Protester Natalie - Christchurch Mail 7Mar12 p.2

Protester Natalie - Christchurch Mail 7Mar12 p.2


Occupy seek right to speak Christchurch Mail 7Mar12
Mayor Bob Parker not interested
Occupy Christchurch protestors say they want to convince the city council not to evict them from Hagley Park, but Mayor Bob Parker says he is not interested in what they have to say. A report is going before city councillors this month, when they will decide on whether legal action will be taken against the group. If they opt to issue a trespass notice, the camp will be given a timeframe to move on. Occupy protesters told the Mail they would be seeking speaking rights at the meeting. The council said it would advise protestors once a date was set.
The Occupy Christchurch protest was set up in October as part of a global movement to draw attention to corporate greed. However, police say it has attracted people with criminal convictions and drug and alcohol problems – in December police launched an investigation into the sexual assault of a 15-year-old woman at the site – and now the group is at odds with Christchurch Hospital. Hospital security workers have issued trespass notices to more than 25 Occupy protesters for allegedly leaving their toilets in a mess and behaving inappropriately or abusively towards staff, visitors and patients.
Mr Parker, who had wanted Occupy Christchurch gone before Christmas last year, said that he would most likely favour issuing protestors with a trespass notice. “If they don’t do that then it would be over to the police,” he said.
However, Christchurch central area commander Derek Erasmus said police would need a court order to remove the protesters. “You can’t trespass someone from a public place,” he said. The bylaw forbidding camping in a public place only carried an infringement notice, as a penalty Mr Erasmus said.
Councillor Yani Johanson said he could not say how he would vote but would like to hear from the protestors themselves. Council city environment manager Jane Parfitt said council staff would let the group know the date of the meeting so they could seek speaking rights. Mr Parker said it was not important that the protesters speak to the council and that what ever they had to say was irrelevant. He said everyone knew what they were demonstrating about as it had been widely reported in the media. The protesters had never invited him to come and talk to them, he said. “They have never invited me to go and I don’t think it’s that important that I go.”
Canterbury Distict Health Board (CDHB) general manager corporate services Murray Dickson said members of the group had […]
Ms Parfitt said the likely cost of legal action would be in the report going before councillors, but the figure had not been finalised. The Sunday Star Times reported attempts to move Occupy Auckland protesters out of Aotea Square cost Auckland ratepayers $356,587, which included the payment of $194,626 to legal firm Meredith Connell. The next biggest bill was security at $119,673 and the remaining $42,287 was spent on repairing damage. Mr Parker said he did not expect action against the Christchurch group to cost as much as it did in Auckland.

Previous post: Occupy Christchurch update 28 February 2012.

Protest camp behaviour should follow the Safer Spaces Policy for Occupy Christchurch/Ōtautahi:

Safe spaces are welcoming, engaging and supportive. A safe space is a space without violence, abuse or oppression.The aim of a safer spaces policy is to establish a process for dealing with situations where people become violent, abusive or otherwise display harmful behaviour towards others.

To build a conscientious and inclusive movement, we need to be aware of power structures that exist amongst us. We have no illusions that Occupy Christchurch Ōtautahi is free from all threats. By occupying this space, and participating in protest, we take risks. Though no space can ever be completely safe, we can still work towards creating an environment where people are encouraged to challenge – and feel both comfortable and supported with challenging – oppressive behaviour. In a safer space all allegations of abuse will be acted on and responded to. We want a culture that takes supporting people who have experienced abuse seriously.

In a safe space we need to . . .
* respect each others’ physical and emotional boundaries – take note of body language and what is said, and just as importantly, what is not said. Remember to gain active consent when engaging with people. If unsure, it is always better to ask.
* avoid using derogatory language or acting in a such a manner that objectifies or otherwise makes others feel uncomfortable or demoralised. Violence and harassment of any kind are not acceptable anywhere, and will not be tolerated here.
* be especially aware of our language and behaviour around children, and work to ensure that our space is welcoming, comfortable and safe for them.
* maintain a drug and alcohol free environment. This includes rejecting the participation of individuals under the influence of these substances.

Remember…
* that some people’s voices are louder than others. Be mindful of your own and others’ privilege and how much space you take up with your presence or voice.
* that some topics of discussion or situations trigger memories of abuse. Check in before discussing topics that might be triggering for others. For example, but not limited to, physical violence, sexual abuse, or encounters with police.
* don’t assume the person you are talking to feels safe enough to challenge your behaviour if it hurts or offends them. Gender, sexuality, familiarity with others present, ethnicity, age, class etc can affect how safe we feel.
* the pronouns and names of everyone. Again, do not assume anyone’s gender identity, sexual preference, economic status, background, health, etc.
* people sharing communal sleeping space have less privacy, need to change their clothes and may be sleeping. Please be particularly careful to respect each others’ privacy and any designated women-only sleeping space.

Strategy
* Individuals are responsible for articulating their own needs so that others have a chance to respond and remedy the situation. At all times people will endeavour to undertake conflict resolution with goodwill.
* People are encouraged to ask for help to address unhelpful behaviour in themselves or others. If you want support to confront oppressive behaviour, or need someone to listen, please ask for help from other occupiers.
* If you are called out for problematic behaviour, do not be defensive. Your intentions and character are not under attack, just the behaviour that is being challenged. Be open to understanding the role your behaviour has in other people’s experiences of oppression. Most people have experienced abuse of some sort and we want support to begin before abuse becomes public. We hope to be part of a community that is working to empower people and make them better able to respond to, challenge and defend themselves from abuse, before or after it happens. Supporting people around us is something that should happen at all times, not just following the discovery that a person has suffered abuse.
* Any group or individual engaging in violence (including physical, sexual, emotional/mental violence and harassment) within the Occupy Christchurch Ōtautahi movement cede their right to participate, and may be asked to leave.
* No alcohol, no drugs. These are our rules because they are the law, and we do not wish to do anything illegal to give the authorities an easy excuse to remove us. If you are found consuming drugs or alcohol at the occupation you will be asked to either stop or leave. If you see someone doing either of these at the occupation, please ask them to either stop or leave. People under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be asked to leave and not return until they are sober.

