Thursday, November 29, 2012

What would A Socialist World Look Like?

Mike Treen, life long socialist and National Director of the Unite Union, describes what a socialist society might look like.

Describe to me "A Perfect World" from Billy Hania on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

LONG LIVE GAZA- solidarity from Aotearoa

Mohamed Hassan from Students for Justice in Palestine, reads a statement from our comrade Jehad Quidah in Gaza. Jehad has become a firm friend of many in NZ through Facebook.

Joe Carolan from Socialist Aotearoa 

Mike Treen from Unite and GPJA

Billy Hania from the Palestinian Human Rights Campaign speaks with Tamara, a young Israeli refusenik now living in Aotearoa. Also joined By Hone Fowler, who reads out a letter from his father Roger, who was on a mission from Kia Ora Gaza when the bombing began. Finally, Linda from SA stands up as a revolutionary socialist, Anti Zionist Jewish person.
Around 300 people marched from Aotea Square to the US consulate in Auckland on Saturday, in solidarity with Gaza, calling for an end to Israeli attacks on the Gazan population and the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. Impassioned chants echoed off the walls of the CBD, calling “Free Palestine”, “Israel, USA, how many kids have you killed today?” and  “Blood on your hands”.

Despite the so-called ceasefire, a there was a larger turnout than the weekend before , which shows that Israeli propaganda is becoming weaker and people are no longer swallowing the line that Israel is only 'trying to defend itself'. More and more people are coming to understand that an invading and occupying force with the world's fourth largest military machine, lording it over a defenceless population locked within ever-encroaching borders, cannot be described as 'defending itself'. More like shooting fish in a barrel.

Several people from diverse backgrounds gave inspiring speeches in support of the terrorised Gazans, including Jews, Palestinians, Syrians, students and socialists. Among them was an Israeli woman who spoke of her courageous refusal to serve in the Israeli military, resulting in her being shunned from her family home and ostracised among her peers. She also reminded us that there are tens of thousands of other Israeli Jews against the occupation. These people are especially brave, risking being smeared with such ridiculous epithets as 'self-hating Jew' and 'holocaust denier', some of whom have been imprisoned for speaking out against apartheid. When the state of Israel was established in 1948 after the horrors of WWII, the resounding sentiment was “Never again!” And yet, it happened again – those who vowed never to forget the holocaust are now visiting it upon another people.

The 'ceasefire' is a PR illusion. Two days after it was announced, a young Palestinian man was shot in the head on the border (buffer zone) by an Israeli soldier, and ten others were injured. The ceasefire is meaningless, nothing changes until the aggressive programme of ethnic cleansing by the Israeli state is stopped. Until there is an end to apartheid, which treats Palestinians like inferior citizens in their own land, prevents them from reaching their own hospitals, universities and families, denies their right of self-determination and democratic rule, until Israel withdraws its war machines and dismantles its walls and barbed wire and check points, and stops flouting endless UN resolutions and international laws, there can be no real peace in the region. Fear stifles people from speaking out. Fear of appearing insensitive, 'one-sided', politically incorrect, fear of alienation, especially in the case of Israel/Palestine, such is the emotional blackmail that the Israeli propaganda machine has succeeded in perpetuating. Fear paralyses us. But this is changing. Internationally Israel is starting to lose the PR war. In London 10-15,000 turned out to protest Israeli aggression. Similar demonstrations around the world have shaken Israel's support.

According to documentarian Harry Fear, reporting from within Gaza throughout the onslaught, the real numbers of people hurt were 'over 160 Palestinians killed, over 1000 injured'. Thousands of homes have also been damaged.

Socialist Aotearoa's Joe Carolan spoke of the new Egyptian government's promises, one of which was to stand up to any Israeli military attacks on Gaza. Morsi's government has now proved that it is just as much of a dictatorship as Mubarack's, breaking most of his election promises, ignoring the will of the people and now granting himself pharaoh-like powers that exempt him from judicial oversight – the revolution is still to be won in Egypt. 600 Egyptian revolutionary activists crossed the border into Gaza this week amid the bombing, to bring their support to ravaged Gaza. A truly revolutionary Egypt would be able to end the bloodshed and the blockade overnight. The Morsi government is eager to maintain Egypt's cosy relationship with America and therefore Israel. But Egyptians are realising they have been betrayed, and in the last few days have come out on the streets again in their thousands.

