Facebook Shuts Down Palestinian Solidarity Group

The US-based social networking site Facebook has shut down a New Zealand based PFLP Solidarity group, as well as permanently closing the accounts of all four group administrators with no right of appeal. The group, which had approximately 500 members, was established after the recent Flotilla attacks to show solidarity with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and raise awareness of the solidarity campaign led by the Workers Party of New Zealand, who are fundraising for the PFLP.

None of the administrators of the PFLP Solidarity group were given any
notice from Facebook that they had violated terms or conditions, and were given no direct reason as to why they had had their accounts disabled.

“They did not even send an email to me explaining why my account was disabled”, said one of the group’s administrators.

Marika Pratley, PFLP Solidarity Campaign coordinator and group
administrator in Wellington said, “This was clearly a political attack against the PFLP and an attempt by Facebook to censor and shut down the solidarity campaign”.

The PFLP advocates a single secular state in all of Palestine, with equal
rights for all, regardless of race or religion, and is the second largest
group in the PLO. Facebook have deemed that support for the PFLP violates its terms and conditions while allowing many blatantly racist anti-Palestinian groups to continue to exist without such censorship.

The Workers Party believes that all political ideas and discussion should be free of censorship on the internet, but wishes to expose this hypocrisy, which often surrounds debate of the Palestine issue. Palestinian groups are frequently censored and branded as terrorists while supporters of the racist state of Israel are not.

The PFLP Solidarity Campaign is determined to continue on, despite
Facebook’s censorship. “We have already raised over $1000 through selling T Shirts. Deleting a Facebook group is not going to stop us showing solidarity with Palestine or the PFLP”, said Christchurch administrator Mike Walker.



“End the Siege of Gaza”, but then what?

Mike Walker, PFLP Solidarity Campaign co-coordinator
The Spark July 2010

On the 31st of May commandos from the Israeli Defence Force stormed a boat carrying aid and activists to the besieged Gaza strip, opening fire and killing 9 people on board. In a typical official Israeli response, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon accused the flotilla’s organisers of `having ties to Hamas and al-Qaeda terror organisations’. This has been followed by so-called `universal condemnation’ of the attack by the `International Community’ and calls for an end to the siege. In practical terms this means allowing more goods into the Gaza Strip. What it doesn’t mean is an end to Israeli control of the borders, the airspace, the coastal waters and literally every aspect of Palestinian life. [Read more...]

Red & Purple: A Marxist Perspective on Queer Liberation

by Ian Anderson, adapted from a talk presented at Marxism 2010.

What does queer liberation mean?

This article aims to deal with this question utilising historical materialism, the mode of enquiry pioneered by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Historical materialism explores social relations, such as homosexual oppression, by explaining the productive forces that shape them. With a particular focus on New Zealand history, this analysis aims to sketch the material basis of modern queerness, attempts to control or suppress it, and the politics that have emerged from this contradiction. [Read more...]

CARD TRICKS

By Don Franks

It was a normal start up on our job the other day, cleaners hurrying in to dump coats and sort out gear for the early morning shift.
Our supervisor cast an eagle eye around the crew.
“Ok, everyone’s all here – anyone need any stuff?”
” Yes, couple of things”
“What?”
“Can we have a minibar and a masseur in our cubby hole?”
Everyone laughed a bit including the boss.
“There’s no bloody credit cards on this job and you’re not MPs with time to fiddle them. Ok, lets get on with it.” [Read more...]

BP Oil Spill and the Exposure of Obama

On April 20, BP’s offshore oil-rig Deepwater Horizon exploded off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers are missing, presumed dead, while 17 more were injured. The ensuing pipeline breach has garnered extensive media attention, as around 210,000 gallons of oil a day gush into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying local wildlife and the fishing industry.

Louisiana, responsible for a third of the country’s fish catch, are already seeing massive loss of marine-life as the oil sheen enters the South Pass, a major channel for fishing. In addition to the loss of marine life, oil threatens to destroy the wetlands, making states more vulnerable to events such as Hurricane Katrina – especially if currents push the oil further up the East Coast.

