Wellington Green Party Mayor votes for Outsourcing

After the extraordinary meeting of Wellington City Council. Sold; Maori and Pacific workers with Paul Eagle (left), other councillors and the PSA’s Glen Kelly.

After the extraordinary meeting of Wellington City Council. Sold; Maori and Pacific workers with Paul Eagle (left), other councillors and the PSA’s Glen Kelly.

There has been goings on at Wellington City Council of late to do with privatisation or “outsourcing” of services with a wobbly performance by the centre-left majority on the Council.

In December last year the councillors voted to sack the chief executive of 15 years in a move seen as a bid to rein in the senior management’s pursuit of cutbacks and privatization. Then, typically of the wavering the centre-left group, they voted to replace the top manager with an import from Britain with a reputation as a privatizer.

In March an article by Gordon Campbell revealed the failure of the centre-left to have taken control of Council affairs since the election in 2010 of Green Party Mayor Celia Wade-Brown. Campbell interviewed Labour councillor Paul Eagle:

 From the outset, Eagle explains, management has held the initiative. “There’s been a culture ever since I’ve been here,” he begins, “that anything to do with Council operations has really sat with management.” Councillors were thwarted ‘constantly’ by the distinction between governance vs operational matters. “But in plain English, when things get contracted out, when services get cut, councillors get given very little time, or information about the impacts…I really think what has been missing is the fundamental discussion around what is a public service, and what is commercial.” [Read more…]

The Criminal Injustice System: from Aotearoa to the USA

the-new-jim-crowMichelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow (2011) has caused a huge storm of discussion, debate and controversy in the United States. It may well be a book that sparks a new social movement. Alexander documents the rise of mass incarceration in the USA, and link this to entrenched racism, poverty and injustice. The privatising and ‘outsourcing’ of prison as business, and the ‘law and order’ turn are part of neoliberal politics the world over.

This has obvious relevance in Aotearoa. The prison system disproportionately affects Maori and Pasifika people. The powers of the state – to harass, humiliate, detain and lock-up – are felt every day in brown people’s lives. The history of white settler colonial rule has relied on locking up and disenfranchising Maori people. A new phase in capitalism, and the symptoms of poverty in recession, looks to imprisonment again. [Read more…]

Order Prevails in Berlin! Remembering Rosa Luxemburg

Luxemburg94 years ago today Rosa Luxemburg was murdered. She was one of the great leaders in the history of the socialist movement internationally – a fierce opponent of imperialist war, suffering in jail for her opposition to the carnage of World War One, an original and innovative economist, a theorist of workers’ democracy.

Her book Reform or Revolution remains the classic statement of the case for revolution. Her writings on the mass strike –as fresh today as when they were first written – study how workers’ economic activities lead into political struggles, and how the self-activity of workers in the form of mass strike action is key to democratic, socialist revolution. Her acute analysis of the Russian Revolution – written with warm, but critical, solidarity – contains many insights still of vital relevance. [Read more…]