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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Why Are We Helping Xanana Gusmao?

There is clearly a power struggle underway in Timor Leste between Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and President Xanana Gusmao. Technically the presidency is largely ceremonial, with the real power being vested in the Prime Minister. President Gusmao has declared that he is now in charge of the army and the police. PM Alkatiri says he is still in control.

Leftist Blogger Reading the Maps argues that Gusmao is aiming for complete control.

Gusmao's move is an extraordinary one which demands our scrutiny. His post as President of East Timor is largely symbolic, and although the country's constitution calls him 'Supreme Commander of the country's defence force' and gives him the right to declare war he has never before attempted to exercise control over the army, let alone the police. Gusmao's attempt to gain control of these forces can thus been seen as a direct challenge not only to Alkatiri but to the constitution, at least it has been commonly interpreted in East Timor. It might not be going too far to say that, by unilaterally asking East Timor's security forces to disregard Alkatiri's authority and recognise his own, Gusmao is effectively attempting to stage a coup.

Our troops are in Timor Leste to restore order, to re-estlish the government. PM Alkatiri is widely unpopular and has been blamed for the recent police killing of five protestors. He is a Marxist, friendly to China and is presiding over a rapidly expanding Cuban presence in the country.

Gusmao is regarded as a hero of the liberation struggle, who spent many years in Indonesian prison cells. What are his politics? Would he be any better than Altakiri? Should Kiwi troops be risking their lives to keep his government in power?

I quote a little history from the early days of Timor Leste's ruling party, Fretilin.

From a CAVR? report on the history of Fretilin

At a gathering of surviving military commanders and political cadres in March 1981 a new organisational structure for the Resistance began to emerge. The first “Reorganisation of the Nation Conference” after the fall of the zonas libertadas was held in the area of Maubaion Mount Aitana in the sub-district of Lacluta from 1 to 8 March 1981. The conference was organised by the two members of the Fretilin Central Committee still actively engaged in the struggle in the interior, Xanana Gusmão and Mau Hunu Bulerek Karataianu.

The first item on the agenda was the inauguration of nine new members of the Central Committee... Together with the two other Central Committee members,Xanana Gusmão and Mau Hunu Bolerek Karataianu, they became the leaders of the internal struggle.

The members of the Central Committee living abroad retained their positions: Abílio Abrantes Araújo, Mari Alkatiri, Roque Rodrigues, José Luís Guterres, Guilhermina Araújo, José Ramos-Horta and Rogério Lobato. Abílio Araújo was also appointed Secretary General,while Xanana Gusmão was appointed as the National Political Commissar.

At the conference, the members of the Central Committee decided to establish the Fretilin Marxist-Leninist Party, the Revolutionary Council of National Resistance (Concelho Revolucionário de Resistência Nacionaland to form new structures for Falintil.(Fretilin's armed wing) Xanana Gusmão said that what they did was only to “ratify” the decision taken by the “pioneers” at the Laline Conference in 1977 when, following the lead of the Central Committee’s Department of Political Orientation and Ideology, Marxism-Leninism was officially declared the party’s ideology.

Fretilin officially ditched their Maoist version of Marxist-Leninism in 1984, but you would hardly notice. Contacts were kept up with many communist parties, including the Australian Democratic Socialist Party.

One of the DSP's main experts on East Timor is Max Lane. A former member of the Australian Diplomatic Corps in Jakarta, Lane was recalled amid controversy after he translated the works of jailed Marxist poet Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Lane went on to run the DSP front, Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET) and regularly visited both countries. Currently he is on the DSP National Executive and is a research associate at Sydney University.

He has very close ties to the Timorese Socialist Party (PST), which is openly Marxist-Leninist and one of nine parties which nominated Gusmao for the presidency. The PST is widely regarded as a breakaway from Fretilin, but Max Lane has a slightly different view.

From the DSP's quarterly journal Links

The PST traces its origins as a socialist current to 1981, when a small group of youth established OJETIL, Youth Organisation for an Independent East Timor, as a communist youth group. This occurred at the same time that Xanana Gusmao, as president of FRETILIN, led a move to remake FRETILIN as a Marxist-Leninist party.

It wasn't until December 1989 that three of the original OJETIL activists who had taken up studies in Java and Bali established the FECLITIL (Clandestine Student Front for the Liberation of East Timor). In the meantime, OJETIL had become more moderate.

The Timorese Socialist Association (AST), later the PST, was developed during a period when the key directive coming through the CNRM (later renamed CNRT, National Council for Timorese Resistance) was for activists not to develop a party affiliation or identity. In 1998, the PST began operating openly in Indonesia and East Timor. The PST had developed a substantial base in East Timor as well as in Bali, Java, South Sumatra and East Kalimantan. It began the initial work to establish worker, farmer, youth and women's organisations.

An article in the DSP's Green Left Weekly September 12th 2001 demonstrates the close affinity between Gusmao and the PST.

DILI — In its first major mobilisation since the beginning of East Timor's election campaign, on August 25 some 5000 Timorese Socialist Party members and supporters gathered at Dili's Independence Field for one of the most energetic, enthusiastic and political rallies the country has yet seen.

Following opening remarks by the rally coordinator, singers and musicians gave a lively rendition of the party's anthem. The crowd — with raised arms and clenched fists — sang along enthusiastically and ended with calls of ``Viva PST'' and ``Viva Socalisme''. This was followed by music and a performance by traditional East Timorese dancers.

To many people's surprise the first speaker was resistance leader Xanana Gusmao. Although Gusmao has been present at a number of election rallies — usually in his former role as a journalist and photographer — this was the first time he had spoken at a political rally.

Gusmao began by thanking PST general secretary Avelino Coelho da Silva, party president Pedro da Costa, the party's international representative Azancot de Menezes and party spokesperson Nelson Correia, who he referred to as ``respected comrades''.

In his address, Gusmao stated that Marxism was a part of a social and democratic society and indicated his support for the PST as a Marxist-Leninist party. He emphasised the importance of non-violence — a condition upon which he agreed to accept a nomination for the presidency — and said that if socialism can change a society it should be accepted. He closed with the call, ``Viva PST'', to cheers and applause from the crowd.

Coelho later told Green Left Weekly that Gusmao's remarks were especially significant, as they send a clear signal to right-wing forces who are already attempting to whip up anti-socialist and anti-PST sentiment.

Kiwi troops fought bravely in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam to keep Marxist-Leninists out of power. Now we have NZ soldiers in Timor-Leste keeping the peace while two Marxists fight for control of their socialist party (Fretilin), the government of their country and one of the most strategic areas in the Asia Pacific region.

I have the utmost respect for the NZ Armed Forces. I have no respect for a government that would misuse our forces to support the establishment of a Marxist enclave in the centre of a highly unstable region.

Timorese President Gusmao's China Connections

Trouble in Timor Leste has meant the cancellation of a planned trip to China, by Timorese President Xanana Gusmao.

According to the UNMISET Website, Gusmao was to have been in China now

China, 19 May –the president of East Timor, Xanana Gusmão, is due to make an official visit to the People’s Republic of China between May 29 and June 3, the spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Liu Jianchao said Thursday. Jianchao said the visit was to be at the invitation of Chinese president, Hu Jintao.

In November 2005 the East Timor president paid a three-day private visit to China, during which he was able to meet top Chinese officials.

Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong (R) meets with East Timor President Jose Alexandre Xanana Gusmao in Beijing, China, Nov. 15, 2005. [Xinhua Photo]

According to the Chinese Government's official web portal

Chinese government attaches importance to its relations with East Timor and is ready to push forward all-round cooperation guided by treating neighbors as partners and friends, said Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong in Beijing Tuesday.

During a meeting with East Timor President Jose Alexandre Xanana Gusmao, Zeng conveyed President Hu Jintao's greeting and congratulated East Timor on its achievement in realizing national reconciliation, safeguarding social stability and promoting economic development since the country was founded three years ago.

Zeng said China and East Timor have maintained traditional friendship and bilateral ties have made new progress since the two countries forged diplomatic ties.

He indicated the two countries have trusted each other politically and cooperated well in the international arena, and the cooperation on economy and trade, and public health have expanded in recent years.

Zeng also spoke highly of the adherence of East Timor to the one-China policy.

