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Thursday, March 31, 2011

PROTEST SPEAKER OF ISRAELI KNESSET WHO ADMITS TO ETHNIC CLEANING OF PALESTINE



PROTEST SPEAKER OF ISRAELI KNESSET WHO ADMITS TO ETHNIC CLEANING OF PALESTINE

On Sunday Palestinian Human Rights activists will demonstrate in Auckland against the presence of the Speaker of the Israeli Knesset (parliament). The protest will be outside the Greys Avenue synagogue from 6.30pm.

The Auckland Jewish Council and the Zionist Federation of NZ are hosting an evening with Reuven“Rubi” Rivlin, Speaker of the Israeli Knesset.

He is one of the most powerful politicians in Israel and a friend of even the most fanatical members of the illegal settlement enterprise.When visiting Paris in October last year he spoke about the Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land and told his French counterpart that the Palestinians thought they did not have to make an effort in peace talks. He said, “Hundreds of thousands of Israelis live in the settlements, and they are not an obstacle to peace” adding “when the Palestinians realise that it is in their interest, there will be peace . . . the people of Israel want peace and not fantasies.”

Yet a month earlier, when objecting to a refusal by artists to perform in the settlement colony of Ariel, Rivlin let it slip ( as reported in the Israeli publication Maariv ) that what he called “the founders of Israel” had carried out a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing in Palestine.

PHRC spokesperson, Janfrie Wakim, says "such statements reveal the duplicity and contradictions used to justify the goals of Israeli state Zionism. Palestinians are denied the most basic human rights, including the right of self-determination in their own land, in flagrant violation of international law and scores of UN Security Council Resolutions".

Demolition of Palestinian houses and evictions that enable Jewish settlers to take over Palestinian homes along with destruction of Palestinian olive trees and crops bring great suffering to Palestinians add nothing to Israel's security.

Israel's annexation Wall, declared illegal by the World Court, and the blockade of Gaza effectively deny the UN-sanctioned right of Palestinians to return to their homes and property in the land from which they were driven.

Discrimination and a growing number of apartheid-style laws in Israel underline the philosophy behind Israel's assertion of a global Jewish 'right of return' to both the land under belligerent Israeli occupation and Israel's recognised 1967 borders.

"Rivlin is a representative of the Israeli government that enforces the deacdes of occupation of the West Bank and the inhumane blockade of Gaza" says Ms Wakim "so we encourage all supporters of Palestinian rights to support the demonstration outside the synagogue in Greys Avenue where Rivlin is speaking on Sunday evening at 7.30pm."

Assemble at 6.30pm.

CONTACT

Janfrie Wakim Palestine Human Rights Campaign 027 629 1004


Monday, March 28, 2011

Tariq Ali lectures see unprecedented crowds at Auckland University


Tariq Ali came to town last week and gave a series of lectures on the Arab revolutions, US power and the rise of China.

Ali, a lifelong anti-imperialist activist, novelist and socialist, drew massive crowds -unprecedented in the history of the University of Auckland. 2000 or more turned out to each of his lectures. You can see videos of each of his three talks here.

Socialist Aotearoa held stalls outside each of the lectures and supported the TEU pickets against the University Vice-Chancellor as part of their campaign of action in defence of their work conditions. We dished out 600 copies of a Tariq Ali special anti-capitalist and sold over 100 pamphlets mostly our very popular, Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa.


Not-So Revolutionary Egypt

Most people will know that the 25th of January marked the day when Egypt sought the freedoms and liberties that its people had long yearned for. Protests starting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square quickly radiated throughout all of Egypt, revolutionary discourse having spread from the Tunisian Revolution nearby. The people at long last embraced the power of the masses and collectively engaged in political conversation on a range of issues – legal and political, in terms of corruption, rigged elections, restriction of free speech and police brutality; or economic, in terms of low wages, high unemployment, absolute poverty and food price inflation.

Weeks of protests and violent clashes between citizens and the police saw the resignation of the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on the 11th of February. Mubarak turned power over to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, headed by Mohamed Tantawi, marking a day of great celebration and a feeling of triumph over corruption and injustice in Egypt.

The 25th January Revolution was in essence a fight for self-government. The question is, “Have they now got it?” A significant proportion of the population is still feeling that the revolution continues through ongoing protests and strikes. The Army Council, viewing continued action as a threat to the stability of the nation, has carried out repressive measures to silence the protesters, one of which was to issue a law criminalising protest, enforceable as long as the Emergency Law is in place (which has been in fact been in place since 1981). This law shamelessly legitimises atrocious acts that deny freedom of expression, a right that was supposedly won in the revolution. The Army’s recent attack on Cairo University students and professors, who were calling for the removal of Mubarak-affiliated university officials, is deplorable. And with Amnesty International’s allegations of torture, including forced virginity tests, inflicted by the Army on women protesters and the detaining of peaceful protesters and strikers for trial in front of military tribunals, the answer to the question posed earlier is – “not just yet”.

The not-so revolutionary interim government, made up of a few of Mubarak’s old cronies, including Gen. Ibrahim who headed Mubarak’s ‘Technical Assistance Department’ in charge of surveillance and phone tapping, even made time to receive the Bahraini foreign minister, Khaled Al Khalifa, amidst the Bahraini struggle for democracy. All of these factors should lead us to question whether the Army was ever truly expressing genuine solidarity with the Egyptian Revolution.

So despite the majority of about 77% Egyptian voters being in favour of the new constitution, the disbanding of State Security Intelligence (SSI) organisation and trialing of a number of corrupt statesmen, such as that of Mubarak’s Interior Minister Gen. Habib el-Adly, accused of murdering at least 360 protesters during the Tahrir Uprising, the fight is not over. The very ideals which fueled the revolution are under attack, and it is up to the people of Egypt – the people who were in Tahrir Square, the men in the self-defense committees defending their homes and love ones, the women involved in the protests – to keep the struggle alive in their hearts, to protect Egypt from the hands of foreign and domestic forces who would love nothing better than to see it the revolution crushed.

- Hala Nasr, SA Auckland

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Eco-socialism or capitalist catastrophe


“So many problems, so little time” has become the catch-phrase of environmental scientists in many academic circles. What’s more frustrating is the fact that the intellectual and monetary resources are available to solve the world’s major sustainability issues, but governments and institutions are prioritizing propping up failing banks and funding military campaigns.

Environmentalist David Bellamy sums it up nicely when saying; “Environmental scientists know how to solve all the major environmental problems of the world, but too many people are still making too much money from doing things the wrong way”.

What the capitalists, along with the submissive public and deleterious regimes which support this system of environmental abuse fail to understand is that the economy, held aloft in importance, is completely dependant on ecology and healthy ecosystems for survival.

