Friday, December 10, 2010

Finally, the first issue of Mellow Yellow Zine is online

This zine totally inspired me when I was a teen to rethink and address all the issues that came with migration and living on colonised land. You should all read it if you haven't already.

First issue of Mellow Yellow

YAY!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mellow Yellow III now available to download!

Finally, we've been able to put this up online for free download. Thanks very much for your patience!


Mellow Yellow III


We are still working on getting the first issue up. But in the meantime, if you would like to read the PDF, you can email us at mellowyellow.aotearoa[at]gmail.com and we can attach it in an email. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Racism in the media: case of Paul Henry

The recent media frenzy around Paul Henry and the racist comments he made against the current Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand who is of Fiji-Indian descent has made me think about the way people have reacted. Some of the reactions also has racist implications in the context of Aotearoa and the fact that this is colonised land. While I would critique the use of the term "New Zealander" I think it's important to understand why many non-white migrants want to be included in this category.

This is the background: In an interview with John Key, the current right-wing prime minister, Henry asked about who was going to be selected as the new Governor-General and whether they will look and sound more like a New Zealander. This is a video clip from that interview:



"Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time ... Are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?"

Reactions:

John Key: Laughter, ignoring it initially. Then later said he was "taken aback" and said what Henry said but "wrong" but refused to define it as racist, not taking responsibility for what Paul Henry said.

Personal vouches for Governor-General: In the media, people have come to the Gov-Gen's defence by vouching for his New Zealand-ness: "born and bred New Zealander", "not just a New Zealander but a very fine New Zealander" people had to testify and confirm that he is actually a *real* "Kiwi".

Gov-Gen: "I am a New Zealand-born New Zealander. I am reliably informed I was born in 37 Dryden Street, Grey Lynn at the Bethany. That's all I need to add to the chemistry."

TVNZ: "The audience tell us over and over again that one of the things they love about Paul Henry is that he's prepared to say the things we quietly think but are scared to say out loud." + 2 weeks suspension without pay.

Paul Henry: he made an "apology" which is transcribed at the end of this article. In this apology, he claimed he was "at least half gippo", a derogatory term that stems from "gypsie" which is also a racial slur for Roma people - as showing internalised racism somehow cancels out the racism against the Fiji-Indian community (and non-white migrant population in general).

The general left and some political parties are calling for him to be sacked.



I think it's great that most people are disgusted by these blatant expressions of racism, but there are also problems with the way people have reacted. While it is racist and arrogant for Henry to feel so entitled to say that someone doesn't "look or sound" like a New Zealander, the reaction of "we are all New Zealanders" is not that much better. And the way the people had to prove how he was actually a "real" New Zealander by vouching for him and the way he felt compelled to give an exact address for where he was born is ridiculous and shouldn't need to happen. By talking about being "born and bred" here, it sounds like a New Zealander is defined as someone who has to be born here or at least grew up here. But I think it makes it really clear that one of the privileges that white/pakeha people have is that they don't have to constantly validate their existence here, their power and dominance here is questioned but rarely the right to be here and belong here.

What else is also insinuated in these reactions and discussions is that being a New Zealander you have more rights here or entitlement to belonging and being here. So the first question are, who defines what a New Zealander is? Who gets included in this imagined community, what constitutes a 'kiwi' or New Zealander? Who sounds and looks like a New Zealander? Who defines this? What is the criteria? Birthplace, time of residence, citizenship, accent, cultural knowledge, historical knowledge? What does it mean if you fit or don't fit into this category?

The identity of "Kiwi" or "New Zealander" not only marginalises those who aren't considered New Zealanders by the mainstream but also those who don't have access to the power of definition over what constitutes New Zealander or "Kiwi" - it is Pakeha that get to define these terms, not the tangata whenua and this is part of the ongoing problem of Pakeha dominance and colonial power.

When Don Brash made the Orewa speech, asserting that "we are all New Zealanders", it is an easy way to minimise and hide the power relations and history of violence on this land, as well as undermining tino rangatiratanga. The discourse of liberal/neo-liberal multiculturalism in general also hides the power inequalities between different ethnic groups and still allows Pakeha culture to dominate.

On the other hand, I think it's important to understand why many non-white migrants (of whatever generation) assert their identity as a "New Zealander". The term carries with it some kind of right to belong here, it's like a code word for "don't tell me fuck off home" or "stop questioning where I'm from and leave me alone". But it's often when non-white migrants assert they're a "Kiwi" they had to disclose some personal history and to back it up, like "my grandparents were born in New Zealand", "I've lived here for 15 years", "I'm 2nd generation" or "I've grown up here since I was really young" etc. .

