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Monday, May 31, 2010

Solidarity with the Freedom Flotilla massacred. Auckland Saturday 1pm.



In cities all over the world, people are mobilising in solidarity with those massacred by the State of Israel on the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza. In Auckland, groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine, Global Peace and Justice Auckland, Unite on Campus and Socialist Aotearoa will be going hard over the next few days- postering, leafletting and signing people up to the Palestinian solidarity movement on stalls all over the city- outside mosques, on campus, on the main streets and in the workplaces.

We need a huge march on Saturday. This is one massacre too many. Enough, Israel, enough.
You have absolutely no fucking shame.

Emergency meeting to organise- 7pm Tuesday 1st June at Unite Union, 6a Western Springs Road.

Socialist Aotearoa will be doing stalls on Auckland campus and Queen Street theroughout the week- contact Joe for more info at 021 186 1450.

Big protest this Saturday- meet at Aotea Square at 1pm.


International outlaw – close the Israeli embassy!


Global Peace and Justice Auckland is calling on the New Zealand government to close the newly opened Israeli embassy in Wellington in the wake of the murder of 19 civilians on the flotilla of boats travelling to Gaza to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip.

New Zealand must act now. GPJA has written to Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully urging the closure of the Israeli embassy and the ending of special arrangements for Israeli students visiting New Zealand. McCully says he wants to keep dialogue open but he is only talking with one side – the criminal side – of the Middle East conflict.

The United Nations representative in Gaza, John Ging, has called on the international community to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza because of the humanitarian crisis in the territory. Israel maintains a chokehold and only allows a slow drip-feed of food, medical supplies and building materials to enter the Gaza strip.

The flotilla were merely responding to this international appeal for humanitarian support when they set out with 600 people from 30 countries and a cargo of hope for the beleaguered people of Gaza.

The Israeli attack on the unarmed flotilla which left the 19 people dead is just the latest in a long series of war crimes committed against the people of Gaza alongside flagrant breaches of international law by the Israeli state.

Israel is now desperately spinning a distorted account of the incident to try to deflect international criticism from its brutal, inhuman activities.

Israeli says the Gaza blockade is to stop rockets being smuggled into the area but this is a ruse. It is Israeli policies in the territory which are driving terrorism. The Palestinian resistance is fighting back against Israel in the same way the French resistance fought back against German occupation of France during World War II.

Israel is the rogue state whose policies towards Palestinians including the Israeli Arab population are the drivers of terrorism and the greatest threat to world peace and security anywhere.

GPJA Activists will be meeting on Wednesday at the Unite Union office at 7pm to plan a protest for Saturday in Auckland.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Aid workers and activists murdered by Israel on the high seas

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country's siege on Gaza.

Up to 16 people were killed and dozens injured when troops stormed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, the Israeli Army Radio said.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.
Source: Al Jazzera
The responses by people around the world on Facebook pages shows some of the outrage that the world is feeling as Israel continues to regularly commit war crimes and crimes against humanity to maintain its bloody occupation on the West Bank and siege of Gaza.
“The Israeli 'Defence Forces' have been bombing, shooting and torturing poor Palestinian people for decades so I guess we shouldn't be too suprised that they are now gunning down foreign aid workers and European MPs.”

“Can they do that? I mean, they clearly just did. But surely it shouldn't be allowed? Someone should do something. But I bet they'll just get away with it as usual.”

“I can not believe Israel just attacked an aid flotilla to Gaza, killing two IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS! That is outrageous!”
There is still confusion about the number of casualties and the circumstances in which Israeli commandos opened fire. However the twitter site for the Free Gaza Movement, which had two ships in the aid convoy contained this tweet; “There was no fire from our side. Watch the IHH video of soldiers firing the moment their feet hit the deck. They shot civilians asleep”.

What is clear is that the activists and sailors who are attempting to break the siege of Gaza carry with them the world’s love and solidarity for Gaza. The continued attempts by ordinary people around the world to provide practical solidarity in the form of delivering aid to Gaza embodies real roadmap to peace, sustained, non-violent, global direct action.