Think about all the life-support systems that we rely on, without really having them on our conscious minds. The plants producing our air, the filtering of our water, the food chains that we over-exploit; all of this is under-valued and forgotten, but if any of it were to fail, the consequences would be dire for life on this planet.

Climate changes have occurred often over the 4 + billion year geological time span, but there is no doubt that the current warming and sea level rise has been caused by human greenhouse gas emissions. However, as oil is the blood of capitalism, we must realise that depletion of this resource and subsequent crisis may occur before any negative effects of global warming are felt.

Oil itself is actually a chemical rich resource of hydrocarbon molecules that can be molecularly ‘designed’ in such a way to fit many industrial applications. Synthetic fibres, fertilisers, medicines and plastics, plus many, many more, are all derived from crude oil and it is obvious that the above are all mainstays of modern human existence.

Unless we begin to find alternatives now, human society will face annihilation in the near future. While the old elites live it up on our blood sweat and tears, they know that squeezing out a few more years of debauchery won’t matter as they won’t be around when crisis hits. All the while, we experience price hikes, GST and don’t forget the burden on future generations due to this ecological mismanagement.

Why is it that we find it so hard to force change and take these problems seriously? Personally, I feel that there is a failure to transmit ecological and environmental knowledge to the masses. Instead, the knowledge = power paradigm holds sway, whereby a privileged, educated few hold the keys to our collective problems.

As socialists and leftists I feel there has been a tendency to steer away from science in general, placing more of a focus on learning and understanding the liberal arts. Even though these areas are vitally important, basic scientific understanding, especially of the environment, will be essential in any post-capitalist world.

Ultimately, most of the problems we face, environmental or social, come from science being taken hostage by capitalist interests. Our great minds and thinkers are swayed by the higher pays offered by corporations whose only interest is in using science to further environmental degradation.

We as socialists must also become more environmentally aware as individuals. One of the reasons that change has been so slow in coming is the fact that city life has limited our perspective. We are made to feel ‘safe’ from the elements in its confines and therefore disconnected from our true habitat.

Environmental activism and socialism go hand-in-hand, as the problems faced by society are issues of sustainability and resource limitations. How do we use the limited resources of this planet to ensure equality for generations ahead? Although it is a difficult question to answer, the current generation, with its access to information and ideas, has the power to make change happen.

-Emmett Durso, SA Auckland

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bahraini student: “The more they kill, the more the protests grow”


Bahraini student: “The more they kill, the more the protests grow”

The following interview was recorded at Auckland University on 25 March 2011.

Could you explain a little bit about yourself and how your background?

I am from Bahrain, and came to study in New Zealand after I received a scholarship to study from our Government.

I am from one of the opposition villages. Opposition villages are a main point of resistance to the Government since the 1980s. Before the revolution there were protests in the centre of the village every night. This has been going on since the 1980s. Between 1994 and 2000 40 people died as part of an uprising against the monarchy.

The youth will go out each night, burn tyres and demand freedom of the prisoners and also for democratic reforms.

The police would come and fire tear gas and many of the men in my village would be arrested and jailed for protesting. Often the protests turned violent when protesters fought back.

Some of the protesters are only 17 years old when they are imprisoned, often for four year sentences. Currently 40 men from a village of only 600 households are imprisoned.

Who are the main forces in the opposition at the moment?

During the 1980s the Islamists were leading the revolutionary uprisings. The Islamists are mostly led by clerics inspired by the Iranian revolution. In the 1990s, the opposition to the Monarchy was joined by liberals and socialists. In the 1960s there was a communist uprising.

The uprising today is united and supported by all of the people. The main division today is between those who are calling for democratic reforms and those who are calling for the overthrow of the regime.

How did the current uprising begin?

The current uprising was inspired like the other Arab revolutions by events in Tunisia and Egypt. The youth created a facebook page called the 14th February Revolution. They said we are going to have a march to the CBD in Manama and we would all march from there. On the 14th of February the police closed the roads surrounding the CBD to prevent protests. So the protest leaders called for demonstrations in every town and village and this is what happened. Although protests were small, they were attacked by police who shot demonstrators and one person died. The funeral of that man Ali Mushaima was then attacked by the police and another person died at the funeral.

We all united after this and we said we are all going to protest and demand reform.

What began to unfold at the Pearl Roundabout after February 14th?

It was more like a celebration than a protest. It was like a carnival, we even had popcorn vendors. People were chanting, women and children were there and tents were erected.

The night before the Pearl Roundabout was attacked we began to see and hear Government broadcasts that said that soldiers were coming. We thought that this was just to scare the protesters but at 3am on the 17th of Feb the Government attacked.

My uncle was there and he called our family to tell us about the attack. He said, “They are attacking!” They used rubber bullets, sound bombs, tear gas. The wounded were taken to Salmaniya hospital complex but they were prevented by the soldiers from getting in.

We had the funerals for the five martyrs who died on the 17th. I went to the funeral of a man from my village in his sixties who was killed while he was in handcuffs at the hospital by a Bahraini soldier who shot him.

The man was shouting at the soldiers because his son was injured and was being detained inside the hospital. The soldier who shot the man first told another soldier to shoot the man and when he didn’t he said, “I’ll show you how to kill a man” and shot him.

Maybe 3000 people turned out at the man’s funeral to march to the graveyard. The opposition leaders gave speeches and were still demanding democratic reforms but the people were demanding a complete overthrow of the regime.


How have the protests changed you?

I’ve never had the attitude to speak against the Government but now we are not afraid of death, of weapons, of the regime. I feel proud and I really want to see the day when the al-Khalifah family leave the country, they are not part of us, they are from Saudi Arabia. They occupied Bahrain 200 years ago with the support of the British government.

What role are unions and socialists playing in the uprising?
Unions are playing a role through strikes. Teachers’ and doctors’ union representatives were in Pearl Roundabout giving speeches and telling people to not go to work and guiding people through the revolution.

The socialists in Bahrain work through the Democratic Action Society which is mainly led by socialists and we all support them. They have representation from Sunni, Shiite and Christians. The Government prevented them from entering the Parliament because they are scared of them. The Government don’t like them because they are not sectarian and that is the only card they Government can play against the opposition.

What will happen today and in the future?

There is going to be a massacre. The Saudi troops don’t see us as humans. They have the same mentality as al-Qaeda. There will be a massacre and the protests will continue. The deaths are the fuel of the revolution. The more they kill, the more protests will get stronger.

What can we do in New Zealand to support the revolutionaries?

Condemn American support for the Bahraini King. We have never heard anything from America to condemn the King. They armed him and he is a big friend of them.

What will happen after the revolution?

