Showing posts from October, 2013

Coal Action from Mangatawhiri to Kanaky

On a warm Labour weekend Monday, Coal Action Auckland staged a roadside protest near the Waikato town of Mangatawhiri along State Highway 2 to draw people’s attention to the looming threat of a new coal mine adjacent this popular holiday route. The threat doesn't come from where you would expect though, not from the traditional mining companies you hear about, but Fonterra; the largest dairy co-operative in the world.

At first glance it may appear strange that a dairy company wants to open a coal mine, but Fonterra, through a direct subsidiary; Glencoal, already operate many coal mines throughout the country. Fonterra use this coal in it's boilers, to produce powdered milk for export. This is where a large proportion of New Zealands carbon emissions come from. Glencoal has been granted consent to extract coal from the site for eight years, providing an additional 120,000 tonnes each year for Fonterra's milk drying plants at Waitoa, Te Awamutu and Hautapu.

It's a rec…

Stop the victimisation of union activists

Saturday's protest at Queen Street McDonald's was instigated because McDonald's sacked a union delegate for whistleblowing.

In New Zealand we call it Utu, or "revenge"; the purge of delegates and prominent workers that we have come to expect after every successful union campaign.

Well, no more. This stops now.

Attacking and sacking union delegates for defending workers results in workers being left leaderless and defenseless against corporate victimisation. In the 1980's, corporate attacks on union delegates were systematic and remorseless. This meant that workers were unable to resist divisive individual contracts, resulting in the loss of benefits which took half a century to earn. Unions lost their spine, and all the poverty, inequality, crony capitalism and corporate terrorism that we have today is the result.

These attacks stop here. Socialist Aotearoa is calling for the creation of a new campaign to protect and defend workplace union delegates whenev…

The art of revolution - Learning from Sun Tsu

Lessons for socialists, from The Art of War
The Art of War is frequently quoted by activists, but many on the Left shy away from actively grappling with the deeper lessons of this ancient text.

Written in approximately 544 BC, The Art of War is a timeless treatise on the role of the General as protector of the State. However the principles expressed, and the systematic nature of Sun Tsu's arguments ultimately constitute a way of thinking, or a state of mind, rather than a literal set of prescriptions such as those of later scholars like Carl Von Clausevitz. It is this almost philosophical approach to the subject that makes it so useful and broadly applicable to almost any protracted conflict, including and especially activism and political struggle.

Sun Tsu writes to "those preoccupied with the welfare of the State," and he begins at the beginning; "Warfare is the greatest affair of State, the basis of life and death, the fundamental essence of survival or extin…

David Dallas - Falling Into Papatoetoe

Auckland's favourite hiphop artist David Dallas has just released a new album - Falling Into Pieces, a well produced and tightly crafted set of songs that elaborate on the core principles of Dallas' past success - songs about working hard, travelling overseas and chilling in a bar.

Rapping and crooning over multi-textured beats and synths Dallas' latest album displays his trademark well-placed samples as well as pulling in some interesting talent for guesties, notably Ruby Frost and Sid Diamond. The opening and closing tracks 'The Wire' and 'The Gate' both feature Frost's ethereal vocals and these tunes give the album real lifts.

Some of the songs on this album are super-sick. 'Runnin'' has already been widely recognised for its superb sound, making it onto the soundtrack of football video game FIFA 14. The video features a boy running around the landscape surrounding Pawarenga, a small Far North Maori settlement. 'Southside' with l…

Aotearoa solidarity with Mi'kmaq warriors

On Saturday the 19th October 2013, around 25 people gathered outside the Canadian consulate in Auckland to show solidarity with the Mi'kmaq warriors under attack from RCMP state forces in Canada.
Those who came expressed outrage at the violence that had been used to break up the First Nation encampment defending their land from fracking.

Video messages of support were filmed that drew on the common struggles of indigenous peoples around the world defending their land from the state and the interests of transnational capitalism.

Powerful speeches and chanting reflected the sober yet determined mood of the protesters, culminating in the burning of the imperialist Canadian flag.

