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Showing posts from 2017

Migrant Workers Fight Back.

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Migrant workers are among the most vulnerable and exploited sections of the working class. The system and its laws conspire to put them in a position where they are easy targets, often too afraid to take on exploitative bosses for fear of losing even their meagre income. They are frequently used as slave labour, and it’s common for them to be bonded to a particular company for the duration of their visas. But recently a group of migrant workers in Tauranga showed how unity and direct action can give them strength, dignity and the resolve to stand up for their rights. Sunny Sehgal of the Migrant Workers Association tells the story, which came to his attention when he was approached by a worker in a liquor store

“The owner of the liquor shop had five other liquor shops across the North Island, paying workers below minimum wage, with no basic entitlements. These migrant workers had been used for a long time as slaves. They became friends and colleagues and planned among themselves, with…

Bring Them Here

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“In the West there was panic when the migrants multiplied on the highways. Men of property were terrified for their property. Men who had never been hungry saw the eyes of the hungry. Men who had never wanted anything very much saw the flare of want in the eyes of the migrants. And the mean of the towns and of the soft suburban country gathered to defend themselves; and they reassured themselves that they were good and the invaders bad, as a man must do before he fights. They said, Those goddamned Okies are dirty and ignorant. They’re degenerate, sexual maniacs. Those goddamned Okies are thieves. They’ll steal anything. They’ve got no sense of property rights.” – John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Sex with underage girls. Rampant violence. Tables awash with gambling money. No, it’s not the latest Netflix blockbuster, but allegations against the 370 men detained on Manus Island. the claims.... some of them by Australian intelligence - are yet to be proven, or disproven, but it smacks…

Uprising in Catalonia

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Catalonia’s independence referendum – outlawed by the Spanish state – has been taking place today, Sunday. As voting closed, activist David Karvala spoke to Socialist Aotearoa from outside a polling station in Barcelona

About 200 people were in front of my local polling station at 8pm as voting ended in the independence referendum. There was a countdown and huge cheer.
Some had been here since 5am. Others had stayed the night on Saturday. We then had to stay for hours more to protect the ballot boxes during the count. The result at our station was an 80 percent vote for independence. The turnout was 1,300 votes - impressive given the area and the police repression.

The paramilitary police brutally attacked a polling station just half a mile from here and all the ballot boxes were taken away. We are one of the few polling stations in the area that hasn’t been attacked.
The Catalan government released shocking footage of Spanish police attacking polling stations.
But the final …

Joe Carolan at the International Union of Foodworkers Global Congress in Geneva

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#mcStrike- the Battle moves to the centre #McStrike - The Battle is moving to the Centre- Joe Carolan from Unite Union in New Zealand speaking at the International Union of Foodworkers Global Congress in Geneva #WeAreIUF




Unions and the rise of a New Left
Joe Carolan from Unite Union speaks to the relationship between fighting unions and the rise of a New Left at the International Union of Foodworkers Global Congress in Geneva #WeAreIUF#McStrike

I will never forget the women of Highland Park Events cinema...

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I will never forget the women of Highland Park Events cinema, who were made redundant by the company without getting a penny from the company. Three had worked there for over 15 years. Unite fought hard alongside them, and in the end we got a redundancy contract for future workers in our collective agreement. But this is not good enough- the Highland park workers got nothing, and thousands of workers without union protection will continue to get nothing. It's time for the law to be changed- will a new Labour Government in New Zealand introduce statutory redundancy provisions for all workers who lose their jobs? This law needs changing.

Capitalism as pratfall.

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Capitalism, that great and efficient distributor of goods and services. It has brought us, with its compatriots, colonization and Christianity, oppression and extinction of indigenous cultures, the creation and exploitation of the working class, systematic domination over nature and non-human animals, and other travesties. It’s given us over-consumption and species collapse, destruction of ecosystems and then biospheric conditions. It’s given us a plastic filled planet, more nurdles than fish. Fukushima. It’s given us global inequality as well as the contradiction of both poverty and obesity in the western world. It’s given us billionaires and homelessness. It’s given us information overload and antibiotic resistance. You could argue the three C’s have also brought us education, health, longer life spans, medical advancements so women don’t die in childbirth, moral development (in the western tradition) and democracy. But in reality, those benefits and costs are so unevenly spread thr…

The Mettle of Metiria.

