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Occupy 2.0: Congratulations and General Assemblies All Round


I see that Occupy Christchurch made a democratic decision to decamp
from Occupy Corner
, after a media beat-up, and a threat of eviction by
the Council. This marks the end of phase 1.0 of Occupy Aotearoa.

I'd like to send out a massive vote of thanks, admiration, and love to
everyone of the 99% who participated in the occupations in any way
since October 15. Your courageous nonviolence, your spirit of sharing,
and your willingness to stick your necks out for an ambitious
experiment in public democracy inspires me, and gives me much hope
that good things can come out of the difficult times ahead.

It's getting cold, and moving indoors is a sensible tactic. I
encourage and support the occupation and repair of unused buildings,
especially by occupation supporters who do not have an indoor homes to
return to. I hope to see anyone who does this supported by the rest of
the 99% movement.

I'm pleased to see that Ōtautahi General Assemblies will continue in a
building nearby, owned by the Workers' Educational Association. I hope
to see 'Open Air University' days carrying on indoors too. In Ōtepoti,
GAs have been continuing in the Octagon, but there have been
suggestions of finding an indoor space to carry them on through the
colder months. I'd like to see the same thing happening in Te
Whanganui-a-Tara, Tamaki Makaurau, and the cities and towns that saw
smaller occupations.

As I've said before, I believe the GAs were the engine of the
occupations. From what I've read about Occupy Wall St, it gained a
huge boost of energy and excitement by the decision to hold the New
York General Assembly at the Wall St occupation site. (the NYGE was
inspired by the mass assemblies of the Spanish Indignistas, and began
meeting before the call to Occupy Wall St went out). Particular
occupations come and go, but ongoing GAs continue our experiments in
participatory democracy, and provide an organising space for ongoing
defence of the public commons against the various forms of

I hope the governing council of the Christchurch City Corporation, and
other councils around the country, do not think they now have the
right to arbitrarily prevent or stop public assembly in public space.
In case they do, I think it's important that the District Court
decision against the occupation on Aotea Square be appealed (a number
of civil rights lawyers and legal academics have expressed support),
and that we continue to make use of public space for democratic
meetings and demonstrations as much as possible. It remains true that
public commons (not "assets") belong to 'we the public', not to
councils, government departments, or even parliament, whose proper
role is to hold them in trust, and to manage them in our interests.

I've mentioned before that there are plenty of other ways that we can
continue to occupy public space, and resist the state-corporate agenda
that is working hard to turn every inch of the planet into private
property, and run every aspect of society for private profit. In the
last couple of weeks, folks from Occupy Ōtepoti have occupied a garden
with a 'permablitz' that will provide free food, and occupied St Clare
beach with a protest against seismic testing (for oil exploration) by
the Polarcus Alima, and the plan to put an oil rig off the coast of
Otakau by October, and other ideas are under discussion. Let's make
more use of sites like and, as
well as corporate-owned sites like FaceHook, to share what we are up

Many people involved in Occupy Aotearoa have had their eyes opened to
the institutional bias in the corporate media, and the justice system.
We have seen the way the elites of the state-corporate system attempt
to use police as their private armed security, instead of neutral
keepers of the peace. I hope that you have all taken the time to watch
the documentaries Operation 8: Deep in the Forest, and Tuhoe: A
History of Resistance, to understand how the same dynamics have
affected the people of the Urewera, and their supporters.

Most of you will be aware that four of the activists arrested in the
Operation 8 raids, over four years ago, were recently tried and
convicted of a handful of the Arms Act charges thrown at them. Since they were not convicted of the more serious 'participation in an organised criminal
group' charges, which justified the admission of evidence from the
cops' illegal surveillance, a mistrial should be declared. The only
people threatening violence in the Urewera were the police who
terrorised the people of Tuatoki on October 15.2007, and these
spurious Arms Act charges should be dropped, as they were for the rest
of the defendants.

I'd like to offer warm greetings to all the people of the Urewera, and
their supporters, and a vote of thanks to everybody among the 99% who
have supported the defence of these activists, "An injury to one is an
injury to all". With the new Search and Surveillance Act now massively
extending the powers of the NZ state, all defenders of the biosphere
and the commons in Aotearoa need to support each others' rights, even
where we disagree about theory and tactics. October 15, 2012, will be
a significant day for supporters of both the Operation 8 defendants,
and the Occupy Aotearoa movement, and perhaps a good time to retake
the squares?

In the meantime, groups involved in the global OccupyTogther/ 'take
the square' movement continue to make calls for action like the one we
all responded to on October 1, 2011. The next one I'm aware of is the
general strike called for May 1.

Please feel free to repost this message anywhere that supporters of
Occupy Aotearoa might read it, and invite them to join the Occupy-Aotearoa Networking email
, and their local GA, and keep the conversations going.

He mihi aroha ki a koutou