First, let me apologise for not posting on this site sooner after the end of the Hui. I have been thinking very deeply about the profound implications of all that was discussed, and I haven’t felt prepared to write about it until now.
All of the content was very well covered by Mr. News. Thanks Vinnie! Link to the Hui Video.
Rather than rehash what you can see for yourself by watching the video, I would like to share with you my personal takeout from this meeting, and what has happened since;
That night, I saw 60+ people who really cared about our future and the future of our children, come together to solve a major societal problem.
These people took an evening out of their busy lives to come out and try to figure out what to do about the crisis we face. We saw prominent MPs arguing strongly against this disasterous policy by the government, genuine leaders like Phil Twyford from Labor, Hone Harawira from Mana and Julie Anne Genter from the Green Party. Terrific contributions were also made by Penny Bright, John Minto, Joe Carolan, Mike Smith and others. The calibre of the speakers was outstanding, and it was an honour to be part of it.
There is a new climate of protest in the country, and the ANFS Campaign is at the forefront of this. Of course, we are not alone. The forced implementation of austerity is the ultimate end-phase of a generation of relentless exploitation. The poverty and desperation that has come in the wake of this is fueling opposition everywhere. We are simply the latest local manifestation of an ongoing resistence movement organising in opposition to the globalized economy.
The collective pressure we are exerting is beginning to have an effect. The smug confidence and smooth facade of control of the government is crumbling, signaling that the hard resistence that is building up in the New Zealand populace is starting to rattle the policy makers. The fact that 10,000 people protested Asset Sales on April 28 in Auckland has not escaped their attention. Nor has the fact that 5,000 people marched on the hikoi in Wellington. The 800 strong protest at the Student Blockade last week drew a snide insult from the Minister of Finance, Bill English. It seems that everywhere they are, we are there also, at their National Party conventions, and their press conferences, putting out our message along with others, “Aotearoa is NOT for Sale.”
Be sure, we fit very comfortably within the wider context of social unrest. This has been building now for the last six months, with the Ports of Auckland Strike by MUNZ, the Meat Worker’s Strike and of course the prolonged Occupations. The MSM does what it can to block this out, but the government sees and analyses everything. Likewise, as these protests grow, it is getting harder and harder for ordinary people to ignore them no matter what the MSM does to un-report these events.
There is a Sea Change going on around the world, and believe it or not, New Zealand is right on the crest of the wave. The global rise in discontent and militancy confirms the long-held secret fears of many elitist governments, that the 30 year long ascendency of the super-rich is coming to an end.
This Sea Change is now irrepressible. I am personally satisfied that there is no possibility this Sea Change can be stopped, whether the sale of our assets goes ahead or not. We are now at the point where our “rate of change”, our ability to organise and build movements is beginning to accelerate past the rate at which governments can adapt and counter our energies. Though there are only a few tens of thousands of us now willing to commit to protest in New Zealand, for every one protester willing to march in Aotearoa, there may be as many as 20 silent supporters who have not yet had the opportunity or found the courage to participate but would like to. Inevitably, they will, if enough of us reach out to them. Provided we remain peaceful, we will continue to grow, in spite of, perhaps even because of the many thousands of arrests and attempts at repression we face in the wider global protest movement from which we benefit.
The ANFS Campaign must see itself as part of this movement, and must participate vigorously in it. Even though the consequences for New Zealand of selling our assets will be dire, not enough citizens understand the issue to appreciate how important it is that everyone protest. Therefore, we have to contribute all we can to the climate of dissent itself if we are to continue to draw down support.
Consequently, what benefits the wider protest movement in principle benefits us. As it grows, so we gain support. This is why we have emphasised time and again that we are part of a coallition, and that this is an on-going campaign. As well, speaker after speaker at the Hui underlined the need to take this campaign right into the heart of electoral politics in New Zealand, a theme I will take up in detail in future posts.
But for now it is important that we understand, the key to our growth is the spread of our ideas. Using Social Media, we can network and get out information instantly to thousands of people. Even so, social media is not enough. Our ideas must be “actuated” by participation in the physical world. That is why demonstrations and direct actions are so vital. The more protests we hold, the more participants we attract, the more emboldened we become, and the more we lose our fear. This then fuels more direct actions we can do in turn. The more often we go around this “virtuous circle”, the faster we grow.
To win, we must understand that the value we create is in the networks we build. Networks bring energy to bear, and are the foundation of all political gains. We win to the extent that we are able to organise, accumulate and maintain our support networks.
If you are not active, if you are hoping “someone else” will do it for you, if you are not engaged and involved, then really, don’t you think it’s time you woke up and smelled the coffee? We need your active participation. We need you at protests. We need you spreading the word. We need you initiating action. We need you networking. Please don’t just be a passenger or spectator. Please help. Please promote this site. Please contribute comments, articles, media, memberships and ideas.
Watch the video. There was so much covered, it will take us months to implement all of the plans and ideas that came from this forum. Over the next little while, I hope to discuss this further. I would like to hear your thoughts on this as well. Please feel free to comment.
PS. Here is another excellent video – this video was banned from Ted, but has been released via other channels. If you know anything about the TED crowd, you’ll understand why this was banned. Enjoy!