Posts

Showing posts from 2018

The Rainbow Rejects the Thin Blue Line

Image
While the French are rising up against their government and being confronted with armed police and tanks, Auckland’s queer community are in the midst of a small battle of their own.  Thursday December 6th saw the debate about whether or not to allow an oppressive force to march in full uniform in a parade commemorating the struggles of the queer community against a colonial state reach its zenith.
Last month, after multiple opportunities for community consultation, the Board given the task of organising February 2019’s Pride Parade let police know that they are welcome to march alongside the LGBTQ+ community, under the one condition that, if they choose to do so, they are not welcome to wear their uniforms.
This kicked off a series of melodramatic but necessary events which have seen the withdrawal of the Police, military, and several major corporate sponsors from the Parade.  For some reason, this is considered controversial. The culmination of this supposed crisis has lead to the ove…

No Pride In the Police

Image
Part “Hobson’s Pledge”, part “Blue Lives Matter”, with a thin rainbow veneer. Their rhetoric appears to be lifted straight from talkback radio. Intimidation, gas-lighting the victims of police violence, and outright assault of a Māori trans women — this is what the loud majority in the LGBT community have stooped to in order to defend the right of a largely heterosexual police contingent to dominate the Pride Parade.

The core argument appears to be one of inclusion — but if we want to talk about not excluding straight allies, then how about we talk about not excluding Māori allies, whether cis and straight or LGBT? During my time working with the Mana Movement, I never once encountered discrimination due to my gender identity. When I am a guest on a Marae, even as a Pākehā, my gender identity is always respected — a stark contrast to the Pākehā establishment, who many in the LGBT community wish to make peace with. Naturally, Māori LGBT people have expressed concern with the police ma…

Trade Unionists Support Our Teachers

Image
Can We Afford to Pay Teachers and Nurses?This year has seen a remarkable upsurge in workers' struggle.  Union members, largely but not exclusively in the public service, are demonstrating loud and clear that they are sick and tired of decades of low wages and precarious conditions, especially with the cost of housing so toweringly high these days.  The level of inequality between ordinary workers and our bosses and landlords has become utterly unsustainable — tens of thousands of people are not prepared to tolerate this anymore.
We have heard, more and more as these workplace disputes have escalated, cries from the government that the pay claims workers — especially primary teachers and nurses — are making are impossible to pay for.  This is not true. The much deserved pay rises demanded by teachers, nurses, and other public sector workers could be paid for, with billions of dollars still to spare, through:
Spending just a portion of the $5.5 billion surplus the government recorded…

Where’s the Justice? MoJ Workers Fight For a Fair Deal

Image
Staff at the Ministry of Justice have been amongst the tens of thousands of workers who have gone on strike this year. Read a report on the struggle so far, and what is coming next, as PSA members demand justice.






MOJ members on strike in front of Christchurch District Court. Photo credit: PSA Often when we talk about workers’ struggle, people think about physical labour — miners, factory workers, dock workers, hospitality or customer service, or jobs which are known to be difficult, such as teaching and nursing. Workers in the public service — especially in a place like the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) — are entirely different. I believe there are a couple of key reasons for that: The MoJ is seen as a necessary evilEven if you have absolutely no criticism of the current justice system, having contact with the courts is rarely, if ever, something people want to do. That being said, everybody understands that having workers dedicated to administering justice is required for a fair society. Peo…

Democracy For Sale

Image
Many adjectives have been used this week for the unfolding saga between Simon Bridges and Jamie Lee Ross in the National Party – racist, ugly, disgraceful, corrupt, jihadi Jami……..

One Chinese, two Indians, a Filipino etc. etc. This kind of talk grossly offends me as a human being first and foremost, then I feel insulted as an Indian and finally I’m outraged as a resident and a taxpayer in Aotearoa paying fat salaries to money making thugs in the guise of public servants! But I’m not surprised at all as a Socialist.

The National Party is at present in opposition but their core philosophy remains unchanged; a core philosophy that obviously views people as votes and dollars instead of hard working citizens who create the dollars for them through their labour. Therefore, whether in government or not, the political parties of a profiteering capitalist system are always the ruling class. As described by Karl Marx, the ruling class is like a “band of warring brothers” in constant competiti…

Class Wars... Teachers Strike Back.

