Socialism 2012: queer liberation and socialism

May 23, 2012

3pm Sunday June 3rd
Newtown Community Centre


Socialism 2012: conference schedule

May 21, 2012

Annual socialist conference in Wellington, 1st-3rd of June at Newtown Community and Cultural Centre (corner Rintoul & Columbo streets.)

Facebook event here.

Friday 
5.30 registration

6 – 8pm: Class struggle today (Aotearoa/NZ)
Mike Kay – Port-workers’ struggle, meat industry lockouts and industrial conditions
Jared Phillips – Neo-liberalism and class composition
Sue Bradford – Unemployed and beneficiary fightback
1 hour discussion

10pm
Fundraising gig: Bodega
Kittentank, Big Rick, Man/Woman

Saturday
9.30am registration

10 – 11am
Revolutionary organising in current conditions: combat propaganda group
Mike Kay
40 minute discussion

11am – 12pm: Safer spaces on the left
Kassie Hartendorp
40 minute discussion

12-1pm
Lunch

1-2.30 pm: Eco-socialism in Australasia
Grant Brookes, Eco-Socialist Network Aotearoa
Ben Peterson, Socialist Alliance (Australia)
Ian Anderson, Workers Party
30 minute discussion

2.30- 3:30pm: Socialist electoral work
Anthony Main, Socialist Party of Australia
40 minute discussion

3:30-4:30pm: The fight against casualisation
Heleyni Pratley – organising casualised workplaces
20 minute discussion

4:30-6pm: Against the capitalist education system
Joel Cosgrove, Workers Party
Jai Bentley-Payne, Auckland student activist
Rowan MacArthur, International Socialist Organisation
30 minute discussion

Sunday 

9.30am registration

10-11:30am
The world situation: imperialism
Paul Hopkinson – Imperialism and Palestine
Byron Clark – New Zealand’s imperialist role
30 minute discussion

11:30am-12:30pm
The world situation: Europe and the global financial crisis
Mike Treen
40 minute discussion

12:30-1:30pm lunch

1:30-3pm: Tino rangatiratanga
Scott Hamilton – Pre-capitalist societies and Marxism
Annette Sykes – The politics of the Brown Table
30 minutes discussion

3-4pm: Queer liberation and socialism
James Froch
40 minute discussion

4-6pm: Left perspectives
Derwin Smith, International Socialist Organisation
Rebecca Broad, Workers Party
Ben Peterson, Socialist Alliance (Australia)
Anthony Main, Socialist Party of Australia
1 hour discussion

6pm
Close and thanks


20 Years of the Wellington Peoples’ Centre

May 18, 2012

This report on the Wellington Peoples’ Centre, by Ian Anderson, will be published in the June issue of The Spark. Sue Bradford, who helped set up the Peoples’ Centres, will be speaking on unemployed and beneficiary fightback at our Socialism 2012 conference.

After 20 years of support for unemployed and low-income workers, the Wellington Peoples’ Centre (WPC) closed its doors on the 28th of April 2012. However most services continue to operate independently, and by decision of the membership the WPC remains as a legal entity.

Background: by the people, for the people
Peoples’ Centres first formed in the early ’90s, out of the radical unemployed workers’ movement. In an interview for the April Spark Sue Bradford explained, “This was partly because things were getting tougher, and partly because having a paid membership base made our work with unemployed workers more effective. Peoples’ Centres provided services, including hair-dressing and medical services.”

The WPC itself formed out of the Wellington Community Law Centre, Wellington Unemployed Workers Union, DPB Action and Downtown Community Ministry in 1992. The only centre to last for two decades, by early 2012 the WPC provided cheap dentistry, counselling, Social English classes, Workers’ Rights advice and benefit rights advocacy. Read the rest of this entry »


