Dairy Millionaires and the “Monster that hit Vanuatu”


By Andrew Tait

Dairy has been the fastest growing sector of the NZ economy in the last 20 years, making millions for a handful of farmers but also methane – a climate change gas. Vanuatu has just been smashed by Cyclone Pam. These things are connected.

Vanuatu president Baldwin Lonsdale has described Cyclone Pam as “the monster that has hit Vanuatu”, and has said the worsening cyclone seasons that hit the island nation are directly related to climate change. “We see the level of sea rise … The cyclone seasons, the warm, the rain, all this is affected ,” he said. “This year we have more than in any year … Yes, climate change is contributing to this.”

[Read more…]

Iraq: the Price of the Club

B-z6ImIVEAAJkbf‘I pay in blood, but not my own’, runs a recent Bob Dylan lyric. It could well be the theme song to National’s foreign policy. From the smiling mediocrity boasting about the ‘price of the club’ and the benefits of spying alliances to the shouty, ranting mediocrity bellowing about evil and infidels in the House last week, Key’s various, and variously incoherent, postures convey one consistent theme: it’s the blood of the Iraqi people that will pay the ‘price of the club’ for New Zealand’s ongoing alliance with US imperialism.  It’s war once again.

[Read more…]

#BlackLivesMatter looks to the future

Some 10,000 people demonstrate in Washington, D.C., to demand justice for the victims of police terror (Fusebox Radio)

Some 10,000 people demonstrate in Washington, D.C., to demand justice for the victims of police terror (Fusebox Radio)

Danny Katch (for socialistworker.org) listens to activists around the country to see where the discussion about what’s next for the movement is headed, and what that means for the struggle.

THE MURDER of Mike Brown on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, last August–as horrific as it was–is far from unique. More than 150 years after the end of the Civil War and 50 years after the high point of the civil rights struggle, legalized lynching is still sickeningly familiar in Black communities around the country.

But what happened after Mike Brown’s murder–the reason we instantly remember his name today–has reshaped U.S. politics. The mobilization of Black St. Louis to demand justice–day after day and night after night, for weeks on end–in the face of the violence of a militarized police force sent the message that the police murder of unarmed Black youth would no longer be business as usual.

Even after the daily protests ebbed and the television cameras left Ferguson, the organizing continued among a dedicated and growing core of anti-racist activists. That set the stage for the even bigger eruption of protest after Brown’s murderer, officer Darren Wilson, was allowed to walk free by a grand jury. When another killer cop–caught on videotape murdering Eric Garner in New York City–went free a little over a week later, the new BlackLivesMatter movement went national for good. [Read more…]

A stunning victory for the left in Greece

GreeceIn probably the most important parliamentary elections in Europe since World War II, Greek workers have defied an incredible media scare campaign and voted solidly for the left wing anti-austerity party SYRIZA (the Coalition of the Radical Left).

SYRIZA won 36 percent of the vote and decisively defeated the hard right New Democracy, which had presided over brutal austerity policies. The final results are yet to be confirmed but on current projections SYRIZA is set to win 149 seats – just short of an absolute majority in the 300 seat parliament.

In the weeks leading up to the election, the Greek ruling class and its European capitalist backers sought to spread fear and panic about the prospect of a “red” SYRIZA government. It was claimed that living standards would be devastated because SYRIZA would take Greece out of the euro, that the banking system would collapse and that a SYRIZA government would even confiscate ordinary people’s meagre savings.

But after more than six years of savage austerity measures and mass sackings, which have blighted the lives of a whole generation of people and seen unemployment skyrocket to more than 25 percent, the working class neighbourhoods of Athens and Piraeus rallied overwhelmingly to SYRIZA. [Read more…]

Solidarity with Mexican Students

Acapulco protests

Photograph: Eduardo Verdugo/AP

Dear students and families of the Ayotzinapa Normal School:

It is with deep sorrow that we learnt of the terrible events of September 26 this year, when three students of your school were assassinated, and 43 were kidnapped by the municipal police of Iguala and Cucula, and handed over to a criminal group.

Those comrades, your sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, friends, are now martyrs of a cause we share with you from the distance of the other side of the ocean.

They were building a fairer future, they were fighting for social justice and they were progressing on it, they were achieving it step by step. That is why the authority was afraid of them, and sent the police to repress them, because they were making a difference. But the power of the richn and their corruption will never stop the voices of justice. Especially if it’s carried by those who dare to dream and the youth who fight for freedom, like the dear and beautiful disappeared students.

From here, thousands of kilometres away, we send you all of our solidarity and we assure you are not alone. Your loss is also our loss, and our hearts are also sad for those 46 students, who will be for ever in our memories as the seeds of freedom.

We demand justice for these events. We demand that the responsible be processed under the justice and sentenced as they deserve to be – be they mayors and policeman, legal authorities and criminal groups.
And to you, we beg you not to surrender. Your fight is our fight, and is just and true.


International Socialist Organisation.

Making the case against Obama’s new war

3431812849_cbf2e17716_bAshley Smith and Alan Maass provide the facts you need to know about the U.S. war on ISIS–and why it will make the world more chaotic and violent than ever.

WHEN BARACK Obama strode to the podium of the United Nations in late September and made his case for yet another U.S. war in the Middle East–this time against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its “network of death”–he sounded like no one so much as his despised predecessor and the neocon hawks of the Bush administration.

