Sunday, 22 July 2012

Another World is Possible - Activist Education in Rotorua

On Saturday, activists from across the Waiariki electorate attended a hui at the Linton Park Community Centre in Rotorua, entitled “Another World is Possible”.  At its peak, around 60 people from as far afield as Minginui and Opotiki attended to hear speakers from across the North Island, and Hone Harawira made the trip up.  The conference was organised by the Mana Party branches in Tauranga and Rotorua.    The key aim of the hui was to build up activists’ knowledge, and it was an opportunity for left activists who have been involved in Mana from the beginning to share their views with the wider Mana Movement.

To that end, one of the first speakers was Bernie Hornfeck, a long-time socialist who spoke on “the whakapapa of socialism,” and explained how oppression and inequality went hand-in-hand with class society, and that socialism is about returning to a society not divided by class. 

Other speakers shared their experiences from struggles in Aotearoa today.  Kawarau school-teacher and long-time socialist George Jones spoke about his experiences as an educator and updated us on the struggles facing teachers, who face increasing hurdles to become qualified.   Pat O’Dea from Action Against Climate Change, outlined a plan to tackle global warming in manageable steps – starting with stopping coal exports.  Other speakers included Roger Fowler (Kia Ora Gaza), John Minto , and Rick Mansell.

Noticeably absent however, was any significant korero on the struggle in the unions.  Awareness of the role workers have in building movements for change still has to be raised, although with all the speakers (and most of the audience) involved in their unions this should fit right in to future hui.  And there certainly will be more! Unanimous support was voiced at the end of the day to turn the hui into a regular event, and the white-board was filled with potential topics in less than a minute – so watch this space!

Cory Anderson