Showing posts from September, 2010

$15ph not 15% GST Strike!

The UTU Picket seals off the St Lukes store Paul, Delegate from the New Lynn store, first time on strike Corporate HQ stormed. Video to follow. 3, 5, 7, 9- Never cross a picket line. On the day National hiked GST to 15%, Unite's UTU Squad was joined by striking delegates from Jb Hifi stores in New Lynn and Albany. The Wellington JB store also was paralysed by strike. The squad picketed the stores in New Lynn and St Lukes, before busting throughthe front doors of JB's Corporate HQ. Rather than talk to the delegates about the crisis of understaffing, low pay, cutbacks in hours and security, management at Head Office retreated from the reception area and hid behind closed doors. This has been their behaviour throughout with a workforce that is finding its own voice. The UTU Squad and striking delegates then stuck the following notice to the door- WHY WE ARE STRIKING TODAY GST is going up to 15%- but wages stay put. This is a tax that hits workers on low incomes hardest

Which way the wind blows

Commentary- Joe Carolan, Socialist Aotearoa Ten million workers on a general strike in Spain. Cop cars burning in Barcelona. The biggest workers action in Spain since the Revolution. And the anger is rising. The European Parliament barricaded in Brussels, protected by baton wielding robocops from over 100,000 workers representing unions throughout the continent. Banners flying from Greece, Italy, England, Portugal, Scandanivia- one continent, one struggle. The Peoples of Europe are rising up. There were marches in Poland and in Eastern Europe. The radical left makes connection again with workers unions after two decades of unrestrained neoliberalism replaced Stalinist state capitalism. Solidarnosc! And back in the Ould Sod, ruled by a drunken bumbling Prime Minister who has given more money to one bank than the whole of the G8 promised to give Sub Saharan Africa, the radical alternative to a spineless and pathetic union bureaucracy hits the ground running by ramming the gates of

Dancing on ACT's Grave

Commentary- Andrew Tait, ISO Dunedin To watch the ACT party - once the mouthpiece of the ruling class, showered with money and praise by the elite, feted by the media lapdogs as the voice of economic reason, a party blessed with every advantage except policies palatable to ordinary people - to watch this party fall apart under the weight of its own contradictions is a rare pleasure. Dancing with the Stars was a laugh, Garret was a sick joke, and Hilary Calvert promises to bring a more serious level of insane fanaticism to the ACT caucus. To be sure, the ascension of Calvert to the Beehive will not on its own end the ACT party, but it is yet another sign of the evaporation of its talent pool. Calvert won 1.8% of the vote in Dunedin North in the 2008 election - that's 573 electorate votes and just 749 party votes. That's less than 100 votes better than the Legalise Cannabis candidate. For contrast, directly above her, Metiria Turei won 3,611 electorate votes and 522

Kia Ora Gaza - Breaking the siege of Palestine

It's sickening to watch the Delhi Commonwealth games descends into utter shambles and absurdity with pampered athletes moaning about their ( obviously unclean ) accomodation in a country where the population of people living in slums is set to be 93.06 million next year . 23 times the population of Aotearoa living in houses without access to drinking water, toilets or drainage and yet the major story is that the building dust hasn't been cleaned out of the bathrooms. For many Indians it would be nice just to have a bathroom. On the other hand one Kiwi team we should be all cheering for is the Kia Ora Gaza crew, trekking their way across Europe on the way to break the siege of Palestine. With nearly $90k of their $100k target raised these activists have strengthened and demonstrated the support for the Palestinian people in this country. As Chris Van Ryn, one of the activists on board the convoy described life on the road , It’s hard. It’s stressful. It’s uncomfortable. And it’

