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(en) Aotearoa (New Zealand) Dissident Voice #7 - Greetings Dissident...

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 19 Dec 2004 07:38:20 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
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The anti-racist march in Wellington in October saw the word anarchist
littered throughout the mainstream press in New Zealand and even in a
few papers abroad. Some of these reports portrayed us favourably, most of
it wasn't exactly flattering, but almost all of it put the supposed violence in
our court. Estimates of our numbers ranged from 50 to 500.
Of course the reality was quite different. Actual numbers of anarchists
present wouldn't have been much more than 50, and most of these spent
close to 4 hours wearing down the National Front with glitter and songs.
There were definitely anarchists involved in the few incidents of violence
but these were mainly carried out by the punks.

It's ironic for a group of people who are so often popularly portrayed as
violent to have so avidly denied any involvement. But while there is
definitely a strong pacifist tendency in the Aotearoa anarchist movement, I
don't think the violence, as small and isolated as it was, was really such a
bad thing.

The mantra of “non-violence” at protests today is all-pervasive and
in many ways acts as a form of social control, where we constantly censor
our own behaviour and the behaviour of those around us so as not to bring
negative media attention. Perhaps protests once posed some threat to the
status quo but today they have reached the status of the spectacle, and
afterwards we all rush home to watch ourselves on the telly.

Calls to not alienate “the public” or to make protests
“family-friendly” seem to constantly constrain protests to mere
symbolic action and tokenism, often doing little but to reinforce the idea
that we actually have a right to free speech (when it doesn't hurt those
above us, of course!).

As anarchists I think it is our obligation to expand the envelope and open
up new terrain on the left. Social democrats and mild socialists will always
be organising peaceful marches and token protests. While it's important to
be involved in those processes it is just as important to ensure the we don't
allow for those events to take away from more radical and direct
confrontations with capital and the state. We should be worrying when
there is no expression of anything further left than social democracy.

This isn't to say that we need more of the ‘sneaking around in
balaclavas' type of activism. This certainly has its place but will forever be
relegated to exclusive groups of tightly knit friends. Nor is it to say
“violence” is always appropriate. But if we want to pull people
further and further left we must begin to create confrontations that are
both more direct and at the same time allow for mass participation –
and this is something rather more difficult.

This also means we need to have a lot more confidence in our own
politics, and to stop allowing the more centrist ideas from continually
reigning supreme in the groups we work with. There are numerous
opportunities coming up in the next few months with several free trade
agreements in the works, opposition to the Seabed and Foreshore bill and
the opposition to the Wellington bypass to name just a few. Hopefully we
will start to see the emergence again of protest influenced more by direct
action and anarchism than by mild left agendas.
* Aotearoa Dissident Voice - New Zealand's most unrespectable
revolutionary rag. Aotearoa Dissident Voice is a free volunteer-run
magazine that aims to provide an open space for the free flow of
anarchist and libertarian left news, analysis and creativity.
www.dissidentvoice.org.nz edcollective@dissidentvoice.org.nz

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