The text of a talk given at Occupy Wellington, New Zealand, on October 27 2011. The talk was organised to try to counter the prevalence of conspiracy theories amongst the local wing of the Occupy movement.
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.
In August and September 2006, New Zealand was hit with the largest and most prominent industrial dispute experienced in the country for several years, when over 500 supermarket distribution centre workers were locked out for close to a month. Anarchists were involved in the nationwide campaign in support of the workers in a variety of ways.
In August 2006, a 48 hour strike was called by over 500 unionised workers, members of the National Distribution Union (NDU), at Progressive Enterprises distribution centres in Auckland, Palmerston North and Christchurch, as a part of their effort to get a national contract, pay parity between the three centres and a pay rise (of differing percentage at each site).
We live in a beautiful world. After millions of years of evolution, humans have built vast societies that span almost the entire globe. These societies, however, are marked by massive differences in wealth and power. While some individuals have more than they could ever possibly use, let alone need, many of us struggle just to put food on the table, or even to have a place of our own to put a table in. Our society is fundamentally divided into two classes – the ruling class, encompassing a tiny percentage of the 6 billion plus people living on this planet, and the working class, the vast majority of us. The system which divides us is called capitalism.
Some people think of male factory workers when they hear the term working class, but this is not what we mean. The working class is not limited to blue collar workers in factories, but instead it includes all of us who are forced to sell our labour power to survive. This includes people who are in paid employment, whether in a factory, office, cafe or retail store.