Trotter reckons you blew it

November 11, 2008

 Nick Kelly

So-called ‘from the left’ political commentator Chris Trotter posed the following question to his post election column in the Sunday Star times:

 “What led the majority of the New Zealand electorate to reject a government that has not only done it no great harm but might even be said to have done it some good?”

 The answer according to Trotter is this:

 Last night’s result was manufactured out of the besetting sin of the last 150 years of western history - the crisis of masculinity. What, exactly, is a man in a world of corporate and public bureaucracies?

It was these: the men who just couldn’t cope with the idea of being led by an intelligent, idealistic, free-spirited woman; the gutless, witless, passionless creatures of the barbecue-pit and the sports bar (and the feckless females who put up with them); who voted Helen Clark out of office

John Key - you’re welcome to them.

If the NZ public were so anti having a Labour woman prime minister for the reasons Trotter outlined, then why did they re elect her three times?

Left: Young workers, led by Unite union protesting against youth rates under Labour.

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Armistice Day

November 11, 2008

Armistice Day in 2004 saw the Return of the Unknown Soldier

(From The Spark, November 2004)

The Dominion Post (November 2004) reminded us that Prime Minister Helen Clark is also minister for arts, culture and heritage. Under that subhead, the paper carried an article by the multi-minister; “reflecting on our maturing sense of national identity”. To Helen Clark,” our maturing sense ” is a preoccupation with selectively remembered mass murder.

The first half of her article was a gushing sentimental rehash of the Unknown Warrior commemorations, concluding:

“More than 80 years elapsed from the time Prime Minister William Massey first explored the idea of a New Zealand Tomb of the Unknown Warrior to the day we welcomed home a young man whose life was cut short by war.”

Helen Clark writes as though the poor bastard had somehow been resurrected. No young man “was welcomed home” last November the 11th. The youth and prospects of the anonymous victim died the day imperialism butchered him in the mud of France.

The only thing Helen Clark welcomed in Wellington last Armistice day was a whitewash of capitalist history.P060808SC-0722.JPG

Right: Laura Bush greets NZ troops in Afghanistan June 2008

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The Band’s Visit

November 9, 2008

- Film review

An Israeli film where most of the characters are Egyptian is something other than ordinary.

When an Egyptian police band gets stuck in a small Israeli town there are all the ingredients for a comedy of errors. Stranded, with little money the eight men who are more musicans than police, spend a night with the locals. The closeness of strangers is evident as the quaint and old fashioned band members interact with their Israeli hosts.

The politics are thankfully understated allowing the humanity of the characters to take centre stage. 

The Band’s Visit has been collecting a string of film festival awards. Worthy of everyone of them.


NZ Election: the morning after

November 9, 2008

- Daphna Whitmore

For the Workers Party - this was the first time a socialist party was on the party list. A red flag on the ballot paper was an achievement - and one that took a bit of work to get the numbers to satisfy the electoral commission that we qualified. We were the last party to get registered, making it just a few days out from writ day.

It was a last minute campaign for the party vote but the campaigning was good for our organisation. Members got active, our website has been constantly updated and a lot of new contacts have been made. We got our name out across the country so there are now thousands of people who know there is a far left option. We got votes in every electorate of the country. capitalism-not-our-future-don1

In New Zealand as far as I’m aware the far left has not yet ever got more than 200 votes in an electorate and this was reflected again in our vote. With 824 on the first count it is possible we’ll get over 900 once the special votes are counted.

MMP is a funny system. It engenders a lot of the first past the post mentality. Not just in the electorate seats where it is FPP, but in general people still tend to see things in terms of National and Labour. That was reflected in the 80 per cent of votes cast for those two parties.

A really proportional system would be better. It’s hardly democratic that NZ First gets 4.2 per cent of the vote and no seats, while Progressives and United Future each have a seat but a tiny overall vote. And Act gets five seats on 3.72 per cent of the vote.

Low turnout and 10,700 votes for the Bill and Ben Party indicate a lack of public confidence in the options on offer.

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US Election: the struggle continues

November 9, 2008

Racism is a product of class oppression; the two are fundamentally connected. The Workers Party acknowledges the history of African American struggle which has resulted in the election of Barack Obama.

The vast majority of African Americans remain wage earners. Obama is considering Lawrence Summers as  head of Treasury. Former head of the World Bank, Summers supported dumping toxic waste on Africa.

The struggle continues.

Celebrate anniversary of 7 Nov 1917

November 7, 2008

Daphna Whitmore

November 7, 1917 is the day the working class in the Soviet Union seized power. It marked a turning point in world history, and despite the reversals nothing can diminish the significance of that day.

There are a number of people who identify as socialist but will tomorrow vote for capitalist parties because they see that as the only realistic thing to do. Of course, if you vote for the status quo you’ll be stuck with it.

This election, for the first time in NZ, there is a socialist party on every ballot paper.workers-party-logo-final

Why not vote for something you actually believe in.

Greens co-leader fails to stand up for striking workers

November 6, 2008


- Jared Phillips

Yesterday after the march to the McDonald’s bosses conference at the Hyatt Hotel we returned to the Queen Street store. I was the last union official there with about 30 workers (the numbers had dropped-off by this stage). Workers were blocking-off the entrance. The strikers were fired-up.

I noticed Russel Norman, Green Party co-leader, amongst the gathered spectators. On some other business, he had bumped into the strike.

He was watching for about 5 minutes.

Politically I oppose the Green Party because they are a pro-capitalism party but A) They have had some connection to Unite through the Youth Rates campaign, and B) in hard struggles workers draw strength from almost any source of support. So in my capacity as an organiser I approached Russel Norman and asked him if he would speak to the strikers. First he said he didn’t know the issues. So I told him the issues. He still said no. I pressed him again but ‘No it’s ok’.

But it’s not ok. All the ‘left commentators’ are saying vote Green.

But the Green leader, obviously a developed public speaker, couldn’t spare 5 minutes for the lowest paid. We need a party that is shoulder to shoulder with the lowest paid.

GST off beer: on the economic downturn

November 5, 2008

Don Franks, candidate for Wellington central, at the debate amongst alternatives to the Labour Party.

McDonalds workers’ strike

November 5, 2008


Over 80 McDonald’s workers and supporters held a loud protest outside Queen St Auckland McDonald’s. Workers from stores around Auckland went on strike and joined the picket. They then marched to the Hyatt Hotel where McDonald’s managers were meeting.

The protests were loud and strong. The workers are angry about minimum wage pay rates and insecure hours.


Time for a clean break with Labour!

November 4, 2008


Workers Party media release

When election time comes around every three years it seems that there is never any shortage of people on the left busy telling workers that they have to be ‘realistic’ and lower their horizons to whatever crumb is on offer in the electoral circus.

The object of the exercise becomes not how to advance an alternative to the existing system but how to soften the blows within the existing system (although that didn’t work too well in 1984 when the left urged people to vote Labour and the blows got ten times worse).

The Workers Party says that it’s precisely that approach that has gotten us in the sorry, weak situation the left is in today in NZ (and throughout the First World).

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