Roger Fowler

From KeyWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Roger Fowler


Roger Norman Fowler is a New Zealand socialist activist. He is married to Lyn Fowler. Nephew of Dr. Bill Glass.

Background

Roger Fowler has lived for 33 years in Mangere East, a multi-cultural region of South Auckland. Manager of Mangere East Community Learning Centre. Executive member of Out of School Care Network. Recipient of Queen’s Service Medal for community service (1999). Singer/songwriter who has shared a stage with some of New Zealand’s best musicians. Singer with the Frank E. Evans Band who have performed for 40 years. Involved with amateur theatre over four decades, including Auckland Light Opera, “The Aunties” children’s theatre and Manukau Performing Arts. Initiator of the community coalition which saved Mangere East’s Postshop earlier in 2010. A former bus driver, Roger Fowler has long campaigned for public transport.

Fowler was a founding member of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign in the 1970s. 15 years’ service in the anti-apartheid movement. Participated in the 1975 Maori Land March and the occupation of Bastion Point. Active in the nuclear-free movement and protests against US wars from Vietnam to the Middle East. Past union delegate for the Engineers Union. [1]

Resistance Bookshop

In 1969 Sept/Oct, Fowler was one of people who moved into 436 Queen St to renovate it and open the Auckland Resistance Bookshop. In 1971 Fowler was Co-ordinator of Auckland Food Co-op and co-director of Resistance Bookshop.

Agnew protest

1970 January 23, Roger fowler wharf labourer, was one of 17 people appearing in Auckland court on charges arising from PYM/CPNZ/Council on Vietnam organized demonstrations during Auckland visit of U.S. vice-president Spiro Agnew. Charged with disorderly behaviour.

Jail

1970-71 in jail possibly for demo against All Black tour of South Africa. [2] In Rebel No. 46 Fowler asked to be supported by the Progressive Youth Movement. Jailed for nonpayment of fines and court costs.

Peoples Union

In the 1970s Fowler active in the Peoples Union

Dean Parker wrote in the Listener July 23 2005;

Thirty years ago I was in a loaded van travelling from Auckland to Wellington. Half-a-dozen or so of us were driving down overnight to attend a national conference of tenants' associations.

Wonderful Roger Fowler, founder and Great Helmsman of the legendary Ponsonby People's Union, brave hero of so many struggles then and now, was driving. I was keeping him company while everyone else slept. Along the Desert Road the two of us got into a debate on China. Roger was a true believer. Where others had mirrors above their beds, Roger had a poster of Chairman Mao, which he refused to replace even when girlfriends fled its unflinching gaze.

Punched by Muldoon

As Roger Fowler tells it, the new National Party leader Rob Muldoon leader was “obviously under the influence of drink” as he and property developers Bob Jones and Pat Rippin emerged from a landlords’ meeting in Auckland’s Peter Pan Cabaret in August 1974 “pushing and shoving and thumping people” to get through a crowd of protesters.

“He came straight for me and threw a punch at me. We both ended up falling down in the middle of the street,” Mr Fowler said.

The Herald reported that Mr Muldoon turned back to the protesters when he reached his car and called out: “One at a time and you’re welcome!”[3]

Early activism

The couple met in the 1970s as activists in the Ponsonby People’s Union, which staged mass sit-ins to stop landlords evicting tenants in what was then a poor suburb. They married at Bastion Point while helping to occupy the site to stop a housing development in 1978.

“The people moved out to South Auckland,” he said. “So did we. We were having our first baby ... and we moved to Mangere East.” He worked in a car assembly plant for nine years, spent three years helping to build the Aotea Centre, then drove buses for several years.

But his real passion was politics. He joined the Communist Party of New Zealand in the mid-1970s and still belongs to one of its successors, Socialist Worker. He was an active unionist in all his workplaces, took part in every Auckland protest against the 1981 Springbok tour, and opposed American wars from Vietnam to Iraq.

