Reports: Aotearoa stands in solidarity with Palestine

tamaki palestine demo Fightback supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement as a tactic to show solidarity with Palestinian resistance. The following reports are from demonstrations over the weekend from Fightback activists and supporters.

In Auckland, around 3000 people turned out on a miserably cold day to protest the latest Israeli attacks on Gaza. The rally heard speakers including John Minto from Mana, Roger Fowler from Kia Ora Gaza, Marama Davidson and Kennedy Graham from the Greens, and Mike Treen from Global Peace and Justice Alliance. Two young Palestinian girls also addressed the rally. A loud, vibrant march down Queen Street followed, with colourful banners, Palestinian flags and placards, and chants of “Free, Free Palestine”. The march ended at the US Consulate where protesters laid olive branches in memory of the victims of Israel’s genocide. MANA candidate John Minto called for the closure of the Israeli embassy. The protest ended with a song from Roger Fowler, “We are all Palestinians”. The event raised over $1700 for Gaza Mental Health Fund.chch palestine demo In Christchurch over 200 people gathered outside the Cathedral after just a few days’ notice to stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine. The rally, organised by ‘Canterbury for Justice in Palestine’ managed to raise $668 to go towards helping those in Gaza. Speakers included Martin & Lois of CJP, Brian Turner from the NZ Palestinian Human Rights lobby, Pauline McKay the current CWS director, Michael Hosking – long-time activist for Palestine, and Ben Peterson speaking on behalf of UNITE union. The crowd then marched down Colombo street and through Cashel Mall with chants of “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free” – receiving many toots of support from passing motorists. Without any regard for the low temperatures, much of the crowd stuck around for half an hour after the end of the event to network and plan further actions and organising. The consensus was clear: only with justice for Palestine can we achieve peace. poneke wellington demo In Wellington, 300 people attended a rally outside the Israeli Embassy. A number of Palestinians spoke on their experiences in Palestine and the Middle East recently, as well as speakers from the Wellington Palestine and the Wellington Boycott Divestment and Sanctions groups. Like the recent protests against the Batsheva Dance Company performances in Wellington, around 50 fundamentalist Christians were bussed down from Napier/Hastings to stage a counter protest on a parallel street to the pro-Palestine rally.

A crowd upwards of two hundred marched in Dunedin‘s CBD on Saturday bringing the usual flurry of shopping traffic to a halt as pleas were chanted to ‘FREE FREE PALESTINE’. The demonstrators were met at the cities heart, the Octagon, by representatives of the Greens, Mana Party, and the local Muslim community, where, in the downpour of rain, they joined in solidarity for the people of Palestine, showing their commitment to oppose the Zionist regime of Israel, demanding that not only the people of New Zealand, and it’s Government, but also of the UN and International community, not stand by in silence as Israel continues its ethnic cleanse of the Palestinian people. The crowd occupied the Octagon for over an hour in communion, even with the presence of a lonesome four pro­-Israel individuals holding placards with anti­Hamas slogans.

Istanbul to Brazil: neoliberalism, democracy and resistance

turkey mcdonalds

From a talk given by Andrew Tait. Originally printed by the International Socialist Organisation (Aotearoa).

Three weeks ago, police moved in to clear a protest camp out of an inner-city park, to make way for a shopping mall.

The protesters were a mixed bunch: leftists, environmentalists, even architects,who felt they had no other option than direct action to stop the destruction of another piece of history, another park, another shared social space. The police moved in with brutality, with near-lethal force. Images of their violence were shared on the internet and instantly sparked outrage from hundreds of thousands of people, especially youth. After three weeks of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, the police have managed to clear and hold the city square and protests are quietening down. But after the police moved in, council workers followed, planting trees and flowers – a sign perhaps that the mall development has been abandoned.

Elsewhere, a demonstration against public transport fare rises was attacked by the police, sparking an outpouring of anger and copycat protests and riots. In one city, a police facility was burned and the City Hall was attacked. The government backed down and the price hikes were scrapped, but protests are continuing – now against the spending of billions on hosting a sports event instead of funding health and education.

The first country is Turkey and the second is Brazil. The same events could have taken place in almost any developed country – in Auckland, Jo’burg, Paris, Beijing. Although each country has its own culture and history, there is a massive political convergence underway from Istanbul to Brazil.

One reason often suggested for this convergence is the internet. The ability to share not just messages but images, movies and music has eroded the traditional boundaries between young people in different countries and has broken the stranglehold of monopoly media.

But important though this new technology is, there is a deeper reason: neoliberalism has globalised production, meaning work and wages are similar across more countries than ever before, and neoliberalism has deprived democracy of real content because “there is no alternative” to the market and austerity. There are more supposedly democratic countries in the world than ever – but the range of political choices and citizen engagement is declining.

