Greece and the international situation

Greek journalist chant anti-austerity slogans during a protest in central Athens, on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Greek journalists have walked off the job ahead of a general strike set to disrupt services across the country to protest pension reforms that are part of the country's third international bailout. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Greek journalist chant anti-austerity slogans during a protest in central Athens, on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. Greek journalists have walked off the job ahead of a general strike set to disrupt services across the country to protest pension reforms that are part of the country’s third international bailout. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

The following was presented at the ISO national conference in November 2015

By Andrew Tait

We are living in historic times. As if in the blink of an eye we have seen revolutions sweep the Middle East, only to descend into bloody civil war, the devastation of the Greek economy and the emergence in Greece, within five years, from obscurity to power of the most far-left political party since the 1970s – and now its apparent capitulation to the Diktats of the EU and the banks. We have seen the movement of refugees, already enormous, grow a hundredfold in Europe, where they have been met, yes, with barbed wire but also, by others, with open arms. Closer to home, the hell holes designed by Howard to hide “boat people” from human rights have now also become home to New Zealanders awaiting deportation from the Lucky Country. Legal norms are stripped away by the war on terror, and overarching all this looms the possibility of catastrophic climate change.

Why study the international situation? My workmate told me what no doubt many people feel, that she could not bear to know too much about the horrors of the world that lie beyond her control. We on the contrary, understand that however weak we are, history is made by people but not in conditions of our choosing. In this talk I aim to outline the shape of the world, and draw out some practical conclusions for our work. [Read more…]

Why voting Democratic hasn’t preserved choice

The Clintons on parade for Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1997 (White House)

The Clintons on parade for Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1997 (White House)

Elizabeth Schulte makes the case that a woman’s right to choose abortion won’t be defended by subordinating our struggle to the needs of the Democratic Party.

DONALD TRUMP gave abortion rights supporters a frightening glimpse of what an administration he commands might do when he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews earlier this month that “[t]here has to be some form of punishment” for women who have illegal abortions. [Read more…]

From Slaveholders to Sanders: A Brief History of the Democratic Party

ClintonAmerican socialist Bill Crane – in an article first published at RS21 – provides a brief history of the Democratic Party from its inception to the present, and asks how revolutionaries might relate to the movement behind presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

The US Democratic Party is the oldest surviving modern political party.[1] In its longer than two centuries’ history, it has survived multiple political crises, including one genuine social revolution, transforming itself accordingly each time. What was once the political operation of the slave-owners of the US South, the closest thing the country has had to an aristocracy, in the mid-twentieth century presented itself as the party of Keynesian state management, economic populism and establishment anti-racism. Toward the end of that century it transformed itself yet again to be ‘history’s second-most enthusiastic capitalist party’ under the neoliberal order.Bernie Sanders

American socialism, since its beginnings in the late nineteenth century, have always had a somewhat schizophrenic attitude toward the Democrats. If Eugene Debs, godfather of the US Socialist Party in its heyday and its perennial presidential candidate (running once from a prison cell) could say that the conflict between Democrats and Republicans had ‘no issue, no principle in which the working class have any interest,’ this did not stop his comrade Upton Sinclair from running as the Democratic candidate for governor of California on a social-democratic platformseveral decades later. [Read more…]

Nationalist poison no medicine against the TPPA

TPPA 1by Dougal McNeill

There are plenty of good reasons to oppose the TPPA. It’s part of U.S. imperialism’s strategy against China in the Asia-Pacific, working in the economic sphere as the ‘tilt to Asia’ does in the military. It gives greater powers to capitalists, and will be used to water down labour rights and environmental protections. It threatens public health provisions.

These threats are international, and face workers in all the countries that are set to sign up. So our opposition needs to be international, and internationalist. Pala Molisa’s excellent speech at the end of today’s rally in Wellington stressed just this kind of connection.

[Read more…]

Why we support the Palestinian rebellion

Agents of their own liberation: Palestinians in Bethlehem resisting Israeli aggression. (Photo credit: Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA)

Agents of their own liberation: Palestinians in Bethlehem resisting Israeli aggression. (Photo credit: Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA)

by Kim Bullimore

Young Palestinians across the Occupied Territories have continued to clash with the Israeli military, while inside Israel more than 20,000 Palestinian citizens of Israel have taken to the streets to call for an end to the country’s apartheid and occupation polices.

