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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Boys (and Dads) Will Be Boys

My wife and I went to pick the kids up from creche this afternoon.

The assistant supervisor broached a subject she was clearly uncomfortable with.

"'J' has been using some unacceptable speech", she began "and has been playing aggressively with the other boys"

Tracey and I exchanged worried glances-both of us thinking of what bad words we might have said with the kids in earshot.

"'J' has talked about splattering brains and he's been playing.......wargames"

Relieved as hell, I asked what was wrong with that? I was secretly proud of my three year old son's vocabulary and imagination.

"Well we have a policy against any kind of aggressive games. War games are a no no."

"Well", I replied, "I actually encourage my boy to play with toy guns and swords do heaps of play fighting"

"Yes" my wife added "that sounds pretty PC, we're about the most unPC family around".

"Aren't the boys allowed to play fight and 'shoot' each other", I enquired?

"No" she replied "if they pretend to have guns, we get them to imagine they're something else".

"Like a bazooka, you mean, I replied?

Tracey nudged me as she could see the creche staff getting more and more sheepish.

We discussed the issue a bit further and the assistant manager showed me the creche's directive forbidding aggressive play.

Then 'J' and I went outside and "machinegunned" each other in the carpark. Then we drove home where we played "Tigers" in the lounge while Tracey cooked tea.

Hizbullah Getting Ready for Next Round

From Ynet News Hat Tip Jihad Watch

Hizbullah representative in Iran Muhammad Abdullah Sif al-Din, said Wednesday that Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has a new strategic plan to rearm ahead of the "next round against Israel ."

In an interview with the Iranian news agency Fars, al-Din said: "No one can promise us that Israel won't attack again. Whoever lives as a neighbor to the Zionist regime is in danger and must not save any effort to obtain all of the means to defend himself. We are convinced that there still danger and the situation has not yet been solved. We must, all the time, prepare ourselves for self-defense and to plan for the next stage."

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Debating Don Franks on Communism and South Africa

This exchange between Scott Hamilton of the Communist Workers Group and Don Franks (ex Workers Communist League, ex Socialist Workers Organisation) of the Workers Party occurred recently on Indymedia.

Scott Check this review of Don's talk by loopy Trevor Loudon. It has to be seen to be believed:

He thinks SA is run by commies today and Don's to blame!

Don Well, I hope the ruling class have more competent spies and theoreticians up their sleeve than Trevor Loudon otherwise the revolution may be boringly onesided.

Trevor is 100% wrong with his central assertions about the WCL and the SACP.
The WCL had some respect for SACP members, because of the incredible repression they were under, but we never had any time at all for their political line, which we regarded as revisionist. The WCL had many, often bitter arguments with various other anti apartheid activists about SACP type politics, especially in trade union circles. I think the present state of South Africa shows our misgivings had some foundation.

New Zeal Don is a bit harsh here. I blamed him for being part of a movement that helped to bring the SACP to power in South Africa. That much is true.

However I am well aware that the Workers Communist League at the time was a hard core Maoist outfit, totally at odds with the Soviet line.

The WCL even formed a Campaign Against Soviet Imperialism (fronted by Virginia Adams) and campaigned against Soviet cultural visits, Lada car imports and NZ/Soviet fishing deals (as did I, for different reasons).

The WCL backed South African Maoist groups such as Steve Biko's Black Conciousness Movement of Azania. While the WCL linked Maoist, Trevor Richards had a lot to do with the SACP controlled ANC, I accept that the WCL was not directly pro ANC.

It should have been very clear at the time however that the ANC and consequently the SACP would be the only force likely to replace an Apartheid government.

If Don and the WCL did not understand this, I would question his/their judgement and political nous.

Regarding Scott's questioning of the SACP's control of South Africa, he is either ignorant or being deliberately dishonest.

Approximately 30% of ANC officials are SACP members. Many ANC MPs are in the SACP as are at least five Cabinet Ministers.

President Thabo Mbeki himself, is a former Soviet trained SACP member. In 2005 he threatened to rejoin the Party, if the ANC refused to allow him more than two terms as president.

By the way Don, I've always wondered about the roles of your late comrades, Rona Bailey and Ron Smith.

I've heard that while Rona was a Maoist and WCL member, her real allegiance lay with the Soviets. A very high level operator. Any comments?

Also while Ron was a WCL member, I've been told he also used to attend meetings of the Wellington City branch of the pro-Soviet, Socialist Unity Party.

His wife Carmen was a stalwart of the SUP controlled, NZ Council for World Peace. She also attended the SUP's 1988 National Conference.

Any comments on Ron's role, Don?

Global Cooling?... Don't Tell the Greens

Maksimovich at Outsidethecube has an interesting post on global.....cooling.

"Global cooling could develop on Earth in 50 years and have serious consequences before it is replaced by a period of warming in the early 22nd century, a Russian scientist said Friday.

Environmentalists and scientists today focus on the dangers of global warming provoked by man's detrimental effect on the planet's climate, but global cooling - though never widely supported - is a theory postulating an overwhelming cooling of the Earth which could involve glaciation.

"On the basis of our [solar emission] research, we developed a scenario of a global cooling of the Earth's climate by the middle of this century and the beginning of a regular 200-year-long cycle of the climate's global warming at the start of the 22nd century," said the head of the space research sector of the Russian Academy of Sciences' astronomical observatory.

Khabibullo Abdusamatov said he and his colleagues had concluded that a period of global cooling similar to one seen in the late 17th century - when canals froze in the Netherlands and people had to leave their dwellings in Greenland - could start in 2012-2015 and reach its peak in 2055-2060.

He said he believed the future climate change would have very serious consequences and that authorities should start preparing for them today because "climate cooling is connected with changing temperatures, especially for northern countries."

"The Kyoto initiatives to save the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off until better times,"
he said, referring to an international treaty on climate change targeting greenhouse gas emissions.

"The global temperature maximum has been reached on Earth, and Earth's global temperature will decline to a climatic minimum even without the Kyoto protocol," Abdusamatov said.

Dr. Abdusamatov is chief of the Space Exploration Department of the Central Astronomical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the supervisor of the Astrometria project of the Russian part of the International Space Station".

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Queensland Worker's "Great Red Hope"

Matt McCarten and his pal, Grant Morgan's Socialist Worker are best mates with the Aussie Socialist Alliance.

Queensland Labor Premier Peter Beattie has called a snap election for the 9th of September and Socialist Alliance are gearing up to take state power for the working class.

Socialist Alliance is running their top candidate in Beattie's own seat, long time Brisbane based socialist and Aboriginal activist, Sam Watson

Watson first burned with revolutionary fervor as a high school student during the late '60s. Radical students used to gather outside the Brisbane post office to hear speakers preaching class struggle. "It was there that I heard Communist Party speakers talk about the White Australia policy from a workers perspective."

A member of the underground Students for Democratic Action, Watson gathered signatures to demand a referendum on including Aboriginal people in the census. He went on to become the only Aboriginal student at the University of Queensland.

At Uni, Watson was active in support of the Gurindji strike of Aboriginal workers in the Northern Territory, the "freedom bus rides" and the campaign to establish a network of Aboriginal legal aid and housing organisations in Queensland.

Watson also became a socialist. "I realised that the struggle of my people was not a race struggle, but one facet of a broader class struggle".

In 1971, the tour of apartheid South Africa's Springbok rugby team amped up "anti-racist" activism. Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson declared a state of emergency for the Brisbane match. “We declared the university a peoples' university and closed down the formal lecture program. We invited Aboriginal people into the lecture rooms and the tutorial rooms to discuss racism.”

Watson now lectures in black Australian literature and is deputy director of the Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Study Centre at the University of Queensland.

Still an activist, Watson recently helping to organise the People's March on CHOGM. “In the Brisbane Murri community I am a link with the white left. For a long time, the Murri leadership was very suspicious of the white political movement and always insisted that Aboriginal politics should play a predominant role in joint activities. But over the years, Aboriginal leaders have become far more accepting of our white comrades."

Watson was the lead senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance in Queensland in the 2001 federal election and Alliance's senate team in the 2004 election.

In both those elections Watson only scored a few percentage points of the vote. Will it be different this time? Will Queensland voters finally wake up to the fact that Marxism-Leninism is their only hope for a bright future? Is Sam Watson the Queensland working class' "Great Red Hope"?

Chavez Calls Israelis "Fascists"-Again

From Zaman Online Hat Tip Phil at Whoar

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, paying a visit to China, slammed Israel on Friday condemning Israel's strikes in Lebanon as comparable to the acts of Adolf Hitler.

