Showing posts from July, 2008

Double standards

The media celebration over the capture of Bosnian Serb warlord Radovan Karadzic has very little to do with any notion of “justice” for his victims. It continues a simplistic myth put forward by Western leaders and the media in the 1990s – that ancient ethnic divisions lay behind the break-up of Yugoslavia and that the Serbs were the chief aggressors. Portraying the Balkan tragedy as the result of a simple clash between “good” and “bad” was useful for the West. It hid its role in the break-up of the country and justified Western intervention. The disintegration of Yugoslavia was bloody and all sections of its multi-ethnic population suffered pogroms and ethnic cleansing. But while the “international community” hunted for Serb war criminals, it supported the likes of Croatia’s notorious President, Franjo Tudjman – who has the blood of 20,000 Croatian Serbs on his hands. Tony Blair and Bill Clinton waged a brutal war on Serbia in 1999 in the name of “humanitarian intervention”.

The WTO: trading in the rights of the poor

Comment from Alex Callinicos Gordon Brown often seeks refuge from a disastrous domestic scene by banging on about the Doha round of international talks on trade liberalisation. At the G8 summit last month, he issued a statement with President Lula of Brazil warning that, if the talks remained deadlocked, “we will be failing the world’s poor and destroying the best basis for continued economic growth in the future”. Assuming you ever knew what the Doha round is, you would be forgiven for having forgotten all about it. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) met at the Doha Sheraton Hotel and Resort in the Gulf state of Qatar in November 2001. The meeting was a response to two disasters our rulers had suffered – the collapse of the WTO summit in Seattle amid mass protests two years earlier and the attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001. It rallied together the world’s ruling classes to reaffirm that free market capitalism is the way forward for humankind. The WTO launched a n

Italy- Rifondazione shifts to the Left

Chris Bambery reports from Chinciano Terme, Italy The largest party of the European radical left, Rifondazione Comunista of Italy, held its national congress last weekend and made a decisive shift to the left. This was a defeat for the long time national secretary of Rifondazione, Faust Bertinotti, and the man tipped to succeed him, the regional governor of Puglia, Nichi Vendola. At its previous congress three years ago, Rifondazione voted to join a coalition government of the centre left led by Romano Prodi. That was elected with the narrowest of majorities in 2006 but thrown out this year. This year’s congress was held in the wake of April’s decisive electoral win for a right wing coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi. The radical left lost 2.5 million votes and, for the first time since the fall of fascism in 1945, there will be no communists in the Italian parliament. The harsh reality of Berlusconi’s new government were brought home to all with the news that a national state of

Protests against Condoleezza Rice in Auckland

What a Bunch of Bankers...

ANZ National denies workers a fair deal. ANZ National CEO Graham Hodges has personally shunned giving workers a fair payrise. Finsec National Organiser Bella Pardoe met with Graham Hodges to put the case forward as only 4% has been offered by ANZ National. Workers are asking for a 5% increase - equal with what inflation is tipped to be during the upcoming September quarter. Instead 4% is all the bank has offered. 4%?! Let's put this into perspective. According to Finsec: *Moving from a 4% to a 5% pay rise for union members would cost the bank no more than $1.4 million or approximately 0.12% of the bank's profit after tax (based on statistics of 2006/2007 financial year). *CEO Graham Hodges' salary is nearly twice as much as the difference between giving Finsec members a 5% instead of 4% pay rise. *From AC Nielsen figures gathered in an annual report on top advertising spenders, ANZ & National banks combined spent over $28 million on TV & press advertising to the en

Urgent Appeal for Solidarity with South Korean activists

Dear comrades and friends, On July 24, the Lee Myung-bak government issued arrest warants to the leadership of the KCTU. Immediately, the police surrounded the main office building of the KCTU ready to move in to arrest the leadership of the KCTU. This alarming and serious attack is one of many the Lee Myung-bak government is engaged in to repress the newly resurrected people's power in South Korea sparked by the uproar over the US beef import. Please read the letter of urgent appeal for action issued by the coalition against mad cow disease, a coalition of more than 1,700 organizations which has been leed the candle light movement. All responses and inquries should go to . Thank you in advance for your solidarity. CJ Park ****************************** Urgent Appeal for Action Greetings of international solidarity! Staring May 2, 2008, South Korean people took to the streets holding candle lights in protest to various policies (import of US beefs

Protest- No welcome for Condi Rice in Auckland!

