Recently I stopped at the Occupy Christchuch site (which had the previous day agreed with the local council to end the camp) to help clean up a bit and pick up a banner I had provided. The banner read “We won’t pay for the failure of their system!” and had been hanging between two trees for the last few months.
The banner pre-dated the campsite and had its first public outing when it was unveiled at the Christchurch Town Hall while John Key spoke at a so-called ‘jobs summit’. The two activists who held it up were swiftly trespassed from the building- although the series of earthquakes Christchurch has experienced since then has made this punishment somewhat redundant.
The banner has such staying power because a common theme of struggle since the global financial crisis has been a refusal to take concessions on wages, welfare and standard of living. This issue looks at a number of those situations. One of the biggest situations is with the Ports of Auckland workers who are refusing to give up their hard-won union contracts in exchange for casualised jobs. With significant welfare reform on the horizon beneficiaries are also being told they should tighten their belts. Whatever situation you are in- at work, out of work, unable to work, now is the time to say that you won’t pay for the failure of a system that does not work for the majority of people.