Socialism 2012: the university as factory

May 17, 2012

4:30pm Saturday, June 2nd
Newtown Community and Cultural Centre


Video: Embassy Theatre workers on strike

May 17, 2012

Album review: Born Villain

May 16, 2012
Byron Clark

Born Villain is the 8th studio album from shock-rocker Marilyn Manson, and the first released on his own label after his departure from Interscope records (who censored part of his previous album). Its been described as a come back album and this has led some critics to praise Manson’s return to form, and others to lament the sameness of this album- one described it as “Manson by numbers”. It certainly does sound familiar, though with a somewhat heavier bassline than previous albums- the track The Gardener could even be described as funky.
Lyrically though the album is something of a disappointment. There is some stuff that will shock and offend, but its shock for shocks sake. While its a stretch to describe Marilyn Manson as a political artist, part of his appeal was always his ability to hold a mirror up to society and cast a critical reflection. Manson was known for exploring the American obsession with the ‘three G’s’ Guns, God and Government- the title of his world tour a decade ago. His previous album, The High End of Low was his most explicitly political with songs like Black and White and We’re From America but there is little in the way of social commentary on Born Villain.

As a musician, Marilyn Manson is a good as ever. But the world now is a very different place than at the height of his popularity. Shock rock was a great way to draw attention to things that perhaps we’d rather not think about, but in the years since Manson’s 2003 album Golden Age of Grotesque one hasn’t needed to look to art to show us just how grotesque the modern world is. Since then we’ve been exposed to the photos of torture at Abu Ghraib prison, the Wikileaks video ‘Collateral Murder’  showing journalists being gunned down by American soldiers, and most recently photos published in the LA Times showing other American soldiers taking body parts as trophies. Read the rest of this entry »


Socialism 2012 gig: Kittentank, Big Rick

May 14, 2012

10pm Friday June 1st
Bodega, Wellington


Queer The Night 2012 speech

May 12, 2012

Photo credit: Emily Haskell.

Kassie Hartendorp is a member of the Workers Party, and delivered this speech as a part of Queer The Night 2012. The Workers Party will be holding a talk on queer liberation and socialism as part of our Socialism 2012 conference.

Kia ora whanau,

My name is Kassie and I work for School’s Out, a queer youth organisation, and I am also a member of the Queer Avengers . I’m here speaking to you today, because I want to really drive home that the experiences of the youth up here tonight are not isolated cases.

The whole reason that queer youth support organisations exist is due to the fact that our schools, our families and our communities are not always safe places to come out as a queer or questioning teenager. Our entire existence is based on the fact that so many of our youth and adults, are still unaccepted, marginalised, or treated as second class to heterosexual or cis-gender people.

As a youth worker, I see many of the younger generations coming through with a confidence that even I, as a 22 year old find absolutely inspirational. When I was young, even going to a queer group was too terrifying for me, let alone starting a Queer Straight Alliance, or standing up at a march in front of so many people. Read the rest of this entry »


Queer Avengers leaflet: Queer The Night 2012

May 11, 2012

The Queer Avengers are a Wellington group fighting all forms of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. This leaflet will be circulated on their second annual “Queer The Night” event tonight.

In 2011, after a series of queer-bashings in Wellington, hundreds of people from the community came together to reclaim the streets, to paint the town pink & purple, to Queer The Night. Out of this march, the Queer Avengers formed.

This is the second annual Queer The Night march. This time we’re particularly supporting Pink Shirt Day  on the 18th of May, and more generally opposing all homophobia and transphobia. Read the rest of this entry »


Responses to “why have women left the Occupy movement?”

May 10, 2012

Our article in last month’s issue (also available online here) looking at why women have left the Occupy movement elicited several responses. They are printed here to continue this important discussion.

As part of our Socialism 2012 conference, the Workers Party will be holding a session on “safer spaces in the left,” concerning how to make left groups welcoming and inclusive. This will be facilitated by Kassie Hartendorp at 11am Saturday the 2nd of June, Newtown Community Centre.

 Still supporting the movement

How do you know they left the Occupy Movement to even start asking the question? Has there been some kind of research done? Occupy Auckland was, after all, in the CBD, so naturally it comes with the regular experiences that come with transients and those who drink and take drugs in and around the city, I had one frightening experience one particular night I was there, but it didn’t stop me supporting the Movement or going back, sleeping in the middle of the city poses its risks, irrespective of whether a person in an occupier or not, it’s all just part and parcel of sleeping rough, though I admit, the safer spaces policy did kind of go out the door during the latter part of the occupation.

-Alison Withers  Read the rest of this entry »


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