New pamphlet on Afghanistan

Check out our pamphlet on Afghanistan

Wgtn screening: Reds

Two part screening at Victoria University:

4pm Wednesday March 3
Meeting Room 3, Student Union Building

4pm, Wednesday March 10
Collins Room, Student Union Building

Review: Goldilocks and the Three Queers

by Ian Anderson

In its initial workshop run, Goldilocks and the Three Queers made for an unforgettable night out. There’s maybe a bit of chaff to cut, with the play running overlong in a packed Fringe season, but the wheat makes for delicious brownies. Definitely worth catching on its return season at BATS.

Goldilocks is the second in a trilogy of fairytales, devised by theatre company Short Term Visitor Parking. The first instalment, Hansel und Gretel, interpreted Hans Christian Andersen’s famous tale as a Nazi parable. This one gives us a potted history of the ‘70s gay liberation movement, with a dash of ‘80s (AIDS, cocaine, paranoia) thrown in for good measure.

The production is uniformly excellent, with set designer Fern Karun milking the unusual venue for all it’s worth. In a cramped building next door to a strip club, cantankerous landlord (landlady?) Ling Ling guides the audience into an intimate 1970s basement pad, where couches and beanbags await. Divider screens serve as changing rooms, and funkadelic music-man Tane Upjohn-Beatson sits in full view of the audience. We’re accepted as guests in the rented abode of an unconventional nuclear family; the Queers.

[Read more...]

Eyewitness to a revolution in Nepal

Ben Peterson is a young Australian activist who spent a year in Nepal witnessing first hand the revolutionary struggle. He is touring NZ 21-26 March 2010.

Auckland: Sunday 21 March @ 2pm Trades Hall, 147 Gt Nth Rd, Grey Lynn Monday 22 March @ 1pm Function Room (over Quad café) Auckland University

Hamilton Tuesday 23 March  1 -2pm (followed by discussion) @ SUB G.20 (Guru Phabians room) Student Union Building Waikato University

Rotorua, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch venues and dates to be advised soon.

 

Sussex University occupation

 Mike Kay

On 8 February, over 100 students at Sussex University in South East England marched up to the top floor of the university’s prestigious Bramber House conference centre and staged a “‘flash occupation”. They marched out 30 hours later, promising more actions to come in the future.

The occupation was part of the Defend Sussex Campaign, an ongoing fight by students and staff at Sussex against savage cuts that the university is planning. The cuts amount to £3 million this academic year, and £5 million next year, meaning course closures, job losses and fee increases.

However at the same time as proposing these cuts, the university administration is planning to spend £112 million on new buildings and refurbishments on campus, as well as raising the salaries of the top 14 managers to a combined £2.1 million per year. [Read more...]

Abolish GST

At present John Key and National are floating the idea of raising GST

GST a tax on the poor

(goods and services tax) from 12.5% to 15 percent, while lowering income tax for all and also reducing company taxes.  Key and his pals present this approach – lowering direct taxation and increasing the tax on consumption – in a populist way, as if it would benefit workers.  Key has added that the Working for Families package could be increased, along with some other measures, to help offset any losses for lower-waged workers and the minimum wage has been increased (minimally) by 25c an hour.  Once again, there is nothing for beneficiaries.

The first thing to note about GST is how it affects people on lower incomes the most. [Read more...]

ACC PROTEST : Strong and weak points

Don Franks

 The Accident Compensation Commission has “blown out’ financially and needs major reform, ACC minister Nick Smith claimed last year. The government now says it must control costs by raising levies, cutting entitlements and coverage, and privatising parts of ACC.

WP banner

Seasonal and part time workers, people needing hearing aids and sexual abuse survivors stand to be particularly disadvantaged by proposed ACC cuts.

On February 16th  two hundred people opposing these measures rallied at parliament .The protesters were mostly unionists and bikers, angry at ACC levy increases specifically aimed at them.  [Read more...]

Can students be radical?

The following article is extracted from a talk given at a Workers Party forum at Canterbury University in October, 2006, by Philip Ferguson. The article is reprinted here and originally appeared in an earlier edition of  The Spark that was published on 12 October 2006.

For many people, especially on the left, the answer to this question is an unqualified “yes”. They might agree there is not much happening on the campuses in New Zealand right now, but point to big protests and even occupations over the past decade over issues like fee rises. However, if we think more deeply about the question, the unqualified “yes” tells us more about the studentist politics of much of the left than it answers the question.

To be radical means to go to the root, to deal with the core problems of the existing society and work out a strategy to solve those problems by doing away with the system that causes them. [Read more...]

The nature of Israel: A state of all its citizens or a racist state?

The Spark February 2010

“…no one has the right to put the Jewish people and the State of
Israel on trial” – Ariel Sharon

On May 15th 1948 the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel stated that due to a “natural and historic right” a “Jewish state” would be established in the former British Mandate Palestine.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Current Israeli Prime Minister recently echoed that in order for there to be “peace” Palestinians must recognise Israel as a “Jewish State”. Both were seemingly ignorant of an ever increasing Israeli Arab population.

In 1948 Zionist leaders attempted to cleanse their soon to be “Jewish State” of its indigenous population through a campaign of terror that triggered the flight of over 700,000 Palestinians from their land and homes, making them refugees. Yosef Weitz , a high official of the Jewish National Fund, explained that the solution was “the land of Israel without Arabs”, continuing “they must be completely removed…leaving not one village, not one tribe”. The ethnic cleansing campaign was only partially successful and when the State of Israel was established it included 180,000 Palestinian Arabs within its borders. New laws were passed, such as the Absentee Property Law of 1950 and the Land Acquisition Law of 1953, which enabled the Israeli state to take land without the consent of its owners for “security, settlement or essential development purposes.” This land was then expropriated by the state and handed over to organisations such as the Jewish National Fund for settlement by new Jewish immigrants. [Read more...]

Reclaiming the right to strike and how it’s essential for rebuilding workers’ power

 

The following article is a shortened and edited version of a Workers Party internal document by Jared Phillips  printed in The Spark February 2010

 Initially socialist organisations in New Zealand responded to the anti-strike laws contained in the Employment Contracts Act and Employment Relations Act with some vigor, including in The Spark. In response to increased strike restrictions put in place by the Labour-led Labour-Alliance coalition in 2000, the Socialist Workers Organisation conducted a campaign in some workplaces and in the public centered around a petition, which was significant as far as petition campaigns extend. 

Casino workers on strike 2008 during bargaining

The new legislation (ERA 2000) included a ban on solidarity strikes and political strikes. In summary the legislation, still in place, from a working class point of view, is this, ‘We can only strike for our own contract, only when negotiations have broken down, and if we do engage in an unlawful strike (i.e. a strike for any other reason), there could be severe damages penalties against us and the union’. It is concerning that the left has withdrawn its activism from the issue because, as the comparison goes, this is the new ‘leg-iron of labour’. [Read more...]

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