. A koha at the door is appreciated. Nau mai haere mai whanau! Come and support this local event and enjoy what will be a very interesting and entertaining evening.

A press conference will be held at the UNITE UNION, 6A Western Springs Road, Kingsland – 2pm Tuesday, 15 April.

For further information, contact:- Will Ilolahia – 027 6368359

Humanitarian Libertarianism, Diversity of Tactics and Candidate X

An ‘O’ is a fitting symbol of the Occupy movement, which increasingly manifests itself as a melding of the traditional hard edges of the “Left” and “Right” political paradigms of modern political thinking.

This has conjoined the core principles associated with those doctrines and birthed a new calling to rise above traditional political divides and work to a higher purpose than merely
supporting a given faction.

Any hope for humanity to overcome its challenges, is in building unity.

To achieve it, we must truly understand that which divides us.

Personal privacy and governance issues have long been considered the province of the
“Right”, and Libertarians are considered to be at the edge of it. In the truest sense
Libertarian ideology was to be at liberty from the State. To be at liberty with oneself. To have total privacy and sovereignty over one’s domain, possessions and decisions, without external interference or any impingement upon the rights of the individual at all.

To be the King of your own castle. To be the Master of your own destiny.

Humanitarianism, in short, empathy for others in unjust circumstance, is associated with
the “Left”. Not just the “Left”, but the “Far Left”, for true justice for all peoples
requires massive and significant change. With unionists sitting closer to the
“Centre-Left” and environmentalists just outside of that, it is the anti-war, pro-human
rights activists who are ironically considered the fringe element.

But even beyond the Humanitarians in the “Left” is the anarchists. Anarchists desire to
be at liberty from the State. To be at liberty with oneself. To have total privacy and sovereignty over one’s domain, possessions and decisions, without external interference or any impingement upon the rights of the individual at all.

To be the King of your own castle. To be the Master of your own destiny.

Thus a Humanitarian-Libertarian can be both: someone who desires and respects personal liberty but who is also empathetic to others plight to achieve THEIR desires of
personal liberty and respects others equal right to life.

Combining the importance of the well-being of the self with the importance of the
well-being of others.

Humanitarian-Libertarianism isn’t merely a concept; it is an attitude that has permeated
in the public response to a multitude of current events that have threatened both
personal privacy and human rights.

The current geopolitical situation is equally endangering both – indeed the issues are
all intertwined. When you step back and look at the bigger picture that forms, our
human inclination to be divided into either belonging to one concern or the other, rightly
seems ridiculous.

They say all of Mother Nature has its purpose but our societal understandings of
political norms only seem to serve one manufactured purpose – to divide us.

It is so much easier to sit in criticism than to act in solidarity.

In our society, supporting any new endeavour is considered an act of extreme risk. So
much so that we have coined the term ‘entrepreneurs’ to describe those few prepared to
take it.

Risk that it may achieve an undesired or counterproductive result, or worse; nothing at
all. That it may subject the person lending support to societal ridicule or the loss of
some measure of social capital. Yet while so many sit frozen in trepidation, we celebrate
and reward those who come out on the correct side of the equation – AFTER the fact.

Much can be said of the Occupy movement – what it is or what it isn’t, what it was or what it has become. Even more can be – and is – said about those among it who have taken the leap and committed themselves to a certain direction.

These directions taken are exponential in number and spread like branches across almost
every sociopolitical issue known to mankind.

Revolutionary actions are being undertaken globally regarding food, shelter, water,
economy, war, race and liberty issues just to name a few.

Unless an action is provably violating the liberty or human rights of another, it
should be the sovereign right of the individuals involved to undertake and thus beyond

Diversity of Tactics” is a term that has often been used to support the rights of
individuals to undertake actions that are seemingly outside the box or are in some way

Yet very seldom is this same principle used to reflect the rights of individuals to
choose to use facets of the existing political system to attempt to achieve awareness
and change.

To an extent not yet fully realised, Occupiers and their all-volunteer Media teams have directly suffered from the corruption of the State. From ground level to the highest halls of
power, agencies have worked to subvert, sabotage and oppress Occupiers.

As the well-established farce of mainstream political process and election media continues unabated – what better person to enter the process and “Shake” things up, than an Occupier?

One of the most telling indicators of the legitimacy of an activist or organisation is
their proclivity for solidarity. To put it bluntly, when the shit goes down, they are
right there kicking and screaming, making sure everyone knows about it.

They act out of conscience and do so consistently, taking risks for others when there is
no attainable benefit to themselves.

Some say there may be a personal benefit to veteran organiser turned Mayoral “Candidate X” Jason “Shake” Anderson, in the theoretical situation that he is elected Mayor of Oakland.

Some have suggested the silence from his Occupy media platforms calls support for him
into question.

Yet the silence has been righteous. Occupy does not and should not endorse political

Only their own actions can endorse them.

