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Practising nonviolent direct action

I wrote the following blog post for a Palestinian human rights group and for activists involved in campaigning for a ceasefire and an end to the genocide in Gaza. As the genocide continues, there may well be a need to adopt more assertive tactics. However, many other campaigns contending issues impacting the rights and well-being of the people of Aotearoa may also benefit from considering nonviolent direct action as a part of their repertoire. The resources listed at the end of this post will be of value to those involved in activist education and to social work educators who want to include nonviolent direct action (NVDA) in the social work curriculum.

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What the genocide in Gaza teaches us

As a social work educator, I’m committed to helping students learn the knowledge, skills and values they need to – amongst other things – assert and protect the human rights of the people with whom they work. The IFSW (2014) definition of social work states, “Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work”. But our understanding of human rights is informed not only by academic learning but also by our observations of the operation of international institutions in the real world.

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Oranga Tamariki revisited

Oranga Tamariki has its troubles; always has had in my experience. The recent Ombudsman’s report, Children in care: complaints to the Ombudsman 2019-2023, calls for change “on a scale rarely required of a government agency”. It is clearly written, concise, and worth a read. I wonder what change of this magnitude might mean under the current hard-right coalition government?

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Dear lonely & helpless: Personal & professional reflections as a minority woman

A guest post by Ai Sumihira

I wrote this because I wanted to see more positive stories of minority women in our community. I do not intend to support or critique any particular political party through my writing. I watched the former justice minister Kiri Allan’s interview the morning I began writing this. Kiri looked confident and radiant on the camera, at least to me. She looked a lot better than when she served as a minister. She looked authentic and charismatic, as ever. Then, she talked about the night that the police caught her.

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Unpicking the appeal of the populist right

It does not take a miracle of intellectual analysis to realise that we live in challenging times, locally and globally. Geopolitical tensions are running high in the face of war in Europe, the brutal and unconscionable Israeli assault on the people of Palestine, and the gob-smacking possibilty of a second Trump presidency. This list is not exhaustive and the escalating threat of climate catastrophe looms over us all.