We will have a republic. We won’t support the American agenda in the Middle East. The social and economic problems will be solved because Bahrain is a rich country. The royal family has enslaved everything above and below the ground and this will end. Then the Government can solve the economic problem s of the distribution of wealth and also provide support for the forces fighting against Israel, Hamas and Hizbollah to deal with the major problem in the Middle East – Israel. Maybe this is why the Americans don’t want the royal family to fall. (Laughs)

What is the situation for people like you, the Bahraini international students?

Scholarships are getting cut off in Britain and Saudi Arabia for students and some students returning to Bahrain are being arrested. I could get arrested or have my scholarship cut off for protesting or speaking out against the Government. This could happen to the 30 Bahraini students studying here in Auckland.

Just recently 3 students returning to Bahrain from Saudi Arabia were arrested an no one know where they are or what will happen to them. Their only crime was to ‘insult the king.’

-Interview by Socialist Aotearoa

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Auck Uni Forum: Capitalism and the Climate Crisis

Recommended reading is Eco-spcialism and capitalist catastrophe by Emmett Durso and Evo Morales's speech, 'Save the Planet from Capitalism'.

"Competition and the thirst for profit without limits of the capitalist system are destroying the planet. Under Capitalism we are not human beings but consumers. Under Capitalism Mother Earth does not exist, instead there are raw materials. Capitalism is the source of the asymmetries and imbalances in the world. It generates luxury, ostentation and waste for a few, while millions in the world die from hunger in the world. In the hands of capitalism everything becomes a commodity: the water, the soil, the human genome, the ancestral cultures, justice, ethics, death … and life itself. Everything, absolutely everything, can be bought and sold and under capitalism. And even “climate change” itself has become a business."
Evo Morales, President of Bolivia

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stop the NATO Bombing of Libya- Victory to the Arab Revolution.


"But presumably, once Gaddafi's been dealt with, these dictators will back a UN resolution to bomb themselves, declaring, "The international community can no longer sit back and watch me trample on my own people, so I must be stopped. I give myself three days to recognise the opposition and call elections, otherwise I will assist Nato in bombing myself."
Socialist Mark Steele in the British Independent Newspaper

Western military intervention in Libya is being sold to us as “humanitarian intervention” to defend the revolution.

The uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s brutal regime that began on 17 February remains an inspiration.

Gaddafi responded with attacks on civilians, the aerial bombardment of demonstrations, mass round-ups and executions.

This left many people in despair, and feeling that Western intervention was the only solution to save their lives.

But the West’s interests are not those of the Libyan revolution.

Western governments are not innocent or impartial. They are using this opportunity to reassert their influence in the region.

The ruling class has been rocked by the mass popular revolutions which brought down their allies—Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt.

If the West’s support for popular revolutions against violent dictators is genuine, then why are they not supporting all the revolutions?

Where is the challenge to the repression of protests in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen?

Hypocrisy

This week Israel launched yet more air attacks on Gaza—but the West has never threatened Israel with a no-fly zone.

The hypocrisy of imperialism is clear. These regimes are allies of the West, so it allows them to act with impunity. Ben Ali and Mubarak enjoyed Western support until it was clear that they were finished.

The Arab League’s support for the West’s actions has been used as a cover.

Yet the Arab League is made up of the very same dictators that the revolutions are trying to bring down.

They have proved to be solid allies of Western imperialism in the past and have shown no mercy to the popular movements in their own countries.

This alliance is already showing signs of fragmenting as the reality of the bombing becomes clear.

After the first day of the attack, Amr Moussa, head of the Arab League, complained, “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone, and what we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians.”

Western intervention is not about protecting innocent civilians or furthering the cause of the revolution.

It is aimed at guaranteeing the deals made with Gaddafi by the West in the past. Western powers have, from the beginning, made it difficult for the revolution to succeed on its own terms.

Libya’s Transitional National Council (TNC), the body that grew out of the revolution, made a series of simple demands in the first crucial days of the uprising. It asked for the recognition of the TNC, access to the billions in sequestrated regime funds in order to buy weapons and other crucial supplies, and an immediate halt to the “mercenary flights” that provided Gaddafi’s regime with its foot soldiers.

Western governments refused to accept even one of these demands. They even objected to weapons sales as they said these could fall into the hands of “Islamist terrorists.”

Objected

Instead, Western powers put a number of conditions on the revolution.

They demanded that any future Libyan government would honour all contracts signed by Gaddafi, including oil concessions.

They demanded that the strict repression of “Islamist” movements continue, and that any future government maintain Libya’s role as a guardian against African migration into southern Europe.

The West, in effect, blackmailed the revolution.

“Humanitarian intervention” has a bloody history. The case for humanitarian intervention made during the Balkan Wars in the 1990s became a cover for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Troops still occupy both countries. The war in Afghanistan is in its tenth year.

The ruling class has been thrown into turmoil by the huge movements sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.

Now it is using its intervention as a way of regaining its foothold and rebuilding its credibility.

There is no guarantee that the West will leave Libya fast, and the danger of partition is real.

The Libyan revolution is not lost—but it has been forced to make compromises.

The demands for freedom, for an end to poverty and oppression still burn strongly.

The movements from below provide hope for any real long-term future for the people of the region.


The following should be read alongside this article:

Western intervention in Libya means devastation and war

UN: a council of murderers

There is an alternative to Western intervention

The 'precision' bombs that kill

Cameron's hands bloodied by arms sales

Disgraceful - only 13 MPs vote against war on Libya

The cost of Britain's war on Libya - £3 million a day





Nobody should believe that military intervention in Libya by Britain, France and the US will bring democracy and freedom.

12 reasons to oppose air strikes...

