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Against Police Brutality, Against Racism, Against Fascism

"George Floyd was not the first, nor will he be the last, to have been denied his human rights as the police officers murdered him. Their names, overseas and in New Zealand are so many, over so many years, and their stories are all so different - yet they retain one essential thread. The police killed them. They killed them knowing that there would be little to no consequences, little to no justice, little to no solace for the families of the dead.

Over the last few days, journalists and legal observers in the United States of America have been deliberately targeted and maimed by heavily armed police. Non-protesting members of the public have been fired upon and injured with rubber bullets, tear gas and paint projectiles. Footage has even shown the police deliberately targeting civilians who remained on their own property, with a cry of "Light them up" preceding a volley of paint-balls aimed at driving those civilians back into their homes.

We see the video evidence of what is occurring, and we are told not to believe our own eyes. We are told that the people on the streets who are telling their stories of oppression, discrimination and violence brought upon them by the state do not exist. We are told that the real enemy is not the one kicking old men and women to the ground, blinding people with rubber bullets and driving cars into crowds - that they are the ones who are there to protect us and, most of all, ever-sacred private property.

And yet the stories we see pushed by officials of the USA, is disingenuous and misleading characterisation.

The President of the United States of America plans to designate “ANTIFA” (his capital letters) as a terrorist organisation. The leader of the most powerful militarised nation has decided that anti-fascism is a greater threat than the numerous far-right organisations who have terrorised and murdered for years - often in collaboration with or without interference from US Police departments.

Anti-fascism has no leadership. Anti-fascism has no organisation. Anti-fascism has no structure. It has often always grown from communities under threat from those who would happily condemn them to live in constant fear of violence, intimidation and extermination.

The last century saw a world against a group of nations where fascism had gained power. And yet after that war, in the UK and the USA - two states which congratulated themselves on defeating fascism - fascism still lived, still organised and still terrorised the streets. And it was anti-fascists, like the 43 Group, who were instrumental in driving these organisations into irrelevance and extinction where the state and the police were unwilling to.

To quote Angela Davis, "In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist". Equally in a time where fascism one again rises, it is not enough to not be a fascist, we must be anti-fascist. In word, in action. It is everyone’s right to be an anti-fascist.

Anti-fascism is a human right. We all have the right to be free from the oppression of those who wish to divide us by our religion, our ethnicity, our country of birth. We all have the right to stand up for our brothers and sisters, siblings and cousins when they are under attack. We all have the right to be safe from our governments, and safe from the police forces that protect them.

These rights have been denied to George Floyd, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and so many others. In response to this, the President wishes to strip these rights from millions of people and to set the state upon them for speaking out against the institutional racism of that state.

We stand here today in solidarity with them, to demand justice for all of those murdered by the state. They must understand that black lives matter, that this is not negotiable. That we stand for the human right to live without fear of murder by unaccountable police forces, but also to fight against fascism wherever it rises.

We also stand here to demand our own police forces do not embark on a similar path of militarisation that has brought nothing but escalation, terror and death to the communities the police insist they are protecting.

In New Zealand the police slogan is Safer Communities Together, but how safe can communities be with officers holding automatic weapons during routine traffic stops? When our Māori and Pacific communities are so many more times more likely to experience violence and arrest at the hands of those officers? As Aimé Césaire has pointedly exclaimed, the roots of fascism are in imperialism and colonial violence, a reality that Aotearoa continues to live in today - whether it is with far-right white supremacist terrorists or the successors of the murderous Armed Constabulary, the NZ Police.

We look at what is happening in the United States with justifiable horror and anger, we feel the pain and rage of those out on the streets demanding and struggling for their rights. And we must also share those feelings with our own communities who experience similar treatment right here in New Zealand, stand with them and amplify their voices so they may be heard."

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