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The stock-standard announcement (I hope to start blogging a bit more soonish):

imminent rebellion #9 is fresh off the printer! (In fact we’re still high off the ink) Weighing in at a staggering 108 pages, imminent rebellion is making a come back after 3 years of hibernation as an irregular anarchist journal from deep in the South Pacific.

Included in this issue are personal commentaries from some of those arrested as part of the October 15 ‘terrorist’ raids, an overview of the police’s Operation 8, a consideration of police treatment of activists over the last few years, critiques of NGOism, activism and identity politics, and more.

Read online or buy direct from our website: http://www.rebelpress.org.nz

Rebel Press
info@rebelpress.org.nz
PO Box 9263, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand

I’ve been enjoying watching the New Zealand stock market fall over the last two weeks. It’s been really quite a pleasure to watch the NZX50 drop just a bit more every day, refreshing my browser every so often. And today I had the pleasure to watch the sharemarket plummet by as much as 4% at one point.

In just 3 weeks the NZX50 has dropped almost 600 points, partly as a result of the credit collapse and the price of oil. The latter, of course, will shortly (in the next 5 years) be past the point of return and be rising irrevocably in price, and declining in supply, likely triggering a global recession without end.

To be honest, I can’t wait. It’s gonna be absolutely terrible, of course. And I imagine New Zealand will slip from the margins of first world status to third world, and most of us here will be pretty screwed (cost of food, especially). But the sad thing is, I’d rather that than this perpetual continuation of the status quo, which is at least as destructive. At least a break in the status quo opens up fissures.

A few videos from today’s protests at Rostock, Germany, against the upcoming G8 meeting. A lot of arrests apparently, possibly including a friend who went over for the protests.

and a BBC report (for shits and giggles):

Today’s editorial in the Dominion Post was absolutely disgusting: comparing us with the Nazi’s that recently celebrated Hitler’s birthday, once again displaying a wilful ignorance of NZ’s militaristic history and taking the slogans and PR of the military as fact. In any case, I rather doubt my letter to the editor from last week is going to apear anytime soon — editorial licence I guess — and so here it is just in case.

To the editor,

There’s been a lot of vitriol in response to the ANZAC day protests around the country, some exclaiming how little we value our “hard won freedom”, others appalled that we would dare burn New Zealand flags, and still others hesitantly supportive but disgusted at our protest on the day itself. I was one of the protesters and this is my short defence.

I am strongly opposed to the military operations in Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste. All three have been justified based on humanitarian grounds of one sort or another, but it seems far more likely that, like most wars, these are pursued out of economic interests: oil, gold mining and oil, respectively, while New Zealand plays the lackey to the US and Australia.

New Zealand’s history of militarism, despite widespread attempts at revisionism, is equally disgusting: from the Imperial land seizures and assertion of sovereignty over Maori, to the Empire building of the Boer war, the defence of our biggest export market in WWI, the wars against the non-threat of the “communist virus” and the recent participation in the ‘war on terror’.

Meanwhile, every year we commemorate ANZAC day, exclaiming “lest we forget” and “never again”, words in many instances spoken by leaders of that murderous institution that is the military. And while these words of peace are spoken, the military is paraded around and applauded, guns are fired, and its current operations are celebrated. The whole event reeks of hypocrisy and doublespeak.

I will continue to protest the New Zealand military, being — as with all militaries — for the sole purpose of fighting war in the interests of the powerful. And I will continue to protest ANZAC day so long as the military attends as a guest of honour.

The Nu Face of RebellionFollowing the pro-democracy riots in Tonga in 2006, troops from New Zealand and Australia were sent to quell the rebellion and restore Monarchical order. This documentary was filmed in the week after the troops arrived detailing the riots, the pro-democracy movement, the abuse of people by Tongan forces and the operations of the New Zealand and Australian army. The movie stands very much at odds with the mainstream media account of the events.