I've heard many Pakeha anarchists say that they don't consider themselves a New Zealander and I think it is a white privilege in this country to not have to feel compelled to assert your identity as a New Zealander and/or deny that you are a New Zealander because the general population would not question whether you belong here or not. And the mainstream, that is predominantly Pakeha would not ask such a question like "Are you a New Zealander? Do you consider yourself a New Zealander?" because if you are white and speak with a 'kiwi' accent then most people would assume you are a New Zealander, you don't have to assert that identity to be included in this 'imagined community' let alone having to back it up with credentials of being born here, assimilation into Pakeha culture or whatever.

So I just got back to Aotearoa and at the airport in Tokyo, I was waiting for my flight to Auckland and there was a bunch of high school students from Waikato waiting as well. They just spent 2 weeks in Tokyo. One of them asked me where I was going, I said Auckland. They said, "We're going there too. What are you doing in Auckland?" I answered, "I live there, I've just been in Germany for a few months." Then they asked again, "are you visiting Auckland?" I said, "No, I live in there." I had to say "I live in Auckland" twice for them to understand that I live in Auckland, so I think there's still this underyling assumption (even though I have a "kiwi" accent) that Asian = not New Zealander i.e. not belonging in New Zealand.

I just have this last point cos I think it's been totally ignored in these discussions: the Governor-General is a role that is fulfilled in the political system of New Zealand as a representative of the QUEEN (of England), New Zealand's Head of State! It's a token political symbol that still connects the political system here to the British monarchy, the Governor-General has no real power anyway. They just sign off laws on behalf of the Queen and have no real power. They just sign off any laws approved by parliament that is put in front of them. What is the point in having a Governor-General if not to remind us, even if just symbolically, that New Zealand is still a British colony?


P.S. I am not a New Zealander, I am tau iwi.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Language barriers and social exclusion

Being a new cultural and linguistic environment where you may have some basic knowledge of the local language but can't fluently converse can be really alienating. It reminds me of previous experiences of migration, knowing no English when I reached NZ when I was 6, hearing people speak gibberish and having nobody to translate and explain what things mean, I had to adapt really quickly. But being an adult overseas in a country where the languages you know can be spoken but it is easier for people to still speak their native language with each other when you are around, it makes you feel a bit like a fly on the wall, part of the scenery and not knowing what's going on around you. People don't speak to you, they speak around you. Just part of the scenery, seen but not heard.

It makes me feel like a new migrant again, like a child trying to make sense of the world around them, again.

Thanks Germany and the White German Left.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Queer China "Comrade" China

A few of weeks ago, there was an international queer film festival held at the Schwarzerkanal (a squatted queer caravan park) in Berlin and I just happened to catch some films from Asia, one short clip filmed in Korea called "Lesbian fighter" which was so sweet but I can't find it on youtube to share :-(

The film that followed was called Queer China "Comrade" China which included many interviews and perspectives of queers in China, mostly from university-educated backgrounds. It was so amazing for me to be in Berlin and see a film in mandarin with English subtitles about queers in China. The film felt really validating because it is so rare for issues surrounding sexuality to be spoken about in public and I feel like this new emerging queer movement can really challenge some of the Confucian undertones of Chinese cultures in China and abroad. The film was really informative and contained really interesting historical and social analysis and paints a promising picture of queer activism in China.

I should explain, the title of the film includes "comrade" because in Chinese it is contemporary slang for 'homosexual' or 'fellow homosexual/queer' -“同志”. There was a discussion about terminology on this, the transliteration of "queer" is also used as well was "lala" for lesbians and 同性恋(tongxinglian) is the less slangy more western version of 'homosexual'.

Here is some clips from the movie:







Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Solidarity with Gaza and Freedom Flotilla


As you've probably heard by now, the Israeli Defense Forces attacked the Freedom Flotilla that was carrying aid to Gaza, attempting to break Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. 20 activists have been killed. Enough is said, the least we can do is to publicly show our outrage at the Israeli state's actions and continued occupation of Palestine.

