Monday, April 16, 2018

Rising in the North, South, and West Heath Sector Workers Reject 2%.

From Middlemore to Whangarei Base and in little old Waitakere hospital the health sector workers are making the voices heard. At Middlemore over 300 nurses and health sector workers rallied supported by Unite Union, First Union and Etu. Notable was the absence of many public sector Unions though PSA did have a limited presence. At Waitakere Auckland Action Against poverty were there in solidarity while in Whangarei there was a chorus of car horns as the public enthusiastically voiced voiced their support for their nurses.

Turnout has been rather good With the Whangarei picket notably stronger than expected with around 50 people present. What is clear from the strong turnout is that the 2%pay offer is not even close to what is required by our health sector workers. Rather a figure closer to 18% would address the needs of the diligent heath sector workers.

Our workers deserve more 18% in 2018.

SA.

Whangarei
Waitakere

Waitakere

Waitakere

Waitakere

Whangarei

Whangarei

Middlemore

Middlemore

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A Return to the "Oppositional Behavior of Last Century"



A couple of months back, PSA union leader Erin Polaczuk told the Listener magazine she was glad to be operating in a ‘mature era’, where battles are won in court rather than on testosterone-fuelled picket lines. Okay, so those weren’t her exact words but that’s pretty much the gist. That thanks to the ‘feminisation of unions”, that “stupid oppositional behaviour” – ie strikes – are a little bit, you know, last century.

She cited the case of the huge settlement last year for care and support workers, led by the amazing Kristine Bartlett. That it was won in court. And yes, kudos to Kristine for taking her stand. But, crucially, Kristine had behind her the mass power of her union, and the real source of that power? The ability to strike.

Strikes – and I say this as a longtime female unionist – are not macho, they’re not old-fashioned, they’re not “stupid”. They are, quite simply, the only real firepower we have. The ultimate expression of the power of collectivity.

I have been a union member for almost 30 years and in that time I’ve heard a lot of different reasons why striking, even belonging to a union, isn’t smart or modern. As a sub-editor on London’s Daily Mirror in the early 90s, I heard ‘ah but we’re white collar’, ‘we’re part of the new middle-class’ ‘we’re creatives; we don’t clock on and off… unions are for blue collar workers’; ‘we should form a staff association; they’re less confrontational’. Lol. Why not form a book club while you’re at it.
I haven’t heard the ‘it’s not ladylike’ before. But hey.

So Erin, you think strikes are macho? Tell that to those American women teachers who, despite living in a country ruled by an arch-sexist, recently went on strike for nine days and won a pay rise for all state employees in West Virginia.
Tell it to the all-female kindergarten workers in New Delhi who last year won a doubling in their salary after a strike by their, also female, union leader Shivani.

Closer to home, tell that to Joyce Hawe of Te Arawa, a machinist at Progress Manufacturing in Porirua who organised a successful strike for higher pay. Or Bertie Ratu, who organised a protest when Talleys sacked her for being a unionist. Or any number of women throughout labour history. The Dagenham machinists whose action in the 70s led to not just pay rises for them, but a pay equality law change. The many women throughout history at the forefront of revolutionary action, from the Paris Commune to the Russian Revolution.

Striking is a proud and mighty tradition – for men and women, side by side. And strikes have often been led by women because in a world where we suffer discrimination and sexism, we understand that it’s by withdrawing our labour that we can really be heard. We understand that while the 1% hold the wealth, it’s us - ordinary men and women - who create it.

Why do I mention this now? Well, we’ve just seen a week of strong, vocal rallies by nurses from the NZNO union, many of them women. They are on the brink of strike action after rejecting a paltry 2 per cent pay offer. They feel undervalued. They feel their work conditions are jeopardising quality of care for patients. They don’t want to strike. They’re in their profession because they care about sick people, so of course a vote to withdraw their labour – however minimal the risk to patients – is not taken lightly. But they know, as I and millions of women before me have known, that strikes make the bosses sit up and listen.

