Archive for the ‘At the coalface’ Category

unnamedby Don Franks

(dedicated with respect to Pike River miners and their families)

On Mayday, get your old flag out
unwrap each dusty fold
pour the cold beer, find some young ear
to hear your stories told
how we used to put a blue on
downloadhow we boxed the place up tight
saw the scabs off, held the picket line
stood tall through all the shite
just remember while you party on
until the (more…)

by Yassamine Mather

Before the death of ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on January 8 (an event that has dominated Iranian politics and news), Iranian clerics and leaders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards had been competing with each other in making exaggerated claims about the significance of the fall of Aleppo: it was a victory against “heresy” and for the “ascendancy of Shia Islam”. One cleric called on Iranians (presumably he meant the Revolutionary Guards already in Syria) to clean up Aleppo, as the 12th Shia Imam would soon be paying a visit!

This, together with the triumphalism during the inspection of the ruins of east Aleppo by major general Qasem Soleimini (credited with commanding Iranian troops in Syria’s recent battles), should be condemned. The intervention of Iran and Russia in Syria has cost the lives of thousands of civilians. All such foreign intervention – be it by the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and Russia – should be condemned, and Iran and Russia cannot be exempt from this on the basis that they were invited by the Syrian regime.

Having said that, we now have a clearer picture of the final days of the battles in and around east Aleppo. The latest round of ‘peace talks’ between some rebel groups and Turkey, Iran and Russia gives an indication of who backed the main armed rebel groups. Most of these groups, far from being democratic, secular forces, were close to Turkey’s Islamic nationalist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The extended participation of Syrian Kurds on the same side as those fighting against ‘rebels’ in Aleppo (in other words, on the same side as Hezbollah and other Shia groups) demonstrates that accusations of Turkish involvement in arming and sponsoring a section of the rebels in east Aleppo should be taken seriously.

Free Syrian Army

By all accounts, at least since 2015, the claim that the Free Syrian Army represents moderate or secular forces has been untenable.

It is worthwhile repeating what (more…)

 

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The piece below first appeared as the editorial in revolution #6 (May-June) 1998.  The trends it pointed to were very strong at the time and, sadly, remain very strong.

downloadby Philip Ferguson

The left was once synonymous with freedom.  This was particularly so during the ‘radical’ 1960s.  Freedom from the moral restraints of the austere and conservative 1950s, freedom for sexual experimentation, for viewing pictures and reading books that had been banned, and freedom for oppressed peoples in the Third World and in the advanced capitalist countries like New Zealand were exclusively the preserve of the left.

A great deal has changed since then!  Much of the ‘60s generation has grown up, gained a ‘stake in society’ and become the new, liberal prudes and social controllers, as fearful of freedom as they once were enthusiastic about it.  These days it is difficult to think of any activity which is not subject to concern or regulation by some middle-class snob or do-gooder.  From anti-smoking campaigns[1] to attempts to censor the internet to moral purity feminism, the grown-up flower children of the ‘60s would now prefer not to let a hundred flowers bloom.

There are, however, two ‘freedoms’ that are not included in their desire to control and constrain.  One is the freedom of the (more…)

Thanks Labour, thanks National.

But, don’t forget, the notion of ‘child poverty’ is actually a crock.  Children aren’t poor.  It’s the parents who are poor.  They are poor because twenty-first century NZ capitalism is a low-wage economy.  They are poor because twenty-first NZ capitalism requires historically high levels of unemployment and underemployment.

So, above all, thanks capitalism for these poverty rates.

Thus it really is no wonder that the ultimate capitalist society, the United States of America, is number one on this poverty scale.

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The following statement was released by the Prison Branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine on January 3:

freedom4The resolution of the government of the Zionist occupation with respect to the imposition of new sanctions on Palestinian prisoners comes in the context of the overall attack being waged against the Palestinian people, from the continuation of settlements, the Judaization of Jerusalem, the imprisonment of the bodies of the martyrs, to the daily attacks against our people and attempts to crush their ongoing resistance. The decision taken against the prisoners is an escalatory step as we have seen in the Nafha prison yesterday, with the isolation of a group of leaders, including the leader Comrade Kamil Abu Hanish. This action means that the year 2017 will be a year of confrontation inside the prisons. These sanctions will not pass! We will not accept these policies that attempt to divide the prisoners and engage in micro-targeting. We will face them united, and the prison sections will remain a square of (more…)

Faulty trucks at Otahuhu Fire Service workshop

Faulty trucks at Otahuhu Fire Service workshop

by Susanne Kemp

Auckland firefighters have blacked an entire fleet of Fraser-MAN fire trucks.  The union ban on the trucks follows months of disquiet over the trucks.

Back in August last year, for instance, the union began trying to resolve issues related to these trucks.  Auckland firefighters were forced to black an appliance due to safety concerns.  The Auckland City fire truck carrying the life-saving “jaws of life” rescue equipment was found to be faulty and had to be taken off the road.

In October a AGM of Auckland firefighters expressed frustration and anger over the pumping and  pump-rescue appliances on these trucks.  At the time, the Auckland local of the union produced a comprehensive account of the problems with the trucks and rebuttal of the stalling and arse-covering antics of fleet management at national headquarters.

The Auckland local noted, among other things, “A proper trial involving a few prototypes would likely have avoided the current situation, a situation where $20 million of levy payers’ money has been wasted on a fleet of lemons with irretrievably bad DNA. A situation where vehicles less than six months old are literally coming apart at the seams (Christchurch). Where vehicles have had their wiring interfered with to the point where they won’t start when called upon to respond. Where pumps will not (more…)