This disaster has thrown the relationship between government and big business into stark relief, as US President Barack Obama continues to plummet in opinion polls. Sections of the environmentalist movement had placed faith in Obama as a progressive candidate, hoping to see an end to the Bush administration’s dismal environmental record.

[Read more...]

Mining National Parks – Class and Conservation

Ever since Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee and Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson released a proposal to open up 7058ha of land presently in Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act for mining, opposition to the plan has been building. The issue got attention around the world, including from North America’s largest conservation organisation the Sierra Club. “You have the responsibility to protect New Zealand’s wild heritage not only for the enjoyment of future generations but also for the protection and conservation of the Earth’s ever shrinking biodiversity,” wrote Richard Cellarius, the club’s international vice-president, in a letter sent to the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Energy and Trade. “Long-term protection should not be sacrificed for immediate commercial gain.”.

[Read more...]

Marxism 2010

The Workers Party held its annual conference in Wellington June 4-6

The conference opened with Daphna Whitmore speaking on the revolutionary movement in India that spreads from the border with Nepal in the north to the southern states of India. John Edmundson spoke on Afghanistan and the quagmire the invading powers find themselves in. [Read more...]

Melbourne Storm salary cap breach

Joel Cosgrove, June 2010

Much has been written about the Melbourne Storm and their repeated breaching of the salary cap. Although there has been much comment on the issue, the vast majority has been shallow and generally misses some pretty obvious points.

To recap. The Australian National Rugby League (NRL) has a salary cap, the cap for 2010 is AU$4.69 million for the 25 highest paid players at each club. The Storm from 2006-10 breached the cap by at least AU$1.85 million in a process that involved two sets of financial accounts, a calculated fraud. The scandal came out when an insider at the club notified the NRL who then acted on the systemic breach.

Newstalk ZB talkback host Murray Deaker, talking on his show, made the point that the Storm breaching the salary cap was not an oddity; it is a process at the centre of things. Since 1991 there have been at least 50 instances of clubs being fined for serious or minor breaches of the cap. Deaker raised the point further by saying that the salary cap scandal was comparable to the recent financial crisis, in that greed is at the centre of things and that when you commercialise something greed becomes a part of it.

[Read more...]

WHAT IS MARXISM?

A talk by Don Franks, Marxism 2010 conference, Wellington 5 June  2010

This is obviously a big subject, which could be approached in a number of ways.  In the small time we have this morning, my aim will be to introduce basic points and hopefully arouse some ongoing interest.

There are various contending definitions of ‘Marxism”. The one I’m tempted to offer today is that Marxism is a set of sharp political tools, which New Zealand leftists tend to leave in the box. Later on in this talk I’ll consider why that has been so frequently the case.

As a more general definition to introduce Marxism, I’ll add that it’s a theory named for its main architect and can be understood as the theory of dialectical materialism based on communist practice. The expression ‘dialectical materialism’ has a forbidding sound and is not common currency in the day-to-day life of most people. Here I see a huge contradiction, because dialectical materialism is a thoroughly practical method of understanding human society and the universe in which we’re placed. Dialectical materialism is also a philosophy which by its nature takes sides with the oppressed. [Read more...]

“To have a general strike in Greece it is not such a big deal”

Mike Kay spoke to Stavros and Paulin from OKDE (Organisation of Communist Internationalists of Greece) in Athens.

Memorial to Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Exarchia, Athens

MK: Greece has been the focus of much of the debate about the problems of the European economy. Why does it occupy this special positon?

OKDE: For several reasons, Greece is the weak link in the chain of the European Union (EU). Firstly, due to the weakness of Greek capital due to the reduction in the productive bases of industry and agriculture. Secondly, because of the weaknesses in the EU as a whole – renegotiation or non-payment of “toxic” debt may lead to the collapse of German and French banks. This maybe enough to set off a “domino effect” leading to the collapse of several countries’ economies. Thirdly, there is the Greek movement against austerity, of which the latest pact from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and EU is trying to break the backbone. Lastly, there is a very deep political crisis; the disintegration of the Pasok (Socialist party) government may have already begun. [Read more...]

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