Chavez, who cut diplomatic ties with Israel during its attacks on Lebanon, denounced the attacks that killed over a thousand civilians. Chavez compared the Israeli aggression to the acts of Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, and said Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for genocide before the International Court of Justice.

"The kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers was just a pretext to attack Lebanon. I don't endorse the kidnapping but it was not a cause for war and fascism," Chavez told a press conference in Beijing, Friday.

"Israel is doing the same thing today as Hitler did," he said. "We give our sympathy to the Arab people and condemn Israel. What the Israeli army did in Lebanon was genocide."

The Venezuelan President said that the Chinese President Hu Cintao backed his country’s bid for a U.N. Security Council seat.

Chavez criticized the US government for employing every means to block Venezuela from joining the Security Council. "The American imperialists are trying to stop us. We are all against US imperialism."

The Venezuelan President added that he had received support from South American countries, the Arab league, China and Russia.

Pair of P.R.A.T.T.s

Like many socialists, writer Dick Scott demonstrated against the 1981 Springbok Tour of NZ. He and son Mark, certainly qualified as Pinkoes and Reds Against The Tour

At the Hamilton game, Scott proudly marched with his "Sharpeville Score: 128-0" banner He was punched to the ground for his troubles and rescued by his son Mark, who grazed his arm on the nails deliberately protruding from the banner.

It was perhaps Karmic justice for Mark, as he had attempted to thwart the first game of the Tour, in Gisborne, by dumping broken glass all over the pitch.

Mark Scott had hired a landrover and piled three Maori women in the back. They then crashed through the stadium gates before circling the ground, dumping piles of broken glass on the playing field.

The plan failed because they dumped the glass in piles, rather than spreading it properly. Scores of volunteers worked through the night, under floodlights, to clear the field in time for the game.

Mark Scott got periodic detention for depositing the glass, but was acquitted on charges of rioting and unlawful assembling for his part in demonstrations during the game.

Back in Auckland, Dick Scott mooted a plan to block access over the Harbour Bridge by dumping a fleet of slow moving old cars on the bridge, while drivers made their escape on motorbikes or by rope ladder. The plan foundered when some key operators pulled out.

Isn't it amazing, how noble and idealistic socialists can be, when they know they're right?

Monday, August 28, 2006

"National Question" Part 6, Dick Scott and Parihaka

Of the three young pakeha communists active on Maori issues in the late 40s, early'50s, Noel Hilliard, Harry Evison and Dick Scott, the latter has probably had the most significant influence.

Author of the 1954 book, "The Parihaka Story" and its 1975 update, "Ask That Mountain", Scott was the first writer to widely publicise the story of the destruction of Parihaka village in Taranaki by colonial forces in 1881.

It has proven to be a very influential story. Wrote former Listener journalist, Denis Welch "Not many books change the way people think but, like its near-contemporaries Silent Spring and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Scott's did: his dramatic tale of the passive resistance shown by Te Whiti and his followers, and their shameful treatment by the colonial authorities, was eventually to play a key part in radicalising young Maori and raising Pakeha consciousness about the racism inherent in this country's development."

Who is Dick Scott and why, in the early '50s did he choose to write a book about an obscure piece of NZ's colonial history?

From a Manawatu farming background, Scott mixed with the Communist Party during WW2 in Wellington and went on to formally joined the Party in Palmerston North.

Scott's first exposure to the Communist Party's Maori programme was Party member Ron Meek' 48 page pamphlet "Maori Problems Today". Meek's work was designed to assist in "forging a bond of unity between maori and progressive pakeha."

Meek wanted the communists to take up maori problems, in order to secure "an intelligent and powerful make the inevitable change to a real New Order to come faster and less painfully".

Scott took up journalism and in the late '40s was one of several undercover communists working on the Labour Party's daily newspaper, "Southern Cross". These included Scott's friend and comrade, cadet reporter, Noel Hilliard. Already working on the manuscript that became "Maori Girl" Hilliard asked Scott to view his work.

Scott used his secret party status to advantage. He infiltrated the "right wing" anti communist group "Catholic Action", had clandestine dealings with the US embassy and gained union positions, by keeping his Party membership secret.

In 1946 as a 22 year old, he even accepted a Manawatu Labour Party nomination for the General Election. Communist Party HQ made Scott withdraw his name as they feared the embarrassment should his true loyalties be discovered.

Later in Auckland, Scott held night time meetings with young unionist, Eddie Isbey, in the Parnell Rose Gardens. Formerly a communist in London, Scott advised Isbey to stay out of the NZ Communist Party. Isbey joined Labour instead and later became an Minister outside Cabinet.

Scott did become an open communist for a while however and edited the Party's newspaper "People's Voice" for a brief period.

Scott says he left the Communist Party in the early '50s, but his earlier secrecy and admitted dishonesty must cast some doubt on that claim.

About this time, aged 29 and bedridden with measles, Scott began reading from a 640 page legal tome "Bryce vs Rusden", the story of a defamation case, associated with the 19th century military incident at the Taranaki Maori settlement of Parihaka. Scott had co-incidentally picked this book from the Library of Wellington businessman Siegfried Eichelbaum. When Mr Eichelbaum died, his daughters, had invited to pick a book from his library.

Of the four girls, at least two, Anne, later married to economist Wolgang Rosenberg and Cath, later married to unionist Pat Kelly, were Communist Party members.

Scott was inspired to look into the Parihaka story and travelled to Taranaki to undertake research. Scott uncovered the story of one of NZ's most shameful episodes. On the 5th of November 1881 Native Minister John Bryce sent 1600 Armed Constabulary and volunteers, backed by artillery, to subdue Parihaka. The community’s non-violent resistance to land confiscations was viewed as a serious threat and had to be suppressed. Many maori were killed and many more imprisoned.

Scott worked on the book through 1954. He was able to afford to devote time to the project, because Communist Party member and dentist, John Colquhoun, kindly employed Scott's wife Elsie as a temporary dental assistant.

The book was printed by sympathetic former "concientious objector" Owen Smith and came out in time for Christmas 1954.

"The Parihaka Story" polarised left and right. Wolfgang Rosenberg gave it a very favourable review in the union journal, "The Building Worker", leftist Bob Goodman praised it in the "Auckland Star"

As Scott has said "Two of my favourable reviews were written by refugees from Nazi Germany. They were from two friends. Any good review I got, looking back, were from people I knew."

The "Listener" said “Mr Scott is a passionate advocate for the Maori-his history, product of much research, would be even more impressive had he written it with less bitterness and violence.”

The Taranaki Daily News was more hostile. They ran several articles attacking the books accuracy and alleged bias.

"...It is surely no coincidence that a leading member of the Communist Party has recently published The Parihaka Story with emphasis on the undoubted wrong to the Maori," wrote Alexander Boyd Witten-Hannah on 29 January 1955.

Two weeks later, Witten-Hannah wrote of being visited by a Mr Pokai, who: "...came to my home and told me of his feelings in words that give a complete answer to the malicious innuendos in a recently published book by a communist journalist, obviously designed to revive the memory of old wrongs for political advantage."

Scott says his early political leanings were well known. "I have to be honest, I had been a member of the Communist Party when I was young, but I wasn't then."

In december 1955, Scott learned that "Foreign Languages Publishing House" in the Soviet Union, was proposing to include "The Parihaka Story" in their 1956 history section. Scott later recieved a cheque for the then substantial sum od 300 Guineas from his Soviet publisher.

In the 1970s, Scott reworked the book and had it re-published as "Ask That Mountain". It has gone into eight printings and around 25,000 copies.

As PM Helen Clark said in 2004. Most famously, The Parihaka Story in 1954, as developed into the fuller account Ask That Mountain in 1975, has had, in the words of Denis Welch, ‘as profound an influence on our national sense of history as any book ever written’. Having visited Parihaka, I can only affirm what Dick Scott found when he brought that story into New Zealand’s general consciousness – that it is a special place with a special history which must never be forgotten.

Ask that Mountain is credited with helping to change the way we thought as a nation, and its continued readership has confirmed its classic status.

Venezuelan Communist's Oil Threat

Luis Tascon is a leading Venezuelan parliamentarian and a founding member of the Movement for the Fifth Republic (MVR). The MVR is the main parliamentary party supporting President Hugo Chavez and his “Bolivarian revolution”. Luis Tascón was re-elected to the Venezuelan National Assembly in the Venezuelan parliamentary election of 2005, representing MVR and the Communist Party of Venezuela of Táchira state.

Tascon caused a national scandal in 2004 when he published on his website the signers of 2004 referendum to recall Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. According to Chavez opponents, this list of 2.4 million people was then used to fire people, ban them from jobs, from obtaining ID cards, passports etc.

