System Change Not CLimate Change: OUR TWO DEMANDS- (a)Beyond Kyoto- 90% reduction in greenhouse gas (b)Frequent and fare free public transport now. PLEASE HELP US AND DONATE TO CLIMACTION- KIWIBANK a/c number 389005 094861900. Contact us at 021 186 1450

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


The Climaction Carnival on Sat Nov 4th was a big success, attracting a core of 300 people on the day, with many more taking part. The flagging of Civil Disobedience publicly on the day saw a climb-down from both police and possibly Auckland Council, in that 5 minutes before we were due to move onto the street, the cops offered to block the whole road off for us. They had a look at the numbers we had brought and the determination of the organising crew and made a decision to concede, possibly under orders from Auckland Council who had made a political decision of non confrontation. It was a major victory for advertising the location and our tactics, that just days beforehand were being questioned by both mainstream reformists and black bloc enthusiasts. So round one to Climaction in the battle for the streets. This will strengthen our non conspiratorial, democratic calls for mass direct action in the future.

The People's Assembly held around a ton of melting ice was also fantastically dynamic, with both Auckland Regional Councillor Robyn Hughes and Elaine West from RAM speaking strongly in support of Climaction's demands for Free and Frequent Transport and a 90% reduction in greenhouse gasses by 2030. Climaction hegemonised the debate; challenging Councillor Christine Caughey (Action Hobson) and Auckland Regional Council transport committee chair Joel Cayford whether they both supported RAM’s free buses policy. Councillor Caughey said she did, with Joel Cayford saying yes in principle but how was it going to be funded? A later vote at the Assembly resolved by a huge deafening majority that it should be funded not by taxing ordinary workers, but taxing the rich and the corporations. RAM’s free buses song “Moving On” sung by our own Roger Fowler went down a storm as it wrapped up the assembly- totally behind Climaction’s demands in the city.

The Union input into the People’s Assembly was also something mainstream environmentalist protests had not seen before- there were banners and reps there from the SFWU, NDU, EPMU, Unite and Solidarity. Fala Hualangi, the SFWU organiser leading the CleanStart campaign in the city for cleaners, spoke eloquently about the fate of her native Tuvalu , which will be under water in a few decades unless there is major change. She also passionately supported the demand for free and frequent public transport- not only would it help save the planet, it would be a major benefit for the working poor. Fala is now a key ally of Climaction, and will promote the Climaction demands within her union, and other “new unionists” there pledged to do the same. VaeVae Pokino, introduced by Solidarity Union’s secretary Grant Morgan, represented a delegation from the striking Independent Liquor Workers in Papakura, overcoming his shyness to speak at his first ever rally, in front of a banner from Independent Liquor striking Workers supporting System Change Not Climate Change!

The other noticeable thing about the People’s Assembly was it’s wholehearted support of the word “Revolution” as synonymous with the slogan “System Change not Climate Change”- Revolution was used as a political term unapologetically, confidentially and joyously by speakers as diverse as myself (Joe Carolan) from Socialist Worker , Simon Oostermann from the NDU, John Darroch from Radical Youth, and a woman called Josie in her 70s who made a beautiful speech at the end of the Assembly, saying that climate change would effect everyone on the planet regardless of race, gender or age, and that she would support a revolution to stop it. This got a huge roar of joyous applause from an audience not really expecting this from a woman in her 70s, but revolution is an infectious thing, and I had guessed from talking to her earlier she would make a dynamic and surprising wrap up. Not since the heady days of the early anti capitalist movement of 2000-2001 have I seen an openness on the left to discuss anti capitalism and revolution as openly as this.

