CCTV footage of Bonhoeffer Peace Collective (Swan Island)

Here’s the video of Jess and I we obtained through the police evidence brief. The first bit is quite jumpy – it’s all just stop motion photos, and they’ve obviously cut quite a lot of the footage out because we just end up next to the dish and then move away again.

Anyway, in case there was any doubt we were there:

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Date for action: Hit the ’emergency stop’ button on the Afghanistan war

Here’s your invitation to hit the ’emergency stop’ button on the war in Afghanistan!

In the week before Easter 2010 the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective went to the Swan Island Military base to press the emergency stop button on the war in Afghanistan. They face Geelong Magistrates Court on Wednesday June 16th and would love you to join them in a celebration of active, vibrant resistance to war on that day.

We will meet at Johnstone Park (Railway Terrace, opposite Geelong Magistrates court) at 9am and then process to the court.  Please bring your own lunch.

After court the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective will invite you to join them in returning to the gates of Swan Island, at Queenscliff. Swan Island is a training base for Australia’s elite SAS soldiers, who are playing the most active combat role for Australia in Afghanistan. We will meet at 2pm at the park opposite Bridge St in Queenscliff before processing together to the gate of the island.  There you will be given the opportunity to refuse continued warmaking on the people of Afghanistan by stepping onto the prohibited land (thereby risking arrest), or to participate in a peaceful, nonarrestable demonstration at the gate.

We will hold a briefing/information/nonviolence session for those who wish to participate in either arrestable or nonarrestable actions on Saturday June 5th from 1-4pm at the Den, 116 Little Bourke St Melbourne.  Please let us know if you will be at this session, or if you’d like to be but cannot make it that day.

So this is an invitation for you to consider being involved in these acts of nonviolent resistance to war.  If you could indicate a) your interest in being involved (either by emailing Simon at smoyle[at]gmail.com or RSVPing to the event) and b) whether you would like some preparatory briefing as soon as possible, that will help us plan logistics, and set up communication and support.  And of course please pass this on to anyone else you know who might be interested.

With thanks for all you do to make this world a more compassionate place,

Simon Moyle on behalf of Jacob Bolton, Jessica Morrison, Simon Reeves and the rest of the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective.

Swanhoeffer 4

Some articles on our Swan Island action for those interested…

The Age

Geelong Advertiser – articles one and two.

Indymedia Australia – articles one and two.

Indymedia World

Indymedia Luxembourg

Ekklesia

And now this page on Swan Island.

*edit* I also had a piece published in New Matilda.  Join in the discussion.

Stanley Hauerwas on the church and social justice

“What makes the church ‘radical’…is not that the church leans to the left on most social issues, but rather that the church knows Jesus whereas the world does not.  In the churches view, the political left is not noticeably more interesting than the political right, both tend towards solutions that act as if the world has not ended and begun in Jesus.  Big words like Peace and Justice, slogans the church adopts under the presumption that, even if people do not know what ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ means, they will know what Peace and Justice means, are words awaiting content.  It is Jesus’ story that gives content to our faith, judges any institutional embodiment of our faith, and teaches us to be suspicious of any political slogan that does not need God to make itself credible…Most of our social activism is formed on the presumption that God is superfluous to the formation of a world of peace with justice.” — Stanley Hauerwas

On Public Relations Theory vs Nonviolence Theory (a post by Margaret Pestorius)

This is a post by my friend and fellow Bon 4 member Margaret Pestorius, clearing up some misconceptions about why we act the way we do.

There are two sets of assumptions that seem to underpin a lot of criticism regarding small group nonviolent DIRECT actions:

First: Assumptions related to Motivation for Actions

Assumptions related to motivation for action: These are commonly held assumptions that we frequently encounter as nonviolent activists. But I think they say more about the holder of those assumptions and mainstream media and society than they do about our actual motivations.

One has to sit a bit outside the mainstream media mindset to understand another way of seeing.

The primary motivation for principled nonviolent action is first always to “ACT” or “take action” or “to do SOMETHING rather than NOTHING”. Gandhi even inferred that it sometimes may be best to do something violent or harmful rather than nothing at all.

For the prime actor, it is important for them, for their human spirit, that they act rather than do nothing. [There is also an associated Christological perspective to this central idea of human action that I won’t go into here.]

Movements, then, are built on people’s responses to ACTION – not on people’s responses to OPINIONS.

Opinions rarely move people to action or change. There are too many opinions around and they are not sufficiently embodied to draw people into a change process. Opinions are also open to corruption before enactment.

Media attention for the nonviolence actor therefore is always at least a secondary effect [if not tertiary]. Media is relevant however to the extent that it has the added advantage that it protects [nonviolent actions generally draw some level of repression – think twitter and Iran].

