Showing posts from November, 2010

The courage to resist – how a 22 year old changed the world

"God knows what happens now. Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms. If not … than we're doomed as a species. I will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens." - Bradley Manning Behind the headlines of the Wikileaks leak of a quarter of a million cables is one of the most remarkable tales of our generation. It is fascinating to watch as the full extent of the cables leak becomes known and as the global public begins to realise the full extent of the atrocities and ironies of the United States imperial reach. Noam Chomsky has rightly said that Wikileaks shows us, “That one of the major reasons for government secrecy is to protect the government from its own population”. As Chomsky has also said, “Perhaps the most dramatic revelation, or mention, is the bitter hatred of democracy that is revealed both by the U.S. Government – Hillary Clinton, others – and also by the diplomatic service.” As the newspaper pages fill in coming weeks and

Austerity on steroids -

The economic unraveling of Ireland highlights the severity of the financial crisis--and the increasingly severe government cutbacks that will be used to pay for it. November 24, 2010 Protesters in Dublin march against the government's plan for deep cuts in public services (William Murphy) FIRST, THE government devotes enormous sums to bailing out the banks. That causes budget deficits to balloon. Then the government imposes austerity by cutting wages, raising regressive taxes and slashing social spending. This is the essence of what happened in Ireland to lead to the approximately $114 billion "rescue" of the economy by the European Union (EU). The same happened to Greece before Ireland, and the dynamics have been similar in the U.S. and other countries. It's an international drive to impose austerity--from European bureaucrats twisting arms in Dublin and Athens, to the bipartisan gang in the U.S. that wants to carve up Social Security and Medicare. The

Defending Porirua!

Commentary: Lisa Stoneham, Unite Delegate, Porirua As a Porirua local, I didn’t know much about the by elections that were coming up. When Omar mentioned the by election to me, at that stage I didn’t even think I was going to vote as at this time I did not know I couldn’t vote due to being on the maori electoral roll. I didn’t know anything about those running and I only thought it was Hekia Parata and Kris Faafoi anyway. All I saw around was billboards with their faces and party name. I didn’t think anything else of the conversation with Omar or the by election. Some time later Shanna said to me on facebook, watch the news tomorrow. She wouldn’t tell me why. I found out later on that night though. I can’t remember what my initial reaction was but I think I was a bit surprised in a good way. As a member of Unite Union, my support for Matt McCarten from the beginning may have been biased but it was soon apparent to me and I believe to many others as well, this new runner to

The Mana By-Election. An insider’s view

Commentary- Shanna Olsen Reader, Unite Delegate and Matt4Mana activist A lot has been said on Matt McCartens Mana by-election campaign, but unfortunately mostly from people who had little to no input or in fact any actual experience of it at all. I took annual leave from my Administrator job to spend three weeks volunteering in Porirua. I walked the streets, I knocked on doors, and I shook hands with the people. I made real connections with residents and they were kind enough to give me their time and tell me their stories. If anyone should be commenting on Matt’s campaign it should be the people who were there on the ground. This is the real story of the Mana by-election. Matt McCarten gave people a choice. A real choice. 800 people took that opportunity and voted for him on polling day. We didn’t need catchy slogans or a drive-by loudspeaker at 8 in the morning to get our votes. We ran that campaign on the bones of our asses out of a makeshift office in the Porirua mall and got 800 v

Solidarity with the Pike River Miners and their families

'The victims of industrialism are more numerous than the victims of war.' - Ruskin. Socialist Aotearoa sends its love and solidarity to the families of the Pike River Miners tonight, as they await news about their loved ones. The Miners are the backbone of the New Zealand working class, and they deserve the best of health and safety. One single life is not worth the millions the companies make from the sweat of the miners brow- Joe Carolan, on behalf of Socialist Aotearoa A dirge for the miners, the brave Huntly miners, O'erwhelmed in the drive, where they labour'd for bread; No more shall we see them, no more shall we hear them; In the pride of their manhood, all crushed down and dead. Sleep on, O brave comrades; your life's work is ended— The breadwinner's sailed to a far distant shore; Unflinching you laboured, for home and for kindred; And now all your sorrows in this world are o'er. O, think of their kindred--their nearest and dearest— Their wives and

on Saturday, A New Left Votes

Commentary- Joe Carolan As the Battle of Mana draws to an end, a real victory has already been won. For the last month, the Serious Left in Aotearoa has united in struggle and put in the mahi, fighting on issues that concern working people and that embarass the party apparatchiks from Labour and National. What the final tally will be for Matt McCarten's insurgent campaign, only Saturday can tell. But the New Left has fought hard for every vote it gets, whether high in the hills of Tawa or in the heart of Cannon's Creek. Even those undecided about voting for Matt have supported his radical programme for full employment, higher incomes and tax justice. As he said himself- "If the people of Mana voted for what they wanted- we'd win by a landslide." Another real victory that has been won is one for democracy itself. Rather than explain why their party does not support radical change, Labour have been pushing the line that a vote for Matt splits the Left. And t

Matt for Mana TV on Housing

Bulldoze Cannons Creek say Porirua Police

“It’s lovely up here eh. All these neat rows of homes under those rolling green hills,” I said to my arresting officer as we drove up Warspite Avenue, Cannons Creek. “It’d be nice if they bulldozed all the houses. No one wants to live here,” replied the women police sergeant as she turned her head to check out a couple of hoodied young men next to a takeaways. I was shocked by what she said and then the radio crackled to life and the sergeant rapidly relayed to another unit the basic information about the known troublemaker she had seen hanging out outside the shops. The kid she’d been discussing soon ended up in the cells with us. This is war- Porirua style. Within minutes of 3News airing a piece on our state housing occupation, four cop cars were outside and a dog handler was first on scene asking me where the burglary was. There was no burglary just four young men getting arrested for protesting for better housing in a city where a quarter of children grow up in overcr

