Showing posts from May, 2012

Home Brew - The Avondale Dialectic

If John Key's right-wing, authoritarian Government weren't in power its possible that Avondale hiphop outfit Home Brew could be writing whole albums about smoking weed and drinking booze on a Creative NZ junket that never ends. Rappers however do not write their rhymes as they please; they make it under circumstances not of their own chosing.

Home Brew's self-titled, debut, double album is political and personal in equal measures. In the 21 tracks listeners are treated to a description of the unity of opposites that Marx and Engels called dialectics; the world as, 'a complex of processes, in which the things apparently stable no less than their mind images in our heads, the concepts, go through an uninterrupted change of coming into being and passing away'. Grappling with dialectics forces us to see the world as a constantly morphing place where everything is slowly turning into something else - its opposite. Happiness is alienation. Wealth is poverty. Love is loss…

Auckland’s new ‘riot folk’ outfit Myth of Democracy is about love and rage


An interview with Matt Billington aka Myth of Democracy, whose album Humans Piss Me Off is out now on Bandcamp. 

What’s your new album all about Matt? 

It’s an acoustic, punk rock album. It’s punk rock to me, I don’t give a fuck whatever any other cat calls it. It’s a punk rock album. I’ve tried to capture the spirit of the first punk rock I ever heard which was my friend Craig playing a battered, old, acoustic down at the lake front in Rotorua and writing songs about his friends, and the world and how he felt treated by everything. And it was just this blatant honesty and it was really inspiring. So it’s kind of a homage to that. And hope that I can capture that spirit. It’s a really honest album.

What about the theme, Humans Piss Me Off? 

Humans are responsible for a lot of, well all the terrible shit in the world. The title track is based on what I read by an author, Chris Hedges, and it is about, we cannot escape human nature as it is. We have certain impulses we are drawn too.…

Capitalism is crisis

Across the world, ordinary people are raging at the bankers. And it’s no wonder.

As the rest of us suffer the effects of the economic crisis, these fat cats are still raking in billion-pound fortunes.

In the years since the banking system came to the brink of collapse in 2008, people have clearly identified them as the ones who bear responsibility for the crisis.

This has fed the sort of class rage socialists should encourage. It’s certainly better than putting the blame on migrants, unemployed people, or public sector workers.

But it is also important to acknowledge that the underlying causes of the crisis capitalism finds itself in are more long-term and complex.

The crisis has shifted between different parts of the economy as the years have gone by. The bank bailouts left states holding the can, in the form of so-called “sovereign debt”.

This debt is in turn owed to banks. And they’re nervous the states won’t be able to pay it back. So the stronger economies have “bailed out” the …

From Quebec, with Love...

Family, friends, allies on the west coast and elsewhere;

I'm writing you almost a week after close to half a million people gathered in Montreal to mark the 100th day of the student strike, and to express their anger and rage at the passing of the Loi 78 in Quebec. Many of you have asked me for information about what is going on; it is also a time of need for students and their allies. My apologies for the length - there's a lot to say, and this barely begins to cover it.  

There so much to tell about what's been going on that I'm not sure where to start. First off, though the rest of Canada only seems to really be noticing now, students have been on strike for months. There have been hundreds of demonstrations-- easily one every day for the entire period of the strike, and often more. Since March, there have also been dozens and dozens of economic disruptions (blocking of bridges, of the world trade center, of major banks, occupations of government offices, shutting …

Stuff raising the retirement age, tax the rich instead!

The recent headlines tell the story, 'Pressure for John Key to raise retirement age', 'Shearer: Superannuation 'status quo is unsustainable'' and 'Labour challenges National on retirement age'.

The Labour Party has spotted the gap between Government income and expenditure which will occur in decades as New Zealand's population ages. Desperate to appear in the media as financially sensible and prepared to manage the Government's budgets once again the Labour Party want to raise the retirement age to 67. The debate is couched in hysterical terms by some pundits, 'New Zealand's superannuation bill last year was $8.8 billion. Fastforward four years and this bill will be about $12.3b.'

Yet the wealth to pay for retirement is there. Despite the rhetoric of hard times and squeezed books the rich are doing better than ever.
Mana Movement Vice President, John Minto points out, 'The richest 150 New Zealanders (Prime Minister John Key incl…

Teachers' strikes would inspire us all

This winter strikes by teachers in defence of quality, public education could break the National Government and their attacks on youth and education.

How appropriate it would be to see this greedy government humiliated and smashed by education unions and those guardians of childrens' future - teachers. After all the Nats have done to education it would be a beautiful sight to see the Coalition finally splinter under pressure from education unions. But already the Rats are backpedaling as principals and teachers line up strike action in school after school across Aotearoa. They know the teachers will win a fight and they're eager not to lose another confrontation after the debacle of National Standards.

