The October 2007 raids on Tuhoe autonomists in the Urewera, and on tino rangatiratanga advocates, anarchists, conservationists, and permaculturists, were a sobering example of the clumsiness and heavy-handedness of the NZ state’s policing attitude. Some of the commentators in the new film about Operation 8, which takes the police codename as its title, suggest it typified an institutional prejudice in the legal system that sees descendants of tangata whenua and other non-caucasion ethnicities being arrested and imprisoned in wildly disproportional numbers.

Footage from the court hearing for the contempt of court charge against (Un)Fairfax, owners of Wellington daily Dominion (Com)Post, also revealed the bias in some of the mainstream media coverage. The Compost published snippets of bugged conversation among activists that suggested, amongst other things, a desire to assassinate George Bush Jr. During the contempt of court hearing, Solicitor General David Collins asked Law Commission head Dr Warren Young how this was to be carried out. Dr Young broke out in huge smile as he replied that the proposal was to fire a bus at Bush with a catapult, or possibly fire a cow instead. With this information, the conversation looks less like a terrorist plotting session, and more like a group of people joking around.

The Film had its world premiere at the Paramount here in Te Whanganui-a-Tara on Sunday, and has been showing as part of the World Cinema Showcase. Hopefully it returns to the International Film Festival, then gets a run in cinemas around the country. CutCutCut Films have done an amazing job, cramming the other side of the story into an engaging 2 hours. Anyone who cares about the freedom to disagree and take community action to change national policy needs to see this film.

Filed April 20th, 2011 under Uncategorized

It’s been a few months since my last post on this blog. This time was spent at Tui Community, completing a Permaculture Design Certificate, and then attempting to get my head around the implications of the destructive february earthquake in my birth city of Christchurch, and the devastating quake and tsunami across the Pacific in Japan. My first reaction was to check on friends and family, then feel heartbroken and disorientated by the human impact of these underground hiccups. Then the existential funk set in.

As far as anyone can tell, at some point the universe came into existence in a burst of creative energy, and at some point it will collapse into a final resolution. We live somewhere between these two extremes, because that’s the only place life can exist - somewhere in the balance between creation and destruction. Indeed, the 19th century anarchist Michael Bakunin supposedly said that the urge to destroy and to create are flipsides of the same coin, since everything creative that we do destroys the raw materials that we create with.

Recently I read ‘A New Earth’ by contemporary new age writer Eckhart Tolle. Tolle echoes Lao Tzu and other mystics throughout history, who claim that lasting change in the world can only come out of a profound acceptance that things are the way they are, right now. Right now, the centre of Christchurch is in ruins, and a number of Japan’s nuclear power plants are critically damaged, with the potential to pollute the Pacific with radioactive fallout.

The question I’m asking myself is; what creative possibilities does all this open up right now? How can I, walking this tightrope between creation and destruction, help to make something beautiful and helpful happen in the space opened up by these events? What can permaculture, free software, and the various other transitional movements I feel part of contribute?

Two events this calendar year will give me an opportunity to pose these questions;

Filed April 16th, 2011 under Uncategorized
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