Xanana said East Timor values its friendly relations with China, and will enhance cooperation on economy and trade, as well as resources exploration so as to continuously advance the relations between the two countries.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Unions Try to Put Heat on Mapp-Pathetic Prats

Just got this email

"Picket Wayne Mapp’s office – The EPMU, on behalf of the CTU, is organising a demonstration outside the electorate office of Wayne Mapp MP to protest against the grossly unfair 90 day probation Bill.

This is the Private Members Bill introduced by Mapp which if passed into law will allow workers to be sacked for no reason in the first 90 days of their employment. It was sent to Select Committee by National, New Zealand First, United Future and the Maori Party.

This is our chance to show the public of New Zealand what the National Party will do to them if given the chance. We will be handing out flyers to passers by, waving signs and making some noise. It should be lots of fun. We need to make this as visual as possible so come down if you can.

When: Friday June 2nd – 7:30-9:30am

Where: North Shore Electorate Office
Suite 3, 15 Anzac Street, Takapuna
PO Box 33017, Takapuna.

Enzo Giordani


Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union

9 Madeira Lane, Grafton.

0275 900 070

09 303 9000"

UNITE Mk2 Sets Up In Melbourne

"Union Smasher" wants to know if the UNITE union recently set up in Melbourne is related to the one here. The following transcript comes from the Australian Socialist Party website

The following is the transcript of a report aired on ABC television's program, Lateline. Broadcast on 29/05/2006. Reporter Rachel Carbonell.
TONY JONES: Well, a new labour organisation in Victoria could ignite a bitter turf war in the union movement. The group, UNITE, plans to operate as a union and represent young casual workers in the retail and fast-food industries. The new outfit is basing its strategy on a successful New Zealand campaign, which secured significant pay rises for fast-food employees. Rachel Carbonell reports.

RACHEL CARBONELL: The UNITE campaign in New Zealand led to pay rises for workers at Starbucks, KFC and Pizza Hut. It's now taking on McDonald's. And there are plans to start a similar union campaign in Melbourne.

ANTHONY MAIN, UNITE: We're going to be spending a lot of time at the schools, at the TAFE colleges, at the university campuses, and speaking to young people, recruiting young people outside of their work places.

The Socialist Party is the Australian section of the Committee for a Workers International.

Anthony Main is National Organisor for the Socialist Party.

Their NZ CWI counterpart is called Socialist Alternative, which is a split from a split in the Socialist Workers Organisation. Many leading Socialist Workers are active in UNITE. Some SA/CWI types have also been involved with NZ UNITE, including Tim Bowron.

Tim Bowron, CWI NZ, reports on Unite, the new union for casual/low paid workers in New Zealand and an inspiration for Unite in Australia.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Kiddie Commie's Aussie Penpals

Omar Hamed is a first year student at Auckland Uni. When he was at Takapuna High he was a founder of Radical Youth. Omar played a big part in their anti youth rates campaigns this year. Radical Youth is matey with Resistance, the youth wing of the Australian Democratic Socialist Perspective. Here's a letter that Omar wrote to his Aussie penpals lifted from the latest Green Left Weekly.

Dear Resistance

Aotearoa Radical Youth supports the Australian student strike organised for June 1. The struggle against neo-liberalism is as trans-national and trans-Tasman as the capitalist elites whose policies we oppose.

It is inspiring that the use of direct action against neo-liberalism has spread throughout the world. Whether it be French students fighting against unfair labour laws, American "illegals" protesting encroaching repression or Auckland youth mobilising for a fair and equal wage our cause is common and we value the solidarity that humanity encounters when we band together against the marginalisation, the oppression and exploitation of neo-liberalism.

The law that Australia is struggling against is based on the same philosophy as Wayne Mapp's bill here in Aotearoa. They both seek to make it easier to fire all workers and remove gains won by the working class movement, gains that took years of struggle to achieve. The laws, both here and there, will particularly affect young people as we are the ones who work in casual, low paid, non-unionised industries. We also continue to face the discrimination of youth wages. From Paris to Melbourne to Auckland we resolve that the work of the youth and students is to take the side of the oppressed and to fight for our rights. Nothing less will stem the tide of neo-liberalism. Kia Kaha. Ya Basta"

Let us know how you get on, : )

Yours for the Revolution,

Omar Hamed

UNITE Enlists International Support Against McD's

The significance of Matt MCCarten's UNITE union and its battle against the fast food giant, should not be under-estimated.

McDonalds has long been targeted by the international left for several reasons.

The Golden Arches are one of the great symbols of capitalism. McDonalds teaches capitalist systems and work ethic to hundreds of thousands of young people world wide. The left hate that. McDonalds has consistently resisted attempts to unionise its staff. If unionists in NZ could "break" McDonalds it would set a precedent for unionists and socialists all over the globe.

Therefore it is not surprising that UNITE activists have been visiting foreign trade unionists to drum up support.

I quote from UNITE organiser and Socialist Workers Oganisation member, Joe Carolan's Blog Anticapitaliste

"Our union is a small, activist union that recently led the world's first strikes at Starbucks, and has since won a substantial pay deal and improved conditions for our members there and at KFC and Pizza Hut as well. Details of our campaign and victory can be found at our campaign website,

However, we are also faced with a major challenge in the next few months with a concerted offensive from union busters McDonalds, who have threatened to "smash the Unite union". Our members and delegates have experienced severe victimisation and bullying, many workplace leaders having their hours cut, rosters changed to unsocial hours, or asked to find another job "if you don't like it here". Recently, they employed the services of a Kiwi arch union buster,who embarked on a policy of paying non union members more money in an attempt to destroy our membership on the shop floor.

Our members in McDonalds, bouyed by the victories we won at KFC, Starbucks and Pizza Hut, have now resolved to fight hard in the next few months. At the moment we have over 900 members in McDonalds stores in Auckland alone. But most of these trade unionists are on minimum wage, and are highly vulnerable. In this David and Goliath battle, they know full well they stand against a powerful multinational with billions of dollars in reserve, and a media, legal and advertising corps per excellence.

However, we also know that there are millions of trade unionists around the world who will be inspired if we can win this fight against McDonalds. It will truly inspire workers in so called "McJobs" everywhere that change is possible. As such, key Unite organisers have gone to the corners of the earth to spread the
word- Senior Organiser Mike Treen to Venezuela and Bolivia, and Education Officer Chrissy Holland to the LaborNotes Conference in Detroit. I am visiting interested trade unions and campaign groups in both Ireland and Britain, and can be contacted at if you would like to meet up.

I am in the UK meeting General Secretary Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commerical Services Union on May 16th, and will be meeting other trade union leaders and groups until the 18th of May. I have a short 15 minute compilation of rushes from an upcoming documentary being made about the SupersizeMyPay.Com campaign to organise the unorganised in the fast food industries. The campaign has been colourful and energetic, and we want to spread its message through union websites, publications and branches."

I have already written here about Mike Treen's visit to Chavez's Venezuela and his meetings with Marxist-Leninist unionists. It is safe to assume that Bolivia was chosen because its new president, the radical Evo Morales is a close ally of Chavez.
Treen traveled with members of the Australian Socialist Alliance which is led by the Australian Democratic Perspective and the International Socialists (sister party of the British Socialist Workers Party and NZ's Socialist Workers Organisation).

LaborNotes is a militant trade union journal based in Detroit. It has close ties to the US based Trotsyite group, Solidarity, which is in turn, very close to the Australian Marxist-Leninists of the Democratic Socialist Perspective. The DSP is allied to NZ's Workers Charter Movement, Socialist Workers Organisation and UNITE.

Mark Serwotka is General Secretary of the 280,000 strong, British trade union for civil servants, the Public and Commercial Services Union. Serwotka was a member of Socialist Organiser in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and later a Socialist Alliance supporter. He then became the most prominent trade unionist to support the left-wing political party Respect. In the run-up to the 2005 UK general election he personally endorsed several Respect candidates.

Respect is led the British Socialist Workers Party, radical Muslims and the infamous George Galloway.

As UNITE leader Matt McCarten recently stated.

Our union, Unite, has sent three of our leading organisers to wealthier parts of the world to raise money from other trade unions for our upcoming campaign to win a union employment agreement for McDonald's workers.