As one sailor with the Free Gaza ships, Ann Wright wrote,
Our two U.S. flagged Free Gaza boats, will join two other passenger ships, a 600 passenger ship from Turkey sponsored by the Turkish humanitarian organization, Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) and a 50 passenger ship from Athens sponsored by the European Campaign Against the Siege and the Greek/Swedish Ships to Gaza campaign, to sail to the shores of Gaza to break the Israeli naval blockade of the 1.5 million citizens in Gaza.

Four cargo ships from Ireland, Greece, Algeria and Turkey, will carry a total of 10,000 tons or 2 million pounds of construction materials for the housing of 50,000 made homeless during the 22 day Israeli attack on Gaza that killed 1440 Palestinians and wounded 5,000.
The flotilla has some high powered sympathisers,
John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), has called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with desperately-needed supplies to the beleaguered territory.

In an interview with a Norwegian newspaper, Mr. Ging said, "The international community must take responsibility on this issue and embrace practical ways to break the siege, because it is possible to break it."
Israel’s naval siege of Gaza is an integral part of the noose it keeps wrapped around the heads of 1.4 million civilians, 96% of whom are dependent on foreign aid. US foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky recently wrote,
According to reports from the scene, the naval siege has been tightened steadily since 2000. Fishing boats have been driven steadily out of Gaza's territorial waters and toward the shore by Israeli gunboats, often violently without warning and with many casualties. As a result of these naval actions, Gaza's fishing industry has virtually collapsed; fishing is impossible near shore because of the contamination caused by Israel's regular attacks, including the destruction of power plants and sewage facilities.

These Israeli naval attacks began shortly after the discovery by the BG (British Gas) Group of what appear to be quite sizeable natural gas fields in Gaza's territorial waters. Industry journals report that Israel is already appropriating these Gazan resources for its own use, part of its commitment to shift its economy to natural gas.
As the facts become clear from the Israeli attack on these ships, protests will break out around the world. Keep your eye on the Socialist Aotearoa blog as the Palestine solidarity movement mobilises here to tell the National Government to expel the Israeli diplomats and to call once more for boycott, divestment and sanctions to stop Israel’s massacres.

Activists call on Trade Me to stop sale of kwila

On Thursday 27 March activists took to the windy streets of Wellington to tell TradeMe to stop allowing sales of Kwila. Here's a report from the NZPA and some images from frogblog.

With the message 'Trade Me, not trade trees,' 15 activists today challenged auction website Trade Me to stop the sale of illegally-logged kwila on its site.

The Indonesia Human Rights Committee, rainforest activists, and Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty met chief executive Jon McDonald outside his office with a letter -- the third since April.

The committee has been lobbying to stop the trade of kwila, which it says comes illegally from dwindling forests in Papua New Guinea and West Papua for years.

Spokeswoman Maire Leadbeater said progress had been made with The Warehouse, the BBQ Factory, and Harvey Norman boycotting kwila, but about 200 products, including decking timber and furniture, continued to be sold on Trade Me every day.

"When kwila products are listed for sale on the internet, they generally do not make any reference to certification and most potential buyers would not be aware that they were considering buying a product sourced from a once pristine, old forest."

She said the deforestation affects the environment, and is tragedy for the indigenous people in West Papua, who rely on the ancient forests for food, water, and medicine.

Ms Delahunty said a small percentage of kwila was sold with Forest Stewardship Council certification, but if in doubt, people should not buy it.

"The products of it undermines forestry industry. It undermines the sovereignty of the countries where people don't want their forests destroyed. And it undermines the environment," she said.

Mr McDonald said he would consider the proposal, but couldn't guarantee anything.

"Whenever we look at these things, we look at a full range of options. Everything from an outright ban to more information on our site, so that our consumers and our sellers know about the issue."

He said he would think about the proposal and consult with experts and government departments for advice.

