Christchurch Palestine march

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Mon Apr 29 07:11:53 MDT 2002

Alan B wrote:

>I find it vaguely alarming that the kind of crowds we can organise in
>Toowoomba are larger than those in Christchurch, which has four times the
>population.  Toowoomba is notoriously conservative, and we don't have any
>particularly energetic or skillful organisers.  Something is clearly wrong
>in Christchurch.

Well the biggest Palestine actions in Wellington have been 150-200 and in
Auckland the biggest have been 4-500.  So very small altogether.
The Christchurch action could have been swollen by 200 people from the
mosque, judging from an email I got from someone who planned to come on the
march and got trapped at a meeting there and who wrote me that the person
running the meeting made it go on and on, knowing there was a march on that
people wanted to go to.

But the big problem is really getting out among the rest of NZ society and
convincing people about the need to show solidarity with the Palestinians.
It has never been a 'popular' issue in NZ, plus the Arab population here is
tiny so even having a base of people there who might do stuff isn't much of
a starter.

In the 1970s and 1980s there was a huge anti-apartheid movement in NZ, and
it was probably strongest in Christchurch - historically a liberal-labour
city - but very little of it carried over into the same kind of awareness
about Palestine.

Also, a section of the left is only interested in MidEast solidarity if
they can see immediate recruits and paper sales.  Hard slog work of
building a solidarity movement from scratch isn't appealing to their MTV
view of revolutionary political work.

So we have a hard row to hoe.


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