Will money from Venezuela, Bolivia, the UK, Eire and the USA be channelled into bringing our local McDonalds franchisees to their knees? Are kiwi teens about to become the "patty in the burger" of an industrial battle of international significance?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Alkatiri on Cuban Health System

From UNOTIL's selected postings from East Timor 28.12.05

Speaking to the media yesterday, PM Mari Alkatiri said that Timor-Leste is expecting to implement a free health care system similar to Cuba's since it is an important sector that should serve the population. Therefore, he appealed to the over 200 Timorese students departing for Cuba to be elite doctors when returning from Cuba. He added that Cuba has the best health care system in the world because apart from the advanced medical equipment, poor peasants can be treated equally as rich persons because the health care system is free. A free health care system is one which the government dreams of putting in place.

The report further mentioned that apart from sending up to 627 students to study in Cuba, Timor-Leste National University has also started a medicine programme in 2005. The other impacting progress from the cooperation between Cuba and Timor-Leste's government has been the current presence of 65 Cuban doctors in Timor-Leste and 300 doctors pledged by Cuba.

Cuban Doctors in Timor Leste

From Cuban medical journal Medicc Review March/April 2006

Known as the ‘first independent state of the millennium,’ the island nation of East Timor will celebrate four years of independence on May 20th. Since 2004 – nearly half the young country’s life - Cuba has had a medical cooperation program with East Timor that was recently expanded to include a greater presence of Cuban doctors in-country and additional medical scholarships for East Timorese students.

East Timor pre-med students Aleito Menezes, Délio da Silva and María Geremias en route to Havana.

Providing education and training for human resources for health is a top priority in a country that was left with only 35 physicians after violent clashes in August 1999 displaced 75% of the population.[1] In response, Cuba offered over 800 full scholarships for young East Timorese to study at Havana’s Latin American Medical School. The first phase of the scholarship program is well under way, with 361 students from East Timor already matriculating in the medical school

Creating a sustainable health system where East Timorese provide health services for their own is the long-term strategy, says Dr. Francisco Medina, head of Cuba’s Comprehensive Health Program in the small island nation. There are currently 182 Cuban professionals and technicians working in East Timor under the medical cooperation project.

We’re the first to get rid of the desk separating doctors from their patients, and many times the first to see them not just as cases, but as human beings,” Dr. Medina told MEDICC Review. This humanist approach is the philosophy underscoring medical education in Cuba and is the foundation for East Timor’s future doctors.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Rodney and Krystal's Biggest Challenge So Far

The Crusaders are just about to hammer the Hurricanes. Then the Warriors will slaughter the Sharks. Tomorrow night Rodney and Krystal dance the Pasa? Doble?

This will be our team's biggest challenge yet. The only thing Rodney has lost so far is 23Kg. Keep Rodney and Krystal in the race to the top. Do your bit.

Text RODNEY to 8981 or phone 0900 89 818

Timor Leste Backgrounder

For an in depth backgrounder on the ethnic and military/police tensions behind the current anarchy in Timor Leste, go here.

"Major Alfredo Reinado, the commander of the rebel forces that generated the latest crisis, declared that only the presence of foreign troops could prevent a civil war. "There is no other way, or it will be war forever," he told the BBC. "The Government has taken too long. It is not capable of resolving this." Reinado has close links with Australia. He lived in Western Australia for nine years before returning to East Timor after the 1999 referendum. He has spent time at the Australian Defence College in Canberra and is well known to several Australian army officers. The Australians' ability to deal with Reinado could prove the key to ending the bitter conflict that now threatens Mari Alkatiri's Government."

Thanks to Berend de Boer

Friday, May 26, 2006

Comrade Alkatiri's Friends

Timor Leste's Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri is the Marxist leader of a socialist government. While he is happy to take Western and UN handouts and military assistance, his heart lies with the revolutionaries.

Are our troops going into Timor Leste to save a Marxist regime?

From the PLA Daily 18.9.03

BEIJING, Sept. 18 Chinese President Hu Jintao met here Thursday with Mari Alkatiri, prime minister of East Timor.

Hu said that China and East Timor have enjoyed long-term friendship, and the two countries forged diplomatic ties soon after East Timor became independent one year ago.

Based on mutual respect and equality, the cooperation between the two countries has expanded and the trust has furthered over the past year, he said.

Hu expressed appreciation for the support of East Timor to China on the Taiwan and other issues, and said that China will, as always, support the efforts made by East Timor and the international community to stabilize and develop this new country.

Alkatiri said that he is here to improve the cooperation between East Timor and China in all fields.

He also expressed gratitude for China's economic aid towards East Timor, and said that the East Timor government will continue to adhere to the One-China policy, and support China's stance on the Taiwan issue.

He hoped that China would play a bigger role in the international and regional affairs.

I have already covered Alkatiri's December 2005 trip to Cuba.

From the Communist Party of Australia's Guardian 15.2.06

Towards the end of last year East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri paid a visit to Cuba and held talks with Fidel Castro and other Ministers in the Cuban Government.

Cuba is to receive another 400 young people from East Timor to be trained as doctors and teachers.

Castro also announced that a group of 300 Cuban doctors are to travel to East Timor. They will help train health professionals in Timor and work at the Faculty of Medicine recently opened in Dili.

Fidel also announced that two technical experts have gone to Dili to establish the use of the new literacy method that will allow the rapid teaching of reading and writing in Portuguese in a country where 50 percent of the population is illiterate.

In discussing the struggle of the Timorese people for independence with Prime Minister Alkatiri, Fidel Castro recalled the similar struggles of the people on the African continent and informed Mari Alkatiri of the considerable medical assistance being given by Cuba to many countries of Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

The Democratic Republic of East Timor has a population of 770,000. Most of its people remain poor even though it has oil and gas resources. Prime Minister Alkatiri remarked that Cuba showed what could be done despite having few natural resources.

New Zeal I will post soon on the real purpose of Cuban "literacy" programmes.

Is Timor Leste's Prime Minister a Marxist?

Speaking on Radio NZ's Morning Report with Sean Plunkett today, Timorese rebel leader Lt Commander Alfredo Reinaldo had this to say about Timorese Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri.

He is a communist, a strong Marxist. I know these people well and I do not like them.

How accurate is this charge?

Born in 1949 in Dili, Alkatiri is of Yemeni ancestry and is a Muslim in a strongly Catholic country. In his youth he trained as a surveyor in Angola, before returning to Timor to work in the Public Works Department.

He became politically active at around 20 years of age and in 1970 helped found the Movement for the Liberation on East Timor.

In 1974, after a socialist coup in Portugal created the opportunity to form political parties in East Timor, Alkatiri helped form the Timorese Social Democratic Association.

In 1974 Alkatiri's merged into a broader front, Fretilin. Alkatiri held several posts in Fretilin and in its military wing Falintil.

In 1975, Alkatiri was chairman of the committee charged with drafting the constitution of the newly independent East Timor. He then became Minister of State for Political Affairs.

Alkatiri was in Africa on a diplomatic mission when the Indonesian military invasion of Timor took place in December 1975.

He spent the next 24 years based in Mozambique, for which most of that time was under Marxist-Leninist rule.

In 1977, Alkatiri became foreign minister of the government in exile. The same year, Alkatiri's party, Fretilin formally adopted Marxism. Fretilin developed relations with leftist parties all over the world, with particularly close ties to the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Alkatiri represented East Timor at the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement and international "human rights" organisations.

He was prominent in the various bilateral and trilateral negotiations, held in the '90s to resolve the Timorese situation. Alkatiri only returned to East Timor in 1999, just before the UN supervised referendum on self-determination.

In 1998, the Australian Marxist-Leninist group, the Democratic Socialist Party organised Asia Pacific Solidarity Conference, which was held in Sydney on April 10–13.

More than 750 people participated. In addition to Australian activists, there were 67 representatives from Asian, Pacific, European, Latin American and United States left parties and other organisations.

International participants came from the Japanese Communist Party the Thai Assembly for the Poor; the Malaysian People’s Party, the Singapore Workers Party; the Singapore Democratic Party; the Indonesian People’s Democratic Party (PRD)the Free Aceh Movement; Fretilin (Frente Revolucionara do Timor Leste Independente) from East Timor, the New Socialist Party of Sri Lanka, the Communist Party of India–Marxist Leninist (Liberation); the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist–Leninist) ,Melanesian Solidarity from Papua New Guinea; the Bougainville Interim Government; the New Zealand Alliance and NewLabour Party; Maori representatives from the New Zealand non-government organisation Corso; the Polynesian Liberation Front from Tahiti; and the Free West Papua Movement(OPM).

The conference also received a special video message of solidarity from José Ramos Horta, East Timorese Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The New Zealand East Timor Independence Committee also sent solidarity greetings.

