Middle East politics

January 16, 2009

For indepth background analysis of the conflicts in the Middle East check out back issues from our MidEast Solidarity and Liberation journals:

MidEast Solidarity Spring 2001 mideast17

No to West’s war of terror

The West’s mass murder in Iraq

Israel’s war on the Palestinians

From Zionism to socialism

One year of the new intifada

Fear of fundamentalism

How the West made Bin Laden

Labour wages war on workers and poor

The problem is capitalism

Towards an anti-imperialist movement

MidEast Solidarity Autumn 2002 mideast22

Black Hawk Down actor speaks out

United Nations - friend or foe?

Peace is not good enough - against the invasion of Afghanistan

Palestine - solidarity urgently needed

Behind the wars on the Palestinians

Deir Yassin massacre

Who is in Palestine?

Liberation Spring 2002 liberation11

Liberating ideas and the movement we need to oppose the war on Iraq

Depleted uranium - another weapon of Western terror

How the West strangles the Middle East

One year on in Afghanistan

Represssion and resistance in Turkish jails


Armistice Day

November 11, 2008

Armistice Day in 2004 saw the Return of the Unknown Soldier

SQUIRE HELEN
(From The Spark, November 2004)

The Dominion Post (November 2004) reminded us that Prime Minister Helen Clark is also minister for arts, culture and heritage. Under that subhead, the paper carried an article by the multi-minister; “reflecting on our maturing sense of national identity”. To Helen Clark,” our maturing sense ” is a preoccupation with selectively remembered mass murder.

The first half of her article was a gushing sentimental rehash of the Unknown Warrior commemorations, concluding:

“More than 80 years elapsed from the time Prime Minister William Massey first explored the idea of a New Zealand Tomb of the Unknown Warrior to the day we welcomed home a young man whose life was cut short by war.”

Helen Clark writes as though the poor bastard had somehow been resurrected. No young man “was welcomed home” last November the 11th. The youth and prospects of the anonymous victim died the day imperialism butchered him in the mud of France.

The only thing Helen Clark welcomed in Wellington last Armistice day was a whitewash of capitalist history.P060808SC-0722.JPG

Right: Laura Bush greets NZ troops in Afghanistan June 2008

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Condoleezza says thank you

July 27, 2008

- Daphna Whitmore

Condoleezza Rice just called in to say thank you.

Thanks for the “long history of partnership”. Thanks for New Zealand’s military participation in wars in Korea, the Pacific and more recently in Afghanistan.

Hang on a minute, isn’t Helen Clark supposed to be a  peacenik camouflaged in a power suit?

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Immigration and citizenship: Labour versus workers

July 14, 2008

The article below originally appeared in revolution magazine, #21, August-October 2003:

Samoan protests for the return of their NZ citizenship point up the need for a campaign for open borders and workers’ solidarity as against Labour’s denial of Samoan (and other migrants’) rights, argues Philip Ferguson.

In late March, thousands of Samoans protested in Wellington, Christchurch and in Samoa itself, calling for the repeal of the NZ Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act of 1982.  This legislation, introduced by Muldoon’s National Party government, had stripped 100,000 Samoans of NZ citizenship rights.  The abolition of these citizenship rights was part of a miserable 70-year record of NZ dealings with the Samoan people.

NZ had invaded Samoa in 1914 and was the colonial power there for the next five decades.  Just after WW1, the NZ administration bore responsibility for an influenza epidemic that wiped out a quarter of the population.  The NZ government then viciously suppressed the mass movement for Samoan independence, including gunning down unarmed independence protesters in 1929.

After independence, NZ continued to act as lord and master of Samoa and other former NZ-ruled countries in the Pacific.  For instance, in the 1970s NZ governments masqueraded as generous aid donors to the Pacific.  Yet, at that very same time, for every dollar of aid the Pacific countries of the Commonwealth received from New Zealand, they lost $3.74 in trade with this country.  Most of the NZ aid was actually spent on NZ commodities, services and personnel.  Moreover, it had little impact on expanding Pacific island exports to NZ.  The 1970s also saw mass raids on Pacific Island ‘overstayers’ in NZ and large-scale deportations.

