Left and Lefter has moved to a new address, away from blogger. It also has a new name.
It can now be found athttp://anarchia.wordpress.com
Please go there to read and comment.
Returning To Happy Valley
Crosspost from the Happy Valley Occupation Blog
On February 28th, the one month anniversary of our occupation, I returned to Happy Valley after a week in Christchurch. The change couldn’t have been more marked. From concrete to native bush, from sparrows and pidgeons to Weka and Kiwi.
As I started the walk back into the Valley, I was quickly reminded of how special and unique an area it actually is. The red tussock wetland (much wetter than last time I was there!) was absolutely stunning, the swimming hole was deeper than ever and the campsite had had some additional improvements made to it.
The 2 baby Weka that live in the same area as our campsite had grown considerably since I was last in the Valley, and they were a lot more comfortable with being close to humans, although any sudden movements still caused them to run far away, squeaking as loud as they could. Along with their elder sibling and two parents, the Weka provide a prime example of exactly what stands to be lost if Solid Energy’s proposed mine goes ahead.
The weather is steadily heading away from the summer that we’ve been having so far - my last night in the Valley included a brief hailstorm, with 3 of us standing under an umbrella which was also covering our small fire. After the hail the sky cleared however, making for one of the best nights I’ve had in the Valley so far, with stars all over the sky in incredible numbers. The next day, we walked out in stunning sunshine with blue skies everywhere - so maybe the good weather will continue for a while yet?
And I'm off again
So, just after I get back, I'm heading off again. Going back down South for another month, most of which I'll be spending in Happy Valley
In the meantime, enjoy a press release that I wrote today:
Kiwi Spotted In Midland Park
Over 100 inflatable kiwi were released in Midland Park at 12 noon on Friday, February 10th by members of the Save Happy Valley Coalition (Wellington). The kiwi were then dragged away and moved by "Solid Energy miners".
The release highlighted the plight of up to 145 kiwi that live in the Upper Waimangaroa Valley, on the West Coast of the South Island that are threatened by state owned enterprise Solid Energy's plans to create open cast coal mines throughout the Valley.
Save Happy Valley Coalition (Wellington) spokesperson Timothy Bailey said "While the pain suffered by the inflatable kiwi may not have been real, the destruction that Solid Energy aims to wreak cannot be laughed off so easily."
"The proposed Cypress Mine in Happy Valley must be stopped. The lives of Great spotted kiwi (roa), the Powelliphanta Patrickensis giant carnivorous land snail and a number of other rare and endangered species are at stake. Solid Energy's poor environmental record belies their claims that they can be trusted to minimise the undeniable impact that their proposed mine will have."
Members of the Save Happy Valley Coalition from all over the country are currently taking part in an occupation of the proposed mine site.
Stop Solid Energy! Save Happy Valley!
So, I'm back from my holiday (which was amazing, thanks for asking). While I was down South, one of the things I did was attend a hui for the Save Happy Valley Coalition.
Now, if you're from Wellington, you may be wondering whats so special about the rubbish tip, but the Happy Valley I'm talking about is not the oh-so-stinky one located on the South-Western tip of the capital, but rather a beautiful & pristine wetland ecosystem on the West Coast of the South Island, just north of Westport in the upper Waimangaroa Valley.
Located in Happy Valley are 10 great spotted Kiwi (Roa), the giant carnivorous land snail Powelliphanta "patrickensis" and over 10 other rare and endangered native species. Happy Valley is one of the last places of it's type in all of Aotearoa, with most wetlands having been drained long ago. For these reasons and more, it is vitally important that we protect the area.
But what are we protecting it from, I hear you ask. The answer to this question is the Labour-led government and Solid Energy, a state-owned coal mining company. Solid Energy (with the collusion of DOC) plans to create an open cast coal mine in this area, which will destroy the habitat for these species (on top of the damaging effects the coal will have once burnt!)