  1. David Cameron claims to be a friend of the uprisings against the dictators in the Middle East and North Africa. But his first response to the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt was to roam the region trying to peddle armaments and to sell more guns to the reactionary kings and emirs.
  2. The air war now will be about grabbing control of oil and entrenching Western power, not supporting democracy.
  3. The reactionary regimes of the Arab world were propped up for decades by the Western powers who now pose as friends of the Libyan people.
  4. Two years ago Hillary Clinton greeted Gaddafi’s son to the US State Department, and said, “We deeply value the relationship between the United States and Libya. We have many opportunities to deepen and broaden our cooperation and I am very much looking forward to building on this relationship.” The claims to be for liberation now are deeply hypocritical.
  5. The air war is supported by states such as Qatar and the UAE – who have sent their forces to take action alongside Saudi Arabia in crushing the resistance in Bahrain. The US fifth fleet is anchored in Bahrain – as the killing goes on.
  6. The US and Britain which now pose as a friend of democracy have been involved in mass murder in Iraq and Afghanistan. On Thursday a US drone slaughtered 38 people in Waziristan, Pakistan.
  7. The US and Britain makes much of the fact that the Arab League backs air attacks. But the Arab League is stuffed with regimes that are fighting their own people in the streets. They include Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. These are no friends of democracy.
  8. The French government that now threatens Libya supported Tunisia’s Ben Ali almost until the end. According to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, President Sarkozy received election funding in 2007 from the Libyan regime!
  9. The air war will almost certainly lead to escalation. If air strikes don’t break Gadaffi, then the argument will grow for troops and an invasion. Intervention could lead to the partition of Libya and the creation of a NATO-backed enclave. It will be an outpost of imperialism and could be used to halt further developments of the revolutionary process in Egypt and elsewhere.
  10. Western military intervention will allow Gaddafi to pose as an antiimperialist. It can help to strengthen him.
  11. Imperialist intervention is never in the interest of the oppressed and exploited. It will strengthen those elements that seek to impose the power of capital across the Middle East and North Africa and across the globe. It will be throwing into reverse the process of revolution which has been an inspiration to us all.
  12. We want Gadaffi’s regime to go. But the only effective way to remove Gaddafi and to break the Libyan military in the interests of workers and the masses is the development of the process of revolution across the Arab world – in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and elsewhere. That is not an abstract idea. The glorious movements that tore down Ben Ali and Mubarak have continued to demand further political and social change. This is the hope for the region and the world.

No to military intervention!

Victory to the Arab Revolutions!





British Anti-War activist George Galloway on SKY TV

Video and Statement from MP Keith Locke of the NZ Green party opposing Western intervention in Libya- http://links.org.au/node/2225

Bradley Manning is a hero

“I want people to see the truth.” -Bradley Manning

For the past ten months, the United States government, in its pursuit of the Global War on Terror, has been keeping Bradley Manning under lock and key in preparation for his trial. Accused of leaking classified government information, the 23-year-old Private First Class is a viewed as a hero by advocates of government transparency, and as a threat to freedom by those defenders of established interests who like to fret about “National Security”.

In recent months, disturbing facts about the conditions of Manning’s detention have come to light. His lawyer alleges that Manning has been subject to 23-hour solitary confinement and made to undergo torture techniques such as forced nudity and sleep deprivation. Manning, held in custody at a Marine Corps base, poses no threat to any person, or even to any “National Security”. He has not been convicted of any crimes. Yet daily he has to endure this punishment at the hands of the American security state. Why?

Officials at the Quantico base say that he is on “Prevention of Injury” watch, and that forcing him to stand naked for roll call at 5am in the morning is necessary so that he doesn’t attempt to hurt himself using his clothes. This is in spite of the fact that no one has declared Manning to be a suicide risk – indeed, the military’s psychiatrists have recommended that the Prevention of Injury restrictions be removed at least 16 times. One expert, Terry Kupers, has said that the conditions he is being held in make Manning more likely to become suicidal. There is no rational basis for the degrading and inhumane treatment this man has suffered.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the United States government wants this case to act as a deterrent to any future potential whistle-blowers. Manning is meant to serve as an example to all those who might consider similar actions in the future. Only recently, a State Department official was forced to resign after making comments critical of Manning’s treatment. The message is being sent loud and clear: “We will brook no dissent.”

-Kadin Prideaux, SA Auckland

Friday, March 18, 2011

Saudi Arabia- Blood on Your Hands- Freedom for Bahrain!


Guardian's Martin Chulov: "The hub of Bahrain's uprising has been destroyed. Pearl Roundabout now a mess of soil & debri. Flags, tents - & maybe legacy - gone."

Global Peace and Justice Auckland and the Bahraini Community in New Zealand at the protest at the Saudi Cultural Consulate following the Saudi massacre of peaeceful protestors at Pearl ROundabout, and occupation of Bahrain by Saudi troops







video HERE and HERE

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Solidarity with Bahrain's revolution- Saudi Troops Out!






Time
18 March · 16:00 - 19:00

Location
Friday 4pm action- txt GPJA at 029 44 55 702, Saturday action- gather at Aotea Square at 2pm. March to Saudi Consulate.

Created by:

More info
The peaceful protestors at the Pearl Roundabout in Bahrain have again been slaughtered. A month ago, it was by their own Government. Now, it is with the support of foreign Saudi troops.

On Friday 18th at 4pm, GPJA will take part in direct action.
On Saturday 19th at 2pm, we will gather in Aotea Square, to listen to members of the Bahraini Community and their supporters, before we march to the Saudi Consulate.

Saudi Troops Out.
Down with the Bahraini Junta.
Power to the People
Victory to the Bahraini Revolution.

more info at-
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=188981107789270

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Eyewitness to Egypt revolution speaks at Auckland Uni



Kareem from Egypt discusses his experiences and views on the Egypt revolution at the Middle East Solidarity vigil in the Auckland University Quad.

AUSA debates Zionism as Exec overturns SJP Forum Solidarity

There was debate on Auckland University campus again today as students reacted to the AUSA Executive overturning a democratic vote to support last week's Freedom Forum. In the following video, the main arguments for and against are presented, and the debate deepens to examine the nature of the Zionist state in Israel. Many students are now calling for a Referendum to be held, to stop bureaucratic maneuvering on such an important issue of solidarity with those fighting oppression.


Muhamed Hassan from Egypt represents Students for Justice in Palestine


Gilad, from the Jewish Society, makes an unfortunate analogy about red heads


Ben Smith, AUSA International Affairs Officer, disagrees with his fellow Exec members overturning the democratic decision of the Student Forum, and gets a response from one of those involved.


Muhamed from SJP replies to the AUSA Exec's justifications


and after a camera power cut, Muhamed concludes his argument


Sam from the Jewish Society argues what the role of AUSA should be, and it shouldn't be "supporting Palestine under the radar".


Joe from Socialist Aotearoa talks about how AUSA took sides against injustice before, and should do so again


Gilad from the Jewish Society concludes


Joe from Socialist Aotearoa concludes by naming world famous Jewish activists who are opposed to Zionism- Marek Edelman, Noam Chomsky (and the third was going to be Howard Zinn). The AUSA Exec have the final word, saying that the Student union should only concentrate on domestic issues and leave international issues to other groups.

After this, no vote is taken, and many students begin arguing that we now need a referendum, if the Executive ignores the wishes of its Student Forum.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Critical Decisions Ahead for Hone Harawira


Commentary- John Minto

The poll results from Maori Televisions’ Native Affairs programme last night showing a third of Maori voters would consider voting for a Hone Harawira-led political party should not be a surprise to anyone.

Neither should it be surprising that on key issues Hone Harawira is driving (jobs, the rise in GST, tax cuts for the wealthy, and the sale of state-owned enterprises), a large majority of Maori voters are in tune with what he is saying.