According to an interview published in the latest Green Left Weekly, there were "difference between Venezuela’s revolution and the 1979-90 Sandinista-led revolution in Nicaragua, which Washington successfully defeated through funding the Contras’ bloody insurgency. As with Nicaragua, Venezuela’s revolution has faced stiff opposition from the US ruling elite. This has included a Washington-backed military coup in April 2002 and a devastating lockout by Venezuelan bosses in December the same year.

Tascon explained that Venezuela and Nicaragua had significant differences that have helped the former from so far falling victim to the latter’s fate. “Nicaragua is a very poor country, with very few resources. Venezuela is a rich country, with very substantial resources of oil. We have 12.5% of the internal petroleum market in the US. We are owners of [the state-run oil industry] PDVSA. We could cause a lot of damage to the US economy if our oil was cut off — more than any war.

“This is the context in which President Chavez has entered world politics. Oil has given Venezuela a little power. At present, the US is involved in the Middle East, which is more of a priority than Venezuela right now. The US also has North Korea on its agenda. Because of this, they are using Colombia as a platform against Venezuela, rather than direct intervention. Venezuela cannot be tackled head-on for the time being.

“The price of petrol has risen to close to [US]$76 per barrel. When we began the revolution, oil was at $25 per barrel. Venezuela has the biggest reserves of oil in the world. Inflation is under control. We have managed our strong economy, thanks to the price of petrol. So, it is very different to the situation of Nicaragua [in the 1980s].

Tascon told GLW that the US “must take care”. “Nicaragua only had bananas [to export]. The effect of a war with Venezuela would seriously de-stabilise the world oil market. If this happened, the price of Venezuelan oil could rise to over $100 per barrel, and this would undermine the US economy. The US will do everything it can to bring down Chavez, but under these conditions, Venezuela is a very difficult target for them.”

Police Stories

A friend emailed these stories this morning. I don't know how true they are, but her brother is a policeman and she does drive through Central Otago a lot.


A New Plymouth Traffic Patrol Cop was watching for speeders with a mobile radar gun, but wasn't getting many. Then he discovered the problem. A 12-year-old boy was standing up the road with a hand painted sign, which read "RADAR TRAP AHEAD". The officer then found a young accomplice down the road with a sign reading "TIPS" and a bucket full of money.


A motorist was mailed a picture of his car speeding through a pole mounted Speed camera in Otago with a fine of $160 included. Being cute, he sent the police department a picture of $160. The police responded with another mailed photo of handcuffs.


A young woman was pulled over for speeding. As a Central Otago Cop walked to her car window, flipping open his ticket book, she said, "I bet you are going to sell me a ticket to the Central Otago Police Ball". He replied, "Central Otago Police don't have balls." There was a moment of silence while she smiled, and he realised what he's just said. He then closed his book, got back in his patrol car and left. She was laughing too hard to start her car.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ruling Sets Precedent Against Property Rights?

From this morning's Christchurch Press

A judge's ruling has virtually cleared the way for peaceful property occupations as a form of protest, an activist says.

Two Happy valley Coal Mine protestors who occupied the roof of Solid Energy's Christchurch office building in February have had charges dismissed.

Christchurch District Court judge, Stephen Erber ruled that they could not be convicted of being unlawfully on the building when they had no intention of committing "any other offence".

Speaking outside the court, protestor Daniel Rae said "the ruling gave them a lawful way to protest".

New Zeal Does this mean what I think it means? Does this mean that Solid Energy, or indeed any other property owner cannot charge someone with trespass, unless they somehow know that the intruder intends to commit theft, burglary, rape, vandalism, murder, arson, or some other offence?

If judge Erber finds a man outside his bedroom wind at 3pm one afternoon and the man refuses to leave, what can he do?

Can judge Erber have him charged with trespass without questioning as to his intentions? If he cannot ascertain his intentions can judge Erber have the man removed? Can he have him prosecuted?

I'm no lawyer, but something doesn't seem right here.

Roy on Boosting Police Manpower

Good staff seem to be leaving the police faster than the government can recruit them.

In her latest "Diary", ACT MP and national security spokesman, Heather Roy suggest ways to boost police manpower.

Maori Wardens

Maori Wardens fulfil a very useful and constructive role in their communities. I saw Maori Wardens in action during my visit to Waitangi and they were present in force at Dame Te Ata's tangi, assisting ably with controlling the crowds at both events. These wardens could and should be given some formal credit for the great work they perform and the respect they have where they are actively engaged in keeping law and order. A formalisation of their role by government would help fill many of the gaps currently existing and assist with the poor recruitment uptake the police are experiencing.

Special Constables

Special Constables are another group that could have their role expanded to help in areas where police are struggling with recruitment and retention. Legislation is already in place to allow this to happen. Special Constables can be appointed under Section 192 of the Summary Proceedings Act 1957, and are authorised to protect people with all the powers, duties and responsibilities of a constable.

Write-down of Student Loans

Labours great election bribe was to allow graduates to retain the interest free status of their student loans for as long as they stay in the country. It's a bribe that worked - it bought votes, but will not help alleviate recruiting difficulties like those the police are experiencing. A much better scheme would be to target these graduates and allow them to retire debt in return for a period of commitment with the police. This scheme could also be used in other areas of national security, such as our defence force or other professions with recruiting difficulties.

The Malone Scheme

The army runs a scheme - The Malone Scheme.... Up to 15 young men and women each year are assisted financially through university in return for a period of territorial service when they graduate.

The Police could also run such a scheme. There is certainly no shortage of police officers who have served with distinction or been awarded for bravery and would be worthy of bearing the name of a scheme like the Malone scheme. Amongst the many worthy contenders is Sergeant Stewart Graeme Guthrie....

New Zeal Sergeant Guthrie was the heroic police officer killed by David gray, during the Aramoana massacre of 1990.

China To Train Mugabe's Thugs

From South African Blog, Disaster Africa 2nd August 06.

Zimbabwe's ruling party is to set up a political school to train cadres along the lines of China's communist party. it was reported on Wednesday.

Elliot Manyika, Zanu-PF's national commissar, made the announcement following a lecture by visiting academics from the Communist Party of China (CPC), said the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

Manyika said Zanu-PF would draw on the experiences from the CPC and the good bilateral relations between the two parties to set up the school, the newspaper reported.

This is the first time there has been talk of a dedicated Zanu-PF party school, although President Robert Mugabe's government in 2001 launched a number of youth training camps he said were meant to teach young people patriotic values.

The camps have been mired in controversy following allegations that graduates were used to intimidate members of the opposition party. Many of them are reported to have closed down because of lack of food and supplies.

Manyika said students and academics had an important role to play in conducting research for Zanu-PF.

The authorities in Zimbabwe are vocal in their admiration of China, specifically following China's recent drive to invest in projects in the Southern African country, particularly mining.

Mugabe has encouraged businessmen and all Zimbabweans to look east for inspiration, instead of turning to former colonial power Britain and other Western powers who are critical of Zimbabwe's human rights record and land-reform programme.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Union Idiocy On the Rise?

From Indymedia. By Simon Oosterman

Five hundred distribution workers who supply the 165 Countdown, Foodtown and Woolworths supermarkets across New Zealand began a 48 hour strike at 5am this morning starting a weekend of industrial action against Progressive, says the National Distribution Union.

The Progressive’s Supply Chain distribution center workers began their 48 hour strike at 4am this morning in Auckland, 80 Favona Rd Mangere, 6am in Palmerston North, cnr Mako mako Rd and Mihaere Dr, and 6am at the two Christchurch centres on Shands Rd and Columbo St.

Workers are striking for a single nation-wide collective agreement with equal pay rates and all existing allowances combined into a site allowance of up to $2.50, an 8% pay rise and an extra week service leave.

New Zeal I note that former Socialist Unity Party member, Wayne Ruscoe is helping this campaign in Christchurch for the Engineers Union.

Socialist SuperSizer Sets up SOLIDARITY?

Socialist Worker, UNITE and SupersizeMyPay campaigner, Workers Charter Movement activist, Anticapitaliste blogger, frequent flyer and working class hero, Joe Carolan, seems to have yet another cause to struggle for.

Yesterday he posted this.

SOLIDARITY-New Union Launched

You know how much your pay has
fallen behind the cost of living over
the years.
You are now facing rising costs for
petrol & diesel, power, rent & rates, food
and most other necessities of life. The gap
between the rich and the poor is growing
wider than ever.
That’s because so many workers have
been shut out of unions for the last 15
years. If workers are not organised
together in a union, they go backwards.
Workers who were around 15 years
ago, when the union movement was
much stronger, know they also enjoyed
more rights at work back then. Like job
delegate rights.
Most workers have had enough. They
want to see big improvements in their
pay and their rights. They know this
requires a strong workers’ union.
Solidarity Union is on a crusade for
More Pay and More Say for workers.