In the news over the last four years have been the repeated cuts to education funding and attacks on public education – night classes, kohanga reo, playcentre, cutting the education training incentive for DPB recipients, National Standards and now the cuts to student allowance…

Taking lessons from the Greeks- Episode One

The Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand, Bill English, advised the student movement to take some lessons from the Greeks. Over the next few weeks, will present a short course in General Strikes, urban uprisings, mass civil disobedience and the construction of mass parties of the radical and revolutionary Left, to do our bit to respond to the social crisis Bill and his National Party mates want to inflict on Aotearoa. Lesson One is from Greek revolutionary socialist Giorgos Pittas

Anti-Capitalist Winter 2012

At times of extreme crisis the challenge to those who stand on the sidelines is to state that they're either with the movements fighting for a new Aotearoa of justice and liberation or standing with the Government and its oppression, exploitation and poverty. There is no middle ground, you can't be neutral on a moving train.
Read the article online here: Stay in the streets.

Never doubt that a mass movement in the streets can defeat a right-wing government and change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
Read the full article online here: Citizens' initiated insurrection

Stay in the streets

The National, Act, Maori Party coalition is under pressure. On the streets they are increasingly feeling the heat over their new attacks on the working class, students and the environment.

It is clear that the mood of frustration and anger at asset sales seen in the  Aotearoa is Not for Sale hikoi and the protests in Te Ika a Maui along the route have spilled over into an increased confidence to challenge the National Party and corporate interests.

Iwi are increasingly taking a more assertive approach to fighting fracking, mining and oil drilling. In the far north Ngati Kahu have said they will use 'reasonable force' to remove mining prospectors. Hapu in Taranaki are coming into increasing conflict with Shell Oil over fracking. Dayle Takitimu of East Cape iwi Te Whanau a Apanui told the Aotearoa is Not for Sale hikoi in Wellington 'Our resistance will not stop here. There will be no drilling on the coast... This is the time for the uprising!'. Iwi from Kaipara harbour…

Montreal comes to Auckland

The Student Movement exploded again  onto the streets of Auckland on Budget Day, blockading one of the city's central systempunkts in outrage at the Government's austerity attacks on education, workers and the poor.  Strong speeches were passionately received from nearly all of Auckland's radical community- anarchist, socialist, Maori, union and academic activists joined with students speaking for the first time in an assembly that continued for over five hours of direct democracy, behind the barricades.

Defend Glen Innes

In 1997 an elderly Maori man died after being taken off the renal dialysis treatment programme at Whangarei Hospital.

His name was Rau Williams.

The denial of treatment to Rau Williams undertaken in the name of the rationing of public health resources sparked a heated political debate over the shape of the neo-liberal reform of Aotearoa. As one commentator remarked of New Zealand's new medical austerity, ‘This is where it was leading: A man who is condemned to die. State euthanasia.’

The architect of the rationing system used to deny Rau Williams for treatment was a woman called Lee Mathias.

Today she is the Chair of the Tamaki Transformation Project.

Defend Glen Innes.

Home Brew to play Student Strike Thursday

Students plan 'strike' against loan, allowance changes
Auckland University students are planning a demonstration against the Government's changes to loans and allowances. Activist group 'Blockade the Budget' is calling for students to gather outside the library at 1pm on Thursday next week for a "strike" against the changes, announced ahead of this year's Budget – also scheduled for Thursday. The changes include increasing the rate at which loans have to be paid back and freezing the parental income threshold for allowance availability to under-25s.

But it's the capping of student allowances to a maximum four years of study that has brought the most anger. The group says it will "result in only the most wealthy students having access to occupations such as medicine, law and engineering, and means that students who may wish to pursue an academic career in the university will be unable to do so".

"By limiting student allowances to on…

Glen Innes calls for Solidarity from Aotearoa is Not For Sale.

State housing activists in Glen Innes are calling for support from the Aotearoa is Not for Sale coalition. The Tamaki Housing Action Group has been defending their community from privatisation since late last year. Our National led government wishes to make a large section of state owned land in Glen Innes available for private development. This is the front line of asset sales in Auckland at the moment.
Phil Twyford from the Labour Party has been vocal in his criticism, saying:
“National need to go back to the drawing board. This development project breaks every rule of urban planning. It’s a disaster.”
Housing New Zealand has already scared off many long term community members, many of them elderly, with threats of homelessness if they didn't comply. Around 40 state homes are currently empty and contractors protected by large police squads have already begun the process of removing houses from the area.
The other night police brutalised and arrested protestors who stood staunc…

Can people power defeat the government?


The Battle of Lyndhurst - Police clash with protestors as another state house in Glen Innes is removed.

