Demanding better disability stories

 

Disability Stories 1.jpgby Daniel Simpson Beck

“Rights, not tragedy!”

“Assistance to live, not assistance to die!”

These were some of the chants of around 30 disability rights protesters outside the Embassy’s preview screening of Me Before You on Wednesday night. The rally was one of many around the world calling for a boycott of the Hollywood romance, a film that plays on the tired trope that disabled people lead tragic lives and are burdens on society. Protest organisers Esther Woodbury and Paula Booth call it as it is, “offensive, clichéd bullshit, which has denied disabled people the opportunity to tell their own stories to mainstream audiences”. This repetitive stigmatising of disability by the media is incredibly damaging. It helps to reinforce the view that disability should be avoided at all costs, and the abhorrent idea that disabled people are better off being killed. Internationally, many disabled people are furious at the release of yet another stereotypical, offensive, ableist story. As Robyn Hunt of Arts Access Advocates puts it, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. On Wednesday night in Wellington, some of that anger was expressed. Protesters held placards and a banner with slogans such as:

“Demand Better Disability Stories. #survivethemovie #getlaid #notyourinspirationporn”

“#Spoiler. Hollywood kills Will because he is disabled; Will doesn’t get laid.” [Read more…]

Sexual Assault and the Police

nz policeLast week’s decision by the New Zealand police not to press charges against the so-called “Roast Busters” confirmed for many that the police are incapable of taking rape or sexual violence seriously.

For survivors, the close to one-yearlong investigation Operation Clover was a slap in the face. The whole thing seemed faulty even before the investigation began. Despite videos of young men boasting online for having what amounted to non-consensual sex  – rape –  police initially said that their hands were tied because no one was “brave enough” to come forward to lay a formal complaint. It was revealed days later that someone had laid a formal complaint with the police … two years previously.

Compare this inaction to the police’s proactive stance when it comes to author Nicky Hager. After the publication of Dirty Politics in August revealing the sordid relationship between the National party, rightwing blogger Cameron Slater, lobby groups, and big business, police were knocking on Hager’s door with a search warrant by October. [Read more…]

A Victory in the Long March for Equal Pay

kristine-smallAnother legal victory has been chalked up for equal pay and it is a big one. On 28 October the Court of Appeal delivered its judgement on the appeal by Terranova Homes against the Employment Court’s decision in favour of Kristine Bartlett’s case for equal pay. Two courts now have ruled that Terranova Homes, and by implication many other employers, are breaching the 1972 Equal Pay Act. The point of contention is whether a predominantly female workforce should be paid the same rates as a comparable predominantly male workforce working with the same levels of skills, effort, and responsibility. Terranova pay their women workers the same as their handful of men workers. This does not help the women as the men are paid a pittance as well. [Read more…]

Syria: No to Assad, No to US Imperialism

Syria-Civil-WarThe Syrian civil war has come about as a response to the rule of Bashar al-Assad who succeeded his father in the year 2000, coming into presidency with strong support of the people and with aspirations of democracy and secularism. However, as his presidency unfolded, not much changed for the Syrian people. The economy was still strongly controlled by the authorities and any signs of uprising or Arab Spring type movements were not met “democratically”.

This crackdown began by heavy monitoring of the internet, which led to nationwide detainment, torturing and killing of political dissidents. The official civil war didn’t begin until early 2011. Many people, inspired by the Arab Spring, felt it was time to protest for reform and demanded Assad resign. The regime was met with the biggest protests in decades – their response was to mow these unarmed protesters down right across the country. [Read more…]

Imperial hypocrisy to justify an assault

Barack Obama and John Kerry answer reporters' questions (WhiteHouse.gov)

Barack Obama and John Kerry answer reporters’ questions (WhiteHouse.gov)

EVIDENCE OF a horrific chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime against civilians has revived liberal calls for “humanitarian” intervention by the U.S. military–despite the U.S. armed forces’ own recent record of mass death and destruction in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

For example, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wrote that President Barack Obama should “punish Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s homicidal regime with a military strike” because “any government or group that employs chemical weapons must be made to suffer real consequences. Obama should uphold this principle by destroying some of Assad’s military assets with cruise missiles.” “[S]omebody,” says Robinson, “has to be the world’s policeman.”

The New York Times editorial board cautioned against an open-ended intervention, but said that because Obama had made the use of chemical weapons a “red line” that would trigger a U.S. response, the president now had to “follow through.” In other words, the credibility of the U.S. empire is now on the line, so a military strike is unavoidable, according to the Times. [Read more…]

The Second Chinese Revolution 1925-27

Hong Workers Strike in 1925The Second Chinese Revolution of 1925-27 was a turning point in world history. Consider the world situation around 1924-1925. In Europe the revolutionary wave that accompanied the end of the First World War had exhausted itself to leave the Russian Revolution isolated. In Germany the revolutionary process from 1918 to 1923 had been halted and capitalism temporarily stabilised by the Social Democrats.

The short-lived Hungarian Soviet government had fallen in 1919. In Italy the ‘Biennio Rosso’, the two red years of 1919-1920, had given way to reaction and the accession to power by Mussolini. In Poland reaction set in and Marshall Pilsudski would install himself as dictator in 1926.

Hope for the spread of the world revolution, and relief to the beleaguered Soviet Union, now lay in the east, in the struggle against imperialism, especially in China.  These hopes were not realised. The defeat of the Second Chinese Revolution had devastating consequences that defined the dark days of the 1930s. [Read more…]

Maori teacher brutalised by police

579842_623457754349105_464419270_nWe are sharing this story of police brutality from tangatawhenua.com . Without their pioneering work sharing this it would not have got the further media attention that has come in recent days. 

TangataWhenua.com was asked to share this story as few other mainstream media outlets felt it was “newsworthy” enough. What follows is provided verbatium, nothing has been edited or changed. Remember whanau if at all possible WHENEVER dealing with police, if you have the ability to video the encounter always do, this serves as powerful evidence in the case of a police complaint.

Corina Tairua’s Statement

  • Time and date of incident: Approx 3am 17/3/13
  • Arresting Officer: D Ward
  • QID Number: TWZ644

My name is Corina Tairua. I am a mother of 7 children. Ages, 17, 16, 15, 13, 12 and 18 months. I am four papers off graduating to receive my teaching degree as a primary school teacher. I have never been in trouble with the police or law in my life. As I write this I am deeply traumatised by what has happened to me at the hands of the people I had always believed in and had great respect for, our police, our New Zealand police. [Read more…]

The making of the Mystique

Marching during the Women's Strike for Equality in 1970

Marching during the Women’s Strike for Equality in 1970

FIFTY YEARS after its publication, The Feminine Mystique has been credited with everything from single-handedly sparking the women’s movement to perpetuating an outdated and long-gone stereotype of the American family.

Neither is true, but many of the issues that Betty Friedan’s book raised–such as the role of women and the nuclear family–make The Feminine Mystique worth looking back at today. [Read more…]