Our strategy is simple but effective:
■ Recruit all non-union industrial
workers on your street (and nearby)
into the Solidarity Union.
■ Elect union delegates on different jobs
who will form a strong Workers
Council in your area.
■ Negotiate a single union collective
agreement with different employers in
your area which gives you More Pay
and More Say.
Solidarity Union will soon be at your
jobsite to talk with you and your mates.
We want you to join our union.

Go union! That’s the way workers
will get More Pay and More Say.

New Zeal. Is this a joke? Is it an ego trip? Is it real?

If it is real, It seems apparent that SOLIDARITY will be a militant union for skilled workers. Carolan's UNITE is openly targeted at the unskilled and low paid. It makes sense to try to radicalise the more skilled and potentially more influential segment of the workforce.

The National Distribution Union which is dominated by the Socialist Party of Aoteroa and a new layer of Workers Charter Movement aligned marxist militants is starting to exercise its muscles.

If SOLIDARITY gets off the ground, what's the bet it throws its weight behind UNITE, the SPA, the NDU, Socialist Worker and the WCM in forming Matt McCarten's proposed new "Aotearoa Party"?

Cuban Academic Says True Revolution Ongoing

Hamilton's Wintec held its Spark 06-International Festival of Media, Arts and Design this week. There were some pretty political speakers there, like Bruce Connew, Dave Armstrong and Lisa Reihana, but the most notable was Cuban academic Flor de Lis Lopez Hernandez.

Ms Hernandez spoke on "how powerful graphic elements can aid social change and play a key part in building a new society"

That means propaganda posters.

But she has a lot to propagandise about. Today, Hernandez told the Waikato Times that "far from a country on the brink of economic meltdown and political turmoil, Cuba is a happy, progressive country in search of an alternative to capitalism".

Despite growing international speculation over the health of Cuban President Fidel Castro, Ms Lopez Hernandez said Cubans are optimistic about the future.

"Fidel has been very smart because he has prepared the people for life without him," she said.

Castro's legacy to Cuba was a positive one, she said.

"He will be remembered as one of the great people of the 20th century.

"He has always fought for a better standard of living for all people. That has been his fight since the beginning,"
Ms Lopez Hernandez said.

Even without Castro's guidance, Cuba's revolution would continue, Ms Lopez Hernandez said.

"It is always in progress, it is never finished.

"We are always looking for an alternative that is not capitalism

New Zeal Comrade Fidel would like to thank the NZ taxpayer and Creative New Zealand for allowing Ms Hernandez to spread the revolutionary message the oppressed people of New Zealand.

Fidel adds that the sequencing of the capital letters in this post's title are purely sublimi....coincidental.

Christchurch Press Gives Madeleine Flannagan a Cheque in Confidential Settlement

On 21.9.05 The Christchurch Press issued this statement.

Colin Espiner's campaign trail blog from September 6 referred to a demonstration during Prime Minister Helen Clark's visit to Otago University.

The blog entry referred to the demonstration as an Act Party publicity stunt and mentioned that Espiner had been hit on the head by a placard. We wish to make it clearthat Madeleine Flannagan, who was present, had nothing to do with Espiner being hit and was not a threat to the Prime Minister.

We regret it if any such inference was drawn. Ms Flannagan has no connection with the Act Party and has never had any connection with it. She is a former Christian Heritage candidate and is communications director for the Locke Foundation.

The incident referred to, occurred in the lead up to the 2005 election and embroiled Madeleine, Labour Cabinet Minister Pete Hodgson and Press journalist Colin Espiner in quite a controversy.

Madeleine Flannagan took a lot of flak on the Blogosphere and elsewhere over this incident. She was accused of being violent and of being a liar.

I am pleased to report that former ACT MP Stephen Franks and his team at Chapman Tripp took up Madeleine's case with the Press.

Now New Zeal can confirm that The Press, while not admitting liability for defamation, or disclosing the amount has paid Madeleine a cheque.

Congratulations Madeleine. While I never doubted Madeleine's version of events, this payment may help clear her name with those who criticised her at the time.

I just hope the cheque is pretty substantial Mads and is enough to give you, Matt and the kids greater security, plus some well deserved luxuries.

Congratulations also to Stephen Franks and Chapman Tripp for helping Madeleine out.

Revenge of the Square Dancers

From the latest newsletter from National MP, Murray McCully

Justice was in short supply for the nation’s oppressed square dancing fraternity this week. One of their number took broadcaster Paul Holmes and his employer, the Radio Network, to the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA). Hot off the press, we have the BSA decision.

Mr Holmes, we are advised, had, in his usual moderate tones, referred to the Green Party as a party of "hippies, the Morris dancers, the square dancers, the anti-Americans, the nuclear ships fanatics, the fascists of greenness, the far left, the remnants of the alliance, anti-free traders, apologists for Mao, communist sympathisers, the enemies of science, and the rabid, irrational anti-GM movement."

So, what, we hear you ask, is wrong with that? Well, a great deal, apparently, according to a Mr Mike Savill of Auckland. Mr Savill took Mr Holmes and the Radio Network, to the Broadcasting Standards Authority. Mr Savill, it appears, is a square dancer. And, the Authority reported, "in thirty years of square dancing he had not met a square dancer who supported the Green Party."

Mr Savill lost his case. There is no justice to be had, apparently, at the hands of the BSA which, it appears, is now stacked with persons who are unable to discern the massive insult inflicted on this hapless minority by asserting a connection with the Green Party. The square dancers of New Zealand have every right to feel thoroughly defamed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How Blatant Do They Have To Be?

A friend from Israel sent me this recent photo of a Hezbollah funeral march in Lebanon. Note the Lebanese Communist Party flags.

Is there a message here? Is Israel and the West fighting not just radical Islam, but a radical Islam allied to a resurgent Marxist-Leninist movement. couldn't possibly be.

Belgian Marxists March for Hezbollah and Hamas

From the Brussels Journal 7th August

Some 8,000 people demonstrated in Brussels on Sunday against the war in Lebanon. There were slogans against the U.S. and Israel and in support of Hamas and Hezbollah. Participating organisations included the maoist Workers Party of Belgium (better known under its Dutch acronym PVDA), the StopUSA platform, Lebanese liberals, a jewish-muslim-christian pacifist organisation from France, and a christian trade union from Belgium. Lebanese flags were flanked by Cuban and Venezuelan flags, a further indication of the left-wing character of the demonstration.

Matt McCarten's Marxist/Muslim Mates

Whoops I missed this. Hat tip to Peter Cresswell at Not PC
From Matt McCarten's latest Herald on Sunday column

New Voice of Islamic Resistance Resonates With Indisputable Reason

We should all be grateful that the terrible butchery in Lebanon has stopped this week, after more than 1000 Lebanese and Israelis were killed.

The US encouragement for its ally Israel to invade Lebanon has backfired on both governments. The embarrassing situation facing the most powerful army in the world in Iraq and the fact that the fourth most powerful army has been fought to a standstill by a couple of thousand Hizbollah militia in Lebanon must make even the ignorant among us realise that things aren't going according to plan.

All that the US-backed Israeli attack on Lebanon has done is allow Hizbollah to become the new darling of the Muslim masses.

The traditional political paradigm of left and right doesn't seem relevant to politics in the Middle East. Marxism always underestimated the power of religion and nationalism.

I've tried to find out more about the new scary monster - the general secretary of Hizbollah, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah. Without wishing to annoy his opponents, it's clear that he is the leader that people in the streets of the Middle East are looking to.

Nasrallah is a great fan of Hugo Chavez, the left-wing President of Venezuela. He calls on socialist and left movements to join him in the international struggle against injustice. Before the United Nations ceasefire this week Nasrallah was quoted by a Turkish newspaper as saying: "This fight is not only our fight. It is the common fight of all those oppressed across the world.

"Don't forget that if the peoples of Palestine and Lebanon lose this war, this will mean the defeat of all the oppressed people of the world."

In the interview he called on the traditional left to support his cause. "What we are saying to our socialist friends who want to fight together with us for fraternity and freedom [is] so long as we respect your beliefs, and you respect ours, there is no imperialist power we cannot defeat." This man is no Osama Bin Laden. He's much more clever.

New Zeal Matt is of course a Marxist-Leninist and like the rest of his movement he is trying to build bridges with militant Islam.

McCarten is closely allied to the Australian Marxist-Leninists of the Democratic Perspective. The DSP are very pro Chavez and extremely anti Israel. read their publication, Green Left Weekly if you doubt my word.

