Trevor Loudon's New Zeal blog has moved to

redirecting you there now

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Russia and China's Not Military Alliance

From Novosti

MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) - Six Il-76 transport aircraft landed Tuesday in Russia with 287 servicemen of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and military hardware to participate in a regional antiterrorism exercise, Peace Mission 2007.

The exercise will take place in the first half of August in the Chelyabinsk region, the Urals, with about 5,000 servicemen from Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Uzbekistan under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Established in 2001 as a non-military alliance, the SCO initially set dealing with Islamic extremism and other security threats in Central Asia as its goal, but has since expanded its scope to include cooperation in disaster relief and trade.

The SCO never held a full-scale military exercise involving all its member states, but Russia and China have already held several military joint exercises within the framework of the organization, including the Peace Mission 2005 exercise.

During the August exercise, Russia and China will deploy 36 and 46 aircraft, respectively. Both countries will contribute six Il-76 military transports each to perform simulated airborne assaults.

The group, which comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, is largely viewed as a counterweight to NATO in the region. The organization also lists Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia, which have observer status.

Russia's Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said in May that the organization, which is often referred to as the Shanghai-Six, focuses on fighting drug and arms trafficking, terrorism and separatism, and has never intended to become a military bloc.

How Socialist Extremists Took Over the New Zealand Labour Party Part 1

A unique set of circumstances combined to give New Zealand's main Marxist-Leninist groups considerable influence on and in this country's main "Centre-Left" party, the New Zealand Labour Party.

1. Social Conditions and Foreign Influence

Firstly was the major strategic importance placed on New Zealand by the former Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. It appears that the Soviets long regarded New Zealand as a weak link in the Western Alliance. Our distance from the world's trouble spots and a casual attitude to security meant a comparatively easy working environment for the Soviets, and their allies.

Our long history of welfare statism and trade unionism provided a large pool of socialist leaning people who were easily led into more militant activities.

Social ostracism of Marxist-Leninists was also not as great as in the United States or Australia for example. New Zealand also lacked (with one or two exceptions, such as the late Tony Neary)) the strong, conservative Catholic trade union movement that did much to thwart the the Communist Party of Australia in the '40s and '50s.

New Zealand was also been an attractive target for Communist leaders for similar reasons that some Scandinavian countries were targeted. We are regarded around the world as a "progressive" social laboratory, with a good record on early franchise for women, social welfare and human rights policies. Because of our small size and low regard for security, comparatively strong communist/socialist movement and progressive international image, New Zealand has long been used as a "respectable front" for Communist policies.

Foremost among these were the "Peace" and Anti-Apartheid" campaigns, that were conducted by local communists since the 1940s. Both have had a major influence on New Zealanders thinking and both have had international impact.

From my research it is clear that New Zealand was chosen to play a leading role in the Anti-Apartheid struggle because of our Rugby playing links with South Africa. This campaign contributed significantly to the psychological pressure on the South African public and government and the eventual accession to power of the ANC and South African Communist Party.

The "Peace" campaign, which culminated in New Zealand's 1984 ban on nuclear warships also was a major victory for the Soviets and has contributed significantly to the rise of Anti-Nuclearism/Americanism throughout the Asia/Pacific region and Europe.

According to one former Communist Party of New Zealand member, the Chinese government began funding the New Zealand Peace Council in 1956, when then Communist Party member Bruce Skilton and the Party's accountant Ron Howell, visited Peking on a "business" trip.

The Soviets likewise funded communist activity for many years and trained numerous New Zealanders at Lenin's Institute for Higher Learning in Moscow.

One former Socialist Unity Party member who trained at the Institute in 1983/4 claimed that the Soviets categorised target countries in order of priority. This grading system assessed target nations on their strategic significance to long term Soviet plans. The country's ranking determined the intensity and length of training given to that nation's communists at the Institute.

Category One: Britain, Chile, Argentina and South Africa.
Category Two: Included India and New Zealand

New Zealand was never a target for Soviet invasion. This country was far more valuable to the Soviets as a propaganda outlet.

New Zealand was regarded as a tool, a springboard by which policies advantageous to the Soviets could projected onto the world stage. New Zealand was regarded as both sufficiently malleable and internationally respectable to be a high priority "active measures" target.

The Soviet's used New Zealand as a ventriloquist uses his dummy.

Part 2 Here

Welfare Dependency Increases Child Abuse

New Zealand doesn't have a child abuse problem-it has a welfare problem.

People with too much time on their hands, no self respect, No pride, no self discipline, drug and alcohol abuse, annoying, whining, ill disciplined kids ...what do you think will happen?