The Save Happy Valley Coalition
is about to start an indefinate occupation of Happy Valley in opposition to Solid Energy's plans. Over 60 people are expected for the opening weekend, so keep a look out for media reports, or, even better, head down yourself!
You'll be able to follow the occupation by looking at the occupation blog
which was set up yesterday by yours truly.
Resistance energy is solid! Save Happy Valley!
I'm taking an extended break from civilisation, and will be living out of a tent in places that aren't Wellington for a fair while. I'll be back here (and blogging) sometime in Early-ish 2006.
In the meantime, visit the blogs on the sidebar. They're there because they're good....well, mostly.
I love late night talkback radio
In relation to nutty Christian (he's a nutty kind of Christian, not nutty because he's Christian) MP Gordon Copeland's proposed bill that would amend the marriage act to specify that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and the news that it could breach the Bill Of Rights, a late night talkback caller had this discussion with the host:
This bill of rights, is it a United Nations thing?
Well, no, I mean...the bill of rights is our law.
So we can't blame the UN then?
No, not really.
They only come out at night...
I should be happy, right?
As you may have heard, Jason Molloy
& Ross Baumgarten
were sentenced to prison yesterday
for attacking 7 Auckland Mosques and shooting at pedestrians with a BB gun.
Now, those of you that know me know that one of the things I do a lot of is anti-fascist activism. So, you would probably think I'd be happy with the events at hand, right? Well, so did I.
On September 28th, I wrote the following on the Fight Dem Back!
I believe the police are an inherently oppressive arm of an inherently oppressive force (the state). I believe jails are a fundamentally flawed concept that neither serve the offender or the victim adequately.
However, when I heard Jason and Ross were arrested and will likely be going to jail, I was (and still am) happy.
How do I reconcile those two thoughts? Essentially, it is with a similar thought pattern to that which Duck Monster stated it.
The state is a far bigger threat to all of us, a far more oppressive force, than a few random boneheads. However, it is a threat in a different, much less overt, sense. That does not mean, however, that the boneheads do not need to be opposed.
Unfortunately, in our current societies in Aotearoa and Australia, the most effective means for shutting down the boneheads are via the mainstream media and the police. We are (generally speaking, although there are exceptions) not in a situation where physically smashing them on the streets would be a productive method - on the contrary, it would likely be counterproductive and lead to reprisals against immigrant communities (who generally would not have been involved in anti-fascist activity).
Essentially, my thoughts in a nutshell are - fight the boneheads with the best tools available (one of which is FDB). Outside of anti-fascist activity, I will also continue to fight the state and the consumerist way of life, with the best tools I see for that fight.
Later, in reply to the question "Assuming they go down, what do you think they'll be like when they get out? Better?", I replied:
Nope, they'll likely be much, much worse. That is, if they come out alive. I guess it's just my bitter and twisted side that allows me to find happiness in their being beaten up.
Since writing that however, as time has passed, as Jason and Ross plead guilty and as they came closer and closer to their sentancing date, the "bitter and twisted" side of me that allowed me to enjoy their suffering became smaller and smaller, which is probably a good thing.
Don't get me wrong - Jason and Ross are arseholes of the highest order. The question has to be though - what do we stand to gain by sending them to jail? And the (perhaps more important) follow up question - what do we stand to lose?
There can be no doubt that while they are in jail, they will be beaten. When Jason spent time in remand during the course of the case, he was beaten so badly that the Judge had no real choice but to bail him to his family in Gore. The general population of Mount Eden (where I assume they will go) will know who they are, what their views are and what they did to get into prison. The large number of Maori and Pacific Island prisoners (and likely a large proportion of Pakeha inmates) will not feel kindly disposed towards them, and understandably so.
Jason and Ross are entering jail with large prejudices against people of colour. These prejudices will only be reinforced by the fact that many of those people will likely attack Jason and Ross. Thus, it becomes somewhat of a self-perpetuating cycle, ever increasing in magnitude.