Thirty-three Palestinians are now dead, including 7 children. Thousands more are injured. As each day passes, more demand to be treated as human beings, to live free of occupation and oppression and demand justice and human rights.

According to Palestinian historian Mazin Qumsiyeh, this is not the 3rd intifada; it is the 14th. Palestinian activist Jamal Juma from the Stop the Wall campaign has called it an intifada against the Bantustans: “[T]he current outbreak of protests is not solely directed at Israel. It is also a manifestation of the frustration of the people who face the brunt of Israeli aggression in the West Bank. Their protests express an overall desire to end ineffective and inept representation”. [Read more…]

The defeat of the left, and the recomposition in Greece

by Colleen Bolger

Workers demonstrate in July against the memorandum

Workers demonstrate in July against the memorandum

The Greek ruling party, Syriza, won a convincing victory in the national election held on 20 September, winning 144 seats, down from the 149 seats won on 25 January. Prime minister Alexis Tsipras resigned last month to make way for the poll after he signed a third memorandum with the country’s creditors. That agreement will deliver the harshest austerity yet experienced.

The calling of the election precipitated a significant split in Syriza, with more than two dozen rebel MPs forming Popular Unity (LAE by its Greek acronym). The new organisation also drew in 11 other organisations of the far left beyond Syriza’s membership as well as two significant factions of Antarsya, an anti-capitalist electoral front of a few thousand members. Yet it achieved a disappointing 2.9 percent of the vote – short of the 3 percent threshold required for parliamentary representation. [Read more…]

A Short History of New Zealand Imperialism

Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III and other Mau leaders and activists - heroes in the struggle for a free Samoa

Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III and other Mau leaders and activists – heroes in the struggle for a free Samoa

By Daniel Simpson Beck

From New Zealand’s earliest attempts at increasing its territories in the Pacific right through to today’s economic imperialism, the local capitalist ruling class has had imperial ambitions. It was New Zealand’s local leaders – the Governors, the Premiers, the Prime Ministers – who were calling for a New Zealand Empire in the Pacific. Likewise we shall see that New Zealand makes its own imperialist manoeuvres today. It is not the dominant empires that pressure New Zealand into such moves. The New Zealand ruling class are neither a lapdog to the US now, nor were they to Britain 175 years ago.

 

  [Read more…]

A historic vote in Greece, but challenges ahead

greece1

by Colleen Bolger

It is the morning after the biggest celebration Greece has seen since the fall of military rule. An emphatic 61 percent of people voted OXI (“no”) in the country’s referendum on whether to accept European-enforced austerity.

People gathered in Syntagma Square in central Athens and in squares around the country. Families celebrated together in their lounge rooms with neighbours. Friends came together in bars.

This was more than a party. It was a social convulsion after five years of bitter austerity. [Read more…]

Should NZ recognise Palestine?

unnamed

Protests for Palestine in Auckland last year

by Dougal McNeill

Should New Zealand recognise Palestine as a separate state? This is what the Green Party hope to see happen. In December last year Kennedy Graham MP tried to put a motion to Parliament that “this House call upon the government to [recognise] Palestine as a sovereign State, and looks forward to the day when it is accepted as a member of the United Nations.”

Kennedy’s comments pick up on trends internationally. In the last year parliaments in the Spanish state, Denmark, France, Portugal, the south of Ireland and the British House of Commons have voted on motions ‘recognising’ Palestine. These have been treated as some sort of step forward for the Palestinian struggle. [Read more…]

No New Zealand Troops to Iraq!

US troops MosulCory Anderson gave this talk to the Auckland branch of the International Socialists.

April marked 100 years since New Zealand troops landed in Turkey with the purpose of opening up yet another front in the bloodiest war that history ’till then had seen. It’s something of an irony then, that at the very same time as John Key and Tony Abbott are laying wreaths at the memorials, while wiping away a hard-squeezed tear and murmuring “never again,” they are sending troops back to the very region of the world invaded by their predecessors 100 years ago. Now, as then, it falls to socialists to oppose the war. [Read more…]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 79 other followers