Stop the TPPA: Wellington protest report

tppa day of action

By Joe McClure, Fightback (Wellington).

On the afternoon of Saturday March 29, protests took place around New Zealand, against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) currently going through Parliament.

In Wellington, this consisted of a march from Cuba St, to the steps of Parliament. Around 200 people gathered at the Bucket Fountain in Cuba St from 1:00pm, listening to representatives from CTU, Victoria University economics department, and the Mana party, who discussed what the agreement’s about and who it favours.

Protestors marched from Cuba St to Parliament, chanting slogans including ‘TPPA?  No way!  We’re gonna fight it all the way!’ and ‘Whose streets? Our streets!’

Outside parliament, security staff were blocking access to the designated assembly area, where the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) had arranged for a PA system to be set up, so marchers gathered in the grassy area next to that section instead.

Mana leader Hone Harawira addressed those present, emphasizing the unequal advantage the TPPA provides to member states, and punitive effects on non-members, and reminding voters to take a stand for fair treatment of all trading partners, rather than supporting the secret negotiations that have characterised TPPA planning stages.

Protestors from Parihaka in Taranaki also attended, encouraging marchers to reject the intended agreement, before switching to Maori protest songs as the crowd gradually dissipated.

Why do we oppose the TPPA?
The TPPA effects both trade between countries, and the operations of multinational companies within countries. It overrides internal legislation if a signatory introduces legislation that hurts the economic interests of another country. For example, plain packaging of cigarettes could be overturned as it undermines the profits of tobacco companies, or environmental legislation annulled if it adversely affects an oil corporation (thus making it harder to stop projects like deep sea oil drilling).  The agreement involves reducing trade tariffs by 90% by 2009, and completely removing tariffs by 2015.  It would entitle US drugs corporations to override Pharmac regulating the sale of pharmaceuticals in New Zealand, and enable parties to the agreement to protect intellectual property violations in other countries party to the agreement.

Such measure will benefit multinational corporations (such as Fonterra in NZ), but will hurt working class people in signatory states. It will make it harder for people to fight and win legislative changes that protect working class communities, and instead strengthen the hands of corporations in their drive for greater profit.

CHCH: Rally against racism + Fighting Racism meeting

rally against racism chch 2014

Rally Against Racism

The “White Pride World Wide” rally is happening again with Right Wing Resistance (http://rwrnz.blogspot.co.nz/) having it’s flag day celebrating bigotry and intimidation. They appear to be working with National Front (https://www.facebook.com/wpwwnznf) who are a well known Neo-Nazi/White Nationalist group.

Last year was excellent, and hopefully with more time we can make this counter demonstration larger and better.

12:30 Saturday 22nd March
Cnr New Brighton Mall & Marine Parade, Christchurch
[Facebook event]

___

ChCh Fighting Racism in Aotearoa Meeting

‘Fighting Racism in Aotearoa’ meeting

Fightback presents a facilitated discussion on fighting racism throughout Aotearoa.
Regan Stokes (guest speaker) – E korara ana ngā kapua [The clouds are dispersing]
Wei Sun (Fightback) on migrant struggles & open borders.
Ben Peterson (Australian guest) on solidarity with refugees.

7pm, Sunday 23rd March
WEA, 59 Gloucester Street, Christchurch
[Facebook event]

WGTN: Introduction to Marxism series

intro to marxism series

Fightback is organising a weekly Intro to Marxism series in Wellington.
Sessions are 6pm, Mondays at 19 Tory Street.
Open to all – feel free to come along, contribute, learn and discuss.

March 17th – What is Capitalism?
Facilitated by Heleyni Pratley, Fightback member & organiser for Unite Union.

March 24th – What is Socialism?
Facilitated by Joel Cosgrove, Fightback.

March 31st – Why we support trade unions
Facilitated by Ben Peterson, Fightback member & organiser for Unite Union.

April 7th – Tino Rangatiratanga: What’s it got to do with Pākehā?
Facilitated by Grant Brookes, Fightback.