Both Brazil and Turkey are “new democracies”, which only emerged from military dictatorships in the 1980s. Both have booming economies. Brazil has emerged from Third World semi-colonial status to become the seventh largest economy in the world. It is often cited, alongside Russia, India and China, as an emerging power. Turkey, although smaller, has also enjoyed double digit GDP growth recently but the benefit of this growth, as in Brazil, has been unevenly shared. It is now one of the most unequal countries in the OECD. [Read more...]

Iceland: Become Part of the Heard

This article by Jessica Ward was submitted to Fightback, in response to an article published in the April issue (Iceland’s “peaceful revolution” – myth and reality, http://tinyurl.com/cu694hy). A reply to Jessica’s article can be found here.

In today’s world it is easy to become disillusioned. It is too easy to concede to the idea we are incapable of changing the world, to give into the apathy that plagues our generation. We are not the flower children of the 60s, we misguidedly believe that unlike days gone by noone else is angry, noone else is enraged by the disparity of wealth and incensed by politics, economics and the injustices of society. We are alone. We are all alone. Aren’t we?

Today I had the opportunity of listening to Hordur Torfason at the Dunedin School of Art. It may seem a strange place for and activist and leader of the Icelandic Revolution to give a talk but all becomes clear when listening to the ideas and attitudes of this artist. Torfason stressed in his talk the need for creative solutions, the importance of art as a way of activating people and bringing them together and of protest as a form of performance, as a way of intriguing an audience of public and media.

Torfason believes that it is the role of the artist to criticize society and remember the importance of the unseen forces that dictate us, our feelings. Art has the ability to move us, to affect us, in the words of Torfason to activate us.

We live in the age of the internet: a tool to both communicate and organize. We are the 99% and we have a way of communicating, coming together and organizing action. In a world where the media is a tool owned by the 1% to systematically ensure their wealth the internet is our tool to counter it. In the age of information there is no excuse to not have a voice (given you have access to the internet of course). Communication is also highly important in the organization of revolution or protest. It is important to ask the people what they want and to listen. [Read more...]

“Up with workers, down with the government” – largest strike in world history

Al Jazeera reports on mass strike in India (video).

Seasonal exploitation by Kiwi capitalists

Yesterday marked 5 years of Vanuatu’s participation in the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. The RSE scheme allows New Zealand employers in the horticulture and viticulture industries to bring in labour from the Pacific to fill seasonal jobs. Vanuatu is one of the biggest contributer countries to the scheme and RSE income is now the Melanesian nations second largest income earner. the Department of Labour’s National Manager, Recognised Seasonal Employment, Emily Fabling said in a press release “RSE has been an absolutely wonderful scheme for our horticulture and viticulture industries, in terms of ensuring they have the labour force they need at specific times of the year. And of course we are delighted at the benefits the scheme brings to Vanuatu and other Pacific nations.”

This view ignores some of the more brutal realities of the scheme, which has seen migrant workers mistreated and exploited in rural New Zealand. In 2009, Workers Party activist Byron Clark spoke to Lina Ericsson, a Swedish political scientist who conducted field work among N-Vanuatu workers in the Bay of Plenty.

You can listen to the interview here:

Filipino progressive leaders to tour NZ Oct/Nov

JUSTICE AND LIBERATION: THE ROAD TO PEACE –


Luis Jaladoni and Coni Ledesma

 

Luis Jalandoni is the International Representative of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF, http://www.ndfp.net), a post that he has held since 1977, and since 1994 he has been the Chairperson of the NDF’s Negotiating Panel for peace talks with the Government of the Philippines. The NDF is the coalition of several underground groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army, which has been waging a war of liberation throughout the Philippines for more than 40 years, making it one of the longest running armed struggles in the world.

The country desperately needs peace with justice and security, so resolving this people’s war is central to that. Luis will be accompanied by his wife Coni Ledesma, who will also be speaking. She is a member of the NDF Negotiating Panel for peace talks; and is the International Spokesperson of MAKIBAKA, a revolutionary women’s group which belongs to the NDF. Luis and Coni are both veteran leading figures in the Philippine revolutionary Left. He was a Catholic priest in the 1960s and she was a nun.  Both were founders of Christians for National Liberation, a member group of the NDF. [Read more...]

“PFLP Solidarity Campaign interviews Leila Khaled, Palestine’s leading revolutionary woman”

Date: 30/09/2010

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Solidarity Campaign is happy to announce the release of the first part of an interview with Leila Khaled. PFLP Solidarity Campaign co-ordinator Mike Walker conducted the interview via Skype with Leila at her home in Amman, Jordan on the 6th April this year.

