Thursday, September 26, 2013

Aotearoa's left crosses the Rubicon

The Tukituki River which Nick Smith lied about and the farmers want to destroy.

"Just been told that UMR poll has Nats 39, Lab 36, Green 14, NZF 5.1%. Not sure if it’s out yet." tweeted Duncan Garner this afternoon.

Was it David Cunliffe that did it, Labour's new hope, talking left, looking tough? Or the mass rebellion against the GCSB that saw the Auckland Town Hall packed to the rafters? Maybe the mobilisation of thousands of union members filling stadiums in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to slam the Nats over attacks on workers' rights? The scandal over the dam that would kill the beautiful Tukituki River? The furious outrage of recreational fishers over the snapper cuts?

Whatever it was, and it was probably some combination of these stars lining up, the tide has begun to run out under the National Government. In poll after poll the Labour - Green block appear a government in waiting with the numbers and the resolve to take the Treasury bench. Everywhere there are signs the country has reached a tipping point. From the triggering of the Keep our Assets referendum and the blocking of the RMA reforms to the defection of National Party spinster David Farrar to the Axe the Tax campaign and former EMA boss Alasdair Thompson to the Living Wage campaign.

Sometime in the last month, while scores of buses rolled up to the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau or as tens of thousands marched against the surveillance state, Aotearoa's left-wing forces crossed the Rubicon, and as it was for Julius Ceasar's insurrectionary Populares on 10 January 49BC, conquering Rome, and reforming the grain supply, is in sight.

In Auckland John Minto's Mana campaign is rocking a city frustrated with Len Brown. In Mangere and Otahuhu local residents are organising alongside Minto to fight a new motorway. Wharfies are voting in their scores against Len the scab and from the state houses of Glen Innes to the traffic-clogged inner city Minto will present a credible alternative to the neo-liberal Auckland. Alongside that for the first time Unions Auckland have backed a slate of candidates to hold the line against the privatisers and in support of a Living Wage and fair collective agreement for the wharfies.

With the revolt against the Nats in full-swing on the streets and in the polls, socialists need to be getting stuck in, putting the boot into the Nats and the bosses at every opportunity. 

Five years after their ascent to power the economic and environmental crises have caught up with Key and his crony capitalists. Roll on 2014 - ālea iacta est.


The Verdict of the Auckland Wharves

The verdict is in from Auckland's Wharfies -

"By all accounts of the straw poll I have done on the Auckland waterfront.There is a clear message there for you Len Brown from the wharfies. If this was a small community you would be out on your ass and John Minto would become the new Mayor."- Dave Phillips, MUNZ.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

MANA: Voices of resistance and rebellion from South Auckland

MANA: Voices of resistance and rebellion from South Auckland

The Mana Movement's Roger Fowler, Joe Trinder, James Papali'i and Joe Carolan join John Minto and Hone Harawira at the Mana rally in Mangere, joined by local voices  enraged that there are plans to bulldoze a motorway through their community.

Powerful speeches from Hone and Minto launch Mana's South Auckland campaign.

Mangere Resists

About 200 people turned up to an angry and passionate meeting in Mangere on Saturday 21st September, vowing to oppose by any means necessary a proposal to bulldoze a new motorway through working class suburbs.

Minto and Hone excelled in these speeches.  Watch them and share them.  More to come later.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Chile: 40 years of struggle, solidarity and resistance

On Saturday night Auckland's Chilean community held a cultural night of poetry and music in Onehunga to mark forty years since the overthrow of Salvador Allende's Popular Unity government. This is the speech given by Esteban Espinoza, one of those dissidents forced into exile in Aotearoa after the coup.

Forty years ago the world was a different place, or wasn't it? The US was trying to monopolise its global power in a constant struggle with the socialist camp.

In Chile, having elected for first time a Marxist socialist President, Salvador Allende, the US government, the transnational companies and the CIA conspired from even before Allende was elected to abort his taking the government.

Allende had offered Chile a new road to a liberal socialist revolution without violence which was going to transform the basis of the capitalist society with a reformist programme.

This programme included the nationalisation of copper, a full agrarian reform, the nationalisation of the countries basic resources, the development of a mixed economy, a complete reform of education system and the free distribution of milk and breakfast in the primary school.

Most of his programme was achieved within the first year of his government while Nixon and his criminal cartel bribed elements in the Chilean Employers association to initiate strikes to bring down the government and accumulate forces. They lobbied the judicial power, the Media, influenced the church and the political parties who were not in the UP and finally infiltrated the armed forces.

In 1972 this exercise in subversion had successfully created chaos and deepening the division of Chileans but was not breaking the enthusiasm of the poor and the working class in the hopes presented by the Popular unity government.

In fact in the parliamentary elections of March 1973 and despite all the US efforts, Allende’s government and the parties of the Popular Unity obtained a significant growth in their support.

The details were been finalised, the list of the victims were completed and in Sept 1973 with the direct assistance of the US Navy, the Chilean armed forces launched a mighty attack against the President and his supporters subjecting Chile to the worst chapter in its history.

