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…]

Fighting back in Europe

The Spark December 2010 – January 2011

General Strike Portugal 24 Nov 2010

In the aftermath of the Greek bailout there was a lot of talk about the other vulnerable European economies that could have followed the collapse into bankruptcy of the Greek economy. Top of the list of vulnerable Euro zone economies were Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain. Of these, the three Mediterranean economies had been controversial additions to the Euro zone, as their economies were seen as weak and problematic, bringing vulnerability to the entire Euro project. Ireland on the other hand was a small economy with a well educated English-speaking population, and of little concern to planners. Most recently though, some of the largest and most militant demonstrations have occurred in Britain, where the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition has implemented a harsh round of austerity measures, described as the most severe since the end of the Second World War. A common thread of the anti-government actions throughout Europe has been the demand the workers should not be forced to pay for a crisis that they did not cause. [Read more…]

Danny the Red

Don Franks


Because he once stood against Tom Skinner for FoL president, Danny Nichols will always rate at least  a footnote in bourgeois labour movement history.

Which is more than most other shop floor militants get, because so much of our working class history never makes the scholarly pages. But it’s a simple fact that to thousands of Hutt Valley workers, their Danny the Red is literally remembered as a central figure of the last century.

Dennis Allan Nichols came from a dirt poor London working class family to seek a better life in New Zealand. In the late 1960s he got a job at Ford’s Lower Hutt car plant and for a while just kicked back and enjoyed the job security, relatively good pay and nice climate. He had an easy operation in charge of the phosphate machine and like other class savvy British immigrants, he made a comfortable niche for himself in the softer kiwi job environment.

But as time went on, Danny  began to register the various injustices visited on less clued up workers in the unorganised plant. In those days there was no active union on site and foremen could and did sometimes clip a worker over the ear if he or she didn’t jump to it fast enough. Danny started making a few waves and began to revive the then defunct Coach and Motor Body Workers Union . In the course of this Danny got talking to union officials in the pub. Two of those officials were Ken Douglas and Pat Kelly. Ken suggested that the new fledgling car plant activists be delivered up to the Engineers Union. Pat came down to the plant and helped develop the Coach Workers into a radical independent job organisation. The main ingredients were a number of inexperienced but militant  Maori line workers and Danny’s extraordinary leadership. [Read more…]

Palestinian Organisations added to the New Zealand ‘Terrorist List’

The Spark December 2010 – January 2011

Mike Walker

On the 12th of October 2010 John Key designated “a further seven international terrorist groups under the Terrorism Suppression Act”.  He claimed it helped “implement our international obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373”. Under this pretence the addition of Palestinian organisations, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the military wing of Hamas (Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades), to the New Zealand list of designated terrorists, is especially problematic. To highlight the hypocrisy and contradiction involved in these designations I will examine parts of the Terrorist Designations Working Groups (TDWG) paper; “Statement of case to designate the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as a terrorist entity”.

Terrorist Acts

A terrorist act is defined in the ‘Terrorist Suppression Act (TSA)’, section five, as an act which is carried out “for the purpose of advancing an ideological, political, or religious cause” or to “induce terror in a civilian population.” With outcomes such as “the death of, or serious bodily injury to, one or more persons”, “a serious risk to the health or safety of a population” or the “destruction of, or serious damage to, property of great value or importance, or major economic loss, or major environmental damage”.  The case to designate PIJ features two case studies, used to highlight terrorist acts and support the case for designation. [Read more…]