Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Come to New Zealand - we'll treat you like a rock-star

If you're organising an anti-war demonstration in Wellington, at some point you're going to have to talk about speakers. Generally someone will talk about how we want to have really good speakers this time. Then everyone will nod, there'll be a long pause, and then someone will say 'well how about Keith Locke?'*

When I was in London in 2004 I attended an anti-war meeting, and they had a comedian who was really funny and someone who had been to Iraq recently and had specific information and two other really good speakers - just for a meeting.

Sometimes I think about the people who organise the anti-war marches in Boston, who can have conversations about whether to have Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn this time.

The left in New Zealand is generally very short of people who have knowledge, confidence, and authority which is what you need to be a good speaker. Partly that's our own fault, I think. I think we could do a better job of building contacts with good speakers, and building up each other's confidence and support people in gaining knowledge.

But it's not common, and so when someone comes from overseas who doesn't just have knowledge, confidence and authority, but also a place in history, it's the event of the year.

When Noam Chomsky came to Wellington they had to move the event from St Andrews on the Terrace to the Town Hall. Tonight, when Angela Davis was speaking in Wellington they filled a lecture theatre that seated 300, had an overflow room that seated half as many people again, and still they turned 200 people away. That was with minimal publicity.

I plan to write two posts on Angela Davis's talk, first I want to write about my reaction to the talk itself (and the audience), and then I thought it was about time I posted the argument for the abolishment of prisons, and why I agree with it.

But before I did any of that, I wanted to suggest that more prominent left-wing activists should come to New Zealand. We can't offer you much, but we can promise to treat you like you're the most exciting person to come to town since Angela Davis...

* I have some affection for Keith Locke, despite the fact that I hate his party more every time I think about them (although he supported something really dodgy recently - can't remember what). But he's not going to inspire anyone to the barricades.

9 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:17 am

    Cool post, looking forward to the rest. - John A

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  2. Anonymous10:59 am

    Keith may be more what we need than barricades... at least for the moment!

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  3. Betsy2:29 pm

    Wish I was at Angela Davis' talk, you know how I like rock stars :)

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  4. Anonymous7:13 am

    I would of loved to ask that woman why she told Czech prisoners that they deserved what they got when facing up to the Soviet regime during communism. Her endofsment of the brutal communist regime in Eastern Europe should be held up to the microscope.

    That kind of woman, aside from her activities you love to gloss over Maia (like her involvment in killing a judge) shouldn't of been allowed into NZ.

    Maia, why do you not see this or are you that blinded by ideology?

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  5. Thelma1:05 am

    Maia, can Angela Davis arrange employment for you? What does Angela Davis inspire you to achieve in life? One day, you gonna wake up in your 50s or 60s and think, shit I've been involved in activism all my life and nobody gives a shit. My life hasn't changed that much since I became an activist. I've missed a lot of things in life, because of my activism.

    Yeah, that's right, you gonna wake up one day in your late 50s, and remembered Penny Bright and said to yourself, she is me? No, partner, no children, no career, etc,... because she has been an activist all her life. What a sad life.

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  6. Anonymous9:29 am

    So if a 80'd neo-nazi came into NZ to speak to right-wing groups about our prison system, you'd be fine with that?

    However, communists who think that people should be locked up for going against the state are "rock stars"?

    Blind.

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  7. Adrian3:25 am

    Ahh, the moral bankruptcy of the 'peaceniks' of the left. Davis gave moral support to some of the most disgusting regimes on the planet, including the Soviet Union when it was routinely torturing and executing dissidents throughout its empire. Holding this thug up as some sort of role model continues the left's hero worship of any gangster or mass murderer they saw as being remotely "anti-capitalist" - Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, the list continues...

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  8. Anonymous3:20 pm

    George Galloway here in a few weeks

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  9. Pub Talk1:36 am

    I am sure that Maia would love to see Robert Mugabe being invited to come to NZ for a state visit. There is your another hero Maia.

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