Venezuela: the revolution in danger?

February 4, 2008

Tim Bowron

(first published on Socialist Democracy blog)

Having suffered a narrow defeat in the constitutional referendum held last December, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has signalled that plans to accelerate his Bolivarian socialist project will have to be placed temporarily on hold.

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Australian elections: ­ Howard’s out, but it’s still the same old bullshit

February 4, 2008

Alastair Reith

In the recent Australian General Elections, the eleven year reign of John Howard and his Liberal-National Coalition government was ended with a victory for the Labor Party and its leader Kevin Rudd.

The elections saw a significant voter shift towards Labor, with Howard even losing his own seat in the election to Labor challenger Maxine McKew.

While no one is sorry to see Howard and his Coalition thrown out, the facts are that “Kevin07″ and Labor will be no better than Howard was.

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The legacy of Benazir Bhutto

February 4, 2008

Joel Cosgrove

No one should be crowing about the way in which Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister and leader of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, died - killed by an assassin’s bullet at the end of a political meeting in Rawalpindi on December 27.

Yet the obituaries that quickly flowed across the Western world following her death illustrated the way in which history is being constantly rewritten to suit the times. Bhutto is not being remembered for the trail of corruption that littered her two previous terms as prime minister. Nor for her husband Asif Ali “10%” Zardari and the serious charges of money laundering laid against the both of them.

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Wellington bus drivers’ battles continue

February 4, 2008

Don Franks

In December 2007 the Workers Party produced a Spark insert, Bus drivers stand up to the boss. It described how Management of Go Wellington imposed shift changes in 2007 that resulted in driver salary reductions of up to $20,000 a year. At the same time, the company introduced an alternative collective to the Tramways Union one, with inferior conditions and, unlike the Tramways collective, no penal rates. In December this contract was being challenged in the courts. This case is still before the employment court at the time of going to press, with a decision due in early February. Watch this space.

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Christchurch support workers strike against 75-hour weeks

February 4, 2008

Tim Bowron

Between January 11 and 13, around 140 support workers and nurses at Brackenridge Estate near Christchurch took part in a 48-hour strike over issues of severe understaffing and low pay.

The workers there, who look after people with serious intellectual disabilities, are members of the National Union of Public Employees and the NZ Nurses’ Organisation.

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The Electoral Finance Act: a draconian and over-the-top law that will be used against unionists and radical leftists

February 4, 2008

The Electoral Finance Act sounds like a pretty boring piece of legislation, yet it sparked one of the biggest disagreements in New Zealand politics last year. Does it really have much to do with workers’ concerns? And will it advance the interests of workers? The Spark talked to Bryce Edwards, a lecturer in Politics at the University of Otago.

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February issue of The Spark Out Now!

February 4, 2008

The far-off land of Nepal has been much in the news lately, through its connections to the late Sir Edmund Hillary. Overwhelmingly, New Zealand mainstream media depicted Nepalese people as passive recipients of Hillary’s humanitarian aid. It came as rather a surprise when it was reported that the Nepalese government had not flown the flag at half-mast. Departing from the script our news compilers had written for them.In fact, far from being a land of passive victims, modern day Nepal seethes with intense political struggle. Previous issues of The Spark have run several eye-witness accounts of Nepal’s Maoist-led mass uprisings. In this issue we examine the latest contradictions of this revolutionary movement. As you’ll see when you read the article, there are many difficult questions and no easy answers.

The Spark doesn’t shy away from grappling with difficult questions, because they’re an inescapable part of the international struggle for working people’s liberation. This issue of The Spark also takes up the local issue of the Electoral Finance Act, a piece of political chicanery neglected by most of the New Zealand left and fudged by our top trade union leaders.

If you want to get beyond soft soundbites to the real nitty-gritty, then The Spark is your paper.


Opinions divided over Nepal

February 4, 2008

Daphna Whitmore

Nepal is gearing up for elections in April. The monarchy will be dissolved, ending its 300-year reign, and elected representatives will draft a constitution. The elections are part of a peace package which suspended an eleven-year people’s war led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).  Is this an inspired move by the Maoists to spread their revolution or are they on a course to capitulation?

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Workers Party at the Big Day Out

February 4, 2008

Daphna Whitmore

The sign said “Rage against capitalism”, and people were in the mood to do just that. Workers Party comrades signed up 109 new members at Auckland’s recent Big Day Out. Concertgoers signed up steadily from 8am until 1pm non-stop. At times there were small queues waiting to sign and pay the membership fee.

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Why I Joined the WP

February 4, 2008

“I had long considered myself a Labour voter, even before I could vote, but as I learned more about Socialism, I became increasingly disillusioned with Labour’s actions in government, especially their impact on poor and working people…

4 young activists tell us why they joined the Workers Party:

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