Millionaires, Mana, and the Poverty of Politics

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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?

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ISO Hui-a-tau 2013 – Learning together, fighting for socialism

ISOfistMore than 40 members and supporters of the International Socialist Organisation met at Waipapa Marae, in the heart of Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland, last weekend for the revolutionary socialist organisation’s third national conference, and first-ever Auckland conference.

A quarter of all children in New Zealand grow up in poverty. Austerity, cutbacks and exploitation remain the ruling-class agenda in Aotearoa and internationally. A sharp sense of the need for a socialist alternative united members and supporters from as far afield as Otepoti/Dunedin for two days of intense discussion and debate.

The whare Tane-nui-a-rangi, carved by Pakariki Harrison, combines in one house the tupuna and whakapapa of many iwi. We are grateful to the iwi kainga of Waipapa Marae for welcoming our people, who descend from Nga Puhi, Ngai Tahu, and Te Arawa, as well as from Haiti, Ireland, Scotland, England, China, Korea, Sri Lanka, Iran, Japan and South Africa together under the one roof of Tane-nui-a-rangi. During the powhiri, our kaumatua Paul De Rungs paid respect to Nelson Mandela and all the other freedom fighters of South Africa. Moe mai ra e te rangatira.

Thirty to forty people slept together in the wharenui, ate together and talked together, and though speech may be the food of chiefs, food was not neglected. A hakari on Saturday night was the highlight of the conference – complete with roast pork, tofu steak and aubergine (for vegetarians), and pavlova. We had tamariki as young as 3 all the way up to kaumatua as old as 78 participate in the hui-a-tau.

A high level of engagement and lively discussion marked the conference. Participants debated in sessions on national politics; the Arab revolutions; and Queer struggles after marriage equality. Educational sessions considered recent debates on socialism and feminism and the relevance of Trotsky in the 21st century. [Read more...]

Free Teina Pora now!

freeteina-BANNER1When Pora was 17, in 1994, he was arrested by police in Otara and held in custody and questioned for over four days without a lawyer. The police got him to confess to a brutal rape and murder. He was charged and convicted despite the fact that he could not identify what the victim looked like or where and what her house looked like. During the trial prosecution witnesses were paid up to $5000 each by police to testify.

The real killer is believed to be Malcolm Rewa, who was jailed for other offences in 1998. But Pora has remained behind bars for 21 years. It is a clear case of the Police making someone take the fall, and railroading them into jail. [Read more...]

‘Pakeha Party’ page: Racist backlash against the Mana movement

Shane-Te-Hamua-Nikora-and-Hone-Harawira-VIA-FACEBOOK

Te Hamua Nikora and Hone Harawira released the housing policy in Lower Hutt, 20th June.

A Facebook page – The Pakeha Party – has been launched in response to the Mana Movement’s Maori housing policy announcement during the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by election. This is the second racist backlash in as many months, the first being the cartoon in the Marlborough Times attacking Mana’s ‘Feed the Kids’ campaign.

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Ikaroa-Rawhiti by election a step forward for Mana movement

Te Hamua NikoraThe Labour Party leader, David Shearer, said Labour would terrorise their competition in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by election. This comment isn’t suprising coming from Labour’s leadership, as they conducted the terror raids against Tuhoe and other activists in 2007 but, if anything, the opposite was true. Labour’s campaign was lacklustre and failed to connect with the real anger amongst Maori workers over unemployment and poverty.

The Mana movement ran a determined campaign with very few financial resources but massive grassroots support. Mana activists came to support from all over – I came from Tamaki – and our campaign was by far the most visible. Te Hamua’s reo outshone Labour throughout the Maori media. [Read more...]

MANA Feeds the Kids

733997_10200878645997464_1093505766_nThis morning the Otara Leisure Centre reminded me of the photos I’ve seen of the Black Panther Party’s food parcel drive.

Thousands of brown paper bags filled with sandwiches, fruit and juice packed the back rooms of the Community centre. Dozens of MANA volunteers and supporting parties, parents and activists worked to together to put MANA’s bill into action. Making the Feed the Kids campaign a reality. MANA fed over 2000 children in the Feed the Kids campaign this morning, in a massive show of strength and organisation.

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Defending State Housing

While the world was focused on the outcome of the US election, some 100 residents from Glen Innes (Auckland), Maraenui (Hawkes Bay) and Pomare (Lower Hutt) marched in protest to Parliament to present a petition for immediate action on the housing crisis affecting low-income families in these areas.

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From Land Wars to Union Battles!

Ka whawhai tonu matou, Ake! Ake! Ake!: Rewi Maniapoto’s words from the Waikato Wars of the 1860s rang through the twentieth century and into our own. Maori resistance to colonisation and land theft has never ended and the Maori struggle for self-determination has continued across the generations.

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Mana and working class consciousness

On April 30 this year, a new political party was formed by former Maori Party MP Hone Harawira – Te Mana Party. It was formed from a left split, as Harawira was expelled for opposing his party’s support for the National Government. Mana immediately drew support from veteran activist and lawyer Annette Sykes and Unite Union leaders John Minto, Mike Treen, and Matt McCarten. It has also received support from CTU vice-president Syd Keepa, Ngati Kahu leader Professor Margaret Mutu and former Green Mps Nandor Tanczos and Sue Bradford. It’s clear from the policies Hone has so far offered that he is determined to broaden his support beyond his te Tai Tokerau electorate by appealing explicitly to the working class.

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Socialists and Mana

The general situation was depressing. In the third year of John Key’s administration he and National were massively ahead of Phil Goff and Labour in the opinion polls. More dismally still, action by unionists was at rock bottom. The number of work stoppages for 2010 was the lowest since the Statistics New Zealand series begun in 1986 with only 6,285 person-days “lost” to the working of capitalism. The Labour Party, stuck in rectitude to neo-liberal economics, timid and defensive, seemingly unable to inspire hope. The Maori Party in coalition with National and Act selling out the Maori working class.

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