“Cast Lead” – A Proportionate Response in Palestine?

Mike Walker

On September the 29th of this year Richard Goldstone, a Jewish South African, presented the findings of a UN Fact Finding mission to the Council of Human Rights in Geneva. The Mission’s Mandate was to investigate; “all violations of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law” during the December/January Israeli offensive in Gaza, codenamed “Cast Lead”.

Even before the investigation started the Israeli Government refused to co-operate with the UN Mission or to allow them access to Israel, The West Bank or Gaza. Eventually the Mission sought “and obtained the assistance of the Government of Egypt to enable it to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing”. In contrast to the obstructive position of the Israeli Government the report states that, “the Mission held meetings with senior members of the Gaza Authorities and they extended their full cooperation and support.” [Read more...]

Wgtn upcoming event: album release gig

7:30pm Wednesday, 16th December

Paramount, 25 Courtenay Place

Challenge international “terror” legislation

Reprinted from an article by Rebellion (Danish language site.)

The court case against Rebellion (Denmark) for support to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is now approaching. The demand is imprisonment. The court case takes place at Copenhagen City 6. Court, December 3 and December 7, 2009 and January 8, January 15, 2010. The judgement will be announced on February 8, 2010.

The aim of Rebellion (Denmark), formed in 2004, is to challenge ‘terrorist legislation’, both in Denmark and internationally.  

Terrorist legislation seeks to undermine progressive organisations, resistance movements, trade unions and solidarity movements throughout the world.

We appeal for support from all to:

- Defend the right of peoples to resist illegitimate government and foreign occupation!

- Defend the right of peoples to take up arms against oppression where all other means have been exhausted!

Rebellion (Denmark) is accused of the transferral of substantial funds to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has for decades been engaged in the struggle of the Palestinian people, in a legitimate conflict with occupation forces. We support the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in its struggle for a secular and democratic state for all. It can in no way be defined as a ‘terrorist organisation’.

In Denmark, there is an increasing challenge to ‘terrorist legislation’, a growing defiance that Rebellion (Denmark) has striven to create and is itself a part of.

Through present terrorist legislation, states have attempted to curb the freedom of expression and the political rights of their citizens. The right to extend moral and material support to resistance and liberation movements throughout the world is threatened. 

Rebellion (Denmark) appeals to all movements for democracy and international solidarity to join us in challenging national and supranational terrorist legislation and the so-called ‘global war on terror’.

 

Solidarity picket with Joe Glenton and the people of Afghanistan

British Lance Corporal Joe Glenton faces charges for refusing to return to Afghanistan, instead joining the anti-war movement.

Activists in Wellington held a solidarity demo outside the British High Commission, opposing imperialist war. Send messages of solidarity to: joeisinnocent@hotmail.co.uk

Bad banks or bad capitalism?

The Spark November 2009 Philip Ferguson

One of the issues that has arisen with the current recession is the responsibility of banks for the partial meltdown in the financial sphere.  Sections of both the left and the right had traditionally targeted banks, a practice that has become more pronounced with the new recession.  For instance, on January 19 this year the Financial Times in Britain even ran a headline saying “Shoot the bankers, nationalise the banks.”  In New Zealand, Federated Farmers has accused banks of “profit-gauging” – rather rich when you consider the amount of profit made by Fonterra!  Traditionally, in New Zealand, right-wing nationalists such as Social Credit targeted the banks, a reaction to the fact that the social base of that movement – small farmers and small businessmen – were often squeezed by banks in terms of credit, mortgages, loans and so on.  [Read more...]

Doing the “drains up” on a tragedy

The Spark November 2009
Mike Kay

 The disappearance of two year old Aisling Symes in the west Auckland suburb of Henderson on 5 October dominated the headlines over the next few days. There was mounting speculation that the toddler had been abducted. TVNZ sent their Sensing Murder “medium” Deb Webber to “assist” the Symes, a move that drew widespread criticism. In reply, the TV station stated: “We’re not trying to push a psychic message to make money and get ratings.” The British aristocrat Lord Ashcroft offered a $50,000 reward for her safe return (considerably less than the $200,000 he’d put up for the return of the stolen Victoria Cross medals) [Read more...]

Open Country Cheese workers took heroic stand

The Spark November 2009
Jared Phillips

The lockout of Talleys-owned Open Country Cheese workers came to an end in late October 2009 after a legal and industrial struggle waged by the Dairy Workers Union (DWU) and its members.

 The Open Country Cheese site is a self-contained dairy factory in Waharoa, a few minutes drive north of Matamata in the Waikato. The lock-out came after strike notification by the DWU. In other words, the employer issued the lock-out notice before the strike had officially begun, and marched workers off the site in mid-late September. [Read more...]

Indian government starting 5-year military offensive against revolutionary forces

The Spark November 2009
Jared Phillips

 The revolutionary movement in India, under the leadership of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), has expanded its base over the last three to four years through regroupment of the movement and also through consolidation of its support in urban centers. Consequently, the Indian state has extended its ban on the party. Previously the political ban was imposed on the party in several states mainly in the east of the country. Now there is an ‘all-India’ ban on the CPI(M). The party has established peoples’ committees in three states, and has done so in-part in other states. [Read more...]

Tim Shadbolt joins trespass protest

PRESS RELEASE:

Invercargill mayor and 1960s protest figure Tim Shadbolt and distinguished NZ film-maker Gaylene Preston have added their names to the list of those calling for the administration at Victoria University to lift the two-year trespass ban it imposed recently on Wellington workers’ rights activists Joel Cosgrove and Heleyni Pratley.

Cosgrove, a former students association president, and Pratley, a former student executive member, were trespassed for taking part in a protest against fee increases by the University Council. At the protest Cosgrove threw one egg, which he later cleaned up, and Pratley held a sign calling for free education.

The pair were then arrested and charged with trespass when they tried to deliver a petition signed by academics and trade union figures calling for the trespass order to be lifted.

“It seems that Victoria is keeping up its reputation as the most uptight University in New Zealand. I remember in the late 60s we had a University Arts Festival there and a small group of us went to sleep in the Common Room and were all arrested for trespass. Universities should be the last bastion of free speech and democracy,” said Mayor Shadbolt, in a message of support to the campaign to get the trespass orders lifted.

Cosgrove and Pratley have welcomed the support, saying that the longer the administration maintain the trespass order the more draconian and silly it makes the University appear. END

It is 8 years since NZ troops joined the US led invasion of Afghanistan

The SPARK interviews long serving anti-imperialist activist and Workers Party secretary Daphna Whitmore

Spark: It’s been 8 years since New Zealand troops were sent to Afghanistan – why did the Labour-Alliance government send them in the first place?

It needs to be understood in the context of New Zealand’s involvement with US and British imperialism. New Zealand is a partner in this bloc, and Labour enthusiastically signed up to the so-called War on Terror. When it comes to involvement in military adventures Labour governments have been just as warmongering as National.

Daphna Whitmore

Daphna Whitmore (left)at May Day march 2009

The Alliance Party split over the issue of support for the invasion of Afghanistan, with the majority of its members rejecting the war. It highlighted the problem of being in government with an outright capitalist party like Labour.

Spark: New Zealand companies aren’t trying to make major sales in Afghanistan – why all the risk and expense over such a long period of time?

 In its last term the Labour government did scale back the involvement, recalling the SAS and sending instead “reconstruction” forces. This tended to obscure the reality – that these are military forces, participating in an occupation. It dressed it up to look like it was simply a humanitarian mission. [Read more...]

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