Beyond Resistance: new NZ class struggle anarchist collective

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Jared
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Aug 22 2009 00:30
Beyond Resistance: new NZ class struggle anarchist collective

After a few local events and discussions, a new anarchist group has formed in Otautahi.

Beyond Resistance is a collective of revolutionary class struggle anarchists in Otautahi/Christchurch, Aotearoa, who have come together in the hope of creating a coherent and organised anarchist presence in our area. Our name reflects our intended approach to struggle — a visible and constructive anarchism that goes beyond mere reaction, both in the workplace and the community.

We are a new collective which hopes to grow and develop over time — through good group process, regular events such as our monthly film nights and forums, our own paper, and most importantly, clear strategy and vision for constructive struggle. Feel free to check out our aims & principles (http://beyondresistance.wordpress.com/aims-principles/) for where we stand, or visit our (very new) website: http://beyondresistance.wordpress.com/

Our group strategy will be coming soon (after our first strategy hui), but we recognse that an anarchist position should be that in order to have improvements, it is necessary to struggle. So if we are a fighting organisation, then strategy and tactics must be applied to advance our anarchist positions and in order to build dual power — to take concrete tactical steps which bring us closer to a position of breaking with and destroying the prevailing order. Without a program, we have nothing to offer those wanting to empower themselves through class struggle, and the potential of anarchist input in this struggle, as a result, becomes near to naught.

This is the task in front of us as a small collective wanting to punch above it’s weight. We look forward to this struggle, and hope to build strong relationships with other groups around Aotearoa (and the world) with similar positions.

If you’re in Otautahi and would like to get involved then please get in touch, or to be informed of local upcoming events (such as the film screening of Lucio this Thursday at the WEA), sign on to the Otautahi anarchist announcement list. We meet every second Thursday at the WEA from 6.30pm, but if you can't make regular meetings and are keen to help out, then you can become a support member with the option of paying dues and being involved in other ways. Again, feel free to get in touch to find out more.

In solidarity!
Beyond Resistance

Email: otautahianarchists (at) gmail.com
Web: http://beyondresistance.wordpress.com/
List: http://lists.anarchism.org.nz/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/otautahi

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Rats
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Aug 23 2009 03:04

Damn i'd love to see that Lucio film. I saw an ad for it this one night, said it was starting right then, so i waited but it was some other show. Turned out that the ad was for digital.. who even has digital?

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Aug 23 2009 09:27

What's your relationship to AWSM? I'm genuinely not trying to start a catfight or anything, just kind of curious as to why you're starting a new group instead of affiliating to them.
Also, good luck!

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madashell
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Aug 24 2009 05:23

I'm a little perplexed by the opening line of your As+Ps

Quote:
We recognise that the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa belong to the land on which we stand,

What does this mean?

Jared
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Aug 24 2009 10:30

Maori have a special relationship with the land of Aotearoa — it is understood in a sense that they 'belong' to the land rather than the land belonging to them. The point is that we recognise our positions as white/colonial pakeha, and the relationship Maori have with Aotearoa and self-determination.

Jared

Jared
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Aug 24 2009 10:33

Also, speaking in a personal capacity, I look forward to working and federating with AWSM in the near future. I know most of the members and respect what they have done as a collective in Aotearoa. However, I have been quite vocal in the past over their processes (hence the reason I personally didn't want to be specifically part of AWSM). I don't feel that repeating them again are very helpful to the Aotearoa movement — but I see no problem with our own collective having our own positions and presence in close tandem with AWSM. tongue

Spassmaschine
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Aug 24 2009 11:55
Jared wrote:
Maori have a special relationship with the land of Aotearoa — it is understood in a sense that they 'belong' to the land rather than the land belonging to them. The point is that we recognise our positions as white/colonial pakeha, and the relationship Maori have with Aotearoa and self-determination.

How does this sit with your second principle:

Beyond Resistance A&Ps wrote:
2. We reject all forms of racial and ethnic prejudice, nation states, nationalism and patriotism: we are not patriots, we are internationalists.

Isn't there a contradiction between being internationalist, and supporting the right of one ethnic group to land rights and "self-determination"?

Spassmaschine
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Aug 24 2009 11:56

Also, what does that even mean, "Maori have a special relationship with the land of Aotearoa...they 'belong' to the land," does that have any meaning outside mysticism?

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madashell
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Aug 24 2009 13:33
Jared wrote:
Maori have a special relationship with the land of Aotearoa — it is understood in a sense that they 'belong' to the land rather than the land belonging to them. The point is that we recognise our positions as white/colonial pakeha, and the relationship Maori have with Aotearoa and self-determination.