This throwback to the Bush years is more than just verbal. Obama invoked George W. Bush’s legal justification for the Iraq war–the infamous Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed days after September 11, 2001, which Obama and his outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder once thought so suspect that they promised to repeal it.

Just like Bush, Obama has bypassed Congress and the United Nations to create his own “coalition of the willing,” comprised of some 40 countries, including several authoritarian Arab states, to prosecute the war. [Read more…]

Mass protests grow on the streets of Hong Kong

Protests getting bigger by late afternoon Monday (Photo: Sue Sparks)

Protests getting bigger by late afternoon Monday (Photo: Sue Sparks)

The mass protests on the streets of Hong Kong over the past few days have been inspiring. The protests started with university students holding class boycotts and then public lectures in central Hong Kong. These led to an occupation of Civic Square, a space – as its name suggests – which is supposed to be open to the public but that has recently been fortified with huge fences. After prevaricating, the leaders of the movement called Occupy Central, which had planned to occupy roads in the central business district on October 1st, decided to bring the date forward and essentially merge the movements.

On Sunday, the students were joined by tens of thousands of other Hongkongers, mostly, but not exclusively, young. The police blocked access to the main protest site. They expected that they could simply move in and arrest the core group, while everyone else drifted off home. This didn’t happen. They were frustrated by the sheer numbers of people who decided to break through the over stretched police lines and take possession of a series of key roads in the centre of the city, where many of them remain. The police surrounding the original protest essentially got surrounded themselves. They attempted to dislodge the protesters with pepper spray, tear gas and baton charges, but failed. The riot police were withdrawn this [Monday] morning, who knows for how long. Meanwhile, protests spread to other parts of the city, including Nathan Road in Mong Kok, Kowloon, one of the city’s main roads, and another major retail and business area, Causeway Bay. [Read more…]

World War One: the Fight against Conscription

Maoriland WorkerAmidst all the patriotic furor this centenary, the real history of the war is all too easily forgotten.  The government and the opposition alike cry crocodile tears for the fallen and mouth “Never again!”, while daisy cutters are dropped on Afghanistan and the history books are (re)re-written.

In high-school classrooms and history-books, we are taught a version of the war in which a well-fed, well-bred (and mostly white) nation proudly sacrifices its sons for the lofty ideals of “God, King and Country”.  The little mention made of wartime dissent is limited to a few footnotes about ‘conscientious objectors’ who are presented as a tiny minority of isolated idealists, and perhaps a few comments on the rising cost of living.

This version of history was written by the ruling class, for the working class, to create a placid and pliant society that allows the prosecution of future wars.  The real history of the war is somewhat different.  In New Zealand, there was a great movement against the continued prosecution of the war, and for peace.  It wasn’t a minority, and it wasn’t isolated.  Hundreds were jailed, and thousands condemned the war in public meetings, in their workplaces, and on the streets.  This article tells just part of that story, the fight against conscription. [Read more…]

A war crime in progress

A funeral for one of the victims of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza (Jordi Bernabeu Farrús)

A funeral for one of the victims of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza (Jordi Bernabeu Farrús)

Jason Farbman reports on the latest developments in Israel’s war on Gaza, July 14, 2014.

ISRAEL’S RELENTLESS pounding of a trapped civilian population in Gaza entered a frightening new phase as its bombing campaign continued into its seventh day. On July 13, the Israeli military dropped leaflets warning the residents of northern Gaza that whoever stayed behind risked being caught in an intensifying barrage of air strikes, prompting a panicked exodus of tens of thousands from the area.

At least 160 Palestinians have now been killed and more than 1,000 injured in attacks that have targeted mosques and hospitals. NBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin tweeted: “1,100 strikes on #Gaza over 4 days. If you do the math that is: 1 strike every 5 minutes every day non-stop. 550 #Hamas rockets into #Israel.” No Israeli deaths and only a handful of injuries have been reported. [Read more…]

The Case for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions

Print[Israel’s current barbarous assault on Gaza has prompted an urgent call from Palestinian civil society to intensify the campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions. The bombardment of Gaza shows the brutality of Israel’s occupation. This week rallies in solidarity with Palestine are planned in Auckland and Wellington and we urge all readers to attend and build these protests. Here we republish an article from the March 2014 issue of our magazine by Kevin Hodder, making the case for BDS.]

The recent picket outside the performance of the Israeli Batsheva Dance Company was New Zealand’s latest blow in a campaign that has been quietly waged between the defenders of apartheid and those fighting for justice for Palestine. A crowd of pro-Zionists faced off a group of 30 or so campaigners from around the country associated with Aotearoa BDS Network, including members of the ISO, calling for a boycott of representatives of the Israeli state.


What is BDS?

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign is a multipronged campaign, called for by the Palestinian Civil Society in 2005. This involves a range of activities design to pressure Israel into meeting its obligations under international law: the boycotting of Israeli consumer products, especially those produced in the occupied Palestinian territories, and of cultural, sporting and academic figures or groups representing the state of Israel, especially those whose work has been used to promote Israeli state policy; the call for local companies and organisations to remove investments from companies which benefit from the continued violation of Palestinian land and rights, especially those working in the occupied territories; and finally state and inter-governmental (e.g. United Nations) level sanctions against the state of Israel while they continue to violate international law.
[Read more…]


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