In 2006 British singer-songwriter Sandi Thorm released ‘I wish I was a punk rocker’, a nostalgic song contrasting the radical social movements of the mid-20th century with the apathy of the early 21st. “In ‘77 and 69’ revolution was in the air, but I was born too late, into a world that didn’t care”.
Who could have imagined that just five years later we’d be seeing revolutions topple regimes across North Africa and the Middle East, the general strikes in Greece, the Global Occupy movement, and the massive industrial action of public sector workers in Wisconsin, USA?
While Time magazine named ‘The Protester’ as their person of the year for 2011, which will no doubt go down in the history books, 2012 is shaping up to be another year of protest. Although New Zealand may seem a world away from Athens or Zucotti Park, as we go to press over two thousand workers across the country are in the middle of industrial action; we have a round-up on the page 3.
We also look at the massive protest that took place in Christchurch against a massive pay rise for the city council CEO, which acted as a lightning rod for a whole number of issues in the quake stricken city. This issue has been expanded to include a discus- sion document by Mike Kay on Tino Rangatiratanga, the Treaty of Waitangi and the foreshore and seabed legislation. We have been addressing our stance on these issues in our organisation and publish this document to help open the discussion more broadly.
Another symptom of what could be seen as the beginning of an upturn in social struggles is the success of the queer liberation movement in Wellington especially. At less than 24-hour’s no- tice 60 people from the Queer Avengers picketed the offices of The Dominion Post after they published an opinion article that portrayed trans-gender individuals as unfit parents. As a result of the protest the Queer Avengers were given a right of reply. The subsequent article by Ian Anderson and Rosie-Jimson Healey is reprinted on page 15.