Ending rainforest destruction - direct action at Fonterra

Earlier this morning Greenpeace activists announced , Greenpeace activists have barricaded the entrance to Fonterra’s corporate headquarters in Princes St, Auckland. The (1.8 high x 2.4 metre long) barricade has large TV screens built into it, which are delivering shocking scenes from the expansion of the currently unsustainable palm industry into the rainforests of South East Asia. Fonterra buys its palm kernel animal feeds from this industry. A Greenpeace New Zealand-led team was arrested and detained for 23 hours in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, last Sunday (September 19 – 20) while documenting this expansion. The memory cards and tapes from their cameras were wiped, in an effort to censor what the team had witnessed. But the team had already sent some vision back to New Zealand. Those images are included in the video being played out of the barricade. The Greenpeace team is also this morning moving through Fonterra’s office

NZ's biggest mall? No thanks say St. Lukes residents

According to the Herald , Westfield has been given permission to double the size of its St Lukes shopping centre, making it the country's biggest, despite protests by local residents. (...) Graham Dekker, an Aroha Ave resident and convener of a St Lukes community group opposing the plans, said the changes were a big blow. "This decision is incomprehensible. There will be 10m buildings across the road from our houses which is unnecessary and not even what Westfield wanted. If malls look bad on the outside, they are completely repulsive on the inside as well, The stores, products and services offered are similar across different malls, and even countries, creating an undifferentiated mall culture with little room for local experience. Furthermore, shopping malls appeal to mid- and uppermarket affluent consumers. They keep out symbolically, if not physically, “socially undesirable” parts of the population through the use of security and surveillance techniques. In shoppi

The Locals: Bright, Brown or Vermunt?

Auckland Supercity Mayor debate- who should the Left support? Commentary- Joe Carolan I've just come back from a Supercity Mayoral Candidate's debate in the Quad, hosted by AUSA, in which most of the main candidates (bar John Banks) appeared, and several of those supported causes that Socialist Aotearoa members have been campaigning on. At the end, I was approached by a young student activist, who asked me which candidate we would endorse. A good question. One that this blog hopes to answer in the next period. Len Brown was clearly the favourite, with an army of Labour/Green "City Vision" placard holders, and a down to earth folksly style. How are YOU doin'? And Len said some good things- he was a big supporter of the Living Wage campaign, he wanted swimming pools to be free all across the Auckland Supercity area like they are in Manukau, he wanted better public transport options etc. He's been listening to workers at NDU stop works and he promised a plac

David Harvey: Explaining the crisis

"How it’s going to turn out is going to depend very much, it seems to me, on the way in which the class struggle evolves..." A interview with DAVID HARVEY in International Socialist Review . David Harvey is a Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), Director of The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, and author of numerous books. He has been teaching Karl Marx’s Capital for nearly forty years. Hector Agredano spoke to him in New York about his recent book The Enigma of Capital , the economic crisis, and the response from the left. IN THE Enigma of Capital you attack mainstream economists for failing to anticipate the crisis. Can you talk about why bourgeois economists missed the coming crisis, which many Marxists predicted? How is Marxism superior to bourgeois economics in this respect? I THINK the central idea in Marxism is of course one of contradiction, that the capitalist system is seen in

Indymedia video report of union protest

Don't hate the media, be the media! Independent news and views at:

A Sick Joke

Employers will be able to demand that workers prove they are sick by producing a Doctor's Certificate. After only one day. Try booking a Doctor's appointment now for later on today. 5 sick days a year is a joke. Many union contracts now have 7 or 10. Lets organise to get more rights, not less. It's this system that is sick.

Wellington forum - Politics after the quake


Teachers power- 2,000 strikers on Queen Street

TV3 News HERE One News HERE Over 2,000 striking teachers and their supporters marched down Auckland's Queen Street this afternoon, as their battle for fair pay and conditions with the Tory Government began. There were banners there from all of Auckland's major schools, showing a high degree of local and rank and file organisation, making the PPTA a force to be reckoned with. The PPTA strikers were supported by their close brothers and sisters in the NZEI, some of whom joined the march on solidarity in their lunch break. There were also banners from the SFWU, Unite and Socialist Aotearoa. The one day strike was a great display of strength, but now should be followed up with rapidly escalating tactics. The Government will ignore one day strikes and use the media to vilify and demonise striking teachers. But society cannot function if schools go on indefinite strike- and its time the Nats were dealt a bloody nose by the union movement. Text of Socialist Aotearoa