Mike Treen of Global Peace and Justice Auckland called for a boycott of companies that support Israel and the infrastructure of occupation and apartheid, such as Auckland Transport's contract with Veolia, a company that operates in Israel and Palestine, linking illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory, instrumental in restricting the movement of Palestinians in their own land. Another company, Caterpillar is another company NZ should boycott, which supplies the bulldozers that demolish Palestinian homes and killed peace activist Rachel Corrie, and enjoys investment from the NZ Superfund. Our taxes, set aside to invest in our own futures, are meanwhile being used to destroy the futures of others. This is an action that any New Zealander can take to fight apartheid. We can't all travel to Gaza and be hero journalists, but we can demand our government stop propping up apartheid in our name. And we can continue to build ties with the brave Palestinians and Israelis fighting the same oppressive regime, so they know the world is watching and they are not forgotten.

Sian Robertson, Socialist Aotearoa. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

TRUE GRIT- a Wharfies' story.

Comrade Dave Phillips writes on the eve of renewed action at Ports of Auckland 

As a Union official, it never comes easily being involved to yet again advocate industrial action when you have just come off the back of a lengthy period of strike and lockout but when you are faced by a feral employer who places no value in those they employ who seeks to undermine the hard won conditions of employment all for the sake of profit the options become much narrowed.
To sta

nd amongst men and women with high values and principles that are forced to look deep within their moral conscience to make the hard decisions that they know could have huge ramifications for themselves and their families. The sombre mood and steely look around the meeting room as hands were raised on mass is something I will never forget.
The measure of these men is not by the silver Judas dollars jingling in their pocket as some have willingly grabbed but it is the demonstration of intestinal fortitude to future proof an industry for those that come after to insure that the conditions of employment reflect the job security that those who came before stood up and fought for. These are modern day New Zealand Working-class heroes. I am sure back in 1951 the Wharfie was faced with the same dilemma of indecision and fear of uncertainty but by the thousand and with local and international support the majority stood strong.
The problem for these modern day heroes is that on a weekly basis their rights at work are under attack by a Tory government hell-bent on a third world labour market. A workforce with a supressed voice, a workforce with no right of recourse, a workforce at the feet of the employer, a workforce stripped of fundamental rights in the workplace. Our MUNZ members have made the decision collectively to see this dispute to a conclusion.

Against the back drop of the age old war of capitalism versus labour this dispute has been an ideological assault driven by personal agenda and corporate greed. Our members have the hearts and minds of the trade union movement globally as this dispute has unfolded to become one of the worst attacks on labour in modern history in this country. The Maritime Union of New Zealand has a proud history of defending and improving on behalf of not only its own members but unions in general .We have and will always punch above our weight.
Tactics employed in this dispute have been quite despicable to say the least. A needless trail of disciplinaries for MUNZ members. Attacks in the media, portraying them as bullies and thugs without one shred of evidence. Breaches of privacy without accountability. Using Non-union strike breakers to cry foul on television and in the media and the worst one attacking families at the core by mail outs of propaganda trying to pull the wives and children into this dispute.
The repairing of the employer worker relationship will never gain traction without there being a “NEED FOR CHANGE: and that should begin with the removal of those at the top right down to the supervisory staff. Only then can the trust and confidence in the employer start making some positive steps after this long term abuse by those supposed guardians of power.
This dispute has been widely documented and as time goes on the faces of our members who suffered the brunt of this capitalist attack will be forever etched in the history of the New Zealand trade union movement. Sometimes it is hard to gauge whether it’s the battle we will win or the war but I think in this case the war must and will be the trophy.
Consultants, union busters will be driven from this port and ownership will eventually be reclaimed by those that actually work the port to make it the profitable, performing, flexible, vibrant port it has always been with a focus on improving the return not only for the Auckland shareholders but for any shipping line that chooses Auckland as it’s port of call.
In closing this dispute has taken a massive toll in terms of trust, mate against mate and created emotional wreckage beyond belief but above all of it stands our proud members who have demonstrated to the trade union movement both locally and internationally that the high ground morally belongs to them. They have fought the good fight to preserve and enhance on behalf of working-class people in New Zealand.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012

