The Criminal Injustice System: from Aotearoa to the USA

the-new-jim-crowMichelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow (2011) has caused a huge storm of discussion, debate and controversy in the United States. It may well be a book that sparks a new social movement. Alexander documents the rise of mass incarceration in the USA, and link this to entrenched racism, poverty and injustice. The privatising and ‘outsourcing’ of prison as business, and the ‘law and order’ turn are part of neoliberal politics the world over.

This has obvious relevance in Aotearoa. The prison system disproportionately affects Maori and Pasifika people. The powers of the state – to harass, humiliate, detain and lock-up – are felt every day in brown people’s lives. The history of white settler colonial rule has relied on locking up and disenfranchising Maori people. A new phase in capitalism, and the symptoms of poverty in recession, looks to imprisonment again. [Read more...]

Maori teacher brutalised by police

579842_623457754349105_464419270_nWe are sharing this story of police brutality from tangatawhenua.com . Without their pioneering work sharing this it would not have got the further media attention that has come in recent days. 

TangataWhenua.com was asked to share this story as few other mainstream media outlets felt it was “newsworthy” enough. What follows is provided verbatium, nothing has been edited or changed. Remember whanau if at all possible WHENEVER dealing with police, if you have the ability to video the encounter always do, this serves as powerful evidence in the case of a police complaint.

Corina Tairua’s Statement

  • Time and date of incident: Approx 3am 17/3/13
  • Arresting Officer: D Ward
  • QID Number: TWZ644

My name is Corina Tairua. I am a mother of 7 children. Ages, 17, 16, 15, 13, 12 and 18 months. I am four papers off graduating to receive my teaching degree as a primary school teacher. I have never been in trouble with the police or law in my life. As I write this I am deeply traumatised by what has happened to me at the hands of the people I had always believed in and had great respect for, our police, our New Zealand police. [Read more...]

Anti-Chinese rants won’t stop asset sales

There was an evening rally against asset sales in Wellington on February 13. As a gathering of the committed the attendance was quite good. Estimates vary, but 400 would be about right I think. The unions – which could potentially turnout thousands of members against privatization – are not able to do so in their present state of passivity. Indeed, the unions were barely visible. There was not one union speaker, and no Labour Party speaker either, for that matter. The character of the rally did not represent the organized labour movement – that means unionised workers and members of parties based on the working class. [Read more...]

Treaty settlements, Maori workers, and the corporate model

Stand by Affco WorkersThe wealth of Maori business is estimated to be around $37 billion but with 60,000 Maori children living in poverty, Mana MP Hone Harawira has suggested to iwi leaders that “maybe it was time we turned our corporate bus around and went back to get all the kids”.

 

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Maori Money: A giant awakes?

Iwi corporates, estimated to be worth $37 billion in 2010, are changing the rules of New Zealand’s economy and politics. Maori capital has been criticised from the red-neck right as rent-seekers, from the pseudo-left as an iwi aristocracy, and from within Maoridom itself. But in two major battles this year, Maoridom’s elite weighed in on the side of the working class.

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Free Taame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara!

Free Taame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara!

Taame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara have been sentenced to 2 and a-half years jail for possession of unlicensed firearms and Molotov cocktails. Urs Signer and Emily Bailey’s adjurned sentencing – and the suggestion of home detention – suggests further injustice to come.

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War to the knife: Meat workers fight back

Multi-millionaire Kiwi capitalists the Talley family have launched an attack on freezing workers they employ at AFFCO plants in the North Island. Talley’s control a huge chunk of New Zealand’s food production and make fat profits. The freezing workers they employ are willing to fight for the right to a union contract. And that’s why they are under attack.

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AFFCO Workers Stand Strong in Te Puke

 “We’re gonna march, march, march to victory!

  We’re gonna fight right to the end!

  For workers’ rights, and freedom! Aue!

 Ake, ake, kia kaha e!”

new take on the folk song dedicated to the Māori Battalion echoed through the streets of Te Puke on Saturday as over 500 locked-out meat workers, whānau and supporters made their way through the town to cheer the workers and build support for their cause.

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Justice for the Urewera Four!

The most expensive case in New Zealand history, and for what? Millions of dollars have been spent on a vindictive and farcical prosecution, at the cost of untold stress, emotional harm and upset for the people of Tuhoe. In February we called the treatment of the Urewera Four an “anti-democratic outrage”, and stand by that today. The police case continued for reasons of malice and political mischief – there were gains to be made in creating a ‘terror’ threat. Tuhoe, yet again, have borne the burden for that.

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Crafar Farm Sale: whose land is it anyway?

John Key’s phrase “tenants in our own land” has become a political cliche, picked up by almost all parties commenting on the Crafar farms sale. Echoing Key, on January 27th the Dominion Post quoted David Shearer describing the sale of the farms to Chinese business interests as ”open[ing] the way for more New Zealanders to become tenants in their own land”. Shearer, who has had nothing supportive to say about the Maritime Union’s campaign at Ports of Auckland, has been vocal in his opposition to the sale. The Greens pitched in too, describing the sale as “short-sighted”, while for Winston Peters, predictably, it is “treasonous.”

[Read more...]

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