Respect our Community! Stop the Motorway!

Last weekend we in the Tamaki branch of the ISO went to support the handing over of a petition containing 4000 signatories at the Mangere Festival.

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The Respect our Community! Stop the Motorway! campaign is headed by veteran activist and MANA member Roger Fowler. Local Labour MP Su’a Williams Sio spoke in support of stopping a massive transport motorway from destroying many people’s houses, schools, kohanga reo, ECE, churches and other community centres.

This motorway is being fast tracked so construction can start before elections and not many people know about it. It is a disgraceful situation. We will know by February which of the preferred option of 4 routes for the construction will be used. Three of the proposed routes will cut through a highly working-class, low cost housing area; driving people even further South and destroying communities.

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On Anniversary Weekend there will be a protest/rally in Mangere.
Stop John Key! Stop the Motorway!

All power to Mangere and Otahuhu residents!

Rowan McArthur

Marching against Rape Culture

Auckland

Auckland

International Socialist Organisation members joined over one thousand others in rallies across the country last weekend, protesting against rape and sexual violence. Members in Tamaki Makaurau report a lively and energetic, mostly young, crowd at that city’s demonstration. Many in the crowd were receptive to left-wing ideas and arguments: we distributed many hundreds of leaflets outlining our analysis of why misogyny is so rampant in this society, and sold around 85 copies of Socialist Review nationally.

Shomi Yoon reports from Poneke: “Whatever we wear, wherever we go, Yes means yes, and no means no”.

This was the chant that boomed through the Wellington streets. Some 1000 protestors gathered against a culture that normalizes rape behaviour. The protest stopped outside the Wellington Central Police Station to express disgust at the way police have handled the “Roast busters” issue. Organiser Anne Russell said, that despite what the Police have to say about protecting society “It is clear to everyone here that the Police have no interest in ending rape culture or protecting rape victims”. She also pointed out the hypocrisy of Police stating that they the only reason they failed to shut down the “Roastbusters” group due to lack of evidence:

“Some of the people here are members of the Uruwera 19, the police felt they could arrest people on evidence as flimsy as a text message which joked about catapulting a bus on to George Bush, this [Police inaction] is not about a lack of evidence. It is because they don’t care about rape.”

Other speeches also emphasised the fact that despite the outpouring of public anger at the actions of the “Roastbusters”; rape and the suffering that comes with it is an unexceptional occurrence in the society we live and, that the states lack of concern about slashing funding for rape crisis and other related public services illustrates “rape culture in action”.

ISO Poneke collected $250 for organizers to distribute to Rape Crisis and education group SAPPAN (joint project between Rape Crisis, Help, and STOP).

[Read more…]

Auckland Action Against Poverty Welfare Impact

560983_501014533245828_1675135460_nToday I am going to give a brief overview of the recent Auckland Action Against Poverty Welfare Impact that I attended, what drives me to work in this area, and my plans to build a sustainable welfare advocacy service in Otepoti.

Firstly, my interest in welfare stems from my upbringing, living in a household sustained by the Domestic Purposes Benefit, and my personal experience being a sole parent receiving what was called the DPB before the National Government abolished it, and classed all parents as ‘jobseekers.’

A small disclaimer: I am not a “jobseeker” and no sole parent in Aotearoa is a jobseeker.  Parents have a job already, the most important job there is, to care for our babies and build healthy, happy, and capable, children.

Recent attacks on welfare effectively undermine parenting as a valid, fundamentally important function in Aotearoa. They try to set paid workers against unpaid workers, to ensure people in the paid working class attack unpaid workers instead of the real target, the ruling class. [Read more…]

Syria: No to Assad, No to US Imperialism

Syria-Civil-WarThe Syrian civil war has come about as a response to the rule of Bashar al-Assad who succeeded his father in the year 2000, coming into presidency with strong support of the people and with aspirations of democracy and secularism. However, as his presidency unfolded, not much changed for the Syrian people. The economy was still strongly controlled by the authorities and any signs of uprising or Arab Spring type movements were not met “democratically”.

This crackdown began by heavy monitoring of the internet, which led to nationwide detainment, torturing and killing of political dissidents. The official civil war didn’t begin until early 2011. Many people, inspired by the Arab Spring, felt it was time to protest for reform and demanded Assad resign. The regime was met with the biggest protests in decades – their response was to mow these unarmed protesters down right across the country. [Read more…]

Auckland University Students Rally Against Fee Increases

IMG_0671On the afternoon of Monday the 21st of October a rally of around 50 to 100 people was held in front of the steps of the Old Choral Hall at the University of Auckland, protesting fee increases and the increasing commodification of education. The rally was in protest of the yearly fee increases and the increasing commodification of education. We supported this rally and had our Auckland University student members attend.

The rally kicked off with an open forum, where anyone could come up and speak. Among the speakers were two lecturers; two representatives from AUSA, the Auckland University student union; and speakers from the ISO.

