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Thank you activists

Written By: - Date published: 9:42 am, February 8th, 2013 - 32 comments
Categories: activism, Conservation, Mining - Tags: , ,

Last February eight Greenpeace activists occupied the mast of the ship “Noble Discoverer” for 77 hours to protest oil exploration in the Arctic. Looking back I see that I wrote about it at the time:

The courage of their convictions

While most of us talk about “saving the world” some people act.

I have a lot of respect for the Greenpeace activists, including headline-woman Lucy Lawless, who are occupying a Shell Oil drilling ship, to prevent its departure to start drilling operations in the Arctic.

Now in their third day of occupation atop a high tower, and attracting international attention, the six remaining activists are hanging on in dangerous and difficult conditions.

They planned their protest carefully so as not to endanger others, or interfere with the operation of the ship. But they are breaking the law, and thus all willingly risking the legal consequences (and possible career damage etc).

Of course many from the right wing of politics will condemn them as law breakers. But what is a sane person to do when the law is an ass, and the world has gone mad? In my opinion the actions of these protestors are fully justified, entirely rational, and very very brave. From the guilty comfort of my ergonomic chair and the safety of my keyboard, I salute you all.

As widely covered, the activists were sentenced yesterday, each to 120 hours of community service and a fine of $650 (“to cover port costs”). I’d like to thank them once again for their courage. I hope Greenpeace is planning to set up a mechanism for accepting donations to pay their fines (just had a quick look and couldn’t see anything on their web site, post details in comments if you find a link).

I think kudos are also due to the New Plymouth District Court that heard the case. They had to pass down some punishment, and the balance here strikes me as not unreasonable, especially when the Police were seeking $648,000 in “reparation costs”, which was clearly punitive.

The activists knew what they were letting themselves in for, and they have successfully attracted plenty of attention to their cause. To our cause…


32 comments on “Thank you activists”

  1. ak 1

    I think kudos are also due to the New Plymouth District Court that heard the case

    Nup. It’s just that Lucy Lawless aint a brown benny who’s pocketed $20 a week for a few years, and “hanging judges” know well where public kudos is found. Not even the SST would lay a finger on Xena – let alone their vain acolytes.

  2. The Judge was Alan Roberts a former defence lawyer and a keen surfie and someone who likely thinks quietly that environmental protection is important.

    • TightyRighty 2.1

      great to know that justice system can be considered beyond the personal prejudice of it’s executors. Hardly surprising that you think this is a good thing when the lack of impartialality coincides with your personal viewpoint

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        Yep Tighty righty people who think that protection of the environment is good are obviously not impartial. You know how it goes, first you want to protect the environment, the next thing that you are doing is buying arms on the black market and planning how to hijack jumbo jets and fly them into sky scrapers …

        • TightyRighty

          For a supposed lawyer, you come up with shit arguments.

          your smug satisfaction that a judge may have let personal prejudice influence a criminal hearing is deplorable for someone whose career path supposedly means you work within the laws of the land. Justice should be impartial, not partial to your causes if they involve breaking the law.

          You equating caring for the environment equals terrorism is strange, but hardly surprising given how intellectually bankrupt you are. shit attempt at deflection. Maybe a refresher course in ethics 101 alongside some debating practice for you.

          • mickysavage

            Wow TR …

            I am just perplexed that you think that enviromental protection is such a bad thing.

            And I did not accuse the Judge of being partial.

            Nor did I equate caring for the environment with terrorism. I read that into your comments and I made a joke about it, which was a waste of time by the looks of it …

            • TightyRighty

              Jokes are funny Micky. You wouldn’t know this of course as you’ve never been able to complete one.

              the environmental protection part is a moot point. your almost gleeful supposition that because a judge surfs, he probably secretly supports breaking the law if it is supposedly to “protect the environment” when you yourself are a stakeholder in the justice system that is deplorable. Ethical is a hard word for you to comprehend, let alone be.

              • Feck

                I surmised that because someone surfs they probably like the environment.