"We do want to do the right thing in these kind of issues. We need to go away and do some homework," he said.

You can read more about the campaign to stop imports of Kwila and other tropical timbers at the Rainforest Action blog.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Anticapitalist May 26 - Greek revolt, Op. Lime, Tax reform, Young Sid

Download the brand new issue of Anti-Capitalist by Socialist Aotearoa. 250 copies were snapped up last night by a packed house at the "Is capitalism working?" debate at Auckland University.

Kicks off with an article by John Pilger on the issues behind the economic crisis. Then your straight into a no-nonsense piece from the deep south on Operation Lime. A review of Young Sid's new album for a bit of culture and then onto the back page for a new take on tax reform and UK anarchist group Class War's infamous headline; "We have found new homes for the rich".

Download the PDF here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

IS CAPITALISM WORKING? Unite on Campus Inaugral Debate



IS CAPITALISM WORKING?

Unite on Campus and the AUSA International Affairs Officers host this debate, an ideological boxing match between New Zealand activists and personalities fighting over the question: “Is capitalism working?”

Over the last few years the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has decimated housing markets, toppled international finance companies and seen Governments in the USA and across Europe try and rescue banks at the cost of trillions of dollars. American Vice President Joe Biden describes the bank bailouts as “socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor” and with general strikes and riots in Greece, the legitimacy of the free market system is in crisis.

The attack on the bastions of wealth and privilege will be fronted by a red team consisting of

Matt McCarten - left-wing Herald on Sunday columnist and National Secretary of Unite union.
Mike Treen - Global Peace and Justice Auckland organiser.
Maxine Gay - from the National Distribution Union.


Assaulting the barricades of the poor will be a blue team, headed up by

Matthew Hooton - political commentator and former National Party speechwriter
Nikki Kaye - Auckland Central National MP
Fran O'Sullivan- Senior Business Columnist, NZ Herald

Date:
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Time:
19:00 - 21:00
Location:
Library basement Theatre B15, Auckland Uni

Facebook event HERE

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What’s the Real Crime? Growing Weed or Operation Lime?

Last month the police force carried out one of the largest drug raids in recent memory. It was dubbed ‘Operation Lime’. Over 250 people were arrested and around 750 charges have been laid for cannabis related offences.

What was both unique and highly disturbing about this raid was its scale and timing. Homes and businesses were raided in every police district in the country. This shows that our militarized police force has the funding and manpower to carry out extensive operations, just to stop some people growing pot.

The fact that the raids were carried out just days before this years ‘J Day’ protests (a yearly protest/celebration aiming at ending the prohibition of cannabis) shows that the police are acting in a highly politically motivated – and intimidating – manner. It is a danger for any so called ‘democracy’ to have a politicized police force… This takes the policy and debate out of the ballot box and parliament and gives it to armed thugs in the police force.

The war on drugs is being used to attack workers rights and safety. In a Southland meat works 12 workers have lost a total of 13 fingers due to lack of proper safety equipment and speed ups at the plant. However management has introduced drug testing policies to absolve itself of responsibility for upgrading safety standards. While some workers tested positive or cannabis use – it must be remembered that you can fail a drug test for cannabis for over a month after use. Drug testing – and the persecution that follows – must be opposed because it allows the bosses to target union activists and militants.

There is no doubt that cannabis is harmful to your health if you use it abusively. If you wake and bake every day for 20 years - you will fry your brain.

However who benefits from cannabis being illegal? It is the Police - with massive expanded budgets and powers that are eating away at our civil liberties. It is the lawyers and judges that get a piece of the drug busting pie. And it is the politicians that get to rant on about ‘gangs’ and ‘crime’. And it is the bosses who get to used it as a baton to intimidate and control their workers.

However throwing hundreds of people each year into prison for non violent offences does not benefit the working majority. What would help us is if cannabis was legalized, the extra police powers were stripped, and the money used to lock people away was used to help those that had problems with destructive cannabis use.