The President loyal to his oath of representing the aspirations of the majority of Chileans and consistent to its promise of dying before surrendering to the enemies of Chile, died in the fighting that followed the coup. For first time the government palace was burned to the ground, supporters of a democratically elected government imprisoned, assassinated, tortured and persecuted not just in Chile but outside the borders of the country as well.

A machinery of death was put into motion, Pinochet the criminal Head of the Army ,created an organisation whose only purpose was to execute and torture opponents to the newly US blessed regime.

The DINA and later CNI went to barbaric extremes to achieve the so call” social peace” which the neoliberal Taliban’s of Harvard and Chicago needed to use Chile as a punishment ground and as an experiment of their economical counter-revolution.

Thousands disappeared ( the official figure is 3,600 but this is much higher) the executed and assassinated could have reached the 30,000. More then 250,000 were tortured, more than a million Chileans fled to exile, some to Aotearoa NZ.

Today we are beginning to tell and listen the horror stories of the Chilean holocaust. The culprits in Washington have remained quiet and clearly unrepentant, the Chilean accomplices, the right wing parties and the Christian democrats have all but washed their hands of the blood of Chileans.

Today the struggles remain if not the same even more urgent. The challenge to Chilean future is how to rid itself of the Pinochet legacy, how to deconstruct a society sick from the inside and to recover a true democratic path for the country.

We want to thanks all those good people around the world and in New Zealand who stood alongside the Chileans and demanded an end to the brutality and the repression. Your solidarity did make a difference.

For our dead ones, our disappeared ones, our tortured ones, our exiles, our displaced, there will be no forgetting or forgiveness until all truth is revealed and all culprits punished.

Por nuestros Muertos, desaparecidos, torturados,
(not to forgiveness, or to forgetting)

Chile's presidential palace was bombed by the Chilean Air Force during the coup.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Palestine is a microcosm of global occupation - Dr. Jeff Halper

"If Israel wins - you know we are not in Hollywood, the good guys don't always win - and the occupation prevails and the Palestinians are permanently oppressed in an apartheid or worse a warehousing type of situation it sets us all back. All of us who are talking about human rights, international laws, justice, workers' rights."

An interview with Dr. Jeff Halper, Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions ahead of his Auckland lecture tonight on the work of ICAHD, his anthropology work, the TPPA and the "Palestinisation" of the globe.

Len Brown should be ashamed - John Minto

John Minto’s address to Auckland Mayoral debate at Auckland University on 4 September 2013.

E nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe – Ngati Whatua – kia ora koutou
E nga hau e wha – nga mihi nui ki a koutou

Greetings everyone Auckland is the most unequal city in New Zealand – there is extreme wealth enjoyed by a tiny few while the majority struggle. It’s a city run for East Parnell while in West and South Auckland in particular families struggle from day to day and week to week. Auckland is a city where half our workers are paid less than $24,000 a year while last year less than 100 received close to $3 billion in unearned, untaxed income. It’s a city of unliveable wages, unaffordable housing and endless traffic gridlock. And it’s getting worse because central government policy is aided by a “smile and wave” Auckland mayor who rolls over every time big business or the government come calling. That’s why we have a mayor who backs a national convention centre funded off the backs of low-income families via 230 extra pokie machines and extra gaming tables for Sky city casino. It’s a disgrace and the mayor should be ashamed.

That’s why we have a mayor who’s signed up – on 24 July last year – to the destruction of state homes in Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure and the turfing out the families onto the scrapheap – and what for? To make a seaside suburb for the wealthy – so much for a mayor who says he’s concerned about affordable housing.

That’s why we have a mayor who refused to back his own council workers when they were under attack – and are still under attack – from a vicious, thuggish council employer – the Ports of Auckland – more shame behavior from our mayor.

Our city structure was designed by Rodney Hide and the Act Party and it doesn’t fit. It’s unacceptable that corporate appointees on Auckland’s Council Controlled Organisations spend 75% of our rates without being under the democratic control of the council. In my vision all this changes. My Auckland in 20 years will be run for the 99% and this is how we’ll do it –

  1. We will pay everyone employed by the council and council contractors the living wage of $18.40 an hour and we will pay for this by slashing the salaries of senior managers at the council. 123 of these managers and executives are paid more than $200,000 each – more than the combined salary bill for all NZ members of parliament! We will set the maximum salary at five times the living wage so the CEO will be paid $191,000 rather than $768,759 and the mayor’s salary will be slashed to $150,000 or four times the living wage.
  2. We will build 20,000 good quality, affordable, council rental homes for Auckland families because this is where the need is greatest.
  3. We will end traffic gridlock within 12 months at less than half the cost of the government’s new roads and we’ll give Aucklanders another hour at home with their family every workday. We will do this with fare-free public transport – no cash, no cards – jump on and go as far as you need to. We pay for this from already budgeted funding for roads we won’t need. The 1950s thinking that we can tarseal our way out of gridlock is plain stupid. Other cities around the world are moving to free public transport – we should join them.
  4. We will campaign for income related rates and in the meantime will shift the rates burden from families on low and middle incomes.

My vision is a city where the mayor works for all Aucklanders – not just the wealthy few and their hangers on… Unlike Len Brown, when you vote for me you know which side I’m on…

Sunday, September 01, 2013

John Key - the EP