It’s the right thing to do

September 28, 2010

Excerpted from the Spark discussion list

 grant_brookes wrote:

So are demands that no-one else supports “better” than ones thatachieve reforms within the framework of capitalism? Where’s the logic in that, unless the purpose of campaigning around “radical” demands is to brand a group, for recruiting purposes?

Don Franks replied:

Are political demands really like garments in a department store, selected by individuals in the hope of creating a particular image?

The first political demand I was really conscious of was Stop the war in Vietnam.

There was a time in New Zealand when that was  ”a demand that no-one else supported”, apart from, like, a couple of communists and a clergyman.

By the time I got involved a lot of the hardest work had already been done and some solidarity had been built up against the current.

When I became part of the anti war movement the big marches were quite exciting and the Committee on Vietnam debates were always interesting, often quite dramatic. In between times it was a pleasant social thing to sit round and stuff leaflets into envelopes.

The bit I hated doing was wearing a CoV badge and thus getting into debates with some of the huge number of New Zealanders who supported the war and thought the Viet cong were coming down here to take over everything. I  had limited knowledge of the details of the war and couldn’t argue very well and didn’t like the abuse and contempt I was sometimes subjected to. Quite often I would guiltily go down town without wearing a badge in order to have a quiet life. Read the rest of this entry »

Hypocrisy, lying and double dealing and double standards

September 26, 2010

Excerpted from the Spark discussion list

Is there any sanctimonious law and order or religious fanatic that doesn’t have a secret past full of transgressions? A lot of people will be asking this after the exposure of Act’s law’n'order heavy David Garrett.

Act is not a major political force or threat, and it really never has been - indeed, the fact that it needed to be founded indicated that the highwater mark of the Business Roundtable had passed. Nevertheless it’s great to see them hoist on the petard of their own sanctimonious hypocrisy. Read the rest of this entry »


September 23, 2010

by Don Franks

Staunch anti capitalist fighter Jim Delahunty died in his sleep last night after over sixty years of uncompromising activism.

Born into a working class Auckland family, Jim grew up to the sound of his dad’s Irish rebel songs. This laid the foundation for a lifetime of left activism often set to music. Jim was an early stalwart of the New Zealand folk music scene, helping his friend Rona Bailey collect songs and also writing his own. A few of those, like the anti Muldoon anthem “Put a pig in a beehive, you don’t get honey” , are on record, but most of Jim’s many topical ditties have unfortunately not been collected. Read the rest of this entry »

Book review “The Laughing Policeman - my brilliant career in the New Zealand Police”

September 22, 2010
by Glenn Wood ( Shoal Bay Press)
reviewed by Don Franks
I noticed this book in an op shop. Its back cover blurbed: ” the hilarious account of Glenn’s adventures as a police cadet…a warm and funny book that will appeal to all New Zealanders”.
Harrumph I thought, but  the first sentence - “I always wanted to be a marine biologist” - hooked me in, and the price was just a dollar. Any cop literature has got to be a risk, this time I  got my dollar’s worth. Read the rest of this entry »

Smash the anti-worker laws! public meeting, Hamilton

September 19, 2010

Wednesday September 22, 1pm
Waikato University, Student Union Building, @ Guru Fabians room

  • Public meeting organised by Hamilton Left Initiative in response to new round of government attacks on working people.
  • Come along, support or help build student involvement in upcoming union/workers actions.
  • Speakers representing Greens on Campus, Unite on Campus, Workers Party on Campus, and Unions Waikato.
  • Literature, discussion, action-making, debate, socialising, building, democratising.

For further details/enquiries email or phone on 029-4949-863

All welcome! Please forward to all relevant networks/individuals/lists.

Book Review: Encircled Lands: Te Urewera, 1820 – 1921 by Judith Binney (Bridget Williams Books, 2009)

September 15, 2010

Reviewed by Mike Kay

One of New Zealand’s leading contemporary historians, Judith Binney, has written a major study on the story of how the people of the Urewera came to be parted from their lands. This book deserves to be widely read. However, at over 600 pages long, it is unlikely to reach the audience that it merits. Therefore, I will attempt to summarise the narrative in this review, and then analyse it from a Marxist perspective.

Hapū of the Urewera take their name from Tuhoe-potiki, who was descended from the immigrant Toroa, leader of the Mataatua waka, and also the indigenous ancestors Toi and Potiki I. Read the rest of this entry »


September 14, 2010

By Ray Nunes
Published April 1999

The great unknown past of the Maori people,together with a view of Maori nationalism today
A pro-Mao, Marxist Leninist analysis



by Daphna Whitmore

The following pamphlet by Ray Nunes is based on a reply to a former member of the now-defunct Communist Party of New Zealand (in which Ray Nunes earlier played a leading role) and whose letter contained criticisms of the standpoint of the Workers’ Party of New Zealand as published in the party’s monthly journal, The Spark of April 1994. At that time the Workers Party was a pro-Mao organisation.

In 2002 the Workers Party merged with Revolution Group and now identifies as a Marxist Party whose members hold a range of views about the role of  Stalin, Mao and Trotsky. Read the rest of this entry »

The Politics of Facebook

September 14, 2010

From The Spark September 2010

Byron Clark (Workers Party, Christchurch branch organiser)

New Zealanders love Facebook. Many will talk about how much they hate
it, but the numbers show otherwise. One in four New Zealanders is a user of Facebook, for those aged 25-34, its one in three, and for
those 15-24, its nearly three in four. Much of the media commentary
around Facebook has ignored the social context in which the social
networking website has grown. The majority of New Zealanders work for
a living, and the nature of work in the 21st century makes previous
‘offline’ social activities and communication harder to retain. As The
Spark has noted, about 36% of full-time male workers and nearly 19% of
full-time female workers now work 50 or more hours a week. Almost
16.5% of full-time male workers and almost 8.5% of full-time female
workers actually work more than 60 hours a week. Work hours are longer
than the average in the traditional blue collar jobs; Over half of
agricultural and fisheries workers and over a third of plant and
machine operators and assemblers work more than 50 hours a week. Read the rest of this entry »


September 13, 2010

The Spark September 2010

by Terry Bell

In the stygian depths of South Africa’s mines, 556 mainly young men
died between 2007 and 2009.  It is a shocking statistic, nearly four
times the international benchmark for mine deaths per hour worked.
But it is just the tip of a huge, largely ignored, mass of horrendous suffering and exploitation that has blighted the country for more than a century.

Add to the 556 the hundreds of men who die each year from preventable
lung diseases and the thousands who continue to suffer or retreat to
their homes, injured and incapacitated, most with little and, all too
often, no compensation. Read the rest of this entry »

Deaths in the class war

September 12, 2010

Don Franks
The Spark September 2010

Last month saw two New Zealand soldiers wounded in Afghanistan and the
first New Zealand soldier killed.

Led by Prime minister John Key, who ordered an unprecedented lowering
of national flags across the country, politicians and news media
launched a lengthy storm of militaristic propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »


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