Derwin Smith, Dunedin

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thai Tyrants cling to power on top of the dead bodies of the People


Bangkok is bathed in blood, yet again

Giles Ji Ungpakorn, Thai Socialist

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Abhisit's soldiers have shot dead at least 50 people do far. Hundreds are injured. They say there are 500 "terrorists" in the protest site. Earlier they said that they would use snipers to shoot "terrorists".

The only terrorists are in the Government, the Army and the Palace.

The tyrants say that the Red Shirts are all determined to overthrow the Monarchy and therefore it is justifiable to kill them. So having a Monarchy is an excuse to kill anyone who fights for Democracy and Social Justice.

Various Government spokespeople, including Abhisit's academic-for-hire Panitan Wattanayagorn and Censorship Boss Satit Wongnongtuay, continue to lie and lie again, claiming that troops only fire in self defence. Yet all press reports show indiscriminate shooting of unarmed civilians including a 10 year old boy, a paramedic and foreign news reporters.

Fake human rights groups call on "both sides" to stop the violence. Yet it is only one side which is using lethal violence against unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators. Even Reporters Without Boarders demands that "both sides" guarantee the safety of reporters. How can Red Shirts guarantee anyone's safety when they are being murdered in cold blood.

Many so-called news reports write that troops fire on rioters. No one is rioting except the army. Others talk about "protests turning violent". It is not the protesters who are violent.

Unarmed pro-democracy protesters are being systematically murdered in order to keep Abhisit and his military backed government in power. The King is silent as usual. His only job, apart from counting his wealth, is to legitimise every bloody act that the army commits. Yet so-called analysts write that he has "held the country together". The fact is he has supported every crack down on Democracy. He is weak and spineless. That is why millions of Red Shirts are becoming Republicans.

The UN has just selected Thailand to be on the Human Rights Committee. What a joke! But what can one expect from a body controlled by war mongers.

Red Shirts throughout the country are standing firm in the bloody fight for Democracy, Social Justice and Human dignity. I salute them!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Where is John Key taking New Zealand?

The paper on which the Socialist Aotearoa forum at Victoria University, "Where is John Key taking New Zealand?" was based.

John Key told us he was ambitious for New Zealand. He promised the country on the campaign trail in 2008 a lot. National, he said, would deliver tax cuts, higher wages, better economic performance, faster broadband and more roads, frugal public spending but good quality public services, cuts to the bureaucracy and education reform. He also said he’d get tough on crime in the wake of high profile killings of children and a growing feeling that youth gang violence was out of control.

Key asked the questions that Labour could never answer. “Why, after eight years of Labour, are we paying the second-highest interest rates in the developed world? Why, under Labour, is the gap between our wages, and wages in Australia and other parts of the world, getting bigger and bigger? Why, under Labour, do we only get a tax cut in election year, when we really needed it years ago? Why are grocery and petrol prices going through the roof? Why can't our hardworking kids afford to buy their own house? Why is one in five Kiwi kids leaving school with grossly inadequate literacy and numeracy skills? Why, when Labour claim they aspire to be carbon-neutral, do our greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at an alarming rate? Why hasn't the health system improved when billions of extra dollars have been poured into it? Why is violent crime against innocent New Zealanders continuing to soar and why is Labour unable to do anything about it?”

The Labour party that took power in 1999 was never able to keep up with the public mood on these issues and as discontent grew support for the National Party rose in the middle class. And too many of Labour’s workers stayed home on polling day 2008 or they voted for a smile, a tax cut and the right to secretly donate millions of dollars to political parties.

On election night Key beamed, “Today across the country, New Zealanders have voted for a safer, more prosperous and more ambitious New Zealand. They voted for hope, they voted for action, and they voted for results. They voted for a better life for all New Zealanders.”

Safer, more prosperous, more ambitious. We lapped it up and a year and a half later what do we see?

