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aotearoa / pacific islands / workplace struggles / press release Wednesday June 09, 2021 08:48 byAWSM

A statement of support for striking nurses in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) expresses its support to the 30,000 plus nurses who are going on an eight-hour strike today across Aotearoa/New Zealand. The strike is an indication of the stress and frustration caused to personnel in the health sector. Despite sacrifices made during the worst period of the covid crisis, nurses are being undervalued by District Health Boards (DHB) now that pay negotiations are being entered into.

We hope today’s action will be the start of a healthier approach towards those who take care of the most vulnerable in society. AWSM has participated in pickets during previous nurses’ strikes, for example in 2018 and we encourage our members and supporters and the public at large to show support to the strikers this time as well.

An injury to one is an injury to all!

aotearoa / pacific islands / gender / interview Wednesday June 02, 2021 08:15 bySarah

An interview addressing issues of Trans access to health services.

(thanks to AWSM member Sarah for the article and art and Jordyn for agreeing to the interview)

As we celebrate Pride this year it is important to remember Pride’s activist roots and set our sights on the fight ahead. While affluent LGBTQIA+ people are doing fine and being paraded as tokens on television, the rest of us still have unmet needs. Every single kind of queerphobia* is worse for working class people.

Around 40% of unhoused people under the age of 25 are LGBTQIA+ and who knows how many others stay closeted in unsafe family homes because they can’t afford to be kicked out? This is just one of many examples.

I interviewed my friend Jordyn about her experience with one of the most glaring expressions of classist Lgbtqia+-phobia in New Zealand: barriers to trans healthcare access.

Here is the transcript of our interview.

Me: So first of all, what has your overall experience accessing transition-related healthcare been like?

Jordyn: Mostly fine, hormones took an appointment with my GP, then a psychologist four weeks later and then an appointment with an endocrinologist about a month later.
My experience with surgery though has been terrible with NZ currently having around a 20 year wait time for reassignment surgery.

Me:Dang, that’s a ridiculously long period of time.
Is all of this through the public system or did you have to go private?

Jordyn: Yeah and for a lot of us surgery is a life saving treatment.
I was lucky enough that my insurance agreed to cover my endocrinologist costs on a special basis, endocrinologists through the public system in Wellington have a stated 3 month wait time, but a lot of people wait for around 6 months.
Now though all my hormones levels and dosages are managed by me with supervision from my GP

Me: Yeah, that’s far too important to have a 20 year wait time.
Is surgery more accessible to people who can pay out of pocket?

Jordyn: Yeah, we still only have one surgeon in NZ that can do it, but there’s really no wait list if you can pay for it yourself, I think only around 5 people have paid for it themselves since the surgeon has been here.
It’s also overwhelmingly expensive in NZ with quotes for private being minimum $45000 whereas you can go to Thailand and get more modern techniques and extremely experienced surgeons for between $15000-20000
This is for a vaginoplasty, trans male surgery is a lot more expensive but I don’t know much about it.

Me: Yeah, that’s a terribly stark example of class disparity.
I don’t know if there’s anything else to ask.
Thanks for your help getting the facts straight.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Jordyn: Uh I guess that 71% of trans people aged 15 or over have very high levels of psychological distress compared to 8% of the general population, and that in 2019 56% of trans people had seriously considered suicide over the previous 12 months compared to the worldwide average for trans people which I think is around 40%

(Source:https://nzfvc.org.nz/news/counting-ourselves-first-comprehensive-national-nz-survey-transgender-health-and-wellbeing)

The needs of trans people in NZ aren’t being met and aside from a small amount of funding the government isn’t really doing much to address transgender issues in regards to access to healthcare and especially surgery which is in an appalling state compared to the rest of the world

Me:Yeah, that’s awful. Seems like they’re basically doing the absolute bare minimum.

-This concluded the interview-

Jordyn’s experience clearly shows that transphobia is always reinforced by classism.

Both the data and our lived experiences leave no doubt – queerphobia is enforced by the state and capital, and any coherent approach to LGBTQIA+ activism must be opposed to both. This is why I am a queer anarchist.

*The word “queer” is a reclaimed slur, and my decision to use it does not reflect the entire community’s opinion on its use.

aotearoa / pacific islands / miscellaneous / press release Sunday May 16, 2021 15:43 byLAMA

A statement of support for the people of Palestine by an Anarchist group in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) sends its solidarity to the oppressed people of Palestine. In doing so we highlight how the idea of the nation-state and nationalism is used to justify the most horrific crimes, on this occasion the heavy and indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas by the Israeli forces. As Rudolf Rocker said: “The national flag covers every injustice, every inhumanity, every lie, every outrage, every crime. The collective responsibility of the nation kills the sense of justice of the individual and brings man to the point where he overlooks injustice done; where, indeed, it may appear to him a meritorious act if committed in the interests of the nation.”

We also highlight the need to support all those who are fighting oppression inherent within colonialism. We are opposed to all forms of hierarchy, so cannot be in favour of a system in which one country dominates another. Moreover, anarchists also recognise that economic imperialism is the parent of cultural and social-imperialism and racism.

