The manifesto below first appeared in MidEast Solidarity #1, Spring 2001, the Middle East bulletin of revolution magazine. Although now thirteen years old, it is still highly relevant, given the Western powers’ ever-expanding, never-ending wars in the Third World.  It lays out a basic approach needed to build what is needed – an anti-imperialist movement – and is counterposed to simply accepting lowest common denominator peace politics, which often reinforce myths about this country’s ruling class, their political servants and their foreign policy.  In Christchurch, the Middle East Information and Solidarity Collective generally operated along the lines of the Manifesto, although its sphere of action was most specifically Palestine and Iraq.  Similar sentiments to those contained in the Manifesto animated the Anti-Imperialist Coalition in Auckland and the work of ACA activists in Peace Action Wellington.  As New Zealand’s ruling class plays its own part in the West’s wars abroad and migrant workers remain on the receiving end of discrimination here, we need to revive the spirit of this Manifesto; we need not a ‘peace’ movement but an anti-imperialist movement.  Lastly,  a few explanatory notes have been added.

Workers as a global class is the basis for internationalism and solidarity

Workers as both a global class and the universal class is the basis for internationalism and solidarity

The assault on Afghanistan points up the desperate need not for a wishy-washy peace movement, which treats New Zealand imperialism as morally superior to other imperialisms and pleads with Wellington to exert greater leverage in world affairs, but for an anti-imperialist movement.

1. AGAINST THE NEW ZEALAND STATE AND ITS FOREIGN POLICY

An anti-imperialist perspective in New Zealand can only begin with total opposition to the policies and initiatives of our own ruling class. New Zealand is an advanced capitalist society, part of the First World, presided over by an exploiting ruling class which is part of the problem not part of the solution.

New Zealand nationalism has been historically the ideology through which the capitalist class here coheres society around its own interests and power. In particular this ideology binds NZ workers to their lown exploiters, obscures class divisions within this country and keeps workers from developing an anti-capitalist outlook. At crucial times it serves to line workers up behind our ruling class in wars against workers of other countries.

Much of the left has been part of this reactionary nationalist consensus, most blatantly in the forms of labourism, Stalinism* and anti-‘foreign control’ groups. But even the Marxist left has succumbed to it, as war clear around the campaign against French testing at Moruroa, where most far left groups lined up behind the NZ ruling class.**

In contrast to middle class peace groups and leftists who make calls on the New Zealand government to take action against other capitalist governments, thereby prettifying our own ruling class, a genuine anti-imperialist movement in this country promotes Read the rest of this entry »

Created by Washington; executed without trial by Washington

Created by Washington; executed without trial by Washington

The article below was written in 2001 and first appeared in issue # 1 (Spring 2001) of MidEast Solidarity, the Middle East bulletin of the revolution magazine group.  Although 13 years old, it remains highly relevant, largely because the Western powers are engaged in an ever-expanding and seemingly never-ending war in the Middle East and Afghanistan against forces which they and their actions are largely responsible for creating

by Paul Hopkinson

Between 1978 and 1992, the United States spent at least $US3 billion (some sources estimate as high as 20 billion) on creating, funding, training and arming the mujaheddin ‘freedom fighters’ in Afghanistan. Every US dollar spent was matched by Saudi Arabia, as the US government and the Saudi oligarchy had an agreement to co-fund the establishment of the mujaheddin. A section of these ‘freedom fighters’ now make up the Taliban government , and the training camps created by these funds are the ones used by Osama bin Laden.

Wealthy conservative reaction

The mujaheddin started as a conservative reaction of wealthy semi-feudal landlords and the Muslim religious establishment (often one in the same), to the progressive policies of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA). The PDPA was committed to radical land reform that favoured the peasants, trade union rights, education for all (including women) and the separation of church and state. To carry out these policies, the PDPA advocated closer ties with the Soviet Union. Fearing the spread of Soviet influence and the example the PDPA might set for people suffering under the repressive regimes of America’s other Islamic allies, the US offered to support those opposing the PDPA government.