He has been jailed four times.

“Because people like myself had been in prison, we got to know prisoners and their families, and found that it was extremely difficult to get to both Paremoremo and Waikeria prisons,” he said.

“We set up our own prison visiting service in 1972 - a weekly free service to Paremoremo and a monthly one to Waikeria.”

He has driven the bus to Waikeria on the last Sunday of each month for 38 years now. The prisoners’ families nominated him for his QSM in 1998 - “behind my back,” he says.

In Mangere, when his own children needed after-school care and there was none, he and Lyn started their own after-school service in an empty hall behind the Mangere East library. Today Mr Fowler is its fulltime manager.[4]

Communist Party

In 1982, Fowler manned the Communist Party of New Zealand info desk at Sweetwaters with Marx Jones.[5]

In 1988 Fowler was member of the Communist Party of New Zealand and the Engineers Union.

On 1988 October 21, Fowler co-sponsored with another member Jimmy O'Dea a CPNZ resolution distributed at the union meeting of around 12,000 Auckland workers at Mt Smart stadium in Auckland. [6]

In a 1989 July 7, letter to the NZ Herald Fowler describes himself as "regular reader of Peoples Voice". Condemns Russia and China.

In 1989 Fowler was a member of the CPNZ front Auckland Trade Unionists Against the Compact (TUAC) and the CPNZ. Group Photo in 10 July Peoples Voice.

In 1990 Fowler was CPNZ delegate on Auckland's Campaign for Public Transport organising committee.

Socialist Worker

In 1998 Fowler wrote a review in Socialist Worker 10 of "Takaparawhau-The Peoples Story."

In 2000 Fowler was one of leftists and unionists signing an Socialist Workers Organisation petition, Freedom to Strike, Manager Mangere Peoples Centre.

RAM

In 2004 Fowler was Resident's Action movement candidate for the ARC.

2004 RAM candidate (Manukau ARC) - 55, manager of a community learning centre, Queen's Service Medal for three decades of community service, social justice activist, accomplished musician who has composed the "RAM Song", lives in Mangere East.

Workers Charter

On 2nd July 2005 a Steering Committee of 20 emerged from the Workers Charter meeting. Held in Auckland They are (in alphabetical order): Rachel Asher, Paul Carrucan, Cathy Casey, Luke Coxon, Stuart Fancy, Cecil Fowler, Roger Fowler, Jennifer Francis, Chrissy Holland, Robyn Hughes, Maria Humphries, Daphne Lawless, Matt McCarten, John Minto, Grant Morgan, Pat O'Dea, Sam Quayle, Melody Shinnock, Mike Treen, Elaine West.

Community Learning Centre

In 2005 The Workers Charter is personally endorsed by 119 individuals, including Roger Fowler director of the Mangere East Community Learning Centre (Auckland): [7]

NZ Committee to Free the Cuban Five

Circa 2009, the list of Initiating Members and Supporters of the New Zealand Committee to Free the Cuban Five, included Roger Fowler, Resident's Action Movement, co-organiser, Auckland.[8]

Kia Ora Gaza

Mr Fowler, aged 61 , was picked in August 2010 as leader of a six-person Kiwi unit, Kia Ora Gaza, to join an international convoy of 500 trucks carrying aid to Palestinians in Gaza next month.

His 25-year-old son Hone Fowler, who was working with troubled youth in London, was also chosen from about 25 volunteers to join the Kiwi team.

The high-risk convoy has no guarantee of getting through to Gaza. Previous land convoys have been blocked by neighbouring Egypt. Israeli troops stormed six ships in the last aid convoy on May 31 and killed nine people.

Mr Fowler has not checked to see if his life insurance policy will cover such a deliberate venture into dangerous territory.

“Yes, of course I’m anxious, and so is my family,” he said.

“But my level of anxiety does not compare to the gravity of the situation for the people of Gaza.”