Details of solidarity actions:

Auckland

Time: 1pm, Saturday 5th June
Place: Aotea Square, Queen St

Wellington

Time: 12pm Saturday 5th June
Place: Meet at Bucket fountain, Cuba Mall. Wellington


See palestine.org.nz for more background info.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Offensive identities: immigrant, migrant, refugee

Apologies for the lack of posts in the past few weeks, a couple of us have been busy organising a conference for young people from migrant and refugee communities. But I really want to bring this issue of internalised racism.

A definition:

Just what is internalized racism? One might describe it as a fancy term for a problem that’s pretty easy to grasp. In a society where racial prejudice thrives in politics, communities, institutions and popular culture, it’s difficult for racial minorities to avoid absorbing the racist messages that constantly bombard them. Thus, even people of color sometimes adopt a white supremacist mindset that results in self-hatred and hatred of their respective racial group. Minorities suffering from internalized racism, for example, may loathe the physical characteristics that make them racially distinct such as skin color, hair texture or eye shape. Others may stereotype those from their racial group and refuse to associate with them. And some may outright identify as white. Overall, minorities suffering from internalized racism buy into the notion that whites are superior to people of color.

Just from talking to other young people of Asian/Middle Eastern/African descent about this conference, I've encountered a quite a few people who reacted quite negatively to the labels of "migrant", "immigrant" and "refugee". A lot of people who have grown up in Aotearoa/NZ or have been here for most of their life, who feel more "kiwi" than their parents' culture or ethnicity, really seem to want to distance themselves from the identity of migrant/immigrant/refugee. I can understand where they are coming from, having become more acculturated and assimilated, but I think it's really revealing how being called an "immigrant" is offensive (like, "I can't believe you thought I was one THEM").

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Natively Speaking: Can the REAL Malays Please Stand up?

I am writing this, post-provoked by the generalistic arguments of this Malaysiakini.com article, noted by a Facebook friend and the more recent news of the caning of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno for beer-drinking in Malaysia. The former criticizes 'Malays' as a people within the Malaysian context, while Kartika's case controversialises the state of Malay women, hence gender deviance under Muslim laws. I was going to write two different posts for these articles, but the more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that the issues are correlated and point towards a fundamental problem: that the marrying of Race and Religion in the Constitution of colonized nations not only leads to social injustice on a macro level, but does nothing for the women belonging to that supposedly privileged, dominant race/religious bracket.
Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, now sentenced to community service, instead of caning, for beer-drinking under Malaysian Islamic law

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Making of Mellow Yellow III

Some snaps behind the scenes of Mellow Yellow III...







Stay tuned!

Ecological Crisis and Climate Chaos in Asia and why we need to fight the dairy industry here



You can't ignore this when it is so in your face.

Dust storms in Beijing and the worst one in ever in Taiwan



Animal dying in Mongolia due to extreme winter freeze



Worst drought in southwest china in 60 years




Don't tell me this has nothing to do with climate change and capitalist industrial destruction of the planet. None of these disasters are "natural" or part of some prehistoric cycle of the earth. The Industrial Revolution began in Europe and colonised the world to provide labour and raw material for the capitalist scumbags who mined, destroyed ancient forests, set up polluting factories and enslaved or killed 'the natives'. That's what started this mess we are all in and the people worst affected are the least responsible.

The dairy and meat industries in New Zealand are the biggest contributors to climate chaos here and David Carter is off to China on an agri-tech mission further expanding and developing the dairy industries in China and Inner Mongolia, sell their white poison and further exploit the land and cows.

And what I think is really funny is all the 'hoo-ha' about a Chinese dairy company wanting to buy dairy farms here, when Fonterra have been buying up dairy companies in China and in other parts of the world for a while now - didn't hear the same kind of outrage about that, particularly from the left. What did people expect with Free Trade Agreements? It's fine to open up other countries' economies for NZ companies to exploit but not when it's the other way round? Interesting neo-colonial dynamics and nationalist attitudes here.

The World Dairy Summit is happening here in November this year. Start organising! And get involved!

Korean and Chinese Churches

Without getting into a theological discussion about the truth-status of Christianity or God, I want to bring up the role of migrant churches in Aotearoa especially for the Chinese and Korean community.

I've been reading a study done in Christchurch about the Korean community and how the church has become a central institution for the Korean community because of social exclusion, racism from Pakeha society and lack of 'belonging' and social support for Korean migrants elsewhere. I could draw so many parallels with my experiences of harassment and my parents experiences under the capitalist economic framework. From my experience and observation of a Chinese church, churches are more than just a place of worship and evangelizing, they function like a ready-made community for Asian immigrants.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Queerness and Christianity

Many people seem to think that you can't be queer, as well as Christian. Homosexuality and Christianity, seems to be a topic that churches are grappling with at the moment. I admit I have struggled hard with what probably many people see as contradictory things. However, I've come to think about what we could all (queers, Christians and everyone else) learn from queer Christians.

