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
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
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.