imagesby Tony Norfield

Nobody wants to be one of the PIIGS, but membership of the BRICS is highly valued. Both acronyms were devised in the City of London, the former by analysts describing a group of crisis-hit euro countries, the latter by Goldman Sachs in a 2001 paper that identified several countries that had come to prominence in the global economy. The Goldmans formulation came at an opportune time: slower growth in the major capitalist powers was being outpaced by developing countries that also appeared to have brighter economic prospects. Its author called for including Brazil, Russia, India and China more formally in global economic decision-making (South Africa was added later), and this was an adept investment bank marketing tool to attract business both from and into the relevant emerging powers, ones that craved recognition.

The BRICS are evidently diverse countries, geographically, socially, economically, politically and in terms of their potential power in the world economy. However, they share some common interests that the original Goldmans formulation did not anticipate. Rather than them all simply wanting to be included in the current hegemonic structure of global decision-making – being included in forums like the G7, for example – what has happened over the past decade is that they have Read the rest of this entry »

Weekly Digest of Alt. Media. . ., September 13

Posted: September 13, 2014 by Admin in General/Digests

by Andy Warren

The week wouldn’t feel complete without some Chomsky:

http://www.alternet.org/world/noam-chomsky-one-americas-ugliest-chapters-its-history

http://www.alternet.org/noam-chomsky-real-reason-israel-mows-lawn-gaza

And if you get the chance, I recommend “Notes to Eternity” – which screened fresh from the editing suite in the recent New Zealand International Film Festival.

Some Practical Black Ops

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/07/31/ai-weiwei-cctv-camera-do-it/

A Little Parody
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U4Ha9HQvMo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHun58mz3vI

A Forgotten 9/11 History Worth Remembering…
(Quoting Occupy Wall St)
On September 11th 1973, US-backed General Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected leader of Chile, Salvadore Allende. Pinochet ordered an air strike on the Presidential Palace, labor activists and famous folk guitarists were rounded up for torture, disappeared, and killed.  Pinochet converted the national football stadium into a detention facility like Guantanamo Bay. Chile’s economy was turned into a Read the rest of this entry »

isis-target-europe-middle-east-conflict-hamas-i-20140824_art_fullby Yassamine Mather

Every day news of new atrocities by the Islamic State is making headlines. From the beheading of young journalists to the mass extermination of religious and national minorities in Iraq and Syria, there seems to be no end to the barbarism and brutality of this latest brand of Islamist jihadism. US air strikes might have slowed down the IS’s military progress – earlier this week the two Shia cities of Amerli and Suleiman Beik were recaptured, the latter with the direct intervention of Iranian Revolutionary Guards. However, it is clear that the IS is far from defeated.

It is ironic to think that only a year ago the debate was about US military intervention on the side of Syrian opposition forces – even then dominated by the very jihadists who later chose the name ‘Daesh’ (in Arabic), or Isis. Today the US is conducting an air war against the group (and the United Kingdom is close to joining in). This air war will no doubt bolster the regime of Bashar Assad. The mass media portray US air raids and drone attacks as yet another humanitarian intervention, downplaying the enormity of the US change in policy over the last 12 months. Has there been regime change in Syria? Has the dictator the imperialists were so keen to ditch relinquished power? Is his government more democratic than a year ago? Of course, the answer to all these questions is ‘no’. Assad has consolidated his power with phoney elections; his army (supported by another ‘rogue state’, Iran) is as repressive as ever before. In short, what has changed is the priorities of the imperialist powers – there is now an urgent need to maintain control over the country they ruined in another ‘humanitarian’ intervention in 2003: Iraq.

So Shia Iran, and therefore its ally, Syria, are no longer the main enemy. On the contrary, Read the rest of this entry »

indexby Philip Ferguson

Don Franks’ critique of Mana’s anti-poverty campaign touched on the contradiction between what seasoned activists in Mana know and what they put forward in practice.  Don noted, “But MANA’s veteran activists understand the basic nature of capitalism. Why do they wilfully misrepresent it?”

This is at the very heart of far-left involvement in Mana/Internet Mana.  Sections of the far left continually make out that radical-reformist politics are better than revolutionary politics most of the time in practice.  So when are revolutionary politics to be argued and fought for, and put before workers?  Apparently, not today.  Maybe tomorrow?  But then tomorrow becomes today, and so, once again, the time is not right for advancing revolutionary politics.

