Boycott Batsheva at NZ Festival

dontdance-webversionThis year’s NZ Festival includes four performances by the Israeli Batsheva dance company.

Batsheva is an integral part of Israel’s Brand Israel public relations campaign. The dance company receives funding from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), which has described Batsheva as ‘the best known global ambassador of Israeli culture’.

Artists who receive funding from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs are required to sign a contract committing to ‘promote the policy interests of the State of Israel via culture and art, including contributing to creating a positive image for Israel.’

In the past Batsheva faced protests outside their performances across the USA and in the UK. Palestine solidarity activists target the company specifically because of their role in using art and culture to whitewash over Israel’s human rights violations. [Read more...]

Tokyo Elections and the Future of the Anti-Nuclear Movement

NoNukes2011What to make of the Tokyo gubernatorial election results? How can we organize a campaign to stop reactivating nuclear power plants that connects the whole country? How effective is the “single-issue” focus?

 

On 9 February, amidst the biggest snowfall in 45 years Tokyo held its gubernatorial election. Only 46.14% of eligible voters turned out, the third lowest turnout on record. The winner was former Health and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe who won with 2, 112,979 votes, with the backing of the ruling Liberal Democratic (LDP) and the New Komeito parties.

 

Kenji Utsunomiya, an attorney and former President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, came second. Utsunomiya came second the last time he ran for governor, in 2012, winning some 970 000 votes. The 2012 gubernatorial election was held on the same day as the general election due to the then Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s abrupt resignation. Despite the 16% drop in voter turnout - 140,000 fewer votes were cast than in the 2012 election - this time round Utsunomiya still managed to win 982,594 votes and exceed his 2012 efforts. Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, backed by former Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro, ran on a single-issue platform of eliminating nuclear power. He came a close third receiving 956,063 votes. [Read more...]

Okinawa and the US Empire

OkinawaProtestFollowing a brutal and horrific battle between Japanese and US forces which claimed the lives of approximately one third of Okinawa’s population, Okinawa has been forced to house American militarism up until this day. Approximately 20 percent of the Okinawan mainland is used to house US military bases. Military crimes are commonplace and many of them are of a grave and violent nature. Between 2009 and 2011 alone, 188 crimes resulting in injury or death were reported as being committed by military personnel whilst on duty. This number does not take into account other grave criminal action committed by military forces or crimes that for one reason or another go unreported, nor does it take into account crimes committed by officers who are not on duty. These crimes committed by military personnel whilst on duty involve gang rape, murder, assault and burglaries. Considering the Okinawa mainland is a dense island of small proportions with a population the size of one quarter of New Zealand’s, it is clear that any single criminal act will have a disastrous effect on the Okinawan community as a whole. The fact that so many crimes are committed by military personnel in such a small amount of time is telling of the adverse effect that military presence in Okinawa has on the human rights of the Okinawan people. [Read more...]

Syria: No to Assad, No to US Imperialism

Syria-Civil-WarThe Syrian civil war has come about as a response to the rule of Bashar al-Assad who succeeded his father in the year 2000, coming into presidency with strong support of the people and with aspirations of democracy and secularism. However, as his presidency unfolded, not much changed for the Syrian people. The economy was still strongly controlled by the authorities and any signs of uprising or Arab Spring type movements were not met “democratically”.

This crackdown began by heavy monitoring of the internet, which led to nationwide detainment, torturing and killing of political dissidents. The official civil war didn’t begin until early 2011. Many people, inspired by the Arab Spring, felt it was time to protest for reform and demanded Assad resign. The regime was met with the biggest protests in decades – their response was to mow these unarmed protesters down right across the country. [Read more...]

40,000 march against nuclear power in Tokyo

demo140 00 people took to the streets to protest against nuclear plants and Prime Minister Abe in Tokyo on October 13. Kenji Kunitomi from the Japan Revolutionary Communist League prepared this report for Socialist Review.

Right-wing nationalist Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claims radiation from Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor is perfectly under control at his presentation speech to the International Olympic Committee general assembly in Buenos Aires on September 7.

Ths shameless assertion by Abe is completely false. Highly radiation-contaminated water is massively leaking into the soil and sea everyday, and both TEPCO and the government could nothing to control Fukushima nuclear disaster.

150,000 residents who have had to evacuate from the nuclear disaster are have not been able to return to their hometown. Their life conditions are very bad and government policies to support those affected are totally insufficient.

In this situation, the LDP-led ultra-right nationalist and neo-liberal Abe government has been very eager to reactivate nuclear reactors — all 50 of Japan’s nuclear reactors are now stopped — and to accelerate export projects of nuclear plants. The Abe government, supported by big capitalists, believes that without nuclear power Japanese capitalism will not survive under the very critical situation global capitalism finds itself in currently. [Read more...]

Yes to revolution, no to intervention!

