The following article is taken from Lutte de Classe (Class Struggle), Issue 170, September-October 2015, the magazine of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the revolutionary workers group active in France. Although it’s a few months old now, it is still highly relevant.  Keep in mind, however, that since this is a northern hemisphere publication, when they refer to summer it would be winter in NZ, etc.  Also the dollars referred to are US dollars.

download (1)In the summer of 2015, China was at the center of economic uncertainty. Stock market crashes in Shanghai brought about the fall of financial markets worldwide. The yuan was devalued, leading to talk of a currency war. The prices of raw materials rapidly declined. And finally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its estimates of global economic growth.

The most tangible event was the fall in the prices of raw materials, but in fact this was also the oldest trend. Between 2011, when raw materials were at an all-time high, and today, the decline in the prices of coal, iron, copper, nickel and oil, among others, has been on the order of 50%. More than a crash, this is actually a long trend of decline, with prices returning to what they were before the crisis of 2008. This tendency has accelerated in the past few months. The price of coal has gone from $117 per ton in 2011 to $66 per ton in 2014. The price of iron has fallen from $170 to $60 per ton. For copper, the trend of decline has continued since its peak of $10,000 per ton in 2011. Its price today is around $5,000 per ton. The price of nickel fell by even more, from more than $26,000 per ton in 2011 to less than $10,000. Oil prices are the most striking example of this acceleration, with the price of a barrel of Brent Crude falling from $120 in 2011 to $110 in 2014, then to less than $50 in the summer of 2015.

This fall has generally been interpreted as the consequence of the breakdown of growth in the Chinese economy. China is the last of these so-called “emerging” countries that the politicians and leaders of the system used to present as capable of being “engines” for global growth or, in other words, to offer markets and outlets to Western corporations. These “emerging” countries, not so long ago draped in praise, are now being singled out as Read the rest of this entry »

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The following is the editorial that appeared in the various workplace bulletins produced by the Workers Fight group in Britain in the last week of April.  It deals with the findings of the independent panel established in 2012 to look into the deaths of 96 soccer fans at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield in 1989.

by Workers Fight

So after 27 years, a jury has finally decided that the 96 fans who were crushed to death on 15 April 1989, were “unlawfully killed”. And that the fans were “blameless”.

That is the great British justice system for you. After almost three decades – it finds that there was a cover-up; that police lied and that “authorities” were to blame. Well didn’t the fans, the victims’ families and indeed the general public already know that fans had nothing to answer for?

Yet in 1991, the then coroner ruled the 96 deaths to be “accidental”. And the allegation (by the Sun newspaper, among others) that “hooligans” had somehow caused the crush was never really challenged.

It was only thanks to an independent panel set up in 2012, after tireless campaigning by relatives of the victims and Liverpool fans, that the new hearings were ordered – which made its ruling yesterday.

So the victim’s families had to be put through Read the rest of this entry »

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Dunedin hospital: no, it's not socialism in action

Dunedin hospital: no, it’s not socialism in action

Admin note: the reason we have run two articles on this issue is not because we are trying to doubly blast ISO but because, due to a misunderstanding via email, two Redline contributors, unbeknownst to each other, wrote pieces on the subject.  We hope ISO will take this as a comradely critique.

by Don Franks

At last month’s Stop the Slop rally, protesting outsourcing of Dunedin Hospital food services, Andrew Tait said for the International Socialists:

“This is our hospital and this is about way more than food, Carole Heatley (Hospital CEO).

“This is about philosophy and this is about socialism vs capitalism. This hospital is socialism in action right here. It is the biggest employer in Dunedin. And this, practical socialism, is love, love for your neighbour in the most simple way and in the most real way.”

Socialism is seldom advocated at New Zealand protests, so it’s a good thing that Andrew put it on the agenda.

It’s not so good that he included false advertising.

Hospitals in New Zealand are not enclaves of socialism; they are Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a good Radio NZ interview with Yposter-Yassamine1assamine Mather on the current situation in Iran. The interview is 18 minutes long and available on podcast here:  Listen

She discusses the lifting of sanctions, the Shah’s regime, the conservative clerical regime, repression, the position of women, and the internal opposition. She speaks too of hope for the future for the region with the youth of Iran being very opposed to the clerics.

And for our own Redline interview with Yassamine several years ago, read here.

by Daphna Whitmore

Dunedin hospital’s substandard food has come in for some well deserved criticism. At a protest outside the hospital Andrew Tait of the International Socialist Organisation argued that the public hospital was socialism in action, and he went on to call Britain’s National Health Service socialist:

https://iso.org.nz/2016/04/30/stop-the-slop-protest-at-dunedin-hospital/

There’s a lot that is good about the public health system in New Zealand, (excluding the hospital meals) but socialist it is not. Nor could it be. While we have a relatively well-funded public health system it follows a capitalist model adopted by most western countries.

First World countries maintain a centralised government-regulated and funded health-care system at the insistence of the public. It is also out of pragmatism. A public health system is more cost effective than America’s relatively decentralised private-sector system where hundreds of millions of dollars go on health lobbying rather than providing services. New Zealand, like many other western countries, has a large private health sector too, and it is in the business of making money. But that doesn’t make the public sector socialist; even the best health system in a capitalist country will not be socialist. Read the rest of this entry »

_89618677_8In the last NZ elections, most of us at Redline saw no point in voting.  We argued that there simply wasn’t anything to vote for and that non-voting at least indicated disillusionment with the system.  New Zealand is not the only place with falling voter turnout – indeed, it’s an international trend.  Ironically it is often accompanied by a greater number of political parties.  It is almost as if there is a new rule – the more political parties, the fewer the real choices.  Instead, we have a kind of tyranny of the centre.  In the article below prominent Irish republican figure Sean Bresnahan of the 1916 Societies look at last week’s elections for the Stormont Assembly, the body which pretends to act as a parliament for the northern state in Ireland.  He reflects on the low turnout there and the crisis of legitimacy it should herald for the Sinn Fein-Democratic Unionist Party regime there.  One positive from the election, not mentioned by Sean, is that two candidates from the leftist People Before Profits Alliance, were elected to the Assembly. 

by Sean Bresnahan

Following yesterday’s elections to Stormont, many reports, and indeed complaints, about low voter turnout are beginning to surface, with some arguing if you didn’t vote you have no right to complain and others suggesting voting should be mandatory and people compelled to vote or be fined. So much for free choice (as if one exists in the first place).

In my opinion a low turnout is a good thing. Were the turnout to fall below 50 percent then the Sinn Fein-DUP coalition could not claim a mandate for the austerity programme they are inflicting on our communities on behalf of their bosses in London. This is why I sat at home, as I will not allow my vote – not even were it to be spoiled – to legitimise the attacks they are perpetrating on working people.

While some claim it incredible that people complained but didn’t vote, for me what is incredible is that people still believe voting in a liberal democratic system can change anything of note. Maybe those who sat at home have realised this and thus refuse to participate in an organised farce, set up to secure consent for that which has not in fact been agreed to: austerity.

In reality, decisions are not taken within the outward framework of liberal democracy. They are reached and implemented elsewhere, with politicians thrust forward every so often as paid perjurers to Read the rest of this entry »


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