DEFEND CIVIL RIGHTS
march this Saturday October 27th at 12 noon
from Aotea Square to Mount Eden Prison
For more information Civil Rights Defence Organisation
ABOLISH THE TERROR LAWS-
Socialist Worker (National Exec) statement on Crackdown
If we don’t fight to defend the “Urewera Seventeen” – the activists currently imprisoned without bail or trial – then it could be us next. That’s the simple fact that all of us who believe in social justice have to learn.
Everyone who knows someone who was arrested knows full well that these people are not terrorists. There is no way that these people were planning to kill, maim or destroy in pursuit of their political activism. So why did the cops feel the need to terrorise schoolkids, smash windows and confiscate property on Monday 15th?
It’s surely not a coincidence that that was the week that beefed-up “anti-terror” legislation was up before parliament. And the cops – and the SIS who stand behind them – were probably feeling a bit embarrassed that they hadn’t gotten to use the old legislation yet. So they wanted to give it a go.
But why do we have the “Terrorism Suppression Act 2002” in the first place? Simply put – because the Americans told us we had to.
Using the shock of the aftermath of the attacks on New York and Washington, the United States pushed the demand for “anti-terror” laws through a compliant UN in 2002. New Zealand was “obliged” to adopt these laws, or get in the bad books of the United States.
No New Zealander is on the UN’s list of terrorists or terrorist groups. But Maori activists said at the time that it was only a matter of time before these were used against Maori activists. Looks like they were right.
Some commentators – even some of those “on the Left” – are wagging their fingers at the people who are currently stewing in jail without trial or bail, saying they should have known better than to even look like they were preparing to challenge the State.
But this is a colonial nation. The New Zealand state was founded on acts of violence and dispossession of the tangata whenua. No-one disputes that. And no-one should be surprised that some Maori are not prepared to accept the status of a defeated people. Challenging the New Zealand state is their political birthright – not an act of “terrorism”.
An attitude that says that challenging the authority of the state should be enough to get you put in “Guantanamo of the South Pacific” isn’t about fighting terrorism. It’s about defining within what limits dissent and debate is “acceptable” – and enforcing those limits with ninja police breaking and entering.
There is no good reason for the “anti-terror” laws. They should be called the Terror Laws – their purpose is to sow terror in the hearts of anyone who might think of challenging those in power over us. Ordinary workers who’ve been in union struggles know that the police and courts are not the friends of anyone who wants to rock the boat.
The Terror Laws must be abolished – before they are used against any of us who doesn’t shut up and do what they’re told. We need to build the biggest possible political movement against these anti-democratic laws – and the corporate politicians in Labour and National who support them.