-Shane, SA

Top 5 more realistic Auckland Monopoly games


The million dollar blockade at Auckland University

"There is a million dollars of student debt sitting on the road!" a student reminded the protest blockade yesterday at Auckland University.

The remark was in reference to the around 100 students from Auckland University yesterday who swarmed onto Symonds Street to block a main arterial route in protest at the University Council voting to raise fees by 4% or some $300 per year. For a number of hours traffic was severely disrupted as the protest blocked the road, burning an effigy of Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce.

The protest comes two weeks after a large rally in the campus Quad against the National government's programme of commodifying education and the increasing privatisation of the university experience. Student activists use Facebook pages and the twitter hashtag #reclaimuoa to co-ordinate the movement.

Ben, a sociology student and one of the protest organisers said, "The rally started off small but lots more students joined in when they saw us take …

Keep kicking the Nats

It's gone from bad to worse for John Key's shaky coalition government. The ministerial resignation of John Banks this week, triggered by Graham McCready's private prosecution is a blow to the Nats. It's also a surprising example of people power. How one pissed off bloke can take on the corruption of the politicians and the double standard of the police and win.

With Banks set to stand trial mid-2014 and the law change to enable John Key's pokies-for-convention-centre SkyCity deal set to become law before the end of the year, the issue will continue to be a weeping wound point for government support.

One of the interesting things about the SkyCity deal is that public opinion is fluid over it. As Brian Rudman pointed out in July 2013,
The latest Herald-Digipoll survey shows 61.5 per cent of voters disapprove of the deal and only 33.8 per cent approve. That was a sharp turnaround from a year ago when a similar poll found 40.3 per cent disapproved and 57.3 supported …


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SOCIALISM 2013 – Socialist Aotearoa Conference,

OPENING SESSION: What changed in 2013? | Friday 1 November: 7.30pm

From the election of a neo-liberal government in Australia to the beginning of an American fast food rebellion; Ed Snowden’s NSA revelations and the anti-GCSB protests, to the elevation of David Cunliffe to Labour leader, the welfare reforms and the super-charging of Auckland’s housing crisis; What changed in 2013 and why? And how should the radical left relate to the struggle today?

With: Paddy Gibson, co-editor Solidarity Magazine, organiser Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney;
Joe Carolan, Socialist Aotearoa, McStrike campaign organiser;
and Nicola Owen, Linda Miller, Bevan Morgan.


SATURDAY SESSIONS: State of the Struggles | Saturday 2 November: 10.30am to 5.30pm

10.15am -10.30am | Registration

10.30am – 11.30am | Strike!: The Battle in the Workplace

With: Grant Brookes, Nursing unionist and Fightback member;…

John Key does nothing to help free the Arctic 30

On Thursday September 19, 2013, Russian special forces illegally boarded and seized control of the Arctic Sunrise: a Greenpeace vessel that was conducting peaceful protests against an oil rig in international waters. An estimated fifteen or sixteen armed FSB (Russian internal security agents) boarded the ship from a helicopter and arrested all thirty activists at gunpoint including two New Zealanders. This was an escalation of the quasi-military protection that Russia had been providing for Gazprom; the world's largest extractor of natural gas and the first company to drill for oil in the Arctic. According to Argentinian greenpeace activist Camila Speziale, the day before the Russian authorities had fired automatic weapons in the air and water, used water cannons on two activists scaling the oil rig and threatened to open fire on the ship if they didn't leave the area.