From outside the Asia–Pacific region there were representatives from the Party of Democratic Socialism of Germany (the old East German Communist Party) the Revolutionary Communist League of France and the Norwegian Indonesian and East Timor Committee.

A conference highlight was the speech by Dorotea Wilson, a member of the National Directorate of the Sandinista National Liberation Front

The escalating political crackdown in Indonesia made the conference still more timely and urgent. Solidarity with the PRD in Indonesia and the East Timorese resistance was a special feature of the conference.

A major contribution to the atmosphere of struggle and solidarity was the presence of leaders of the PRD, Fretilin, OPM and the Free Aceh Movement. Several workshops and panels discussed the situation in Indonesia and East Timor and worked out plans for campaigns in Australia and internationally.

The impact of the prd was evident. In her speech, veteran Sandinista leader, Dorotea Wilson, explained that her new knowledge of the struggles of the PRD, of fighters like Dita Sari and Budiman Sujatmiko, reminded her of the spirit which pervaded the FSLN during its revolutionary struggle against Nicaragua’s Somoza dictatorship.

The conference was the venue for launching the Indonesian People’s Power Fighting fund. The fund is organised by asiet to provide financial assistance to the Indonesian democratic underground, mainly the PRD. Within the first 24 hours, $1500 was raised from conference participants. Also launched was the first issue of Free Indonesia, the new magazine of the PRD’s international office.

The conference was also privileged to hear Dr Mari Alkatiri, vice-chief of Fretilin’s external delegation, speaking alongside Sutarji and Edwin Gozal from the PRD about the struggle to overthrow Suharto and free East Timor.

Alkatiri was the Deputy Coordinator of the Presidential Council of Fretilin from 1998 to 2001. In 2001, Alkatiri was appointed Chief Minister of the Second Transitional Government and Minister for Economy and Development. On Restoration of Independence Day, 20 May 2002, Alkatiri was appointed Prime Minister and Minister for Development and Environment of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

What's Happening in Timor Leste

NZ troops may soon be fighting to restore peace in East Timor. Why has voilence erupted? What is going on?

Below are excerpts from the leftist Blog "Reading the Maps" which give a background to the current crisis.

East Timor is on the brink of civil war, after a revolt by rank and file soldiers and a series of bloody attacks on protesters by police.

On February the 8th nearly six hundred soldiers - a third of the army - went on strike by walking out of their barracks. Most of the rebel soldiers come from the Loromonu ethnic group in the West of the country. They have complained of brutal treatment by commanders, poor pay, and poor living conditions. They have also been bitterly critical of East Timor's police force, accusing it of widespread human rights abuses and links with pro-Indonesian militias.

On the 16th of March the government of Mari Alkatiri sacked the rebels en masse, but the protests did not end. On April the 28th the rebels marched on the capital, determined to win reinstatement and have their grievances heard by Alkatari and President Xanana Gusmao. The march was joined by thousands of unemployed Dili youths shouting anti-government slogans. When the march reached the offices of the Prime Minister in the centre of the city police opened fire on it, killing six people and prompting the youths to begin a riot that saw one hundred buildings burnt down or vandalised. The rebel soldiers fled the city, pursued by police.

The rebels have regrouped and established a zone under their control in East Timor's mountainous interior. They have been joined by sympathisers carrying arms and by many members of East Timor's military police. On May the 5th the rebels issued a declaration which threatened attacks on Dili and other towns. On May the 9th a thousand of their supporters surrounded the police station at Gleno, a town outside Dili. After stones were thrown the police opened fire on the demonstation, killing one person and injuring thirty.

The East Timorese government has characterised the rebel soldiers and their supporters as 'terrorists' bent on 'undermining democracy', but the country's opposition politicians tell another story. Angela Feitas, who plans to run for President against Gusmao in the elections scheduled for next year, has blamed the government for the crisis, and said that 'Right now, it's worse [than it was] during the 1999 referendum [on independence]'.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

On the Road With Rodney and Krystal

I braved the cold at 8am today to watch Rodney and Krystal dance a tango in Cathedral Square, Christchurch.

Hosted by a local radio station and backed by the NZ Army Band, the two stars drew a crowd of about 100, many of whom also joined in the dancing.

It was a great atmosphere and Rodney was the star.

He circulated, danced with several partners, told jokes and solicited votes-bigtime.

Afterwards, the radio crew and Rodney's small entourage drove 20Ks out Rodney's (and mine) old school-Rangiora High.

The reception was bloody great.

The Assembly Hall was packed with at least 500 kids and staff. They gave Rodney and Krystal a huge cheer as they entered the hall and didn't let up throughout.

Rodney and Krystal tangoed and the crowd went wild. It was like it was Posh and Becs or Brad and Ange. Rodney kept them entertained with imitations of Brendan Cole, praising his old school, praising the Crusaders, shameless vote grubbing, joking and a bit of sound work hard/study hard/be proud advice. Rangiora High then put on its own five girl dance troupe, which was the rockingest thing I've ever seen in that hall.

Rodney couldn't get away as he was mobbed by teachers and a big group of mainly female pupils. Everybody was buzzing. It was a great reception and I'm sure it was good for heaps of votes.

If ever I had any small doubts about the positive impact "Dancing With the Stars" has had on Rodney's image (and waistline), they were well and truly dispelled today.

I was proud of my old school and our old school was certainly proud of "I'll always be a Rangiora High boy" Rodney Hide.

How to Save Our Police Force

Today, when you say "Police" to many people, they envision a specially
marked car with flashing lights in their rear-view mirror. That car is
perceived to be a predator seeking to attack the driver's wallet usually
with little or no justification. Many people believe they are more likely to be ripped-off by a traffic cops than by gang members.

Real criminals hardly consider the Police as a threat anymore.

This image has produced the "us and them" separation between the public and the Police.

Many people are now reluctant to assist the Police in solving cases or helping officers in trouble.

Police morale is at an all-time low, and they are rapidly losing public
respect. Key senior staff members are leaving in droves.

New Zeal wants the Police to make crime reduction their #1 focus and make "Cop" the highly respected word it once was.

This is my plan for achieving it. I wrote it in conjunction with a very senior former policeman and a former MP.

Nothing about Tasers, guns, more money or tougher laws. Its all about changing the systems.

Good systems bring out the best in people. Bad systems, or no systems, turn even good people into average people at best.

1 Remove traffic enforcement from the police. Create a separate, dedicated, professional traffic enforcement body. Get the police back fighting crime. Let the new agency focus on traffic safety. Abolish all enforcement quota systems.

2 Replace the Police Complaints Authority with a separately funded, non police body answerable to the Ombudsman’s Office, to ensure police ethics and standards are upheld. At least some of the new body’s senior staff should be recruited from overseas. This will go a long way to restoring public confidence in police ethics.

3 Take senior police managers off performance contracts based on low crime figures. This will remove the incentive to under report crime, falsify or fudge crime statistics and divert resources away from difficult areas onto “soft targets”. Police are public servants. Let them serve. Do not treat them like commission salesmen, it will inevitably lead to dishonesty and lowered morale.

4 Reintroduce some seniority promotion to give police officers more reward for service and experience and help staff retention.

5 Establish Police Watch Committees around the country headed by independent people charged with monitoring police performance in their area. This will get the community more involved and make police more responsive to local problems.

6 Vigorously review the performance of all Police senior managers, from Commissioner down, replace where necessary. Reform labour laws to enable the Police to get rid of some of the the “dead wood” senior staff that have accumulated in the last 10-15 years.

7 Realign the Criminal Investigation Bureau into a high status unit within the police to help train and retain high quality detectives.

8 Review selection and training processes to ensure selection of the right people, and to ensure that they understood that police was a people job, that people-skills, negotiation skills, and lateral thinking problem-solving skills are vital policing work.

9 Strengthen the disciplinary and professional ethics arm of the police to ensure that there is an active and consistent approach to these matters.

10 Direct that all police officers to take a proactive approach to community relations, to get officers out of the station and around the community whenever possible. This will help restore public confidence in our police.

Any comments?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Kiwi Students Tour North Korea-Land of Heroes

In May, three Auckland University students, Rimoni Leota (AUSA International Affairs officer), Viadom Piatov (Auckland Uni Political Studies Students Society) and Nick Healy (a member of the NZ/Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea Friendship Society) toured North Korea.

