Take back all the farms
Near Benneydale, in the southern King Country, a Crafar farm has been occupied by iwi.
Members of Ngati Rereahu deep in the Rohepotae have moved to occupy one of the Crafar farms in the central North Island calling for the Government to sell them the farms where their ancestors are buried.
The occupation of one of the sixteen farms up for possible sale to a Chinese consortium is a blow to the Government's privatisation and corporatisation agenda. Public pressure is building in unlikely places. In Glen Innes community opposition is mounting to the sell down of state housing to property speculators. On Friday night community activists, Mana, Labour and Maritime Union leaders came together under the umbrella Aotearoa is Not for Sale. The CTU and Grey Power are leading plans to initiate a petition against asset sales but only grassroots resistance, community organisation and mass direct action can stop the corporate agenda.They plan to move shipping containers bearing protest banners to the side of the nearby highway and say they are prepared to stay for the long haul.
A Ngati Rereahu spokesperson, Edward Moana-Emery, says the protest is a continuation of the 126-year fight with the Crown and will be part of its Treaty claim.
The land was once part of the iwi's ancestral whenua and two Maori land trusts were part of the Crafar farms purchase group trying to buy back the land.
Mr Moana-Emery told Checkpoint the iwi has the money to buy the farms and is serious about owning the land
That's why the the struggles of Ngati Rereahu, of the GI tenants and of the wharfies are so important. The electoral schemes of politicians are as ephemeral as a promise from John Key. A million non-voters is not a mandate for asset sales. A million non-voters is not a mandate for softly, softly parliamentary activism. We need a fightback led in the community where the voices of the people are heard. A do-it-yourself rebellion where the experience and resources of the extra-parliamentary left will be handy to those new to the fightback.
Twenty people walking onto a farm is not yet mass resistance. The experience in Glen Innes over the weekend where a sit-in of a dozen people catalysed a community mobilisation on Monday show that small fights can however inspire broader confidence to struggle and renewed determination to win. The task for socialists in the coming period is to assist wherever people are fighting back and to argue for mass action, ever increasing pressure on the state and for unity and solidarity between the struggles - workplace and housing, Maori and pakeha. Aotearoa is not for Sale. Take back all the farms. Ka whawhai tonu matou.