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Who’s flexibility?

By |October 2nd, 2014|

The General Election is over. More accurately, the ritu […]

Ward, C., Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction

By |October 1st, 2014|

Ward, C., Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford […]

Book Review: The Trigger (2014)

By |September 3rd, 2014|

The Trigger, Tim Butcher (London, 2014)

2014 is […]

Review: Aotearoa Anarchist Review (and Golfing Handbook)

By |June 11th, 2014|

The Freedom Shop has just published issue one of a new periodical titled ‘aargh!’ (which apparently stands for ‘Aotearoa Anarchist Review and Golfing Handbook’).
The 16-page publication claims to “maintain the proud tradition of anarchist publications in Aotearoa. Which in the last ten years include Snap!, Imminent Rebellion, Dissident Voice, The Wildcat Annual, Aotearoa Anarchist and Solidarity.” We agree!

The Freedom Shop Collective is Aotearoa’s longest running anarchist group. Founded on 1st May 1995 in Wellington, the shop is currently situated in the Opportunity for Animals op-shop at 162 Riddiford Street, Wellington. The shop has had its ups and downs, which included a stint of homelessness a few years ago. The collective has never produced much material themselves but tended to order books from AK Press and re-produce pamphlets and zines from around the world.

While the cover of ‘aargh!’ doesn’t match the design aesthetics of Rebel Press publication Imminent Rebellion, the content is superb. From the opening stanza of Airini Beautrais’ poem about Whanganui police computer bomber Neil Roberts to Sam Buchanan’s film review (‘Rebellion – L’ordre et la morale’), ‘aargh!’ is a jolly good read! […]

Election 2014: Why Willy Wonka Shouldn’t Win

By |May 20th, 2014|

2014 is an election year. So far, other than a lacklustre budget and equally lame response from the government’s rivals for power, there has been little of substance on offer. Nevertheless, there has already been some re-alignments and changes in personnel within some of the political parties. Let’s have a quick look at the current mainstream political landscape and see who is in the running.
The ruling National Party has made no changes at the top. With smiley Mr Key still doing well in the polls as preferred Prime Minister, its business as usual. The only change has come in his recognition that the ACT party is dead in the water. The latter have recently brought back the scourge of the 1980’s, Richard Prebble to try and help them out of their predicament. It’s unclear however, why going backwards will help them to go forwards. Key knows the time has come to search for an alternative minor coalition partner. Hence his talking up of the Conservative Party and its owner, the fellow multi-millionaire Colin Craig. Some might question supporting a guy who isn’t sure whether humans landed on the moon (newsflash: we did) but this is fairly shrewd politics, for reasons explained below. […]

An injury to One Is An Injury to All

By |July 12th, 2013|

Brainstorm a list of dangerous jobs and it would have to include those in the forestry sector. It is not hard to imagine how working long hours in all weather conditions with heavy equipment and physically demanding tasks, can take their toll on those in the industry. Prolonged employment can lead to RSI, back strain and hearing loss and that’s just when performing the work without mishaps. This doesn’t take into account the more extreme end of the spectrum, with death a genuine possibility. This is not an exaggeration, with statistics showing reality is every bit as bad as perception. Sixty-seven forestry workers have died in work related accidents since 2000, with 33 deaths and 874 injuries since 2008. There have been four fatalities this year so far. To give some comparative meaning to this, the death rate in the UK forestry industry for example, is 10.4 per 100,000 workers and in NZ a staggering 343 per 100,000 ! […]

E nga kaimahi o te Ao katoa, Whakakotahitia

By |July 10th, 2013|

Exactly 100 years ago, in July 1913, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) published an article in their monthly newspaper titled ‘Ki nga Kaimahi Maori’. Percy Short, a painter from Johnsonville, started a series of articles in Te Reo for the revolutionary organisation. The IWW – te Iuniana o nga Kaimahi o te Ao – was founded in the US in 1905. Its famous preamble states that “the working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life.” [1] Millions of workers across the world joined this revolutionary organisation that was opposed to dividing up workers by trades and instead favoured the ‘one big union’ for all.

In Aotearoa, the first IWW branch was eastablished in 1908 in Wellington.2 In 1913, things really heated up for the IWW with a nation-wide speaking tour and the regular publication of the paper Industrial Unionist. With the start of the ‘Great Strike’ in late October the paper was published almost every three days keeping its four page format. Circulation reached 4,000 which was an enormous achievement for a small organisation with limited funds and radical ideas.

The article by Short, while brief, shows a sincere desire to connect the struggles on the waterfront and in the mines with the confiscation of land. It talks about how ‘in the old days’ – the time before colonisation – everything belonged to everyone (na te iwi katoa nga mea katoa) and concludes:
E nga kaimahi o te Ao katoa, Whakakotahitia; kaore he mea e ngaro, ko te Ao katoa e riro mai – Workers of the whole world, unite; you have nothing to lose, you have the world to win. […]

Movie Review: ‘Sedition’

By |July 7th, 2013|

The dominant narrative on World War II has New Zealand standing alongside the mother country, in defence of freedom and democracy against evil dictatorships. While some have recoiled at the economic deprivation that prevailed and were shocked by the deaths of family members, few have questioned the rationale of the war itself. The documentary Sedition looks at the experiences and motivations of the extreme minority of people who did resist the war. This is done through a combination of archival footage and interviews with participants and academics. […]

Road To Somewhere: Protest Hikoi in Rotorua

By |July 2nd, 2013|

Capitalism is the economic system that prevails globally. One of the main characteristics of this system is the pursuit of profit by a minority and the ‘development’ of infrastructure for this purpose, above the needs or wants of the people at large. It’s true that the process varies slightly from place-to-place in the way it’s implemented. In some locations the powers-that-be can literally bulldozer their way over opposition. In others, the population manages to organize to oppose these changes.

A current example of this tension between people and profit can be found in the Rotorua area. The construction of an Eastern Arterial highway is being proposed. The route will be between Sala St in the east of the city and the airport, which is expected to cost in excess of $100million and is scheduled for completion sometime between 2020-2025. This proposal has met with strong opposition from local hapu, the most recent manifestation being the hundreds strong protest hikoi on 24th June, which marched to the council building. Upon reaching the meeting and following formalities, the Mayor Kevin Winters voiced his sympathy for the protestors but stressed that the council saw itself as “the meat in the sandwich” and that it was the NZ Transport Authority which is ultimately responsible for the project. The protestors dispersed peacefully but there can be no doubt this is only an early skirmish in what is to be an ongoing struggle. […]