Public meeting on Terrorism Law

Black Gold

This is the year the government brought in new legislation attacking workers’ rights. While the new laws will make defending workers’ rights harder some workers are showing that there’s a fighting spirit and victories to be won.

In October this year union members working on the Kan Tan 4  drilling rig in Taranaki won a 30% pay increase in their collective agreement. It was the result of international solidarity among workers across the Tasman.

The EPMU launched a  short film titled “Black Gold” about the  30% pay increase achieved by EPMU members in Taranaki covered by the Kan Tan 4 collective agreement. [Read more...]

Crucified on Christmas Island

The death of 30 asylum seekers, whose overloaded wooden boat crashed on the rocks of Christmas Island and sank, speaks volumes about immigration controls. This 21st century barbarism needs to be abolished, just as the slave trade was.

In the past year 5000 people made their way to Australia in flimsy boats via Indonesia. Most were from Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka fleeing war and genocide. Australia, as a key player in the US-led wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, is directly responsible for the desperate plight of those who turn to people-smugglers.

The journey to Australia invariably ends in prison or death. [Read more...]

Book Review: For the Win

Cory Doctorow, Tor and craphound.com, 2010

The Spark December 2010 – January 2011
Byron Clark

‘For The Win’ is possibly one of 2010′s best works of fiction, at least for those readers who enjoy books that deal with big issues. Paraphrasing other writers in the genre, author Cory Doctorow has said that “good science fiction predicts the present” and part of what makes the novel so enjoyable is that this story could be taking place next year. While his last novel, Little Brother, explored issues around civil liberties and state power in the post-9/11 USA, For The Win shows that Doctorow’s unashamedly left-wing worldview extends to many other issues; globalisation, inequality, labour rights and the farcical nature of finance capitalism are all explored in the space of 375 pages.

The story revolves around “gold farming” the practice of amassing virtual wealth in an online multi-player video game, and then selling it for real-world currency. Typically, that virtual wealth is collected by people in the developing world, and sold to players in the developed world who want to avoid the work required to advance in the game. For the gold farmers, the income is comparable to what they could earn working in other available jobs. Of course, most of these gold farmers don’t own the computers and internet connections required to be a gold farmer (the means of production-albeit production of virtual commodities) and work for bosses who expropriate most of the wealth they create. Looking to remedy this situation is Big Sister Nor, a former garment factory worker in Malaysia who became a gold farmer after a strike caused the owners to move the factory to Indonesia. Nor has founded the “Industrial Workers of the World Wide Web” or “Webblies” (a homage to the Industrial Workers of the World (also known as Wobblies), the syndicalist union that had its heyday a century ago) and is organising gold farmers across borders in the virtual worlds they work in. [Read more...]

NZ Council of Trade Unions on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement / A worker’s comment

“Trade is only a small part of these negotiations”, said Bill Rosenberg, CTU Policy Director and Economist, who will be the CTU observer. “In fact most of the proposed agreement covers areas like foreign investment rules, empowering foreign companies to sue our government, opening our services to more international competition, our right to regulate, pharmaceutical costs, intellectual property rights, and preventing use of government procurement to help local firms.”

Don: That mixes possible working class concerns with local capitalist concerns as if they were the same thing, or were mutually compatible. The end result of that outlook has historically been pressure on workers to make sacrifices to help “our firms” or “our country”. It’s not “our right to regulate”, if you don’t believe me, try effecting some regulating today and see how you get on.
[Read more...]

Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) – A socialist perspective

The Spark December 2010 – January 2011

Joel Cosgrove (Wellington Workers Party branch organiser and former president of Victoria University Students’ Association).

The Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill is making its way through parliament to make student union membership voluntary. Most people will be totally unaware of the bill and what it means, and may be thinking, “Anyway Freedom of Association is a good thing, isn’t it?” [Read more...]

What the Workers Party is about

All the registered parties got the following email a few weeks ago:

Dear Parties,
I am an 18 year old female. I would really like to be interested in politics, but I don’t know anything about it! I graduated high school 1 year ago, and for a few years political representitives have making sure I am enrolled to vote for the coming election. However no party has ever come forward to us to explain how everything works. I don’t know anyone my age who has a reasonable knowledge about politics. Probably, in the 2011 general election, most of my classmates will be making uninformed desicions about their choice of vote.