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is arriving in Auckland this Friday night and will be having meetings in Auckland on Saturday with Winston Peters, Helen Clarke and John Keys among other friends. A protest will be held to tell her that she is NOT welcome here. She provides the soft public face for a host of aggressive, immoral policies to expand the US empire. For example she has fronted policies resulting in the death of one million Iraqi civilians in return for US control of Iraq's oil resources. She should be indicted for war crimes. * When: 1.30pm Saturday 26th July (this Saturday) * Where: Meet at the corner of Carlton Gore Road and Parks Road (Auckland Domain) * What: Rally and march to Government House, Mountain Road to give Rice a VERY cold welcome * Bring noise makers, banners and placards Rice's Itinerary: Friday 25/7, 10:45pm - Arrives in Auckland Saturday 26/7, 11am - Powhiri at Government House followed by meetings with Winston Peters and Helen Clark. Finishe

Solidarity with West Papua- Picket the Superfund Office

Everyday ordinary West Papuans stare ecocide and genocide in the face with nothing more than their commitment to freedom. Surely we can back them up with a little commitment of our own. Join the picket of the Superfund office on August 1 and tell the Superfund that our future and the future of the Papuan people is not in Freeport. Papuan peoples resistance is a last bastion of defence against the Indonesian military and the American corporation that runs the Freeport McMoran mine, the world's largest copper and gold mine. Freeport "has an unparalleled record of human rights and environmental abuse" in relation to that mine - it has created a 230 square kilometre barren wasteland of dumped mine tailings, and the destruction of the local environment is visible from space. The impact of the mine is particularly devastating for the indigenous Amungme and Kamoro people who have lost the traditional lands and aquatic resources that they rely on for survival, as well as being fo

Organise to protest against Condoleeza Rice

Kia ora Koutou, Please circulate widely. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is visiting New Zealand from late Friday 25th to early Sunday 27th July. It's the highest ranking US govt visit to New Zealand in a decade. Rice is a key figure in the Bush administration and was central to preparing the ground for the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Global Peace and Justice Auckland are organising protest action. Everyone welcome to a planning meeting to be held on - Wednesday 23rd July Unite Office 6A Western Springs Road Morningside 7.30pm to 8.30pm Regards, John Minto Phone 0064 9 8463173 or 8469496

US pays the price for Afghan occupation

by Simon Assaf The battle for a military outpost in a forgotten corner of Afghanistan has vividly exposed the turmoil inside the Nato-led occupation of the country. Rebel tribes, together with insurgents and locals enraged by a US airstrike on a wedding party, overran a US military outpost last Sunday in the town of Wanat, in the east of Afghanistan, about 35 miles from the Pakistan border. Nine US soldiers were killed in the ensuing battle – the biggest loss of life for US troops in ground battles since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. The occupation is often presented as a “good war”, in contrast to the turmoil in Iraq. But the Wanat incident shows how this war is also heading into crisis. The attack prompted Barack Obama, widely touted as the “anti-war” US presidential candidate, to promise an extra 10,000 US troops for Afghanistan. But this falls short of the 250,000 Nato says it needs to stabilise the occupation. Sir Jock Stirrup, the British chief of defence staff, insisted to t

Solidarity Australia- Rudd's Iraq withdrawal and the new US plan

Robert Nicholas explains the realities of Rudd's "withdrawal" from the occupation of Iraq and the new US bid for ongoing control of the region. ON JUNE 28 Kevin Rudd attended a parade in the streets of Brisbane to welcome the 550 Australian soldiers recently withdrawn from Iraq. The parade forms part of a broader attempt to establish that Australian troops have done a "good job" in Iraq, masking both the bloody realities of the war and substantial, continuing Australian involvement. Since the US troop "surge" which began in early 2007, political leaders and the mainstream media have pushed the idea of a "relative calm" across the country. However, as Australian troops parade, Iraqis will continue to suffer under a siege taking place in Baghdad's Sadr city which has already killed over 800 people, the imposition of "security accords" that allow the establishment of 400 permanent US military bases in Iraq and relentless bombing ra

The morning after the summer of love

The morning after the summer of love A performance Poetry Show about 1968: the year of revolt Written and performed by Scream Blue Murmur Formerly the Belfast Poets Touring Group "Their lyrical content is off the hizzle!" KFM Radio, Auckland Scream Blue Murmur (formerly the Belfast Poets Touring Group) are a performance poetry group comprising of Phatbob, Chelley Mclear, Aisling Doherty, Ellen Factor and Gordon Hewitt. They have been performing together for around three years and have completed three major tours in that time, Australia in 2006, Ireland in early 2007, and a world tour, United States, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore in mid 2007. Their poetry is a unique blend of song, chants, cadences and traditional poetic writing performed with a unique style which emerged from the various open mic evening held in Derry and Belfast in Northern Ireland. It isn't strictly poetry, but it isn't strictly anything else either. They have performed at the

21st Century Marie Antoinettes- G8 gorge on Truffle Soup whilst Africa starves

World leaders are not renowned for their modest wine selections or reticence at the G8 summit's cheese board. True to form, discussing the global food crisis – spiralling grocery prices in the developed world and starvation in Africa – was clearly hungry work that left their stomachs rumbling. Shortly after calling for us all to waste less food, and for an end to three-for-two deals in British supermarkets, Gordon Brown joined his fellow G8 premiers and their wives for an eight-course Marie Antoinette-style "Blessings of the Earth and the Sea Social Dinner", courtesy of the Japanese government. The global food shortage was not evident. As the champagne flowed, the couples enjoyed 18 "higher-quality ingredients", beginning with amuse-bouche of corn stuffed with caviar, smoked salmon and sea urchin pain-surprise-style, hot onion tart and winter lily bulbs. With translations helpfully provided by the hosts, the starter menu (second course) read like a meal in itsel