All power to them.
Maria SA



A couple of months back, PSA union leader Erin Polaczuk told the Listener magazine she was glad to be operating in a ‘mature era’, where battles are won in court rather than on testosterone-fuelled picket lines. Okay, so those weren’t her exact words but that’s pretty much the gist. That thanks to the ‘feminisation of unions”,  that “stupid oppositional behaviour” – ie strikes – are a little bit, you know, last century.

She cited the case of the huge settlement last year for care and support workers, led by the amazing Kristine Bartlett. That it was won in court. And yes, kudos to Kristine for taking her stand. But, crucially, Kristine had behind her the mass power of her union, and the real source of that power? The ability to strike.

Strikes – and I say this as a longtime female unionist – are not macho, they’re not old-fashioned, they’re not “stupid”. They are, quite simply, the only real firepower we have.  The ultimate expression of the power of collectivity.

I have been a union member for almost 30 years and in that time I’ve heard a lot of different reasons why striking, even belonging to a union, isn’t smart or modern. As a sub-editor on London’s Daily Mirror in the early 90s, I heard ‘ah but we’re white collar’, ‘we’re part of the new middle-class’ ‘we’re creatives; we don’t clock on and off… unions are for blue collar workers’; ‘we should form a staff association; they’re less confrontational’. Lol. Why not form a book club while you’re at it.
I haven’t heard the ‘it’s not ladylike’ before. But hey.

So Erin, you think strikes are macho? Tell that to those American women teachers who, despite living in a country ruled by an arch-sexist, recently went on strike for nine days and won a pay rise for all state employees in West Virginia.

 
Tell it to the all-female kindergarten workers in New Delhi who last year won a doubling in their salary after a strike by their, also female, union leader Shivani.

Closer to home, tell that to Joyce Hawe of Te Arawa, a machinist at Progress Manufacturing in Porirua who organised a successful strike for higher pay. Or Bertie Ratu, who organised a protest when Talleys sacked her for being a unionist. Or any number of women throughout labour history. The Dagenham machinists whose action in the 70s led to not just pay rises for them, but a pay equality law change. The many women throughout history at the forefront of revolutionary action, from the Paris Commune to the Russian Revolution.

Striking is a proud and mighty tradition – for men and women, side by side. And strikes have often been led by women because in a world where we suffer discrimination and sexism, we understand that it’s by withdrawing our labour that we can really be heard. We understand that while the 1% hold the wealth, it’s us - ordinary men and women - who create it.

Why do I mention this now? Well, we’ve just seen a week of strong, vocal rallies by nurses from the NZNO union, many of them women. They  are on the brink of strike action after rejecting a paltry 2 per cent pay offer. They feel undervalued. They feel their work conditions are jeopardising quality of care for patients. They don’t want to strike. They’re in their profession because they care about sick people, so of course a vote to withdraw their labour – however minimal the risk to patients – is not taken lightly. But they know, as I and millions of women before me have known, that strikes make the bosses sit up and listen.

All power to them.

Monday, April 09, 2018

A Return to Union Solidarity.


To attempt a gargantuan struggle alone is a mammoth task indeed. Just as we unite together to fight the bosses unions must band together in solidarity when the negotiations break down and the struggle hits the streets. As the Nurses struggle intensifies the class is faced with the cruel reality that what eventuates here will set the tone for the worker's struggle under this somewhat misleadingly named Labour government.

For my generation the class struggle under a Labour government is a totally new game far more insidious than the cut throat front stabbing nature of the struggle under National. And many of the freshly graduated nurses are younger still. This it is vital that we stand on the shoulders of giants and knowledge the mighty struggles of the past. Wihi, and the Waterfront strikes, to Mc Strike and the Zero hours campaign we must struggle together and stand in solidarity with the nurses.