His wife Lyn, he said, was behind him “100 per cent”.[9]

Pro Palestine activism

A founding member of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign in the 1970s, Mr Fowler had “no hesitation” in putting his hand up to join the Gaza convoy organized by London-based Viva Palestina.

“Ever since Viva Palestina was set up a couple of years ago I’ve been advocating that New Zealand should be involved, but it just seemed to be too far away, too difficult,” he said.

Ironically, the nine deaths on May 31 have created the opportunity to assemble by far the biggest aid convoy yet. The Kiwi contingent aims to raise $100,000 towards the costs.

“That incident has become a major tipping point in the world consciousness,” Mr Fowler said.

“There are enormous risks, but the massive size of it and the attention of the world media will be our best protection.”[10]

Kia Ora Gaza

Viva Palestina founder George Galloway (centre) congratulates the Kia Ora Gaza team for their significant contribution to the success of the international aid convoy to Gaza. From left: Roger Fowler, Julie Webb-Pullman, Pat O'Dea, Hone Fowler, Mousa Taher and Chris van Ryn

In October 2010, a six-person Kia Ora Gaza team was part of the huge Gaza aid convoy that successfully broke Israel’s blockade a few days ago to deliver desperately-needed medical supplies along with a message of international solidarity.

“Our Kiwi volunteers are authentic heros who put their bodies on the line to help people in need on the other side of the world,” said Grant Morgan, co-organiser of Kia Ora Gaza.

“We are celebrating their historic victory with a welcome home ceremony upon their arrival at the airport. We invite all supporters of Kia Ora Gaza to join in this special occasion.”

“We hope a big crowd will turn out to honour Roger Fowler, Chris van Ryn, Julie Webb-Pullman, Pat O'Dea, Mousa Taher and Hone Fowler, our six courageous Kiwis returning from Gaza.”[11]

2012 team

In June 2012, Kia Ora Gaza sent a four-person team to Gaza as part of an international aid convoy. Kiwi convoyers were Roger Fowler, Tali Williams, Gibran Janif and Hone Fowler.[12]

New exec

Roger Fowler, Hone Fowler, Tali Williams

In February 2013, at a leadership forum of Kia Ora Gaza, Grant Morgan stood down as chair of the solidarity network and editor of the website kiaoragaza.net. His departure had been well flagged over the past 12 months.

Grant has been busy with research and networking around the pending collapse of the international capitalist system. Now he needs to devote his energies to a capitalist collapse website as its launch date gets closer.

Kia Ora Gaza’s newly elected executive were Tali Williams, Roger Fowler and Hone Fowler.[13]

Baroud connection

Trbbbbbeeno.PNG

Mike Treen with Roger Fowler and Ramzy Baroud, Auckland Nabka march 2018.

References

  1. Biographies of six-person Kiwi Team to Gaza
  2. [Shadbolt's Bullshit & Jellybeans p136]
  3. [1] Long protest road leads to Gaza, Simon Collins, NZHerald, August 14, 2010
  4. [2] Long protest road leads to Gaza, Simon Collins, NZHerald, August 14, 2010
  5. [Ross Meurant: The Red Squad Story p168]
  6. [PV 5/12/88 p 3]
  7. SCOOP 11.9.05
  8. Initiating Members and Supporters of the NZ Committee to Free the Cuban Five
  9. [3] Long protest road leads to Gaza, Simon Collins, NZHerald, August 14, 2010
  10. [4] Long protest road leads to Gaza, Simon Collins, NZHerald, August 14, 2010
  11. [http://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/welcome-home-ceremony-for-kia-ora-gaza-team/ Welcome home ceremony for Kia Ora Gaza team on Sunday, Kia Ora Gaza media release, 27 October 2010}
  12. Ora Gaza website, accessed Dec. 2013
  13. KOG website, Foundation chair of Kia Ora Gaza steps down, 18 Feb. 2013