Showing posts from January, 2009

Protests bring down Iceland’s government

by Chris Bambery The government of Iceland became the first to be driven out of office in this recession by a wave of popular protest this week. Weeks of demonstrations forced prime minister Geir Haarde and his cabinet to resign. Some 10,000 people converged on parliament when it re-opened after the Christmas break. Protesters pelted the prime minister’s car with eggs. They surrounded the vehicle and banged on it with cans. Haarde was rescued by riot police, who used tear gas for the first time since 1949. The demonstrations targeted Iceland’s parliament, government ministers and the country’s central bank. Iceland has been hit badly by growing unemployment as well as sharp rises in food and petrol costs following last October’s bank collapse. Interest rates are now nearly 20 percent. People know they will be expected to pay for the huge foreign debts amassed by the banks. The resignation of Haarde, who belongs to the right wing Independence party means his coalition partner

How to fight Redundancies, Socialist Style!

Redundancy is a shocking experience. It disrupts your plans and hopes for your future. Your company is also conveying a message: We do not care about you – profit is all that counts. Of course, they don’t put it as bluntly as this. Your CEO or manager will probably appear on the media and talk about how sad they are but it had to be done for ‘competitiveness’. But they mean: workers are worth nothing, profit is all that counts. Global society is experiencing a 1930s style crash and we can no longer accept this. This is the 21st century and all of us have a Right to Work. It is time to assert that people and our lives are more important than a company’s ‘bottom line’ If you are facing redundancy, socialists advise you to take the following steps: ❶ Call a meeting of your workmates to discuss the situation. Elect people to represent you, either by endorsing your existing delegates or electing new representatives. Make sure that the meeting is conducted properly by asking people to vote f

Israel’s bloody war fails to achieve aims

by Simon Assaf Israel claimed victory over Hamas and other Palestinian resistance organisations as it announced a unilateral ceasefire last Sunday after spending three weeks pounding Gaza. Israeli leaders hoped they could destroy the resistance by demolishing Palestinian government buildings, schools, offices and homes. They launched wave after wave of attacks, which killed over 1,300 Palestinians. But Israel failed in its objectives. Despite the devastation visited upon them, Hamas survived and was not driven from Gaza. Many Palestinians have rallied to its support. A second central aim of the war was to stop the Palestinian rockets, but they were still flying as the ceasefire came into effect. Huge protests around the world have also increased the pressure on Israel, and opposition to its oppression of the Palestinians has grown. Israel’s military has not regained its aura of invincibility, which it lost after its defeat at the hands of the Lebanese Hizbollah group in 2006.

Defend Thai Socialist Giles Ji Ungpakorn

An edited version of the letter below was published today in the London Guardian . Please make use of the letter and organize protests/pressure on your local Thai embassy. The threat to Giles is very real, and Amnesty International has been shamefully slow in taking his case up. We wish to express our deep concern at the decision of the Thai Police Special Branch to prosecute Associate Professor Giles Ji Ungpakorn,of the Political Science Faculty at Chulalongkorn University, with lèse majesté – that is, with insulting King Bhumibol . Mr Ungpakorn is a well-known commentator on Thai politics, widely quoted in the international media. The charge arises from his book A Coup for the Rich , published in 2007. In that book he criticized the coup of 19 September 2006, in which the military seized political power in Thailand. Mr Ungpakorn argued that the army, along with the rest of the Thai establishment, used the monarchy to legitimize its political interventions. This is the kind of analy

A Letter from Ireland

Ireland is a country much praised by neoliberal economists, paternership trade unionists and mainstream politicians in New Zealand as an example to follow. But the Global economic crisis is ripping the country apart, and points to how deep cuts and mass unemployment can radicalise workers, students and pensioners in a nation the same size as NZ. Irish socialist James O Toole writes for Socialist Aotearoa- In the last week the Irish government has announced that it is about to undertake another round of cuts,this time amounting to close to 2billion euro .These new cuts come of top of last year's huge attacks on working people, students, pensioners and the unemployed in the Fianna Fail/Green Party coalition's budget. Creches are closing down. Hospitals are like warzones. Cervical cancer vaccines for young girls have been canceled. Education provisions for the deprived Traveller community are to be cut. Fees are to be introduced in the colleges. Up to 2000 teachers are to lose

Auckland vigil remembers the dead, celebrate's Bush's fall

Rose's poem was powerful [In square brackets, italics: small amendments/updates by Rose Hollins, night of Tues Jan 20, 2009, as read to activists marking the end of George Bush's Reign of Terror, at US Consulate, Auckland.] BEFORE I START THIS POEM Emmanuel Ortiz, 2002 Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me In a moment of silence In honour of those who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001. I would also like to ask you To offer up a moment of silence For all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned, disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes, For the victims in both Afghanistan and the US And if I could just add one more thing... A full day of silence For the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the hands of US-backed Israeli forces over decades of occupation. [A silence for evermore for Gaza. WE ARE ALL GAZA.] Si