7494c64b7b3539b180c3f296050e9111_XLWe Stand Behind the Syrian People’s Revolution – No to Foreign Intervention

Over 150 thousand were killed, hundreds of thousands injured and disabled, millions of people displaced inside and outside Syria. Cities, villages, and neighborhoods were destroyed fully or partially, using all sorts of weapons, including warplanes, scud missiles, bombs, and tanks, all paid for by the sweat and blood of the Syrian people. This was under the pretext of defending the homeland and achieving military balance with Israel (whose occupation of Syrian land is, in fact, being protected by the Syrian regime, which failed to reply to any of its continuing aggressions).

Yet, despite the enormous losses mentioned above, befalling all Syrians, and the calamity inflicted on them, no international organization or major country – or a lesser one – felt the need to provide practical solidarity or support the Syrians in their struggle for their most basic rights, human dignity, and social justice. [Read more...]

New Zealand Imperialism in the Pacific

Soldier_editSixty years ago, on the 17th of August 1953, Hector Larsen, the resident commissioner of Niue, was murdered. Larsen’s rule over the people of Niue – he had been commissioner for a decade at his death – was “by most accounts,” as a Radio New Zealand documentary from 2009 puts it, “not just paternalistic but brutal.” The radical historian Dick Scott wrote a book about the incident – Would a Good Man Die?- and depicts Larsen’s death as a symbol of New Zealand-Niuean relations. The three young Niueans responsible for Larsen’s death felt “they were ridding their land of a tyrant.”

This might seem like old history, a misunderstanding from a past era. But the involvement of New Zealand imperialism, alongside Australia, in meddling with, dominating, and interfering with the peoples of the Pacific continues. [Read more...]

They’re stealing Bradley Manning’s life

Bradley Manning being led into courtNicole Colson reports on the conviction of military whistle-blower Bradley Manning–and the chilling message it sends about political dissent in the “war on terror” era.

MILITARY JUDGE Col. Denise Lind found Pfc. Bradley Manning guilty of almost every charge leveled against him for his role as a military whistle-blower–but not guilty of the most serious charge of “aiding the enemy.”

While the outcome on the “aiding the enemy” charge is seen by supporters as a victory, Manning, who released classified documents and video to the muckraking WikiLeaks website, still faces as many as 136 years in prison on 19 other charges, including six counts of violating the Espionage Act and five counts of stealing government property.

The sentencing phase of the trial will begin on July 31 and is expected to take at least a month before Lind rules. But Manning will almost certainly spend most of the rest of his life behind bars–unless pressure is brought to bear on the military to relent. [Read more...]

Statement from Egypt’s Revolutionary Socialists: Not in our name!

0701_egypt-protestsThe Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown to deepen the revolution, not to support the regime.

Whatever crimes the Brotherhood has committed against the people and against the Copts in defence of its power in the name of religion, we do not give army chief Al-Sisi our authority. We will not go into the streets on Friday offering a blank cheque to commit massacres.

If Al-Sisi has the legal means to do what he wants, why is he calling people into the streets? What he wants is a popular referendum on assuming the role of Caesar and the law will not deter him.

Yes, the Brotherhood caused the masses to suffer during the period of their rule, and today we see the return of terrorist acts in Sinai, Al-Arish, and attacks against the people living in Maniyal and al-Nahda.

Yet the army does not need “permission” to deal with terrorist acts, it has the legal means to do that and more. But it does want more, it wants a popular mobilisation behind it in order to increase the cohesion of the state and the ruling class behind its leadership.

It wants to wipe out one of the most important features of the revolution so far, which is the masses’ consciousness of the repressive role of the state apparatus and its intense hostility to towards them. [Read more...]

Egypt: the Next Phase in the Revolution

Mideast EgyptWHAT HAPPENED on June 30 was, without the slightest doubt, the historic beginning of a new wave of the Egyptian revolution, the largest since January 2011. The number of people who demonstrated on that legendary day is estimated to exceed 17 million citizens, something unprecedented in history.

The significance of this surpasses any participation by old regime remnants, or the apparent support of the army and police. Mass demonstrations of millions are exceedingly rare events in human history, and their effect on the consciousness and confidence of the populace in themselves, and in their power to change the course of history, transcend the limitations of the slogans raised and the political alternatives put forward.”

That is the statement put forwards by the Revolutionary Socialists of Egypt. Protests on June 30th forced the military to pre-empt the movement and oust Morsi from power. Mainstream media outlets have almost exclusively focused upon the military’s role, making it quite easy to forget the self-activity of the masses, those seventeen million people who marched on June 30th.

There is a revolution still unfolding in Egypt. Everyone who is serious about politics and change should be following the events in Egypt as closely as they can. It isn’t a topic to be approached dryly, like some distant historical event. It is a living, breathing revolution that is happening right now. [Read more...]

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