Here are some highlights and snapshots of their holiday, excerpted from a Scoop article by Nick Healy.

After months of organisation and belated email exchanges between a North Korean tour company, the New Zealand DPRK friendship society and ourselves (group of three Auckland University Arts students), what begun as a faint idea sometime last year in the Quad was about to happen.

We were accepted and furthermore invited to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or more commonly know round these parts as North Korea. Beginning with a 2 ½ hour flight from Beijing on board a 1960s Soviet jet, our six day glimpse into the ‘hermit state’ took us around Pyongyang, to the DPRK founder Kim Il Sung’s tomb, the Demilitarization Zone, to the ancient capital of Korea; the city of Kaesong.

The Juche tower is well over 100 metres tall

We also partook in some good old fashioned labour on the affectionately named ‘New Zealand Friendship Farm’, talked politics with some ‘Pyongyang officials’ and some highly intelligent students as well as sharing many good memories and conversations with young soldiers and our tour guides. The trip wound up with a 24 hour train ride from Pyongyang to Beijing on board yet another marvel of old Soviet design which dominates the infrastructure in the DPR of Korea.

Upon arriving at Pyongyang airport you realise exactly where you are. The proud, smiling face of the former ‘Great Leader’ Kim Il Sung’s portrait hangs above the only, relatively small and calm terminal. On each side of the airport runway, peasant farmers tend to dry fields which have only recently defrosted after a long, freezing winter.

A view of Pyongyang’s ‘arch of triumph’ with hundreds of young people practising for an upcoming, ‘mass gymnastics’ event.

Baat, a former military para-trooper who spent 22 years of his life serving in the ‘People’s Army’ and Kim a young, fresh faced and chirpy but quiet ex Mig fighter pilot (or so we assumed by his exceptional and often freakishly fast driving) were our guides, our; comrades if you will, for our time in North Korea.

A statue of the 'Greater Leader' Kim Il Sung

What soon becomes obvious when driving through the almost empty streets of Pyongyang is first; how few cars there are, and second; the immense pride the country bestows on its revolutionary history. Monuments that would literally dwarf anything we have ever seen (even in books), speckle the view of the city, monuments to the heroic struggles of the past and victories against ‘foreign imperialists’.

Wishing to make a desirable impression on our guests and being aware of the fact that when visiting important cultural sites in North Korea (as well as any country) one is to show a great deal of respect- we were already wearing suits when we visited a 30 metre, pristinely polished bronze statue of Kim Il Sung.

Bronze statues at a war memorial

At the foot of the statue we lay flowers handed to us by Baat and Kim. Flanked on either side of this impressive statue are 50 to 70 metre long bronze panoramic statues of revolutionaries, war heroes, children and mothers striving forward toward a socialist ideal with rifles, pitch forks, hammers and sickles.

Rising above the confused but intricately designed statue of Koreans marching forward- a strong hand holds a torch; an icon of North Korea, the ‘Juche’ torch. ‘Juche’ being a hybrid of ideas which Kim Il Sung developed as he lead the Korean fight against the Japanese occupation- its guiding principle is self sufficiency and the control of one’s own destiny- as well as maintaining classic Marxist principles.

On day two we are instructed to dress well for a visit to the ‘Kim Il Sung monument palace.’ We don our suits once again and after a short drive though a series of ordinary streets arrive at the beginning of boulevards that were surprisingly well maintained compared to any roads we had seen so far. The manicured streets surrounded by rows of trees with an almost Parisian style to them indicate that we were in the vicinity of the monument.

Facing us from the middle of the palace was yet another smiling face of the ‘Great Leader’ Kim Il Sung; atop was a fluttering North Korean flag. We entered a long corridor and passed through a metal detector which seemed strange to us at first; we emptied our wallets of everything, including wallets, keys and cameras. ‘This place is very sacred; nothing impure must enter,’ being explained to us in a whisper by our young guide- Kim. Next thing we know, our group as well as two Canadian tourists are instructed to walk over a grilled floor contraption with bristles to clean the soles of our shoes, then onto sponges to rinse the soles so as not to bring any dirt into the palace of the ‘Great Leader’.

All this happens while being completely surrounded by polished marble you could almost see your reflection in; everything in this memorial is made of polished marble. We continue on a horizontal escalator for over a kilometre, turn though a corridor and up an escalator until we reach a tunnel like doorway with small fans on either side to brush off any dust (we assumed) that our suits may carry.

We bowed slowly and solemnly and there is really nothing to look at while you walk through the hall but this amazing statue which mimics ivory in its colour. The only noise in the room is the music and the sound of foot steps echoing off the marble walls. To the right of the statue, we entered a smaller room, with black polished marble walls and floor; in the middle lay a preserved Kim Il Sung with a North Korean flag draped over his waist. Mao, Ho Chi Minh and Lenin were pickled in liquid, but as the Korean Leader only passed in 1994, he was preserved in a sealed case with the use of gases and as a result looks almost alive.

Visiting the resting place of North Korea’s founding father was one of the most humbling experiences of my life and it laid the foundations in our minds into understanding how important ‘The Great Leader’ and his ‘everlasting legacy’ is to the North Korean people. The word ‘legacy’ is emphasised because dotted around the city and countryside amongst many other repetitive slogans promoting national unity proclaim that ‘Kim Il Sung will live forever’ in the hearts and minds of the Korean people.

New Zeal Perhaps one of our Auckland Uni readers could ask AUSA, how much student money went towards this great, almost spiritual journey?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fair Comment

Here's some fair and reasonable comment from Ed at Fightback

Hat tip Clint Heine

Green Party Wit

From the Green Party's Frogblog

Prebble on Chauvel. Chauvel on Prebble and DOTP

In yesterdays' The Letter, Richard Prebble had this to say on Charles Chauvel.

"Since the unsuccessful coup against Helen Clark's leadership 10 years ago, the Labour caucus has kept its rivalries secret. The front page story in last week's Sunday Star Times suggested that the "leadership" wants a number of Labour list MPs to "retire" so that the caucus can be strengthened by new talent.

Mr Chauvel, who is only known to the public for his international travel bill while on the Lotteries Commission, is next on Labour's list. Chauvel thinks that parliament needs him and he is busy lobbying through his "dear" friends to get the party to drop a list MP in his favour. The caucus blames him for the newspaper story and the MPs named have no intention of resigning to assist his ambitions."

Back in the late '80s, Richard Prebble was Labour MP for Auckland Central. As a key member of Roger Douglas' economic reform team, several attempts were made to oust him from the seat. The pressure came from Socialist Unity Party members inside and outside Labour (including the CTU's Don Farr), Matt McCarten and the Labour left and Labour's Auckland University based Princess St Branch, including apparently, Charles Chauvel.

Here's a quote from New Zealand Monthly Review of October 1988. Chauvel was at the time, President of NZ Labour (Socialist) Youth. Responding to criticism about remaining loyal to Labour, despite its then dominance by the "right", Chauvel defended himself thus.

"If it is "confused thinking" to remain and fight for socialism in a Party whose constitution commits it to that ideology, then I am a confused thinker. I wish there were more of us: perhaps we'd have sufficient numbers to have de-selected Richard Prebble by now, and we'd be getting down to implementing socialist policy and bringing about the dictatorship of the proletariat."Emphasis added. New Zeal.

Is there some history here? Has life as a corporate lawyer softened Charles Chauvel's views a little? Will Helen really make sure her little favourite gets the Parliamentary seat he so clearly deserves?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Go the Crusaders, Warriors and Rodney and Krystal

My three favourite teams all did well in the weekend.

The mighty Canterbury Crusaders handily beat the Bulls 35-15 to secure a home final in the Super 14.

The NZ Warriors played easily their best game of the season to beat last years NRL premiers the Wests Tigers, 34-12 at Ericson Stadium.

Best of all was Rodney and Krystal dancing their way up to their best score of 24 points to pip Steve Gurney and save their bacon for another week.

Don't often get all three going my way.

Next week, the Crusaders face the 'canes in the finals at Jade Stadium, the Warriors face the Sharks (I think) and Rodney and Krystal face their biggest test yet.

I'm praying for an even better "grand slam" next week.

Can't do much about the Warriors or the Crusaders, but I can text RODNEY to 8981 till my fingers bleed or phone 0900 89 818 until my my ears ring.