So, in a year (or possibly less with good behaviour?), when the two get out of jail, their prejudices will likely have increased, and in all likelihood will go on to further attacks, whether they be against immigrants or Maori or anti-racist activists.
In that situation, nobody wins.
So, what were the other options? Some Muslim organisations were calling for community service. While this perhaps might have worked, I feel that in all likelihood, Jason and Ross would have seen it as forced labour (which it essentially would be), and probably would have only resented those who they would blame for causing it. If the community service was working to help the Islamic community they damaged, or if their supervisors were immigrants or Maori, then this would have only futher dragged them down the path of race hate.
So, what is the solution? Perhaps the most tragic part of this is that I'm not sure. What I do know, however, is that the chances of the so-called "justice" system having the desired effect are pretty damn close to zero.
Who then is to blame? Like Ross' mother, who was interviewed recently ("My son the little race hate foot-soldier", Sunday Star Times 27/11/2005), I lay the blame squarely at the feet of the older Nazis such as Kerry Bolton, Kyle Chapman and Sid Wilson.
"These are impressionable young minds they're moulding into their way of thinking, their little foot-soldiers," she said of the Front.
"These are old men running this, and these young ones are like sponges, soaking it all up."
These people are the ones who provoke attacks such as Jason and Ross'. They have been involved for years, sometimes decades, and have enough of a brain to know that they dont want to risk getting arrested themselves. So, instead, they pump their vile hatred into the impressionable minds of teenagers, especially outcasts, who, having no other friendship/support network to fall back on, are much more receptive to this message of hate. Then, when attacks and arrests occur, these older Nazis claim "It's not our fault! We never told them to attack a Mosque". While that might be true (although in some cases even this is debatable), they create a situation where these kids have no outlet for their anger but physical damage, whether it be to buildings or people.
The macho aggressive culture that is bred and encouraged in all Nazi movements can only serve to create more Jason Molloys and Ross Baumgartens. As long as people such as Kerry, Kyle and Sid are left alone, we'll be seeing plenty more where this came from.
Sorry about the break
So, after an extended period of no posting, I'm back onto the task. Sorry, I've just had a lot on my plate lately (and still do, but I think it'll subside soon).
I made a few changes to the links on the right side of the page - removed a few links, added a couple of blogs, including my 2 current favourite reads SNAP!
and Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty
. As usual, if I've forgotten you, or you don't like your placement, email me or comment here and I'll see what I can do.
So, what have I been doing lately? Well, I got to dress up as a clown
, shout at Nazis
, hear some great music
, commemorate a disgraceful act by the colonial government
, say goodbye to a friend who has moved to Australia
and plenty more...
Currently I'm working on a little zine (probably 12 or 16 pages) which I'll be taking with me on my tour of the South Island over summer. I'll also post the articles up here (probably in PDF form) when it's all finished.
Busy time to come - 3 weekends worth of conferences in the next 6 weeks, but following that it's (some vague semblance of) freedom for a couple of months.
If anyone knows anybody looking for a flat to live in between now and early February in Welly, let me know...I'm moving out, provided I can find someone to take my place.
Friday 21st - Wellington Anti-ANZ Demo
October 21st - Trans-Tasman day of action against ANZ!
September 23rd was the first trans-Tasman day of action against ANZ's profiteering from the illegal occupation of Iraq. Actions took place in 8 cities across Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand (Auckland
, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney, Wellington
, Wollongong), with many branches shut down, flyers handed out, stickers stuck and chants yelled. Lets make October 21st hit them even harder!Why protest at ANZ?
ANZ is one of a number of international banks involved in a consortium known as the Iraq Trade Bank (ITB). The ITB, created by the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority, is the driving force behind the privatisation of Iraq's natural resources and the exploitation of the Iraqi people.Some suggested chants
One hundred thousand Iraqis dead
Who's making profit? ANZ!
ANZ, ANZ, one hundred thousand Iraqis dead
S C U M, what does it spell? SCUM!So, get your affinity groups together and start organising today!