The implications of the Terrorism Suppression Act

Jared Phillips, Co-ordinating editor, The Spark



Public meetings have been held in New Zealand’s major centres to build opposition to increasing state power being used against activists and oppressed groups. Early this year the Workers Party and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Solidarity Campaign hosted one such forum in Christchurch with a focus on the implications of the Terrorism Suppression Act (TSA). Five speakers – Michael Knowles, Valerie Morse, Murray Horton, Paul Piesse, and Michael Walker – explored the local and international dimensions.

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The Search and Surveillance Bill: A Threat to Our Civil Rights

Cameron Walker, Published in Craccum 19 April 2010

National Day of Action against the Search and Surveillance Bill: April 24
On Saturday 24th April there will be protests around the country against the Search and Surveillance Bill. The Auckland protest will start at 2pm, opposite the Town Hall, Queen Street.

The Search and Surveillance Bill is a law currently being debated by the New Zealand Parliament. According to its supporters, such as the National and Labour Parties, it is necessary because New Zealand’s laws relating to search and surveillance powers are currently spread across a large number of statutes and it would make things much easier for the Police and other state agencies if they were all put in one statute. However, the Bill not only does this but also creates a number of new powers for state agencies to monitor, search and detain people. The Auckland Council for Civil Liberties refers to it as ‘perhaps the greatest single expansion of state powers of entry, seizure and surveillance in New Zealand history’. Bizarrely the new powers are not just granted to the Police but also 70 other state agencies, including the Pork Board and Work and Income NZ (WINZ). At its first reading in Parliament only the Greens voted against it. [Read more…]

WAIHOPAI AND THE GHOST OF DAVID LANGE

Don  Franks

Well done the three antiwar activists from the Ploughshares group, and the jury who found them not guilty of burglary and intentional damage in the Wellington District Court. The not guilty verdict relates to charges laid when the men deflated one of the domes at the Waihopai spy base near Blenheim two years ago. [Read more…]

University uses state forces against activists

Statement:

I/we call on Victoria University to lift the trespass notices on Heleyni Pratley and Joel Cosgrove.

(Organisation/title/institution for identification purposes only)

signees

Victoria University: No Free Speech Here Thanks.

Victoria University management has repeatedly refused to answer the various charges laid against it by Workers Party activists Heleyni Pratley and Joel Cosgrove in response to the management imposing a two-year trespass order on them.

“This draconian trespass order was imposed on us for the crime of participating in a protest against substantial fee rises,” say Pratley, a former student exec member, and Cosgrove, last year’s student president.

Two students have also been charged with serious misconduct for participating in the protest, at which a few eggs were thrown at university councillors.

“Protesters annoy Vic; they get in the way of its smooth business operation, that’s why they put any protesters in a box guarded by security guards,” say Pratley and Cosgrove.

“Every year Victoria University receives hundreds of millions of public funds and claims to be the critic and conscience of society as well as the focus of a wider community. Yet when challenged on their behaviour they ban and attempt to silence anyone who disrupts their corporatist agenda.  They’ve trespassed us because VUW cannot stand being called to account. Now they’re setting up kangaroo courts to punish the students who participated.

“The university is intentionally refusing to answer any questions about their actions, to silence any discussion, because what they did is indefensible and they know it,” say the pair.

OPEN BORDERS OR LEFT NATIONALISM?

History
by Don Franks

Since its formation the Workers Party of New Zealand has recognised that immigration controls are essentially a boss’s device to control workers. Accordingly, the Workers Party has always stood firmly in opposition to immigration controls. Point 4 of our 5-point programme spells it out in these words:

“For working class unity and solidarity – equality for women, Maori and other ethnic minorities and people of all sexual orientations and identities; open borders and full rights for migrant workers”.