Crime

Well let’s take crime first. On the last day of April in the west Auckland suburb of Blockhouse Bay where brick and tile units, state housing and garish McMansions jostle for position two men walked into a bank. They walked into a bank with a gun and as happens from time to time in suburban Auckland banks, one of them pulled that gun out and told the tellers, “It's all right ladies, just move back", as he took $12,000 off them. The paper reported that one of the tellers was a male but when your head is covered with a hoodie it can be hard to tell. As he raided the tills this man, 31 year old Fijian-born Epinisa Rokobatini shouted, "This is all John Key's fault". Before driving off in a Subaru Forester (marketed as a "getaway car").

Two weeks earlier while sipping coffee on Ponsonby Road maybe one of these bankrobbers read Herald columnist Tapu Misa, “Crime went up last year, the biggest real increase in years. Murders were up by 25 per cent, the 65 recorded homicides being the highest in a decade. And violent crime was up by 8 per cent per capita.” Misa went on to charge National of ignoring the real drivers of crime. Unemployment sitting around a ten year high with 59,715 New Zealanders on the dole. People are hungrier as well, South Auckland Sallies staff now distribute 775 food parcels a month, compared to 464 at the start of the recession. And the alienation of consumer capitalism and the stress of the economic crisis is taking its toll on people too. Alienation is as Marx said when you feel annihilated, when you feel your own powerlessness and the reality of an inhuman existence. It’s that feeling you get when you turn on the TV and see five straight channels of reality TV, it’s when you get another parking ticket or electricity bill, it’s when you find yourself eating dogfood because your landlord ripped you off, and it’s that feeling that the only way to stop your mate from hitting on your missus is too bite him on the neck and drink his blood on an Autumn night in an innercity park. 20% of us will experience a mental disorder in any given year and as long as we remain a seriously unhappy, seriously unwell society our streets won’t be safe and our prisons will be full. It’s no surprise that more than half of those in prison have a mental illness, personality disorder, or have drug and alcohol addictions.

Epinisa was trying to tell us something when he told the customers and staff at the Blockhouse Bay bank that, “This is all John Key's fault”. He was trying to warn us that Key is allowing New Zealand to become more dangerous and more criminal. It’s a New Zealand where people are hungrier, they’re increasingly out of work and they are sader, mader and bader because of it. They may have voted for hope, they may have voted for action, but they certainly didn’t vote for the highest recorded homicide rate in a decade.

Prosperity

Well what about prosperity? In 2007 John Key told the Kerikeri Business Association We would love to see wages drop”. But in the election he told us about how we could catch up with Australian wages if only we vote for him and his right-wing buddies to institute their brighter future. He even went on to set up the 2025 Taskforce and got Dr Brash out of the mortuary to explain how we could catch up with the average Australian income; around 35 percent higher than New Zealand’s average income. Amongst his 48 recommendations the Taskforces Dr Evil even had the gall to lecture us that, "The case for any minimum wage at all is questionable."

But let’s not judge Key by his pre-election rhetoric but instead by his track record. Labour party bloggers at The Standard have done some good work on this. Before the ‘08 election they predicted how a Government would attempt to decrease real wages. They predicted it would, cut benefits or don’t adjust them for inflation; hold the minimum wage steady, hold down public sector wages by cutting funding, weaken labour law and collective bargaining rights, and allow unemployment to rise to keep workers scrambling for jobs with their heads down.

It was a pretty good guess and here we now stand with welfare reform (“the dream is over”), a minimum wage increase under the inflation level, a pay freeze in the public sector forcing everyone from fire-fighters to radiographers to IHC carers on to picket lines, a law that allows small businesses to sack staff in their first 3 months of work, and of course rising unemployment. Which all equals wages increasing at the slowest pace for almost a decade. Salary and wage rates grew just 1.5 per cent in the year to the March 2010 quarter.

As The Standard has noted, “Despite all the business collapses and the 21,000 lost jobs, half of all CEOs got a pay rise last year and the typical pay rise was a massive 5% (only 10% of workers got a 5%+ way rise)” While at the same time “75% of non-union workers received a pay cut last year (that’s a nominal decrease, no increase, or an increase less than 2%). 74% of union members got a real pay increase, a pay rise above 2%”.