AND media can give extra people a space to encounter the nonviolent ACTION. [Which is always a good thing.] Some people will be part of the action [the actor, the objects and the direct witnesses], however some people will be secondary witnesses. These people are valuable but are not OUR sole or primary focus as has been frequently incorrectly presumed.

The assumptions about being focussed on the media outcomes [or “seeking media attention” as it is derogatorily put], I consider, is related to people’s own beliefs about how change occurs.

Many people who share this lens are influenced by the frameworks and techniquest of public relations theory.

Public relations theory is NOT a preferred understanding for myself or Bryan as it is limited in its social justice perspective [it has none].

Nonviolent action has a social justice perspective that is clearly spelled out – it tends towards inclusivity in process and political outcome [necessary for democracy]: the old, young, sick, disabled can be and are involved; people who are not “opinion leaders” can be heard; people who are excluded from or don’t wish to be part of corrupt political parties can take action. Nonviolent action based in social justice is frequently adopted by the most marginalised of a society.

Assumptions about Fines and Activist Responses to the State

There seems to be some confusion regarding payment of fines. Again our actions are set in a theoretical framework. [and theory is just the gathering of lots of nonviolence experiences regarding what works and why people do different sorts of nonviolent actions]

Nonviolence theory places the issue of court fines in the realm of State repression [the responses of the State when/as it tries to stop you doing something].. so it becomes an issue of

1.. how one addresses first a particular injustice . and then

2.. how one responds to [we say ‘resists’] the repression that the actor faces when the State tries and stops the action.

There is an extensive literature around nonviolence theory which can be consulted further. However, Bryan [and I] do NOT pay fines where possible. To pay a fine is to say “oh, OK, you can stop us and we will go along with your response in stopping us”.

Nonviolent activists tend to resist the State as it attempts to limit the actions taken. We refuse bail conditions [e.g. “you shan’t go back to the site of the action”] where possible and we refuse to pay fines where possible, sometimes this means going to jail.

Bryan will most likely do community service for a change agency of some kind or another.

Here are a couple of links: have fun!

http://www.vernalproject.org/papers/understanding/WhyNV/WhyNonviolence1.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nonviolence the wiki page is as good as any!

Upcoming events

A couple of things coming up that I’m involved in:

Pax Christi Victoria Inc.

International Christian Peace Movement

You are invited to an extended Agape

– a Workshop on the spirituality and practice of nonviolence

Simon Moyle, will lead us in an Easter journey into how we can engage with the Powers and the Powerful in the light of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

-through Bible Study
– Nonviolence theory
– Workshop activity
– Group discussion.

“Another world is possible, another world is necessary,another world is already HERE!”

Simon Moyle is a Baptist minister and theologian,
He is Public Engagement Coordinator of Urban Seed,a community who work with some of the city’s poorest and most marginalised.”
He has been involved in nonviolent protest against the Talisman Sabre Joint Military Exercises.

Sunday April 19

at Kildara, rear 39 Stanhope Street, East Malvern.

2 p.m (Note extended time)
We will finish after a SHARED MEAL  around 7.30 p.m.

Please BRING SOME FOOD TO SHARE

ALL WELCOME

And then this NVDA training for TS09 (but all welcome).

An opportunity to work for peace

How seriously do we take Jesus’ call to be peacemakers?

Here is an opportunity to stand in the way of warmaking and say ‘yes’ with your life to the God of peace.

Operation Talisman Sabre is a series of joint military exercises taking place July 6-25 2009, involving almost 30,000 Australian and US troops across 8 areas in Australia engaged in live fire and invasion training. The highest concentration of troops is in Shoalwater Bay Training Area, a pristine wilderness area on the central Queensland coast. People from around Australia are coming together to say ‘no’ to this practicing for war, and yes to practicing for peace.

Here’s how you can get involved at whatever level you feel comfortable (or challenged!):

* Come to planning meetings in your own state
No matter where you are, we can probably hook you up (especially in Melbourne or Brisbane) with the details of regular meetings. This is one way to see what’s already happening and whether there’s a role you’d like to take.

* Awareness raising around your capital city and solidarity actions
We need people who will be in the cities and towns during the exercises to raise awareness of what is happening in Shoalwater Bay. It may mean a vigil, a petition, or just talking to family and friends, but get together with a group and make it fun.

* Participate in nonviolence trainings
There will be at least two trainings (probably more) run in Melbourne in the lead-up to the games so that people can be as fully prepared as possible. It will also give you a chance to get to know some people who might be going up, and to test the waters of what kind of actions you might take around where you live or at Shoalwater Bay itself.

