A number of us at Redline were involved at various times in the Marxist magazine revolution, which was produced between 1997 and 2006. A total of 26 issues were produced during that time. We’re slowly getting up on Redline features from the magazine that are still of relevance. Here we reproduce two closely-related pieces that appeared several years apart on wages, profits, crisis.

The piece below appeared in issue #15, June/July 2001, as part of the magazine’s restatement section, which dealt with various fundamentals of Marxism.

images (2)Wages, profits and lies

by Linda Kearns and Keith Tompson

In the first year of the Labour/Alliance coalition government, real wages in New Zealand have fallen. No wonder business is happier with the current regime than they were in the final years of the previous National (and NZ First) government. This is the first time real wages have fallen in five years. Given that wage indexes include some very highly-paid people, like politicians, whose incomes expanded, the fall in the real wages of most working people is particularly pronounced.

The last Labour government (1984-1990) oversaw a substantial decline in real wages; indeed it drove wages down immensely in order to help business. In the 1970s and 1980s Labour and National politicians attacked ‘greedy workers’ for causing inflation and undermining NZ’s competitiveness in the world market. And, despite the overall decline in real wages since 1984, businesspeople and politicians from the two major parties often still argue that wage claims represent a ‘threat’ to the ‘recovery’.

But what do wages actually represent? Do wage claims cause inflation? What is the relationship between wages, profits and economic crisis?

Antagonistic classes

Capitalist production rests on two fundamentally antagonistic classes. Capitalists own the means of production. Workers own merely their ability to work, that is their labour-power.

In capitalist society, labour-power has become a Read the rest of this entry »

3357585994A short note to draw readers’ attention to a couple of tributes to Tony Catney over on the irish revolution blog.  Tony was a veteran of the armed struggle against the British state in Ireland and an outstanding example of the ‘organic intellectuals’ who emerged out of the working class during that struggle.  He fought against the betrayal of the struggle by the Adams leadership of IRA-Sinn Fein and attempted to regroup the left-wing of the Provisionals and build a genuinely revolutionary movement for Irish national liberation and socialism.

The tributes to him are here.

The Herald cartoon depicts the Prime Minister's plight

The Herald cartoon depicts the Prime Minister’s plight

by Don Franks

Media are abuzz with the story of the Prime Minister repeatedly pulling the ponytail of a waitress at his favorite cafe. Well, we’ve all had fun pulling down John Key and the guy had it coming, because you can’t molest people and expect to get away with it. But the kiwi way is to give everyone a fair go, even if they’ve been a prize prick on some occasion.  Face it, we all fuck up once in a while. That’s why the kiwi way is to assess people in their totality, not just on one incident. So, have we gone overboard in our condemnation?

Trying to look past the odd incident at the big picture, what will be John Key’s enduring legacy? Read the rest of this entry »

downloadby Don Franks

16,697 New Zealanders were killed and 41,317 were wounded during World War I.  Around another thousand men died within five years of the war’s end, as a result of injuries sustained. The lives of countless other men and women were blighted by the conflict.

The little Wellington street that I live in once housed numerous shell-shocked returned servicemen; poverty, unemployment, and alcoholism was all the reward of their sacrifice.

One hundred years on, New Zealand’s rulers glorify war.

New face of militarism

They glorify war in a style to suit these times.

Today there are no sabre-rattling calls to extend the empire and fight for God, King and Country.

Today, New Zealand troops are called ‘peacekeepers’; they identify targets for radio-controlled weapons more often than charging with bayonets, but they still kill people and are decorated for doing that.

According to a 2014 poll, the most trusted person in New Zealand is Read the rest of this entry »

images (1)by Nick Scullin

On Wednesday, 8 April 2015, the newly-formed Christchurch Palestine Association (CPA) held an event to commemorate Land Day (30 March), with an exhibition of Palestinian poetry, art, photography and the history of Land Day. Around 40 people attended.

Land Day commemorates the day in 1976 when Palestinians in Israel rose up in general strike in response to the Israeli announcement of a plan to confiscate large tracts of Palestinian land within the state of Israel. The following conflict saw the Israeli state kill 6 unarmed Palestinian protesters with hundreds of others wounded or arrested. The guest speaker for the commemorative event was Nijmeh Ali who grew up in Haifa. Her family are internal refugees originally from Mia’ar in the Galilee. Nijmeh holds an M.A. in political science from Hebrew University and is currently working on her PhD at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Otago University.

The Nakba

Nijmeh first talked about the Nakba which is the catastrophe of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the displacement or murder of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians whose only crime was to be living on land that Jewish settlers wanted for their new colony. She stressed that the Nakba is the most important event in Palestinian history, that it shapes the identity of the Palestinian people and also that it is an ongoing reality rather than a static historical event. To illustrate this point she told the story of her Read the rest of this entry »

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by Don Franks

The opening of the Australian memorial at Pukeahu took place today. Several Wellington activists attended the event.

We marched up from Trades Hall with banners and a loud hailer to make sure Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot was suitably greeted.

At the parade ground we passed rows of seated dignitaries. One of them stood up and glanced around, it was Labour Party leader Andrew Little. A reminder that Labour offers no alternative. Police and army officers homed in, warning us not to disrupt the ceremony.

As it happened, there was several minutes wait before any ceremony took place. The official party sat silent in their chairs. Bayonets fixed, the soldiers stood silent in their ranks.

Peace Action member Valerie Morse shattered the silence with our megaphone.

“Peace Action Wellington will not remain silent while genocide against Aboriginal Australians is being committed. We will not be silent while hundreds of refugees are tortured in Australian concentration camps. Read the rest of this entry »

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