Growing Inequality – and a sign of resistance

From left: Tamasailau, Nicole, Vaiopa’a, Maua, Faaasu, Jacoba and Moanille. Photo / Jason Oxenham (from the NZ Herald)

The latest Stats NZ Household Income report has revealed that inequality in New Zealand continues to grow. The New Zealand Herald was very careful to split out a number of stories to get the best possible spin, but in combination the picture is stark.

The first story was about household income. The median household income (the middle of the distribution, rather than the average) is up $25 on the previous year, a 4.3% rise and the largest in 7 years! Hoorah! Key’s rockstar economy at work! However, this is in contrast to the average income, which increased by 6.2 percent, indicating that the bulk of the growth was in the take home wealth of the already better off. [Read more...]

Foreigners are not to blame: nationalism and the elections

Love NZWhile the fall-out from Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics is the standout feature of the general election campaign, some of the foremost policy questions have been around the interrelated issues of housing, land ownership, and immigration. Labour, Green and Internet Mana have taken a nationalist, anti-foreigner stand alongside New Zealand First, who claim this territory as their own. The Maori Party and Conservative Party have taken up the same tune. This has left the doctrinaire free-market ACT and National parties being able to pose as above resorting to low-down foreigner-blaming for social problems.

That the reformist left has taken up nationalist policies is no surprise. No other question better illustrates the yawning gulf between reformism and revolutionary socialism. Capitalism is a world system and revolutionary socialism can’t survive in one country, it has to be an international movement. For that reason revolutionaries are implacably opposed to nationalism, which ties working people to our rulers and divides us from working people in other countries.

Yet the revolutionary socialists, not having the forces to mount their own election campaign, prefer reformists over right-wing parties in this election. Socialists do not abstain from elections. We want to defeat National.

The International Socialist Organisation calls for a party vote for Internet Mana, which has the best policies for working class people, and an electorate vote for Labour or the Greens, where there is no Mana candidate. We do this despite the left nationalism of all these parties, which is abhorrent to our socialist viewpoint. [Read more...]

Are the Greens a Left Alternative?

Love NZBrian S. Roper takes an in-depth look at the policies and politics of the Greens.

 

Introduction

As indicated by the major polls, support for the Green Party ranged from around 11% to 13% throughout 2014. The Green Party received 11% of the vote and 14 MPs at the 2011 general election, compared to Labour’s 27.5% and 34 seats. Yet despite having 20 fewer MPs than Labour and only six more than NZ First (6.6% of the vote and 8 seats), it has been much more effective as an opposition party within parliament than Labour. Indeed, on virtually every major issue during the Key Government’s second term, including asset sales, mining in national parks, the corruption and ‘crony capitalism’ of the Key Government, and the GCSB legislation, it has done a better job than Labour of criticizing the Government and, more importantly, has done a lot more than Labour to mobilize its members on the streets.

 

Whereas Labour is almost entirely an electoralist party, the Green Party attempts to combine a focus on winning elections with encouraging its members to get involved in flax roots activism. Many Green Party members are experienced and respected activists who have established a laudable track record of working in a non-sectarian and co-operative manner in progressive struggles and campaigns with others on the left, including the International Socialist Organisation (ISO).

[Read more...]

Victory! Patricia Grace Stops the Government Taking Maori Land

Image

The government has been defeated by the author Patricia Grace in the Environment Court and, seeing the writing on the wall, the government will not appeal.

Patricia Grace owns part of a block of Maori Freehold Land in Waikanae that was once in a Maori village and is full of significance. The government tried to take some of this land under the Public Works Act for its Roads of National Significance programme; specifically the Wellington Northern Corridor. Much of this road scheme will be completely new sections of road running parallel with State Highway 1, causing swathes of environmental destruction. At a time when National keep telling us that government must cut spending, they are throwing billions of dollars of our money to the roading contractors for roads that we do not need. And, it seems, little matters such as pieces of Maori land full of historic significance must not stand in the way of this travesty.

One of Patricia Grace’s ancestors, her great-great-grandfather, was Wiremu Parata Te Kakakura (as known as Wi Parata). Te Kakakura donated land for the railway to run through the area. He also donated land for a government school. In the 1870s, he entered Parliament as the member for Western Maori. In 1877 he famously took legal proceedings against the Bishop of Wellington. The Anglican Church had reneged on an agreement to open a school that Ngati Toa children could attend. He lost, of course, the Treaty of Waitangi being declared a “nullity” by the Chief Justice. [Read more...]

Anzac Day: Against the Carnival of Reaction

mobiliseagainstthewarOn Anzac Day 1967, at the height of New Zealand involvement in the ‘American War’ in Vietnam, with New Zealand troops taking part in the suppression of the Vietnamese struggle for national liberation, members of the Progressive Youth Movement in Christchurch tried to lay a wreath following the dawn service in memory of those killed by imperialism in Vietnam. They were arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour. Feminists a decade later faced down a media-driven public outcry when they laid wreaths to the victims of sexual violence during war.

Lest we forget? It’s more like lest we remember. Anzac Day serves as a carnival of nationalist reaction, a day of public ritual aimed at promoting forgetting: forgetting the real legacy of New Zealand imperialism and militarism in favour of a sentimental nationalism, an anti-political celebration of national unity. [Read more...]

Marching Against the TPPA

Image
TPPA, No Way! We’re going to fight it all the way! Chants like this were booming nationwide against the government’s commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – a secret agreement between 12 countries that will be so “beneficial” that the government has not disclosed a single iota of what will negotiated.

Today organizations and groups like the Greens, Mana Party, Greenpeace, members of the Labour Party, Oxfam and more, including us in the International Socialists, came out to protest against the government’s trade deals.

[Read more...]

Millionaires, Mana, and the Poverty of Politics

Image

What the hell was Mana party boss Gerard Hehir thinking? When German millionaire Kim Dotcom picked up his Swarovsky crystal cellphone and dialled Hone Harawira, why didn’t Hone just hang up?

If Mana aims to represent the poor, is a deal with a millionaire going to build the “brand”? Mana struggles to be taken seriously in the media: is a rapping, super-rich videogamer really going to help?

[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...]

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...]

Labour’s Leadership Battle

labour-guysWe wished good riddance to David Shearer. It’s a good thing he has resigned – he was useless and bumbling against Key when issue after issue offered opportunities to attack the government for its anti-worker record. The common wisdom seems to be that Shearer was a ‘nice guy,’ but in truth he was happy to scapegoat beneficiaries, pander to anti-Chinese racism, and suppress dissent in his Party. He was, in other words, a thoroughly nasty part of the right-wing Labour machine.

Now his Deputy Grant Robertson is standing to replace him. There’s a lot of talk about what a nice guy he is too. What about politics? [Read more...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers