Christchurch Film Screening: Leila Khaled – Hijacker

Leila Khaled Hijacker Due to popular demand the Workers Party will be holding another screening of the documentry ‘Lelia Khaled: Hijacker’ about the “poster girl of Palestinian liberation.”

‘Resistance is ot Terrorism’ T-shirts will available for $30 with all profits being donated to the PFLP.

Time: 7:00pm, Monday the 28th of September

Location: Workers Educational Association (WEA) 59 Gloucester St (map)

Press release: University Tresspasses Political Dissent

Workers Party activists Heleyni Pratley and Joel Cosgrove have been trespassed from Victoria University for two years for participating in a student protest against University fee rises of over 90%.

Joel was involved in the throwing of a solitary egg which did not hit anyone. Heleyni threw nothing and instead stood prominently holding a Workers Party banner calling for `free education from kindergarten to PhD’. They and other activists cleaned up the eggshells before leaving.

Let us be very clear. Joel has been trespassed for throwing an egg which he cleaned up afterwards. Heleyni has been trespassed for nothing other than speaking her mind. She is being publicly attacked by the university for exercising her democratic right to protest and express free speech. She is being punished to make an example to anybody else, student or otherwise, who is considering standing up to university injustice.

There is a clear pattern emerging of the University’s disregard for any pretence of democracy or free speech on campus. Earlier this year Workers Party activist Ian Anderson was expelled for filming an anti-war protest. A number of other Workers Party activists have already been targeted and attacked by the university.

“In this case as in others it is clear that the University is targeting the people it sees as the leading activists organising against their slash and burn agenda,” says Mr. Cosgrove.

“The University is attempting to silence debate by expelling, trespassing and intimidating anyone it disagrees with,” he adds.

Joel was trespassed over the phone by a man named Darryl, who refused to give his last name or any way of verifying his statement.

Earlier that day Heleyni was met at her door by two men, who demanded to know where Joel was. On being asked to leave, they attempted to physically force their way into the property, against her repeated requests for them to leave, causing her to feel so threatened that she felt she had to slam the door shut and lock it to protect herself from the threat of violence. While this was happening they were yelling through the door in an abusive, aggressive manner that as she was Joel’s girlfriend she was also trespassed. Escaping in a friends car she was shadowed for sometime by the two men who followed her in a large, black SUV.

“I didn’t know who they were, or why they were harassing me, I should not be harassed and intimidated for standing up for what I believe in,” says Ms Pratley.

The Workers Party demands the immediate lifting of all trespasses by Victoria University and a full apology to Heleyni Pratley for the distress caused by their utterly inappropriate actions.

Telecom workers: We’re right behind you!

Download this leaflet to distribute at your local picket line

Enough Greedy Tricks

The Workers Party salutes the stand that Telecom line engineers have taken in resisting the bosses’ drive to force you into “Dependent Contractor” status. Where this model has been applied in other industries – notably construction – the result has been that pay and conditions have become severely degraded for all workers.

Many of the strikes in this dispute have been “wildcats” – and all the more effective as a result. It tells you something about who the law favours that the redundancy notices the employer issued were perfectly legal, but engineers had to take action in defiance of the law. The vicious spirit of the 1990s Employment Contracts Act lives on, albeit in the slightly watered down version of the Employment Relations Act. Official or unofficial, effective industrial action is what counts, and the majority of public opinion will be on your side if the message gets out that this is a fight for the whole of the working class.

It was the Labour Party that began the job of privatising Telecom in 1987, and it was National that finished it. We then had nine years of Labour-led government which did nothing to bring Telecom back into public ownership. It’s obvious that utilities like Telecom should be under the democratic control of workers and consumers rather than $5 million men like Reynolds. But to win that will mean a major confrontation with the government. With thousands of other workers facing the threat of redundancy, we have plenty of potential allies.

From the start, the strategy of the employer has been to divide and conquer. Bosses had a go at putting immense pressure on engineers on Work Permits to sign up as Dependent Contractors, because their legal status is tied to their job. This brutally illustrates how immigration controls are nothing more than another weapon in the bosses’ arsenal; they won’t hesitate to use the threat of deportation to bully migrant workers. For this reason, the Workers Party supports Open Borders as the way forward to unite the workers of all countries. To the extent that the bosses’ plans have failed, and migrant workers have joined the picket lines, we can’t miss the boost they provide – both in numbers and in decibels!

Workers fighting redundancies overseas have been resorting to more radical tactics. Since the start of the global downturn factory sit-ins have made a comeback. Faced with the prospect of joining the dole queue, workers have occupied Vestas wind turbines on the Isle of Wight, Ford’s Visteon plants in Belfast and London, SsangYong motors in Korea and Waterford Crystal and Thomas Cook in Ireland. Even where such tactics didn’t result in outright victory for the workers, they ended up increasing the number of jobs saved and winning better redundancy packages.

The current struggle with Telecom has the potential to affect every worker in New Zealand. We can’t treat it just like a normal industrial dispute. Line engineers need to start discussing new tactics to escalate the action and turn the tables on the bosses.