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Metiria stood with the Indian Students fighting exploitation and deportation in the sanctuary of the Unitarian Church.
 Metiria stood in solidarity with Unite Union workers who took strike action to defeat zero hours contracts.
She has been subjected to a vicious avalanche of manufactured outrage from media pundits, vilified by the rabid right wing and betrayed by opportunists within the left.
Her crime- to fight for the unemployed, beneficiaries and the poor.
A lot of people are sickened by what passes for politics in this country.
Thank you Metiria for being on our side fighting when it counts.
- Joe Carolan, Socialist Aotearoa.


Beyond Jacindamania.

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In light of the leadership change Maria Hoyle from the Anti-Capitalist interviews Joe Carolan Unte union organizer and 2017 Mt Albert by-Election about the prospects of the leadership change.

Maria Hoyle for the Anti-Capitalist: With Jacinda Ardern taking over, there is a feeling of hope and expectation, that it will invigorate the campaign, that young people will go to the ballot box for a change… what’s your view on what Jacinda might offer?

Joe Carolan: We’re in the early throes of Jacindamania [just three days after she took over Labour leadership] and there’s a honeymoon period in the media. Established hatchet men like Patrick Gower have been given pom-poms by Steven Joyce to be her cheerleader. I would argue there’s another member of the Labour caucus that’s in power and his name is Paddy Gower. He seems to be the one who calls which one is their leader! Jacinda is very presentable, there’s a generational thing there, she’s 37. A lot of young people are saying, ‘What was looki…

From Kakariki to Tui and back again

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To recent political viewers, the Green party appears to have taken a sudden swing to the left with the release of their ‘Mending the Safety Net’ policy. While overshadowed by Metiria’s confession that she had undeclared flatmates while on the DPB, the policy itself is more striking than her so-called fraud. After all, anyone who has been on a benefit has probably had to tell a ‘white lie’ to survive the process.
‘Mending the Safety Net’ is the first substantive attempt to roll back the social warfare attacks of the 1990’s and for a party that has, for the past 10 years, been devoid of socially controversial policy it seems dramatic.
But the Greens were not always so bland. Up until the untimely death of their male co-leader Rod Donald, the Greens were a progressive party championing radical environmental and social policies. Remember, the first lot of Green MPs included Sue Bradford, Keith Locke and Nandor Tanczos!
In those early years the party was made up of environmentalists, social …

The prospects of Labour's latest leadership change

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A week is a long time in politics, and Meteria Turei must have thought the last ten days was an eternity. The media baying like hounds focused on her admission of non-disclosure of flatmates’ rent while receiving the DPB, deliberately took attention away from significant new social policy. The ‘benefit fraud’ story was picked at in every possible way, inflicted upon the public like Chinese water torture.

In contrast, the media pressure on and stare-down of Andrew Little, leading to his departure, was politics at the speed of light. Time always goes a bit crazy in an election year, and hyperbole, and character attacks on the left are de rigeur. Let’s not forget the Donghua Liu lies attacking David Cunliffe, that saturated the front page of the Herald during the 2014 election. We shouldn’t be surprised that Andrew Little has been undermined and resigned under pressure.

A steady hand on the tiller is required to navigate tumultuous political waters, full of snapping sharks, but it was ap…

All hitherto existing history of the New Zealand Labour party is a history of ignorance to class struggle.

