Tuesday, July 04, 2006

25 Years Ago Today

One of the biggest lecture theatres at Victoria University has a sticker up the front it says "Mobilisation May 1: Stop the Tour". That sticker made me happy every single time I saw it (and mostly I saw it at 7.30am as I was leafletting lecture theatres to let students know about protests). It's been up 25 years now - the first big anti-tour mobilisation was May 1 1981. The second big mobilisation was July 3. It's been 25 years since everyone came out - Auckland to Eltham. The retrospectives have already started.

I'm going to take this opportunity to write about The Tour, and its meaning. We weren't in New Zealand in 1981, but I remember going on the protests of four years later. I remember chanting, and being out late and the excitement of getting food from a place which, in my memory, had bamboo shoots painted on the walls. As I became politically active in my own right, the history of 1981 became something I claimed and took strength from. That time means a lot to me, as an activist now, but it also has a place in our history, that I don't think is written about. I suspect a lot of the retrospectives will be too simple and smug - I want an opportunity to put a view that doesn't see the fourth labour government as the culmination of what people were fighting for.

I also don't write about the power of collective action - they stopped the game at Hamilton - one person couldn't have done that.


  1. The "started" link seems to be wrong. Can't see anything about the tour on the Close Up website...

  2. The biggest shame about the protests around "The tour" is that their success seem to have stifled our effectiveness since.

    We are frequently shown and reminded of our effectiveness in being part of the downfall of Apartheid - and yet as we use this to congratulate ourselves we don't seem to use it as inspiration to try and do something meaningful again.

  3. Close up are going to show a piece about it tonight (I saw the add) - should be up there tommorrow.

    I'm not sure that it was the successes that have stifled protests iiq374. Although the way that the way every single large protests are called the biggest protests since the tour does grate more than a little