Produced by Smush and Slm of Aotearoa Indymedia.
Download the movie: video.indymedia.org/en/2007/04/837.shtml

Update:
Low quality version now on google video: http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-3455398513596277970&hl=en-CA
Low quality version on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CvNHlanW98

ANZAC Day protest bannerA few rambling points in my tired state…

I suppose today’s morning action could be considered generally successful: the issue of the New Zealand military’s role in Afghanistan, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste has finally been raised, and even Phil Goff was forced to acknowledge (and rebuke) the protests from as far away as Afghanistan while visiting the professional thugs there (aka the military). As well, of course, a number of people have reacted very angrily to the burning of the New Zealand flags (which I must admit was quite satisfying) and the protest in general.

The ANZAC day dawn ceremony here was quite sickening: the previous Secretary of Defence talked about peace and such with no apparent irony given his previous role as head of a professional killing machine. After two of our crew were arrested for the political protest, he then — also seemingly without noticing the contradictions — waxed lyrically about the freedoms won through war. Then to top it off, references to our Lord Jesus Christ were aplenty, I had to stand amongst a crowd singing the National Anthem to avoid being grabbed by the cops, and people actually clapped as the members of the current army/navy/airforce marched by.

I’ve covered my objections to ANZAC Day already. I only want to add that the level of nationalism and patriotism present was far worse than I had expected, and the demographics of those present – young, families, clean, white and middle class – coupled with the huge growth in numbers from last year alone makes the ANZAC day trends all the more worrying.

I also have to wonder about what I would call the “fascist personality” that was present in a number of middle aged men present, who gleefully assisted police in pinning down fellow protesters or, in one case, pinning one guy to an iron fence. After one of the cops hit the guy who was arrested in the face, one of these fascist personality types, with the intonation of a school kid sucking up to a teacher, explained to all and sundry that nothing had happened. It’s this personality that reminds me of the Brown Shirts of Germany.

The response to the protest has been quite rambling and incoherent. I can only laugh when people claim that we don’t appreciate the “hard won freedoms” that these soldiers killed for in WWI. Do they even know why WWI started? Do they know that it was little more than empire building? Do they know that NZ entered the war with the main aim of simply securing the NZ State’s primary export market at the time, Britain?

(John Minto wrote a good column in The Press regarding ANZAC day and New Zealand’s highly militaristic past, despite national myths otherwise: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/thepress/4035148a16155.html)

In any case, this is just the start of the NZTroopsOutNow.org campaign (visit the website – I’ve almost finished it!).

Camo on AugustusThe short version is that Solid Energy basically don’t care about us anymore, and they are blasting again.

It seems that in the week after we started putting ourselves within Solid Energy’s blasting zone on Mt. Augustus that the mining company freaked and halted blasting. In the week after that they got the Department of Conservation to ban us from their adjacent land. And when that didn’t work, it seems that Solid Energy has done some sort of risk assessment and this week decided that we’re probably far enough away to not be in danger, or else they’re using smaller and more carefully placed shots.

In any case, they’re blasting again and the ball’s back in our court. Despite our presence up there the last week, they have happily blasted while security guards watched on and warned us with megaphones from afar.

I still think the action is a good combination of being direct action (well, at least initially) and being relatively participatory. But contrary to what I said in my last post on this topic, it’s certainly not open to mass participation: for the simple reason that the 1,000m climb is a mission and there’s virtually nowhere to camp in the dense rainforest scrub.

The choice for us now is either to disband with the action, or step it up and make it effective once again.

(…and to get camo gear that isn’t novelty-clown-sized.)

In Related News:

This afternoon, both Chris Carter and DoC were targeted in a Wellington protest, and Solid Energy CEO Don Elder had his talk disrupted in Auckland by people running around the building in which he was talking by yelling and letting off sirens… looked like a lot of fun.

I think I could be the most youngest cynical old man, but here’s another rant against a protest action.

