May 8, 2012
The Aotearoa is Not For Sale hikoi departed from Cape Reinga on April the 23rd and reached parliament on May the 4th. This march demonstrated that tangata whenua are at the forefront of struggle against privatisation, expressed widespread opposition to asset sales, and raised questions of how to move forward.
The kaupapa was broad, and contested. Thousands were united by opposition to National’s plans of selling 49% of state-owned assets to private companies. Other issues of corporate and ‘foreign’ ownership included the AFFCO meat-works lockout, offshore drilling and the Crafar Farms sale.
In an article for Scoop, Anti-capitalism must feature at hikoi against asset sales, Valerie Morse argued the focus should be on capitalist ownership rather than foreign ownership: “A number of very well known ‘kiwi’ brands equally well meet the definition of a multinational corporation… The fight shouldn’t be about domestic or foreign ownership; the fight should be about ownership full stop.” Read the rest of this entry »
May 7, 2012
On March 25th the last tent came down at Occupy Christchurch, the only remaining Occupy protest in the country. It would be a mistake to think that the end of these camps means the end of the movement in New Zealand. The Spark went to find out what the movement is up to now its activists are sleeping indoors.
In the United States and other northern hemisphere nations the “99%” is regrouping and gearing up towards a general strike on May 1st. Closer to home Occupy Brisbane is regrouping and taking space again in the face of their city administrators. Here in Auckland and across the country we are gearing up for the next spate of purges on the workers, the poor and our environment. April 28th was a day of action against Asset Sales, The TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and Off shore oil drilling. The day was the beginning of the ‘Aotearoa not for Sale’ Hikoi. Occupy Auckland participated, bolstered by enthusiasm from watching the “Occupy Spring” taking place in North America.
We joined the fight in support of the future dispossessed residents of Glenn Innes as the demolition of state housing strips people of what have in some cases been homes for generations and pushes the poor further away from amenities and job opportunities in Auckland. Read the rest of this entry »
May 5, 2012
Socialism 2012: a weekend of radical ideas and discussion
June 1st-3rd (Queen’s Birthday Weekend)
Newtown Community Centre, Wellington
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May 3, 2012
Day 1 of a 21-day strike
This article was written for The Spark by Michael Will who is a waterside worker and delegate for the Maritime Union of New Zealand (MUNZ).
The Unions of this country are being attacked at the moment, our freedom and rights as workers and human beings are being eroded by attacks by employers and the government.
No labour dispute has been played out in the media as much as the recent struggle between the Maritime Union of New Zealand and Ports of Auckland Ltd. The Maritime Union represents a number of workers involved in the wharf and Shipping industry. These workers have endured a lot of attacks in their history- notably the famous 1951 lockout where laws were passed to make it illegal to feed locked out workers and publish material to get the message to the Public.
The Ports of Auckland dispute began when bargaining failed to reach an agreement, as the Auckland City Council had demanded an increase in their dividend from 6% to 12% over the next five years. Considering that all other publicly owned Ports in the Australasian area operate at around 6% this was an unfair and unrealistic demand. The wharfies had offered to take a lower increase in wages for the retention of job security, and a roster system that gave them a balance between work and family life. CEO Tony Gibson has famously stated that “Unions need to realistic, family life just isn’t financially competitive”.
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May 1, 2012
As we go to press the ‘Aotearoa is not Sale’ Hikoi has left Auckland and will reach parliament on May 4. Two days later, thousands are expected to turn out at a Christchurch protest calling for mid-term elections and the resignation of the City Council CEO. These events follow after demonstrations against state housing demolition in Glen Innes, a significant labour struggle at the ports of Auckland (see page 7) and protests demanding the reinstating of a rail link in Gisborne (see page 9).
In this issue we cover the Mana Movement AGM and catch up with the various Occupy New Zealand groups to find out what they are doing now that the campsites are gone. Many people who were radicalised by the Occupy movement are involved in the aforementioned mentioned protests. It seems to be the case that ‘You can’t evict an idea’. An article in our previous issue looking at why women have left the Occupy movement attracted a number of responses that are printed on page 11.
Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find articles looking at copyright, transgender oppression, and the privatisation of electricity. We also reprint at article looking at the history of international workers day – May 1st.
May Spark pdf
May 1, 2012
In this article originally published by the Socialist Workers Party (USA) Elizabeth Schulte tells the history of May Day, a socialist holiday founded to honor the Haymarket Martyrs and celebrate international workers’ solidarity.
“THERE WILL be a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.” Those were the last words of August Spies, one of four innocent men executed for an explosion at Chicago’s Haymarket Square in May 1886.
The real “crime” for which Spies and his comrades were condemned was being labor militants fighting for workers’ rights and the eight-hour day. The national strike for the eight-hour day that they organized was called for May 1, 1886-it was the first May Day.
Their struggle, and the struggle of thousands alongside them, convinced a generation of labor militants and radicals to devote their lives for the fight for workers’ rights and for socialism.
Still, although May Day was founded to honor a U.S. labor struggle, few workers in this country typically know its origin, because the history is largely untold. This has changed, however-since the mass immigrant workers’ May Day marches that began in 2006. Read the rest of this entry »