So can you. ALL WEEK.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dong Li on Mao Zedong and Brainwashed Students

Massey Uni Chinese lecturer, Dong Li has responded on Stuff to Chinese students recently demonstrating at Massey against "disrespect" shown by student paper Chaff towards Mao Zedong

Hat Tip, The Whig

Brainwashed Chinese students should learn the truth about Mao Zedong, a senior Massey University Chinese lecturer said.

Dong Li said the man the students -adore is a mass murderer.

Mr Li is flabbergasted Chinese students spoke so reverently of Mao, glossing over his murderous regime and comparing him with Jesus Christ, as they protested the lampooning of him on the cover of a student newspaper this week.

He said students have been brainwashed by the Chinese government, which keeps the education sector and media under tight control.

"Mao is depicted as a genius. He was a genius - an evil genius, like Hitler," Mr Li said yesterday.

"Seventy million people died because of his cruel and stupid rule."

Mr Li is a lecturer in Chinese language, modern Chinese society and literature at Massey.

Mr Li said Chinese students should respect other people's opinions.

"When you are here in this Western democracy, you should not study only science, economics and finance.

"I welcome their presence here, but I advise them to take advantage of opportunities to learn the truth about modern China."

That's what Mr Li did about 20 years ago.

He left China to study the compiling of dictionaries in Leeds, England, and read widely in the library while he was there.

"This opened my eyes."

He led protests at North Arizona University, in the United States, over the Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy students in 1989.

"One of the things I hate is the huge portrait of Mao in Tiananmen Square."

The image of Mao is used to prop up the legitimacy of Communist Party rule, Mr Li said, but the reality of Mao's leadership is kept quiet.

"The Great Leap Forward was 100-percent folly, which resulted in 30 to 40 million people - mostly peasants - starving to death." Mao's Cultural

Revolution forced the closure of schools and universities while large numbers of teachers, professors, journalists, engineers, officials and doctors were persecuted, he said.

"At least 2 million people were murdered or forced to commit suicide."

Books were burned while temples, churches and cultural relics were also destroyed.

The ancestral home of philosopher Confucius was dismantled.

"All this should be directly blamed on Mao," Mr Li said.

"He was a cultural destroyer, a murderer - even his personal life was full of dirty womanising. He is not a model for Chinese youth."

Calling Mao the father of modern China was also wrong, Mr Li said.

"The father of modern China is Dr Sun Yat-sen, who overthrew the imperial dynasty of Qing."

He said the students who protested come from a country where history books are approved by the government's propaganda department.

"They do not know the truth. Some don't want to know."

Green Party Insider on Extreme Left Take-over

Phil U at Whoar is a Green Party member. He has just posted a lengthy analysis of the dangers of a complete leftist takeover of the Green Party should Russel Norman beat Nandor Tanczos for the male co-leadership in June. Phil U writes for fellow Greens, imploring them not to let their party fall into the hands of the hard left.

Hat Tip David Farrar

Below are some pertinent excerpts. My emphasis added in bold. The format is as written on Whoar.

"casual observors of the green party male co-leadership struggle could well be asking themselves just who is this russell norman..?…he who has appeared as a contendor for this crucial role…and what does it all mean…?

the first question dosen’t really matter….it’s the second that is the rub in this story…

a victory for norman..(which is looking likely/possible)…will mean the left wing of the party will have achieved one of their major goals….control of the green party..(just the mopping-up will need to be done..)

and here’s who..?..why..?…and how…?

some history first…
the greens were once part of the alliance party…which made sense in first past the post days…
the advent of m.m.p. saw the move from within the party to hive off from the alliance..a move that was opposed by some of the greens..those who preferred to stay under the left-wing umbrella of anderton/alliance..

interestingly enough..current contendor russell norman was one of those who opposed that breakaway from the alliance by the greens….
and nandor was one of those who headed that drive to split…nandor ably articulating/arguing the case for an independant green party…one not tainted by the stains of the old ideologies..a party that could independantly argue the conservation case…and could appeal to those of all ideological stripes…

so that is a question i would like to hear russell norman answer…
just why was it you opposed the greens leaving the alliance..?…and how can this fact not effect/worry those who are concerned about the greens being in that ideological straightjacket…in that ongoing self-constraining role of labours’ handmaiden…?..”
(these concerns can only be heightened by the awareness norman is a former member of the communist party..?…and has as his mentor within the party one keith locke..’nuff said..?.)

another interesting fact about norman is that high on his c.v. is his role in the big anti-ge march up queen st some years ago..
now the rub with this one is that norman..along with locke..and party leftie catherine delahunty(number nine on the green party ahead of norman..)..all argued vehemently against the idea of a march….they lost that one..and then argued vehemently against the ultimate timing of that march..noon on saturday…they wanted it to be at the usual time the left held marches….5.15pm on a friday night…

how do i know all this..?…i know because i was the one who presented/called for the idea of “hitting the streets”…and argued vehemently against the 5.30 fri nite timing..pointing out that all that would guarantee was a low turnout..and a whole lot of pissed off/at the end of their week/workers…
an overwhelming voice vote on both issues won the day…(so..expedient political opportunism at the fore..that left triumvirate then took over the organising…with norman as titular head…go

so..another question for russell norman….”could you tell us why you voted/argued against the idea of the march..and the timing of said march…and could you tell us how now in good conciencse you can claim kudos for an idea that was not yours…?..”

now the green party the labour party..a broad church…there are the deep green vegan/veggies/animal rights crew…there is the old-school values party people…there are those who only came on board over the g.e. issue..there are the cannabis reform people..and there is the left

the other components of the arguments/concerns against/around norman/the left winning this male leadership are around the female co-leadership succession question…
jeanette fitzsimons is the public face of the greens….but she will not be there forever…(i would suspect that shortly after the next election she will retire..and many thanks to her in advance of that decision..her role for the greens has been crucial..her and rod de-demonised the party in the eyes of many…)

and the current front-runner for that role is…sue bradford….(which camp within the greens do you think she comes…) you get my point….?….a norman/bradford leadership cabal would irrevocably lock the green party into that far-left role…and my opinion..doom the greens to irrelevancy..and electoral oblivion….this reason..and this reason alone should be enough impetus for the green party membership not of the leftwing camp to block normans’ run for that position…eh..?

i’d like to finsh with what i think is a telling anecdote…i was present when sue bradford and catherine delahunty made their first appearance at a green party meeting….
this after both being hounded out of the alliance part of the alliance by jim anderton…it is at his feet they learnt their organisational ‘chops’..(and it shows..)..

the left are very ‘top-down’..bordering on control

the green party at that time was a very low-key affair..meetings held in the low-roofed attic of a bookshop on k’ road…
at this meeting bradford said to me out of the corner of her mouth…(i had known her for some years)..that “this party is ripe for taking over..”..and she wasn’t wrong…

later in that same evening i approached the then leader of the auckland greens..(a lovely lady but lacking that political killer-will..)..and told her that “that woman over there is going to take your job”
this duely came to pass..

and i would submit that the candidature of russell norman for the role of green party male co-leader is yet another manifestation of that attempt for the mortgage..(the death-grip)..on the green party of aotearoa

and if this should come to pass….? will sound the death-knell for the could it not..?

they must also make the call if they want the party to be irrevocably yoked to/controlled by the left wing of that multi-ideological soup that is the green party…

and do they want to be responsible for the electoral oblivion a norman/bradford co-leadership would bring….?…

but…if the worst comes to the worst…and the greens do crash and burn under that leftwing cabal..from those ashes will rise a new green party…shed of that authoritarian leftwing malaise…

so….think on green party members/delegates to the agm on queens birthday weekend..

in your hands rests nothing less than the future life or death of the green party…

Maxim Institute on Environmental Indoctrination

From Real Issues 18.5.06

Most Kiwis agree that protecting the environment is generally a good thing, but they certainly don't agree on the best way to do it - especially not politicos. And when they debate environmental issues, whether it is the government's forcible cessation of native logging on the West Coast, or what should be taught in the National Curriculum, controversy is sure to follow.

Last week, Dr. Nick Smith called for the National Party to embrace a new vision for the environment and formulate a coherent policy based on "National Party values". He highlighted the need to set out a broad approach to the environment based on "trusting people" to manage their resources, and the principle of "sustainability". Dr. Smith puts "sustainability" and environmental stewardship in a framework including private enterprise, development, decentralisation and stewardship for future generations.

