The Return of the Street.
You know a demonstration is going to be big when you get the message to come from multiple sources- facebook invites, viral videos, mass txts, guerrilla street postering and the old trusty leaflet handed to you by a human being, staffing a campaign stall at a rugby match or outside a transport hub weeks before the event. When the Facebook clicktivists meet the new urban street revolutionaries.
You know a demonstration is going to be big when the List of Endorsers starts to take up space that makes your paragraph look too big- and starts to include not only the biggest trade unions and the major political parties of the Left, but also those primary extra parliamentary campaigning organisations and movements who actually provide the bulk of activist muscle to mobilise bodies on the street.
And on the glorious day- you know a demonstration is going to be big when you see young kids holding their homemade placards, skipping alongside their mums, dads and older brothers and sisters, streets away from the assembly point.
As one of the organising crew for A28- that Saturday in Auckland on April 28th 2012, where between eight and ten thousand people poured out from their homes and occupied Queen Street for over three hours, I would like to salute the band of Spartan warriors, the bold 300, who helped mobilise their 8,000 plus brothers and sisters.
First, I would like to thank the movements- first amongst them to the band of warrior women who led our Hikoi in Auckland- Marion Peka, Lisa Gibson, Sue Henry, Yvonne Dainty, Josephine Bartley and the state housing tenants of Glen Innes, on the frontline of state asset theft as they face eviction from their homes. I would like to thank Mike Smith, Tracey Clark and the Hikoi against Asset Sales, to Steve Abel and the crew at Greenpeace, to Gary Parsloe and all the affiliates at Unions Auckland, to Helen Kelly and Syd Keepa from the Council of Trade Unions, and to the insurgents of the Mana Movement, led by Hone Harawira, John Minto, Annette Sykes, Sue Bradford and comrades.
The mobilisation by Labour, Greens, Mana and NZ First of their membership was also strong- party branches, activists and members were emailed and phoned, banners and placards were strong and colourful, and the attendance of three of the four parties leaders on the day as speakers- David Shearer, Russel Norman and Hone, augers well for a return to mass protest politics in New Zealand if National continues with its policy of mass asset sales. As the Socialist Aotearoa placard said- "What Parliament Does, the Streets can Undo", and what the parliamentary left might lack in seats, it can mobilise far more on the streets. If David, Russel, Winston and Hone decide to publicly push for the next Aotearoa is Not for Sale demonstration in the weeks before the date of action, then there is no reason why the numbers mobilised from their support and membership should not be significantly higher. On a personal note, I'd like to thank Labour MP Phil Twyford for being one of the first to help build this coalition into the broad united front we know is needed to bring this rotten government down.
But finally, I would like to thank the actual members and activists of the Aotearoa is Not for Sale movement. The first inaugural meeting at Unite union saw people standing in the corridors, as people from Occupy, Global Peace and Justice Auckland, Socialist Aotearoa, We are the University, the trade union left and the Tino Rangatiratanga movement were joined by a new wave of ordinary people who are being politicised by National's relentless assault on New Zealand's society. It was these guys who went out night after night, postering in the rain. It was these guys who went out, weekend after weekend, to the markets of Avondale and Otara, or leafletted the gigs and rugby matches. Penny Bright's banners, Malcolm France's motorway banner drops, Chris Glen's facebook posters, Redstar's viral videos, Mike Treen and Tobi's sound systems, Linda Miller's website, Omar Hamed and Bomber Bradbury's tireless blogging, Sian Robertson, Julia Espinoza and Miriam Pierard's presence and facilitation. This core of grassroot activists continued to push this issue strong when sectarians and some pessimistic reformists predicted failure and embarrasment. The future of street politics, the future of the Left, and the future for the battle for Social Justice in Aotearoa, in every town and city, will be shaped by the hard work and dedication of people like this newly emerging activist cadre- the Shanes and the Morgans, the Mailas and the Jaxs, the Nicos and the Terris who are usually written out of history. Hundreds more people have now joined them, as the Aotearoa is Not for Sale campaign becomes not only a United Front, but a Movement in its own right.
Fairfax media, that right wing propaganda machine, reckons that over 8,000 people marched. 3 News claims that the demo was the biggest Auckland has seen since 2010's Mining March. And this is only the beginning of the Resistance- the Government has yet to decide the where and when of it's next move. When it does, the Movement will hit the streets again, in even bigger numbers.
Because what Parliament Does,
The Streets Can Undo.
Joe Carolan, personal capacity.
Aotearoa is Not for Sale campaign committee.
some of the hardworking and dedicated ANFS organising committee.
The Red Bloc!
It's Ours, Not Yours!
What Parliament Does, the Streets Can Undo!
the Warrior Women of Glen Innes- on the frontline of Asset Sales, leading the Hikoi
pictures- thanks to Katarina Tamaki, Josephine Bartley and many others.