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In recent years the Labour leadership fiasco has been an ongoing fight against the inevitable decline of the 101 year old party as predicted by its former leader David Lange in a 1991 column in the Dominion newspaper. "TRANS Tasman Labour Party celebrations have become a tad maudlin. The Australian Labor Party celebrates its centennial this year [1991] teetering on the edge of the electoral cliff. The New Zealand Labour party saw its 75th birthday out having gone over the side in large numbers [1990 general election defeat]. It is no great comfort to us that we have to roll aside smartly to deny the National Party lemmings a soft landing.Given there is no warrant to assume immorality the question must be raised as to whether Labour will make it to another significant anniversary. It would be foolhardy in these volatile times to predict what will happen, so I pursue instead the question of what should happen. The obvious question is as to whether there is still a place for labour.&…

Crisis in the New Zealand Left.

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The abysmal polling of Labour at the weekend, barely clearing 26% of the vote, followed today by the resignation of Andrew Little as leader, shows a party in terminal decline. The caucus has no discipline, the factions plot against each other, and non entity after non entity gets thrust before the poison chalice of "leadership".

Vacuous rebrandings, cautious timidity, and a lack of boots on the ground for the issues that are crucifying working people, make toast of the "Fresh Approach" (TM) that is stale as last months bread. The focus group that decided on the latest rebrand must have been well aware that Approach drips of caution, but we dont need caution- we need a head long attack, a War on Poverty, not on the poor.

Abroad, the Left rises in many countries, not only inspired by dedicated veteran leadership, but also by substance- by a rediscovery of Socialist politics. It has become crystal clear that the NZ Labour Party is in terminal crisis, and those who th…

Must Watch Movie- Brave New World.

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Having been sick in bed with the flu for the past 2 weeks, I amused myself with some movie distractions. My first one is the 1980 movie version of “Brave New World”. This is originally a sci-fi novel originally written by British author Aldous Huxley in 1932 in the middle of the great depression, about a dystopian future earth society set in London 500 odd years in the future.

Unfortunately it’s dated as movies were in those days before modern cinema. Compounded by the characters being shallow without much personality which is obviously part of the story. But it’s nevertheless a well told story about a man named Thomas who is the assistant director of the hatching and conditioning department, who travels from an advanced “civilized” society with a woman (Linda), on holiday to a New Mexico Indian reservation (called savageland as its uncivilized). While there Linda falls off a cliff and being presumed dead is left behind. Years later an awkward semi-outcast boy (Bernard ) on a simil…

New Zealand General Election 2017 and Temporary Migrants

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This year’s general election is a very strange affair in some respects and yet majority of the on goings are not unexpected at all. The anti-immigrant rhetoric that most political parties are employing is not only spreading racism against migrants but it has also deepened a division between well settled migrants and migrants on temporary visas. Such ploys are the norm for right wing neo-liberal parties but it is quite shocking to see the ‘left wing’ parties sing to the same tune.



Like most countries on this globe we live in a capitalist economy. To put it very simply the capitalist model’s primary goal is continuous growth of profit. All other forms of growth under this model are secondary, sometimes a by-product, and not necessarily a strategic part of the plan. In order to increase profit on an ongoing basis while competing aggressively, cost cuts are necessary for capitalism to thrive. In the process there has been and always will be exploitation of natural resources, environment a…

Must watch movie- Spirit of '45 by Ken Loach

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This insightful 2013 documentary about the birth of Britain’s welfare state, by left-wing moviemaker Ken Loach, is both uplifting and depressing at the same time. Inspirational in that Britain’s post-war Labour reforms were nothing short of revolutionary: visionary social democracy at its finest. Depressing because of how far our own Labour party has strayed from these ‘for the many, not the few’ principles. In 1945 Britain’s returning troops were hailed as wartime heroes… yet they marched back from the horrors of battle to the horrors of working-class life. Lice-infested tenements, overcrowding, hunger, mass unemployment, disease, a bleak existence all round. Against this background, Labour leader Clement Attlee swept to a landslide victory in the 1945 elections on the promise of, among other welfare reforms, a free health service for all (the NHS); public ownership of the railways, mines and banks; and a massive social housing programme. Miners actually wept when they heard of Labour…