This came hot on the heels of a new report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE); See Change: Learning and Education for Sustainability, which called for a greater emphasis on "sustainability education" in society and in the curriculum. The PCE Report also promotes "education for sustainability", but puts the concept of environmental protection in a framework diametrically opposed to that articulated by Nick Smith. "Sustainability", according to the report, is tied to values of peace, reducing inequality, diversity and human rights. While the report loudly disclaims "indoctrination", it also admits that these values are invariably political.

In calling for more support for "sustainability education", then, the authors of the report are pushing an agenda based on the almost neo-Marxist "transformation" and "interrogation" of unjust social and cultural structures. It is important to remember that our approach to protecting the environment is not solely a matter of biology and environmental science. We bring to the debate our assumptions about human nature and the role of government. It is vital that these are honestly put onto the table and debated along with the policies to which they give rise, especially when, as with the PCE, they use tax-payer funds and the school curriculum as a pulpit from which to preach.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cuba Elected to 2006 UN Human Rights Council

From the Communist Party of Australia's The Guardian 17.5.06

In the face of strong US opposition, Cuba has been elected to the new UN Human Rights Council. This UN body has a membership of 47 countries and each country need 96 votes to be elected. Cuba received 135 votes.

Other nations elected in a secret ballot include Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Britain, China, Canada, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, South Africa and South Korea.

Iran and Venezuela were not elected.

While declaring its qualified support for the Human Rights body the US continues to take a "holier-than-thou" attitude. "There are some members in our view that don’t share a genuine commitment to human rights", said a US spokesperson.

More Chinese Cuban Co-operation

From Communist Party of Australia's The Guardian 17 May, 2006

The Cuban government is to allow China to station 12 oil rigs in its waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Work is being stepped up on 36 new oil wells in partnership with Chinese and Canadian companies, officials said recently.

Indian Communism Advancing

From the Communist Party of Australia's Guardian, 17.5.06

The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has hailed the State election results in West Bengal and Kerala as a "splendid victory". The election results have strengthened the role of the Left in national politics.

India is divided into 26 states with groups of states holding State elections at different times. National elections are held across the whole country once each four years.

On this occasion State elections were held in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamilnadu and in Assam.

In West Bengal, the Left Front has been returned to office for the seventh time in succession, a record unmatched in the country. This time, the Left Front has won a three-quarters majority, claiming 235 of the 294 seats. The CPI(M) alone won over half the seats in the State.

The Left Front is made up of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) the Communist Party of India, the Forward bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party..

This election has, once and for all, exploded the pernicious propaganda that the CPI(M) and the Left Front win elections by "scientific rigging", given the fact that the extraordinary measures taken by the Election Commission were hailed by the opposition.

In the State of Kerala the people have voted decisively to bring the LDF into the government and rejected the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). The Left Democratic Front has won a two-thirds majority claiming 98 out of 140 seats. This is an endorsement of the Left and democratic platform and an indictment of the five years of the UDF misrule, said the CPI(M) statement.

In the state of Tamilnadu the voters elected the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance. The CPI(M), which had an electoral understanding with the DMK-led alliance, has won nine seats, up from six.

In Assam, the Congress, which was in government, has failed to win a majority although it emerged as the single largest party. The CPI(M) won two seats whereas previously it held none.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Fight Socialism-Vote Rodney and Krystal

Rodney was savagely cheated by a secret cabal of Labour supporting judges last week. Turn the socialist tide. Keep Rodney and the lovely Krystal on our screens. Your freedom depends on it!

Vote 0900 89 818 or Text Rodney to 8981

The future of the planet is in your hands.

Self Explanatory Really

From David Farrar's KiwiBlog

Talk About Worshipping Your Oppressor

From yesterday's Stuff

A mob of angry Chinese students protested at Massey University yesterday after Chairman Mao was lampooned on the cover of the student newspaper.

Students likened the cover of Chaff, which this week satirises women's magazine Cosmopolitan, to the anti-Muslim cartoons circulated around the world in February.

Tempers flared outside Massey's library as about 50 Chinese Massey and UCOL students and a Chinese lecturer confronted Chaff staff.

Students said the issue is racist and the last straw, as many have also suffered verbal abuse on the streets of Palmerston North.

UCOL student Xing Tang said Chaff staff are ignorant of Chinese culture.

"Chairman Mao is like Jesus to us," he said on the verge of tears.

"We pay $20,000 in fees and a Musa fee (which funds Chaff) and this is how we are treated."

Student Ronnie Cao likened the cover to the anti-Muslim cartoons.

"This is discrimination against us."

It will have a huge effect on New Zealand's reputation, Mr Cao said.

Yang Chenglin said students are proud of their Chinese culture.

"Mao gave us independence. He's no more a killer than George Washington or George W Bush.

"He is the father of China - without Mao, there is no China."

Mao Zedong, or Chairman Mao, was the founder of the People's Republic of China and one of the most prominent figures in Chinese history.

He is also revered as a great spiritual leader and cultural symbol.

Students gathered in tight circles outside the library yesterday, signing a petition demanding an apology.

Students also want remaining copies pulled out of circulation.

Massey University finance lecturer Fei Wu, who's Chinese, said students deserve an explanation.

"This shows no respect to our people.

"There are 1000 Chinese students here who spend a lot of money to study here and this is an insult

Massey University international office director Bruce Graham said the Chaff cover is in "extremely poor taste". However, he accepted Chaff has editorial independence.

Mr Graham has suggested to Chaff an apology is required.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Asher, Asher, Asher, Asher, Asher....

Asher Goldman over at Anarchia has been pretty excited lately. He thinks he has dug up conclusive proof that an organisation I am involved with, Zenith Applied Philosophy, was once linked to a fascist group, the "Nationalist Worker's Party".

The reason Asher is so thrilled is that when these allegations were raised before, by Russel Norman of the Green Party, I bet him my position in the ACT Party against his position in the Green Party that he could not provide credible proof of his claims. Russel Norman was responding to questions I asked of him after he had confirmed his former membership of an Australian Marxist-Leninist group, the Democratic Socialist Party.

Russel; Were you aware of the association between ZAP and the fascist Nationalist Workers Party?

Trevor; No Russel and neither are you. There never have been any such links. I am willing to bet my membership and position in ACT against your membership and position in the Green Party, that you have no credible proof of such allegations.

Russel did not take up my challenge, but Asher thinks he has come up with the goods.

Asher's evidence consists of an article published in the NZ Herald of 20.6.83


One of New Zealand's small but active ultra-conservative groups has expelled "nazi elements" and other extreme right-wingers in an attempt to improve it's image.

The group, New Force, has also expelled sympathisers of two Christchurch-based organisations, Zenith Applied Philosophy and Trim, the Tax Reduction Integrity Movement.

The national director of New Force, Mr B.W. Zandbergen, said last night that youths from the New Zealand Nazi Party had attached themselves to New Force, giving his organisation a bad name.

As well, sympathisers of Zap and Trim had threatened to defect to the proposed new party of Wellington businessman Mr Robert Jones, unless New Force swung behind their free-market, laissez faire philosophies.

"These people (Zap, Trim and the Nazi youths) have got the wrong idea of what New Force was about." Mr Zandbergen said in Wellington.

"It was useless to argue with them, so we have cut our ties.".....

Mr Zandbergen stood for Parliament for New Force in Western Hutt in 1981, on a platform which included repatriation of Pacific Islanders. He got 30 votes.

Asher So, Trev, there's the link proven. You are part of a cult that was too nutty for even Kerry Bolton, New Zealand's longest running Nazi nutter!

I eagerly await news of your resignation.

TrevorNow as Asher has the balls to post under his own name, I will do him the courtesy of replying to these allegations.

Here goes. There are several possibilities here.

One is that the claim of ties and expulsion is a total fabrication on the part of the author/authors, or Mr Zandbergen. I have experienced this before. On David Farrar's blog I was accused of campaigning against the Homosexual Law reform Bill in the '80s and once being involved in an assault on a Lada car owner. Both were 100% untrue. I have also been described in a 1990? newspaper article as a "National Party boss" despite never having been a member of that party.

Two is that TRIM sent out pledge cards to every single one of the several hundred candidates in the 1981 election-National,Labour, Socred, SUP, Independent, Mana Motuhake etc including I am surmising, Mr Zandbergen. Now possibly some correspondence was entered into by someone from TRIM, to Mr Zandbergen. I have no knowledge of this, but perhaps it happened.