April 14th – What is Class?
Facilitated by Ben Ritchie, Fightback.

April 21st – Migrant Struggles & Open Borders
Facilitated by Wei Sun, Fightback.

April 28th - Radical history of the labour movement in Aotearoa/NZ
Presented by Ciaran Doolin, Fightback.

[Facebook event]

Happy International Women’s Day 2014!

Just over a century ago the Second Socialist International founded International Working Women’s Day, recognising the basic link between women’s liberation and the liberation of humanity as a whole.

In 2014 while feminism has won many victories, the struggle for women’s liberation and socialism is ongoing.

If you’re in Wellington, Fightback welcomes you to come along to our Socialist Feminist Day School, 1-7pm today at 19 Tory St.

WGTN conference – Capitalism: Not Our Future

capitalism not our future conference

A conference on struggle, solidarity and socialism.
More details to come.

Queens Birthday Weekend (30th May-1st June)
Peoples Cinema, 57 Manners Street, Wellington

Koha entry

[Facebook event]

Friday 30th of May
5:30-7 – Elections and community struggle (featuring Hone Harawira and international guests)

Saturday 31st of May
10-11am – What is Capitalism? What is Socialism?

11-12pm – Marxist economics: Crisis theory (featuring Mike Treen)

12-1pm – Lunch

1-2:30pm – Tino rangatiratanga

2:30-3pm – Break

3-4:30pm – Disability and capitalism

4:30-5pm – Break

5-6:30pm – International situation: Crisis, imperialism, fightback

Sunday 1st of June
11-12 – Education and capitalism

12-1 – Lunch

1:-2:30pm – Workers from the margins: Key issues in contemporary workers’ struggles

2:30-3pm – Break

3-4:30pm – Gender and women’s liberation

4:30-5pm – Break

5-6:30pm– Anti-capitalist organising in Australia & Aotearoa/NZ

6:30-7pm – Closing and thanks

Register here:

Wellington action: Don’t dance with Israeli apartheid

batsheva israeli apartheid wellington

This year’s NZ Festival includes four performances by the Israeli Batsheva dance company.

Batsheva is an integral part of Israel’s Brand Israel public relations campaign. The dance company receives funding from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has described Batsheva as ‘the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture’.

Batsheva’s performance at NZ Festival is sponsored by the Embassy of Israel in New Zealand. One of the embassy’s roles is to enhance Israel’s public image in New Zealand by sponsoring Israeli cultural events such as this one. This is part of a deliberate strategy of using arts and culture to whitewash over Israel’s human rights abuses and violations of international law.

We will be outside Batsheva’s performance to protest Batsheva’s role in whitewashing Israeli apartheid. This is part of the global campaign of BDS (boycott, divestments, and sanctions) initiated by Palestinian civil society.

Organised by BDS Wellington.

7:30pm, Saturday 22nd February, St James Theatre

[Facebook event]

Christchurch event: World’s Wealth for the World’s Workers – A history of New Zealand’s labour movement

uc marxist poster - history of the new zealand labour movement

During a visit to New Zealand in the late 19th century the American labour activist Henry Lloyd declared: ‘We think of New Zealand as a new country but the fact is that by 1890 New Zealand was one of the oldest of the modern societies in economic iniquity and sin, and in some things the oldest…The concentration of land, capital and other machinery by the few, which has taken half a dozen centuries in Europe, needed only a decade or two under the sun of New Zealand.’

Migrants to New Zealand hoped, as did their counterparts who headed to Lloyd’s country, to build lives in the ‘New World’ free from the exploitation and oppression of the ‘Old World’. What they found on arrival was a testing physical landscape and nascent ruling class who were intent on establishing a South Pacific capitalist haven away from the ‘evils’ of Chartism and other progressive working-class movements. Moreover, as is common to colonial countries, the riches of the New Zealand ruling class were accumulated not only through the exploitation of labour but also through the systematic and violent dispossesion of the resources of the indigenous people. Nonetheless, determined to start afresh, workers in New Zealand built a vibrant and internationalist labour movement which left a permanent impression on New Zealand society and culture.