So yes John Key did make some people more prosperous but it wasn’t you or me. It was the bosses. Factory worker Chandra Kumar voted for National. Chandra lives on McGehan Close, the Mt. Albert street that became the face of John Key’s Kiwi battlers, and the place where he drew a line in the sand and said he’d make things better for the underclass of this country. Well, a year after voting Tory, people like Chandra are waking up. Chandra told the Sunday Star-Times, "I thought [Key] might bring in good change, but all those promises were lies." Kumar said while he had received about $10 a week in tax cuts, rent and other costs had increased by more than that. "They put something in one pocket and take out of the other."

Ambition

Now it is a lot easier to measure wages or crime rates than it is to measure ambition. I mean when John Key promised us a more ambitious country what was he even thinking? What were voters thinking?

Could they have imagined that in this ambitious New Zealand Napier woman Natalie Meehan being told by WINZ staff to delete the reference to her political science degree and apply for jobs at Pak'n Save supermarket and fast-food outlet KFC?

Could they have imagined that in this ambitious New Zealand sexual abuse victims would only receive ACC funded counselling if they have a diagnosed mental condition caused by sexual abuse? Where an Auckland mother of three would commit suicide just days after her request for counselling for sexual abuse she had suffered as a child was rejected by ACC on the grounds that she had not suffered "a significant mental injury".

Or were they thinking about a different kind of ambition? Like Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee and Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson signing a document in February that would have allowed mining on 467,517 hectares of conservation land including 90% of Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island.

Maybe they were thinking about Key’s ambition to give an extra $35m in the 2009 budget to make private schools more affordable for already wealthy parents, while also making redundant the four teachers who taught sign language to more than 260 deaf children.

Or ambition like 2,500 queuing on a hot summers day in south Auckland for 150 jobs at a new supermarket? Or ambition like a man walking into a bank with a gun and walking out $12,000 richer?

It all depends on what your definition of ambition is. If your definition of personal advancement is becoming a “Mum and Dad” investor in the Government’s first public-private partnership: building a new 1,000 bed prison in South Auckland by 2014, then the answer is yes we are becoming more ambitious. But at what cost? Is this the brighter future that John Key promised us? White middle class investors enriching themselves from the construction of human Tupperware containers for the Brown surplus population of south Auckland? Can anyone say, “modern day slavery”?

Way out

So what’s the way out? What is the alternative? Where’s the alt control delete for Key, Joyce, English and Brownlee’s new New Zealand? John Key’s bright new future is the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It’s a place where crime rises as quickly as they can build new jails. It’s a place where ambition leads not to a $4 million mansion in Parnell but to an agg-rob in Blockhouse Bay. Joan Nathan is the mother of Aroha, the young girl that John Key took to Waitangi to prove his ambition for the underclass. Nathan was swept up in Keymania in 2008. But after she lost her job in Tory MP Jackie Blue’s electorate office she told the papers, “It doesn't matter which way you turn, you're never gonna win with government. I could have voted for Labour and we'd be going through the same old bullshit.”

It doesn’t have to be this same old bullshit though. We can turn this country and the world around. We have to recognise the problem and the problem is capitalism. The more unregulated it is the greater its risk to us and the planet. Just take a look around the world as the Greek economy enters a “death spiral” and threatens to cause a domino effect that will send other precariously placed Eurozone economies into crisis. But as socialist geographer David Harvey reminds us, “Capitalism will never fall on its own. It will have to be pushed. The accumulation of capital will never cease. It will have to be stopped. The capitalist class will never willingly surrender its power. It will have to be dispossessed.

These capitalist class won’t give up without a fight, they are content with their unjust system where 10% of New Zealanders own 50% of the wealth. Where three billionaires own more than the entire population of sub-Saharan Africa while 1 child dies every 5 seconds as a result of hunger - 700 every hour - 16 000 each day - 6 million each year. Where failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions means that scientists now think that half the planet could "simply become too hot" for human habitation in less than 300 years.

