US Election: Four more years of Obama

December 12, 2012

Byron Clarkobama-2012

This year’s American presidential election saw a victory for incumbent Barack Obama. Obama was elected in 2008 on vague promises of ‘hope’ and ‘change’. While the election of the first African American president was historic, there has been very little change in foreign policy. Disillusionment is what could have cost Obama the election, but American liberals (and many of those further to the left) voted against republican challenger Mitt Romney. Much of the organised labour movement,
under attack in a number of states by right-wing state senates, also came out for Obama and Democrats on Election Day. While keeping in mind the bombs falling around the Middle East, there are some positive victories on reproductive rights, equal marriage and drug law reform. Read the rest of this entry »


The story of May Day

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 »


The Help by Kathryn Stockett

January 12, 2010

Reviewed by Mike Kay

 The Help is an ambitious novel set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s. It encapsulates a city that was a bastion of Jim Crow racism – a phalanx of state and local laws that were designed to keep black and white people separate from cradle to grave. Read the rest of this entry »


The flag is symbolic, imperialism is real

May 10, 2009

Victoria university members of the Workers Party are facing charges of serious misconduct after burning the New Zealand flag. This leaflet explains the political background to the act.

Why burn the New Zealand flag?

The New Zealand flag is a symbol of imperialism. This is most obvious in its design, a tribute to the British Empire. This design was adopted after the Second Boer War, which devastated South Africa but resulted in a surge of Kiwi patriotism.

Lest we forget

Lest we forget

A simple re-design, while reflecting our emergence from the shadow of the British Empire, would not change the imperialist nature of the flag. It’s a tool of the ruling class, inseparably linked with militarism. From the Boer War through WWI and II, right through to armed involvement in Vietnam and Afghanistan, the flag has marked New Zealand’s presence. Flags mark military conquest, the subjugation of nations.

Flags and borders divide the working majority. ANZAC soldiers had more in common with their Turkish counterparts than with the bureaucrats who sent them to Gallipoli. The working majority has interests in common worldwide, including an end to imperial war. Ruling class nationalism is a barrier to recognising this.

What purpose does ANZAC day serve? Read the rest of this entry »


Obama - managing the US war effort

March 14, 2009

John Edmundson

During the lead-up to the 2008 US election, Barack Obama made much of his plans to end the war in Iraq. His bold declaration - that “on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war”. Across the world, many people pinned their hopes on this promise.

Obama’s policy was never really about ending America’s imperialist war policy. It was always about managing the US war effort more effectively. Read the rest of this entry »


Deer Hunting with Jesus

February 4, 2009

Dispatches from America's Class War

 Reviewed by Jill Brasell

(The Spark February 2009)

Journalist and blogger Joe Bageant grew up among the working-class people of Winchester, Virginia, and a question has evidently itched him ever since he escaped from (and then returned to) that community. Why do the working class reject liberalism, and instead hold tight to ideas that work against their own interests?

Deer Hunting with Jesus (Three Rivers Press, New York, 2007) is a series of loosely connected essays that attempts to answer that question. Bageant is a sharp observer and the book is a thought-provoking and often entertaining read as he takes a bottom-up look at globalisation, home ownership, healthcare, guns, Abu Ghraib, Christian fundamentalism and what he calls “the American hologram”.

Read the rest of this entry »


Barack Obama - another Martin Luther King?

January 25, 2009

- Don Franks

The son of murdered black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. has often been asked: did you think you’d ever live to see a black US president?

“People are surprised when I say yes”, says Martin Luther King III. “But I’m sure my father would have said the same if he was alive today. Without that faith and that sense of possibility he would have had no reason to fight in the first place.”

A spirit of faith and hope has accompanied Obama’s election campaign. A Gallup poll on announcement of Obama’s victory shows that a massive 70% of Americans believe they will be better off by the time the new president finishes his term in four years time.

Seldom has the election of a capitalist politician aroused such euphoric public celebration. Obama’s inaugural speech drew a record crowd of close on two million. In the afterglow of the inauguration ceremonies floods of Obama memorabilia continue to be snapped up at three times the volume of the previous record setter Bill Clinton. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama: “Change” – to what, and who for?

December 4, 2008

The Spark December 2008 - January 2009

Since the office was first introduced in 1789, the President of the United States has been the leading figurehead in American capitalism, imperialism and exploitation. It is impressive that for the first time in 219 years, in a country that only roughly 40 years ago institutionalised segregation and only roughly 140 years ago still practised slavery, a black face is now at the top. But that does not change what the US presidency represents. Read the rest of this entry »


US Election: the struggle continues

November 9, 2008

Racism is a product of class oppression; the two are fundamentally connected. The Workers Party acknowledges the history of African American struggle which has resulted in the election of Barack Obama.

The vast majority of African Americans remain wage earners. Obama is considering Lawrence Summers as  head of Treasury. Former head of the World Bank, Summers supported dumping toxic waste on Africa.

The struggle continues.


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?

Read the rest of this entry »


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