It’s ironic that the foreshore and seabed is no longer such a dominant Maori concern. It was the raison-d’être of the Maori Party which was formed following the 15,000 strong hikoi to parliament in 2004, led of course by Hone Harawira, but is now being left behind by the bread and butter issues of everyday struggle.

In reality the foreshore and seabed was a lightning rod for other issues, most notably huge disaffection with government policies which saw working New Zealanders and their families fall further behind in the first five years of the last Labour government.

What the poll showed starkly is that Hone Harawira is much more closely in tune with Maori voters and the aspirations of Maori families than his former Maori Party colleagues. While Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples went willingly with National and have provided political cover for John Key on such things as a raft of anti-worker legislation, tax policy which has shifted the burden further onto the low-paid and another round of beneficiary bashing, Harawira has presented a fresh approach in line with Maori aspirations.

It’s easy to see that in any scenario the Maori Party itself will struggle in the November election. It will find itself squeezed between Labour’s determination to destroy it (putting Shane Jones head to head with Pita Sharples in Tamaki is a declaration of war) and a Hone Harawira led party which headlines the bread and butter issues of most concern to Maori.

Labour will run a negative campaign saying a vote for the Maori Party is a vote for National and this will strike a chord with voters who cringe seeing Sharples and Turia riding shotgun for John Key while he attacks low-paid workers and beneficiaries. Unsurprisingly the Native Affairs poll shows a big majority of Maori voters continue to prefer a Maori Party coalition with Labour rather than National.

The problem for Labour regaining the Maori vote is it doesn’t have a clear message on most of the key issues. In its early days National was described as Labour-lite but in November it will be Labour campaigning as National-lite. Hone Harawira will have a clearer field to drive hard on issues of greatest concern to Maori voters.

The limiting factor for Harawira is his stated preference for his new party to be Maori-led and Maori focused. That immediately limits its appeal to a broad section of working New Zealanders who would readily support the policies he advocates. In remaining Maori focused Harawira will be able to successfully tap into the third of Maori voters identified as prepared to support a party he leads but it will cut the party off from struggling New Zealand families across the board. It’s too big a jump to expect a working class pakeha family to support a Maori focused party even if it has great working class policies.

If Harawira sticks with this view he will be building a left-wing Maori Party – one which won’t resonate and which risks being marginalized with at most just two or three seats. However if he embraces a wider-view and articulates for working New Zealanders across the board he could garner much broader impact.

Also limiting his appeal is his already strong branding as a Maori activist on Maori issues. Transitioning to broader public support will depend on the look of the party list he is able to muster. Bringing on people with strong backgrounds in supporting workers’ struggles will be critical. Without this it will be all but impossible to persuade a significant section of working New Zealanders to give him their vote.

Meanwhile Labour’s reaction is as predictable as ever. Party leader Phil Goff has ruled out working with Hone Harawira post election. As I’ve said before, if push comes to shove Labour would prefer a grand coalition with National than linking up with a left-wing ally. Even the Green Party was too much for them – Labour continues to prefer the likes of Winston Peters. National-lite indeed.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Irish New Left Comes of Age

The five newly elected TDs of the United Left Alliance began their first day of the new Dail on the streets with the people. Richard Boyd-Barrett, Clare Daly, Seamus Healy, Joan Collins and Joe Higgins were joined by over two hundred supporters and well wishers as they assembled at the Central Bank and marched to Dail Eireann to take their seats.

Commentary: Sinead Kennedy,
Irish SWP

One of the more eye-catching trends in last week’s General Election was the emergence of the radical left as a viable political force. The success of five candidates from the United Left Alliance was arguably the most significant expression of a radicalisation of the Irish electorate. Here Sinéad Kennedy examines the potential of the ULA and suggests that the recent electoral successes mark an historic opportunity for the advance of the Irish left.

In the end, it was a former Fianna Fáil candidate, Noel Whelan, who described it best: ‘Irish people rioted at the ballot box.’ After two years of crisis and austerity, people finally took revenge against a government that had left the country broken, bankrupt and in the hands of EU/IMF receivership.

General election 2011 did indeed prove to be as historic as many had predicted, although, ultimately, for very different reasons to those suggested. If 2011 proves to be significant as the year that marked the beginning of the end for Fianna Fáil and old-style civil war politics, it may also prove to be historic as the year that marked the emergence of a new player in Irish politics, the radical left.

The post-election analysis frenzy has paid relatively little attention to the leftward shift of Irish politics. It is a trend that has been visible, although largely ignored, for some years, particularly in Dublin and especially during the last local and European elections. Both Labour and Sinn Féin put in their best ever performance in this election and the radical left, in the guise of the United Left Alliance, made a significant breakthrough, winning five seats.

Overall, the left vote in this election has been estimated at 42% with just under half of that going to Labour. Harry Browne has pointed out that the combined share of the first-preferences for the two ‘major’ parties was 53.5%, the lowest in the history of the State. Since 1927, the joint Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael share has always been well over 60%. This shift is most pronounced in Dublin where the left vote (including Labour) is running at approximately 60%.

While political commentators are all too eager to focus on the breakthrough of Fine Gael, their increase is far from dramatic. In fact, they increased their vote by just 9%, gaining barely over a third of the decline in Fianna Fáil’s support. The majority of those who abandoned Fianna Fáil actually went to the left, splitting between Labour, Sinn Féin, the United Left Alliance and various Independents, mostly of a leftist disposition. In other words, while there has been a shift to Fine Gael, there has been a more significant shift to the left.

It was a breakthrough that many felt was long overdue. Since the onset of the crisis in late 2008, many on both the left and the right argued that the Irish had become incapable of sustained protest and resistance. As their European brothers and sisters in Portugal, France and Greece fiercely opposed the introduction of austerity measures, Irish resistance remained distantly muted, leading many on both sides of the political spectrum to claim that the Irish were simply inherently conservative.



So confident was Brian Lenihan of this innate conservatism that he felt secure enough to boast: ‘The steps taken have impressed our partners in Europe, who are amazed at our capacity to take pain. In France, you would have riots if you tried to do this.’ Former Fine Gael Minister, Ivan Yates, claimed that in casting their ballots as they had the electorate had in effect ‘signed up for years of harsh medicine’. The neoliberal enthusiasts who are presently negotiating the formation of a new government might do well to remember that the last party that talked of ‘harsh medicine’ was promptly decimated.

Coming from a different political perspective, Fintan O’Toole argued that nothing ever changes in Irish politics and that the electorate would simply substitute one right of centre party with another: ‘Come Saturday morning, like every morning after every election in the history of the State, right-of-centre establishment politics will be triumphant… Is there any other democracy where 55% of the electorate would freely vote for a €15 billion austerity programme combined with a €100 billion transfer of wealth from citizens to banks? And let’s be clear – this vote is free.’