Isn't this just blood and soil nationalism though?

Jared
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Aug 24 2009 21:12

I think that's a pretty narrow way to interpret it, but yes, self-determination of indigenous peoples could be viewed that way. It would be naive or plain ignorant for us, as a group in a country with a very very recent colonial history, not to recognise the right for de-colonisation. That doesn't mean we have a huge part to play in as a group though.

Am I making sense? I just think for us to say that self-determination is Aotearoa should simply be an issue of a universal working class struggle is to vague.

We definitely need more clarity in NZ Anarchism on this point.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 24 2009 22:09

i think any politics of ethnic self-determination is tricky. for instance, see what the far-right British National Party say in their Mission Statement:

the BNP wrote:
The British National Party exists to secure a future for the indigenous peoples of these islands in the North Atlantic which have been our homeland for millennia.

We use the term indigenous to describe the people whose ancestors were the earliest settlers here after the last great Ice Age and which have been complemented by the historic migrations from mainland Europe.

The migrations of the Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Norse and closely related kindred peoples have been, over the past few thousands years, instrumental in defining the character of our family of nations.

While we recognise the United Kingdom as a political entity, the BNP does not arrogantly seek to impose one set of Westminster dominated decisions across these nations. We embrace and cherish the native cultural diversity within the British Isles and wish to extend the concept of democracy to the lowest possible level, where those that are affected by a decision are the ones who influence and make the decision.

i think the thing is, what does 'Maori self-determination' mean in isolation from the struggle against capitalism? maybe another way to address it would be something like:

"our aim is the expropriation of the expropriators, colonial and indiginous, and the foundation of a society based on the principle from 'each according to ability, to each according to need.' amongst maori proletarians, this struggle often finds its expression in the demand for land rights. amongst urban proletarians, struggles over living and working conditions are its most immediate expression. our needs are diverse, our struggle is one."

dunno if that captures what you're trying to convey? just trying to avoid the idea ethnic groups have the 'right to self-determination' which i think is inseperable from racialising logic, no matter how benevolent the intent (as the BNP's appropriation shows, imho).

Jared
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Aug 24 2009 22:23

Yeah it is tricky, and we recognise as a new group that these aims will be worked on as we find our feet. Thanks for the suggestion though, we will have a good discussion about it all next week.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 24 2009 22:38

yeah it's definitely important your A&Ps are the product of decent discussion, rather than some guy off the internet wink

Spassmaschine
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Aug 24 2009 22:49
Quote:
Yeah it is tricky, and we recognise as a new group that these aims will be worked on as we find our feet. Thanks for the suggestion though, we will have a good discussion about it all next week.

Let us all know how the discussion goes; its an interesting question that generally doesn't get discussed on this side of the Tasman either, or at least not in a way that escapes that racialist logic.

Jared
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Aug 24 2009 23:53

Yes I know. Tino Rangatiratanga and anarchism don't exactly fit well, hence the seemingly paradoxical positions of aim 1 and 2. It's something we need to work on!

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Anarchia
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Aug 24 2009 23:54

For reference, this is what we (AWSM) have to say on this in our A&P's:

4: We support Tino Rangatiratanga and stand in solidarity with grassroots indigenous struggle and direct action, while not supporting Maori capitalism and corporatisation (we acknowledge the lack of anarchist theory on the indigenous struggle in Aotearoa / New Zealand and are in the process of researching, debating and discussing a more detailed position on this point).

We're having some discussion and have a couple of proposals for changing this which are being voted on at the moment, if the new ones pass I'll put them up here too.

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Aug 25 2009 00:35

Actually, the politics of ethnically-based self-determination is something that has come up a lot in MAC (Melbourne Anarchist Club) and our space recently. I'd be really interested in hearing the outcome of the discussion.

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@ndy
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Aug 25 2009 06:02

There's a difference b/w 'indigenous' and 'ethnic', and one is not reducible to the other.
There's also a difference b/w the concept of 'indigeneity' as it is applied by the BNP to GB and in the context of (post-)colonial societies such as Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and so on.

http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=1264

Spassmaschine
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Aug 25 2009 06:45

Care to explain what these differences are, andy? They don't appear to be mentioned in the article you linked.

banpen
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Aug 25 2009 12:10

In Australia, it's recognising that as beneficiaries of recent colonial genocide & domination, it's important to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples and perspectives towards radical social change to make sure past mistakes aren't made again. I think this one's difficult for people who haven't engaged with Indigenous perspectives to understand. Lumpen we've produced something in our own group (QLD) that we'd be interested in sharing once everything's up and running!