The day was also a great carnival and celebration- the music was rocking, with anthems of struggle and resistance echoing across an occupied Queen Street-

Mick Jagger’s “Street Fightin’ Man”, Public Enemy’s “Shut em Down”, John Lennon’s “Power to the People”, Lindon Kwesei Johnson’s “War ina Babylon” and the Manic Street Preacher’s “Masses Against the Classes” providing a backdrop for the snowball fights, tobogganing, chalking, dancing, football, break dancing, samba, sunbathing, picnicking and networking going on in the middle of the street. Andrew the Polar Bear sat on a ton of melting ice, Food Not Bombs fed the masses, colourful banners and flags flew in the sun, and 45 new people joined Climaction. The Call Out to Al Gore next Tuesday should attract a good crowd too provided we do our media work well- last Saturday we got coverage from TV3, a picture in the Sunday Star Times and a write up in the Herald OnLine- Next Tuesday could be internationally significant if we play our cards right.

Climaction has attracted a new layer of supporters and potential members, some of them extremely committed and energetic activists. We have built a comradely and fiercely democratic culture that looks to mass direct action in the tradition of Martin Luther King. Climaction has imagination, daring, a cool level head under pressure but looks to mass, direct action and revolution as the only viable solutions to the ecological crisis of the 21st Century.


At 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an extract from an article on demonstrations with some ideas for stopping traffic.

One of the main things we were all trying to do was block traffic, and delay the beginning of the Convention. There we were, trying to block traffic with our bodies, when we all know what blocks traffic best: more traffic! If everyone who came to the demonstrations by car had simply driven them very slowly into the area where the hotels were, stopping to ask for directions at every block (perhaps with clever art on our cars, like floats in a parade), traffic would have been effectively halted. The beauty of this plan is that if they chose to arrest people, theyd have to tow their cars out of the jam, which would just make matters worse!

Hell, we could have done that and still have had plenty of people left over to do other things. Heres another idea, which could easily be applied in any traffic-blocking demonstration. Usually the people in blocked cars are regarded as unfortunate victims (if not apolitical car-driving assholes!), and nothing more. Why not take the opportunity of these traffic jams to communicate with them? A radio transmitter that can reach car radios within a block or so can be built for around $10, and its legal. Take one of these to the next demonstration in a car (so it wont be confiscated), and hitch it up to a tape loop explaining what were doing and why. When you get stuck in the traffic jam, friends will be ready at the curb with signs reading "FOR INFORMATION ON TRAFFIC DELAYS, TUNE TO 98.9 FM." We could make the next demonstration into a pirate radio convention, with twelve different stations participating (each with its own message). This way, formerly useless, mad or bored motorists become the guests of honor! At least when the newspapers the next morning say "the protesters' message was unclear," the drivers will know thats just bullshit.

More on traffic: Lets say you dont have two hundred people with cars to gum up traffic; if you had ten people who were ready to get a little crazier, you could achieve the same effect. Have a few benefit shows, and raise money to buy each person a clunker car thats on its last legs. We could have found hundreds of them in Philadelphia... long old American cars just begging to "break down." Purchase them under fake names (or whatever you gotta do), then at the assigned minute, ten old cars breathe their last breath in the middle of ten crowded intersections, paralyzing traffic for hours. Maybe the drivers have escape routes planned; or, if theyre gutsy, they'll just stick around insisting that they dont know whats going on (in that case, they could use their own cars, with no fake names). Even if ten people get charged with "conspiracy to block traffic" it is still preferable to four hundred people getting charged with assault for being beaten by police because they created a human blockade. If you're an expert and you really want to increase the tension, you could rig a device to set your old junker on fire (cars sometimes burst into flames you know!), andtalk about demonstration ambiance!

Or lets say we couldn't get our hands on any cars at all. Let motorists deliver them! Did you know that if you clog up the exhaust pipe of a car, it shuts down? Potatoes are ideal, just pound one in, way in, so its good and lost. In a matter of seconds youve got your blockade provided by some unfortunate motorist or truck driver. And happily for those of you with qualms about "property destruction," the offending tuber can eventually be extracted with no lasting damage... slashing the tires, on the other hand... works too! If wed managed to enact a few of these plans, the delegates would have had to take the fucking subway to get out of the downtown area, and that would be the last thing theyd want to do with hundreds of demonstrators (with plans of their own!) on the streets.

At 9:18 PM, Blogger damon said...

Are you guys really convinced that the tory councillors who supported RAM's free bus policy at the November Climaction protest were sincere?


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