Archive for the ‘Greens’ Category

Cartoon: Tom Scott/DominionPost

by Phil Duncan

Late this afternoon Green MP and party co-leader Metiria Turei announced that she was stepping down from the co-leader post and would be resigning as an MP as of the end of the current parliamentary term in a few weeks.

She said that the media intrusion and, in effect, harassment of whanau members had become too much and, in order to protect them from further media harassment, she was resigning.  She also said that the Greens’ campaign against poverty was being undermined by the focus on her and so she was taking herself out of the equation.

Middle class loathing of the poor

Turei has been the victim of a sustained campaign of what is essentially class loathing on the part of chunks of the middle class towards the poorest sections of the working class, especially the brown working class poor.  There has been a sustained campaign in the media, engineered by middle class pundits and commentators, people who predominantly would see themselves as “liberals”.

And Turei’s great sin?  At the (more…)

by Phil Duncan

Well, according to the media – and there seems to be quite a consensus – the answer to the question above is a resounding ‘yes’.  According to Tim Murphy, co-editor of Newsroom, policies adopted at last weekend’s Green Party AGM have “placed the Greens on the risky side of radical. Probably just where they want to be.”

According to TV1 political editor Corin Dann, the Greens have made “a bold statement on social justice”.  On Spin-Off, Simon Wilson suggested, “For the left, which was looking like it was going to watch another election slide by, it was the most impressive statement of the year.”  Columnist Stacey Kirk argues, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei, is “counting on New Zealanders to not only voice concern over inequality, but to collectively do something about it that may go against the nature of their very core.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the most hyperbolic response has come from (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

When Winston Peters praises your immigration policy you know you have hit a new low. This week Labour announced it will slash immigration numbers and Peters teased they were being a bit xenophobic, and then praised them for putting New Zealand First.dog whistle

Andrew Little explained Labour’s new policy with claims that migrants are clogging up the roads, filling the houses and taking jobs. It’s time for a breather on immigration the Labour Party website announced. They will cut immigration by tens of thousands. (more…)

Protest called by Global Peace and Justice (Auckland) and supported by Unite trade union, Australian

Protest called by Global Peace and Justice (Auckland) and supported by Unite trade union, Australian Consulate, Auckland, Wednesday, Nov 11

by Philip Ferguson

As a major article we put up on this blog a few days noted in some detail, the detention of people on Christmas Island is a horrendous breach of human rights (see here).  Even usually bland NZ TV reporters and commentators have felt compelled to criticise the treatment of asylum-seekers, refugees and NZ citizens facing deportation from ‘The Lucky Country’.  Finally having had enough of the mistreatment a section of those being held in what is effectively a concentration camp on the island, led it seems by NZ deportees, staged a revolt on Sunday night/Monday morning (see here).  The revolt has been put down by the authorities and some of those sick of being treated liked abused animals have been removed to prison in Perth and potentially face serious charges.

There is no indication so far from the Australian government that any changes will be made to the regime and conditions at the concentration camp, let alone any rethink around asylum and refugee issues or around the deportation of what are really Australians – but happen to hold NZ citizenship – back to this side of the ditch.

The terrible situation and conditions of the detainees on Christmas Island – desperate asylum-seekers and NZers facing deportation back here, to a country they may not have lived in for decades – is, however, being lost in the stage performances being put on by very comfortable $150,000-a-year-plus-benefits-and-allowances middle class politicians who seem to think it’s all about them.  (And that’s just the salary of a ‘lowly’ MP.)

Key clearly (more…)

imagesThis article is a slightly abridged version of one which was written in 1997 and appeared in issue #3 of the Christchurch-based journal revolution, Aug/Sept 1997

by John Gillot and Manjit Kumar
(with additional information from Simon Faraday)

Is science the liberator of humanity, or the tool of despots? Is the attempt to control the laws of nature the handmaiden of progress, or the suicidal act of ignorant fools? These are the kind of issues being raised today, as the world’s pressing demographic and environmental problems make more people ask whether progress is such a good thing. What answers can we come up with?

Marxists support the unlimited growth of scientific knowledge and capacity. The dangers posed by the application of modern science arise from the nature of the societies in which it takes place not from the science itself. The system which dominates the globe – capitalism – is at best stagnant. Without the constraints this system imposes, the potential exists for fundamental scientific advances to be made and used for the good of us all. In opposition to the Marxist view, however, there is a growing belief among radical thinkers that humanity is inevitably threatened by technological and scientific advance.