Arctic Sunrise was then forcibly taken to just out Murmansk despite no official charges having been laid at …

Book Review - Zealot by Reza Aslan

According to American theology academic Reza Aslan's Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, the historical Jesus was a revolutionary, a rebel, a dissenter. He was not a pacifist and his "Kingdom of God" was not detached from the human world, but in reference to a land free from Roman rule and the greed and corruption of the Temple priestly elite. He was dedicated to his Jewish faith, and he was solely concerned with his Jewish brethren. He was deeply involved in the issues of his people and with the political movements at the time. And so instead of the figure that people now recognize in Jesus, of divine detachment, hippie , peace-preaching ways, and miracles, we have a figure that was one of many who took on the mantle of messiah, who fought for his people and a vision of a Kingdom in which the weak became strong, the rich became poor, a figure who reacted strongly against the oppression of his people,the greed of the Priests, was prepared for violence and e…

Book Review - Cloudy Sunday by Michael Kyriazopoulos

Michael Kyriazopoulos, or Mike Kay as he is known to his comrades, has just published his first work of fiction, Cloudy Sunday. The beautifully written novella with a well paced tempo and elegant story-line is equal parts history of the 28th Maori Battalion, Athenian war romance, informal tract on the philosophy of the Mana Party and anthropology on the origins of Greece's 'rebetiko' musical subculture.

Cloudy Sunday set during World War II follows the story of Tuatahi, a young Maori man from the East Cape of New Zealand through his enlistement in the Maori Battalion and deployment to Greece to fight the invading Nazi forces on the slopes of Mt Olympus.

Cut off and wounded during the New Zealand Division's fighting withdrawal to Crete, Tuatahi ends up hiding out in Pireaus, sheltered by a beautiful, young Greek woman Dora who makes a living singing rebetiko - a type of Greek folk-blues, whose name translates as 'of the gutter'. In the working-class nightclubs a…

Anger builds in Mangere over new motorway

Over 300 residents in Mangere went home encouraged and ready to fight a proposed motorway every step of the way from a rally in South Auckland today.

Residents of the South Auckland community of Mangere, inspired by Mana Movement local government candidates, have today established Respect Our Community, a group to organise resistance against the proposed Option Four of an East to West motorway through South Auckland and on the Saturday 5 October called a public meeting at Sutton Park school in Mangere East. The venue was symbolic as this is one of the three schools that the new motorway would cut through. This may result in anything from the loss of a large portion of the school fields to the demolition of the entire school. Because of this the school opened up the hall free of charge to the Respect Our Community campaign.

Among the speakers at the packed meeting were representatives from three political parties as well as local board members and local Labour MP Su'a William Si…

The kindness of slave-owners

Being a psychology student, you don’t really learn a lot about left-wing politics, or anything remotely related to politics for that matter. We’re mostly just taught to memorise the facts. But recently I had a lecture on intergroup relationships, specifically on this phenomenon called Contact Theory which led me to ponder  oppressor-oppressed relationships in the modern era.

In short: contact theory is the idea that the mere interaction between a dominant group and subordinate group can produce harmonious relations.

There have been numerous studies testing this phenomenon, the earliest coming from 1978. S.W. Cook hired a white worker for a railway task, and informed him that he had to co-operate with a black colleague in order to complete his job. At the end of the task, Cook found that the white worker rated the black worker higher in likeability, competence, and even attractiveness (Cook, 1978).

The problem with this phenomenon is that social equality may be achieved, but economic…

Top 5 post-crash pop songs

With names like Wrecking Ball and Lost Generation a new generation of pop songs is giving a voice to working class anger and disillusionment in the wake of the global financial crisis. From Lorde's Royals to Aloe Blacc's I Need a Dollar and Macklemore's Thrift Shop popular culture is shifting with popular antipathy to the times and reflecting the mood of the streets.

Grand Theft Capitalism – Class war in the city of pixels

Grand Theft Auto V is the latest edition of the Grand Theft Auto or GTA series of video games in which players run around large-scale simulations of famous American cities completing various missions to take their character from rags to riches. GTA, developed by Rockstar is one of the most influential video game series ever with the ten games selling over 135 million units, topping Guinness World Records for sales and impact and being amongst the most popular Playstation games. Throughout all the games are three key constants; the need to steal cars (and buses, trucks, helicopters etc) and drive them quickly, the need to kill people using a variety of weapons, and the need to accumulate money.
For a consumer capitalist market obsessed with commodities like new cars, addicted to gratuitous violence on TV and enthralled by stories about poor people finding freedom, opportunity and wealth in America the GTA series is the crack-pipe of cultural products. Since its mid-September release