McCarten's UNITE union has solicited funds from Venezuela. McCarten also works very closely with the NZ Socialist Workers crowd, through their "Workers Charter Movement".

Socialist Woker's Australian counterpart the International Socialists, have formed a "Socialist Alliance" with the DSP, the Communist Party of Iraq (In Australia) and other groups.

Socialist Workers British counterpart, the Socialist Workers Party, works with radical British Muslims in the "Respect" electoral coalition. "Respect" is also very anti Israel and pro Hezbollah.

The Marxist/Muslim alliance is real and growing. Matt McCarten seems to approve.

P.R.A.T.T. 6, Trevor Richards

No survey of the Pinkoes and Reds Against The Tour behind the anti Springbok Tour movement of 1981 would be complete without a profile of Trevor Lawson Richards.

Trevor Richards got his start in radical politics at Auckland University in the late '60s. In 1969 he was a political science student and AUSA International Affairs officer.

The same year he convened a meeting at Auckland University to form a new, anti Apartheid organisation. The Citizens Association for Racial Equality (CARE) had been active for some time, but Richards and his friends wanted something more radical.

Richards was inspired to set up a new group to oppose the proposed 1970 Springbok Tour of NZ after attending a meeting with South African anti Apartheid campaigner, Dennis Brutus.

According to Geoff Chapple writing in "The Tour" p11, the organising meeting was held in July 1969. "It included in its membership CARE, the Student Christian Movement, the NZ Federation of Maori Students, the NZUSA, the Socialist Forum, and the Maori Organisation On Human Rights, whose secretary, Tom Poata, drove up from Wellington and suggested a name: Halt All Racist Tours - HART."

Richard's remained chairman of HART from its foundation, until 1980 and remained International Secretary until 1985. Almost all of HART's leaders were Maoists. As Richards wrote in his book "Dancing On Our Bones" p 210 "In the late 70s, a number of people within HART and its leadership including myself, were sympathetic to what was referred to as Marxist-Leninist-Mao Tse Tung Thought". Thankfully Helen Clark was on HART's executive in the early '70s.

During the 70's Richards was also on the Central Committee of the National Anti Apartheid Council, where he worked with socialists like John Minto and Maoists such as Rona Bailey.

In 1970, over Waitangi weekend, Richards attended a Waikato Uni meeting to set up the NZ Race Relations Council. Yet another Maoist dominated organisation, its vice President was Richards' offsider, Maoist and HART deputy leader, Mike Law.

In 1972 HART announced plans for a special school of non-violent protest in conjunction with the CARE front PRISM (Passive but Resolute Invasion of Springbok Matches). Richards said HART tactics "would throw the country into its greatest turmoil since the Depression."

In March 1973 Richards traveled with CARE's Tom Newnham and Pat Hohepa to UN headquarters in New York, to testify before the UN Special Committee on Apartheid-against the proposed 1973 Springbok tour of NZ.

In March 1974, Richards addressed a conference organised by the Chhristchurch Committe on South Africa (of which Marian Hobbs was a leading member)on his recent trip to Zambia and Tanzania where he met with ANC, SWAPO, ZANU, ZAPU, Angola's FRELIMO and Mozambique's MPLA. The same month Keith Locke wrote an article for Socialist Action in which he claimed Trevor Richards called Tanzania's Julius Nyerere "a good chap".

In July 1974 Richards traveled with Dave Cuthbert, on a trip to Dar es Salaam, Paris, London, Amsterdam, New York, Toronto and Montreal. They had discussions with Samora Machel and Marcellino dos Santos (president and VP of FRELIMO), the ANC's, Oliver Tambo (who they invited to tour NZ in 1975), ZANU, SWAPO, the Pan African Congress and the African independence Party of guinea Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands. They also made contact with Dutch, Italian, West German and Canadian anti Apartheid activists and met with several UN bodies. These included the Special Committee on Apartheid, the council on Namibia, and the Sanctions Committee.

In February 1975, Trotskyite, Russell Johnson wrote in Socialist Action on the rival Maoists plan to cease publishing their newspaper, "Maoists discuss dumping'The Paper'". Johnson claimed that "The Paper" was founded 18 months ago by "Wgtn adherents of Stalin and Mao" and went on to name names Trevor Richards (HART) and Joris de Bres (CARE) as "The Paper" supporters.

In August 1977 Richards attended a UN World Anti-Apartheid Conference in Lagos, Nigeria, with David Williams (CARE) and Maoist, Dave Stott (NAAC). According to a letter from Rona Bailey, published in NZ Monthly Review in October, they
"played an important part in helping to prepare a 'Programme of Action' in the Commission of the conference."

By 1980, Richards was working for the Public Service Association and was an HART National Councillor and International Affairs officer and editor of the organisation's journal "Amandla".

In May 1981, Richards traveled to Paris for a UN Conference on Sanctions against South Africa (paid by the UN). He went on to visit Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Lagos (paid by HART supporters).

HART had been gearing up to oppose the 1981 Springbok Tour of NZ for some time. As early as 1979 they had organised a "Stop the Tour" conference in Porirua attended by 100 people.

In early 1981 Richards, Dave Cuthbert and Labour MP Russell Marshall worked on the idea of organising an anti Tour umbrella group in each main centre. As a result, during March and April coalitions such MOST, COST, CAST, CAT and MAST were formed.

Being Wellington based, Richards and his partner Patti O'Neill were active in the capital's COST (Citizens Opposed to the Springbok Tour).

Despite touring the country for HART, Richards played a big role in COST, including leading, with Alick Shaw a large demonstration in Wellington, just before the Palmerston North, Springbok/Manawatu game.

COST was completely controlled by the ultra secretive Maoist organistion, the Workers Communist League. Richards has jokingly denied ever being a member of any political organisation beyond "Hedonists for Social Change", but he was certainly extremely close to the WCL for a number of years.

The Security Intelligence Service apparently saw some connection and in an August 1981 report on radicals in the anti Tour movement, specifically named Richards' former partner, Briony Hales as a WCL member (a fact she has subsequently confirmed).

After the Tour was over, Richards maintained his anti-Apartheid activity through HART and later through his editorship of the Public Service Association Journal.

In September 1987 an article in Peacelink "The Case for Sanctions against South Africa" described as "an edited version of a paper presented by former HART chairperson Trevor Richards to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence in October 1986". stated "to impose comprehensive economice sanctions would be to act in accordance with moral principles and the spirit of internationalism."

In 1988 Richards, along with Tom Poata and several other activists was appointed as a member of Minister of Foreign Affairs "Red Reverend" Russell Marshall's "Advisory Committee on Southern Africa". Marshall said "goverment's policy was to oppose apartheid and the committee had been chosen to work for this aim."

The same year, Richards left the PSA to become Volunteer Service Abroad's first Executive Officer for Africa.

In February 1990 Richards was awarded a Queen's Service Medal for his services to the anti-Apartheid movement. Christchurch based "Treaty Times", partly written by HART activist and self proclaimed communist, Joe Davies, accused Richards of "selling out".

Not all communists were disgusted at Richards however. In April 1990 he was interviewed in the pro-Soviet, Socialist Unity Party's newspaper, "Tribune" advertising for VSA workers to work in Namibia.

In September 1992 Richards traveled to Southern Africa, visited VSA projects in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Tanzania, plus two weeks in South Africa where he planned to talk to the South African Council of Churches , the ANC, COSATU and government officials.

In 1994 he returned to South Africa to monitor the elections which brought the ANC and South African Communist Party to power.

Currently Richards lives in Paris. Always a gourmet cook, he occasionally writes articles for his old mate Simon Wilson's "Cuisine" magazine.

ACT's Rates Campaign Pressure Mounting

From Rodney's Blog

I love the headline: Finally, Government Takes Action on Rates

And I overcome my natural modesty to note:

Galvanised by intense debate over Rodney Hide’s private member’s bill to cap rates rises, National and the Greens last night agreed to support a select committee inquiry into the property tax system which gives local councils their money.

Judge McDonald Gets It Right!

From today's Herald

A man who downloaded music videos and pornography on his work computer has been convicted of theft from his employers.

Daniel Davies, 40, who was sacked from his job at Poster Faktory for his actions, was found guilty at the Whangarei District Court yesterday of theft.

He was convicted and ordered to pay $130 court costs, despite protests from his lawyer that the penalty was too harsh for the crime.

Davies' lawyer, David Grindle, said the theft was similar to an employee using a company telephone for a personal call or a company car for personal use after work hours.