After throwing many figurative babies, out with many litres of bathwater, I'm not happy about writing people off anymore, or bagging them out for what they believe and who they are. The reason being, that throwing figurative babies out, means cutting people out. This often means, cutting bits of ourselves, our ancestors and our peoples, off. A really big reason for me no longer wanting to act in these ways anymore, is that my parents are Christians. They have not disowned me, or cut me off because I am queer, despite their interpretations of Christianity. So I am not about to do the same. Many queers have been marginalised by Christianity and the straight mainstream, it is a shame when we then marginalise Queers who are also Christian, and enact the same stuff that happens to us.

Another slightly different but similar extension of this dynamic, is that too often, I feel that people who have more than one marginalised identity, often get asked or pressured to choose which of them is more important. This is definitely pressure I've felt when working around issues of racism, homophobia and colonisation. Where caring about one thing seems to signal to other people, that you care more about one thing, and less about the other thing. It seems a hard thing to grasp, that the many many ways in which people are marginalised and oppressed, are interconnected on many levels. It seems a hard thing to grasp, that we are made up of many parts, all as important as the next. And further than that, all needing the other parts, to be whole. It is a challenge to not chop and choose, but to embrace all the parts of ourselves that are our truths, no matter now contradictory they might seem to others.

This has been sparked out a book ive been reading called “Religion is a Queer thing”, Elizabeth Stuart, Pilgrim Press.

“Many will no doubt claim that a book like Religion Is a Queer Thing is unnecessary. Christianity is Christianity, they will argue; there is only one version of it and it applies to all. Christianity has nothing to do with race, sexuality, class, or bodily differences. Christianity addresses us in our common humanity. This is a clever argument, not only because it immediately attempts to separate God from issues of racism, sexism, classism, and so on, and make them purely "human" concerns, but because it identifies Christianity as the theology of those who are not themselves economically or socially disadvantaged. In the name of a God who joined the struggles of human life and stood with the marginalized, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Christians have challenged the notion of what constitutes Christianity -- and what defines a Christian -- by refusing to accept on trust that a white, straight, male Christianity is the sole Christian truth”.


Elizabeth Stuart.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Moment of Silence

by Emmanuel Ortiz

Before I begin this poem, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silence in honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001.

I would also like to ask you to offer up a moment of silence for all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes, for the victims in Afghanistan, Iraq, in the U.S., and throughout the world.

And if I could just add one more thing…

A full day of silence… for the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands of U.S.-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation.

Six months of silence… for the million and-a-half Iraqi people, mostly children, who have died of malnourishment or starvation as a result

of a 12-year U.S. embargo against the country.

…And now, the drums of war beat again.

Before I begin this poem, two months of silence… for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa, where “homeland security” made them aliens in their own country

Nine months of silence… for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where death rained down and peeled back every layer of concrete, steel, earth and skin, and the survivors went on as if alive.

A year of silence… for the millions of dead in Viet Nam­—a people, not a war—for those who know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their relatives bones buried in it, their babies born of it.

Two months of silence… for the decades of dead in Colombia, whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have piled up and slipped off our tongues.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I am the Resistance

From the Never Before Campaign



Palestine: Never Before has a people suffered such an injustice, yet displayed resilience and resistance - like Never Before.

Discussions on Palestine and the Palestinian cause have included attempts to link it to the struggle of South Africans under the apartheid regime, the struggle of the Vietnamese people, the Algerian revolution or other just causes throughout history. The conclusion, however, was that it cannot be compared to any.

What happened in Palestine since 1947 has never happened before, in terms of the combination of the elements: brutality and racism of the occupier, the injustice of granting one peoples land to others, duration of this injustice, complicity and apathy of the civilized world as well as Palestinian people's will to resist all that against all odds.

Hence the term the Never-Before Campaign: Injustice that is unfolding like never before met with resistance and resilience, also like never before.

The Never-Before-Campaign for Palestine is a Beirut-based campaign launched by individuals of different professional backgrounds, including sociologists, political scientists and communications experts.