Good luck with the new collective by the way!

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Aug 25 2009 12:47
Jared wrote:
It would be naive or plain ignorant for us, as a group in a country with a very very recent colonial history, not to recognise the right for de-colonisation. That doesn't mean we have a huge part to play in as a group though.

I don't think that de-colonisation is about to happen. Maybe that is because I am not sure exactly what it means though. Could you just clarify, does it mean ethnic cleansing of the majority by the minority.

Devrim

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Aug 25 2009 12:49
Jared wrote:
Yeah it is tricky, and we recognise as a new group that these aims will be worked on as we find our feet. Thanks for the suggestion though, we will have a good discussion about it all next week.
Joseph Kay wrote:
yeah it's definitely important your A&Ps are the product of decent discussion, rather than some guy off the internet ;)

I think that it is sort of a key issue. Don't you think that it is better to sit down and discuss the politics before setting up the group.

Devrim

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Aug 25 2009 13:03

Dev, it sounds like they have discussed them, are now discussing them with the wider milieu and will take this on board in further discussions. that sounds like a healthy dynamic, it's certainly something lacking from the more 'direct activist' type anarchism that a lot of people first encounter.

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Aug 25 2009 14:02

My family immigrated. Are immigrants still colonisers? I don't want to go to europe, it'll be cold and i won't have any friends. cry

Jared
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Aug 25 2009 22:15
Joseph Kay wrote:
Dev, it sounds like they have discussed them, are now discussing them with the wider milieu and will take this on board in further discussions. that sounds like a healthy dynamic, it's certainly something lacking from the more 'direct activist' type anarchism that a lot of people first encounter.

Yes we wanted to set down what we had discussed and then gather people's reflections and ideas. Tactical unity and strategy should always be a process, rather then set in stone (we mention that in our aims and principles).

As someone mentioned earlier, these local forms indigenous struggle and ideas of De-colonistaion can be hard to grapple outside of Aotearoa and Australia (with respect to other colonial countries, of course). From a thesis online by Hayley Bell: http://muir.massey.ac.nz/bitstream/10179/662/1/02whole.pdf

The word decolonisation is used to define a process by which people peel away the psychological and spiritual effects of colonisation through a facilitated journey of learning the truths of their history.

This can apply to both Maori, and Pakeha/Europeans, and is actually quite common here in Aotearoa. Most 'progressive' businesses send employees on Treaty of Waitangi workshops or courses, to this effect. A lot of it is token tough, hence the need for us as a group to really sit down and discuss this with the wider anarchist mlieu.

Skraeling
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Aug 26 2009 03:17

Decolonisation as defined above is a method that many liberals use to make them feel less guilty about the near extermination of Maori. But you can't just change your thinking, learn some Maori culture etc, you need to change material conditions on the ground, and as most Maori are working class, that means class struggle. Is Maori self-determination possible under capitalism and the state?

Joseph Kay wrote:
i think the thing is, what does 'Maori self-determination' mean in isolation from the struggle against capitalism? maybe another way to address it would be something like:

"our aim is the expropriation of the expropriators, colonial and indiginous, and the foundation of a society based on the principle from 'each according to ability, to each according to need.' amongst maori proletarians, this struggle often finds its expression in the demand for land rights. amongst urban proletarians, struggles over living and working conditions are its most immediate expression. our needs are diverse, our struggle is one."

not bad, but most Maori are urban proletarians. But the interesting thing is that the struggle for Maori land rights reveals the class tension within Maori, between elite Maori who wish to use their ownership and control of returned land for their profit, and working class Maori who don't profit (or profit very little from) from it. Sometimes this is expressed as direct action by Maori against Maori tribal capitalists from their own tribe -- particularly in the form of land occupations. Other times it is expressed as workplace struggle -- the Maori elite set up 'tribal' businesses and then hire Maori workers who are treated like shit and thus rebel and then are told if they question their treatment that they are going against Maori custom by questioning their elders, their leaders (rangatira).

There is some stuff written about this by Maori who revolted against Maori capitalists created by the state's 'reconciliation' process. eg. this article by Teanau. The Maori group he was involed in called themselves 'indigeneous internationalists' because they rejected the whole cultural nationalist discourse that is prevalent in Maori politics. (but also because they identified with other indigeneous people struggling against colonisation).

Jared
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Aug 26 2009 05:28

Thanks for your comment, the link was a good read. Thrall was before my time but I believe the archives are around right?