The reality is, Occupy Oakland Media Team were unceremoniously forcibly disbanded and
media asset stripped in an identical fashion to the Media Teams of countless other
Occupations worldwide.

With the benefit of hindsight (and FOIA’s), it is impossible to deny that. But the real proof is in the outcome of the events. After the asset handover, @OccupyOakland ended up spamming out links to mainstream for-profit advertising networks and the rest of the media infrastructure fell dormant.

Yet even after their very public desecration, the @oomedia team & personal social media accounts all continued pumping out solidarity for actions, movements and causes all
over the world, 7 days a week.

Why? Because they cared. Because they were compelled to give voice to the voiceless.
Because they did not require an official mandate in order to be able to act in empathy,
and for liberty. Because they are legit.

Those who act in constant solidarity and who continue to amplify critical issues even in the face of such daunting resources as have been set against us, are the most likely to have the tenacity, worldliness and integrity necessary to penetrate the power structure like a Trojan horse and to continue planting the seeds of change.

Women Warriors Of The Global Revolution Part 5: Bella Eiko

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.

This last couple weeks, you have seen the same 7 questions posted here, again and again. But we saw 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.

Part Three was an introduction to Aotearoa, New Zealand’s Marama Davidson.

Part Four covered Australia’s original “Tentmonster”, Sara Kerrison.

In Part Five, the series finale, we speak with Occupy Oakland livestreaming legend Jessica “Bella Eiko” Hollie.

Bella Eiko

(Photo by @ripperhollow)

Occupy Oakland spawned some of the greatest livestreamers in the world; brave, brutally honest eye witnesses who broadcast their on-the-ground experiences of local activism events, around the globe.

A quick scan of the 45 posts on this website about Occupy Oakland shows that they have endured just about every discomfort imaginable; from blatant state repression and suppression, to financial stresses and resource depletion; to the tear gas, rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades and other “non-lethal” (in reality possibly-lethal) weaponry sporadically employed by the Oakland Police Department.

Unwitting citizens on the butt end of such brutal tactics might never have their stories told were it not for the efforts of citizen journalists. Through them, we have witnessed corporate news media helicopters LEAVING the scene of protests immediately prior to weaponry being deployed.

We have witnessed ex-Iraq war veterans shot in the head by the police; we have witnessed incidents inside the halls of power that go under-reported, mis-reported or entirely blacked out by the conventional so-called “media”.

Much of what we have witnessed, has been thanks to the superhuman efforts of Bella Eiko.

Bella is part of a new media revolution that is the last vestige of public truth and record. It is impossible to overstate the historic importance of her very existence, or the sheer crap she endures to continue to play her part.

Having seen Bella take us places few, if any, corporate journalists would dare go; to see her as an orator, not just a livestreamer, added a new dimension to our appraisal of her. Watching the below video has made grown women cry. It is the epitome of speaking truth to power. Raw emotion and raw honesty. It is highly recommended viewing.

Don’t miss the last 30 or so seconds of occupiers chanting “the system has got to die! Hella hella occupy!

(We covered the above video in greater depth in a May 2012 article)

From the halls of the Oakland City Council to the “Free Speech Zone” (read: media-confining pen) at President Obama’s visit to Oakland to the Anaheim “riots”, Bella has gone above and beyond to amplify the voices of the people.

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.

Part 3 saw Marama Davidson deliver the stark reality; we can no longer attempt to be the human boss of Earth. Such wankery is running us into utter ruination.

In Part 4 Sara Kerrison reminded us that every single thing we require to liberate us exists already within ourselves and on our planet.

Without further adieu, here follows Bella Eiko’s heartfelt answers to the same 7 questions we 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?

Bella: I never expected that my contributions would even amount to anything, I just thought they were necessary. I knew that the Occupy movement would make its mark and during it I got majorly motivated to try and effect the type of change I always talked about. As the movement continues to evolve, I hope that I can continue to help and make a difference. Now more than ever as I come close to delivering my son.

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?

BellaYes I can, as a matter of fact it was the horrible response to political dissidence that made me want to speak out more, to do more. Eventually all people reach a breaking point, I think seeing the state violence that many innocent activists were subjected to made a fire light inside of me unlike ever before.

Q3. Occupy Savvy: Activism messages appear to be increasingly penetrating the public consciousness. What is your experience of this awakening?

BellaI see more of the public buying less of the empty political promises and expressing their anger and frustration towards biased media stories. However, I still fear that being too hopeful and in a rush to believe we are in an actual democracy are still major factors hindering the success of real significant social change. There is also an overwhelming sense of helplessness. Many times we simply don’t know what to do and pass the buck to governmental entities to tax us for “solutions”. This has got to be tackled by real community fueled alternatives. How do we do this? I wish I knew..

Q4. Occupy Savvy: What has been your most satisfying moment of the global revolution, to date?

Bella: Most satisfying is hard. I think at the top of that list is definitely Occupy the Farm. This action was not only positive and giving back to the community, it made a major statement, kept going on, had/has major support from both city officials and the community and was radical direct action! This made me very happy.