From Auckland to Gaza- All out solidarity- Rally this Saturday 2pm Aotea Square


 Students for Justice in Palestine are calling for a protest this Saturday 24th of November at 2pm in Aotea Square to protest the ongoing Israeli aggression and air strikes on the Gaza strip that have left 82 dead so far and over 750 people injured.  One of the deadliest attacks over the last 6 days has killed 12 members from one single family.

 This protest is supported by the Unite Union, Socialist Aotearoa, Global Peace and Justice Auckland, Kia Ora Gaza, the Mana Movement and Palestine Human Rights Campaign. We call for an end to the violent attacks from the Israeli state and urge all New Zealanders to join us. Our very own Roger Fowler of Kia Ora Gaza has only just managed to escape the onslaught and exited through the Rafah crossing on Thursday.  

The protest will gather at Aotea Square from 2 pm and march to the US Consulate on Customs Street, possibly making a few stops along the way. Bring along your Palestinian flags, t-shirts, banners and signs of solidarity. Please invite all your friends and family, and share this event far and wide.

Please share and invite the Facebook event HERE

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Palestinian Flag flies over the American Consulate in Auckland

To the cry of "Blood, blood, blood on your hands" and "Israel-USA, how many kids have you killed today?", comrades hoist the Palestinian flag over the US Consulate in Auckland, New Zealand today.
Video also below.  Please share widely.

Names of murdered people who fell victim during the past three days of Israeli attacks. The number rises to 33 and still rising :( RIP! 1- Ahmad Al-Ja'bary, 52 years old. 2-Mohammed Al-hams, 28 years old. 3- Rinan Arafat, 7 years old. 4- Omar Al-Mashharawi, 4 years old. 5-Essam Abu-Alma'za, 20 years old. 6-Mohammed Al-qaseer, 20 years old. 7- Heba Al-Mashharawi, six-month pregnant, 19 years old. 8- Mahmoud Abu Sawawin, 65 years old. 9- Habis Hassan Mismih, 29 years old. 10- Wael Haidar Al-Ghalban, 31 years old. 11- Hehsam Mohammed Al-Ghalban, 31 years old. 12- Rani Hammad, 29 years old. 13- Khaled Abi Nasser, 27 year old. 14- Marwan Abu Al-Qumsan, 52 years old. 15- Walid Al-Abalda, 2 years old. 16- Hanin Tafesh, 10 months old. 17- Oday Jammal Nasser, 16 years old. 18- Fares Al-Basyouni, 11 years old. 19- Mohammed Sa'd Allah, 4 years old. 20- Ayman Abu Warda, 22 years old. 21- Tahrir Suliman, 20 years old. 22- Ismael Qandil, 24 years old. 23- younis Kamal Tafesh, 55 years old. 24- Mohammed Talal Suliman, 28 years old. 25- Amjad Mohammed Abu-Jalal, 32 years old. 26- Ziyad Farhan Abu-Jalal, 23 years old. 27- Ayman Mohammed Abu Jalal, 44 years old. 28- Hassan Salem Al-Heemla', 27 years old. 29- Khaled Khalil Al-Shaer, 24 years old. 30- Ayman Rafeeq sleem, 26 years old. 31- Ahmad Abu Musamih, 32 years old. 32- a child from Salah family, name is not confirmed 33- another one killed in an attack on a motorbike in Khanyounis, just now, name isn't confirmed yet.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Solidarity with the people of Gaza

Global Peace & Justice Auckland is organising a march this Saturday to protest Israel’s assassination of a Palestinian leader in the Gaza Strip and the deadly rocket attacks which have so far left 15 Palestinian civilians dead, and over 100 injured.

 The protest will gather at Aotea Square from 2 pm and march to the US Consulate in Customs Street. Please invite others and share this event.