Nurses wages have stagnated in relation to inflation. Care has become a commodity under the cut throat regime of recent health policy with flow on impact in the community.  With patient care not up to standard. Inexperienced nurses forced to perform to a standard far beyond their years resulting in inordinate strain on our youngest healthcare workers. Nursing has become a low wage job which is totally unacceptable. Middlemore is falling apart DHB's are rotten to the core. The government won't do it we must get out on the picket lines and support the Nurses.



So where is the money going to come from? Put simply there is only one way to collect the funding to sort this colossal mess the current tax system is skewed to extort funding from those who can least afford it while the capitalist classes pay little to no tax on the surplus value that they extract from our tireless labour. We have the money to fix this it is simply sitting captive in the pockets of the wealthy. We must Tax the Rich to Sort the hospitals. Pay the nurses a living wage and fund the care to standards that will be the envy of the world.

Solidarity Forever
Comrade Eva.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Why is the Media Silent About This... Aotearoa Rallies for Justice in Palestine

"Why is the media silent about this"... The words of Palestinian refugee Billy Hania echoed through the town square as about 100 people rallied for justice in Palestine. That morning 10 people killed on the border of Gaza including one journalist according to Rodger Fowler from Kia Ora Gaza. Gaza the largest open air prison under constant attack while our government is silent. Fowler proposed that the government should shut the Israeli embassy.





In the aftermath of the good Friday massacre Auckland rallied for Palestine where Israeli snipers killed 18 with highly train snipers targeted journalists and civilians while the blockade of Gaza continues to affect the lives of millions of Palestinians who were cleared out of the land occupied by Israel. The Labour government continues to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel regardless of the human rights abuses said rouge state continues to perpetuate. The perpetrator of the violence continues to claim to be the victim.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the notorious Nakba day we must build in solidarity to send shock waves around the world to bring this rouge apartheid state of Israel to it's knees. To stop Israel we must make the world say no to Zionism. The two state solution is dead Israel had no intention of honoring it. The only course of action is a single secular Palestinian state where Jew and Arab alike have an equal stake.

Solidarity and Freedom for Palistine.
Comrade Eva




      LGBT For Palistine
 
   

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Labour are celebrating? They've done virtually nothing but the boss is hapu!



Jan 2018 is coming to and end, which will be 84 days after Labour and the Greens and NZF got married. Haven't we all being patient?

With all of their hullaballoo of pre-election promises of “I’ma gunnah” do this, “We gunnah” do that ….the opposition & competing parties were in hyper-drive with coming up with counter offers to the NZ public with bullshit commitments to build 200,000 Houses! More roads of “Significance”, “Lower Taxes” or trying out a bit of comedy with; how the poor are better off being less poor! And slogans of how ‘Hard Working’ NZ’ers are much better off, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah!
Thank fuck, ‘we’ didn't buy it this time around …. But? What did we get?

Well we didn't get to see these two return to parliament.
Mana-Maori party marriage was more like a “fling”, a marriage of convenience or, could it have been an “arranged” marriage?
The Maori party's divorce papers hadn’t yet come through from the Nat’s but they went ahead and hooked up with Hone! Aue! Another three way!
As for the Greens & NZF. They were having to fight for their survival as their pockets were getting picked by their potential suitor party(s) in the next Government.

The new Labour Government got to have first pick due to an old mange dog named Winston Peters. He savoured the moment for a few short weeks before announcing his choice to form a government with which was Labour who then brought along the Greens to make up the numbers.

Then they all managed to make it to December without any major drama’s domestic or internationally. The Christmas holiday break had come & they went to ground.
A “run for cover” I think you could call it. Regroup to figure out what to do now, now that they are in government after 9 long years sitting on the opposition benches. Maybe the reality is sinking in? The ‘shock’ that they’ll have to do some work instead of throwing eggs!?