So what do we do?

We organise fighting unions to defend and extend the gains of working people and to extend workers control over industry.

We intervene in struggles against environmental destruction, neo-liberal reform and imperialism because we must stop the ruling class attacks where we can and seek to alleviate the suffering of humanity and the pillaging of the planet when we can.

We set about building a class conscious, anti-capitalist political force that can carry through a social revolution, a long road but a necessary one. We must be patient, we must be determined and we must be audacious.

We do not live in a revolutionary time here in New Zealand, but if we can create a conscious popular desire for a decentralised socialist economy and a truly democratic and participatory system of Government, we can move away from a time of rightwing reaction.

And lastly we’ve got to wake up to the new reality of the 21st century. The Wire director David Simon said, “In this Postmodern world of ours, human beings—all of us—are worth less. We're worth less every day, despite the fact that some of us are achieving more and more. It's the triumph of capitalism.”

It’s the triumph of John Key.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

WANTED!


Richard Euchtritz, CEO of JB Hi Fi, gets paid $4 million per year.
His company, JB HiFi, is set to make $150 million profit this year alone.
Profits up 29%. New store opening in Palmerston North.

But he hasn't given his workers a pay rise in three years, and has dismissed their demand for a pay rise as "Absurd".

This Saturday, saddle up and join the Posse for a how down outside JB Hi Fi store. Yer all Deputies of the UNite Union now, neighbours ;)

Expose this Corporate Cowboy!

Date:
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Time:
13:00 - 15:00
Location:
Jb Hi Fi Store, Queen Street

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Young Sid - “I did it for my city”



South Auckland rapper Young Sid has just released his second album What Doesn’t Kill Me. The songs provide a gritty sequel to Smashproof’s The Weekend and provide the listener with new maps of the south Auckland underworld. In this review Omar Hamed argues that Young Sid’s songs should serve as a wakeup call to a New Zealand gradually growing used to poverty, racism, crime and abuse.

Young Sid’s new album, What Doesn’t Kill Me, is a view from ground zero of the post-industrial city. It’s the extended story of a young Polynesian male making his way as a hip-hop artist in South Auckland. Over the eleven tracks and five bonus tracks Young Sid, aka Sidney Diamond, meditates on life, death and human worth in South Auckland.

What Doesn’t Kill Me is Sid’s second album, after his 2007 debut, The Truth, and comes a year after his band Smashproof released their album The Weekend and their hit single Brother spent a record eleven weeks at number one on the New Zealand RIANZ singles chart.

Some of Sid’s songs confront the dark underworld of South Auckland existence while others just rap on Sid’s life experiences. Never waste a day is a song about working hard and seizing the day. You, an anthem for abused children inspired by the sick to the stomach feeling Sid feels as he watches another news report of a child being kicked around like a hacky sack or a teenager being pimped by her father. The rage is palpable, “She didn’t get even to say fuck the world; ‘Fuck the world!’”. Here then gone, a song about supporting his mother after she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Stuck in a box, about the perils young New Zealanders face growing up in the ghetto, teenage pregnancy, youth gangs and drug and alcohol addiction. The heist is a spine-chilling rhyme about a couple of guys stealing a car. In Taken away, Sid has created a modern ballad to immortalise the experience of another young male heading to prison, “Just sit and watch the clock, tick, tock, watch your people get taken away.”


In Smashproof’s The Weekend, Tyree, Young Sid and Deach, took the listener through the weekend of young South Aucklanders, starting with clocking out of work on Friday afternoon and heading out to a party. On the way they offer up hard-hitting commentary as they attempt to make sense of the cauldron of racism, poverty, police brutality and drugs that afflict south Auckland. In Brother, Smashproof tried to make sense of the killing of fifteen year old tagger Pihema Cameron by Bruce Emery. And as the weekend ends the rappers muse on heading back to their retail, call centre and warehouse jobs. The fact that these young musicians created their album while still working the sort of low wage jobs that most south Aucklanders do is part of how they could create tunes that resonate with so many others who lead an Ordinary Life, “Back to my life, back to my job, back to the slavehouse working from 9 to 5.”