This view has been put clearly by the modern Green movement. Discussing the environmental problems of today, Fritjof Capra has argued that these “manifold health hazards are not just incidental by-products of technological progress; they are integral features of an economic system obsessed with growth and expansion, continuing to intensify its high technology in an attempt to increase productivity.”

The Green view of science and technology as inherently dangerous makes sense to many people. Mention biotechnology, for example, and images of man-made mutants are more likely to come to mind than thoughts of a cure for genetic disorders. Such a reaction is understandable, given the misuse of scientific research. If people like Capra and his colleagues only wanted to expose the abuse of science by the capitalist system, we could have no objection. However, they go much further, asserting that “technological progress. . . growth and expansion” as such are the problem. This simply will not stand up to scrutiny.

Technological growth and scientific progress have vastly improved the state of human existence through the ages. A glance at (more…)

Andy Warren gets negative about a film before he’s seen it and takes a quick look at the history and themes of Hollywood science fiction cinema and their parallels in the real world

Interstellar: yet another misanthropic view of humanity

Interstellar: yet another misanthropic view of humanity

It is perhaps foolish to base too much on a film’s trailers. However, Hollywood generally can’t help but leak the key points. So I think I’ll be fairly safe. Once I’ve watched it I’ll write an update.

“We’ll find a way … we always have,” says Matthew McConaughey’s character, Cooper. “Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.”

These quotes sound inspiring out of context – in the moody voice over. The reality is, I expect, rather uninspiring.

Recently released Interstellar (November 2014) will deliver the latest dollop in what I call the “humanity is doomed unless…” genre. The genre that likes to market itself as highbrow science fiction but which in reality manages only “we’re suddenly doomed but that brilliant man will save us – hey what does that lever do?” with as much glossy scientific credibility as the production can afford.

Interspersed with footage reprising the dust bowl depicted in The Grapes of Wrath (Depression-era US Midwest “bread belt”), farmer-but-also-engineer-and-brilliant-pilot McConaughey (the brilliant guy) is torn from his down-to-earth farming life (“good people”) because he is humanity’s only hope – the hope that we can find a new habitable planet elsewhere in the universe.

Judging by the sheer quantity of thrillingly impossible action sequences and dramatic moments in the various trailers I’ve watched, this film will have no choice but to quickly dispatch with its main justification and cut to the core of it’s mission – dressing up a basic dystopian morality message with special effects and bite-sized wisdoms delivered in McConaughey’s otherwise enjoyable slow, thoughtful Texas drawl. Yet another environmental story is dressed up in a relatively new and exciting form – this is the goal of the marketing machine’s influence on script and storyline. The environmental theme by now needs no introduction – the work has been done by dozens of previous Hollywood productions and the earnest bleating of the green movement. If the film has been done well, we might see some truly breathtaking space travel. I genuinely hope so.

About those Dust Storms…

John Steinbeck wrote in his 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath: “And then the dispossessed were drawn west – from Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico; from Nevada and Arkansas, families, tribes, dusted out, tractored out. Car-loads, caravans, homeless and hungry; twenty thousand and fifty thousand and a hundred thousand and two hundred thousand. They streamed over the mountains, hungry and restless – restless as ants, scurrying to find work to do – to lift, to push, to pull, to pick, to cut – anything, any burden to bear, for food. The kids are hungry. We got no place to live. Like ants scurrying for work, for food, and most of all for land.”

Steinbeck was describing life for farming families driven from their farms by a period of intense drought which hit them on top of the Depression and a rapaciously brutal banking industry – subsequently bailed out by Franklin Roosevelt and the 1933 Emergency Banking Act – a forerunner of the US Congress appetite for bailing out Wall st on a more regular basis today.

Where Steinbeck based his work on brutal reality, Interstellar draws on the imagined reality that appeals to enviro-zealots and doom mongers. What (more…)

indexby Daphna Whitmore

The election campaign was more colourful and circus-like than any I can recall. The result in the end was a lot more bland. National were miles ahead in every poll so it was no surprise they romped home on the night. They won the party vote in 59 out of 64 general electorates.

Although they could govern alone they won’t, and the government will be made up of the same parties as before.

National

On the leftish-blogosphere readers are being told to prepare for a grim three years where National will go full throttle neo-liberal. The same people have made the same predictions ever since National got in six years ago. They are still wrong. Key has signaled he has no surprises and that National are not about to lurch further to the right. Not only is Key not a neo-liberal, there is barely any support for that doctrine in NZ today.

Act

The Act Party has been on life-support for years, and this election they managed to outdo themselves by halving the tiny vote they got in 2011. Act’s best contribution to the political landscape is the proof they provide that money doesn’t win elections. The Internet Party likewise. (more…)