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Emergency Response to Flotilla Massacre

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On Monday, Israeli special forces attacked an aid flotilla bound for Gaza in international waters. The commandos have killed at least 10 (up to 19) people and injured dozens of others, mostly Turkish nonviolent activists who were aiming to break Israel's siege with humanitarian supplies. Israel attacked all of the ships in the flotilla, but the killings seem to have happened on the flagship Mavi Marmari.

Protests have been called for this Saturday in both Wellington and Auckland with three demands;

  • End the killings of activists and Palestinians
  • Demand an End to the Siege of Gaza
  • Tell John Key to, "EXPEL THE ISRAELI AMBASSADOR"

Al Jazeera reportsZblog analysis | Info on Gaza Blockade | Socialist Aotearoa

Search and Surveillance Bill – defeated, for now.

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The Justice and Electoral select committee has sent the Search and Surveillance Bill back for re-drafting noting widespread public concern. The committee has asked for a Justice Department report in advance of a re-drafted piece of legislation outlining just exactly how the law will change existing powers. A new bill is expected to be introduced sometime in July or August.

‘We are pleased that the bill has been stopped temporarily, however, our campaign will not cease until the Search and Surveillance bill is defeated. This bill has been a failure from start to finish. It was intended to clarify the law around search and surveillance, but none of the proponents can even agree on what it does or means’ said the Campaign to Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill Spokesperson Batch Hales.

Polynesian Panthers visit Wellington

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An event organised by the combined Schools of Pacific Studies, Te Kawa a Maaui, International Relations and Political Science saw a good crowd arrive at the New Kirk 303 lecture theatre around 5.30pm on Friday 14th May.

The speakers and audience were welcomed by staff of Pacific Studies, then Will Ilolahia opened the talks with a moving discourse on his background in the polynesian suburbs of Auckland in the 1970’s - Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Kingsland and Newton were in those days full of recent migrants who had come to fill the need for working-class labour in the 50’s and 60’s.

Ilolahia calls himself a ‘Tiwi’ - kiwi-born Tongan - and took us right back to 16 June ‘71, when the Polynesian Panthers were born out of a collection of university students and teenage workers who met at parties in Ponsonby, and saw a need for something to create a better future for themselves than just gangs and factory work. There were many gangs operating in those days - the Nigs, Stormtroopers, Wehrmacht, and the inimitable Mighty Mongrel Mob, all fighting to recruit the teenagers into their ‘patches’. Polynesian Panthers was a response to the gang violence, which pitted Tongan vs Samoan, Nuiean, Tokelauan, Fijian and Maaori, and the induction into crime-based lifestyle, leading to rolling incarceration of polynesian youth and men.

Ngai Tuhoe Disappointed at Loss of Nerve

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"The Government’s decision not to proceed with an offer of settlement for our historical claims against the Crown is extremely disappointing. It reflects a failure of nerve and a loss of resolve to settle serious and longstanding grievances by a fair and just offer.

An employee of the burnt bank speaks out on yesterday’s tragic deaths in Athens

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Events in Greece are currently very tumultuous. After the general strike and riots all around the country in recent days, capitalism is seriously threatened. Below is an article from the blog Occupied London, one of the best English language websites on what's happening in Greece, on the deaths of three bank workers on the day of the general strike. More articles: Names of the dead announced; bank workers strike today in memory | Protest in front of the parliament comes under attack as austerity package is voted in | Anarchist international call in Greece

Yesterday’s tragic deaths in Athens leave little space for comments – we are all very shocked and deeply saddened by the events. To those (on the “Occupied London” blog even) who speculate that the deaths might have been caused purposefully by anarchists, we can only reply the following: we do not take to the streets, we do not risk our freedom and our lives confronting the greek police in order to kill other people. Anarchists are not murderers, and no brainwashing attempted by Greek PM Papandreou, the national or the international media should convince anyone otherwise.

Sleep-walking into 1984? - "Stop the Bill!"

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A national day of protest against the Search and Surveillance Bill will be held on Saturday, 24th April. Simultaneous protests will be held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

UPDATE Saturday: Reports from protest in Wellington and Auckland and New Plymouth

“It is time to get out on the street and show our disgust with this Bill,” Batch Hales, spokesperson for the Wellington Stop the Bill group said.

“There has been horror expressed at this Bill since it was first introduced to the House,” Batch continued. “People and groups up and down the country have spoken out against it and the Chief Justice, the Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights Commissioner have all consistently criticized it. It’s time the government saw sense and scrapped the whole Bill.”