* Come up to Peace Convergence in Shoalwater Bay
Plan to take some annual leave or RDOs and join the peace convergence. The festivities kick off with the C2C (Committed to Change) Festival in nearby Byfield. The main gathering weekend will be July 10th-12th, but people will be present for the whole three weeks of the exercises (July 6-25). See the Peace Convergence website for more details.

* Consider taking direct action
It is likely that there will be groups of people who will take direct action to nonviolently stop the exercises or otherwise nonviolently resist them, some of whom will take actions risking arrest and some of whom won’t risk arrest. Everyone will have the opportunity to be trained and fully prepared beforehand.

Such people also need the support of teams of people who are prepared to do all the necessary logistical work (picking up and dropping off, legals, prayer, personal support), so even if you don’t want to risk arrest yourself you can still play a role in helping those who do. It would be helpful to start forming affinity groups (there’s a good definition of affinity groups here) soon.

As my good friend Fr. John Dear says, “Nobody has to do everything for peace and justice but everybody’s gotta do something!” So I encourage you to prayerfully discern what role you might take towards a more actively nonviolent life.

Please pass this on to your own networks and keep spreading the word!

A couple of articles in the Age today reveal once again what many of us already knew: that police have been routinely posing as activists to covertly infiltrate campaigns to gather intelligence. Even the Palm Sunday peace march for crying out loud. Maybe that means the government finally gets the seditious nature of Palm Sunday?

Police spying on activists revealed

* Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie

VICTORIA Police’s secret intelligence unit has infiltrated Melbourne’s activist and community groups for two years to gather information on protests against the Iraq War, Japanese whaling and a weapons exhibition.

Reigniting civil liberties concerns about police spying, an officer from the police Security Intelligence Group has infiltrated groups such as Animal Liberation Victoria, Stop the War Coalition, Unity for Peace and Socialist Alternative.

The officer, who posed as a vegan, left-wing activist, has also had close contact with representatives of church and student groups involved in anti-war demonstrations. So successful was his operation that the organising committee for this year’s Palm Sunday peace march in Melbourne appointed him its minute-taker at meetings.

And this:

The spying game

* RIchard Baker and Nick McKenzie

IT WAS a simple mistake. The quiet, polite young activist who had been working every Tuesday as a volunteer in Animal Liberation Victoria’s Melbourne office did not shut down his computer properly before leaving.

Andrew* had left his personal email account open. For those in the group who had nagging doubts about the bona fides of the eager young man who had turned up out of nowhere in February 2007, it was an opportunity too good to resist.

But the scan of Andrew’s email account raised more questions than answers. He had very few email contacts; no friends, family or work colleagues. It appeared the only email addresses he had belonged to the people sneaking a look at his email account – the animal rights folk – plus maybe a few others in Melbourne’s activist community.

Who was this guy who wanted the crappy job of taking notes at meetings? Why was he always so keen to know when the next animal rescue or protest was on? How come this vegan appeared to have no knowledge of Melbourne’s vegetarian restaurants?

The empire is alive and well.

People sometimes think I’m paranoid, but I always assume there’s at least one member of the police force at any meeting or phone hookup or email network…rarely is there any need for secrecy anyway. But this shows the immoral lengths government is willing to go to to minimise dissent under the pretense of ‘public safety’. If you’re a concerned police officer, go to the meetings in uniform and explain why you’re there. Who knows, we might even get along.

Just when you think it doesn’t get any better…

The APDSE (Asia Pacific Defence and Security Expo aka “buy the latest-and-greatest killing machines here” expo) has been cancelled.

News report here (note: the paper was a strong supporter of the arms expo).

OzPeace (key organisers of the planned nonviolent protests) press release here.

And a wonderful analysis provided by one protestor:

Us violent feral low life people armed with our deadly heat seeking loudspeakers must use the night to celebrate.

That all those peace loving people with their toys missiles , cannons, guns, bombers, tanks, frigates etc are not bringing their toys here.

Pace e Bene Oz was involved in the resistance to this expo and was planning a nonviolence expo. I was going to be involved in all of this (I’d planned a nonviolence stall) until we realised we were having a baby about then. Incredible news.

More on the Garrett/Shoalwater Bay decision

More articles on the decision…apparently it’s just the third time the EPBC Act has been successfully used to stop a development…

Here’s Peter Garrett’s original press release.

Here’s the transcript of a Stateline interview about it.

Here’s the Brisbane Times’ article.

A Courier Mail article which emphasizes how unusual a step this is.

Much of course has been made of the fact that Garrett was one of those involved in stopping the sand mining proposals for Shoalwater Bay.

Could be that Waratah Coal’s done us a huge favour here…they’ve drawn national attention to Shoalwater Bay and its environmental significance, and made the government make clear statements to that effect. Now to capitalise on it!

More info at shoalwaterbay.org.