Archive for the ‘Limits of capitalism’ Category

As Jacinda Ardern spoke at Labour’s election launch about child poverty the Town Hall was packed with people pinning their hopes on her. Did any give a thought to how deftly she had just a few weeks earlier fed Metiria Turei to the wolves?  Announcing she would not have Turei in a future Cabinet because “When you’re lawmakers, you can’t condone lawbreaking”,  Ardern sided with the pearl-clutching judgmentalism that columnist Zoe Williams writes about in the Guardian.

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The downfall of the New Zealand politician Metiria Turei shows how little empathy is left for those on the dole

 

Some things are easier to see from far away, and a collective slide away from empathy and common sense, towards pearl-clutching judgmentalism, is one of them. At the start of August the co-leader of New Zealand’s Green party, Metiria Turei, was forced to resign, following an outpouring of opprobrium that threatened to poleaxe her party’s prospects in September’s elections.

The crime for which this tide of hate would have been proportionate is hard to imagine: in fact, it was spurred by her admission that she committed benefit fraud in the early 90s, a confession she made freely to highlight how hard it was then, and is now, to raise a child as a single parent under New Zealand’s notoriously punitive welfare system.

More than half of all that country’s benefit claimants owe money to their work and income department, in what appears to be a version of Gordon Brown’s working family tax credit overpayments, where you identify the country’s poorest families, pay them slightly more than you intended by a metric you haven’t really explained, then saddle them with a debt they have no hope of repaying. When you get to the point that these debts affect 60% of claimants, this is no longer a glitch in the system: this is the system.

As the journalist Giovanni Tiso described in a moving essay, “once the blood was in the water, the sharks had to do as nature commanded them” – her admission of guilt was deemed not quite penitent enough. The media set out to “investigate” the extent of her fraud, and found that she had also had support from family members when she was young, so couldn’t possibly have been as destitute as she claims. (more…)

A group of artists are continuing the conversation Metiria Turei MP started – demanding a more compassionate social welfare system. They asked artists who have been on a benefit in NZ (DPB, sickness, invalids, jobseeker, whatever) to draw a picture of themselves, and write a couple of sentences next to it about their experiences.
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Check out their messages https://www.facebook.com/WeAreBeneficiaries/

212 pages; softcover.  Price: $20.00 USD (plus shipping: $5.00 US, $22.50 int’l); published by Marxists Internet Archive; ISBN: 978-0-692-88676-2

Orders:  http://www.erythrospress.com/store/mariategui.html

José Carlos Mariátegui (1894-1930), the founder and director of the seminal journal Amauta and of the Peruvian Socialist Party, is regarded as one of Peru’s, and Latin America’s most influential and original Marxist thinkers.  Indeed, in the three-quarters of a century since his death, interest in Mariátegui and his ideas has waned but little, if at all.

The main selection in this volume, History of the World Crisis, consists of a series of lectures delivered to workers’ schools by Mariátegui upon his return to Peru after a four-year stay in Europe.  In those seventeen lectures, delivered between June 1923 and January 1924, Mariátegui insightfully and incisively examines the post-World War I world crisis, the weakening of (more…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Jacinda illustrations by John Moore)

Jacinda – Labour’s most pleasant leader

Jacinda redefines fairness

Jacinda’s aspirational fluff

Jacinda’s plan of hitting workers with more indirect tax

Jacinda’s party and bourgeois respectability

and for our wider collection of articles on Labour see: Redline on the Labour Party

 

A group of artists are continuing the conversation Metiria Turei MP started – demanding a more compassionate social welfare system. They asked artists who have been on a benefit in NZ (DPB, sickness, invalids, jobseeker, whatever) to draw a picture of themselves, and write a couple of sentences next to it about their experiences.
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Background text:
“ME: I’m a solo mum of two kids, and studying full-time to gain a better future for us. And you’re saying my benefit will be cut if I don’t look for 20 hours work, as well? How am I supposed to juggle all that and still barely have the money to pay for after-school care? (more…)

by Susanne Kemp

The Metiria Turei case certainly brought a lot of mean-spirited people with double standards out of the woodwork.  People who vigorously defended John Key’s electoral fraud and Bill English’s rorting of the public purse for the polticians’ equivalent of accommodation supplement mounted their moral high horse to condemn Metiria Turei.

Unfortunately, people with these kinds of double standards have the power to inflict them on (more…)

by Daphna Whitmore

Although women got the vote in the late 19th century, now well into the 21st century we still do not have pay equity. While overt discrimination against individual female employees is no longer legal or socially accepted  in New Zealand women’s wages still lag by 12 percent.

Far from leading change, parliament is often the last to come to the party when social movements gather momentum.  The successful case of  caregiver Kristine Bartlett shows gender pay inequity is coming under pressure. After being paid only $14.46 an hour despite 20 years working at the same rest home, Bartlett’s case established a legal principle that paying women in predominantly female occupations less than men in occupations with similar skills and responsibilities may be illegal under the Equal Pay Act of 1972.

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The gender pay gap under Labour and National has barely budged

Following the Bartlett case National has introduced the Pay Equity Bill which would impose a number of new hurdles for women seeking pay parity. The bill is being opposed by all the parliamentary opposition and the (more…)