Confederate statue comes down in Durham, North Carolina during anti-racist/anti-fascist protest. Picture: CNN.

by The Spark

Trump tweeted that “our history and culture” are being “ripped apart” by the removal of Confederate monuments and statues.

Which history? Whose culture?

These monuments to the “Confederacy” were not erected out of respect to the hundreds of thousands of laboring people, North and South, black and white, who died in the Civil War.

Nor do they commemorate the many poor whites and ex-slaves who joined together to run local Reconstruction governments after the Civil War – establishing medical clinics for the poor population, setting up the first ever public schools for the children of the poor.

The “Confederate” monuments came later, a quarter to a half a century after the end of the Civil War. They were paid for by the same plantation aristocracy whose money supported the growth of Read the rest of this entry »

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by The Spark

Seventy years ago, on 15 August 1947, former “British” India gained independence. But fearing that a sense of victory would allow India’s future regime to resist Britain’s continuing economic domination, while boosting the then-growing rebellion of other colonized people against their colonizers, the British government ensured that independence came at an exorbitant price for the Indian masses. It played a cynical game of divide and rule which led in the end to the partitioning of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan, thereby causing one of the largest, bloodiest refugee migrations in modern history and a toxic legacy of warfare and religious bigotry.

Proletarian masses against colonial domination

The very basis for this artificial division was laid by colonial policy. The British created an electoral system based on religion and cultivated the loyalist Muslim League against the larger nationalist party, the Indian National Congress. This INC, although it espoused an all-Indian nationalism, also had ties to Hindu nationalist groups.

The end of WWII saw a mobilization of the Asian poor masses against the colonial powers. In China, the peasantry rose against the landlords and threatened to set the towns alight. After the collapse of the Japanese occupation in Malaysia, Indonesia and Indochina, the proletariat rose against the return of the old colonial powers. In India, a mutiny of 20,000 sailors of the Royal Indian Navy, in February 1946, sparked off a wave of strikes involving Read the rest of this entry »

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.Screen Shot 2017-08-20 at 9.12.59 PM

Check out their messages https://www.facebook.com/WeAreBeneficiaries/

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.Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 8.46.38 PM
“I used to fear taking my baby to 

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 7.28.07 PM.png

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Screen Shot 2017-08-17 at 8.31.51 PM.png

Check out their messages https://www.facebook.com/WeAreBeneficiaries/

The following statement is from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, August 15:

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine mourns the martyr Heather Heyer and wishes speedy healing to the wounded anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia in the United States as they confronted a racist, fascist rally on Saturday, August 12. The martyr and the wounded are part of the global list of those who have fallen in the struggles of all peoples to confront racist powers and they will always be remembered as such.

Contrary to the assertions of some corporate media in the United States, the fascist rally in Virginia in “defense” of a Confederate statue is not a divergence from U.S. ruling politics but a reflection of them. The United States has always been built on the genocide of Indigenous people and the theft of Indigenous land, the genocidal confiscation of Black lives and Black labor and the globally murderous power of capitalism and imperialism.

The rise of these kinds of demonstrations of racism are also an expression of the crisis of U.S. capitalism and imperialism in the Trump era, as well as the “debate” of the two Read the rest of this entry »