Occupy Wellington: what is the 99?

Sunday: 13/11/11 2:30pm

Free University,
Jack Illiot Green,
Civic Square
Wellington, New Zealand

What is the 99%?
Who is the 99%?

Possibly the best agitational slogan to come forward in the past 30 years from the left, too often in the occupy upsurge this idea has been taken at face value, something which undermines the slogan itself. The 99% represents decades of struggle and thinking around the idea of the haves and the have nots, workers and capitalists, the many and few. If we are going to make full use of the powerful potential contained within the idea represented by the 99%, then we need to know what it means, to discuss and understand the connotations and challenges that are summed up in such a pithy statement.

This is a public workshop as part of the Free University being held on Sunday.

Occupied Dominion Post: first sitting of the People’s Parliament

Originally published in Issue 3 of the Occupied Dominion Post.

Friday 11.11.11 is the first sitting of the Participatory Peoples’ Parliament at 5:30pm.

It’s about democracy for the people, by the people. So join the G7 Billion!

Followed by a weekend of:

2:30: Global Occupy Rundown
3:30: General Assembly
5:30: Music

Real free-trade
11am: Revolution in the Middle East (Tali Williams)
Midday: The Situation in Africa (Yilma Tasere)
1pm: What is the 99% (Joel Cosgrove)
2pm: Occupied Europe (Paco)
3pm: Music

Against conspiracy theories: Why our activism must be based in reality

The text of a talk given at Occupy Wellington, New Zealand, on October 27 2011. Around 55 people attended the talk, organised to try to counter the prevalence of conspiracy theories amongst the local wing of the Occupy movement.

"Some conspiracy theories, such as many of the shadowy financial cabal conspiracies, only serve to mystify capitalism and falsely suggest a level of control that doesn’t actually exist."

Kia ora kotou, thanks everyone for coming. Firstly, a brief run-down of how this workshop will work: first, I’m going to give a brief talk, followed by an open discussion which anyone can contribute to. I also want to make it clear that I’m not here today to debunk or debate any specific conspiracy theory. I’ve got no interest in doing that, I don’t think its particularly productive. What I want to be doing is talking about the title of the workshop is – why our activism must be based in reality. So we’ll be talking about the whole conspiracy world-view, we’ll be talking about what I think is a much better alternative to that, but I’m not going to sit here and argue with you over whether the Government is secretly poisoning us from the skies, or whether shape-shifting reptilian lizards are controlling our lives, or whether or not you can cure cancer with baking soda.

First up, who am I? For those of you who don’t know me my name is Asher, I’m born and bred in Wellington, though I have also spent a few years recently living in Christchurch. I’ve been involved in activism and radical politics for around about 7 years, in a variety of different campaigns and struggles.

If we’re going to talk about conspiracy theories, the first important question is obvious: what is a conspiracy theory?

Now, if you go by a dictionary definition, a conspiracy is just a group of people who get together to plan something, and don’t tell others about it. If I’m organising a surprise birthday party for my friend, then I am conspiring with others. But that’s not a particularly useful definition for the purposes of a discussion like this.

So, for this discussion, the way I’m defining a conspiracy theory is thus: a conspiracy theory is a theory based in supposition, one that flies in the face of evidence or science, often one that claims its correctness can be shown by the paucity of evidence in favour of it, in the sense that ‘this conspiracy goes so far that they’ve even buried all the evidence that proves it!’ Conspiracy theories often encourages an ‘us few enlightened folk versus everyone else’ world view. This creates an atmosphere where conspiracy theorists look down on people, or sheeple as they are often called, and ignores the fact that people, by and large, are actually pretty intelligent. In and of itself this world-view is hugely problematic for as I will discuss later, mass social change requires the participation of the masses and therefore, we have to have faith in the ability of people to decide things for themselves, to come to correct conclusions and ultimately to change the world. [Read more…]

Occupy New Zealand

On October 15th New Zealand cities joined the global “Occupy” movement which as of this writing is taking place in 1500 cities in over 100 countries as a protest against wealth inequality. The December issue of The Spark will include further coverage of the movement; here we publish the statements issued by the occupations taking place in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.


Occupy Auckland[Occupy] Auckland is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colours, genders and political persuasions. We are the 99% and we believe in people and the planet before profit. We will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%.

We are also in solidarity with http://www.OccupyWallStreet.org , http://www.OccupyTogether.org and all of the Occupy movements around Aotearoa New Zealand and the world.

We will be occupying Aotea Square from the 15th of October and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximise the safety of all participants.

We recognise Aotea Square as Ngati Whatua land and that it is also a public space. Ngati Whatua have kindly consented to us ‘occupying’ this land.  [Read more…]