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Imperialism and the Burmese Cyclone

June 4, 2008

It’s a quandary for the western left: the same countries that have invaded Iraq and visited much suffering on many other poor countries now want to do good in Cyclone-ravaged Myanmar/Burma. Has US and British imperialism suddenly become a force for good? Don’t be fooled, says John Moore, who argues that we need to question the motives of those countries now offering aid. What they really want is to open Burma up to western investment and political control.

The disastrous cyclone that hit Burma in early May has once again placed the concerns of this county on the international stage. In New Zealand political organisations ranging from the Labour Party through to the Greens and the far-left have made statements condemning the brutal military regime’s appalling handling of the crisis, tied with calls for tightened sanctions and/or New Zealand disinvestment. The military regime’s handling of the cyclone disaster should be condemned. Its incompetence, coupled with unconcern for the victims, will merely strengthen the majority of the population’s hatred for the ruling junta. However, leftists who want to support the people of Myanmar/Burma should cast a critical eye on increasing calls by Western leaders for some form of “humanitarian” intervention and the continued imposition of sanctions. Leftist groups who continue to call for some form of economic boycott and don’t pose the dangers of Western “humanitarian” intervention risk the danger of acting as a leftist/liberal fig leaf for imperialist manoeuvrings in this troubled area.

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Workers Party supports peace activists, calls for Waihopai Spy Base to be scrapped

May 1, 2008

Press Release

“Claims by Prime Minister Helen Clark that yesterday’s action by peace activists at the Waihopai Spy Base near Blenheim was nothing more than ‘a senseless act of vandalism’ show how totally out of touch the Labour government is with reality,” according to Workers Party national organiser Daphna Whitmore.

“Instead of complaining about the damage caused by the peace activists, Helen Clark and the Labour Party should be more concerned about the suffering being inflicted on the people of Afghanistan and other parts of the world as a result of the so-called ‘War on Terror’. Spy bases such as the one maintained at Waihopai play an integral part of that war.”

“Currently millions of dollars are spent each year on maintaining an intelligence network one of whose central aims is to aid in the repression of political activists and movements which threatened the interests of Western imperialism,” Ms Whitmore said.

“The Workers Party, which intends to contest the party vote for the first time in the upcoming 2008 general election, calls for the immediate withdrawal of New Zealand from all Western military alliances and the dismantling of repressive agencies such as the GCSB and SIS. As such we fully support the actions carried out yesterday by the three members of Anzac Ploughshares at Waihopai and call on all workers and progressive people to do likewise,” she added.


Anzac Day: what are we celebrating?

April 24, 2008

Australian soldiers in East Timor: the Anzac myth plays a major role in legitimising this sort of imperialist military intervention

Every year we are told that the young men whose lives were snuffed out at Gallipoli died gloriously for our freedom. We are told that the “liberties” we supposedly enjoy in New Zealand today exist only because of the sacrifice of these soldiers. The message is that the soldiers’ deaths were worth it, and that the cause they died for was just.

There is no nice way to say this: it’s all lies.

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NZ Police propping up Tongan monarchy

April 10, 2008

- Alastair Reith

The Kingdom of Tonga has announced that it will be appointing a New Zealand policeman to be its new Police Commander. The news was made public on April 2, with the Ministry of Police, Prisons and Fire Services stating that none of the seven Tongan candidates were “suitable”.

Tonga is a repressive feudal monarchy, where almost all wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of a small layer of nobles and the capitalists linked to them.

Only 9 of the 34 members of its House of Representatives are democratically elected, with 16 being appointed directly by the King and another 9 representing “the noble families of the realm”. The Tongan political system has very few differences from that of mediaeval Europe!

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Afghanistan, East Timor and the failure of “humanitarian” military intervention

March 1, 2008

Tim Bowron

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

-Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852)

Since Labour took office in 1999, New Zealand military forces have been deployed overseas on a scale not seen since the time of the Vietnam War. Unusually, though, this renewed outburst of militarism has been greeted by many sections of the New Zealand left not with protest and bitter denunciation but instead with widespread approval.

Unlike the conflicts in Vietnam or Korea, we are told that the current Western military interventions in countries such as Afghanistan and East Timor are not missions of imperial aggrandisement and aggression, but instead are all about “humanitarian reconstruction” and multilateral action in accordance with international law.

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