If this did happen it would have been purely TRIM business and Mr Zandbergen would have been treated the same as any other candidate. Perhaps in Mr Zandbergen's own mind, he construed this as support for his ideas. Who knows? Perhaps when it became clear that no-one from TRIM had any time for racism or fascism, he cut ties-that is, in his own mind he "expelled" the dirty free marketeers? Note it is the author/authors of the article who use the term "expelled" (implying membership) while Mr Zandbergen merely says he "cut ties".

What I can state with 100% certainty is that no responsible supporter of either TRIM or ZAP was ever a "member" or was ever "expelled" from New Force or the NWP.

Third option is that TRIM had a large mailing list. It is possible that some individual or small group on that mailing list were supporters of New Force. Perhaps they fell out with Mr Zandbergen, when Bob Jones' NZ Party started up? Perhaps he "expelled" them. Again who knows?

Fourthly, perhaps one or two of the hundreds, if not thousands of people who have ever had contact with ZAP over the years, later went on to have some contact with Zandbergen? Perhaps they fell out of favour? That is not a "link", that's just proof that NZ is a small country.

You describe Kerry Bolton as "New Zealand's longest running Nazi nutter".
Presumably you have a similar opinion of his comrade Mr Zandbergen.

These guys are or were nutters. Yet you base your slander of me and my friends on the word of one of them? Do you think for one minute this would stand up in a defamation court? Do you think that because something has been in the paper it must be true?

I have dished it out to lots of socialists and will continue to do so. I believe that anyone active in politics is open to scrutiny, including me. I can also tell you I would be crazy to risk my credibilty on the type flimsy "evidencez" you have presented.

The bottom line is that every group has committed members/students or supporters who define the character of that group. You can only judge a group to any fair degree at all by that core of supporters. You can judge the Catholic Church to some small degree by the actions of the Pope or its senior clergy of laymen, but not at all by the criminal activities of some thug who spent two years at a Catholic Primary School.

I have known all the most active ZAP students over a thirty year period and I can state with no fear of contradiction that not one has ever been a fascist, had any sympathy for Kerry Bolton or Mr Zanbergen, or has ever been a member of, or been "expelled" from any of their organisations.

That's it Asher. Can I possibly make it any clearer?

I've given you a fair run Asher. You've tried to slander me on your Blog and trolled on mine. I have let you say your piece. I've given you the best reply I can, though more for the benefit of my supporters than youself.

So here's what I expect of you Asher. You've shown enough guts to post under your own name, now show that you're man enough to admit you've been wrong and at best, highly irresponsible. Remove the offending post from your Blog (and anywhere else it may be)and post a retraction and an apology.

Do that and show the blogosphere that you are at least man of honour. Don't do it and be judged by all and sundry for what you are.

What's Ken Shirley up to These Days?

From Scoop

Ken Shirley, the former deputy leader of Act, is returning to Wellington to take on a new challenge to implement a strategy to grow domestic and export sales of organic products to a billion dollars by 2013.

As Executive Director of the recently established umbrella organisation, Organics Aotearoa New Zealand, Mr Shirley will co-ordinate a diverse sector with representatives ranging from large international exporters of kiwifruit, apples and dairy to lifestyle farmers, certification bodies, educators, researchers and product innovators in the fabric, fibre, cosmetics and beverage segments.

Best of luck Ken. Organics doesn't have to be a "Green" industry. Capitalism equals quality, which is what organics are really all about.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

W.A.Y.N.C.R? Number 8, Helen Te Hira.

My eighth Where Are You Now Campus Radical?, concerns hard core activist, Helen Te Hira.

Active at Auckland University in the late '90s, Te Hira was involved in the Neo-Maoist, "Radical Society" (Radsoc) and in 1998 was editor of their national newsletter.

The same year she was on the founding executive of the newly formed UNITE union, now led by comrade McCarten.

In 1999, Te Hira was Auckland University Students Association laison officer, until she was laid off when Voluntary Student Membership was won by Graham Watson and co.

Part of that "laison" work involved helping to organise the NZ tour, that year, by Crispin Beltran, leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines aligned Kilusang Mayo Uno, trade union confederation.

Te hira also worked closely with the radical Maori students group at Auckland Uni, Te Kawau Maro.

By 2000, Te Hira was working in Hong Kong, as part of the three man secretariat running the Asian Students Association. A grouping of Maoist leaning student unions, the ASA is the leading radical student body in Asia and the Pacific. At the time ASA numbered among its affiliates several Nepali, Filipino and Arab student unions as well as NZUSA, Radical Society, the federation of Maori student groups Te Mana Akonga and Resistance, the Youth wing of the Australian Democratic Socialist Party.

That year, Te Hira took part in a protest with several Hong Kong groups outside the NZ consulate, against the killing of maori Steven Wallace, by the NZ Police.

In 2002 "Human rights advocates", "civil libertarians", Filipino migrants groups, local Hong Kong associations, and local NGOs staged a silent protest in the Netherlands Consulate in Hong Kong to protest the "unjust and inhuman actions of the Netherlands government" towards Communist Party of the Philippines, leader, Professor Jose Maria Sison.

Helen Te Hira, a protest organizer, criticised the Dutch government for what she called terrorism against political dissenters and political refugees."Since 1998, the Dutch government, together with the governments of US and the Philippines has steadily pushed for the persecution of Joma Sison. He has been denied the right to stay despite their recognition of him as a political refugee. Now he is outrightly denied of his right to life by starving him and forcing him out to live in the streets,"

Te Hira's term finished in 2003,but she found time to attend, as one of five NZ delegates, the first assembly of a world wide Maoist umbrella group, the International League of People's Struggles in.

In March 2004, in Auckland, Te Hira addressed the International Women’s Day Committee on the seabed and foreshore issue. Te Hira was then working for the Service Workers Union.

In May 2004 Global Peace and Justice Auckland and the Wellington Palestine Group hosted talks by Te Hira"a trade unionist and member of ARENA, has recently returned from Palestine where she visited the Union of Palestine Medical Relief Committees and met with youth and student organisations inside Israel and Palestine."

ARENA is a Christchurch based radical group consisty mainly of ex Maoists like Robert
Reid, radical academics like Jane Kelsey, Radha D'Sousa and David Small and ex Radsocers like Luke Coxon and Desigin Thulkanan. According to a group newsletter ARENA Advisory Board members, David Small, Helen Te Hira and Luke Coxon have all been involved in the campaign to have Ahmed Zaoui released from prison, cleared of being a‘security risk’ and granted refuge in NZ.

In 2005 Te Hira was a Planner,Awhina Takawaenga with "Safer Auckland City" working on a partnership project with the Police, Housing New Zealand and SAC to reduce crime in the residential areas of Panmure and Glen Innes.

This February, Te Hira joined the National Distribution Union as an Auckland based Education Officer. I'm sure she'll be comfortable in NZ's most Marxist-Leninist major union.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Former Student Maoists Move into Union

The National Distribution Union is, with the Service Workers Union and the Engineers Union, one of the big three NZ industrial organisations.

The NDU has also been completely under Marxist-Leninist control since its formation in the'80s.

First it was controlled by the Ken Douglas/Bill Andersen led, Socialist Unity Party. After a 1990 split in the ranks, the NDU continued under the control of Bill Andersen's, Socialist Party of Aotearoa.

In 1990, sparked by the first Iraq war, a Maoist group, "Radical Society", was formed at Auckland University. Radsoc, as it was known, dominated Auckland student politics right through the '90s and in 1995 shifted its centre of power to Victoria University. Shortlived branches were set up at other universities, with the strongest being at Waikato and Massey.

Radsoc supported the Peruvian "Shining Path", the Philippines New Peoples Army, the Nepalese Maoist insurgency, the Bouganville Revolutionary Army and at one time the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK)

Normally,traditional Marxist-Leninists and Maoists don't mix well, but three prominent ex Auckland uni Radsocers are now holding prominent positions in the NDU's Auckland HQ.

David Fleming joined the NDU as senior legal officer in 2002 after stints with the Youth Law Project and the Human Rights Commission.

Luke Coxon joined the NDU's "Growth Unit" in February 2006 after working for the Financial Sector Union.

Helen Te Hira became national education organiser for the NDU in February 2006.

Will the former Maoists change the NDU, or will the NDU convert them to orthodox Marxism-Leninism?

PS I am always interested in more info on both Radsoc and the Socialist Party of Aotearoa. If you have current or historical information about either group, please make contact via email.