                Such faux outrage TR. Do you practice in a mirror every day?

                • TightyRighty

                  No you implied a judicial agent is biased when dealing with a case. The fact you think it’s just a joke and all is ok shows your complete lack of ethics. Little wonder you want to stand for parliament. hard to believe but you actually give lawyers a bad name

              • So tell us, Righty, is the law so black and white for you that you wouldn’t even allow the defence of self-protection say in a case of home invasion?

                • TightyRighty

                  It’s not about the decision frank. You retard. It’s Micky with his laughable belief that its ok for the sole arbiters of our justice to be personally biased.

  3. Rosie 3

    Absolutely these activists deserve our thanks. Many activists do deserve our thanks and appreciation but they largely go ignored.

    While I and I’d guess others commenting here may be invloved in work that benefits social equality, work rights or protecting the environment, or any number of “causes” (feel free to suggest a less cheesy, and more worthy word) it takes a steely kind of person to do something physically radical in an effort to lay down a challenge to what is unjust.
    Just one example: I have real admiration for those animal rights activists who enter factory farms to film the inhumane conditions the animals are subjected to and then distribute those images to the public via the web and/or via tv campaigns. I’d never have the guts to do that and appreciate that they do.

    Finally whilst in activist appreciation mode I’d like to thank all those folk of the generation before mine that stood up and made a noise for Womens rights and equality, for ethnic equality and dignity ( all you Springboks protesters too) and for nuclear free NZ. What an impact and a difference you made.

    • Anne 3.1

      I’d like to thank all those folk of the generation before mine that stood up and made a noise for Womens rights and equality, for ethnic equality and dignity ( all you Springboks protesters too) and for nuclear free NZ. What an impact and a difference you made.

      Hear hear Rosie.

      Anyone who has been subjected to personal fallout because… they had the guts to stand up and be counted over something they felt strongly about, will have some idea what these people can go through on our behalf.

      Congratulations to Lucy Lawless and the other Greenpeace activists. A job well done.

  4. Rich 4

    It would also be good to get a group along to wherever they’re doing their community service and provide a show of support.

  5. Bill 5

    Just wondering. As a comparison, what kind of sentence was handed out to the CEO of Shell following their Gulf of Mexico spill? Any sentence at all? Any community service? No.

    That sentence is bullshit.

    And anyone who is basically supportive of what they did and also supports the sentence…lets imagine an unemployed activist. That $650 would be huge….roughly 3 weeks worth of income. Quite unpayable without immense hardship. Are you fine with that?

    • r0b 5.1

      I’m not fine with immense hardship. Which is why the post asked if there was a way we could donate to pay their fines.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        Sorry r0b. Didn’t intend that previous comment to come across as ‘having a go’. My apologies if it did.

        The immediate question that sprung to mind when I read it was simply :- What about the next time there are pickets at a port? Can those denying entry to vehicles carrying scabs expect to recieve a fine of around $650 to cover ‘port costs’ each and every time they stage a ‘sit down’?

        • r0b

          Sorry r0b. Didn’t intend that previous comment to come across as ‘having a go’. My apologies if it did.

          No problem Bill, no doubt it will be a kick in the guts for some of them if they don’t get support.

  6. Tiger Mountain 6

    Well done Lucy and colleagues. Lots of respect for that action.

    Still have my crash helmet with a baton mark on from ’81 so thankyou Rosie.

    More offline activism is urgently needed. Sad ass sacked Mainzeal workers respect a couple of security guards? Push them aside and get your gear contractors. Subbies are so ShonKey lovers, but do it. Manufacturing company closures like Oamaru? Occupy the plant.

    • Rosie 6.1

      Big ups to you Tiger Mountain for the action you took. To look back and see how a population mobilised around the tour and went to quite extraordinary lengths to stand their ground is quite astonishing in comparison to todays response, or lack of it, to issues.

      Geez, we don’t even have any political satire on our tv screens. Silenced even in our funny bones.