The Never-Before-Campaign calls for a new approach to support Palestine, and its people, their cause and their resistance movements. This new approach veers away from the traditional competitions for victim-hood which usually seek to elicit the worlds pity. Pity only yields sympathy.

For decades, Palestinians have been treated, at best, as poor unfortunate beings who might deserve charity and maybe some humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, Israel decides, at its own leisure, which bits of the usurped rights to give back.

The Campaign aims at commanding respect. The world does not respect the meek, rather the powerful and the confident. The Palestinian people are victims here, but they are also resilient and determined. The Campaign seeks to communicate this image to the world.

In addition, the image of resistance, that has been suppressed for fear of being confused with terror, is also and integral part of the campaign. No cosmetics, no facades. A masked gunman is the current image of the Palestinian resistance, whether we like it or not. It is this masked freedom fighter facing the might of the Israeli army that makes us proud. The campaign does not succumb to Western sensitivities of the post 9-11 era.

The West and the whole world are at fault here, not the Palestinian people or the resistance movements. The Campaign addresses that issue: Palestine will not wait for Western remorse that always comes too late, such as for the Holocaust, Rwanda and South Africa.

The Campaign recognizes growing awareness about the Palestinian cause all over the world and builds on it. It targets different sets of audiences at the same time.

The Never Before Campaign has no political or religious affiliation, it only has one enemy. All those fighting for the same cause are allies to the Campaign. Our purpose is to make those allies as numerous as possible and to share the credit with them once our cause is victorious.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mellow Yellow II now available for download!

The second issue of Mellow Yellow was created mid-2009, and had been available as hard copy, but now it can be downloaded as pdf from zinelibrary.net. The content is not the same as the blog so please check it out!

We are also working on Mellow Yellow III, so if you identify as an Asian womyn in Aotearoa and want to submit something, the deadline is March 15th. Can be anything from essays to poetry to artwork!

We are still working on getting the first issue up as pdf as well, thanks for your patience!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It’s not called a ‘struggle’ for nothing

Revisiting China and listening to some of the stories of my grandparents generation, of poverty, famines, revolution and hard labour, I feel like things seriously need to be up turned up a notch in activist/revolutionary/anarchist networks in western(ised) contexts. My experience working with predominantly Pakeha activists on social justice, animal rights and environmental issues has been sometimes really disappointing.

Sometimes actions wouldn’t happen ‘cause people get drunk the night before, people would say they would do things then pull out in the last minute, I often get confronted with silence or blasé attitudes when it comes to self-examinations of privilege, whether is white privilege, male privilege, class privilege etc. There’s always of a division of labour between menial tasks aka “grunt work” and “action hero” stuff or things considered fun, exciting, confrontational e.g. attending protests. In mixed gender groups, this division is usually gendered, where men do all the action hero stuff and women get left with the menial, everyday tasks that need doing but nobody is particularly fond of doing.

This is a call to constantly challenge ourselves to step it up a notch. Don’t be afraid of hard work and sacrifice ‘cause that what struggling is about. Nothing’s ever gonna change if some of us sit comfortably in a high chair and come out to play when it’s fun and others do all the grunt work and get no appreciation or recognition. It kind of shows how much people actually care about bringing about revolutionary social change if they’re aren’t willing to take up work just ‘cause it ain’t fun or exciting. Doing stalls has become like grunt work ‘cause not many people like interacting with the public or maybe it's related to constructed fears of strangers.

We know from history that nothing gets achieved without struggle and it is fucking hard work.

There’s a rhyme that only works in Chinese that goes, “別怕苦,别怕累, 想想革命的老前辈” which roughly translates to “don’t be afraid of suffering, don’t be afraid of hard labour, think about the past generation of revolutionaries” who had it much harder than us. Even though this rhyme was used when students were taken to the villages to work in the fields to get a taste of peasant lives in order to understand their struggles when Mao was in power in communist China, I find it quite motivational when I’m feeling shit about the state of things to keep going, keep struggling.

[Partially inspired by this article: Remembering the Stakes]

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Aotearoa Anarcha-Feminist Hui 2010

From here

…building on previous anarcha-feminist hui, and learning from WEIRD ‘09 (womyn engaging in radical decolonisations) …

The organisers of the 2010 hui want to acknowledge that the hui is being organised and held on stolen land. We support the right of Tangata whenua to absolute soverignty and self-determination, and the return of stolen lands and liberty to indigenous peoples everywhere. The focus of the hui is on decolonisation and racism, and challenging white privilege and imperialist forms of organising.