May 10th 2012 - 9-11pm

Massive Police Brutality tonight in Glen Innes as the state stole another working class house. John Minto, Omar Hamed, Malcolm France and a local man arrested. Jimmy O'Dea thrown to the curb by the cops, knocked unconscious, sustained head injuries and taken away in an ambulance. MANA Glen Innes can't win this fight by themselves. We need to mobilise a force that cannot be moved. Next time the pigs come to remove a state house we need to meet them with thousands. When G.I. is under attack. Stand Up. Fight back.

Joe Carolan captured the following videos...

Fire from Hawaiki; Water from Tongariro

Iwi threatens lawsuit to halt power-asset sales
Central North Island iwi Ngati Tuwharetoa is threatening legal action to halt the partial sale of Mighty River Power and Genesis Energy unless it is given a share of the private sector profits to be generated from the use of its land. 

 Prime Minister John Key was yesterday downplaying the prospect of court action but Greens co-leader Russel Norman said a legal challenge from Tuwharetoa could at least delay the partial asset-sales programme. Read More

Asset sales protests spark unlikely partnership
An unlikely partnership has formed to fight the Government's partial asset sales, with Grey Power and the New Zealand University Students Association launching a petition aimed at getting a referendum on the issue. Read More

The fires of Ruaumoko were summoned from Hawaiki by the early Maori explorer Ngatoroirangi as he lay close to death on the peak of Tongaririo. The fires have to this day been a blessing on Ngatoroirangi's descendants a…

Sign of the times


Dining with the Devil

Sky TV chief executive John Fellet was also present at a private dinner party attended by Opposition leader David Shearer at the home of Sky lobbyist Tony O'Brien, the pay-TV company has confirmed. Read More

Watch Outfoxed, a documentary about the Sky TV, Fox Media empire online.

“Most humble day”: the Murdoch empire on the defensive John Newsinger, International Socialism

Rupert Murdoch’s enforced appearance before the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport on 19 July 2011 was an unprecedented humiliation. It signified the eclipse, at least temporarily, of his political influence in Britain. And this was at a time when his power seemed to have become greater than ever. While both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had willingly subordinated themselves to Murdoch and tailored their policies to fit his business agenda, under David Cameron it looked as if his influence was about to climax. The coalition government was all set to wave through his takeover of BSkyB, savag…

Workers' voice?

CTU funded TV show The Union Report is into its third episode and still has yet to have a single union member or delegate on its show.
One of its most recent commentators has even been washed out Labour Party hack Mike Williams. Yawn. What a ratings killer.

There isn't anything wrong with what union officials have to say. Many have quite interesting things to say. But shows stacked with officials and "commentators" doesn't make it a union report, it makes it a union bureaucrats report. What people want to hear are the voices from the coalface, voices from the shopfloor. We want to see horny-handed miners talking about safety in mines. We want to see the face of a nurse who has seen twenty years of hospital work. We want to see the man mountains who work in the about to be privatised energy companies. We want to hear what primary school teachers have to say about how they bet  back national standards.

The union movement and the union members who pay for the CTU and a…

Exit the eurozone or exit capitalism?

In Greece's elections the radical left coalition SYRIZA appears to have 16.6% of the vote. SYRIZA's leader says, "The Greek people didn't give them the mandate to take those decisions [about austerity]. In the birthplace of democracy, there is no democracy. The time has come to return democracy to the place where it was born."

 In France social democrat François Hollande sees off Sarkozy for the Presidency. he's promising to bring home troops from Afghanistan and bring in a 75% tax income above one million euros. On Hollande's flank is Jean-Luc Melenchon's Left Front calling for a citizens insurrection and winning 11% of the vote, nearly 4 million people, in the primary round.

Tens of thousands of people across Spain protested Sunday against education and health care spending cuts as the country slides into its second recession in three years.

As Richard Seymour of says, "For now the radical Left has siezed the initiative…

Dayle Takitimu - "This is the time for the uprising"

Dayle Takitimu of Te Whanau a Apanui tells the hikoi "This is the time for the uprising!".

Solidarity with Palestinian hunger strikers

NEARLY 1,600 Palestinians in Israeli prisons began an open-ended hunger strike on April 17, which was Palestinian Prisoners' Day. An additional 2,300 took part in a one-day hunger strike that day, meaning that over three-quarters of the 4,700 Palestinians held in Israel's jails refused food for at least 24 hours. -- Read More


"Every escalation by the Palestinians must be answered by an escalation from within the imperialist countries who are ultimately to blame for the condition the Palestinians find themselves in. The Israeli state could not survive economically were it not for the direct financial and diplomatic support of Britain and the U.S." -- David Jamieson

Letter sent to Murray McCully today from Global Peace and Justice Auckland:
Kia ora Mr McCully,
Battle of the empty stomachs
We urge you to speak out on behalf of New Zealand in support of the approximately 2000 Palestinian prisoners now on hunger strike in Israeli prisons.The prisoners want an end to the…