Monday, June 30, 2014

Socialist Aotearoa formally supports the MANA-Internet party alliance.

With the recent merger of the Internet party and the MANA movement, it’s raised a lot of questions for those of us on the left fighting for a fairer and more just Aotearoa. Many were initially opposed to the MANA movement, a grassroots, democratic, force for social change joining forces with a German millionaire. Just like many other groups around the country, there have been internal discussions and debates around what this merger would mean for MANA.

Members of Socialist Aotearoa have been given time to think about what this merger means for their involvement in our organisation as well as the MANA movement. Some have been more outspoken than others in their views, but we have not sought to limit the debate around what we perceive as one of the most important developments for the left since the formation of the alliance in the 90’s. We recognise the potential for creating a truly left wing block in our parliament that will be firmly grounded in street politics. We do not believe that this merger is selling out, rather it is using the resources available to us to effect the maximum amount of change.

Socialist Aotearoa recently voted to formally support the Internet-MANA alliance until the election. We agree with the principles this merger has been built on, however we reserve the right to withdraw that support if the prospect of entering a coalition with a capitalist government becomes apparent. We are steadfastly against MANA joining in coalition with any capitalist parties that are in a position to form the next government. MANA needs to maintain it’s independence and Rangatiratanga and not follow the example that led to the destruction of the alliance party.

So while Socialist Aotearoa currently supports the Internet-MANA alliance, we will argue strongly for MANA to maintain it’s independence, and ensure it remains grounded in the movements on the streets that has helped get it to where it is now. MANA is a movement of the people, and we will argue it stays that way.

Socialist Aotearoa

Below is a piece written by Comrade Eva on why she initially opposed this alliance, but now supports it.

Why I initially opposed the Internet-MANA deal and why I now support it.

When Hone Harawira first announced the possibility of a deal between the MANA movement and the Internet party, I was shocked. I wasn’t entirely certain that the MANA movement PR machine could handle the increased publicity that was likely to follow the announcement of such a deal. I was also unsure of the nature of the Internet party as no policy had been announced, nor had there been any announcement of a leader or candidates. I also felt that negotiations for such a deal had the potential to slow the MANA movements preparations for the upcoming general election, leaving the movement in a seriously weakened position at this important time. My position was also influenced by the recent merger talks between the MANA movement and the pro Tory Maori party that had been carried out in secret without the grassroots membership being consulted. As such, although I could see some potential to an Internet-MANA deal, it appeared at the time to be far more likely to have a negative effect on the MANA movement than to provide any actual benefit to anyone but the most opportunistic members of the MANA movement.

Leading up to the 2014 AGM it looked likely that a deal with the Internet party would be forced through by the leadership with little thought given to the wishes of the wider movement. When Kim Dotcom proclaimed his support for foreign investment and his disapproval of the MANA movements tax policies at the AGM, I felt that an Internet-MANA deal would fundamentally undermine the principles that attracted me to the MANA Movement. Having to make a decision about such a deal with no more knowledge of the Internet party than I had when the deal was first announced was a somewhat alienating prospect. As the Internet party began to take shape I was still hesitant, although I felt the sight of young immigrants wearing Internet party colours at the TPPA march was promising. Young overseas born workers are a largely disenfranchised group that the MANA movement has little chance of reaching, but a group that suffers from the Xenophobia of the mainstream political parties. However at that stage it was still unclear what the Internet party stood for.

Even when the final vote for the MANA Movement came to enter into a deal with the Internet party was taken, nothing was known about the Internet party leadership. To vote for such a deal without knowing who we would be working with would have been a big gamble for me, so I voted against the formation of the Internet-MANA deal. But, remained willing to accept the will of the majority pending the announcement of the Internet party leader. In the weeks since the deal was announced most of the issues I had with the Internet-MANA deal have been addressed. When the internet party began to take shape, the future of the Internet-MANA party alliance began to look quite promising with Laila Harré’s announcement as leader. She is a politician that I deeply respected during her time in parliament, whose time was unfortunately cut short by the right wing of the Labour party. As well as a slate of promising young candidates including Miriam Pierard, who I worked with during the Aotearoa is not for Sale campaign, and Ray Calver, who I worked with during the Occupy Auckland protests.

The collapse of any opposition to the deal into disorganised personal cliques, and the appointment of a strong centre left internet party leadership contributed to my decision to cautiously support Internet–MANA going in to the 2014 general election. My feeling is that Internet-MANA represents the fresh, new, left wing political force that Aotearoa desperately needs after 30 years of free market tyranny under successive Labour and National governments.

Neither the Internet party or the MANA movement has suffered any loss of identity due to the deal, with the two parties enhancing one another without fundamentally affecting the grass-roots support of either political party. Many of the fears that I had at the beginning have been addressed and as such I am willing not only to remain in the Mana Movement, but also actively support Internet-MANA in the 2014 general elections.

Comrade Eva.
member of SA and Mana Owairaka.

Solidarity with the Al Jazeera 3 and the victims of the Egyptian dictatorship.