However, this is to seriously misread the outlook of the Irish electorate. Exit polls showed that the overwhelming motive behind voting in the General Election was anger. Certainly, Fine Gael saw its vote increase nationally by 14%. As corporate Ireland shifted its allegiance away from Fianna Fáil, the Blueshirts amassed an enormous war chest of €2.25 million garnered mainly through corporate donations.

Ireland’s ruling elites have for some time been yearning for a ‘stable’ single party government that would ‘sort out’ the population, take on the ‘vested interests’ of the trade unions and impose rampant austerity. Fine Gael have happily obliged, promising significant job losses in the public sector, a fire sale of public assets, along with Thatcherite austerity through low taxation and cuts in state expenditure. These neoliberal policies received little or no analysis, with commentators content to accept the invitation to focus on the party’s voter friendly ‘five-point plan’.

While a section of the upper middle class backed Fine Gael’s right wing policies with enthusiasm, what the majority of voters heard was a message about ‘change’. They either used Fine Gael as a vehicle to get rid of Fianna Fáil or were attracted to ambiguous rhetoric about ending the ‘two tier health system’ or their job creation plan. Far from the election result being an enthusiastic endorsement of austerity, it represents a sharp class polarisation in Irish society that has occurred over the past two years, a shift that is only confirmed by the increase in support for the far left.

However, the most remarkable feature of this election has to be the emergence of the left as a significant political force in Irish society. A new left-wing force, the United Left Alliance, now has more TDs than Fianna Fáil in Dublin. A decision by Sinn Féin to tack left over the past year also led to big gains, mainly outside Dublin, and while Labour did its best to position itself firmly in the centre, its increased vote expresses an aversion among ordinary people to the Thatcherism hatched within Fine Gael.

The United Left Alliance now has five TDs, one MEP and nearly twenty local representatives, making the ULA a growing voice in Irish politics. The only real precedent for this success was the advances made by the Workers Party in the 1980s. The United Left Alliance is however different to the old Workers Party in two significant but crucial ways. Firstly, it opposes any involvement with, or support for, right-wing parties. It is a principled left alliance that has grown out of struggle and resistance rather than simply emerging as an appendage of republicanism. The politics of the United Left Alliance mean that it will seek to promote the self-mobilisation of people as opposed to parliamentary manoeuvring as the key to change.

Secondly, and most importantly, the United Left Alliance has emerged within a very different context. Ireland is one of the weakest links in the chain of global capitalism and the scale of the crisis here is unprecedented. There are no easy solutions to this crisis available to Irish capitalism.

None of this is to underestimate the enormity of the tasks facing the United Left Alliance. Left parliamentary activity cannot substitute for the vulnerability and fear that Irish workers are experiencing. It can only assist the awakening of a new mood of resistance. However, provided it becomes a party of struggle, it has the potential to grow dramatically.

In order to grow, the United Left Alliance will need to engage in new ideological struggles to match its electoral gains. It will have to convince a large number of workers to break from a trade union leadership that has systematically cultivated a mood of defeatism by sabotaging struggle, refusing to defend the public sector and urging acceptance of pay cuts and austerity lite.

In order to resist the vicious policies of Fine Gael and its enablers, the ULA will have to offer not simply a critique of the ideological assumptions used to justify austerity, but some account of alternative ways out of the crisis. Simply reverting to some version of Keynesianism, as many mainstream critics of austerity measures are prone to do, is not sufficient, most immediately because this approach fails to confront the fact that conflicting class interests are at play in the different economic strategies currently being advanced.



All of this means that the United Left Alliance faces a huge responsibility. There is a growing consensus within the Alliance that it should become a single radical party and bring together, under one banner, the different elements of the radical left while simultaneously allowing for difference and debate. In order for this to happen, there will need to be a process of open discussion to lay the basis for this new left-wing party. However, crucially, within these discussions the United Left Alliance must open itself to the many new activists whose hopes have been raised by the Irish left coming of age.

Speech from Comrade Joe Higgins HERE

Power - a poem from the solidarity vigil last night



A poem from the solidarity vigil held at Auckland University last night.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Video- Christchurch, Disaster Socialism and the Shock Doctrine









Socialist Aotearoa's Omar Hamed presents Naomi Klein's analysis of the Shock Doctrine, before examining how the National Party Government in New Zealand attempts to ram through attacks on the poor following the earthquake in Christchurch. Concluding, Joe Carolan presents a three point plan for resisting the Shock Doctrine in Aotearoa today.

Disaster Socialism or Shock Doctrine

Disaster socialism

1. The amazing response by the people of Christchurch to start co-operatively organising the rescue efforts, food and water provisions and the pooling of community resources even in the absence of “law and order” has been amazing.
2. One community collective of anarchists, Beyond Resistance, in the working class Christchurch East suburbs has been, “Using cars, bikes or on foot, they have managed to take prepared food and water out to those in need. Often they are the first contact with the outside world for Christchurch East residents, and their efforts have been very appreciated. Bottled water, soup, vegetables and gas canisters for cookers have been the main items of need.”
3. When faced with a terrible natural disaster people work together collectively and co-operatively without distinction of class or hierarchy.
4. In one suburb – Addington the Addington Action Committee — a residents based group which has sprung up in response to the Earthquake. "While not hit as hard as CHCH East, the area is home to a number of potentially vulnerable people, with public housing, the Salvation Army addiction support centre, elderly residents and young families based in the area. A help centre has been set up and activists are out talking to the community." (Beyond Resistance blog)
5. Around New Zealand people have been offering homes for those left homeless, Fiji has offered free holidays, and tens of thousands of Red Cross volunteers and fundraisers have been working hard to support the people affected.
6. Beyond Resistance again “Innumerable deeds of mutual aid have taken place among neighbours, spontaneous soup kitchens and distribution centres have sprung up throughout the city, whilst surrounding towns amassed aid and support for the most vulnerable. As the initial hours turned into days, and days into weeks, thousands of people have come to realise: when things turn bad, we are left to fend for ourselves.
7. “Communities have grown through the crises, neighbourhoods have taken control of their situations, neighbours have become friends and the momentum continues. There is a palpable sense of anger and betrayal felt by many and it’s up to us community activists and organisers to help assist these loosely connected groups become a force to ensure that nothing like what we have all witnessed is allowed to happen again.”
8. The organisation of large sections of economy under private ownership to make private profit through the exploitation of workers as wage slaves is based on the ideological assertion that human society is naturally competitive, self-interested and driven only by material reward. The aftermath of natural disasters shows the absolute opposite. Humans are naturally co-operative, prepared to make incredible sacrifices and brave terrible dangers for complete strangers, and will work incredibly hard and make generous contributions for no material reward except to help other people.
9. As John Minto said, “Our economy has always been at odds with our natural instincts. However we have been sold the idea that our life choices arise from our role as consumers in the marketplace rather than from those of interconnected and co-dependent citizens. It’s a bad fit because at heart we deeply respect the lives of our fellow human beings.”
10. Socialism is the belief that the economy should be democratically controlled and owned by workers. We should not divide humanity into two rival classes. The shareholding capitalist class who live in mansions, own private jets and who holiday in Europe each year and for whom the quake is a brief interruption. And the working class who are being forced to by the Christchurch city council to pay full rent on their council flats even when they have no power, sewage or running water, who have lost jobs and incomes and will have to move to another city, who are always the last to get portaloos and help from central Government and who in 6 months will be lectured on going to find a job, get off the benefit and why their public services are being cut by some smarmy working group.
11. The class struggle between the shareholding class and the working class under capitalism in New Zealand is taking the shape of wage cuts, cuts to public services like early childhood education, raised GST, mass unemployment, welfare reform and the transfer of wealth from the public sector to the private sector through bailouts and privatisation.
12. This class struggle will go on until either workers consent to be absolute slaves or until the working class overthrows the capitalist class in a socialist revolution and gets rid of all classes and all property.
13. "Real socialism is based on a few straightforward principles. The world's vast resources should be used not to increase the riches of a few parasites, but to eradicate poverty and homelessness and every other form of scarcity forever. Rather than fighting wars that promote the power of the tiny class of rulers at the top, the working majority in society should cooperate in the project of creating a world of plenty. The important decisions shouldn't be left in the hands of people who are either rich or controlled by people who are rich, but should be made by everyone democratically. Instead of a system that crushes our hopes and dreams, we should live in a world where we control our own lives." (Alan Maass, Case for Socialism)
14. "A disaster is not a revolution, but it can reveal--in a flash that seems gone the moment after it arrives--the capacity we human beings have to reorder our lives in a new, cooperative way, leaving behind the degradation, oppression, violence and corruption that is our daily fare under capitalism." (Paul D'Amato, Disaster socialism)