This self-limiting stance taken by the left groups involved in Mana/Internet Mana – although at least ISO is engaged in some reconsidering and useful open debate – means, in effect, that the time is never right for advancing revolutionary politics.

Instead the far left groups, despite the subjective intentions of their more radical members, play the role of gate-keeper, Read the rest of this entry »

IMPby Don Franks

On Tuesday 9 September 2014, Internet Mana launched a Campaign to Eliminate Poverty outlined by Internet MANA at a public meeting in Otara.

The campaign launch noted  that “30,000 New Zealand families are now officially listed as homeless – living in cars, cowsheds, cockroach-infested caravans, and jammed into garages or three or four families per house. Home ownership is now completely out of the reach of these and tens of thousands of other families”

“Unemployment has continued to rise with fewer jobs available now than in 2008, wages have continued to fall to the point wh ere 40% of children who live in poverty have parents in paid work, and three out of four New Zealanders now earn less than the average wage.

“The free market policies introduced by Labour and ramped up by National, have given us nothing more than 30 years of lost assets, high unemployment, falling real wages, and rocketing levels of homelessness.”

The campaign claimed further that: “In fact, never before in the history of this country, has so much poverty been imposed on so many people over such a short time, as under the curre nt National-ACT-United Future-Māori Party government.”

That is just wishful thinking.

Leftist attempts to demonize the present government grow the more shrill as Key’s popularity has risen. The present Read the rest of this entry »

Voting-231x300by Philip Ferguson

Over the past few weeks a position has crystallised at Redline in terms of not voting in the 2014 election and advocating that others make a positive decision not to vote. This position is shared by a layer of comrades in AWSM (Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement) and a layer of independent left and liberal people such as Richard Jackson of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University.

The alternative put forward by the ostensibly far left groups seems to be getting involved in reformist parties, like Mana / InternetMana, although gratifyingly there seems to be a serious debate within one of these three groups, namely the International Socialist Organisation, about the contradiction between espousing class politics and endorsing the Internet/Mana lash-up.

A big problem with far left endorsement of reformist parties is that it virtually always leads to prettifying the politics of such parties as if they are somehow on the same road as us. To give two recent instances. There is an interview with Miriam Pierard in the latest issue of Fightback, which is largely liberal, personalised gush – one Redline contributor described it as being like a “puff piece in an in-flight magazine” – and there is no challenge by the interviewer to the views Ms Pierard puts forward.  For instance, about how supposedly awesome a Labour/Greens/InternetMana government would be or a comment such as “how special New Zealand is and how important it is to take back our proud history of leading the world in progressive change”.

Her blurb on the Internet Party site describes her as a "national treasure" but, before being hired by Kim Dotcom, Laila Harre oversaw hundreds and hundreds of council workers in the greater Auckland area being made redundant

Her blurb on the Internet Party site describes her as a “national treasure” but, before being hired by Kim Dotcom, Laila Harre oversaw hundreds and hundreds of council workers in the greater Auckland area being made redundant

Ms Pierard also talks about how Laila Harre is a particular hero of hers, citing Harre’s role in extending paid parental leave and fighting against NZ military intervention in Afghanistan. But John Key’s government has also extended paid parental leave and Laila, as an Alliance MP, voted for the government motion supporting the invasion of Afghanistan.  It was the revolt by the rank-and-file that forced Alliance MPs to change their minds on that one.

Another article in the same issue refers to “veteran unionist Laila Harre”. But this, too, is at best misleading and at worst a disingenuous Read the rest of this entry »

images

 

A Redline supporter and occasional contributor, Andy Warren, has set up a Facebook page called Not Voting is a Political Act.

You can check it out at: https://www.facebook.com/NotVotingIsAPoliticalAct

Join in the discussion there, and here.

And, if you’re down south, don’t forget the meeting:

Saturday evening, September 13, 7pm
Dunedin Community House, 283 Moray Place

Speakers:
Dr Bryce Edwards (Otago University*; NZ politics commentator);
Malcolm Deans (Sec, Unions Otago* and member of Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement);
Colin Clarke (former member, Independent Working Class Association* in Britain; member, editorial group of Redline blog)
(Organisations/institutions mentioned for identification purposes only)