Thursday, 16 August 2007

Uniting Communities from the base- the RAM election launch

The Resident Action Movement's campaign for Auckland Regional and City Council kicked off on Wednesday night in a Trades Hall auditorium that echoed to rockabilly, swing and passionate poetry, where local environmentalists, anti racists, trade unionists, student leaders and community activists united for a strong campaign against the dominance of corporate led politics.

The evening began with an eloquent speech by well known Chilean poet Esteban, who spoke about the tragic death of his neighbour Folole Muliaga, in a city where profits came before people. Esteban, main organiser for the Latin American Cultural Centre in Onehunga, said he was a supporter of RAM because he agreed of its vision of uniting Aucklands communities from the base. And then he went on to rock out on the bass, to the revolutionary Latin Rockabilly that is Echeverria Y Cia!

Red Chelly

The Belfast Poets Collective treated the audience to their show "Love Poetry, Hate Islamophobia", currently on world tour. When they heard about the attempt by racist fundementalist Christian preachers to demonise New Zealand's Muslim community, they made a sharp detour, to lend their support for RAM's strong anti racist stance. Their show gave thoughtful, radical and sharp lessons from a city where communities have been divided, strengthening the resolve of the audience to stand up and be counted for unity and peace.

Phatbob combined the romantic with the anti corporate-
A favourite Celtic cocktail of RAMs!

Gordon Hewitt exploded in a rage of fire and anger, at the pain caused by military occupation
Uniting the communities from the bass...

Roger Fowler, Co ordinator of the Mangere Community Centre, sang the RAM anthem "Movin On", painting a joyous picture of an Auckland without traffic jams and parking tickets, where frequent fare free busses funded by corporation tax and the money currently wasted on the motorway lobby not only improved life for the people, but helped reduce the pollution causing climate change. Roger is standing for RAM in Mangere.

Robyn Hughes, RAM's Councillor on the Auckland Regional Council, looked forward to being joined by Roger and many other new RAM Councillors after the election. Being only one voice amongst 13 was hard- if the RAM bloc increased in size and influence, so too would the reality of implementing what we were fighting for.

Finally, Grant Morgan, Ram organiser, unveiled RAM's secret weapon in the Battle of the Billboards. Where other tickets such as the CityRats, CityVision and Mike Lee's Repe concentrate on their political brands and egos, RAM's billboards are dedicated to the four main policies they are fighting for- a cut in home rates for Auckland's hard pressed workers, free public transport, a strong stand for diversity, peace and multiculturalism in the face of racist attempts to divide Auckland's communities, and the protection of our public assets from privatisers, such as the Pikes Pt park in Manukau harbour.

Now the Battle of the Billboards begins! If you agree with RAM's policies and want to put a billboard up in your community, please give Joe a phone at 021 1861450, 09 634 3984, or email RAM has no corporate donors like the National and Labour financed tickets- we are made up of grassroots campaigners and community activists sick of an Auckland run for big business. Please join us in the fight!

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