Matt for Mana- The Rent is Too Damn High

3News story HERE "The State will let working class people wait on housing lists for seven years. Occupy an empty house and they'll arrest you in seven minutes. " said Unite union's Matt McCarten tonight, after learning that four state housing activists were arrested in Cannon's Creek at an election action. The volunteers had occupied the abandoned house to draw attention to the plight of people suffering from inadequate housing in Porirua. They were cleaning and repairing the house for a couple, Carolyn Harvey and her partner Ron , who currently live in a garage when police stormed into the house without warning and arrested them. "We'll be rallying at a barbeque outside the house in Calliope Crescent this Saturday from 12 till 2pm- and we're asking everyone in the Mana electorate who has problems with Housing New Zealand to come to the barbeque so we can write down and process their complaints." "State houses are collapsing. Tenants hav

Matt on Maori TV

From 29 minutes in the video a long interview with Matt on Maori TV.

Housing is a right, not a privilege

At the end of the first week of Matt McCarten's campaign in the Mana by-election we come across a family living in a garage while there are three empty state houses just a block away.

The Battle of Mana

Commentary: Joe Carolan In the working class streets of Porirua, hundreds of workers and residents are already backing the demands raised by Matt McCarten’s campaign for tax justice, full employment and a living wage. Dino , a member for MUNZ living in Calliope Crescent, has been on the picket lines in Napier in 2007 defending jobs and conditions. “There’s no excuse for unemployment in this country- there’s heaps of work that needs doing round here- look at the state of disrepair of some of the state houses. None of the major parties have any solutions for the blight of unemployment- that’s why Matt’s demand for 3000 jobs in Mana is electric. I’m definitely thinking of switching from Labour on this one”. Jennie from Castor Crescent is a young Maori woman who has finished a course in childcare, but can’t find any work. “There’s a lot of young working mothers here stretched trying to manage jobs and family at the same time. If there were crèches and childcare here in the community


STAND UP FIGHT BACK- ANOTHER AOTEAROA IS POSSIBLE Saturday 27 November · 08:00 - 23:30 Te Wananga Aotearoa, 15 Canning Crescent, Mangere. Registration $20. Hosted by Unite ... 8.30am: Registration, Tea/coffee 9.00am: Welcome/Intros 9.15am: “Confronting the economic crisis – what caused it and how it can be overcome”. The worldwide economic crisis over the past few years has seen a massive growth of unemployment and cutbacks in basic entitlements for working people. This session will discuss how this crisis came about and how we can fight its effects. Speakers: Jane Kelsey, professor of law at Auckland University and author of many books exposing the effects of neoliberal economic theory on NZ will focus on the international dimension of the crisis; Mike Treen, National Director of Unite Union will focus on the impact of

Under ATTAC- thoughts on the Tobin Tax

Commentary- Joe Carolan Susan George has been a prominent campaigner against the debts of the Global South, calling for its cancellation in books such as A Fate Worse than Debt, The Debt Boomerang (1992) and The Lugano Report: Preserving Capitalism in the 21st Century. Her books are brilliant exposes of the true horrors of the effects of debt on the poorest countries, and have inspired many people to become involved in the Jubilee Campaign and in her own group, the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens (ATTAC), of which she is vice president. She sees no progressive role for many of the corrupt elites in the Global South who preside over the misery and hunger there. She especially condemns their role in implementing Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) on their populations, slashing health and education spending to pay the interest on World Bank and IMF loans- “Wealthy and influential people in the debtor countries are not n

Working Class or Multitude as agent of change?

Commentary- Joe Carolan In Marcos’s rallying call of “We are you”, the worker is not referred to as a striker or exploited, but as unemployed. Motivated by the Zapatistas, many of those attracted by the new autonomism within the Global Justice question the power of workers to fundamentally change society. Most dismiss trade unions as reformist, hierarchical organisations, equating their leadership who believe in Social Partnership between unions, employers and government with an increasingly exploited and dissatisfied rank and file membership. Many activists see socialist preoccupations with the ‘working class’ as Victorian and outdated. In Italy, the ‘hot summer’ of 1969 deeply radicalised Italian society- by the 1970s it had several sizable revolutionary organisations to the left of the Stalinist CPI. These groups largely imploded when confronted by economic downturn and an inability to relate to the rise of the new movements against sexism, race and homophobia. As

Parecon, Planning and Programmes

Commentary- Joe Carolan Within the Marxist tradition, there is much written about the need for a revolutionary transformation of society, but little vision of how an alternative, socialist society would function. Marx himself shied away from subscribing to any fut ... ure blueprints for an ideal society- this would be for the people themselves to decide. This has been the central thread of the ‘Life after Capitalism’ debate within the movement, which looks at how both economics and democracy can be participative in a future socialist society. Capitalist economics is based around a ruthless competition between firms and corporations, who seek to cut costs, maximise profits and exploit workers to dominate the market place. The ‘free market’ is supposedly the best way to distribute goods- according to former Irish Labour leader Pat Rabbitte; it is “one of the most powerful and successful means open to human society to organise its affairs”[58]. However, anger at the injustic