      • Anne 6.1.1

        We cut our political teeth in the 1970s. There was the Vietnam War, French nuclear testing in our back-yard, the racially selected Springbok tours culminating in the 1981 protests, dawn raids on Pacific Island communities, Muldoon – and where do you start with him? That’s just what I remember off the top of my head. They were heady times.

        What’s more we had real investigative journalism. And yes, we had TV satire too – even against themselves. I remember a skit about TV news readers. Their voices and physical movements exaggerated of course. Their necks were constantly swiveling to the right in perfect unison as they went to film clips. At the end of the session they lifted huge bundles of papers up with their hands and made a terrible racket banging them on the table. It was funny to watch.

        • Rosie

          Sad, you’d probably get sued for defamation now! The last satire I remember was the one with puppets, can’t remember the name. It was during the Clark years. John Campbell was frequently lampooned.

  7. Fortran 7

    Looking forward to Greenpeace’s input in the next Labour/Green/Winston Government in 2014.

    They have the ability to call on great international support, and money.

  8. George D 8

    The idea that the courts are impartial is a useful and widely held myth professed by almost everyone in the legal profession, though I’ve found few who actually believe it. It’s propagated because it suits the interests of those who need to impose force through the courts, and those who use the courts have everything to lose by undermining this, an act which challenges the authority of the courts (and thus the state which maintains the monopoly on the legitimate use of force against its citizens). Thus it’s only radicals seeking to undermine the system who make such claims, whereas everyone else waits until they’re behind closed doors and in confidence. In the United States this radicalism is actually much more common on the right, as they have decided themselves disadvantaged by the status quo.

    The truth is that justice is not blind, and the ruling and sentence you get depends tremendously on who you sit in front of. And how close to lunch it is.

  9. :mrgreen: Agree with you post, Anthony Robins
    :mrgreen: Well said
    :mrgreen: Thankyou
    :mrgreen: Activists
    :mrgreen: Bravo! to you

  10. Funny how contemporaries of civil rights activists in the 1960s labelled said activists with all manner of derogatory epithets. And yet history was firmly on the side of civil rights campaigners.

    The same will hold true for Greenpeace (and other organisations) who campaigned to highlight the threats to our environment.

    The only way History will not view Greenpeace (et al) as being on the right side of history is when this planet is laid waste; the oceans are dead; the air is barely breathable; and the last tree resides in a rich man’s private arborium. As humanity dies in it’s own filth, Wall Street records a final sharemarket result – 0%.

    I give thanks that Greenpeace and other environmental activists offer a glimmer of hope.

  11. Jenny 11

    The group’s lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said the claim for reparation had been “excessive and unjustified”.

    NZ Herald

    In a statement, Shell Todd Oil Services general manager Rob Jager said the company had always supported police’s response to the incident.

    “That extended to supporting the police’s case for reparation.

    NZ Herald

    High praise from the oil company for the Police, in their over the top action, in trying to intimidate the protesters with “excessive” “unjustified” and disproportionate, to the ‘crime’, damages.

    These hugely disproportionate damages sought by the police for on the face of it minor trespass charges, is a political decision, more in line with the interests of the oil company than with natural justice.

    The decision to seek such extraordinary punitive damages points to an increasing politicisation of our police force.

    The police have failed with their campaign of intimidation in court.

    Will the police now turn to more open and direct forms of “excessive” and “unjustified” intimidation of environmental protesters outside of court?

    The next time the oil companies take measures to destroy the biosphere for personal gain, and citizens take it on themselves to peacefully impede them. Will the police acting from political motives in line with the wishes of the polluters decide to respond disproportionately?

    Going on their record in court the chances are very high, that the police will act in a very brutal and over the top manner against any future such peaceful protest actions.

    In this event, I don’t think we will seeing any such outrageous public statements similar to the one we saw from the oil company today.

    In a statement, Hell Toad Oil Services general manager Job Rager said the company had always supported police’s response to the incident.

    “That extended to supporting the police’s case for retribution.

  12. BHAT 12

    Good for you Lucy.
    And to think, people only see her as a big pair of tits.

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