The image of New Zealand as an egalitarian society – while only a partial reflection of the social realities – is held by many New Zealander’s to be a central aspect of their cultural identity. In the past several decades this image, along with its concrete manifestations (e.g. full employment, welfare etc.), has come under sustained attack. As a condition of New Zealand’s participation in the global market economy, workers have been forced to accept severe curtailments of traditional rights that were won through long and hard-fought struggle. Workers today around the world are facing greater hardship than their parents’ generation; with stagnant real wages and precarious labour, made worse by the recession following from global financial crisis, the situation is becoming increasingly desperate for many. However, there are international social movements developing at present that are beginning to question economic orthodoxies and suggest alternatives.

This talk will give an overview of the history of the New Zealand labour movement from 1840 to the present day, describe the conditions that gave rise to the movement and explore the parallels with today, and, finally, suggest a route forward for organised labour and progressive movements in the context of growing global discontent with late capitalism.”

Ciaran Doolin is a member of the UC Marxist Studies Network and participates in Fightback Aotearoa. He recently won first prize in the Labour History Project essay competition which can be found here.

The UC Marxist Studies Network is a student group formed to explore radical ideas and counter hegemonic critiques of capitalism and existing social relations.

Gold coin donation to help cover the cost of room hire would be appreciated.

7pm, Friday 20th December
WEA 59 Gloucester Street, Christchurch
[Facebook event]

Stop Rape Now: National day of action against rape culture

stop rape culture now wellington

Recently, an organised criminal group called Roastbusters were exposed as a gang-rape organisation who targeted intoxicated and underage girls, then publicly shamed them online.

The police knew about this group’s action since 2011 but failed to stop them and claimed that they were powerless to act because none of the girls who were raped are ‘brave enough’ to lay a formal complaint. It has since transpired that 4 complaints were ignored.

The Roastbusters fiasco is another explicit reminder that there are huge problems with the way our society addresses sexual violence. We demand an end to rape and all forms of sexual violence. We demand that survivors of rape and sexual violence are supported, and that those responsible for raping and sexually violating people stop their actions. We demand that this extend to actions beyond examining the police force.

On Saturday 16th of November there will be a national day of action, calling for an end to Rape Culture and to stop groups like Roastbusters from ‘getting away with it’.

Wellington
The Bucket Fountain, Cuba Mall, 2.00pm, November 16th
BYO Placards, noise makers
[Facebook event: http://tinyurl.com/mydnntl]

Auckland
Queen Street, 12:30pm, November 16th
[Facebook event: http://tinyurl.com/l4843bh]

Christchurch
Bridge of Remembrance, 12pm, November 16th
[Facebook event: http://tinyurl.com/mydnntl]

Christchurch event: Socialist Feminism Day School

smash patriarchy

Fightback presents: Socialist Feminist Day School
2pm, Saturday November 16th
WEA 59 Gloucester Street, Christchurch

Schedule:
Feminism 101 – Heleyni Pratley (Fightback)
Men, anti-sexism and rape culture – Ian Anderson (Fightback)
Why Marxists need to be Feminists  – Alison Pennington (Socialist Alliance, Australia)

[Facebook event]

Christchurch event: Socialists in the struggle for queer liberation + Tauiwi in the struggle for tino rangatiratanga

fightback chch queer tino

4pm-5-30pm: Presentation by Kassie Hartendorp & Ian Anderson on socialists in the struggle for queer liberation

5:30-6:30pm: dinner

6:30-8pm: Facilitated discussion on the role of Tauiwi in the struggle for Tino Rangatiratanga

A gold coin donation for Room Four would be greatly appreciated, and some loose change towards shared dinner if you’re able.

The talks are separated by a break & dinner so if you can only make it along to one of them you’re very welcome!

Room Four, 336 St Asaph St, Christchurch, Wellington

[Facebook event]

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