by Andy Warren

In a word – dying.  But not from Ebola.

According to WHO data it looks like this:1501834_950246134996398_1142675260604489720_n

However, fear and anxiety are the sexiest ingredients of any story today – rather than boring facts. Ebola fits perfectly the Hollywood template of fast-moving disaster met by flimsy human desperation – Humanity’s timid, hopeless David versus Mother Nature’s angry Goliath – and the slingshot is invariably “hope” or some nauseating version of “pulling together”.

America is now – world media would have you believe – under siege by Read the rest of this entry »

One of Ireland’s many ‘ghost estates’, built during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ fake-boom; these buildings are a haunting symbol of early 21st century Ireland

Saturday 1 November, 1 – 4.30 pm

The twenty-first century began in Ireland with, officially at least, a great deal of promise. Thirty years of armed conflict in the north came to an apparent end and the south of Ireland appeared to be entering a period of dynamic economic growth. By the end of the first decade of the century, however, things were less bright. The Celtic Tiger economy, in reality more a big bubble economy, burst and dissatisfaction with the new political dispensation in the north broke through the surface. This one-afternoon course critically examines the northern ‘settlement’, the southern economy and likely outcomes over the next decade.

Course presenter: Philip Ferguson

You can enrol on-line at: http://www.cwea.org.nz/Enrolment.php

Or else contact the WEA by phone – (03) 3660285 – or by email – admin@cwea.org.nz

One of our links is to the excellent Le Mur des Oreilles site, which contains interviews with Palestinian figures, Israeli anti-Zionists and a range of cultural and political figures talking about the Palestinian cause and the importance of actions such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign.  Below is an interview with prominent Israeli historian Ilan Pappé, conducted last year by the site.

images

Ilan Pappé

LMaDO: Ilan, you are an historian, you’ve published numerous books, amongst them the famous and controversial for some people “Ethnic cleansing of Palestine” in 2006. In 2007 you moved to England where you are currently teaching history at the Exeter University. You are part of what is called by some people “the new historians” who gives a new analysis and narrative of the history of Zionism and the history of the creation of Israel. You’ve taken some radical positions against the state of Israel. Why and when did you decide to stand on the Palestinians’ side? And what were the consequences for you being Israeli?

Ilan Pappe: Changing point of view on such a crucial issue is a long journey, it doesn’t happen in one day and it doesn’t happen because of one event. I’ve tried in one of my books called “Out of the Frame” to describe this journey out of Zionism to a critical position against Zionism. If I had to choose a formative event that really changed my point of view in dramatic way, it would be the attack of the Israelis on Lebanon in 1982. For us who grew up in Israel, it was the first non-consensus war, the first war that obviously was a war of choice: Israel was not attacked, Israel attacked. Then the first Intifada happened. These events were eye-openers in many ways for people like myself who already had some doubts about Zionism, about the historical version we learned at school.

It is a long journey and once you take it, you are facing your own society, you are even facing your own family and it is not a nice position to be in. People who know Israel know that it is an intimate and vibrant society so if you are against it, you feel it in every aspect of your life. I think this is one of the reasons why it takes a bit longer for the people like me to come to the point where you say there is no Read the rest of this entry »

7159199_600x400

Protest at Paremoremo in 2012 over what lawyer Peter Williams described as ‘inhumane’ conditions

by Val Morse

I want to acknowledge all the people who have done time inside, been arrested or assaulted by the police, whether here or elsewhere.

I want also to acknowledge all of the victims of crimes who have suffered at the hands of another person or institution.

Today we are here to talk about police brutality and the prison industrial complex.  We know that police and prisons are a tool of the elite in society to control those with less power and fewer resources – from the checkpoints in Palestine, to the private prisons of Pittsburgh, to the maximum security of Paremoremo, the story is much the same.