An off-site Occupy Christchurch General Assembly is to be held at WEA, 59 Gloucester St, Monday 12 March, at 7pm. All welcome to attend and discuss the above policy.

Agenda
* Karakia. Volunteer for minute taker and nominations for facilitator.
* Speaking order rules. Mihi/introductions round.
* Finalise agenda and order of items:
* Safer Spaces policy and Occupy Corner.
* Banning of undesirables from OChch and appeals process:
Occupy General Assembly has authority to bar destructive persons from its protest meetings, if unanimous.
An appeal of the ban is initiated by finding a mover and seconder to place review of decision on a GA agenda.
* That OChch accept Mayor Parker’s offer to meet with us by turning this into an invitation to the whole Council.
* That the proposed conference with Christchurch City Council shall be Monday 19 March at WEA.
* OChch camp security roster.
* OChch camp rubbish removal.
* Solidarity work for the Ports of Auckland struggle.
* Any other business.

Caution / clean-out of conspiracy theorists due: harm to the cause attributed. They have abandoned Occupy to run from the law and their own stupid choices.

Addenda:

Shaken city least fertile for Occupy crowd The Press 11/03/2012 Martin van Beynen
OPINION: Early on Wednesday I joined the mounting exodus to Australia. In search of a story rather than a better life, I hasten to add. One of the last sad sights I saw as I deserted the broken city was the rather pointless tent community in Hagley Park. I don’t regard the protest as much more than a bunch of freeloaders and deadbeats defiling an attractive and prominent section of parkland, but perhaps there is more to it. I know they are exercising their right to protest and I will die in a ditch for free speech but how long do they need to make their point? If they all went out and got a job, they could hire a billboard at a prominent intersection and disseminate their message much more effectively.
The Occupy movement has certainly made an impact around the world but it has struggled to persuade many in New Zealand. As a protest against vested interests and capitalism, it could choose better places than Christchurch where there are just not that many rich people and where an earthquake has shown no-one is immune to misfortune. Although the gap between the rich and poor is unquestionably widening in New Zealand, it still feels like a place where the work ethic is rewarded and the disadvantaged are provided with a modest living. Not exactly fertile ground for the Occupy Wall Street movement, which rails against a small group running things in favour of greed, consumption and profit while leaving ordinary people powerless to shape their society.
Across the ditch, however, there appears to be a real debate about the crisis in capitalism highlighted by the Occupy movement. From The Age and The Australian newspapers, it appears the local debate receives much of its impetus from the government’s carbon tax and the move to super- tax the profits of mining. Perhaps the Green Party’s mooting of a fund to fight coal developments in Queensland has something to do with it as well. Treasurer Wayne Swan has accused a bunch of “infamous billionaires” of mounting a “ferocious and misleading” campaign against the mining tax which prompted commentators in both papers to rush at varying speeds to the defence of capitalism. While it is simplistic to see the mining tax as a bid by the state to suck more out of the rich, from certain angles it certainly looks that way and many will be applauding from the sidelines.
Further on in The Age, as if to reinforce the point that the rich cannot be trusted, is coverage of a hearing in Melbourne this week which features an accountant who noticed the accounts of a company were missing at least $1.1 billion in short term debt but did not tell the board. With stories like this being revealed daily, you begin to see why people feel the pain is not being shared evenly. While it is easy to dismiss the limp Occupy protest in Christchurch and see the Australian situation as irrelevant to us, the issue certainly has traction further afield. The World Economic Forum at Davos this year proclaimed income disparity as the greatest risk during the next decade and even the Financial Times is running a series on the crisis within. It’s still hard to know whether the Occupy crowd are lamenting the usual powerlessness and struggle of the poor or whether their concerns also touch the middle class who have seen little improvement in their incomes in the last 10 years while costs of living have gone up steadily.
After the enlightenment gained from The Age and The Australian, I went to Vanity Fair for some light relief to find American economist Joseph Stiglitz also writing about the present angst. However he says the banking crisis brought on by the fecklessness of Wall Street and other financial centres is not the real cause of the present apparently never-ending slump. His theory is, that like the Depression of the 1930s, our current woes are due to a fundamental shift in the underlying economy of the West. He says our economies have shifted from manufacturing to services at an alarming rate due to technology and cheaper offshore labour pools. The shift, he says, has caused declines in income and jobs, although the inevitable crash was postponed by the bubble in the housing and lending markets. He believes governments need to embark on a massive investment programme to improve real productivity in the long run and “if we expect to maintain any semblance of normality we must fix the financial system”. Stiglitz laments the sort of society which pours money into a banking system without setting conditions or restrictions. “Americans are coming to understand what has happened. Protesters around the country, galvanised by the Occupy Wall Street movement, already know,” he writes.
I wonder if someone needs to tell the protesters in Hagley Park we have been sufficiently galvanised as well.

Longview, Occupy, and Beyond: Rank and File and the 89% Unite! recomposition.info/2012/03/11

Enemies Within: On Occupy and Infiltration, Part 1 Kasama project .org 29 February 2012 + Occupy Everything: Make the ripples, build for waves 21 November 2011

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