Photo: Keren Manor/Active Stills

Photo: Keren Manor/Active Stills

The article below is taken from The Electronic Intifada, here.  This is a vitally important source of news and analysis from Israel/Palestine; please support its work by donating (it has a donate button on its masthead).

by Budour Youssef Hassan

Hassoun Makhlouf spent years washing cars to save enough money to build his own house. But in just minutes, on 10 January, Israeli bulldozers razed that dream to the ground.

Makhlouf, 56, had spent most of his life in rental accommodation. He retired early due to an on-the-job injury, but had managed to save enough money to build a home for himself and his wife, and help his sons build houses next door in the town of Qalansawa in present-day Israel.

The construction was only completed two months ago. On Tuesday, Makhlouf’s home was among 11 destroyed as a fleet of heavy machinery, backed by hundreds of Israeli police, some mounted on horses, raided Qalansawa.

“They turned the town into one big military zone,” said journalist Samira Haj Yahia, who witnessed the demolitions. “We initially thought that they came to destroy one home. But we were stunned to see nine bulldozers and a massive police presence.”

The pretext for the demolitions was that the homes were built Read the rest of this entry »

The picture below appeared on Mike Alewitz’s facebook page.  Mike is a longtime left activist and artist in the States.  It’s a great variation on – and far more inspiring than – the old Pastor Niemoller quote about they came for this group of people and then that group of people etc and no-one resisted. Mike made the following comment:

“One of the glorious aspects of the recent demonstrations is the lack of pre-printed signs and banners handed out by Democratic Party hacks and union bureaucrats.

“Instead we have seen an explosion of creative sign making – hand lettered messages that are funny, emotional, insightful and clever. These works are giving genuine expression to the aspirations of tens of thousands of workers, artists and activists.

“Here is a favorite of mine – artist and photographer unknown.

“This kind of organic art has always been around, but Donald Trump has definitely been an outstanding inspiration!

“(As both a professional sign painter and professor emeritus of street art, I heartily endorse this development).”

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banner-2by Susanne Kemp

We’ve reported several times on the legislation to create a new Fire and Emergency service (see here and here).  From the start, the firefighters’ union has raised a number of substantial problems with the legislation.  The union also made a detailed submission on the bill.

banner-3However, when the legislation was reported back from the select committee shortly before Xmas, it was evident that not a single part of the union’s submissions were being reflected in the Bill.

As I wrote earlier, the main union points were: Read the rest of this entry »

14212646_1447524148591892_5975073272711408028_nby John Smith

The attack on organised labour and working people in Europe, Japan and the USA, through intensification of labour, wage repression and cuts in social spending, was on its own nothing like enough to allow capitalism to escape from the systemic crisis of the 1970s. The most important contribution to the resumption of capitalist accumulation in its heartlands was the surplus-value extracted from hundreds of millions of workers in the export-oriented industries of the Third World (or Global South) and captured by imperialist transnational corporations (TNCs) and their suppliers as profits and by imperialist states through taxation. Once again, systemic crisis propelled capitalism along an imperialist trajectory.

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Increased competition

By exposing workers in imperialist countries to increased competition with workers in low-wage countries, outsourcing, even the threat of it, has proved to be a powerful weapon against organised labour, which could not resist because its leaders failed to heed Marx’s prescient warning: “In order to oppose their workers, the employers either bring in workers from abroad or else transfer manufacture to countries where there is a cheap labour force. Given this state of affairs, if the working class wishes to continue its struggle with some chance of success, the national organisations must become international” (Marx, 1867).

The employers’ offensive in the imperialist countries in the decades before 2007 was most intense in the United States, where the median real wage has barely changed since the late 1970s and where the social safety net has been shredded.(1) Since wage inequality sharply increased during this period, it is evident that broad layers of the US working class have experienced declining wages. In contrast, most workers in most European countries experienced a slow but steady advance in real wages since 1980—including in the UK, despite Thatcher’s onslaught on unions. The major exception is Germany, where, according to the OECD, between the mid-1990s and 2008 real incomes of the poorest 30% of German households declined and those of the next 30% barely moved (Fredrikson, 2012).

The  German reunification in 1990, which exposed West German workers to competition from lower-paid workers from East Germany, and the eastern expansion of the European Union, which exposed them to competition with workers across central Europe, ended the era when Read the rest of this entry »

downloadExcellent interview/podcast by Tom O’Brien with Tony Norfield, here.

Tom’s Alpha and Omega site, where the interview also appears, is here.  There’s also an excellent interview there with Michael Roberts.

Our interview with Tony is here.

by Daphna Whitmore

If you support US wars and strong-arm tactics around the world vote for Labour in 2017. That’s the party that is most gung-ho about US world domination right now. Just this week Labour leader Andrew Little criticised President Trump for indicating he wants to pull back on US interventions. Here’s what Little said following the presidential inauguration:

He [Trump] talked about America First and not entering into fights that aren’t America’s fights. But the US plays an absolutely crucial role in world peace and world order and if he is going to fundamentally change that, then who knows what is going to happen and which tyrants in other parts of the world are going to consider that they have a licence to do even worse.(NZ Herald  23 January 2017)

Just how low can Labour go you may wonder? Think bottomless pit and avoid disappointment. Having shown themselves to be more racist than National with their campaign against people with Chinese sounding names, the Labour Party now wants to show they are even better imperialists too.

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Andrew Little visiting troops in Iraq 2016 with National’s Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee

Read the rest of this entry »

freedom-quotes-53982-statusmind-com

The following article first appeared in issue #6 of revolution magazine, May-June 1998.  Although nearly 20 years old, the article – which is actually based on talks given between 1995-97 – unfortunately remains highly relevant.

by Philip Ferguson

Over the last few years the term ‘political correctness’ has started to enter the vocabulary here.  Originating with a layer of liberals and leftists in the United States, politically correct practices and outlooks have gained a hold among elements of the professional classes in New Zealand.  The Anna Penn case in 1993, in which a trainee nurse was expelled from the nursing course at Christchurch Polytech for allegedly being “culturally unsafe”, and several cases in other nursing schools and social work courses, have garnered widespread media coverage.

In many ways, political correctness is stronger in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world.  It has become an important industry, with lucrative financial rewards, for a host of touchy-feely middle class liberals.  We have a range of counsellors now operating in most spheres of human problems, along with various consultancy agencies and individuals doing very nicely for themselves advising establishment institutions on how to be “culturally sensitive” to the people upon whose oppression these institutions depend.

In a real sense, political correctness in New Zealand has become the new Read the rest of this entry »