April Rally 2011 - one of numerous smaller circle discussions
The first post of the Otautahi Solidarity Network blog aims to look at the past 12 months, comment on where we are at and look to the summer months ahead. We are an evolving group that encapsulates our rich and diverse community, we have an open outlook that encourages debate, planning and action. Our strength rests firmly with people getting involved; we ask that you subscribe, participate, post and share this blog with friends, family and colleagues. For those out of town, we welcome support and discussion, Solidarity Networks are springing up throughout Aotearoa, we will help to put you in touch with your local groups and be there if you want our assistance to set up your own.
In recent days a meeting took place under the banner of the Otautahi Solidarity Network. It was here that people shared idea’s and hopes, where the name for the group was agreed and where a dramatic shift in momentum was felt. The Network aims are still yet to be defined, however we can tell you that talk of community work shops, time banks, protest, gardening, free markets, concerts, street theatre among many, many idea’s have been discussed.
With the summer months just around the corner things are heating up in the city
On August 20th residents of Avonhead and Ilam took to the streets to protest against yet another liquor outlet to be granted a licence in their community;
There is already a wide liquor ban in force just a block away from the proposed site and there are 10 other alcohol outlets in the area.
Like previous protests held in South Auckland in July last year, the Christchurch residents claim more outlets can only lead to more alcohol-related problems.
Full story and news video can be found here – link
Monday 5th September saw a rowdy crowd welcome the National Cabinet who came to Otautahi to take full media advantage of the one year anniversary of the 7.1 quake. It was here that the desire for a tangible, coherent network of individuals and groups was made loud and clear.
A colourful write up of the event can be found here – link
An excellent short documentary can be watched here – link
and a Metro News video can be seen here – link
A few days later Avondale yet again saw a mass protest. Frustrations with Insurance Companies, inconsistent messages received by the Government and an overall lack of information from CERA saw over 200 people gather to vent their growing anger.
People waved signs, and slammed CERA and the government’s red zone offers.
Riverside residents have been joined by red zone residents from around the city, stating they will not accept the offer until a number of issues are addressed. (Full article here – link)
The media seem to be surprised at the level of protest that is beginning to show itself
When they stop to ask what the reason’s are they look puzzled at people’s emotional outbursts. We’ve been told time and time again how resilient we are and we have been bombarded by images of the CBD, the vague smiles of Parker and given little relevant information. As a direct result TV3’s Campbell Live has become the default voice of the voiceless… however beneath the radar people have been busting a gut in preparation for the outrage that is only beginning to stir.
Local groups such as Beyond Resistance, Unite Christchurch and Action for Christchurch East, have been pooling their resources and skills, resulting in numerous rallies, public assemblies and sources of inspiration and aid for the forgotten throughout the year.
Beyond Resistance is a national Anarchist Collective working to support workers rights, beneficiaries and the unemployed. The group has been in existence in Otautahi for two years. It runs a monthly discussion night, an informal beer and book evening and has been heavily involved in getting aid to those in need.
Unite Christchurch represents workers in the service industry. The union membership has been hit hard by the recent events, losing all of its hotels, language schools and many fast food outlets. It has fought hard to ensure those effected have been treated well and looked after by their employers.
Action for Christchurch East first formed weeks after the 7.1 quake. It became a hub for people to share idea’s and create actions. From a facebook group and network on the streets the collective began writing articles and posting events on the Action for Christchurch East blog – this can be found here – link
We are now witnessing the city shake off the official image presented on our t.v screens. People are taking back their pride, their communities and their own destiny’s.
Kaiapoi residents are planning a massive rally this weekend:
Sunday, September 25th from 2:00pm – 3:00pm, Band Rotunda on Charles Street, Kaiapoi.
There are also rumours of a mass demonstration/march/protest in the next few weeks. Watch this space for announcements.
A brand new internet group has also emerged. Christchurch Gets Ready have sprung up as a direct result of in-action from the powers that be. After 1000’s of aftershock’s there is still no emergency broadcast system, no information regarding what resources we have and what people can offer. The people at Christchurch Gets Ready have captured the thoughts and imagination of many; a one-stop-shop where people can list their needs, skills and resources. With a simple glimpse we can now see what our neighbours and communities have to respond to whatever mother nature has to throw at us.
Take the time to check the site out here – link
Information is power and so far that information has been a closely guarded secret between the Government and Insurance Companies with Parker and the media working overtime to ensure we don’t start asking questions loud enough for people to take note.
The Otautahi Solidarity Network blog will become a source of information, we will help to point you to relevant news, groups of interest, work shops and meetings. At the end of the day blogs, face book groups and twitter’s let you know what’s happening but it’s what you choose to do with that information that makes the difference.
Subscribe, make notes in your diaries, invite friends and get yourselves amongst the Otautahi Solidarity Network!
We look forward to getting to know you and seeing where this takes us
– kia kaha Otautahi!