 Press Statement by Auckland University Students for Justice in Palestine:

 More info: 

Omar Mashharawi 10 months old , died today in Israeli airstrike

Sobbing and shaking with unbearable grief, Jihad Masharawi is pictured cradling the body of his murdered 11 month old son Omar yesterday.

A picture taken from the southern Israeli town of Sderot shows smoke billowing from a spot targeted by an Israeli air strike inside the Gaza strip on November 15, 2012.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Direct Action gets the goods- How the Streets Were Reclaimed

"the last few months we've been feeling like we are in a low level war- workers under attack, state housing tenants evicted, and everywhere the police clamping down on protest. Despite Malcolm's brutal arrest at the beginning, today's Reclaim the Streets was a great victory. The Cops realised that this would be bigger than Symonds Street- that they would have to arrest dozens of protesters. They retreated, in broad daylight. This should be a turning point and marks the beginning of the Summer of Rebellion. Direct action gets the goods- Lets bring down this Tory Government."
SA's Joe Carolan speaks about reclaim the Streets on Bfm HERE

" Aotearoa is Not for Sale - Cops have declared reclaim the Streets party against privatisation illegal. Threatening mass arrests at 2pm"

Crack down on the Kids Zone

Pressure points applied on the first brave woman to take direct action and sit down.

 "They were dressed in uniforms of brutality".

 "Well done Aotearoa is not for sale. Today must surely be the catalyst for the much needed shift in thought for all those who thought that we were powerless to make a difference"- Lisa Gibson, GI resident.

  First arrest 240pm corner of K Road and Queen St

 The Battle of K Road has been won. Cops are retreating and the road has been reclaimed.

A call to action from Socialist Aotearoa at the end of a great day.

The reason our flag is Red.

100 years after Waihi, and the miners slogan still rings true- "If blood be the price of your cursed wealth– Good God but we have bought it fair". 
For the Pike River Miners- 29 workers murdered by corporate greed– 
the reason our flag is Red.

Big Red Tops.

Socialists will be wearing our big red tops to the Big Gay Out this Summer of Rebellion. Join us and bring a big red Lamington for the Crime Sinister.

13 in Court Today for Opposing Ethnic and Social Cleansing in Glen Innes

13 people have appeared in the Auckland District Court this morning,
following arrests at Glen Innes last Thursday evening. Included in those
arrested is Mana co-Vice President John Minto.

“The arrests are a disgrace and arise from aggressive police mishandling of
non-violent, passive resistance to the removal of state houses from Glen
Innes” says MANA Vice President John Minto.

“The police have become increasingly violent in their handling of these
protests but the Glen Innes community is not deterred”.

Protests will continue this coming Thursday at 7pm in Apirana Avenue, Glen
Innes. The protests are calling for a moratorium on the proposed Glen Innes
“redevelopment” so negotiations with the community can take place.

The court appearances come just two days before a march in Wellington which
will bring delegations from Glen Innes in Auckland, Maraenui in Napier and
Pomare in Lower Hutt to present a petition to MPs on the steps of parliament
at 1pm. The march leaves Civic Square at 12 noon.

The demands of the march are:

1. All Housing New Zealand “urban renewal” programmes in Glen Innes,
Maraenui, Pomare and other areas be halted so communities can discuss and
negotiate the “renewals” with Housing New Zealand.

2. All 90-day eviction notices for “urban renewal” programmes be
withdrawn pending the outcome of community negotiations with affected

3. The criteria for access to a HNZ home revert to the requirements prior
to July 2011.

4. Vacant state houses in all NZ communities be immediately let to
families in crisis.

5. The company to oversee housing redevelopment in Tamaki – the Tāmaki
Redevelopment Company – be disestablished immediately.

6. Reopen all Housing New Zealand offices around the country.

7. A major state-house building and renovation programme be started – aim
to build 20,000 new state houses within two years.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Indian Workers organise to fight back

An elder of the Indian Workers Association of Aotearoa speaks against exploitation and discrimination, and the need for union and political organisation, at the founding meeting in Auckland.

More Police Thuggery in Glen Innes- 13 arrested

Trade Agreement or Political Takeover?