Private property

We have heard how the police are deployed to protect private property – the fundamental underlying principle of our modern capitalist state.  We have a system where a very few can have hundreds of thousands of acres of land and billions of dollars, while millions go landless and hungry, quickly being submerged under the rising tides of catastrophic climate change or murdered by a drone missile.

We have millions of refugees Read the rest of this entry »

This article first appeared in revolution magazine’s Middle East bulletin MidEast Solidarity, issue #1, Spring 2001. It looks at the division of labour between the United Nations and western imperialist powers in committing mass murder in Iraq in the 1990s; in 2003, of course, the US-led invasion took place, killing thousands more and devastating Iraq, creating the current morass. The authors were members of the bulletin’s editorial group and active in the Middle East Information and Solidarity Collective.

UN sanctions killed over a million Iraqis and softened up the country for an armed imperialist invasion, symbolising division of labour between UN and imperialist powers

UN sanctions killed over a million Iraqis and softened up the country for a subsequent armed imperialist invasion, symbolising division of labour between UN and imperialist powers

by Grant Poultney and Yan Lin

The purposes of the United Nations are:

1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective action collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace. . .
Chapter 1. Purposes and Principles: Article 1 of the United Nations Charter

On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Four days later, the United Nations implemented a trade embargo on Iraq. This paralysed the country. Before the sanctions were imposed, Iraq imported 70 percent of its food. The sanctions in place since 1990 have crippled one of the once-healthiest countries in the world. UK and US politicians justify having the sanctions in place to contain the threat of Saddam Hussein.

In 1999, the United Nations ICE Fund (UNICEF) reported that over half a million Iraqi children had died as a result of UN sanctions. This works out to be an average of 200 children a day. How do the deaths of these children fit in with the first article in the UN charter? What have they got to do with ‘containing’ Saddam Hussein?

Depleted uranium

Iraq also suffers a continuing legacy as a result of the United States using Read the rest of this entry »

Many well-intentioned people still see the United Nations as some kind of alternative to imperialism. Below we’re reprinting an article that first appeared in issue #2 of MidEast Solidarity (Autumn 2002), the Middle East bulletin of revolution magazine. The anti-imperialist arguments were contributed by Scott Hamilton of the Auckland-based Anti-Imperialist Coalition and Philip Ferguson of the Christchurch-based Middle East Information and Solidarity Collective.

The UN provided cover for the overthrow of the progressive regime in the Congo, led by Patrice Lumumba

Isn’t the United Nations a neutral body representing the international community? Can’t it work in an unbiased way?

The United Nations was established by the winning powers in World War 2. They redivided the world between them, with little concern for anyone else. The UN was created to give legitimacy to this new world order.

One of the first major activities of the UN was to create the state of Israel, thereby dispossessing the Palestinians. Shortly after this, the UN intervened mainly in Korea to back up the dictatorship in the South and preserve imperialist interests.

In the Congo in the early 1960s, the United Nations used its ‘neutral’ cover to play an important part in the overthrow of the radical regime of Patrice Lumumba. This resulted in years of dictatorship and the continued plunder of the wealth of the Congo by western interests.

Today, the United Nations is responsible for the Read the rest of this entry »

Among its past services at the top table of the UN, New Zealand chaired the sanctions committee on Iraq; their sanctions killed at least a million Iraqis, half of them children

by Philip Ferguson

The New Zealand elite is slapping itself on the back, having won a guest place on the UN Security Council. These particular places are set aside as a harmless concession to the rest of the world by the five permanent members on the Council, any one of which can veto action being taken by the UN’s equivalent to a central committee or war council (as it so often is).

New Zealand’s accession to the top table for the second time in two decades has bolstered the New Zealand elite’s flattering view of itself as punching above its weight globally – being “the small country with a big voice” in prime minister John Key’s words – due to what Key calls “its history of being an honest broker” and of “doing what is right”. While other countries spent “millions” on their campaigns to get elected to the Security Council, “we ran on our merits” he declared.

The NZ campaign this year, Key noted, was assisted by Read the rest of this entry »