So what's changed? Nothing!
We still have a Housing Crisis! Oh no that's fallen off the radar!
People are ‘still’ Homeless and ‘if’ they’re not living in their cars or sleeping on a park bench. They’re racking up a massive debt living in flea infested motels costing $140,000.00 per day! Also getting harassed by case managers from WINZ to find accommodation and a job!
The MSD/WINZ Ceo has still got a job! FFS!
I don't think much of Camel suckit-u- pollonie. She said when questioned about this in early December that she, “will take direction from her senior managers ….”WTF!
It's a simple fix. Sack the prick & don't hire anymore parasitic pricks from any of the christian organisations! Methodists, Presbyterians, and other churchie fucks.

What else? Oooh ooh! Phil the “Son of a Gun” Twyfords slogan pre-election was, “I’ma gunnah Build 100,000 Houses! 10,000 per year over 10 years!
Now this was an ‘un-committed’ pre-election build number, which now turns out to be 2000 State houses & let the private sector housing market take care of the rest. Now, with a revised projected forecast of no more than 8500 houses built in the first year and then we'll see? This figure includes the 2000 state houses! Also, he’s responsible for Transport and shovelling his mate Auckland Mayor Phil Goff bucket loads of money via AT & other roading projects.

Oooh ooh! Beneficiaries will get an increase in their “Accommodation” supplement! Whoop de doo!
Currently, if you are lucky you might be able to get $125.00/wk which is the maximum based on which region you live in.
Average rent nationally is $470/wk. However, if you’re on a benefit, you are automatically placed at the back of the queue because renting from the private sector has now become a sport. Its a bidding “War.”
Migrants and especially the group of migrant students that the Migrant Student Association are supporting. The Labour party minister & associates have gone quiet, paying lip service and doing fuck all else. Time for a kicking I reckon comrades!

Arrh what else? Parental Leave!
Who gets Hapu!
Call me a cynic but for fuck sake! I did write on our SA facebook page back in Nov/December that “Little Ms Colgate” will get hapu mid-term and have a baby which will win Labour a second term. I guess Clarke & Jacinda couldn't wait that long! So now, every time the shit is about to hit the fan, guess what's going to happen? Little bubba pickies!
Will there ever be any politics happening in NZ in the near or foreseeable future?

NZF’s “ Jonesy!” Fuck! He’s spent the one billion dollar Regional Investment Fund 2.8 times already!
Well we all know how responsible he is with the “company” credit card aye?

The Greens.
The poor widdle greenies! Well, they don't like darkies & the kids snuck off with keys to the car and crashed it a few times. Chloe moaning how difficult it is to decide how to spend her $160k salary and the other new MP Golriz, gets caught out trying to trade a new national holiday for support to legislation for ‘waka’ jumping the green party has already agreed to.
They’re in the shit by moving from the left, to now where its fuck’n crowded in/on the centre right of the political spectrum which is where all of the political parties are in, in parliament. 2020 isn’t looking good for the Greens.
The left side of the spectrum is like open ‘space’. Vacuous, a void, barren, nothingness!
What a fuck’n disgrace!

Why has NZ got into this mess? Bryan Bruce’s video, “Who owns NZ Now” raises some serious concerns.
There’s articles galore are coming out regularly about NZ’s richest including NZ’s richest man increasing his wealth by two billion dollars and on the next page, a beneficiary getting declined for a food grant for fuck sake!
Also in today's Herald, oxfams’ article stating the wealthy 1% in NZ own 28% of the country’s wealth. The trickle up theory isn't a theory.

Who gets subsidised in NZ? NZ business owners & corporates, international & home grown. These subsidies are huge. 2016/2017 June/July NZ Government Appropriations. More than $11b in subsidies going to multinational corporations as well as local businesses, such as for eg; Training providers (Pte’s) to WINZ for beneficiaries; $732m for this period alone! Oh no! Don't give it to the beneficiary who is liable for the debt created by this ‘subsidy’, give it to the PTE!

Once the course is finished, you're outta there! Its your fault if you cant find a job! You didn’t LOOK hard enough! Back on the Bene & getting sanctioned and harassed by your friendly understanding case manager(s).