I was also pretty satisfied by the continued reemergence of Occupy Oakland, and how the response to the severe oppression in the streets was to defend head on. I loved the shields, and barricades along with the gas masks. Defending our right to protest in various ways & in turn publicizing the brutal means the state will use in an attempt to control.

Q5. Occupy Savvy: In what way would you most like to see the global narrative shift, from this point?

Bella: I would like to hear more solutions for community alternatives at this point. Viable ones that can successfully combat the abusive structure of the current government & economy. We have successfully highlighted many of the issues, lets start focusing on solutions.

Q6. Occupy Savvy: What advice would you give to a woman becoming involved in activism for the first time?

Bella: Have thick skin, be prepared to be vocal and be judged. No matter what, do not get so frustrated that you quit, find ways to fight against all forms of oppression and always keep your voice, not the one that others want you to have.

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?

BellaI have seen my country start to show more and more dissent and attention to the abusive and underhanded tactics of a corrupt government. Although I have not seen the same type of revolts that are happening in Spain or Egypt, I see the people starting to not only understand the injustices but also wanting justice for them. In the next 18 months I would love to see the government held more accountable and the people come together to actively replace this abusive power structure and the economic terrorism that has been unleashed because of it.

That concludes our first web series “Women Warriors Of The Global Revolution”. We thank Bella for repping the US of A in this series and for being such a fantastic role model for women in her country.

This site operates on a $0 budget & so if you love what you read here all we ask is that you share the articles with your friends and family. Help us spread the sentiments expressed here, around the world. Thank you to the thousands who have shared this series already. Every reader who gains a new perspective here, makes this all worth it.


Must-Watch Video: Occupy Media Legend BellaEiko Destroys Oakland Council In Chambers

This is the most important video of the entire Occupy movement in my opinion. The truth has a certain ring to it and especially coming from a pillar of Occupy media/livestreaming like BellaEiko, who we have followed from her first streams way back when.

The beginning of this video will be shocking to some, as will the end. Especially if they don’t know Bella and don’t realise what she has seen and been exposed to; her friends and fellow occupiers shot with rubber bullets and flash-bang grenades; beaten, gassed, arrested en masse by the notoriously vicious and unforgiving Oakland Police Department.

As “radical” as some may interpret it; what she says is true. On all counts. Despite being the opposite of her in race & location; our experiences are very similar. We have both spent 8+ months battling a massive corporate media that flat out lies & omits critical information, slandering us – politicians who go to extreme & dodgy lengths to inconvenience and silence us – police who infiltrate and assault and arrest us.

And we both know that the Earth can and should provide, for free; that which we are charged “money” for in a broken “capitalist” system.

Occupy is not about prescribing to a specific political ideology. No matter what it may be. Occupy is about learning to recreate a sustainable culture where NO PERSON is left behind, or at want for basic human needs.

If we could have, we would have stood up to Auckland Council and had a similar outpouring of our experiences, but we have been repeatedly denied the opportunity to seek redress. They literally lock us out of public meetings in open defiance of protocol & civil law.

One day we very may well get that chance because many of us NZ Occupiers have equally important and poignant, albeit stinging, words to deliver to OUR so-called “public SERVANTS”.

*** As featured in tonights edition of The Occupied NZ Herald! Please like/share/subscribe (FREE) & bookmark the link: http://paper.li/OccupyNZ/1336702243

Activists & Anarchists Speak For Themselves At Occupy Oakland

Here’s an article explaining, to some degree, the reasoning behind Black Bloc Tactics in Oakland… While dismissing an article done by left wing journalist Chris Hedges.


Worth a read, until you then watch the following video and realise that there is likely far more sinister origins to the so-called “Black Bloc” than we knew…

Shock & Awe: Notes from Occupy Oakland

This is the 14th in a series of notations from an Occupy Oakland protester regarding the eviction of Occupy Oakland and the cities’ attitude toward the protesters.


Open Letter From America’s Port Truck Drivers #OWS #oo #D12

A first hand account from port truck drivers detailing the working conditions that 1000’s face everyday as well as an explanation of the impact that the occupy movement is beginning to have for the workers.


Source: Twitter

How Goldman Sachs and Other Companies Exploit Port Truck Drivers

Companies such as Goldman Sachs are profiting off the backs of port truck drivers, a class of exploited workers who are a crucial lynch-pin in the American economy. This is a long read but well worth the time.


Source: Twitter

OPD: Oakland Police Department Operations Plan Leaked

This is apparently the Oakland Police Operations Plan for dealing with Occupy Oakland.

Tell us, after reading this http://www.scribd.com/doc/79720690/Oakland-Police-Department-Contingency-Plan-Nov-14-2011 whether or not you think the Oakland Police followed this plan, or how many examples of expansive inaccuracies, misreporting, false accusations and false premises you are able to pick out in this document.