If it becomes law, the Search and Surveillance Bill will see a dramatic expansion of police and government agencies’ powers. It will also fundamentally alter longstanding legal conventions such as the right to silence, the right against self-incrimination and the right to be free from unreasonable search.

Auckland 2pm - grassy area opposite the Town Hall, Queen Street | Wellington 12.30pm - meet at Cuba/Manners Mall corner | Christchurch 1pm - Cathedral Square

Links: Search and Surveillance Bill | Stop the Bill!

The reality behind Brazilian biofuels in New Zealand

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Bio-fuels from Brazil (ethanol) are being imported to petrol stations in New Zealand, especially around the Wellington region, touted as a sustainable, carbon friendly and cheap alternative to fossil fuels. What regions are they coming from in Brazil and what are the social and environmental conditions surrounding their production? It seems no one, not even the Green Party which supports these imports as being from sustainable sources in Brazil, knows where our imported bio-fuels are produced, nor under what conditions.

To help answer these questions The Pacific Institute of Resource Management (PIRM), a Wellington based NGO established in 1984, has arranged for Padre Tiago Thorlby to travel from Brazil to Wellington to tell of his experiences.

Police run operations on political activists

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A recent document released under the Official Information Act (OIA) shows that the Police are heavily spying on and running operations on protest groups. In the Police annual report for the year ending 30th June 2009, a reference was made to “84 operation orders” made in relation to “public demonstrations”. An OIA request for a list of all these operation orders made in October 2009 has now finally been answered by Police National Headquarters and the results are chilling.

In 2008/9, the police ran operations on a “Tibet candlelight vigil”, the “Stagecoach Bus Strike” and a “Palestine Peace Vigil” in Wellington, a “Bible group” outside the US embassy, the “Waterside Workers' Strike” in Auckland and a protest in Otahuhu “re lack of swimming pool”.

A list of the 84 operation orders has been released. However, access to the actual orders has so far been denied.

Peace Action Wellington condemns the action of the NZ Police in conducting operations on protests against the annual weapons conference hosted by the NZ Defence Industry Association and against legitimate political dissent. ‘Protecting these people is protecting war mongers and war profiteers from public disgust, outrage and resistance to their activities’ said Valerie Morse, Peace Action member. ‘In my experience, the police see their role as shutting down protests, and they will do whatever is necessary in order to accomplish that, including extensive surveillance, arbitrary arrest and detention of people without any cause whatsoever.'

Links: Police Thugs at it here and there (Wellington ABC)

No mining the Coromandel!

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DescriptionAs part of its strategy for economic growth, the National government today had its report to exploit the country's mineral wealth leaked to the press. With this, the government is prepared to allow this mining on protected land around the country. This is being done despite past victories by communities in the 1980's that had fought to have protected land off limits to industrial mining.

These victories had led to Section 4 to be added to the Crown Minerals Act, which stipulated that national parks, nature and scientific reserves, wilderness areas, sanctuary areas, wildlife sanctuaries as well as all Crown conservation land north of the Kopu-Hikuai Road and the foreshore on the Coromandel Peninsula ( and most adjacent offshore islands and Hauraki Gulf islands.), be off limits to mining.

Update: The Save Happy Valley group has invited the public to learn how to stop mining bulldozers

Eyewitness to the Revolution in Nepal Touring NZ

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The first communist revolution of the 21st century is unfolding in Nepal. The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is leading the workers, peasants and oppressed in a movement that seeks nothing less than a whole new world. Ever since the destruction of the Soviet Union, the ruling class has told us that communism is dead. Unfortunately for them, the people of this small, desperately poor country do not appear to be listening. From the new pamphlet Revolution in Nepal by Alastair Reith and Mike Ely

Between 1996 and 2006 the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) staged an armed peoples war against the Nepali state. After the overthrow of the despotic King Gyanendra in 2006 by a mass uprising, the Maoists started to take part in elections. In 2008 they won the most votes in Nepal's Constituent Assembly in 2008 and formed a government. The Maoists began a campaign of land reform and moves to improve the status of women. However, the Maoists resigned from government after Nepal's Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal (a Maoist) had his decision to sack the head of the army overturned by Nepal's ceremonial President (a bit like their equivalent of NZ's Governor General). Since then there have been clashes in the streets between Maoist activists, as well as other Nepalis angry at the President's interference with democracy, with the police and army.

Eyewitness to revolution speaking tour: March 21st to 26th

Ben Peterson, a young Australian socialist who recently visited Nepal, will be touring New Zealand to speak about the Maoists' struggle.

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