Sid’s latest offering can be seen as almost a darker and grittier sequel, driven by the same feelings of pain and pride that South Auckland inspires in the man. On the title track What don’t kill me, Sid talks about his life being enveloped by a media storm focused on his links with gangs and how he became the face of youth gang culture; “I did it for my city, ‘cause I’m the face of it. I identify with the hood, most can’t relate to it.”



The creator of American TV series The Wire David Simon paints a vivid picture of the post-industrial city as a place where, “Every day, human beings are worth less. That is the triumph of capital. … The more we become post-industrial, the fewer we need. Every minute, human beings are worth less.” In many ways What Doesn’t Kill Me is the story of a young man coming to terms with this and yet still attempting to succeed as an artist. In Around the World in One Day, the son of an alcoholic and a drug dealer, describes his joy coming home to South Auckland from New York and recognising the landmarks of his hood, “Heading past Great South Road heading towards the ruins, you can tell we in the hood now a lot of Churches. Liquor stores, TABs open like project curtains”. The grim Godfather is about surviving as a young man, “stuck in the white man’s world” and about living the horrible consequences of colonisation. Lyrics give an insight into racism experienced, “If you ain’t the same colour then you ain’t seen as a human being, you’re looked as a peasant or a vermin”.

New Zealand can’t afford to ignore Young Sid. Almost every week we are confronted by another awful tale of crime and brutality from poverty stricken suburbs and almost invariably it will be followed by journalists, columnists and politicians spewing forward their opinions on how mad and bad this country’s underclass has become. Sid’s songs show us both the best and worst sides of south Auckland. They paint a picture of utter hopelessness and at the same time Sid tells his life story of pain, struggle, conviction, hope and redemption. The themes that Sid explores on What Doesn’t Kill Me will not go away. Poverty, homelessness, hunger, drug abuse, crime and imprisonment are all still on the rise. We can cover our ears, close our eyes and pretend it isn’t happening or we can heed the warnings on this album and confront the social and economic misery that neo-liberal capitalism has writ large in a post-industrial city.


Socialist geographer Mike Davis has written that in the urban slums of the Third World spirituality “sanctifies those who in every structural and existential sense, truly live in exile”. Sid’s songs and their accompanying morality do just that and like Son of Nun or Immortal Technique he has helped to create a visceral and intellectual map of the random violence, the grinding poverty and hopelessness that the twenty-first century needs if we are going to try and navigate an escape from it.

Listen to the Radio NZ interview with Young Sid here.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

JB Lo Pay- Pickets in Auckland and Australia






Noisy picket of JB Hi Fi in support of the low paid workers there who haven't had a pay rise in 3 years, whilst their CEO gets A$3 million, the company makes A$120 million profits, their April share dividend paid out 120% and they are expanding and opening new stores all over Australia and NZ.

JB, come off it, with your greedy profits.

Protests are due to spread to other stores across New Zealand and Australia next week. Workers in the Wellington branch have taken strike action three times. Intimidation in the Auckland stores of union members is rife, but numbers are holding strong. We need to give physical solidarity to these low paid workers in their fight for better pay against a colonial style management who calls a Living Wage "absurd".

Friday, May 07, 2010

Video of Massive Greek General Strike march- Athens



Hundreds of thousands of Greek workers take to the streets of Athens as the country shuts down completely in a massive General Strike. This is how we can fight the crisis!

David Harvey, BBC HARDtalk interview on Capitalism, Crisis and Socialism

"Capitalism will never fall on its own. It will have to be pushed. The accumulation of capital will never cease. It will have to be stopped. The capitalist class will never willingly surrender its power. It will have to be dispossessed. - David Harvey.

Watch the interview: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3