Beating back the bosses

It’s the middle of winter and four years into a National government but spring is in the air. When Key was re-elected we were worried. He won the election on the back of a record low vote (around 50% of people on the Maori roll didn’t vote) but he claimed an endorsement for another three years.

Many governments wait until their second term before unleashing their unpopular policies. Labour often promise to deliver policies for working people in their second term – but never deliver. Key has been real soft so far. Compared to the 1990s National government, this government has delivered sweet nothings for its business backers.

When National was re-elected we were worried they would unleash an attack on the working class and public service and when Ports of Auckland and Talley Affco freezing works tried to outlaw unions, Socialist Review and many other leftists believed it was the beginning of a wave of attacks. The announcement of education cuts seemed to fit into the pattern.

But the Maritime Union and the Meatworkers Union stood strong – and the teachers didn’t wait for the attacks to roll out – they moved fast to organise public opposition, got the principals onside and stopped the National Party’s plans in their tracks.

Overseas, the financial crisis of 2008 continues to claim casualties, but in Greece and Egypt people continue to resist the austerity measures demanded by the IMF and the EU. Mubarak has been overthrown and the radical left Syriza in Greece is almost on 30%. The left is on the rise.

We have beaten back the obvious attacks, but the purpose of socialist review is to point out the attacks on working people; across the board. The Maritime union and the meatworkers union are two of the strongest unions in the country – outside the PPTA – but a union movement that doesn’t take care of the most vulnerable will be defeated.

In this issue of socialist review we cover two issue essential for working people to get their heads around – abortion and the equal marriage rights. Your right to a decent job and your right to health care – including abortion – are intimately related. We don’t want to tell people what to do but we do want people to have the power to choose for themselves. In the same way, if you want to celebrate a marriage then there’s no way the government has a right to dictate who your partner should be.

Most of all – there’s no way we can build a fighting workers movement without fighting anti-Asian racism. There are no short cuts. We need to recognise our common humanity.

This is the Editorial from the July issue of Socialist Review (#39).