The organisers are delighted to announce that this year’s Aotearoa Anarcha-Feminist Hui will take place from Friday 2 April to Monday 5 April, in the countryside near Te Whanganui-a-Tara/ Wellington, Aotearoa/NZ.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga at Waitangi

Sat 6 Feb
Waitangi Treaty Grounds

On 6th February 2010, a group of Asian activists will stand under the banner ‘Asians Supporting Tino Rangatiratanga’ to commemorate Waitangi Day on Treaty Grounds.

What's that all about? Asians don’t have anything to do with all that stuff. That’s a Maori and Pakeha thing isn’t it?

The Treaty of Waitangi 1840 is considered the founding document of New Zealand as a nation. Despite this, it continues to be of heated debate exclusively between Maori and Pakeha peoples.

As tauiwi (non-Maori/non-tangata whenua) living in Aotearoa, we recognise the past and present injustices against Maori/tangata whenua peoples.

We also recognise the benefits from British/Pakeha colonialism and theft, that we instantly have access to, whether we have been here 5 generations, or arrived two minutes ago. They are the privileges and benefits of living in a wealthy colonised nation. The "freedoms" that come from colonisation, the "opportunities", the "standards of living", exist, and are available to new migrants, old settlers and their descendents because of the wealth and opportunities created and maintained by colonisation.

We know that as Asians living in Aotearoa, racism exists everywhere. Racism not only works to disadvantage ethnic minorities and tangata whenua, but it also works to divide us through negative racial stereotypes.

We choose to seek paths of justice that do not simply partake in further injustices against Maori/tangata whenua.

We choose to look at social justice and our responsibilities, not solely from a /Western/Pakeha perspective, but from ancestral perspectives where our elders have experienced colonisation, imperialism, and perpetuated these injustices also, which continue to have impacts on sections of the Asian population.

We do this so we don't have to hand on legacies of grievance and injustice to our children and grandchildren, as has been handed to us as tauiwi settlers, migrants and citizens.

These are the reasons we are supporting tino rangatiratanga.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why I sometimes like to watch Bad Action movies.


So I really like watching Action movies. It’s usually the same simple plot, with a different buff Good Guy hero, and different bunch of Baddies.

The basic plot for those who don’t watch Action movies, goes like this.

Goodie is doing its own thing having a normal life, or is a Cop, someone in the Armed or Special Forces, or a Spy for the Greater Good of the World and Humanity. He’s an all round nice guy, has a nice girlfriend/wife /nice family.

Then suddenly, either a Baddie kills his girlfriend/wife /family, for no reason (just Pure Evilness) or because Goodie’s For The Greater Good armed organisation has gotten too close to exposing or stopping the Evil of the Baddie’s operations.

Whatever the reason Baddies has killed Goodies loved ones, Goodie is now very upset and will do a montage of working out at the gym, practicing its boxing or zen martial arts and being very upset (not crying though).

Then, because Baddie has killed Goodie’s loved ones, anything Goodie now does, like hacking into databases illegally, beating up naughty underworld crimesters for information, blowing up cars, running away from Cops or other agencies with three letter acronyms, or killing other Baddies with just one bullet or one lethal punch, is Completely Okay and Totally Justified because Goodie is Seeking Justice.

So the movie ends with Goodie doing all the above things, that if normal people or Baddies do them, are Bad or Evil things. But it is ok for Goodies to them those things, because it’s Goodie Seeking Justice and then Winning against Baddie (who is usually killed by Goodie in the Big End Fight, unless they want a sequel, and then Baddie will instead go to prison or fall off a cliff and you think baddie is dead until the sequel). Goodie then gets a new lady (usually one he saves during the justice/revenge sequence) and feels happy again.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Joining the dots: some thoughts on alliance-building



I've been thinking a lot lately about ways to achieve total liberation for all - for animals and the earth as well as people and what that entails. Currently, in Aotearoa, movements for radical social change seem to be really isolated from each other. There's pockets of activists all working on different things and attacking the same system on different fronts but little effort is made to build alliances and bridges between struggles that can potentially bring down this oppressive system if we all work together.

There is a lot of truth in 'strength through unity', despite it's Orwellian connotations. Perhaps a better slogan way of saying it would be "strength through solidarity". But I think before this unity/solidarity can be effective in fighting all forms of domination, internal hierarchies and privileges need to be addressed and people need to be open to being challenged on oppressive behaviour which is naturalised through ideological justifications.