He asked Judge John McDonald for a discharge without conviction, saying a conviction would be a barrier to Davies' new job as an alarm technician. "The consequences of a conviction are out of all proportion to the gravity of the offences."

However, Judge McDonald declined, saying the offending was theft from the employer, and serious.

Poster Faktory owners Ian and Yvonne Clapperton agreed.

Mrs Clapperton said the case was more complicated than an employee simply looking at the internet during work - "we have no problem with that". Davies had been warned about downloading on the company computer but continued to do so anyway, she said.

His actions came to her attention when Telecom called her to say the monthly internet budget had been blown on music downloads.

Mrs Clapperton said Davies was told that downloading music on the company computer was not acceptable. His office key was confiscated so he could not return at night to use the computer.

After that incident Davies contacted Telecom, saying he was an authorised user, she said. He was given access to monitor how much internet access was being used. She said he increased the limit then monitored it each month, downloading music and pornography but stopping just before the limit was reached so it did not come to anyone's attention.

New Zeal Congratulations to the Clappertons and Judge Mcdonald. Theft is theft and this was a very clear cut case.

I won't be employing, Davies' lawyer, David Grindle in a hurry. He compares Davies' offending to misuse of a company cell phone or company car. Implying that this makes it OK.

I take the opposite tack. I think people who knowingly misuse cellphones and cars and other similar rorts should also be prosecuted for theft.

What's the difference between stealing $10 per day from your employer's cashbox and clocking up a similar amount in private cell phone calls or petrol and wear and tear on a vehicle?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

D Day For Rate Payers

ACT Leader Rodney Hide's Rates Capping Bill will be voted on in Parliament tomorrow.

If Grey Power's hard core lobbying persuades NZ First decide to support the Bill, Rodney will have the numbers to send it to Select Committee.

This country's future wealth and prosperity, yet again depend on Winston Peters and his team. Then again maybe a miracle will happen and Labour will support it.

Today Rodney Hide welcomed comments from Helen Clark, indicating that it may be time for MPs to address unsustainable increases in local body rates, and says that if Helen Clark is serious, she should support his Bill.

"By voting for my Bill, Helen Clark could have a Select Committee considering rates tomorrow", Mr Hide said.

"I am asking Labour MPs, as well as New Zealand First, to put party politics aside and give the public a chance to let their voices be heard.

"I know the Bill is not perfect, but it provides an immediate opportunity for people to come to Parliament and have their say.

"I am hopeful that my Bill will get enough support tomorrow to proceed to Select Committee, so that Kiwis can have their say on how to fund local government into the future",
Mr Hide said.

Local goverment, unleashed by the power of "General Competence" has the power to dramatically retard economic growth and distort the market place.

NZ First and indeed Labour have the power to bring local government back under the control of the governed.

I hope they use that power responsibly tomorrow.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Who Is Oscar Temaru?

According to TV1 News, yesterday's funeral of Maori Queen Dame Te Atarangikaahu was a attended by an important mourner.

French Polynesia President Oscar Temaru has been fighting to free Tahiti from the grip of French Polynesia. He says he came to pay respects to Dame Te Ata.

Radical Youth leader, Omar Hamed, writing in Just Focus reveals
how Temaru upset the French government at the recent Youth Festival in Tahiti.

Looking back on it now it seems bizarre, how Charmaine Clark, (Ngati Kahungunu), a researcher from the Tairawhiti Polytechnic in Gisborne and I got caught up in the middle of the struggle for self-determination in Tahiti.

It began on Monday morning at the opening ceremony when Oscar Temaru, leader of Tahiti’s biggest independence political party and French Polynesia’s coalition government, asked the festival "to consider the issue of independence and more specifically ‘the freedom of the Maohi [Tahitian] people’”.

He also said to the Festival in English, “Do you know that in our local Assembly it is prohibited to speak our language, the language of our land? Here [at the festival] we will speak our mother tongue. This is only one example of the colonial system that still exists in our land. We want to get rid of colonialism, racism and all these wrongs that exist everywhere in the world.” At that point, the French High Commissioner Office’s secretary-general walked out of the festival. The first shot of a new battle in an old war had been fired.

The latest issue of Australian Marxist-Leninist paper, Green Left Weekly also carries a long article on Temaru's fight with the French Government.

Since Oscar Temaru was elected president of Tahiti Nui (French Polynesia) in June 2004, he has infuriated the Pacific country’s colonial masters in Paris. The furore over Temaru’s July 28 leaking of a letter confirming that the French government has systematically covered up the link between its atmospheric nuclear tests in the Pacific and Tahiti’s high cancer rates is just the latest confrontation. It is Temaru’s unstinting support for Tahiti’s eventual independence that has Paris searching for ways to defeat him.

The French government has refused to accept Temaru’s shock 2004 victory over the unquestioningly pro-French Gaston Flosse, which abruptly ended his 20-year reign. However, Temaru’s new Union for Democracy (UPLD) coalition government, which included several parties that support autonomy” rather than full independence, did not call for a break with Paris. Rather, it called for taui (change).

However, while his coalition government took a cautious approach on the question of Tahiti’s ties to Paris, Temaru personally continued his campaign for eventual independence. In his capacity as leader of the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira (Polynesian Liberation Front), rather than as French Polynesia’s president, in August 2004 Temaru demanded that Tahiti be reinscribed on the United Nation’s list of non-self-governing territories. Temaru also proposed that, following a period of autonomy, Tahiti’s people be allowed to vote in a referendum on independence — a process similar to that taking place in Kanaky (New Caledonia).

Temaru has been a stalwart of the Pacific "peace" and anti nuclear movements for decades. He has worked with several NZ "peace" and Maori activists and has many connections in this country.

One of Temaru's early political influences was the late New Caledonian Marxist, Jean-Marie Tjibaou, one time leader of the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front. Temaru attended secondary school with Tjibaou in New Caledonia.

Temaru's UPLD is heavily supported by the French Socialist Party, with which it has an agreement of co-operation. However Temaru has friends in all sections of the French left. According to Green Left Weekly, in February 2005, all French left-wing parties, including the Socialist Party, the Communist Party, the Greens and the revolutionary Marxist Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) and Workers Struggle (LO) issued a joint statement in support of Temaru and the UPLD.

NZ Kidnap Victim a "Target For People Resisting Imperialism?"

Scott Hamilton is a member of a tiny Trotskyite, Auckland Uni based, sect called the Communist Workers Group. Like most Marxist groups, the CWG is militantly anti Israel.

Hamilton's Blog is called "Reading the Maps". A recent post entitled "Bad Company" covered the recent kidnapping in Gaza of NZ cameraman, Olaf Wiig.

According to Hamilton, Olaf Wiig may well have been a legitimate ""target".

Anita McNaught was a familiar sight on Kiwi television screens in the 1990s, when she worked as a newsreader and reporter for TVNZ. McNaught receded from view at the end of the 90s, when she went to Britain and landed a plum job with the BBC, but she's lately returned to prominence in this country as the star of a real-life soap opera.

McNaught's husband, a cameraman for Murdoch's Faux News network, was recently kidnapped in Gaza; the campaign to secure his release has seen McNaught making numerous appearances on TV screens in New Zealand and across the Middle East.... but precious little attention has been paid to the circumstances surrounding the abduction of Anita's nearest and dearest.

Over the last month Israel's invasion of Lebanon has been paralleled by a series of attacks on the long-suffering inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, attacks that have claimed the lives of at least two hundred people, the vast majority of them civilians. These killings aroused almost no attention from the same media outlets that have been so excited by McNaught's crisis.

Wiig's kidnappers have been characterised as either fanatical extremists or simple criminals by most of the media, but could the inhabitants of Gaza have a legitimate case against Faux news, which has always acted as an attack dog for the most extreme part of the US and Israeli political establishments, and which has provided its audiences with an unceasingly hostile coverage of the plight of the Palestinian people?

Wiig was kidnapped along with reporter Steve Centanni...Centanni had filed this report from Gaza on the same day he was abducted, in which he managed to justify the deaths of three more Palestinian civilians (not that you would know they were civilians, of course).

When does one stop
being a journalist and begin to be a warmonger, and a target for a people resisting imperialism?

Chavez Building Marxist/Muslim Ties

Venezueala's marxist leader Hugo Chavez is playing a key role in building the growing Marxist/Muslim anti Western Alliance.

From the latest issue of Australian Marxist journal, Green Left Weekly

Israel is “killing innocent children and whole families”. “They dismantled the legitimate government of Palestine, and thwarted tremendous efforts to achieve peace and establish a Palestinian state”, Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez said in an interview with Al Jazeera. The interview was televised on August 4, the day after Chavez ordered the withdrawal of Venezuela’s ambassador in Israel to express indignation at the war on Lebanon and Palestine.

