What a brilliant week, all the good stuff from Occupy last year was back, so was some of the shit (but this isn’t going to stop it this time).
Talked with heaps of people, mostly we listened because people really needed to be heard. It wasn’t just our group talking with people, it was people talking with others as well. Mostly our signs (and my poetry) got the topics going and it went from there – was awesome to see. Anybody who opposed what we were saying either ignored us or did sarcastic ‘one-liners’ then almost ran away – it was quite funny.
I managed to have a 10 min conversation with a uni strudent (about late 20s) who believed free trade had nothing to do with unemployment and my belief that it did was fundamentally flawed (yes a future upholder of justice said that). He gave me the example of Singapore (which I am not familiar with) how they imported everything and lived off international banking. When I looked into it further, this ‘country’ (it is not much bigger than a city) in no way resembles NZ and in fact is a haven for multi-nationals and banks as they have extremely low taxes – which is never going to be possible in NZ.
As a result of this discussion I am determined to begin regular debates and discussions on issues like free trade, poverty, unemployment, Bill of Rights, welfare, land ownership, etc. I will put up challenges in the law school noticeboard across the road. I am very lucky to have an Occupy supporter as a VUW student and so have some access to the university database and law library through them. (Knowledge is power, but action is vital). They took me for a tour recently and one thing I noted was how all the students looked very well dressed and obviously priviledged – of course higher education is predominantly for the rich and always has been.
Also talked with an awesome young rapper and was stoked I could rap back (Wherefore Art Thou ACC) – a group of people making a silent movie about asset sales. Since I’ve been home have spoken to a guy at the local music shop and he reakons there are heaps of musicians out there hanging out for a place to perform their music about social issues, etc. He wanted to know when we were up and running so he could come over with his band.
Stephen Browning came down from his office (Parliament is in recess at the moment) he is a Green MP to see what we were up to. He was there when a woman from the far north (who runs tours to Tane Mahuta) had called in to talk with us – she had serious concerns about Kauri dieback and how she was being pushed out of committees she was on for choosing the forest over ways of making money out of the forest. She was really into the law as well so I told her about censorship laws under Human Rights and Bill of Rights – she was going to look into it because she had been banned from one iwi group for speaking out. Awesome lady, so like me. James and I watched with interest while Stephan Browning and her had a really great conversation about the issues she had – this is what Occupy is about.
I think one of the best things to come out of it was an idea that we need to create a people’s embassy (or embassies) at the Cenotaph park. Somewhere people from all over New Zealand can come, get information about issues and how to participate in our democracy, also where artists can congregate – there is some amazing revolution music, pictures, plays, etc out there.
I try and learn from every protest mission I go on and this is no exception. So yesterday I went out and bought a video camera (on credit), how I wish I had on video some of the comments and conversations I had with people. They just summed up an issue they had obviously thought about so well I couldn’t recreate it – they wanted to be heard, so if I can get performances and conversations recorded and put onto a Utube channel, then send it to relevant MPs and media, this will mean their voices will count. Am really excited about this.
Of course it wasn’t all perfect, we had an issue with streeties drinking at the Occupy overnight and causing shit, but we had a meeting with police and they are on our side, so will support us to manage this issue – street people do have a right to be involved in this discussion but we have to have rules. Also I was viciously verbally abused and threatened with assault by a ‘random’ that joined the group, he reakoned I wasn’t allowed to write a sign without the authorization of James (the guy staying in the tent) – NOBODY TELLS ME WHAT TO DO AND WHAT I CAN OR CAN’T WRITE. Shit it was my tent, etc I helped organise the occupation and had stayed one night. As soon as I started to stand up for myself this guy got really abusive – obviously hated women and was a racist Maori.
Because of my stress disorder I became a blithering mess and had to escape, ended up on Parliament steps extremely upset, a nice guard came out and got me a drink of water and tissues, he talked to me for about half an hour until I had calmed down a bit. Told me the guards thought I was very brave for what I do and he had watched me several times be violently arrested.
Also while I was there a lovely man came past and asked if I was OK, when I told him a little of my story he told me about the French revolution and how people like me were revolutionaries. That the government we were opposing was well organised while we were working with all sorts of very angry and unpredictable people. He said we should get a core group together that can trust each other and move on from there, it was just what I needed to hear. I caught the early train home and had nobody to pick me up from the station, when I got off the train my neighbour was there waiting for her boy, so I got a ride home. Although I have to take a break no woman hater racist is going to stop me from my mission to get better care for abused people, more jobs, better democracy and more accountable politicians.
I can see this NZ people’s embassies really taking off. Lately I have felt like a refugee in my own country with having such an unstable housing situation, also that I can’t get the authorities to follow their own laws and have no way of doing anything about it.
The power of the people is stronger than the people in power. Now we have got to get large numbers of people opposing our cruel arrogant deceitful ignorant bigoted government to move together and create change.
Kia kaha friends