IMG_0645The rally then marched to a lecture theatre where a live stream of the fee meeting was being streamed, but as soon as we went in the steam stopped and we were told to leave. We then marched to the Symonds St–Alfred St intersection where we stopped to occupy the area. Prior to the rally an effigy of Steven Joyce, National’s Minister for Tertiary Education, was created. He was burnt as a symbol of students’ disgust.

The occupation of the intersection lasted until 17:30, and then the remaining protesters broke up to continue discussions.

Charles Gu

More pictures below:

[Read more…]

Protesting the GCSB

20130727_150350Thousands of people in 11 different centres turned out to protest the extension of the power of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). That the protests drew such good numbers even though the demonstrations were called at short notice and were, in many centres, virtually unadvertised, is a sign of the depth of opposition. [Read more…]

Demand Justice for Trayvon Martin

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“Open season […] after a verdict like this”: that’s how Gary Younge describes the situation. “Let it be noted that on this day, Saturday 13 July 2013, it was still deemed legal in the US to chase and then shoot dead an unarmed young black man on his way home from the store because you didn’t like the look of him.”

Protests drawing in tens of thousands are taking place across the United States, expressing outrage at the acquittal of a racist killer. The verdict has been passed on American racism.

Mana on campus called a snap action outside the US High Commission in Auckland this evening, and we were proud to stand in solidarity with all those protesting this criminal injustice in the United States and abroad.

US socialist Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor ends her response to the acquittal with these powerful words from Martin Luther King:

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

The Free Fare struggle rises up

Taking to the streets in São Paulo to protest public transit fare hikes (Sean Purdy)

Taking to the streets in São Paulo to protest public transit fare hikes (Sean Purdy)

Sean Purdy, a member of the Party of Socialism and Freedom (PSOL) and activist in the Free Fare movement in São Paulo, reports from Brazil on a police assault.

SÃO PAULO was a war zone the night of June 13 as riot police viciously attacked a peaceful demonstration of the Free Fare movement, which is protesting hikes in bus and subway fares.

Despite massive police repression and the intransigence of the city and state governments, there are have been four large demonstrations in the last two weeks by the Free Fare movement in São Paulo, South America’s largest city.

Polls show that a majority of residents support the demonstrations. Protests have spread to several other Brazilian cities that also face increases in public transit fares, and there have been demonstrations of solidarity organized or planned in several dozen cities in Europe and North America. Messages of solidarity have also been sent from the protestors in Taksim Square in Turkey.

Hundreds of videos and testimonies, from both demonstrators and the mainstream media, show that during the June 13 protest, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets indiscriminately at peaceful demonstrators, journalists and passersby. Dozens of demonstrators were injured, along with at least eight journalists, one of whom was blinded in one eye after being struck by a rubber bullet. [Read more…]

Solidarity with Turkey’s Protesters!

20130607_17121015 people joined a symbolic picket of Turkey’s Embassy in Wellington on Friday, answering the call from demonstrators in Turkey for solidarity.

The action was called by the International Socialists, but drew support and participation from local anarchists, other socialists and trade unionists.

The protests in Turkey are fighting for democratic rights and the control of public space against an aggressively neoliberal government.

Our action was small, but was one of many around the world showing support for the movement in Turkey. It gathers together Kurdish groups and Turkish socialists, LGBT groups, secular and Islamic currents, and trade union power, all united against the government’s savage repression.

At the picket we read out of this message of support from the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, passed on by Peter Conway:

“The NZCTU condemns the actions taken by the Turkish government which began as attacks on people including unionists complaining about the demolition of a city park to replace it with a shopping centre, and has grown into repression of widespread public protests. We are informed that it is now becoming general repression against legitimate opposition to the government’s actions. Along with the International Trade Union Confederation, Turkish national trade union centres KESK and DISK, and many others, we call on the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to release the many trade unionists, journalists and others the government is unjustifiably holding in detention, and begin dialogue to find a just resolution of the concerns of the thousands of people protesting. We join with a coalition of Turkish organisations including trade unions in calling on the Turkish government to free all those arrested; drop all charges against them; hold accountable those responsible for the police violence; and lift all bans on meetings and demonstrations.”

Wellington McDonald’s workers standing strong

Photo Credit: Damon Rusden

Photo Credit: Damon Rusden

Members of our Wellington branch were proud this morning to stand in solidarity with Unite union members striking for a living wage at McDonald’s. McDonald’s makes hefty profits, but its workers, on casual contracts, are paid minimum wages.

The strike was solid – union members on a morning shift came out, and were joined by supporters from the union movement. It was great to see flags and banners from the NZNO (the nurses’ union), First Union, and the Tertiary Education Union.
McDonalds is using bullying and intimidation to try and scare workers out of standing up for themselves. We saw that this morning. At one stage the store even sent people to hand out free vouchers to commuters leaving the railway station! But the strike stayed solid.
Unionised McDonald’s workers are an inspiration to us all.
More pictures below the fold: