From Ōtepoti to Ihumātao

We’re at opposite ends of these motu, but the kaupapa is the same: protect Ihumātao.

 

26 July, an estimated 300 people marched in Ōtepoti in solidarity with the occupation of Ihumātao. The ISO was proud to be among those marching the streets of Dunedin, blocking intersections, and showing that there are people all across our country who are ready to answer the call to defend Ihumātao.

 

From an initial march to the David Clark Labour Party office, where he was, as expected, absent, the action spontaneously turned into a 2-hour long march down the streets of Ōtepoti. The sounds of Bob Marley’s ‘Get Up Stand Up’, and the chants of “Ka whawhai tonu mātou, Ake! Ake! Ake!” could be heard throughout the city centre.

 

And a spontaneous march this was! This action was an important lesson to never discount the potential of spontaneity. It only took one line of speech from the leading wahine to spur on the militancy of the crowd – “Who’s ready to disrupt some sh*t?!”

 

This spontaneity brought a major boon with it; police officers only arrived after the march had progressed half-way down George Street; the main street of town.

 

But this march was also a lesson in the need for experience and organisation in facilitating this spontaneity. This spontaneous action would not have had its level of success without experienced people readily taking up the duties required in these moments – traffic warding, police liaison, chant leading, march navigation etc.

 

Therefore this march showed the necessity of building up organisations, of which ours is one, as a means of facilitating and harnessing the spontaneous militancy of the masses. That is the responsibility and duty of a revolutionary socialist organisation. And that is our responsibility in spontaneous rebellions such as these which are, much like strikes, schools of revolution.

 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the suspension, for now, of construction at Ihumātao. This announcement came only a short time after the demonstration in Ōtepoti.

Let us be under no illusions! This decision by the Prime Minister is directly the consequence of the rebellion shown around the country. The brave stand of the protectors at Ihumātao is central, backed up as they have been by hundreds in Auckland and by union contingnets. And actions elsewhere like those in our city help show ongoing solidarity. We must all continue to push on! Ardern has not suspended construction simply out of the goodness of her heart, it is because she has been forced to by the actions of those at Ihumātao and the solidarity shown all over this country.

 

We must all continue this struggle! We can not let up now!

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