Showing posts from April, 2013

This fight isn't over

The resistance to asset sales has kept the National Government on the backfoot for a year and a half. Now it's time to turn up the heat. The only way we are going to get rid of the Nats is if we fight this government day-in, day-out until they collapse under the strain of implementing their cuts and privatisations on a rebellious population. This means that it's no good just hating the government. People need to be organised, educated and mobilised.

People also need to know that there is an alternative to National. That's why the Labour/Greens policy on power prices has spooked rich people. Suddenly David Shearer and Russel Norman look like the leaders of a government in waiting. As socialists we support the plans for a single electicity price. But we believe that a future Labour /Green government should go further and renationalise any power companies sold off. We want electricity companies that work for people and not profit. No New Zealand family should ever have th…



Return to torture island

The Australian government has forcibly returned 38 of the 66 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who landed on Australia's west coast this month asking for help from New Zealand.
Many of those sent back, including women and children, were not offered legal advice.

The Brisbane Times reported the reaction of Australian critics of the deportation,
Refugee lawyer David Manne, who successfully led the High Court challenge against the government's Malaysia solution, said the expulsions were "a radical retreat" from longstanding laws and practices in Australia.   "Did Govt tell Geraldton arrivals of their statutory rights to legal advice and to apply for protection under due process?" Mr Manne asked on Twitter. "If not, why not?"   Asylum Seeker Resources Centre chief executive Kon Karapanagiotidis wrote on Twitter that the asylum seekers never had a chance of a fair assessment.  "In 12 years of working with asylum seekers this is the worst abuse I have see…

April 27- Time to fight Thatcher's Spawn in New Zealand

Why I'm marching with Aotearoa is Not for Sale on the 27th of April.

Margaret Thatcher was a brutal class warrior, who wielded power ruthlessly as I grew up under her rule as a teenager in the 1980s. She tried to smash the unions, she drove the living conditions of workers backwards, and she looted Britain's state assets, selling off its electricity, steel, railways and telecommunications. She led a revolution that enriched her class, and her ideas spread across the world.

Last week, Thatcher died, but we are still fighting a battle against her legacy. The sabotage begun by her acolyte, Roger Douglas, is today being continued by John Key and his National Party government. The privatisation of Mighty River Power is the beginning of an assault on what remains of state owned assets in Aotearoa, and it is vital that this attack is resisted on the streets. Because, as the once mighty Thatcher found out, when she lost the street to the Anti Poll Tax movement, she lost he…

The Teachers Strike Back

On Saturday the 13th of April thousands of primary school teachers and supporters marched in Auckland and other towns and cities around the country. Right wing commentators dismissed the teachers as "not knowing what they were protesting", but, as usual this turned out to be false. I spoke to people on the demonstration and listened to the speeches given; everyone knew EXACTLY why they were protesting.

The buzz word of the day was GERM (Global Education Reform Movement), which refers to the neo-liberal reforms taking place around the globe in the education sector. This ‘infection’ that aims to use a business model on public schools, is already incredibly unpopular amongst academics, teachers, parents and students.

Standardisation, league tables, performance based pay and charter schools aim to take the power away from teachers and hand it over to government bureaucrats and business lackeys. The growing opposition to this is loud and clear. Teachers want to be in control of…

Charting the class struggle

The core principle of socialism from below, that the liberation of the working class is the task of the workers themselves, can seem a daunting one.

After all if workers really wanted freedom and had an interest in the overthrow of capitalist wage-slavery then why do they behave like mindless drones the majority of the time? Why when things are so bad are so many workers apathetic? 
Some Marxists point to dwindling voter participation rates or strike statistics in New Zealand and posit that the working class and their struggle against the capitalist class is over. 
But the controversy in the United Kingdom over the entry into the pop charts of Wizard of Oz song, 'Ding, Dong the Witch is Dead' as a popular response to Margaret Thatcher's death demonstrates the weakness with this analysis.
Ding, Dong reached number two in the UK charts after selling over 52,000 copies. The pro-Thatcher campaign could only manage just short of 9,000 sales of an irreverent punk rock anthem &#…