Upcoming talks: Wellington

What is Marxism?
5:30pm, October 2nd
Crossways, 6 Roxburgh St
Mt Victoria

What would Wellington look like under socialism?
7pm, 22nd October
New Crossways, 6 Roxburgh St

Das Kapital study
Wednesdays 5-7pm
Collins Room
Student Union Building
Victoria University
Mt Victoria

Striking Telecom Line Engineers picket Exchanges in North Shore City

Religion: The Sigh of the Oppressed Creature

To be delivered on Monday the 7th of September, Meeting Room Two at Victoria University as part of ‘Religion Week’

Welcome to the Workers Party contribution to Victoria religion week!

We’re not starting this meeting off with a prayer, but before you go we will be passing a plate and taking up a collection.

Some of you here today might be hopefully expecting a communist speaker to scornfully dismiss religion in five words as “ the opium of the people” so we can all get away off to the pub nice and early.

I’m not the best person to do that for you. My initial experience of religion was very positive. I was brought up in a comfortable middle class home with a quaint little Anglican church four minutes walk around the corner. When you got there and walked inside, it was a cool dark soothing place, buttressed by reassuringly strong wooden beams. At the end of the building, where your eyes naturally looked up towards, the sun lit up a beautiful red and gold stained glass window behind the altar. The local vicar of my childhood was a dignified Yorkshireman who’d been awarded the Military Cross for some act of valour. He delivered amusing sermons, several of which I still remember. The basic message was very comforting. You worked away all your life and behaved yourself and then, when you finally got very old and tired, you’d be taken up to heaven to be looked after for ever and ever. It seemed like a pretty good deal. So on Sunday we dressed in our best and went to church and thought uplifting thoughts and then came home to have the best meal of the week, a huge satisfying roast dinner. All very peaceful, no one got hurt or killed except the hogget. So you might say, I got dealt about as good a hand as you get in the religious department.

[Read more...]

Interview with Lina Ericsson

In this episode of the VBC radio Wellington show “The Unnamed Show” Byron Clark interviews Swedish political scientist Lina Ericsson about her research conducted with migrant workers in rural New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme for her thesis ‘The Ni-Vanuatu RSE-Worker: Earning, Spending, Saving, and Sending’
(Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Political Science)

Lina’s field work uncovered a number of domestic and international labour law violations which are discussed in this interview, interviews with migrant workers provide an insight into their lives working on New Zealand’s orchards.

Listen here. This is part one of a two part show.

Interview with Mike Ely

Joel Cosgrove and Alastair Reith of the Workers Party interview Mike Ely of Kasama. Subjects include the revolutionary situation in Nepal, the role of Kasama in facilitating Marxist regroupment, and the outlook for revolutionary activity around the world.

Click here to listen.

Unemployed again – A main feature of capitalism

Jared Phillips

As a result of the recession, the National-led government has been made to face rising unemployment. Its response has been to attempt to offset unemployment with redundancy initiatives and job creation initiatives. The job creation initiatives are partly corporate welfare (if not corporate welfare, then company welfare) and partly based on the provision of freely trained skilled or semi-skilled labour to firms.

Investment into the different initiatives varies. However, the proportions of all such initiatives can only remain completely at odds with rising joblessness.

From a working class perspective, the response to unemployment must be made as a response against the capitalist system. This means recognising that unemployment is an inherent and increasingly (in the long-term) problematic aspect of capitalism. It also means recognising that during an economic downturn the demands and actions needed to significantly alleviate the rate of unemployment and the conditions of the unemployed must take an anti-capitalist form.

A sharp rise in unemployment

In August, Statistics New Zealand reported that there had been a 38.5 percent increase in joblessness between June 2008 and June 2009, and that the number of jobless people had increased in that period to 236,100.

It is commonly acknowledged that in order to produce a more favourable spin, parties in government emphasise the `Unemployed’ statistics from the Household Labour Force Survey, which are significantly lower than `Jobless’ figures from the same survey. A survey participant may be deemed to be ‘not seeking work’ through failure to check job advertisements. So the Jobless category is more relevant in understanding the extent of unemployment. Within the Jobless category is the unemployed category which had increased by 48,000 to a total of 138,000 in the year to June 2009. Also comprising the Jobless category are those defined as being without jobs because they are seeking work but are not currently available, and those who are `discouraged’ (generally this means long-term unemployed). In June these categories amounted to 98,100 of the jobless. The number of ‘discouraged workers’ had more than doubled on the previous year.

The category of work that declined most dramatically was women’s full-time employment, meaning women’s employment was effected disproportionately. While the report showed a general decline in full-time employment, it also showed an increase in the part-time employment category which was up by 7,000 positions in the June 2009 quarter.

The government’s initiatives

Bourgeois democratic governments, whilst functioning fundamentally as institutions of service to the ruling class, also seek to maintain social peace. With this comes the requirement to try and ensure that people have work.

The government’s concrete response to the rise in unemployment has consisted of initiatives – very public relations driven initiatives -for managing both job losses and redeployment throughout the economic downturn. [Read more...]

Wellington: Palestine event

Khaled

Leila Khaled: Hijacker, a documentary about the “poster girl of Palestinian liberation.” Screened as part of the WP-PFLP solidarity campaign, with presentations by Mike Walker and Don Carson.

2pm, Saturday 12th September

Meeting Room Two

VUW Student Union Building

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