Some people see our policy of open borders as extremist. Others realise that a truly internationalist position can’t settle for anything less. Genuine socialists insist on workers absolute freedom to travel and take up residence wherever they choose. [Read more…]

“Guilt by accusation” law stalled

Byron Clark The Spark March 2009

The government has stalled a controversial change to copyright law that would have seen Internet Service Providers removing Internet access from anyone accused (not convicted) of violating intellectual property laws though downloading pirated music or video. The controversial clause was removed by a parliamentary select committee last year, but was put back into the legislation by then-Labour Government minister Judith Tizard – with National’s support. Prime Minister John Key has conceded however that this change to the Copyright Act could be “problematic”, and suggested it could be thrown out. In the week leading up to the original implementation date a web based campaign organised by the Creative Freedom Foundation saw people ‘black out’ content on their websites in protest against the law, culminating on February 23rd when most of the country’s major blogs (and a number of other websites) took down front page content for the day and replaced it with a black page.

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Oppose “guilt by accusation”

New Zealand's new Copyright Law presumes 'Guilt Upon Accusation' and will Cut Off Internet Connections without a trial. Join the black out protest against it!

One week from now New Zealand’s new copyright laws will come into effect, including the “guilt by accusation” clause (Section 92A) meaning Internet Service Providers will be forced to take down internet connections and websites of anyone accused (not convicted) of copyright infringement. The Workers Party is opposed to this clause and supports the protests against it that have been occurring. As well as section 92A we support repealing the parts of the law criminalising circumventing the so-called “Technological Protection Measures” on media such as DVDs, something we have covered in detail here.

Stop the use of lèse-majesté in Thailand – Defend freedom of speech

giles12

John Moore from the Workers Party, who has lived and worked in Thailand, gives details of an international campaign to stop the use of lèse-majesté in Thailand.

The Thai government is currently cracking down on dissent, and is using laws to ‘protect’ the monarchy to squash critical voices in Thai society. Such laws are known as lèse-majesté and frame criticism or insulting of a monarch as treason. Thai Marxist and academic Giles Ji Ungpakorn is facing lèse-majesté charges for the writing of his book A Coup for the Rich. A pdf version of this book can be found here.

A petition/open letter has been initiated by Thai activists calling for the scrapping of lèse-majesté laws and that the Thai government drop all proceedings in lèse-majesté cases.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn has been a ceaseless critic of the military’s intervention into politics in Thailand. He has accused the current government of gaining power through a coup. The elected Peoples Power Party government was recently deposed through a court order. The current Democratic Party led government was put together with the aid of the head of the military, and has full military backing.

Giles has been a consistent critic of authoritarian measures used by Thai state forces. He has championed the cause of workers and the rural poor in Thailand. He has also campaigned against the brutal military intervention against ethnic Malay insurgents in the South of Thailand.

The Workers Party is happy to play a part in offering solidarity to Giles and to help with the international campaign against the use of lèse-majesté in Thailand.

Below is the open letter/petition which Giles Ungpakorn is asking people to sign:

[Read more…]

Capitalist state just doing its job

The sordid actions of police informant Rob Gilchrist infiltrating New Zealand activist groups is yet another case of the bourgeois state ‘just doing its job’. In this blog post John Moore argues that the left should strongly condemn the police for their actions, yet those that act with howls of surprise and shock show how little understanding they have of the relationship between the state and capitalism in New Zealand. The left needs to start organizing more seriously against the coercive powers of the capitalist state, but at the same time exercising caution rather than paranoia.

Police spy Rob Gilchrist

The actions of Rob Gilchrist and the police reveal the ugly face of the capitalist state.

So far we know that Gilchrist has acted as a spy for the police for 10 years. He has informed and gathered information on organisations including Greenpeace, anti-Iraq War groups, poverty and beneficiary rights groups, animal welfare groups, GE-free groups and the Workers Party (formerly the Anti-Capitalist Alliance). balaclavaThe use of Gilchrist as a police spy was not an anomaly, but part of wider police intelligence programme. According to the Sunday Star Times http://tinyurl.com/684u3s

The use of an informer was part of a much wider police intelligence effort targeting community groups, using surveillance, filming of protests and seizure of computers and papers following protest arrests.

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