Archive for the ‘Poverty & Inequality’ Category

Below is the text of a talk delivered by Dani in Dunedin on Friday, July 21.

by Dani Sanmugathasan

Good evening! My name is Dani Sanmugathasan, and I am a member of the British Marxist and Leninist organisation called the Revolutionary Communist Group. The following talk will be on the topic of ‘Corbynmania’ – the opportunist phenomenon that’s swept through the labour movements in core economies over the last two years – and a good place to start is at the events in London earlier this month.

INTRODUCTION

“Oh, Je-re-my Cor-byn!” rang out the chants of many on the streets of London on the 1st of July at the People’s Assembly’s ‘Tories Out’ march. The People’s Assembly, Momentum, Radical Housing Network, the Socialist Workers Party, the Stop the War Coalition, the Socialist Party, and the large trade unions (PCS, RMT, CWU, Unison, Len McCluskey’s Unite the Union…) were all rallying round the Labour Party leader, the holy Son of Attlee, the man who would save Britain from the iron grip of Tory austerity.

But beside these organisations, a distinct second current of marchers – composed of such organisations as Class War, the Focus E15 Mothers, Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants, Architects for Social Housing, Movement For Justice, the Revolutionary Communist Group, and trade unions like the IWGB – led a different chant: “Labour, Tory, same old story!” These groups made (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…)

People from this blog and people from AWSM (Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement) are currently working together to encourage people not to vote, and do so as a conscious political choice, in the September general election.

The facebook page will, in particular, be challenging the idea that Labour is some sort of alternative to National.  That’s the argument of the Labour hacks and the soft left outside Labour.

They want you to vote for the party that, for the past two years, has been running a racist campaign against “people with Chinese-sounding surnames” and trying to blame them for the housing crisis.

A vote for Labour is a vote for a xenophobic party.

In the 2011 and 2014 elections, Labour campaigned to raise the retirement age.

The last Labour government presided over year after year of budget surpluses, while refusing to raise social welfare benefits.

The last Labour government presided over the expansion of zero-hours contracts.

The last Labour government opposed parental leave; its leader, Helen Clark, even said paid parental leave would be introduced “over my dead body”.

The last Labour government brought in a load of repressive, anti-civil liberties legislation after 9/11.

And, not content with bringing in repressive laws, they went after left activists and attempted to frame-up a whole bunch of them on absurd “terrorism” charges.  The ‘terror raids’ saw several hundred military and armed police descend on Tuhoe country, terrorising people in and around Ruatoki.  Homes of activists across the country were also raided.

Although most of the charges were so flimsy they had to be eventually dropped, Labour’s police state raids and charges made life hell for the arrested activists for several years.  And veteran Maori activist Tame Iti and fellow activist Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara were successfully stitched up and imprisoned for several years.

A vote for Labour is a vote for that.

The last Labour government threatened to end social welfare benefits for people in areas declared “unemployment black spots” and told unemployed people in these areas to move.

A vote for Labour is a vote for that.

The last Labour government joined in the invasion of Afghanistan and sent NZ troops to Iraq just in time to met the deadline allowing NZ companies to bid for ‘reconstruction’ contracts’.

A vote for Labour is a vote for that.

While the mushy section of leftists back up the Labour Party and try to act as enablers for its xenophobic, repressive and all-round anti-working class policies, there is an alternative, an anti-capitalist alternative.

Chunks of the left are revealing themselves to be merely anti-National Party rather than anti-capitalist.  Our aim, however, is to get people to make a conscious political decision not to vote and begin the task of politicising the non-voters who already vastly outnumber the people who vote Labour.  (Indeed, in the last election, more blue-collar workers voted National than Labour, seeing National as the lesser-evil).

Support – and, even better, join in – the Not Voting is a Political Act campaign.  The facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/NotVotingIsAPoliticalAct/

Help us promote the page.

FreeFM Hamilton’s community radio station interview with Philip Ferguson

Interview starts at 18.39 min

19.20  Discussing the lesser evil position on Labour vs National. Someone who was generally critical of Labour had said they would vote Labour as it was for light rail in Christchurch. On that basis beneficiaries should vote National as they raised benefits where Labour didn’t; pensioners should vote NZFirst because they are the most pensioner-friendly party!

21.50 National is a lot less xenophobic than Labour. Intern scandal – a fraudulent vote for change ‘non-partisan’ campaign really a front for Labour.

25.00 There’s lots of pressure on people to vote as if not voting makes one responsible for something bad happening. Were people who voted Labour in 1984 responsible for that government? Why give your vote for something you don’t agree with or don’t trust?

27.00 Not voting is actually making a statement. A lot of people not voting says something quite powerful. “They are all basically the same, how do we choose”.

  1. 00 Murray Horton in the early 1990s said National are the front stabbers and Labour are the back stabbers. That is the key difference between them

(more…)

by Tatiana Cozzarelli*

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: In a battle reminiscent of David and Goliath, some 600 food packaging workers occupied their factory in June after multinational PepsiCo, one of the world’s largest companies, abruptly closed down its Buenos Aires location. Yesterday night, it looked as if the battle would be lost by the workers. Perhaps many would bet against these working class “sudacas” (Latin Americans) who dared defy a Yankee corporate giant, the leadership of their own union, and Argentina’s right-wing government.

During the day, Judge Rodriguez Mentasty upheld an eviction order to force the workers off PepsiCo’s property, where they made products for Pepsi, Lay’s, Quaker, Doritos, Starbuck’s Ready-to-Drink, 7UP, Cheetos, Aquafina, Mountain Dew, Gatorade and Tropicana. Just hours later, police encircled the factory and a helicopter droned overhead.

A steady stream of supporters arrived to defend the plant, many of whom were militants of the Partido de Trabajadores Socialistas (PTS – Socialist Workers Party). The PepsiCo workers and allies held strong in the factory, many anticipating the worst: a violent crackdown, a definitive end to their jobs.

But as the hours wore on, the cops (more…)

The article below appeared in one of the print predecessors to this blog.  It is transcribed from revolution #21, August-October 2003.

by Will Shannon

Economically, Pacific peoples have always faced considerable hardship in New Zealand.  Used as a source of cheap labour during the post-war boom they initially filled the hardest jobs for little reward.  These jobs were then often the first to go once the economy began to contract in the late 1960s.

This process intensified with the economic restructuring carried out by Labour in the late 1980s, which cut a swathe through the freezing works, car plants and other areas of industry with high concentrations of Pacific workers.  This meant that Pacific Islanders came to be over-represented among not only low-income earners in New Zealand, but the unemployed as well.

According to a newly-released report, however, since the early 1990s when the picture was undeniably disturbing, “there have been (more…)