Why we need fewer cops

October 31, 2008

Talk given by Workers Party Manukau East candidate Daphna Whitmore at an election meeting at Otahuhu College, Auckland 29 October 2008

I want to talk about law and order and police in South Auckland. The Workers Party believe we need fewer cops, not more cops as most of the parties are saying.

I work for a union that is organising worksites such as McDonalds.

For the past month McDonald’s workers have taking strike action. There have been over 40 strikes in the past 30 days. These McDonald’s staff work hard; they are on their feet all day and get just over $12 hour. It’s a poverty wage and the hours of work are uncertain, going up and down each week.

McDonald’s workers at Auckland Airport went on strike a couple of weeks ago. It was a perfectly legal strike and they stood outside in the carpark to hold a peaceful picket. But the security bosses at the airport tried to stop the strikers and called the cops who were there in minutes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Talk to Cops

October 6, 2008

US lawyer on why it’s our right to remain silent, and why we should exercise it.

And a cop backing him up:

Armed cops no solution

July 1, 2008

- Alastair Reith

The recent series of killings in South Auckland has led to a frenzy of  politician’s calls to “get tough on crime”, and for increased powers for the police and the state in general. While such “law and order” orgies come and go, there are some disturbing concrete proposals emerging from this one, in particular the call to put armed cops on the streets of Auckland 24/7.

The police are recommending a six-month trial period; if the idea is approved by Police Commissioner Howard Broad, the armed patrols could be on the streets of Auckland by March next year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Another brick in the wall: cops in schools

March 1, 2008

Don Franks

Police officers are being stationed inside ten South Auckland schools.

From March, five officers will each spend 30 hours a week in the secondary schools, and another five staff will join them later.

Manukau City Councilor Daniel Newman says the aim is to cut crime outside of school, to draw children away from gangs, and to gather information on suspects.

Minister of Police Annette King claims the project will help young people regain confidence in the police. The Minister has yet to win the confidence of the professionals currently responsible for those young people.

Auckland Post Primary Principals’ Association regional chair Gerald van Waardenberg teaches at Otahuhu college, one of the schools which will have a police officer. He said there has been no consultation, and was surprised at the news.

“It’s in no way clear what kind of a role the police will have within the school, whether they’ll be approaching students directly, what the police will actually be doing.”

Read the rest of this entry »

“Stonewall was an unpermitted action” – Gay Liberation Front 1969-1979

January 19, 2013
Gay contingent, Vietnam War protest, 1971. Photo by Diana Davies, from the NY Public Library.

Gay contingent, Vietnam War protest, 1971. Photo by Diana Davies, from the NY Public Library.

This article is adapted from a public talk by Ian Anderson, active in the Workers Party and Queer Avengers. The talk was originally delivered at Wellington’s Marriage Equality Conference in November-December 2012. It gives a snapshot of the “Gay Liberation” movement of the late 1960s-1970s.

In 1969, the night of the Stonewall riot, was a very hot, muggy night. We were in the Stonewall [bar] and the lights came on. We all stopped dancing. The police came in…

We were led out of the bar and they cattled us all up against the police vans. The cops pushed us up against the grates and the fences. People started throwing pennies, nickels, and quarters at the cops.

And then the bottles started. And then we finally had the morals squad barricaded in the Stonewall building, because they were actually afraid of us at that time. They didn’t know we were going to react that way…

It was street gay people from the Village out front-homeless people who lived in the park in Sheridan Square outside the bar-and then drag queens behind them and everybody behind us. The Stonewall Inn telephone lines were cut and they were left in the dark…

All of us were working for so many movements at that time. Everyone was involved with the women’s movement, the peace movement, the civil-rights movement. We were all radicals. I believe that’s what brought it around.

You get tired of being just pushed around.

-Sylvia Rivera, interview by Leslie Feinberg (Workers World Party 1998)

The 1969 Stonewall Riots, which galvanised the Gay Liberation movement throughout the First World, are a well-documented but little understood rupture. On June 28th, 1969, a regular police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a queer-friendly bar, triggered resistance from marginal queer communities in New York City. This event can only be understood in the context of a wider process of social transformation, while the ensuing political project – “Gay Liberation” – contained internal contradictions which are still relevant today. Read the rest of this entry »

Gay Pride 2012: A brief report from New York City

July 11, 2012

This report on NY Gay Pride was irst published on the Kasama Project blog. Ish also writes at The Cahokian.

June 24, this last Sunday was the 42nd annual gay pride parade in New York City. The event commemorates the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall uprising in which lesbian, gay and transgender New Yorkers fought back against a police raid against the Stonewall gay bar.

It’s been a long time since what started out as a “march” was officially turned into a “parade.”

The parade is now shorter than it once was: In recent years the parade route was shortened by request of the city of New York, allegedly to save money. The good news is that the parade is still the occasion for queer New Yorkers to celebrate in the streets. Thousands of people marched, thousands more lined the route, and thousands more went down to the Village — no longer really the gayborhood it once was — to party on the streets and piers.

