Day 8 – Morning Assembly and Special Assembly

Firstly, apologies for all for not blogging notes over the last few days. Comms team have been busy with a range of tasks, including networking with other centres, keeping on top of various social media accounts, writing press releases, and looking after the camp phone. I will do my best to make sure we keep on top of this from now on.

This morning’s general assembly mainly focussed on group communication, and being prepared for a range of possible responses from the authorities as our occupation continues. There have been suggestions that the Council want us to leave by the end of Monday, but consensus at the Day 7 evening assembly was that we continue to occupy, and this is unchanged. We talked a lot about being compassionate with each other, speaking gently AND hearing gently, remembering that people are going to get tired and grumpy due to hard work and lack of sleep. We also agreed that we will run workshops on peaceful resistance, so people are prepared for a range of things that may happen.

In the early afternoon, a special assembly was called in response to concern among some occupiers that the National Front might come to Civic Square. A 2 hour spontaneous assembly addressed the issues involved. We had consensus that we oppose all forms of oppression, as laid down in our statement of intent, we do not support having the National Front participate in occupy. We also have consensus that we will not tolerate any aggressive behaviour towards oppressed groups – or anyone – or any psychological violence, including speech that leaves people feeling marginalised or unsafe.

A number of people pointed out that the sort of people who are attracted to hate groups like the National Front are still part of the 99%, often hurt and disempowered by the same state-corporate systems we are demonstrating alternatives to. Where possible we would like to help them move beyond their bigotry, but not at the expense of the wellbeing of our whanau who are the subject of their bigotry.

Some people expressed that they still felt unsafe and unsupported by some people in the occupation, and decided to have a queer caucus discussion about issues they would like to ask the occupation to address, and what they’d like to ask of us. They agreed to feedback to the evening assembly for further discussion.

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