In addition to what we already know – about corporations being able to sue TPP governments for making laws that infringe on their profits, the unjustified and unjustifiable secrecy surrounding the negotiations, about us signing over our right to demand reasonable work conditions and pay, decent and affordable education, enviromental protection and control of our own media, etc – here are some more insane facts about the TPPA:

Remember ACTA/PIPA/SOPA? Those were drastic pieces of international internet legislation which people power managed to thwart early this year. They have been repackaged (again!) to be part of the TPPA.

Companies will be able not only to patent medicines, making them unaffordable to most people, but also “impose patent protection for diagnostic and treatment methods” (Deborah Gleeson, La Trobe University lecturer, Melbourne), which means public health professionals won't be able to use tried-and-true practices for healing people – budget constraints will force them to resort to less effective, unpatented methods.

Similarly, schools will be under-resourced, as the TPPA wants to extend copyright protection periods to 120 years, which means many school texts/resources will no longer be free – the same goes for libraries.

Remember the Food Bill? That's included too. You could be criminalised for giving away food you grow in your garden to a neighbour, and farmers' markets will be a thing of the past.

The TPPA is not really a 'trade agreement'. That's just a clever branding exercise, a cover for corporate asphyxiation of democratic governments – of the rich, by the rich, for the rich. It's also branded like that to hold countries like New Zealand and their egotistical politicians to ransom: 'If you sign this we promise to buy your meat and dairy -- come now, independence and self-determination are a small price to pay!' The problem is, once we sign up, it will be almost impossible to renege. They have planned for this, it's built into the Agreement.

The National government, in fact the majority of our elected leaders of all colours, are so unimaginative that they think we can't save our desperate economy (actually it's not in such bad shape, in global terms) without selling our sovereignty to investors with the fattest cheque book, and keeping inflation down at all costs (they think inflation is a disease you can catch off airport toilet seats). Yet they allow rents to rise without restricton, appease international corporate interests with obscene trade agreements, screw down our workers with a minimum wage that hasn't adjusted for inflation, increase GST (which affects wage-earners, not business owners) and implement other 'austerity measures' (read: stealing from the poor to pacify the rich). The TPPA neatly ties up all of this. The difference between the TPPA and what conservative governments normally do, is that the TPPA will fast-track everything and set it in concrete, making it very hard for successive governments to undo.

Our small-minded parliamentarians don't dare to suggest practical measures such as boosting the minimum wage and creating jobs so that people have more money and therefore spend more money and therefore get the economy moving. They tell you to blame beneficiaries, who are stealing your hard-earned taxes. In fact, most people on a benefit want to work. In fact, if there were no beneficiaries, there would be no real minimum wage, and you would probably be earning less than you are now (across the board). Next time you encounter a beneficiary, thank them for helping to keep your wages out of the gutter.

These unimaginative politicians bail out fraudulently managed finance companies to the tune of billions of dollars, and in the same breath tell us we're going to have to tighten our belts for the good of the country. People with a bit of money to spare get to gamble on dodgy investments, knowing that the safety net is there for when things inevitably go wrong. Yet, when a guy in a wheelchair asks for a bailout of food to get him through the week, he's turned away as though he's some kind of irresponsible citizen who's getting his just deserts.

If you feel you could do with a quick lesson in basic economics, read on. If not, skip the next five paragraphs.

It's not complicated. It isn't over your head. You already know the important stuff of economics, but you've been bamboozled into thinking it's a mysterious science that only economists, the high priests of capitalism, can have an opinion on. Actually, most of the time they are wrong and contradict themselves terribly. Don't be shy, find out for yourself.

Don't let anyone tell you there's a 'job shortage'. Jobs can be created in an instant by goverments. We have an earthquake-ravaged city that needs rebuilding. We have builders out of work. We have a pitiful public transport system in our main centres, so we punish people by increasing vehicle registration costs, fines and parking fees. Thousands could be employed building rail and bus networks, and all the administrative and creative work that goes along with a scheme like that. We have children that need school lunches. We have documentaries that need to be made. We have green energy tech that needs to invented and/or perfected.