Chavez continued: “Now they are attacking Lebanon ... I am telling you with all honesty that the hand of the Americans is spurring them on. This hand is behind the Israeli aggression. It is imperialistic aggression.”

Venezuela has not limited its solidarity with the Lebanese and Palestinians to diplomatic gestures — it has also sent 20,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid. reported on August 8 that the same day as Israel withdrew its ambassador, Venezuela “sent a Boeing 707 jet full of aid to Lebanon to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis caused by the Israeli bombing”.

On August 7, according to, a delegation from Venezuela’s National Assembly visited Damascus to meet with Palestinian groups in order to “support and identify as parliament members with the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples”.

The response in the Arab world has been enormous. Chavez was already popular throughout the region for his government’s anti-imperialist policies and for its willingness to use Venezuela’s oil wealth to tackle poverty.

Tariq Ali noted in the March/April New Left Review: “Over the last few years, Chavez has visited the major countries in every continent, embarrassing some of his hosts by demanding a global front against imperialism.”

Ali wrote that an earlier Chavez interview with Al Jazeera “had an electric impact on 26 million Arab viewers. It received the station’s largest ever email response — tens of thousands — with the bulk of them posing a simple question: why can’t the Arab world produce a Chavez?

Venezuela’s charge d’affaires to Australia, Nelson Davila, announced to cheers at an August 12 Sydney demonstration against the war on Lebanon that if Israel continued its attacks, Caracas would cut all diplomatic ties with the country.

We cannot have relations with states that attack humble peoples”, Davila explained. The crowd featured a large contingent from the city’s Lebanese community, many of whom waved Venezuelan flags. “The people of South America are with Lebanon!”, Davila declared. His speech was followed by chants of “Chavez! Chavez!”

Following Venezuela’s withdrawal of its ambassador, the Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign issued an open letter to Chavez hailing the move: “This courageous step is valued by all of our people as the model of action we would expect the world to take to protest against [Israel’s] continued war crimes ...”

The letter explained that “we need to know that we are not alone. The withdrawal of the Venezuelan ambassador has given us new confidence and hope that the solidarity with our cause is gaining strength ...” It called on other governments to follow the example of Venezuela.

The Lebanese government also expressed its gratitude, with the country’s president calling Chavez a “Latin American hero”.

Associated Press reported on August 5 that Mahmoud Komati, a representative of Hezbollah, told the Latin America-wide TV channel Telesur that Venezuela’s actions were “an example for revolutionaries” in defending “the oppressed, enslaved and humble peoples of the world”.

Hezbollah’s secretary-general, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, expanded on the resistance movement’s view of Chavez in an August 14 interview posted on the website of Turkey’s Party of Labour: “What most of the Muslim states could not do has been done by Chavez by the withdrawal of their ambassador to Israel. He furthermore communicated to us his support for our resistance. This has been an immense source of [morale] for us.”

“Go and wonder around our streets!”, said Nasrallah, and in nearly “every house, you will come across posters of [Argentinean-born revolutionary] Che [Guevara] or Chavez”.

Chavez sees Israel’s war as an extension of US imperialism’s drive to dominate the world on behalf of its corporations. He told Al Jazeera that the “real threat to the world is the imperialistic threat posed by the US, and Israel is one of its imperialistic instruments in this part of the world”. Chavez argued, “We must defeat imperialism in this century, so that this elite will not annihilate the world”.

The solution promoted by the Chavez government is the unity of Third World nations to challenge imperialism, starting with Latin America. Venezuela is pushing for Latin American nations to forge a bloc to counter US domination.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Debating Kate On Academic Accountability

Cactus Kate posted an interesting piece on Auckland Uni law lecturer, Jane Kelsey.

Acknowledging Kelsey's undoubted intelligence and ability, I then asked...

why should taxpayers pay to have their children indoctrinated, intimidated or browbeaten by the likes of Jane Kelsey?".

Kate then replied in a comment.

Because it is excellent training for the "real world" that's why. If these highly educated and privileged students can't stand up and have an opinion and deal with Kelsey in a mature adult fashion, then how are they ever going to make it in a cut throat aggressive professional like law?

Will they run to Mummy and Daddy and say their boss or the opposing counsel is picking on them?

If you are studying law and can't handle Kelsey then you don't deserve to be there.

Here is my reply to Kate.

While it is true Kate, that the ability to argue your case is essential in law and Jane Kelsey may help you improve that ability, that is not my main point. I concede the value of people like Kelsey to play a "devil's advocate" role, however that is not the first role of a teacher, especially at a junior level.

When one studies Geography one does not pay good money to be told the earth is flat. Chemistry lecturers should not be telling you that with the right incantations you can lead into gold.

The hard sciences strive for objective truth. I see no reason why law, economics, political science, sociology, history, psychology etc lecturers, should not strive for the same standard and be held accountable if they cannot deliver it.

Currently lecturers can get away with "junk science" in all those fields. For example some economics lecturers still teach Keynesianism as though it were true, rather than the bullshit it is.

I believe lecturers have an obligation to teach demonstrable facts and principles rather than falsehoods such as Marxism, Keynesianism, Skinnerism etc.

If I pay money for education, I want truth, or at least the best possible approximation.

Students, especially junior students, like any apprentice, should first be taught the basics of their trade. You don't teach a young mechanic, the Marxist theory of motor vehicle production and its relevance to the law of "surplus value"

You teach how to set a spark plug correctly and how to drain a sump.

Sorry Kate, but I wouldn't pay to send my 18 year old to listen to Jane Kelsey's theories on Te Tiriti, Critical Theory and the legal implications of globalisation.

I'd want my son or daughter to learn classical legal principles and their application in creating a free and stable liberal society.

But unfortunately, NZ universities are taxpayer funded entities that the taxpayer has little control over. Unfortunately they are riddled with Marxist academics, many of whom have tenure. Even more unfortunately, some of these warped little tenured tyrants, abuse their powers to attempt to indoctrinate the weak and penalise more independent thinkers.

Would many of the Socialist Sociologists, leftie law lecturers, Keynesian "economists" or Marxist historians survive in the "real world"?

Kate, if you ran a private university, depending on fee paying students and endowments to survive, would you hire Jane Kelsey to teach junior students? Who would you hire to teach economics? Rodney Hide or Tim Hazeldine?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Chavez on Israeli "Fascism"

If there was any doubt which side Venezuela's Marxist leader Hugo Chavez stands in the Israel/Hezbollah/Hamas conflict, it should be removed by this interview with Arabic radio station, Aljazeera

From the website of Australian revolutionary youth group, Resistance.

We feel that the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and against Lebanon is directed against us too. This aggression is unjustified. It is perpetrated in the fascist manner of Hitler. Israel is justified in criticizing Hitler and his aggression - and we criticize this as well - but now they are doing what Hitler did to the Jews. They are killing innocent children and whole families. They dismantled the legitimate government of Palestine, and thwarted tremendous efforts to achieve peace and establish a Palestinian state.

"Now they are attacking Lebanon, and have destroyed more than half of it, according to the latest information. They have assassinated hundreds of innocent people, and to what end? There is no justification for this. I am telling you with all honesty that the hand of the Americans is spurring them on. This hand is behind the Israeli aggression. It is imperialistic aggression. The real threat to the world is the imperialistic threat posed by the U.S., and Israel is one of its imperialistic instruments in this part of the world."

Why We Need Rodney's Rates Capping Bill

From Lindsay Mitchell's Blog

A Waikato Times Stuff poll today asks;

Work on a new Ibis Hotel started in central Hamilton this week, with the Hamilton City Council one of three partners in the venture. Is this a role you like seeing the council in, property development?

67.4 percent say NO

Local government is a law unto itself.

Alliance Party MP and Cabinet Minister, Sandra Lee gave local bodies, the power of "general competence" in 2002. Formerly councils were limited to keeping the streets clean, handling the sewage and core infrastructure. Now they can do almost anything including competing with private businesses. This has huge implications, not least for the rate payer.

Rodney Hide's Rates Capping Bill is essential if we are to maintain any control over council spending and activities.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Can You Believe These Drongoes?

From the Communist Party of Australia's Guardian 16.8.06

Sydney saluted Fidel in grand style as hundreds upon hundreds filled Petersham Town Hall full to overflowing. On a theme of "the revolution lives on!" those present wished Comrade Fidel a happy birthday and a speedy recovery.

Eating luscious South American food, they enjoyed a multicultural program of entertainment in English, Spanish, Arabic, Greek, Farsi and Kurdish.