Jellyfish and climate change

So Easter was great. I got stung by a jellyfish and the rain was sideways. I sat in a campsite just past Leigh, nursing a jellyfish sting on my leg and staring bleakly into the distance as I became painfully aware that the hills were the wrong colour. Hills in New Zealand are supposed to be green, right? I mean, like, we even have posters. I've fucking seen them. But, no, these hills were beige. Dry, scorched, lifeless, 'I'm considering turning into a desert' - beige. I remembered what the man in the pie shop in Leigh had said “...driest summer on record up here mate.” and what the woman at the beach had said “...we've been coming here 18 years and I've never seen this many jellyfish before.” Was all this a conspiracy to ruin my weekend or is the planet actually fucked. I had to know. Later when I got home, and after I'd finished cleaning the sand out of my brain, I began to research climate change. What I discovered was more frightening than that time my …

Socialism or barbarism in Korea

The beginning of 2013 saw the beginning of a new year, filled with the hopes many people had for positive change across the world. We have seen this hope quickly dashed in eastern Asia since North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in February. Since the close of the Cold War almost 20 years ago, we have seemingly forgotten the terrifying possibility of nuclear decimation at the hands of a “communist” state. Bombs have been dismantled and sabres lowered since that time by both sides but we may now face the same threat again, with many of the same powers on the brink of total war. Despite conventional armed conflict ceasing on the Korean peninsula 60 years ago this June, North Korea has declared a “state of war” with South Korea after threats of “thermonuclear war” have been made over the past few weeks, also on the part of North Korea. Despite the North’s long history of skirmishes and rocket attacks against South Korean border towns, never before have relations deteriorated so …

Refugees are welcome here!

Last week 66 Sri Lankan asylum seekers landed in a small boat on Australia's west coast after an epic 44 day voyage across the Indian Ocean. Among the asylum seekers are children and a pregnant woman.

As Grant Bayldon, Amnesty International's New Zealand executive director told RadioNZ, '90% of all boat people arriving in Australia are found to be legitimate refugees.'

The Sri Lankan asylum seekers, many Tamils, are fleeing an awful civil war. The Western Australian Refugee Rights Action Network provides a useful backgrounder page on the situation,
Sri Lanka was victim to a bloody civil war between the ethnic minority of Tamils and the ethnic majority of Sinhalese, a war that has lasted for over 26 years. The Tamils were consequently defeated in the civil war, by 2009 – 300, 000 Tamils were held in concentration camps controlled by the Sri Lankan army. Conditions within the camps included shortages of food, water and medical supplies. The squalid conditions resulting …

Education is Not for $ale

What could possibly come next on the education agenda of the National Government?

Lesson plans sponsored by corporations? "Good morning pupils. Today's recorder lesson is brought to you by iTunes, where all your favourite songs are just a click away."

Art supplies provided by Novopay? "Sorry children you will have to make do painting using blue  only today. The schools art supplier mucked up the orders and sent all the other colours to a school in Invercargill. But don't worry because they've got debt collectors to send threatening letters to the principal."

Charter schools run by SkyCity Casino? You can just see Bill English announcing in Parliament without a hint of irony,"In recognition of the need for the Government to balance the books we have made an agreement with SkyCity for them to take over the operations of five Auckland schools. We all know that SkyCity have significant experience watching over children."

It's funny but it isn&…

Stop Asset Sales? RENATIONALISE.

On Saturday April 28th of last year, over 8,000 people marched through Queen Street in Auckland, insisting that Aotearoa is Not for Sale. The march was organised by a small group of grassroots and left wing activists, but attracted endorsement from the broader left, including the CTU, Greens and the Labour Party.

The anger that people feel against brainfade John Key and the National Government is increasing, month by month. However, there is also another problem in New Zealand today. The lack of any co-ordinated resistance to his policies on the streets or in the workplaces. Individual unions fight defensive struggles here and there. Speeches are made in parliament, but the hard work of building social movements to challenge the Government's attacks is absent. At some stage we must say that the Emperor has no clothes.

The Emperor has no clothes. If parties such as Labour and the Greens would commit to renationalising privatised State Assets when they came to p…