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Aug 26 2009 05:33
Skraeling wrote:
not bad, but most Maori are urban proletarians.

that suggests to me you can just say something even more generically class struggle, maybe pointing out the above fact. the whole point of the proletarian condition is it tends to become generalised (unless you're a capitalist!), although of course the exact consequences of this division are not uniform. but tbh i'm pretty ignorant of the specifics, i'm sure BR can come up with a decent formulation through futher discussion.

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Aug 26 2009 08:17
Jared wrote:
Joseph Kay wrote:
Yes we wanted to set down what we had discussed and then gather people's reflections and ideas. Tactical unity and strategy should always be a process, rather then set in stone (we mention that in our aims and principles).

I think that there can be a process of developing stratergy and tactical unity, but you can't start with no foundation. Personally, I think that this is a crucial issue. I presume that you do too as it is the first point in your aims and principles.

Let's just look at it again:

BR wrote:
We recognise that the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa belong to the land on which we stand, and act in solidarity with Maori engaged in grassroots struggle for land rights and self-determination (much needed discussion on this is ongoing within the group).

The first part really reads like 'blood and soil' nationalism. It is exactly the sort of thing that I could imagine fascist leaders in this country saying.

Then it comes to the bit about land rights. I don't see anything working class or socialist about campaigns for land rights.

Joseph K thinks that land rights campaigns can be intergrated:

Joseph K wrote:
i think the thing is, what does 'Maori self-determination' mean in isolation from the struggle against capitalism? maybe another way to address it would be something like:

"our aim is the expropriation of the expropriators, colonial and indiginous, and the foundation of a society based on the principle from 'each according to ability, to each according to need.' amongst maori proletarians, this struggle often finds its expression in the demand for land rights. amongst urban proletarians, struggles over living and working conditions are its most immediate expression. our needs are diverse, our struggle is one."

In my opinion, the struggles of the working class are completly opposed to a struggle, which takes as its central point the building of a 'national community' around an ethnic group.

Joseph K wrote:
dunno if that captures what you're trying to convey? just trying to avoid the idea ethnic groups have the 'right to self-determination' which i think is inseperable from racialising logic, no matter how benevolent the intent (as the BNP's appropriation shows, imho).

I don't think that taking out a phrase that you don't like changes the orientation though it certainly makes it sound less bad.

Jared wrote:
As someone mentioned earlier, these local forms indigenous struggle and ideas of De-colonistaion can be hard to grapple outside of Aotearoa and Australia (with respect to other colonial countries, of course).

It is a phenonumum within the history of the workers movement when somebody starts to talk about special circumstances, at the very least it is the first step on the road to opportunism.

Jared wrote:
The word decolonisation is used to define a process by which people peel away the psychological and spiritual effects of colonisation through a facilitated journey of learning the truths of their history.

This on the other hand is just hilarious middle class psycho-babble.

Devrim

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 26 2009 10:14

Dev, although 'land rights' is articulated in the language of bourgeois rights, so are many other workers' demands (most short of abolition of the wage system in fact). in the context I used it it could only relate to the holding of all land in common ('the expropriation of the expropriators, colonial and indiginous').

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Aug 26 2009 10:55
captain soap wrote:
Care to explain what these differences are, andy? They don't appear to be mentioned in the article you linked.

Aye aye cap'n.

What I mean is that the term 'indigenous' refers to a particular history and a particular social relation. In the context of Australia, the indigenous population comprises approximately 2% of the general population, and is defined in terms of culture. That is, Australia was established as a colonial outpost of the British Empire, and at the beginnings of this expansion, 'Australia' -- or, rather, the territories which came to comprise the modern nation-state of Australia -- comprised something in the vicinity of 400 or so distinct peoples (estimates vary). The majority of these peoples have been exterminated, along with their cultures. Thus, according to one source:

Quote:
There are more than 200 Australian Indigenous languages. Less than 20 languages are strong, and even these are endangered: the others have been destroyed, live in the memories of the elderly, or are being revived by their communities. This site has annotated links to 231 resources for about 80 languages. About 35% of these resources are produced or published by Indigenous people.

http://www.dnathan.com/VL/austLang.htm

The term 'ethnic', at least as I understand and use it, pertains to the non-indigenous population. That is, it is used as a descriptor of culture and descent among this population. Frequently, the term is used to describe the non-dominant population. That is, to be 'ethnic' is to belong to a national or cultural category that is not Anglo-derived.

The distinction between 'indigenous' and 'non-indigenous' has political significance, for some, but I'm not sure that this thread is the best place to discuss it, especially as it concerns -- ostensibly anyway -- a new anarchist group in Kiwi.

Anyway, I hope the above makes sense...?