I understand that I can read your views on most of your websites but none of this makes any sense to me- there needs to some kind of 101 handbook ‘for dummies’ about what you are offering.

On Facebook, there is a tab on your profile called “Political Views”. All of my friends have things like “boring”, “what?!” or “none” written as theirs. You should be concerned!

Please explain!

Here’s what Jason Froch, a Workers Party member replied to her:

Many thanks,

I’m actually rather delighted by your e-mail, it’s good to know that I’m not alone.  I too have problems trying to make sense of that parliamentary sideshow that consists of bourgeois politics.

In 2008 we had before us:

v     An economic system which requires continued and rising levels of unemployment

v     State legislation that ensures the continuing fall of real wages derived from work, already down 25% since 1982.

v     A predatory war in Afghanistan where New Zealand soldiers assist in the slaughter of civilians, all to assure US military and economic interests

v     The continuation of an exploitative relationship with environment which will see a number of pacific islands underwater in the near future and cause massive social costs

v     Violence against women who are often unable to leave their abusers because of an inability to support themselves and their children

v     The spread of third-world diseases in our communities because of inadequate housing and an inability to afford a doctor visit

v     Not to mention disproportionate magnification of all the above if you happen to be born Maori, Pacific Islander, or are an immigrant

And yet this reality did not connect with those politicians whose happy smiles asked to be our representatives once again in 2008 (the only difference between them being marginal differences in the rate of tax cuts—43% of which have gone to the top 12% of taxpayers). [Read more...]

43rd anniversary of the PFLP’s founding

 

Tens of thousands of members and  supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine gathered on December 11, 2010, in Gaza City’s Palestine Stadium, marking the forty-third anniversary of the PFLP’s founding in a mass rally.

Palestinians from all sectors – men and women, elderly and children, workers and farmers, attended the rally from all sectors of Gaza City, and traveling in groups from throughout the Gaza Strip, waving red flags that filled the stadium.

[Read more...]

SANTA’S SONG (tune: Feliz Navidad)

Every year it’s the same – a fucking big pain
For no personal gain, giving millions of things away
It gives me the blues – squeezing down dirty flues
An obese old guy shouldn’t have to be slaving this way

So – thank god for the atheists
The muslims and buddists
The jews and the communists
Who don’t do Christmas day
Its only those Christian pricks
Who’re making me tired and sick
I just wish I could run over all the bastards with me sleigh

Me yard’s full of reindeer shit
And me helpers don’t help a bit
they’ve joined Unite and want fifteen dollars an hour
and now there’s a carbon tax
on me sooty old chimney daks
and global warming is softening up me pole

So – thank god for the atheists
The muslims and buddists
The jews and the communists
Who don’t do Christmas day
Its only those Christian pricks
Who’re making me tired and sick
I just wish I could run over all the bastards with me sleigh.

Don Franks

Nepal and India – Storm clouds on the horizon

The Spark December 2010 – January 2011

In Nepal and India, the people are rising up in revolution. Millions of people are arguing, marching in the streets and burning down police stations as they struggle to imagine and bring into existence a whole new world.

Nepal is a country where the government has almost no power. The working people of the cities and the poor peasants of the countryside have lost faith in the ability of the state to meet their needs – they have realised that the purpose of the state, its soldiers and its police, is to actively prevent their needs from being met. They have realised that the state is an enormous weapon created by a rich, parasitical elite which lives by exploiting and oppressing ordinary people.

The people of Nepal, having come to this conclusion, have decided they need to destroy the state and the ruling elite that hides behind it. They have built a radical movement for freedom and equality, and they have organised it into a powerful force – the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The UCPN (M) is the strongest political party in the country, and it is fighting to build a new Nepal where everyone is equal and where starvation, poverty and discrimination become things of the past. The Maoists won by far the largest vote in elections in 2008, and they have overwhelming mass support.

Revolution at a crossroads

The Maoist party has just concluded a very important meeting. In an area of Nepal called Gorkha, 6000 revolutionary delegates travelled to represent the millions of poor people who have put their hopes in the Maoist party. They came to discuss a question – has the time come to rise up and finish the war? Is now the time for us to bring down the government, dismantle the state and build something better in its place? [Read more...]

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