An internal power struggle in the PDPA that toppled the leader of the government in December 1979 saw Soviet soldiers enter Afghanistan to prevent the government’s collapse. The Soviet Union did not want to see the PDPA government fail, for it feared this could destabilise the southern Soviet Republics of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The entrance of the Soviet forces was used to legitimise the mujaheddin struggle as one of national liberation.

Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden, like many of the mujaheddin fighters and supporters, was drawn from fundamentalist Islamic groups outside of Afghanistan. Born in Saudi Arabia, he was one of twenty sons of a billionaire construction magnate. He arrived in Afghanistan in 1980 to join the Read the rest of this entry »

The article below was written in 2001 and first appeared in issue # 1 (Spring 2001) of MidEast Solidarity, the Middle East bulletin of the revolution magazine group, one of the precursors of this blog. Although 13 years old, it remains highly relevant, largely because the Western powers are engaged in an ever-expanding and seemingly never-ending war in the Middle East and Afghanistan and because of the continued fraying of Western capitalist societies themselves.

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After the Cold War, the US and its allies found new people to demonise

by John Edmundson and Linda Kearns

Images of Arabs in the Western media typically portray religious zealotry, irrationality, violence and danger. Islamic fundamentalism is pictured as a widespread phenomenon and a special danger.

Yet even in countries which have been depicted as fanatically fundamentalist, the facts don’t bear this out. Take Iran, for instance. In May 1997, the electorate returned a moderate as their president in a landslide vote. The fundamentalist candidate was decisively defeated.

In fact, the concentration in the West on the ‘danger’ of Islamic fundamentalism is more revealing about the state of the Western powers themselves than it is about Islam of any sort.

New demons for old

From 1917 on, and especially after World War 2, the ‘communist threat’ had been used to unite the otherwise competing capitalist interests and present the impression of a cohesive Western world view. Western societies were cohered around ‘anti-communism’, as promoted by the ruling classes The collapse of the Soviet bloc created, therefore, an ideological vacuum for the West.

Thus Ronald Reagan observed in a 1992 speech, “Ironically the collapse of communist tyranny has robbed much of the West of its uplifting, common purpose.” The West had to cast around for new demons.

This search, which has proved to be a defining feature of the New World Order, has taken the West’s ideologues literally to the ends of the earth. And their inventions have been Read the rest of this entry »

The article below was written in 1982 by Ygael Gluckstein, just after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and a number of massacres. Gluckstein grew up in Palestine, but later lived in Britain where he became best-known as the left-wing theorist and political leader Tony Cliff; the text is reprinted from issue # 1 of MidEast Solidarity, the Middle East bulletin of the revolution magazine group

indexby Tony Cliff

Looking back on my own experience in Palestine I can see how today’s horror grew from small beginnings. Zionism, Jewish separateness and the belief in a Jewish homeland, have developed into state violence.

My parents were pioneering Zionists, leaving Russia for Palestine in 1902 to join a total Zionist population of a few thousand. I grew up a Zionist, but Zionism did not have the ugly face we see today. However, there was always a fundamental crack between the Zionists and the Arabs.

Dispossessing the Arabs

Zionists took over Arab land, often evicting the occupiers. They systematically discriminated against the thousands of Arab unemployed. In our area, 80 percent of the population was Arab, but my school was exclusively Jewish.

My parents were extreme Zionists. My father told me, “The only way to look at an Arab is through Read the rest of this entry »

by Michael Roberts

This week, all the leaders of the top G20 nations meet in Brisbane Australia. The OECD has issued its latest forecast for global economic growth for that meeting to consider (http://www.oecd.org/eco/outlook/economicoutlook.htm). It’s the usual mantra from the all the international agencies, namely that global growth is still “stuck in low gear” i.e. well below the trend growth before the Great Recession; BUT don’t worry, next year things are going to pick up.

low gearAs the OECD puts it in its report, the world economy “is expected to accelerate gradually if countries implement growth-supportive policies”. Note the caveat, IF the G20 leaders  adopt more ‘growth-supportive’ measures.

