Election economics: theirs and ours

August 8, 2008

Winston Peters has been caught out being “economical with the truth”. After months of denials from Peters that NZ First had received a donation from multi-millionaire Owen Glen, Peters finally admitted to accepting a $100,000 donation towards his legal fund for his failed case to overturn National MP Bob Clarkson’s win in Tauranga.

In all probability, this undeclared donation did not breach parliamentary rules, so why was Peters so anxious to make the story go away?

The fact is, NZ First likes to pose as a party of the people, and most voters would regard taking money from a filthy rich tycoon based in a Monaco tax haven as being rather sordid. Yet that is how the game of mainstream politics is played. Owen Glen also contributed $500,000 to the Labour Party before the last election.

We’re counting on you

By stark contrast, the Workers Party has no wealthy backers. Our funding comes entirely from our activist members and supporters. On a shoestring budget, we managed to run four candidates in the mayoral elections last year, winning a total of 4705 votes.

But democracy don’t come cheap! We are currently registering for the party list, which will enable workers across the whole of New Zealand to vote for a revolutionary socialist party for the first time in history. To make the most of this opportunity, we need money to print leaflets, money to upgrade our website, money to pay candidates’ deposits… you get the general idea.

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October 15 Solidarity: Letter to the Editorial Board

August 8, 2008

To the Spark editorial board:
In your July edition of The Spark, Alastair Reith writes in his article “Armed cops no solution” that “[t]o this day, no charges have been brought against the people that were arrested” in last year’s so-called “terror raids”.

We all wish this were true. However, 20 people are facing charges under the Arms Act! Charges under the Terrorism Suppression Act were never laid because the Solicitor-General did not grant the police permission to do so. The 16 people arrested on 15th October 2007 and the four who have been arrested since have faced Arms Act charges from the beginning.

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Drivers give it back to the boss

August 8, 2008

- Nick Kelly

Bruce Emson, CEO of NZ Bus, did his “travelling road show” at the Kilbirnie depot last Monday. His mission was to tell us drivers his vision for “our” company, but also to get feedback from the people who are on the ground.

So midway through his bullshit company presentation Bruce goes, “Look, I’m sick of talking, I want to know if this a good place to work at the moment.” To which the drivers and workshop workers replied with a resounding “NO!”.

A bit taken aback, Bruce then replied, “Oh, OK, well actually I knew that already. So guys, tell me what’s wrong with this job.”

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Violent crime in capitalist New Zealand

August 7, 2008

- Byron Clark, Workers Party candidate for Christchurch Central

Crime has become a hot issue in New Zealand this year. It’s an election issue largely because the major political parties are committed to maintaining the status quo on economic issues; instead they campaign on non-economic issues like “law and order” rather than wages, unemployment or social inequality.1

The government and the opposition’s “tough on crime” stance also results in increased state power and erosions of civil liberties. Politicians have been calling for the police to be armed and patrolling working-class parts of Auckland. We’ve also seen the passage of the Criminal Disclosure Act, which removes the need for a unanimous jury verdicts (replacing it with an 11:1 majority) and creates exemptions to double jeopardy (the legal defence that prevents a person from being tried twice for the same crime on the same set of facts).

These things are certainly something to be concerned about, but it doesn’t mean crime itself should be ignored. While on the whole crime is down, the statistics show that violent crime (with the exception of homicide) is up. A large part of this increase (35%) is in the “threats and intimidation” category, and is probably a result of increased reporting now that more people own cellphones. Increased reporting of domestic violence as a result of the “It’s not OK” campaign is also a possible factor in the increase.

However, it is undeniable that violent crime is occurring, and the reasons for - and possible solutions to - this should be examined.

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Casualisation: real jobs and con jobs

August 7, 2008

- Don Franks

For those of us in the working class, few things are more important than having a real job. A real job produces stable predictable earnings. It pays enough for us to support ourselves and our dependants, with a bit left over for some luxuries, savings and fun. A real job is also a big part of our social life. For many people their workplace is a sort of secondary family; in some cases the community of an individual’s job provides their main social connections. In every case a proper job gives us a feeling of social worth, a feeling that we belong, and that we count for something because others count on us.

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UC Workers Party on Campus Events

August 2, 2008

Student rebellion and state repression: the events of 1968 in México

Continuing our series of retrospective talks on the events of 1968, this week’s WP on Campus meeting looks at the explosion of student militancy onto the streets of México City in the months leading up to the Summer Olympics of that year.

Wednesday 6 August, 5pm
International Room, 1st floor UCSA Building

Workers Party on Campus “Introduction to Socialism” study group

The first session of our planned regular series of introductory study groups meets this Wednesday after the conclusion of the México 1968 talk, at 6.30pm in room 1106 (11th floor Central Library). The reading for this week’s session is “How Revolutionaries Choose Their Political Priorities” and can be found here.

Copies of the readings for subsequent sessions will be available for pickup on Wednesday.

NOTE: WP also currently run an advanced study group on Marx’s “Capital” - send us an email if they would like to find out more about participating in this.

Workers Party Election Campaign

Last week saw the official launch of our local election campaign with several public forums as well as the beginning of leafleting and doorknocking in working class areas of Christchurch. Our policies such as abolishing GST, ending the corporatisation of public services and putting all elected MPs on the average workers’ wage have been getting a good reception from workers, students and pensioners and we will be taking our anti-capitalist message out to more local neighborhoods over the coming weeks. If you can help us with any of this work please get in touch!


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