Shock doctrine
1. The Shock Doctrine is a thesis expanded by Naomi Klein in her book by the same name, that neo-liberal ideologues have long used the window of opportunity that economic crisis, natural disasters and other such events to initiate disaster capitalism – the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock.
2. Klein examines the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans where public housing was destroyed and never rebuilt, Thailand after the Boxing day tsunami land that had once been the site of fishing villages was given to hotel corporations for redevelopment.
3. Klein asks whether disaster capitalism has succeded or failed. To quote one reviewer, “As Klein sees it, free market shock therapy may actually have succeeded in achieving its true objectives. Post-invasion Iraq may be "a ghoulish dystopia where going to a simple business meeting could get you lynched, burned alive or beheaded". Even so, Klein points out, Halliburton is making handsome profits - it has built the green zone as a corporate city-state, and taken on many of the traditional functions of the armed forces in Iraq. An entire society has been destroyed, but the corporations that operate in the ruins are doing rather well. Klein's message, then, seems to be that - at least in its own, profit-centred terms - disaster capitalism works.”
4. The IMF has sent a mission to assess New Zealand’s economy. The IMF has identified spending on payments to families, interest-free student loans and subsidized doctor visits as areas for possible review.
5. John Key is looking at changes to interest free students loans, working for families and further cut backs and privatisation.
6. Fran O’Sullivan, NZ Herald’s voice of the business community said, “It's now time for Len Brown to flick a few of the Auckland Council's gold-plated assets to fund his pet infrastructure project instead of asking for tax funds.” Even while the Australian private equity corporation that owns Tv3 gets a $43 million bail out. SCF got a $1.7 billion bail out nearly enough to fund a inner city rail loop, so why do we have to sell our assets to get the resources we need to sort out our congestion problems in Auckland.
7. The irrationality of the response to a natural as opposed to a manmade disaster is astounding. As Chris Trotter pointed out, “If you’ve lost your job because of the earthquake you’re immediately entitled to receive $500.00 per week (close to the minimum wage). But, if you’ve lost your job because your employer has just been bought out by a multinational company, you’re entitled (after a stand-down period of 12 weeks) to an unemployment benefit of just $294.00 per week (56 percent of the minimum wage). Nothing could better illustrate the punitive assumptions built into our welfare system.
8. The easiest and most effective way to beat the shock doctrine is mass confrontational direct action. In the wake of the Boxing Day tsunami, the Thai government tried to clear the beaches of local villagers to make way for new 5 star tourist resorts. Pretty soon, they were met by hundreds of villagers returning home, refusing to be evicted they reoccupied their homes on the coast. In New Orleans as the water receded back through the broken dykes after Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration started its efforts to use the disaster to clear out the poor and working-class people who call New Orleans home. But determined residents returned home, cleaned up their neighbourhood and told FEMA they were staying put, since then there have been a number of confrontations, some defeats but also many successes for those struggling for their communities’ very survival, as big developers want to demolish the public housing. In Argentina in 2001, millions of people took the streets forced the government from office and forced a default on huge loans racked up by the dictatorship to the International Monetary Fund.
9. "What was special about the Thai villagers was that they approached all government promises with intense skepticism and refused to wait patiently in camps for an official reconstruction plan. Instead, within weeks, hundreds of villagers engaged in what they called land "reinvasions." They marched past the armed guards on the payroll of developers, tools in hand, and began marking off the sites where their old houses had been. In some cases, reconstruction began immediately. "I am willing to bet my life on this land, because it is ours," said Ratree Kongwatmai, who lost most of her family in the tsunami. The most daring reinvasions were performed by Thailand's indigenous fishing peoples called the Moken, or "sea gypsies." After centuries of disenfranchisement, the Moken had no illusions that a benevolent state would give them a decent piece of land in exchange for the coastal properties that had been seized. So, in one dramatic case, the residents of the Ban Tung Wah Village in the Phang Nga province "gathered themselves together and marched right back home, where they encircled their wrecked village with rope, in a symbolic gesture to mark their land ownership," explained a report by a Thai NGO. "With the entire community camping out there, it became difficult for the authorities to chase them away, especially given the intense media attention being focused on tsunami rehabilitation."" (Klein, The Shock Doctrine)
10. So finally to conclude I’d like to suggest a strategy that I feel would be useful. It’s based on the premise that you fight fire with fire. So I want to suggest that we need to “shock them back”. If Milton Friedman is right and only crises, actual or perceived produce real change, and that the ideas taken up are those lying around, then we need to start shocking back. Capitalism is continuous crisis; it is a million crises in a million places every day of the year. The task for socialists, for revolutionaries is that in every moment of crisis to mobilise, to organise and to take action in support of a programme that meets the critical needs of the planet and its population. The ongoing economic crisis, the crisis of unemployment, of global poverty, of climate change should be confronted with a socialist programme. The crisis of the Canterbury earthquake should be confronted by the left as a chance to demand jobs with justice-full employment and no poverty wages, a reversal of tax cuts for the rich, for the city’s finances to be put under the control of its residents through participatory budgeting and for the Government to urgently build new public housing and new social infrastructure in a city that has been ripped apart.
11. There are kilometres of streets in Christchurch where portable toilets have yet to arrive because the Council dished out portaloos based on who called their 0800 number first and most. Sausage sizzles became a staple diet, accompanied by a fine dusting of silt while food was left to rot and go off in corporate supermarkets. Cops beat an Asperger’s Syndrome man who stole two light bulbs while he was in police custody. The ongoing problems of capitalism and of state brutality and contempt of poor people have only been amplified by the earthquake. It is up to people to organise and confront the shock therapists before they attempt a pro-capitalist, anti-democratic makeover of New Zealand while the dust from the quake is still settling. (NZHerald online)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Libyan revolutionaries speak out: ‘The West’s war machine won’t help us win’