Poor farmers! Fuck me! Don't buy another $500k tractor you fuck!
My favourite one is the $2.3b subsidy to build the Ultra fast Broadband network for your favourite internet provider, who then bills you every month to use the network infrastructure that you paid for, for them to use! It was originally only going to cost NZ taxpayers $1.8bn but the contractors, Leyton’s, Fletchers ect …. Paid Out $600m to their shareholders in the first year and went back to the government minister and said that they didn't have enough funds to continue with the work so he gave them another $700m to carry on!
The list of parasites is long but, you can guess how the richest 1% in NZ gets to own nearly 30% of the countries wealth.

Giddy up! 2018 has started & we’re still catching up on the last governments 9 years of misguided neoliberalism and mismanagement. Is this Labour Government any different? So far, same shit, just a different day.

Denny SA

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Can we save Capitalism or should we save the world?

Capitalism has a problem. This is rather universally believed, with the main dispute being what that problem is.

For many capitalists, the problem is an image problem or perhaps a more substantial problem to do with endless restructuring & staff reductions, outsourcing, commoditisation, price competition driving down wages, declining innovation and slow profit growth. Others think capitalism is under siege – with social problems de-legitimising business i.e. businesses have lost their ‘social contract to operate’ leading to social unrest and popular movements against capitalism.

However, capitalists tend to suggest a tweeking of capitalism is required rather than a wholesale system change: i.e. there is simply a need to re-invent capitalism. At least four of these “re-inventions” are currently blossoming in the NZ context:

Shared Value - which proposes to transform social problems relevant to the corporation into business opportunities, thereby contributing to the solving of critical societal challenges while simultaneously driving greater profitability. Lion Nathan are strong proponents of Shared Value, led by their parent company in Japan.

Conscious Capitalism - which proposes that the free market capitalism is a powerful system for social cooperation and human progress; and seeks to build on the core foundations of capitalism such as voluntary exchange, competition, freedom to trade and the rule of law, by adding elements like trust, compassion, collaboration and value creation. Starbucks and Patagonia are proponents of Conscious Capitalism.

Capitalism 3.0 – which proposes a revolution in management thinking focused on "delighting customers" and redefining managerial roles, coordination mechanisms, values and communications so that everyone and everything in the corporation is oriented towards accomplishing this goal. It proposes starting from what would delight the client and focusing the entire organization on that goal. Amazon and Salesforce are said to be leaders in Capitalism 3.0.

Eco-Capitalism / Green Capitalism – which proposes that capital exists in nature as "natural capital" and market-based government policy instruments can be used to resolve environmental problems. Basically, despite the global social and ecological crisis, the capitalist system can continue to expand by changing to a new ‘sustainable’ or ‘green capitalism’, bringing the efficiency of the market to bear on nature and its reproduction. Green Capitalism tends to put the onus of solving environmental problems on changing individual life styles. The Green Party is a proponent of Green Capitalism.

The appeal of all four systems is that they do not challenge the fundamental political and economic systems we have. They provide a nonthreatening re-invention of capitalism palatable to many political and business leaders, as well as the mainstream public.

However, re-invented capitalist ideologies have four main flaws in common:

They continue to assert that endless growth can occur in a finite ecological system i.e. that capitalism can find a way to profit from the problems created by capitalism. They assume that by profiting from addressing planetary destruction, inequality and social disfunction we can somehow solve these problems. By seeking to cherry pick profitable solutions they simply create a few islands of change within a sea of issues.

They tend to ignore the trade-offs that are required between social, environmental and economic goals unless a profit can be identified. In particular, social and environmental problems caused by the corporate are simply ignored. For example, in a recent forum discussing Shared Value, Lion Nathan was asked the question of how they could say they were following a Shared Value ideology when their product (alcohol) caused such harm. Their response was there was nothing they could do about that so they would ignore it and focus on areas they could find value.