Cry out in anger at Egypt’s show trials

Activists have launched a solidarity campaign as 49 Egyptians facing charges after the Mahalla uprising, writes Hossam el-Hamalawy The US-backed regime of Hosni Mubarak is prosecuting 49 Egyptians in the Emergency High State Security Criminal Court. It is accusing them of involvement in the recent two day uprising in the Nile Delta town of Mahalla. Egyptian security forces occupied Ghazl el-Mahalla, the biggest textile mill in the Middle East with 27,000 workers, on the 6 and 7 April. They were attempting to crush a strike in protest against skyrocketing food prices. The workers also demanded a raise in the national minimum wage, which has remained stagnant since 1984. The strike was organised by the Textile Workers’ League, an independent union formed last year following a wave of successful textile workers’ occupations. The union called the strike on 6 April. The regime responded by flooding the Nile Delta town with thousands of troops. They surrounded the textile factory compound. T

South Korea’s movement is on the streets in Seoul

More than half a million people took to the streets of South Korea’s capital, Seoul, last Saturday in the latest wave of a movement that is shaking the government of Lee Myung-bak. The movement sprung up in response to the government lifting the ban on imports of US beef in April, which exposed people to the risk of mad cow disease. Last month, following protests involving a million people nationwide, the government went back to the US to negotiate what it said was a new deal. But it only came back with one change – to stop the import of beef from cattle over 30 months old. People know that there is still a risk. The government has also increased repression. Several people from the movement’s leadership have been forced to seek refuge in a temple in the city after the state issued warrants for their arrest. Lee Myung-bak has obviously decided to confront the movement head on. But this is a sign of weakness, not strength. He desperately needs to get the beef issue resolved so that he ca

Competitive Super City sucks

Citizens Against Privatisation submission to the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Auckland Local Government Restructuring, as presented (subheadings added) by Rose Hollins, July 7 2008 [The submitter was greeted by the Hon Peter Salmon, chair of the Royal Commission, David Shand (recent chair of the Rates Inquiry Panel), and Dame Margaret Bazley, and advised in their standard manner that the Commission had read Citizens Against Privatisation' s written submission.] My name is Rose Hollins and I'm one of two spokespeople for Citizens Against Privatisation - our other, Mered Barrar, has already appeared before you. I want to start by greeting and acknowledging us ordinary people who are most of the population, our brothers and sisters of the working class in this rohe and to the north and south, ngā tāngata whenua, tāngata whaiora, tāngata whakaherehere, tāngata kaimahi, rōpū kaimahi, that is, the working people of this community and of the world, whether in work or deprived of wo

Matt McCarten: Mayor's truckie support brings food for thought on lowly paid

I was wondering when New Zealand truckers were going to join their brethren in the rest of the world, and gridlock our major cities in protest at oil prices. But obviously our truckies have already worked out that the price of petrol is driven by monopoly oil producers and greedy speculators rather than any mismanagement of our politicians in Wellington. Most of us know that governments of the world are pretty much hostages, the same as the rest of us. Even George Bush couldn't get his client state Saudi Arabia to increase production to help his political image at home. It's a struggle for us to fill up our cars just once a week. So I can't imagine how truckies must feel, whose livelihoods are at the mercy of the petrol pump. Many owners of small transport companies must lie awake at night knowing that the future of their business is bleak and it's only a matter of time before big transport corporations run them into the ground or snap them up for a song. The Government

G8 anti-capitalist protests in Japan

VIDEO HERE Anti-G8 summit protesters danced to blaring music and marched down the streets of Tokyo in heavy rain on Sunday, accusing the Group of Eight rich nations of causing poverty and world instability. The protests, which have become a fixture at Group of Eight summits, came as Japan tightened security ahead of this year's July 7-9 gathering in Hokkaido, northern Japan. Two separate rallies in the nation's capital gathered over 1,000 people, including anti-capitalists, labour union members and protesters from abroad, such as Spain and South Korea. Security was heavy with hundreds of anti-riot police guarding the streets as protesters walked down Tokyo's central shopping districts, carrying signs proclaiming various agendas such as "shut down G8 summit" and "G8=hunger". Some protesters scuffled with the police. Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi said two people were arrested. Police could not confirm the report. "Issues like environmental destruction

A new Anti Capitalist Party in France?

A leading member of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR) in France, Alain Krivine, spoke to Simon Assaf about moves to form a new anti-capitalist party. The LCR has initiated the formation of a new broader party that it hopes will become a home for wide layers of people opposed to neoliberalism. The initiative grew out of rising struggle in France. “We think that there is a new situation in France which means conditions exist to build a party bigger than the LCR,” Alain told Socialist Worker. “As in the rest of Europe, we are confronted with a major offensive from the ruling class. In France this expressed by the neoliberal policies of the new right wing president Nicolas Sarkozy. “Many people, especially young people, are determined to resist these attacks. “We are witnessing a growing radicalisation in the various struggles and strikes that have erupted.” Alain explained that unlike the struggles of the late 1990s that swept the public sector, this new militancy has spread to t