This time it’s the Howard demo that happened tonight in Wellington, which saw three of my friends get arrested, and quite a few others hurt. I didn’t think the demo was a very good idea: I said to the organisers that I believed it was a continuation of the ‘scattergun tactics’ that have characterised anarchist organising for the last 10 years (at least), and just as importantly the protest could only ever be a glorified ‘bearing witness to power’.

Scattergun tactics: It seems most anarchists and radical-ish activists spend almost their entire time organising protests against whatever pops up within their reach: whether it be new government policies, visiting PMs, or the latest war. Obviously these need to be opposed, but the form this has taken over the last 10 years is a small group of people jumping from one site of opposition to another, always in opposition to something, never ever having time to to build, to construct alternatives or to organise something that might actually get bigger. Instead, it’s just continual opposition to whatever shit gets thrown at us or others. And yet another disconnected and ad-hoc protest just falls in line with this trend. This is not a strategy to win.

Bearing witness to power: And what did we even expect from this Howard demo? To yell at him loud enough that he would change his mind? That, even if we had been successful, expect a disruption of his dinner plans to change the policies of the Australian State? Obviously not. It was to ‘show our opposition’, to have it on record that we oppose his policies.

One also has to wonder about the psychology of such situations: does the presence of such numbers of police make us feel as though we’re important? a threat? Does getting us arrested make us feel like we’ve sacrificed something for the cause?

It’s also terribly liberal in many ways. As if opposing a person makes any difference when he’s merely an actor within a social system that is propped up by relations in everyday life, not those at the top. It’s quite ironic how much attention anarchists give those in power — far more than the average joe.

We need to be far more strategic, systematic and, above all, constructive, because changing a social system isn’t going to happen from instances of spectacular opposition (just as it isn’t going to happen from political revolutions), but from thoroughgoing social revolution.

Anyway, the filth can go fuck themselves. Bad tactics aside they have no right to fucking exist.

Yes, I’m in a grump.

Last weekend’s Indymedia conference was held in the new Unite offices, on the top floor of the Queen St. ASB Building. The view from the top is quite impressive: you can see all the worker minions — potential Unte members — going about their daily business far down on the street below. There are plans to hang huge red flags from the flag poles at the top of the building, and to brand the top of the building with the Unite logo, though I was told the $100,000 required to do this the whole way round was too much even for Unite, and for the mentime the branding would only face Queen St.

While at the conference I was pulled aside by two organisers to have “a talk” about my comments about the Unite and Wananga deal which, as far as I was concerned, merely amounted to a restating of our positions. One tried to explain to me the “tension” between the effectiveness of the union and democracy… I didn’t even try to explain the difference between union democracy and self-management.

While they acknowledged that what I wrote was correct (and tried to get my sources too), they made it clear that it had been particularly damaging. It turns out that my comments somehow managed to come within reach of the Te Wananga Crown observer who promptly cancelled a number of Unite classes mainly in Palmerston North and Wellington. No doubt this is only a temporary respite, but in any case it does absolutely nothing to actually resolve the real issues of democracy within Unite or transparency, among many others (such as Matt McCarten’s empire building).

After our “talk”, the two organisers then offered me a job as an organiser for a week, which I politely refused. Can you say co-option?

As you may know, over 300 Greek university departments are paralysed after three weeks of student struggle and sit-ins. The protests are in response to an education reform that the Greek government is attempting to put through.

Of course, this level of militancy is not uncommon in Greece and student protests generally remain limited to concerns solely regarding the academy, and not other social questions. So I was particluarly interested to read this:

Lecture theatres are alive with political debate that goes well beyond the immediate threats to the education system to question the entire agenda of the government.

Now, it’s from the British Socialist Worker news site, so it may just be their normal hype they put on things, but if it’s true then I can’t help but recall the same sort of prelude to the explosion of May ’68 as a generalised revolt against the conditions not just of the academy, but of everday life.

I guess I can hope. 🙂