We see our basic principles as holding that true freedom will never be attained except by the independence of each nationality, just as anarchy is in the independence of each individual. This means that we as anarchists oppose the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people. This does not mean, however, that we support Hamas or Fatah, or any other would-be rulers. As anarchists, we do not allow our ideas of national liberation to turn into a mindless question of blind support. As anarchists, we consistently maintain that a new national state would not bring any fundamental change in the lives of most people, who would still be powerless both economically and socially, even if they are free “nationally.”

In response to all national liberation struggles, AWSM stresses the need for the self-liberation of the working class, and highlight that there can be no separation of political, social, and economic goals. The struggle against imperialism cannot be separated from the struggle against capitalism.
It is important that we as anarchists do not compromise our ideals when supporting movements against foreign domination as it as an opportunity to spread our politics, ideals, and ideas, and to show up the limitations and dangers of nationalism itself, and present a viable alternative.
As anarchists, we will endeavour to show nationalism for what it is, but we won’t turn our backs on the basic struggle for identity and self-management which those who espouse nationalism attempt to hijack.

We encourage and support those in Palestine and across the world who take direct action in the spirit of revolt against all forms of oppression – social, economic, political, racial, sexual, religious, and national, with the aim of turning national liberation struggles into human liberation struggles.

aotearoa / pacific islands / environment / news report Friday April 23, 2021 19:22 byAWSM

A report on the recent Climate Strike action in Wellington, Aotearoa.

April 9 th saw thousands of students again marching in New Zealand’s first School Strike 4 Climate protest since Covid-19 hit. In Wellington, about 5000 people marched to parliament while chanting and obstructing traffic and basically having a lot of fun.

One of our organisers was there with a bunch of Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) fliers to hand out and to get into discussion.

The fliers were well-received, and a few teenagers seemed very interested in anarchism. There were even a few who already considered themselves anarchists, and our organiser even got the compliment of being told she was “based.”

A few teens were overheard talking about having to sneak out of school to get to the protest which was good to hear because it shows that they were serious enough to break rules if necessary to make their voice heard.

Our organiser found it easy to start conversations with the other young people because they had cool outfits, pride buttons, and creative signs.

She also got involved with a few non-anarchist socialists and communists. Two of them started having a heated debate about taking a reformist approach over revolutionary politics but as is often the case the debate was leading nowhere and had totally moved away from a discussion about climate change, so our organiser felt it was more energising and worth her time to go back to mixing with the crowd and handing out fliers.

After the marching, there were some speeches at Parliament. The official speeches were mostly from other young adults and surprisingly eloquent Children. They made some good points but sadly, and perhaps predictably, never directly addressed the problem of capitalism.

There was a brief interview with someone representing the Green party followed by open mic time. The AWSM member jumped at that chance. She says that as “A lot of kids and young adults who spoke before me pointed out that the politicians aren’t really doing anything to combat climate change, so I decided to build on that”.

“I don’t remember my exact words, but it was something like this: Hello, I just wanted to say that the reason why the politicians aren’t helping is that they don’t work for us. They work for the companies, and those companies will run the planet into the ground if it means making a little bit more money. That’s what companies do and the politicians won’t stop them. And that’s why we have to end capitalism before it ends us.

“I’m happy with how my speech went. The other protesters responded well, and it was easy to give away my remaining fliers.”

The protest ended soon after the open mic session, and our organiser met some of the other young adults from the protest afterward, and they asked if she wanted to help organize the next time. All in all, it was an enjoyable day, and a successful one for AWSM, making new links and spreading the anarchist message to new people.

aotearoa / pacific islands / workplace struggles / news report Thursday April 22, 2021 21:14 byAWSM

A short review of a current industrial dispute in Aotearoa.

Today bus drivers in Wellington, Aotearoa, are going on strike. How did this come about? The problem originates in the fact that two years ago a private equity firm named Next Capital Investments (NCI) bought Wellington’s bus service, NZ Bus. A year ago pay negotiations with the 280 people who drive the buses became deadlocked. Things have reached the point where the drivers’ collective agreement has expired. An offer from the Greater Wellington Regional Council to NCI to bring the drivers wages up from a base rate of $19.40 an hour to the level of the so-called Living Wage ($22.10) was rejected. Rather, the company wants to press ahead with plans to cut wages and conditions. For example, moving the Wellington drivers to a collective agreement similar to its Auckland drivers, which has a higher base rate but lower penal rates and one week less annual leave. With this as a background, on April 14th angry Tramways Union members voted 204-2 in a secret ballot to take today’s action.

The wider contemporary environment is one where Labour and National politicians have created a framework (through legislation such as the Employment Relations Act) that makes it difficult for workers to mount effective legal action against the boss class. So while the drivers’ action is a severely limited and defensive one, in this context it should be supported. It highlights the basic and powerful reality that it is the labour of working people that make this society function. Nothing can move unless we collectively make it happen and a small minority of self-appointed dictators such as the private owners of NCI are incapable of stopping this.

The Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) is a small organisation with limited resources but as our name suggests, we wish to extend our solidarity and moral support to our fellow workers among the Wellington bus drivers. We call on all those who sell their labour in this society to use whatever creative means you can to also offer support to them. Victory to the Drivers! An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

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nurses.jpg imageSolidarity With Nurses Jun 09 08:48 by AWSM 0 comments

queerphobia.jpg imageQueerphobia Is A Class Issue Jun 02 08:15 by Sarah 0 comments

palestine.jpg imageAWSM Statement: Solidarity with the people of Palestine May 16 15:43 by LAMA 0 comments

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