by Ken Olende and Simon Assaf

Intervention will strengthen Colonel Gaddafi

“We are against any foreign intervention or military intervention in our internal affairs,” said Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga in Libya’s second city Benghazi last Sunday.

“This revolution will be completed by our people with the liberation of the rest of Libyan ­territory.”

He was speaking at a press conference to explain how the national revolutionary council is attempting to co-ordinate the rebel cities and administrate daily life.

The revolution looks close to defeating a dictatorship that had until recently appeared unstoppable. Colonel Gaddafi’s 41-year old regime now only controls the area around the capital Tripoli.

Gaddafi’s response has been brutal. The regime has opened fire on unarmed demonstrations with machine guns and rockets.

It has used fighter jets against protests. Thousands may have died in the attempted crackdown.

Western intervention would be a disaster. The rebels still have the initiative, and they need to keep it.

All the major cities and towns, apart from the capital, are run by revolutionary councils—from Benghazi in the east, to Misrata, in the industrial heartlands of western Libya. These councils are growing in strength—on one day last week alone some eight towns set up these councils and declared for the revolution.

All observers speak of the efficiency and energy of the councils and the relaxed air of “freedom” in the areas under their control.

In Benghazi, despite food shortages, the poor speak of howthey are eating better now than before the revolution. Food and other services are organised on the basis of need.

Strategy

Many factories and key installations are under the control of their workforces. Others are controlled by employers who are sympathetic to the revolution, or even actively supporting it.

The revolutionaries’ military strategy has not been to call for Western airpower, but to convince the soldiers sent to crush them to change sides.

Time and again lightly armed or unarmed rebels have won over conscripts.

This happened most recently when regime forces attempted to retake the key city of Zawiya, 30 miles west of the capital on Monday.

The soldiers sent in to attack switched sides or surrendered, handing over their weapons to the revolutionaries.

Elsewhere military forces have declared for the revolution after receiving delegations of students and youth groups.

Western intervention never delivers what it promises.

Even last week, as the United Nations (UN) debated the Libyan situation, US diplomats unsuccessfully tried to add a call to use “all means necessary to protect civilians and installations”. In UN resolution terminology, this generally serves as a code for military action.

By “installations” they mean oil facilities. But revolutionary forces currently control 80 percent of the country’s oil fields—they are not under threat.

The US is using “humanitarian” fears to try and grab these key facilities.

Many people can see what a disaster British or US troops on the streets of Tripoli would be—but still call for the imposition of a no fly zone or sanctions.

This will reawaken memories for people across the globe. These were both used against Iraq before the 2003 invasion. The no fly zone entrenched the idea that only external military force could liberate the Iraqi people. And more than half a million Iraqi children and many more adults died under ten years of the sanctions regime before the invasion.

The governments that want to intervene now are the same ones who have been happy to sell Gaddafi the weapons he’s been using to attack the resistance.

Western intervention of any form would not help—in fact it would be devastating.

It would give Gaddafi a chance to regain support in Libya by posing as an anti-imperialist.

We have to let the Libyan people make their own revolution.


The following should be read alongside this article:

Egypt's workers fight to deepen the revolution

Repression and concessions fail to stop mass protests

British elite's links to the butchers of Libya

New forms of democracy spring up in Benghazi

The West should stay out of Libya - intervention will make things worse

Don’t let the West hijack these revolts




Where now for Egypt's Revolution?



Al Jazeera interviews Hossam al-Hamalawy from the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt

Friday, March 04, 2011

SA Forum on Christchurch- Shock doctrine versus Disaster socialism

Socialist Aotearoa Forum:

"After the Christchurch Quake - Shock doctrine versus Disaster socialism"

The people of Christchurch are organising their own forms of mutual aid and co-operation after the quake while the politicians and corporations hover like vultures attempting to profit from the disaster.
...
Come along and discuss the situation in Christchurch after a panel of speakers on what the political fallout is from the earthquake.

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In the aftermath of the terrible disaster of the Christchurch earthquake two things have happened.

On the ground after the quake ordinary people got busy as soon as the earthquake hit, helping each other out, sharing what they had and co-operating to make sure neighbours and strangers had food, shelter and medical assistance. This is what some have labelled 'disaster socialism'.

Yet this form of 'disaster socialism' is completely at odds with John Key's plans to push through massive social and economic reengineering in a country still reeling from shock. Cuts to Working for Families, interest free student loans and attacks on the unemployed and welfare recipients are in the works. This "Shock doctrine", is a corporate formula to use disasters to make a profit or kick the poor.

The Battle of Christchurch has begun. Now is the time for the left to organise and fightback against the neo-liberal plans to turn the reconstruction into blood money.


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Recommended reading:
John Minto: Humanity Trumps Selfishness In Earthquake Devastation
http://auckland.scoop.co.nz/2011/02/to-the-front-humanity-trumps-selfishness-in-earthquake-devastation/

Paul D'Amato: Disaster socialism
http://socialistaotearoa.blogspot.com/2011/02/all-our-solidarity-with-people-of.html

Naomi Klein: An excerpt from the introduction of "The Shock Doctrine"
http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/excerpt

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Sirocco of Revolution fills the sails of Auckland's Quad



Student leaders, enraged by Zionist maneuvers against a Freedom Forum on the Middle Eastern Revolutions, fight for and win official AUSA support and solidarity for the struggles in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain and Palestine. Watch the video here.

Come to the Freedom Forum on
Revolutions and Democracy in the Middle East
630pm Friday March 11th
Lecture Hall b28,
Library Basement,
University of Auckland

organised by Students for Justice in Palestine