If our economy is hurting, it's not because people have “excessive sovereignty” or because we are lazy, it's because it is contracting by design. It's because people are powerless to mend their own country. We do not have a stake in our society. We are prevented from healing its economic sores. The people we have elected to run it for us, are running it for someone else.

Economics is not an ethereal science that only over-educated experts should comment on. Economics is simple. It's about people and stuff: labour power and commodities, and money is merely the lube that keeps the engine turning over smoothly. Money is not productive. Money is simply permission to work. Owning money isn't work. Lending money isn't work. Gambling isn't productive. Employing people while sitting on one's arse isn't productive. Economics is based on productivity of workers (both manual and information-based) and the raw materials.

The second part of economics is consuming what comes out after the raw materials and labour are combined. The people who make the stuff, need the stuff, so they buy it, with the wages they earn. When the money you earn for the stuff you make isn't enough to pay for the stuff you need, something's wrong. It means someone is creaming it off the top. Profit is not a necessity. Competition is not healthy, it causes people to die of malnutrition. Recessions and depressions are usually caused by skimping on engine oil. They have very little to do with an actual shortage of labour or materials.

Back to the TPPA. The international high priests of economic bullying are assembling in Auckland in December to decide our fate. We cannot leave it up to our politicians to hold them accountable, most of them have already rolled over on us. We must throw a spanner in the works ourselves and stop them ripping off our future. Shut it down? How? There are a few things we need to do to stop this barbaric 'agreement' – we need to turn out in large numbers to show public opposition that the apologists can't ignore, we need to physically interrupt the negotiations, we need to get the word out about the TPPA (at this point most NZers don't know what it is) so that people are informed and public opinion is on our side. We have seven weeks to do all this. If you would like to contribute to this effort, contact us to be on the mailing list:

Further reading:
Economics for Everyone: A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism, by Jim Stanford of Canadian Auto Workers' Union (2008)
Economics of the Madhouse, by Chris Harman (1995)
Almost Everyone's Guide to Economics, by JK Galbraith (first published in 1978 – dated but still relevant)
What is the TPPA?
It's our future

-Sian R

13 more arrests defending state housing in Glen Innes

Mana support for delegation to parliament next Wednesday

13 further arrests were made last night as the government moved two more state houses from Glen Innes with the aim to socially and ethnically cleanse areas of the suburb for high-cost housing.

Last night’s protest was the largest late night protest yet and brought the largest number of arrests as well as long delays in moving the houses.
The police and Housing New Zealand have been trying to paint the protests as the work of outsiders and the police make often strenuous efforts to avoid arresting local residents in favour of people they know from outside the area. That changed last night with the arrest of one of the local women trying to prevent police manhandling of other protestors.
Community concern is growing across Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure at government plans to “redevelop” the area, not for local residents but for higher income families from outside the area. The locals will be forced to “relocate” to South or West Auckland.
The 13 arrested – including Mana Vice President John Minto – will appear in the Auckland District Court on Monday.
In the meantime Mana will be supporting a march to parliament next Wednesday (12noon from Civic Square) made up of delegations from Glen Innes (Auckland) , Maraenui (Napier) and Pomare (Lower Hutt).
The delegations will present the following petition to parliament:
To the House of Representatives
We the undersigned respectfully request that the New Zealand House of Representatives accept that quality affordable housing is a state responsibility and take immediate action to sort out the current housing crisis for low-income New Zealanders and in particular act to ensure -
• All Housing New Zealand “urban renewal” programmes in Glen Innes, Maraenui, Pomare and other areas be halted so communities can discuss and negotiate the “renewals” with Housing New Zealand.
• All 90-day eviction notices for “urban renewal” programmes be withdrawn pending the outcome of community negotiations with affected communities.
• The criteria for access to a HNZ home revert to the requirements prior to July 2011.
• Vacant state houses in all NZ communities be immediately let to families in crisis.
• The company to oversee housing redevelopment in Tamaki – the Tāmaki Redevelopment Company – be disestablished immediately.
• Reopen all Housing New Zealand offices around the country.
• A major state-house building and renovation programme be started – aim to build 20,000 new state houses within two years.
John Minto