by Mark Muller
“Auckland Airport Greedy, Greedy”
by Mark Muller
“Auckland Airport Greedy, Greedy”
by Andy Warren and Philip Ferguson
Nothing against the man, and RIP etc, but it’s basically good that he is no longer lingering. From his imprisonment for starting an armed movement to fight apartheid – and the denunciations of the man as a ‘terrorist’ by the leaders of capitalism all over the world – Mandela sadly became a re-packaged sanitised “statesman”, indeed “elder statesman”. The way he became venerated by celebrities and bourgeois politicians across the globe, you could be forgiven for thinking he’d been imprisoned for 27 years for sitting down in the street singing “Kumbaya”, in between rounds of petitioning for an end to apartheid.
Mandela was a personally very courageous fighter against the rigid system of discrimination made necessary by the specific conditions of capital accumulation in South Africa. But it was the very repressiveness of the system that drove him and his fellow ANC comrades to arms, rather than radical politics. The kind of resistance tactics forced on Mandela and the ANC made them look politically more radical than they actually were. For instance, when the apartheid regime massacred at least 69 peaceful protesters, and wounded many more, at Sharpeville in March 1960, it was clearly no longer possible to maintain a movement based on peaceful civil disobedience. You’d just get shot off the street.
So the ANC established Umkonto we-Sizwe (MK, Spear of the Nation) as its armed wing and Mandela as its Read the rest of this entry »
Talk of the major capitalist economies entering a state of ‘secular stagnation’ continues to cause debate in mainstream economics. As I outlined in a previous post (http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/a-keynesian-or-marxist-depression/), at the recent special IMF research conference (http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/why-the-crisis-and-will-there-be-another-imf-speaks), ex-US Treasury Secretary and failed candidate for the head of the Federal Reserve, Larry Summers raised the issue of economies slipping towards low inflation or even deflation despite low or zero interest rates. He reckoned that a series of credit bubbles had become a necessary feature of modern economies to avoid deflation. Summers and later Paul Krugman, doyen of modern Keynesian economics, characterised the situation as one of ‘secular stagnation’.
This connotation is one dug up from the years after the Great Depression by neo-Keynesians like Alvin Hansen immediately after WW2. The idea is a bastardisation of Keynes’ long-term view of modern economies. Keynes had argued that long-term interest rates would fall towards zero and there would be a gradual ‘euthanasia of the rentier’ so that investment and growth would then depend solely on the ‘marginal efficiency of capital’ i.e. the risk-reward on new investment. But the likes of Hansen back then, and now it seems Krugman, Summers, Wolf etc, have bastardised this into a Read the rest of this entry »
Fighting to Choose: the abortion rights struggle in New Zealand by Alison McCullock, Victoria University Press, 2013
Thousands of activists campaigned in the 1970s for abortion rights. A decade later the pro-choice movement had all but vanished. The battle over abortion is one of the longest-running struggles in New Zealand yet little has been written about it. Alison McCullock’s book sets the record straight. Not only does she give a detailed account of the protests in the 1970s, she makes a case for reinvigorating the movement.
She has just finished touring the country visiting small towns and big cities spreading the pro-choice message. Before delving into her book let’s take stock of abortion in New Zealand today.
You could be forgiven for thinking it is not an issue; after all, around 16,000 women access safe legal abortion services every year. Most of those women have no idea that abortion law is tangled up in the Crimes Act. They may assume the hoops they jump through to get an abortion are standard medical requirements. Read the rest of this entry »
Mr Craig was asked about the time when Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship which was tossed with waves, for the sea was contrary. When, in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea, saying be of good cheer it is I , be not afraid.
“I don’t have a belief or a non-belief in these things, I just don’t know,” Mr Craig replied.
Asked again, Mr Craig said he had “no idea” whether Jesus walked on water.
“That’s what we’re told. I’m sort of inclined to believe it. But at the end of the day, I haven’t looked into it. And I know there’s some very serious people that question these things.”
He went on: “I’m happy that they can think that. I’m not going to judge any of these things without the facts.”