“The unpalatable truth” : a critique of the Council of Trade Unions Alternative Economic Strategy

July 16, 2010

The Spark July 2010
Philip Fergusson

Over the past quarter century, workers in New Zealand have been working longer, harder and faster for less pay and in worse conditions. For instance, as Unite union’s national director, Mike Treen, calculated, using official government figures on wages, in the period from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, real wages – what your wages can actually buy – declined by 25 percent. This decline was the result of the policies of the fourth Labour government and the first term of the fourth National government. Since then, wages have not recovered and remain only three-quarters of their 1982 level. (See: http://www.unite.org.nz/?q=node/704)

The transfer of wealth upwards is also revealed in the fact that corporate profits as a share of GDP rose from 34% in the mid-1980s to 46% in 2005, while wages as a share of GDP fell from 57% at the end of the Muldoon era to 42% in 2005. Read the rest of this entry »

`Marxism 2010′ conference report

July 16, 2010

The Spark July 2010

Jared Phillips, Spark co-ordinating editor

The Workers Party held its annual national Marxism conference at Thistle Hall in Wellington over Queen’s Birthday weekend from June 4-7. It was a weekend of anti-imperialist theory and activity. Approximately seventy members, supporters and other interested people attended throughout the weekend.

Presenting and discussing revolutionary politics

The conference opened on the Friday night with WP national secretary Daphna Whitmore speaking on the revolutionary movement in India. The revolutionary zone spreads from the border with Nepal in the north to the southern states of India. This presentation and discussion was followed by John Edmundson, the WP’s national education officer, speaking on New Zealand’s imperialist role in the occupation of Afghanistan and the quagmire that the invading powers have found themselves in. Read the rest of this entry »


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