The OECD reckons that global real GDP growth will be just 3.3% this year, but will “accelerate” to 3.7% in 2015 and 3.9% in 2016. But even that will be “modest compared with the pre-crisis period and somewhat below the long-term average.”

This mild acceleration, assuming it is achieved, and that is open to serious doubt, will be led by the US economy, forecast by the OECD to grow by 2.2% this year, jumping to 3% in 2015 and 2016. The OECD recognises that Europe and Japan will be lucky to grow more than 1% over the same period.

The stagnation in Read the rest of this entry »

Mass protests have met the Dublin government’s attempts to impose on a water tax on people throughout the southern Irish state.  The government is a Fine Gael-Labour coalition, which has been imposing a vicious austerity programme.  Anne McShane of the British paper Weekly Worker recently spoke to a leading member of the ‘Cobh Says No’ campaign:

Working class in rebellion

The introduction of water charges in Ireland is the latest of the anti-working class measures in the austerity package agreed with the troika by the last Fianna Fáil/Green government and continued under the present regime. Previous protests in 2012 and 2013 against the austerity deal included a boycott of the household tax. But the government then employed direct taxation measures to beat the working class into submission.

The state was confident that it had won the battle. Earlier this year a semi-state company was set up and water meter installation began. The government and its cronies in Irish Water did not even consider that the working class would resist. They were very wrong. Protests began over the summer in Cork city and Dublin, where they prevented meters being installed across entire estates. Now that movement is spreading right across the country. A national demonstration took place in Dublin on October 11 with numbers claimed at between 80,000 and 100,000. More local protests followed and on November 1 up to 200,000 people took part in marches in villages, towns and cities all over the country. The message from every one of those marches was clear – scrap water charges now. The working class has had enough and will not be pushed to pay any more.

The government is in crisis. Backbench TDs are rebelling and ministers are panicking. Taoiseach Enda Kenny says he will not back down and promises “clarity” on the payments. But the government is refusing to acknowledge the reality that is facing it. The majority of the Irish working class is very clear – they want no water meters and no water charges.

Karen Doyle and two others were arrested on October 30 for trying to block the installation of meters on a working class housing estate in Cob

Karen Doyle and two others were arrested on October 30 for trying to block the installation of meters on a working class housing estate in Cobh

I spoke to Karen Doyle, a leading member of the Cobh Says No campaign, which has been active against the household and property taxes and is now leading a mass struggle in Cobh to prevent the installation of water meters. She is now a national leader in this struggle.

What stage has the campaign against water charges reached?

In the past few weeks there have been street and estate meetings throughout Cobh. This was the result of a community meeting we held seven weeks ago. Before that our campaign, Cobh Says No, was operating with a couple of dozen core activists. But, with the news of water metering, the meeting was really packed. It was decided that people would go back to their estates and knock on their neighbours’ doors and call street meetings. We promised we would support the residents and would discuss how to prevent the meters being installed and do all we could to stop Irish Water.

What was the response at these street meetings?

The first meeting was in an estate called Russell Heights. There were about 90 people, plus a lot of apologies – and this is a small estate. The meeting was led by residents themselves, although we had drawn up a Read the rest of this entry »

50123728_010713222-1Below are articles about the Pike River explosions that killed 29 miners and the subsequent manoeuvrings by the company, the government and the EPMU leaders around the issue. They’re in chronological order, starting with the first article and ending with the most recent:

Pike River Blues http://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/pike-river-blues/
Pike River lessons http://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/pike-river-lessons/
Pike River: ‘cashflow’ versus workers’ safety http://rdln.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/pike-river-cashflow-versus-workers-safety/
Pike River company’s safety breaches killed 29 workers – it’s official http://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/pike-river-company-found-guilty-of-safety-breaches/
What’s the latest at Pike River? http://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/whats-the-latest-at-pike-river/
Pike River third anniversary http://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/pike-river-third-anniversary/
Pike River injustice: taking up Helen Kelly’s offer http://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/pike-river-injustice-taking-up-helen-kellys-offer/
Pike River – the final cover-up? http://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/pike-river-the-final-cover-up/