Our history

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A New Left made new media, such as the radical journal Red Spark from students at Victoria University.

It is fifty years since the world was shaken by events of 1968 such as: world-wide student demonstrations; a general strike in France; the Tet Offensive in Vietnam; liberalisation, and its crushing, in Czechoslovakia; the assassination of Martin Luther King and the iconic Black Power salutes by Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the Olympic Games. Against this global context New Zealand history can seem unassuming. But 1968 reverberated here, and the rebellions of that year spurred a decade of resistance: movements of newly-urbanised Māori; the Women’s Liberation Movement; anti-racist campaigning against apartheid; and, energising all of these, the biggest upsurge in strikes in the country’s history.

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Recent articles

Labour sells out workers’ rights

While the Ardern government has delivered tangible reforms in favour of ordinary people, a good part of the promised or announced reform programme has not been put into effect. It’s either delay – the subject area has been farmed out to a working group – or the reform entails legislation that has not yet gone […]

Politics at Pride, not police!

By Emma Mud and Josh Sims Pride is political again! All wings of the LGBTQ community seem to be in agreement on that. Calls to put debates to one side and delegate decisions to a “board” or to common sense are gone, replaced with hui in which the issue of cops at our parade can […]

United NZEI and PPTA Action Can Win

James Crichton, chief of the Employment Relations Authority, says our claim is unrealistic. What rubbish! Our teachers’ claim of 16 percent over two years is fully justified to make a teaching career an attractive option. Crichton knows nothing of the reality of being a teacher in an under-funded system – always under stress, never having […]

Paris, 1968: 50 years since the barricades

By Jules Courtine   May 1968 is the date of the largest general strike in French history. Over the course of this month, 11 million workers joined a protest which was explicitly anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist and revolutionary. As a result of the strike national production came to a grinding halt, conservative president Charles de Gaulle fled […]

The strike revival

Strike statistics are useful for assessing the state of workers’ militancy. Fortunately section 98 of the Employment Relations Act requires information to be submitted to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) after every strike or lockout. This source provides statistics up to and including 2017. For this year, so far, we must rely […]

Criminal Injustice: Racist Cruelty

Nine years of National rule has left a cruel and brutalising legacy in New Zealand’s criminal justice system. Last year the prison population reached 10,100, an all-time high. The number of people incarcerated has increased by 364 percent in the last 30 years, according to researcher Roger Brooking. The system is racist. Over half of […]

New Perspectives for Rebuilding Union Power

On New Terrain: How Capital is Reshaping the Battleground of Class War By Kim Moody (Haymarket Books, Chicago 2017)   Reviewed by Dougal McNeill   Is there a revival of working-class confidence happening in Aotearoa? The PPTA and NZEI are going into bargaining with big pay claims (e.g. 16 percent over two years for primary […]

Reform and Reaction in Australia: The Story of the Whitlam Labor Government

By Cory Anderson   The Australian government of 1972-75 stands out as one of the most successful reforming governments in history, comparable perhaps to the first Labour government here in Aotearoa or Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ in the United States. Led by Gough Whitlam, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) introduced significant reforms, including free tertiary education, […]

From the archive

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…]