Leila Khaled is often referred to as a terrorist by her enemies, the United States and the State of Israel. But in the Occupied Territories, the Gaza Strip and the countless refugee camps scattered throughout the Arab world she is a revolutionary hero, a freedom fighter and the embodiment of the Palestinian militant struggle against Zionism and Imperialism in the Middle East and for freedom and self-determination.

Leila Khaled and the PFLP shot to international attention when Leila became the first woman to hi-jack a commercial airliner on August 29th 1969. Leila made the pilot divert the plane over Haifa, where she was born but has never been allowed to visit, eventually allowing the plane to land in Damascus, Syria. The passengers were disembarked and the plane was blown up in front of the international media. Golda Meir had stated that June that “There was no such thing as Palestinians”, but Leila Khaled and the PFLP had put the Palestinian struggle firmly onto the world stage, where it could no longer be ignored.

Today Leila is a core member of the PFLP and serves on its Politburo, dealing primarily with the ‘right of return’ for Palestinian refugees. Walker stated that “Leila is a true revolutionary woman that has dedicated her life to the struggle of Palestinians for their right to self-determination, and to return home.” “Leila is an inspiration to us all,” he continued.

Leila Khaled finished the interview by stating that she had “a message for the New Zealanders.” She then warned that we should all “beware Zionism. Nazism caused humanity twenty two million casualties and the destruction of Europe. What do you think that Zionism will do, do we need a third world war? We have to stop the expansion of the Zionist ideology and policy.”

The interview is available at http://wpnz-pflp-solidarity.blogspot.com/p/leila-khaled-interview.html

A full transcript or audio is available on request.

David Rovics Palestine benefit gig

The Workers Party on Campus in conjunction with the the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Solidarity Campaign presents a Palestine benefit gig, featuring David Rovics and Don Franks.

Its all happening on Friday the 20th of August, Bentley’s Bar, Canterbury University. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with door sales available on the night or pre sales available via Paypal at http://wpnz-pflp-solidarity.blogspot.com/p/david-rovics-don-franks.html

You can check out info about other shows David is doing in New Zealand at http://davidrovicsnz2010.wordpress.com/

David Rovics grew up in a family of classical musicians in Wilton, Connecticut, and became a fan of populist regimes early on. By the early 90s he was a full-time busker in the Boston subways and by the mid-90s he was traveling the world as a professional flat-picking rabble-rouser. These days David lives with his family in Portland, Oregon and tours regularly on four continents, playing for audiences large and small at cafes, pubs, universities, churches, union halls and protest rallies.

He has shared the stage with a veritable of who’s who of the left in two dozen countries, and has had his music featured on Democracy Now!, BBC, Al- Jazeera and other networks. His essays are published regularly on CounterPunch, and the 200+ songs he makes available for free on the web have been downloaded more than a million times.

Most importantly, he’s really good. He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, he will make the revolution irresistible. David provides his songs free of charge from www.davidrovics.com

In Christchurch he will be joined by folk stalwart Don Franks. Addressing issues relevant to people in New Zealand today, Franks builds on the tradition of political folk, adding an air of spontaneity and healthy dose of tounge-in-cheek humor. Listeners will be treated to a selection from Franks’ sizeable repetoire, including hits from his 2009 album ‘Safer Communities Together Blues’. The gig is being held in conjunction with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine SOlidarity Campaign.

David Rovics had the following to say about the PFLP: “The criminalization of the PFLP and other organizations by various governments is sheer hypocrisy. These same governments are signatories to UN conventions that make it clear — the PFLP and the Palestinian people generally are not criminals. They are resisting a criminal occupation — it is the militaristic, apartheid state of Israel which is the criminal here, which needs to be treated as such, not the PFLP.” – David Rovics, singer-songwriter So come along and show your support for the Palestinian struggle against the Zionist state of Israel, and be treated to a night of entertainment by two of the best ‘rabble rousers’ around

In solidarity with the Greek people’s resistance against austerity

Joint statement from Asia-Pacific

May 13, 2010

[If your organisation would like to sign on, please email international@socialist-alliance.org.]

We, left and progressive organisations from the Asia-Pacific region, express our solidarity with the resistance of the Greek people against the harsh austerity being imposed upon them by the governments of the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The proposed “rescue package” for the Greek economy by the IMF-EU has triggered a huge struggle that will have worldwide ramifications for working people. [Read more...]

Support the struggle for democracy and social justice in Nepal

The following joint statement of solidarity has been signed by a number of left and progressive organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. If your organisation would like to sign on, please email international@socialist-alliance.org

On May Day, international workers’ day, a huge demonstration of between 500,000-1 million people took place in Kathmandu. Called by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M), people came from all over Nepal to make their voices heard. It was the largest demonstration since the fall of the centuries-old monarchy and was the culmination of a growing series of mass demonstrations and strikes aimed at restoring civilian supremacy and democracy. [Read more...]

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