Obama: “Change” – to what, and who for?

December 4, 2008

The Spark December 2008 - January 2009

Since the office was first introduced in 1789, the President of the United States has been the leading figurehead in American capitalism, imperialism and exploitation. It is impressive that for the first time in 219 years, in a country that only roughly 40 years ago institutionalised segregation and only roughly 140 years ago still practised slavery, a black face is now at the top. But that does not change what the US presidency represents. Read the rest of this entry »


Masport workers show there’s honour in fighting

December 4, 2008

Striking workers at Masport Foundries looked rapt to be in the sunshine and open air as they walked off the job for the first time in 14 years this morning. Members of the EPMU and the Moulders Union voted overwhelmingly for strike action after rejecting a below-inflation pay offer of 3% on wages only (not on any of their numerous allowances).

masport

The all-out indefinite strike is also a protest against repeated attempts by the employer to undermine the Collective Agreement and exclude some workers involved in production from coverage (i.e. technicians). As Gordon Thompson, EPMU delegate, stated: “Its about respect. Its about holding your head high. There’s honour in fighting.”

Supporters are invited to show their solidarity by joining the next picket from 8-10:00am on Monday December 8th at 37 Mt Wellington Highway, Panmure, Auckland.


Solidarity to rebuild unions

December 3, 2008

-Daphna Whitmore

During the 1990s under the National government union membership fell by 50 percent. In 2000 just after Labour came in to office 69 percent of the public sector workers were covered by collective agreements and 21 percent of workers in private sector jobs.

Did that situation improve during nine years of “a worker-friendly government”, as the CTU leadership describe Labour?

Not at all. This year 59 percent of public sector workers have collective agreements, and a mere 10 percent of private sector workers.

The table below shows the grim reality.

union-membership-2008

And while the public sector collective agreement coverage declined, it is still significantly higher than the private sector.

A really serious trade union movement would look at assisting the private sector through subsidies from the much better off public sector. We need a union movement that takes the interests of the whole of the working class. That’s the sort of solidarity that would help build up unions in the private sector, which is where exploitation of the working class originates.


For an open and honest debate

December 3, 2008

Click here to read our Second Open Letter to Socialist Aotearoa responding to their concerns about our article “Much of the left crying wolf over the Nats” and arguing that revolutionaries should be open and upfront about debating their differences.


Thailand - a second coup for the rich

December 3, 2008

Thai socialist Giles Ji Ungpakorn writes about the struggles in his country and the attacks on democratic rights

Today the Constitutional Courts dissolved the democratically elected governing party in Thailand for the second time, forcing the Government to resign. This follows the refusal of the Armed Forces and the Police to follow government instructions to clear the two international airports blocked by armed PAD Fascists. The Royalist alliance against the government are made up of the Fascist PAD, the Military, the Police, the Judiciary, the mainstream Media, the “Democrat Party”, most middle class academics and The Queen. They are all behind this judicial coup. A leading “Democrat Party” MP is one of the leaders of the illegal blockade of the two airports. The Yellow-shirted PAD have “armed guards” which have repeatedly shot at opponents. They constantly use violence and now demand “joint patrols” with the Police. The PAD have constantly broken the law, and yet they are “untouchable”. On the rare occasion when PAD leaders are forced to attend court, they are given bail and allowed to go back and commit the same crimes over and over again.

The majority of the Thai population, who are poor, face a Double Whammy. First, the elite Royalist are doing everything possible to take away their basic democratic rights. Secondly, mass job-losses are occurring among workers in the tourist industry as a result of the airport blockade. Jobs in agriculture and electronics are also affected and of course we are faced with the serious World Economic Crisis. The elites do not care if the Thai economy is trashed and Thailand returns to a poor Third World nation. In such nations the elites continue to live the same lives as the rich in the Developed World. The PAD protestors are middle-class extremists who do not have to go to work, hence their prolonged protests.

Read the rest of this entry »


Crisis in Thailand - a Marxist view

December 3, 2008

police_at_pad_protest1

Thailand is currently in crisis, with a deformed expression of class struggle occurring between one side that wears yellow shirts and another that wears red. How can we make sense of this situation, and what is the way forward for those of us interested in the interests of the poor and working class? John Moore, formerly a resident in Thailand, and now a Workers Party activist, argues that the Thai working class is a mass force that has yet to roar, but that the small radical element amongst them shouldn’t ‘give up the bullet for the ballot’ to reform Thai society through the Thai capitalist state.

Read the rest of this entry »


Nepal ­ A Revolution in Progress

December 2, 2008

-Alastair Reith
The Spark
December 2008-January 2009

Ever since the destruction of the Soviet Union, the capitalist class has told us that communism is dead. We are expected to believe that this is as good as it gets, that the inequality and oppression inherent within the capitalist system will be with us forever and there will be no more revolutions. The ruling class declared the end of history. Unfortunately for them, the people of Nepal have decided not to listen.

The red flag flies from Mt Everest

A communist revolution is unfolding in Nepal, a small Himalayan country just to the North of India. Led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the workers and peasants of Nepal are rising up and challenging the feudal oppression they face in their daily lives, and the neo-colonial domination they face as a nation.

The last time the Spark published news of the revolution in Nepal, the results of the Constituent Assembly elections had just come in. Despite the corporate media predictions that the Maoists would come in a dismal third place, the Maoists shocked the world by winning a landslide victory, taking 220 out of 575 seats, making them by far the largest party in the Assembly, with more seats than the next two largest parties combined! The elections revealed the level of mass support the Maoists have amongst the people.

Read the rest of this entry »


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