Image

Strike Wave Continues

Image
On a cold and windy day primary school teachers and principals hold a day of strike all over New Zealand.
It was one of the biggest marches on Auckland's Queen Street. Some say 7000, others say 10,000 teachers marched. Aotea Square was overflowing with people willing to stand up and fight back for their rights.
Over whelming support for the teachers from a broad spectrum of New Zealandrs is a positive sign too.
Recently we have seen the nurses, bus drivers, IRD staff and many private sector workers fight for their work rights.
Something is in the air, people will have various labels for this something, I have my own.
Amidst the workers of Aotearoa uniting and rising, someone tells me that Socialists must be driven out of trade unions. How bizarre!!
Unions without a Socialist backbone are like a human being without oxygen.
More importantly, how do you stop the kind of Socialism we have recently seen among striking workers of Aotearoa?

Kua tae te waa Anu SA

A wake up call: the Far Right in Aotearoa

Image
Today around 80 supporters of the far right gathered in Aotea Square brandishing placards in support of Tommy Robinson. Robinson is a former member of the fascist British National Party, and founded the English Defence League. He and his cronies are committed to fighting the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe. Robinson is currently in jail for contempt of court. When I turned up at the rally to join a counter-protest, I felt sick to the stomach to hear these people talking about ‘free speech’, and then proceeding to hand out leaflets and tell passers-by to educate themselves about the threat of Islam. Make no mistake, Robinson and his ilk – though some of the supporters at the rally may indeed have been hoodwinked into thinking they were defending the right to non-violent freedom of expression – are toxic, racist andtheir ‘freedom of speech’ is in fact hate speech. They want the ‘freedom’ to label Islam a ‘rape culture’ – yes, that is what they were saying today – to pose Muslims as the great …

A Perilous Position

Image
The members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation working at the country's public hospitals and DHB provided services are in a perilous position since the union's leaders abruptly cancelled one of the two strike days last week. The strike which should have taken place tomorrow, was cancelled last week after the union leaders said it had received a better offer. The union sat on the offer for the weekend before revealing it to be much the same as the previous offer. There was no increase to the percentage of 3% offered as an annual increase, and there was still no backpay but instead a lump sum of $2000 for full time nurses, and proportionally less for part time nurses. The ultimate solution to the short staffing plaguing the hospitals was the same funding of another 500 nurse vacancies for hospital wards only (not DHB funded community nurses or clinics). According to the Nightingales for Fair Pay spokesperson Danni Wilkinson, this amounted to less than 10% of a nurse per war…

The Rank and File mobilize time to listen to the workers.

Image
The nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants have been on a what is now turning out to be a long and windy road to getting their work rights. Long and windy to the detriment of the workers as the first of two 24-hour strikes gets called off by the union bosses under the guise of a newly negotiated deal. But highly advantageous for the union bureaucrats and the government that is all about budget responsibilities and running budget surpluses.





Throughout this struggle the small minority of well-paid bureaucrats have been dominating negotiations with little regard for the needs of the health sector workers who pay them. The Union is the workers and the bureaucrats they pay are not working for them. The health sector has been neglected by subsequent capitalist governments. The backroom deals favoured by the bureaucrats are not in the interests of the workers who are the union. The bureaucrats must step aside and let the union exercise their labour rights and speak the only language the …

Solidarity With All Immigrants.

Image
Just as you don’t have to be Palestinian to understand the brutality of Israeli policy in Gaza and the West Bank, or gay to feel the horror the cleansing in Chechnya, so you don’t have to be a parent to be outraged at what is happening on the US border. But it helps.In the past week the second of my daughters left home, albeit temporarily. She is 19 and going to live with family overseas, and still I cried. So it’s unfathomable to me, totally and utterly incalculable, the human suffering these parents torn from their children – some just babies - must be enduring. As a mum their pain is my pain. And that of tens of thousands of others, judging by the protests and solidarity actions which forced Trump to ‘retreat’. That much we can celebrate, that compassion and humanity has a voice that can make itself heard. But…. Yes Donald Trump has reversed this inhumane policy. He did so by signing an executive order – even though he earlier claimed this was not possible. But however the policy …