There were plenty of contingents and floats from the dread corporate sponsors, as well as from the usual spectrum of community and religious organizations. Plastic rainbow gewgaws bearing corporate logos piled up in the streets as the parade passed.

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 »

Occupying an impasse: learning from mistakes?

January 26, 2012

All great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice… first as tragedy, then as farce.

-Karl Marx, 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

October 15th has a double significance in this country, as both the day of the 2007 invasion of the Ureweras, and the day the global ‘Occupy’ movement arrived here in 2011. On October 15th 2011 thousands were mobilised across the country; turnout in Auckland was particularly impressive, while the hundreds who showed up in other centres were largely new to ‘the usual suspects’ (such as myself.) Smaller occupations cropped up in New Plymouth, Marton, Invercargill and elsewhere, showing the resonance of this new political language.

Numbers have fluctuated since. Commentary by Socialist Aotearoa accuses the left of ‘vacillating,’ however the reality is that occupiers have vacillated in general; while Occupy Auckland mobilised thousands on its first day, its current battle with attempted eviction involves a relative hard core. We have to learn from this downward trajectory: what happened and why? Read the rest of this entry »

We Are The University (Auckland) demands

October 18, 2011

After occupying a university council meeting room on Monday the 17th of October, We are the University came to these conclusions in a democratic process:

1. Free education, Zero Frees (Unconditional).
2. Sack Stuart McCutcheon and Patrick Walsh as vice chancellors of the University of Auckland and Victoria University respectively. Restructure university in a public forum.
3. Remove trespass orders on Marcus Coverdale and Wikatana Popata.
4. Decisions on courses be based on scholarly and social benefits rather than financial.
5. Security guards be employed for the safety of students, not survailliance. Cops not to be called in response to (non-violent) student activism.
6. The University management be bound by the government facilitation with the Tertiary Education Union (TEU).
7. University actively lobby to revoke the VSM bill
8. Government unconditionally fund student unions, allowing them to be a critical voice and conscience of society, so that corporatisation such as advertising is not necessary on campus spaces.

- We are the University Auckland

Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) - a socialist perspective

September 21, 2011

This article was originally printed in the Spark December 2010, at a stage when the Workers Party Wellington branch was reconsidering its involvement in Students Assocations. We reprint it now in the lead-up to the VSM bill’s passage on September the 28th and in light of increased student militancy, with significant actions in Auckland and Wellington.

Joel Cosgrove (Wellington Workers Party member and former president of Victoria University Students’ Association).

The Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill is making its way through parliament to make student union membership voluntary. Most people will be totally unaware of the bill and what it means, and may be thinking, “Anyway Freedom of Association is a good thing, isn’t it?”

Currently any student studying at a polytech or university is automatically a member of their student association. A student association levy is generally charged to cover student union running costs, and these range between approximately $75 and $150 per year. Students can opt out of their membership but only upon reasons of hardship or conscientious objection. With a conscientious objection opt-out they are still liable to pay their membership levy.

On-and-off, since the 1970′s, this point of compulsion has waxed and waned as a political issue. Since the 1990s the issue has generally excited the membership of the youth and student wings’ of both the ACT and National parties. National MP Tony Steel brought forward a VSM bill in 1998 that brought about a nationwide referendum in every tertiary institute on the issue of whether student associations would stay “compulsory” or go “voluntary”. The only tertiary institute that went “voluntary” was Auckland University. Many institutes (including Victoria and Otago Universities) voted over 70% to stay “compulsory”. The difference with the current law is that it offers no choice to students on the issue. Funnily enough, students as a whole have voted to remain “compulsory”. “This Bill is an ideological solution in search of a problem. It is bad policy to impose such upheaval and chaos when there are many bigger issues facing the tertiary sector and New Zealand at present,” Said David Do, 2010 Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations. “Generations of students have enjoyed the services and opportunities provided by associations, and this shouldn’t be taken away from future students,” says Pene Delaney the other 2010 NZUSA co-President.

While the co-Presidents are correct, the ‘end of nigh’ predictions put forward are also unlikely to come about. The reality is that the bill is being put forward as an ideological back pat to the ACT Party (whose bill this is) and a sop to the youth wing of the National Party. Compromise was apparently agreed on to make it easier to opt out politically, but fraudulence at the Whitirea Students’ Association – of more than one million dollars – scuppered any compromise and the bill is now being pushed through unchanged. Any talk though of the extinction of Student Associations is premature. Auckland University Students’ Association has been voluntary since 1999 and has survived through grants from the University and from pre-existing business e.g. catering, rental properties etc. This is the model that most Student Associations will follow. It won’t be the end of associations as entities, as they can play a role that is useful to the university in terms of mediating student anger and organising against the ongoing attacks on student conditions. The experience of AUSA (of which David Do was a past-president) is that the university can hold the threat of cuts to student association funding if the student association protests or organises in a way that annoys or threatens the institution. Read the rest of this entry »


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