Welcome to the May 2013 issue of Fightback, newspaper of Fightback (Aotearoa/NZ). Fightback is a socialist organisation with branches in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.
Over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, the 31st of May to the 2nd of June, Fightback will be holding its annual public conference in Wellington. Turn to the back page or visit fightback.org.nz for more information.
In April, thousands rallied across Aotearoa against attacks on public schools. Fightback member Rebecca Broad covers the background of the dispute and argues the need for industrial action to defend and extend public education.
The campaign against further privatisation of power companies has also won some apparent victories lately, with the petition for a Citizens-Initiated Referendum achieving its goal of a non-binding referendum and with the Labour-Green opposition announcing a policy of bulk-buying power to reduce consumer prices. Fightback member Daphne Lawless argues the need for abolition of for-profit “State-Owned Enterprises,” introduced by the fourth Labour government, in favour of democratic community control.
In late March, racist group Right Wing Resistance were outnumbered by an anti-racist rally in Christchurch. Fightback member Byron Clark discusses the role of mainstream racism in fostering racist views.
In the April issue of Fightback, we covered the “peaceful revolution” in Iceland, (http://tinyurl.com/cu694hy) arguing while it has received little coverage in the capitalist press, it has conversely been exaggerated in some circles concerned with economic justice. Fightback reader Jessica Ward submitted an article for this issue, commending the inspirational nature of the struggle in Iceland. Fightback member Ian Anderson responds, contending that while the people of Iceland have won important concessions, international supporters have distorted the realities on the ground, the capitalist state in Iceland retains a monopoly on violence, and there are no “peaceful revolutions.”
On April 17th 2013, a bill passed its final reading in parliament extending marriage rights to same-sex couples in Aotearoa/NZ. This was the result of decades of struggle by supporters of queer rights. In an article reprinted from Scoop, Anne Russell discusses the limitations of this reform for dispossessed queers, while acknowledging that it can act as a spur to further action.
Sexism (like other forms of oppression) is deeply embedded in the daily lived realities of capitalism. Fightback supporter Robyn Kenealy discusses the role of everyday humour and irony in both reinforcing, and undermining sexism.
We also print two obituaries in this issue. Byron Clark explains the background behind celebrations of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s death; her devastating attacks on the working class, repression of resistance, and backing of violent counter-revolutions internationally. We also reprint a piece by MANA leader Hone Harawira, paying tribute to our comrade Mike Kyriazopolous, a unionist and Fightback member.