On saturday 28th June, a group of about 50 people gathered outside the US consulate in Auckland. They were protesting the recent jailing of three Al Jazeera journalists who were reporting on the human rights violations being enacted by the El-Sisi dictatorship in Egypt. The protesters were symbolically gagged with masking tape in order to symbolise the silencing of the world media by the Egyptian dictatorship. The protest was attended by members of the local Egyptian community, Socialist Aotearoa, Global Peace and Justice Auckland, the Mana Movement and the Internet Party. 

 The role of the United states government in the Egyptian dictatorship was outlined by Global peace and justice Auckland activist, and Mana Movement electoral candidate John Minto, who said “Egypt would not be doing this without orders coming directly from the United States because they are providing the means for Egypt to oppress its people”. Members of the local Egyptian community spoke about how political prisoners in Egypt were being denied a fair trial by the forces of the El-Sisi Dictatorship. Internet party candidate Chris Young spoke to the importance of keeping the internet free and open which is understandable considering the role of the internet in the 2011 revolution. Joe Carolan of Socialist Aotearoa spoke about the Revolutionary Socialists being jailed for organising protests. He also spoke to the pattern emerging where opponents of the Egyptian dictatorship are being systematically repressed, saying “First they came for the Muslims, now they’re coming for the journalists, then the come for the socialists and then there is no democracy, there is just the military in power.” He said taking inspiration from that famous quote from Pastor Martin Niemöller
Despite the rousing speeches it was mostly a quiet demonstration with most of the participants gagged with Duct tape to symbolise the repression of free speech by the Egyptian dictatorship. Towards the end of the protest the gags were removed and loud chants of “democracy for Egypt” and “Free all political prisoners” echoed through the street.

By Comrade Eva.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

We Say No! Community protest against alcohol stores.

With over 100 liquor outlets in the Mangere Otahuhu area alone it is no surprise that members of the Mangere community were outraged that a liquor licence was granted to a premises opposite a local school. The community responded with a 200 strong demonstration outside Southern Cross campus. Community leaders emphasised that there was very little public consultation by the licensing authorities. Liquor outlets are far more prevalent in working class areas such as Mangere and Otahuhu, while being less prominent in more affluent areas where those responsible for issuing liquor licences usually live. As such very little thought is given to the impact that cheap, easily accessible liquor has on working class communities where liquor in some places is sold alongside basic commodities such as bread and milk.
The negative impact of having a liquor outlet opposite a school is twofold, first of all students are exposed to liquor advertising as they pass the outlet and secondly, older students are likely to skip school and acquire liquor directly or indirectly (south Auckland liquor outlets are notorious for selling to under-age customers).
Socialist Aotearoa and Mana in support
The major issue here is local democracy. Community members need to have the power to stop commercial endeavours which can have a negative impact on the well-being of community members. Such decisions must be in the hands of those who will be exposed to the negative effects of increased access to liquor and should not be left in the hands of a small elite from outside the community.

Comrade Eva

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Stand up for Freedom in Egypt – Release the Al Jazeera 3 and all Political Prisoners.

Saturday, June 28, 3pm, US Consulate, Citibank Building, Customs St, Auckland

Stand up for Freedom in Egypt – Release the Al Jazeera 3 and all Political Prisoners.

Supporters of the Egyptian revolution will gather at 3pm this Saturday outside the American Consulate on Customs Street in Auckland to call for the release of the Al Jazeera 3 and all political prisoners in Egypt.

Local Egyptian activist Mohamed Hassan:

"As a journalist I stand firmly in solidarity with Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and Peter Greste and all journalists imprisoned around the world for daring to do their job. I also stand in solidarity with the tens of thousands of political prisoners in Egyptian jails without access to fair trial or fair representation. As an Egyptian I oppose the inhumane and unjust sentences handed down by the Egyptian courts. I oppose the stance taken by the Egyptian Government in dismissing the calls by the international community for fair and honest trials. I oppose any measures that work to stifle the foundations of free speech and basic dignities that all men and women are entitled to. The core demands of the January 25 Revolution were, and still remain; bread, freedom and social justice. I strongly oppose any and all attempts to undermine these basic and dignified desires that all Egyptians, and all people, rightly deserve."

Joe Carolan, Auckland based unionist-

"Socialist Mahienour el-Massry and eight other activists have been sentenced to two years’ jail by Egypt’s military regime. Their “crime” was to organise a demonstration in violation of new anti-protest laws that came into force late in 2013. El-Massry has a long history as an activist and played a leading role in the campaign to expose the role of the security forces in the horrific murder of Khaled Sa’id. Sa’id was beaten to death in Alexandria in 2010. The protests which followed his murder played a key role in galvanising opposition to President Hosni Mubarak in the lead-up to the 2011 revolution. El-Massry, a lawyer, was arrested and beaten by the police in March 2013, after she went to represent arrested demonstrators at a police station in Alexandria."



Saturday, June 28, 3pm, US Consulate, Citibank Building, Customs St, Auckland

Organised by Global Peace and Justice Auckland

Further info: Mohamed- 021 022 17607 / Joe- 029 44 55 702