Bob Treasure, a long-time activist in the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society and member of the Executive of the NSW Teachers’ Federation, delivered a stirring speech expounding Cuba’s achievements in health and education. Bob decried the lies of the media and spoke of the brave struggle of the Cuban people — led by Fidel — in defending their socialist revolution.

The organising committee gave a special welcome to. Nélida Hernández Carmona the Consul General and Consul Ifrahim Miranda León. They also thanked Greens Mayor Sam Byrne and the Petersham Local Council for making the facilities available.

Judge and Lefties Get it Right

From Aljazeera

A federal judge in Detroit has ordered the Bush administration to halt the National Security Agency's programme of domestic eavesdropping, saying it violated the US constitution.

Thursday's ruling was a setback for the Bush administration, which has defended the programme as an essential tool in its "war on terrorism".

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor said the controversial practice of warrantless phone tapping, known as the Terrorist Surveillance Programme, violated free speech rights, protections against unreasonable searches and the constitutional check on the power of the presidency.

The programme has been widely criticised by civil rights activists and raised concern among politicians, including some in George Bush's own Republican party, who say the president may have overstepped his powers by authorising it.

"Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our constitution," Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the programme has made it difficult for them to do their jobs.

New Zeal It is great to see Judge Taylor invoke the US constitution against President Bush. While the lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (founded by the Communist Party USA and still dominated by the left), their cause was entirely just.

What use is opposing Islamofascism, when in so doing you turn your own country into a police state?

CPUSA Helps US Democrats

All over the western world, traditional Marxist-Leninist parties do their damnedest to influence national elections in favour of the local social democratic, socialist or labour party.

The Socialist Unity Party used to work for Labour victories in NZ (its remnants still do), the Communist Party of Australia helps the ALP, the French Communist Party helps the Socialists.

The very influential, Communist Party USA of course campaigns against the Republicans and for the Democrats. The CPUSA has always had people inside the Democratic Party and has strong influence on the party through the trade union movement. Many leading Democrats owe their careers to the CPUSA.

Here is part of a Communist Party USA National Committee "Call to Action": Oust The GOP In 2006! taken from the party's theoretical journal, Political Affairs of April 2006

"The meeting of the party's national committee at Winston Unity Center issued a "Call to Action" to mobilize a mighty people's upsurge at the polls next Nov. 7 to oust the Republicans from majority control of the House and Senate.

Sam Webb, CPUSA national chair, cited one disaster after another for the Bush-Cheney regime as Bush's standing in the polls has plunged to 34 percent. Webb spoke of the growing anger at home and abroad over the bloody war in Iraq. "Not in a century has U.S. imperialism's standing in the world been at such a low ebb", he said. "Not even during the height of the Vietnam War has the U.S. been so isolated."

A victory over the Republicans next November, he said, will be a "decisive turning point" in the struggle to defend democracy, helping to restore Congress as a counter to Bush"s power grab. And the sharp shift in public opinion against Bush-Cheney and the ultra-right means the Republicans "go into the election with a disadvantage."

"This fight is winnable," Webb said. "The all-people's front is becoming energized. New forces are being drawn into the struggle. It has put a new bounce in our step."

In a slideshow presentation, Joelle Fishman, chair of the CPUSA Political Action Commission, laid out the challenge for the people's movement of securing a net loss for the Republicans of 15 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate, giving the Democrats majority control of Congress.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why Must We Pay Socialist Academics to Warp Our Kids Minds?

Cactus Kate has written a very interesting piece about her experiences with Auckland Uni law academic, Jane Kelsey.

Anybody studying law at Auckland will probably meet Kelsey, as Kate notes

Chances are you have to as her specialist subjects Jurisprudence (Marxism) and Legal System, are compulsory.

Kate describes Kelsey thus

Kelsey is extremely marketable in left wing circles around the world. She is the most openly lesbian, feminist, marxist, anti-free trade, pro-Maori, welfare and purple, anti-colonial person I have ever been taught by in my life. She has never worked anywhere other than in academia.

Jane is also a former National President of the Association of University Staff of New Zealand and maintains an active profile in debates on tertiary education policy and academic freedom.

She also has tenure. You must accept this. No matter how legitimate your complaints about her bias are, she will NEVER get fired. The entire faculty including the Dean, was terrified of her when I was in attendance.

While Kate's view of Kelsey is actually quite complimentary-much like the admiration some old diggers had for Rommel, she does highlight a problem.

The positions she takes are so blatantly corrupt and historically imbalanced that they are begging for aggression. She banks on no one having the balls to front foot it with her. She banks right a lot of the time.

This raises the question: why should taxpayers pay to have their children indoctrinated, intimidated or browbeaten by the likes of Jane Kelsey?

Meanwhile Andrew Falloon posts on compromising his views in order to secure marks

Oh dear, I just cited CAFCA (Campaign Against Foreign Control in Aotearoa) in an essay for Mass Communications. It's quite a left-wing course (the free market is bad bad bad). Unfortunately it's a 100 level paper and in my experience lecturers don't like me arguing with them until at least 200 level papers. So for now I just have to suck it up and write stuff like this....

So a good liberal like Andrew feels he has to write crap in order to pass the course he and his parents are paying for.

Privatise the universities. It is the only way we'll end the corrupt practice of taxpayers paying socialists to undermine their own society.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Don Franks on "The Tour"

Don Franks of the Workers Party has posted an interesting speech on Indymedia, on his activity during the 1981 Sprinbok Tour of NZ. The speech was delivered at a recent meeting at Victoria University. Franks was a member of the Maoist leaning Workers Communist League in 1981, so was in good position to understand the methods and motives of the protest movement.

Here are some excerpts.

An important year in many respects, 1981 was just one small part of the huge international struggle against apartheid, which went on for very many years.
New Zealander’s struggle against South African racism is well documented in Trevor Richards’s book Dancing on our bones. Although I don’t think this work does justice to the political contribution of John Minto, I recommend the book as an indispensable part of protest history.

New Zeal The book reveals Richard's own commitment to Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedong Thought"

The year of big demonstrations was preceded by years of constant political slog; thousands of teachins, articles, debates, pickets, posters and paper sales. HART produced a regular paper, HART NEWS, which sold on the streets in large numbers. One Friday night I had a competition with Penny Bright to see who could flog off the most, we sold 100 papers each.

New Zeal What's this? Communist competition. This is how the Marxist-Leninists work. Chipping away, always keeping their real philosophy hidden.

Of course, for many, probably, most antiapartheid activists, helping blacks win "the same rights as us" was the beginning and the end of the matter. It is a dreadful irony that for many blacks in South Africa today, working and living conditions are no better than they were under apartheid, because of the Rogernomics type reforms John Minto tried to warn them against.

New Zeal South Africa is run by the South African Communist Party. Don Franks and co helped bring this about. The SACP/ANC government are currently working on land confiscation which will further impoverish their country. While relatively free market in some areas, (current Marxist-Leninist tactics in the third world) they are retarding economic growth and wrecking their rugby through widespread affirmative action programmes. Without the likes of Franks and Minto, I believe most South Africans would be richer and freer than they are today. Not a hint of an apology from these socialist wreckers though.

That’s not to say that the struggle wasn’t worth it, the point is that the struggle against capitalist injustice is not completed, either here or in South Africa.

HART had some success because it was principled, clear where it stood and what it demanded. They had a policy of not sitting down when it was necessary to enter the offices of police or politicians. Sitting down could lead to a softer atmosphere, shared cups of coffee and the creation of a friendly relationship where compromise was more likely to flourish. Having been party to that setup too often in union situations, I think the standing tactic makes a lot of sense.

New Zeal Interesting tactic. Certainly shows goodwill doesn't it?

Most of my own antiapartheid energy before and during 1981 was expended among workers in the trade union movement. There is a prevailing myth that industrial workers were 100% pro tour. Some union leaders were reluctant to provide a principled lead. But where determined political work was put in, positive results were gained. Anti apartheid resolutions and live bodies for demonstrations came from factories where communists were agitating.

New Zeal Would the disgraceful conduct destruction of '81 have occurred without the "communists"? Not on your nelly.

Many of the big ’81 demonstrations were held on public roadways, as a deliberate attempt to stretch the resources of the police.

New Zeal It din't seem to matter that it also disrupted traffic, cost the taxpayer heaps and aggravated, inconvenienced and intimidated the public.

To some extent the ’81 Tour became a test of strength between leftists and liberals against a Tory government with an obnoxious Prime minister. However, I believe the protesters main motive from start to finish was a genuine sense of solidarity with oppressed South African Blacks.

New Zeal If Don Franks genuinely cared about the SA black people, why is he doing nothing to overthrow the SACP who are in many ways far worse than the old regime?