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May Day Occupation Against The Te Aro Bypass

from Wellington Anti-Capitalist Allsorts

As part of today’s May Day “Carnival against Capitalism”, anti-bypass activists have occupied a property along the proposed route of the Wellington inner-city bypass. A Reclaim the Streets party was held in Kensington Gardens, and from there, people moved into an empty house in Tonks Avenue whose occupants (Stagecraft Theatre) had been evicted by the Wellington City Council on February 12. There a Reclaim the Building party was held, with scores of people partying to live music.

This occupation is meant to be a fun protest against Transit’s plans to build a road through the Te Aro community, against the wishes of the vast majority of the people living in the area. The bypass is unnecessary because it would not solve Wellington’s traffic congestion problems, and it would destroy a vibrant inner-city community.

Occupying To Save Our Community And Historic Buildings

We believe the most effective way to stop the bypass is through direct action: occupying and living in the buildings along the proposed route.

“The buildings would be safer and better looked after with people in them. We do not intend, in any way, to damage the buildings” said anti-bypass and anti-capitalist activist Emma Goldman. She continues: “Transit and the Wellington City Council, who have been landlords of the dwellings along the bypass route for about 30 years, have left the buildings - many of them Wellington’s oldest - in such a sorry state that many of them are crumbling down. This is criminal neglect.”

“Their evictions were unnecessary as Transit don’t even have approval from the Historic Places Trust to move or demolish the buildings, nor funding to build their unnecessary bypass. Buildings could easily be vandalised or burnt down, which is probably what they want anyway.”

“We want to preserve the Te Aro community as a vibrant inner-city suburb for low-cost housing for low-income tenants, not have it turned into a giant slab of concrete. Working class people should be allowed to live in the inner city, and not be forced out into the outer suburbs.”

“By our occupation of Stagecraft today, we want to show people what community oriented uses these beautiful historical buildings can be put to. We want to turn Stagecraft into a community centre.”

Occupying In Protest Against Capitalism

The occupation was part of the May Day carnival against capitalism. May the 1st is international workers day, a global day of action against capitalism where people of different movement & different countries join forces for a day of protest against the social, political and economic institutions of the capitalist system. The Te Aro bypass is an example of capitalism in action. Capitalism is concerned more about profit than people, and hence is undemocratic. It foists unnecessary projects (such as the Wellington inner city bypass) on people who do not need it or want it.

The bypass reflects predominantly the needs of the rich, not the poor. Indeed, mayor Kerry Prendergast has claimed it will help her husband’s business (Trekkers Hotel) by bringing traffic directly to its front door. As well, big business just wants to be able to transport its goods more quickly to and from the airport so that it can increase its profits. Emma continues: “Why should a community and many priceless historic buildings be destroyed just for the needs of the rich? We will stop their bypass. Occupy and win!”


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