They presume compliance with legislation and ethical standards, while ignoring substantial evidence of widespread non-compliance. Basically, if you pretend it’s not happening you don’t need to factor it into your ideology. Non-compliance and unethical business behaviour are ‘messy’ to try to account for. It’s simply easier to ignore this element than to ensure corporations pay their fair share of taxes, halt environmental harm caused by their activities and respect international labour standards.

They continue to incorrectly define the corporate role in society. A fundamental flaw in capitalism is that corporations are not responsible to society. Re-invented capitalism is still capitalism – with all the same focus on profit, corporate self-interest and the tensions between capital and labour; and between capital and the environment. Re-invented capitalism does not provide us with new insight into the systematic nature of many social and environmental problems; but instead ignores the basic understanding that what is needed to avoid environmental collapse and significant human tragedy is a contraction in global use of resources.

Re-inventing capitalism is truly the equivalent to shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Maximizing profit and saving the planet are inherently in conflict and cannot be systematically aligned.

Proponents of re-invented capitalist ideologies point to the reduced ozone hole over Antarctica as an example of how capitalist measures have been successful in addressing an environmental issue. By incentivising the use of non-ozone depleting products, they claim, the ozone problem has been solved. However, this example conveniently forgets the solution required an unprecedented global regulatory intervention, against industry lobbying, and the environmental improvement has taken 20 years and counting.

Addressing the even more complex social and environmental problems we currently face will require a rapid, substantial and immediate global regulatory response in the hope that in 20-30 years we may again see an improvement in the situation. This despite substantive corporate opposition to such global regulatory change – corporate opposition which is considerably stronger than in the mid 1990’s when the ozone layer was addressed.

We no longer have the luxury of incremental change or tinkering around the edges. In order to address the scale and urgency of our social and environmental problems, we need to systematically subordinate the pursuit of profit. We need to abandon capitalism.

There is no capitalist solution to our ecological crisis.
Either we save capitalism or we save the humans. We can’t save both.

System Change not Climate Change
Lavinia SA

Saturday, January 13, 2018

History of the Russian Revolution

Just reading Trotsky’s the history of the Russian Revolution. A large book with huge detail and amazing insight into the psychology and treachery of the counter revolutionary forces, and of course western industrialist interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation, surprise, surprise

.

What I find fascinating is the similarity between this and the normal workings of a so-called democracy in an imperialist world with all the usual lies and treachery. While the workings and treachery are nothing new, it gives a great insight and understanding into how it all works and a great education for people interested in changing the world order and achieving a real people’s democracy.

While reading it I took time out to read a small Socialist Aotearoa pamphlet called ‘In Defence of October’. This was a debate between four historians on whether Leninism led to Stalinism. An interesting debate with a lot of good points made in it, but by the end there seemed to be one glaring omission – and I think this is true in general about the debate on this subject worldwide – and that is:

Did western industrialist interference in the revolution lead to Stalinism? Did Churchillism lead to Stalinism? Did Churchillism lead to Hitler? Did it lead to Franco? Did it lead to Mussolini? Did it lead to the Greek generals? Did it lead to Pinochet? Did it lead to Pol Pot?

The list goes on and on. I could list about 50 countries where the US alone has been instrumental in installing horrible dictators, which ultimately has led to the fucked up capitalist world we live in now, with its perpetual wars, starvation poverty, persecution, real threat of climate disaster and nuclear war.

While the academics argue about the deck chairs on the titanic.

The question really should be: if western industrial countries had kept their blood stained hands out of Russia’s revolution, would Leninism have led to a utopian world socialism? And I think the answer would be, quite likely.

Sometimes I think these academics lack imagination or empathy. They don’t seem to be able to fully comprehend the situation Lenin found himself in after the revolution and after the civil war. They don’t seem to be able to comprehend the magnitude of being invaded by the most powerful countries in the world, and the devastating effect of this on the revolution and on socialism. They seem to think that Lenin could just make socialism out of the remnants of the people left – basically a bunch of illiterate peasants with no idea of socialism, the ruling class, and their hangers-on who had already proved the level of their treachery, treason and butchery.

Doug SA