It's a Class Quake

Commentary: John Minto It took three days but it was a welcome announcement from Prime Minister John Key that the government will meet some wage costs for Christchurch workers in small businesses (less than 20 employees) who are unable to work because of the earthquake. Key's payment plan expects to help around 10,000 workers meaning an initial cost of $15 million. It sounds a lot but it's a piddle in the pool compared to the eye-popping sums we are likely to hear before the end of the week when the government announces its first comprehensive rebuilding plans. The government will provide $350 a week for the next four weeks and John Key hopes employers will top up the pay to each worker's usual rate when they are unable to work. In general terms (and yes there will be exceptions) companies are more easily able to withstand the financial shock of four weeks without work than are families which struggle to make ends meet in our chronic low-pay economy.

France- the workers of Europe are rising up

"we are all together in the struggle!" The Theatre National De Chaillot was closed Tuesday September 7th- from the building hung a huge white sheet spray painted in big red and black lettering stating – “The theatre is closed as the workers are on strike!”. In Paris the protest march far exceeded organizers expectations and had to be split into two parallel routes to facilitate the massive crowds. It is estimated that up to 2.7 million people took to the streets with protests in 220 sites across France. Under the slogan “Let’s refuse austerity plans” the working class has shut down Planes, Trains and Public Sector workplaces (including the Postal Service). The entire Atlantic port of St Nazarre was completely closed. Although the main issue behind Tuesday’s protests is the suggested raising of the pension age from 60 to 62 years people are furious with a government with scandal trailing in its wake. Minister of Labour, Eric Woe

Millions of French workers on strike for pensions

French trade union members walk past posters showing French Labour minister Eric Woerth and Liliane Bettencourt, France's richest woman and the heiress of L'Oreal empire, reading 'There's no money left for retirement, let's redistribute wealth' and another of Sarkozy reading 'OUT' Millions of French workers joined strikes and marches on Tuesday against plans to savage their pensions. The protests were bigger than those over the same issue in June, which were themselves larger than the ones in May. Right wing president Nicolas Sarkozy has announced a rise in the minimum retirement age to 62. And to get a full state pension workers will have to stay in employment until they are 67. Workers’ contributions are also rising. France’s eight union federations sent out a united call to strike this time—and workers responded magnificently. Strikes hit schools, the post, transport, the civil service, hospitals and many other public services.

The Locals: Public transport around Aotearoa

As we wrote in our last The Locals post , public transport is a key issue in the Auckland Council showdown. Yet throughout Aotearoa transport issues are going to be hotly debated with right wing business based candidates and councillors keen to keep the traffic jams growing with while left and green candidates attempt to defend and extend public transport from the ever present threat of privatisation, underinvestment and closure. The following snapshots of the transport issue around the country give some indication of the nature of the struggle between working people and big business and the oil, trucking and road industry. Gisborne-Napier Rail Link On New Zealand’s east coast campaigners are fighting hard to keep the rail line between Napier and Gisborne from closure. The line which handles freight movements is marked for closure even as timber movements boom in the area . “A report indicated that the difficult stretch of State Highway 2 between Gisborne and Napier would have to hand

A Step Forward for Socialist Organisation in Aotearoa

Commentary- Mike Tait, International Socialist Organisation At a conference held in Auckland on September 4, representatives of Socialist Aotearoa from Auckland and Wellington and the International Socialists Organisation from Dunedin established a firm foundation for future cooperation. The benefits for both organisations of closer cooperation are numerous. The ISO, formed in 1993, is the longest established revolutionary socialist group in Aotearoa, but has struggled with its geographic isolation in a small university city in the far south of the country. Over the years, too many good comrades have left socialist organisation behind when they left Dunedin. Socialist Aotearoa is strongest in Auckland and its members have a wealth of experience in union work. Recently, SA has gained a number of good ISO comrades who have moved to Wellington and Auckland. The ISO magazine, Socialist Review, will fill a gap in SA's propaganda arsenal, and will in turn be strengthened and enriched by