From Heather Roy's Diary

Three-year-old Nia Glassie will now be added to the already long list of children who have been seriously and horrendously abused by those entrusted with their care, ACT New Zealand Social Services Spokesman Heather Roy said today.

"Verbal outrage by the public and politicians alike will do nothing to prevent the same terrible violence from being inflicted on our precious children in the future," Mrs Roy said.

"Today, the Government is promising to launch yet another 'plan' - but unless confronting the serious issues of family breakdown and welfare dependency are tackled head-on, this 'plan' will be meaningless.

"How many more children must be damaged in this way - how many more 'plans' put in place - before the Government realises that knee-jerk reactions to one-off incidents never work? Only tackling the root of the problem - no matter how hard this might be - will have any effect at all.

"Since the death of the Kahui twins last year we have had shock, horror, outrage, a Cross-Party Group on Family Violence, and law making it illegal for parents to smack their children - and where has it gotten us? Nowhere.

"Now we have more abuse in the papers and the outrage is back. In typical political fashion neighbours are being criticised for not reporting abuse, the community is being exhorted to be more watchful and child abuse has been labelled a 'Maori problem'.

"But we should not be looking at who to blame - rather, we should be asking WHAT to blame. I have attended every meeting of the Cross-Party Group on Family Violence set up after the Kahui twins died. Despite numerous attempts, there was no willingness by any other committee member to even discuss - let alone tackle - welfare dependency.

"Rather, this issue - which has a direct correlation to child abuse - was placed in the 'too hard' basket, because making meaningful change to welfare in New Zealand might cost Labour some support when the election rolls around.

"Enough is enough; the time for fiddling around the edges is over. It is time for Labour to prove its commitment to the nation's most vulnerable children - losing a few votes next year is a small price to pay for saving a child's life,"
Mrs Roy said.

"Rockin' in the DPRK..."

This would be hilarious if it weren't so sick.

From Korean News

Pyongyang, July 28 (KCNA) -- Dancing parties of youth and students were held across the country on Friday to celebrate the 54th anniversary of the victory in the great Fatherland Liberation War.

The dancing parties held in the plazas in front of the Tower of the Juche Idea, the Monument to Party Founding, the Arch of Triumph and the Monument to Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War and other places of Pyongyang began with song "Long Live Generalissimo Kim Il Sung."

Joy of victors could be read on the faces of youth and students dancing to the tune of melodies of "We Sing of the Revolutionary Cause of the Leader," "Our Victory-Day July 27" and "Our Song Is the Song of Victory," recalling the day of history when fireworks of war victory were displayed.

Dancing got more pleasant and dynamic when the band played songs including a song "Tank Crew and Girl" which encouraged the army and people of the DPRK in the heroic struggle in the days of the war and songs "A Girl on Steed" and "Pride of Youth" reflecting the spirit of the young people in the era of Songun.

Youth and students enthusiastically danced to the tune of the melodies of songs "Let's Sing of General Dear to People" and "Let's Sing of Our Pride in Being under the Guidance of the General" representing their pride and self-confidence of holding in high esteem Kim Jong Il, the great brilliant commander of Songun.

They presented dances to the tune of the melodies of songs "Let's Become the Army of the General" and "Let's Support Our Supreme Commander with Arms," renewing their strong resolution to devotedly defend Kim Jong Il.

Similar dancing parties also took place in Sinuiju, Sariwon, Haeju, Chongjin and other provincial capitals, cities and counties on the same day.

Sick Social Engineers Harass Vulnerable Women

So now I have to worry, not just about my kids being brainwashed at pre-school, but that my wife might dob me in when she goes in to get her ..... done.

From today's NZ Herald

All women entering New Zealand public hospitals will be questioned about whether they or their children have been victims of family violence - even if they are merely seeking treatment for an ingrown toenail.

Whilst in hospital women will be asked these three questions to see if she may have been abused:
* Has anybody hurt or threatened you?
* Have you ever felt controlled or always criticised?
* Have you been asked to do anything sexual that you didn't wat to do?

Health Minister Pete Hodgson and other ministers are expected to announce the radical move tomorrow in an attempt to clamp down on the country's appalling record of child abuse and other domestic violence.

Under the project - which has been piloted at National Women's Hospital - women are asked three questions about whether they have been hurt or threatened, whether they have felt "controlled or always criticised", and whether they have been asked to do anything sexual which they didn't want to do.

A woman who answers "yes" to any of the first three questions is then asked a series of further questions including whether she has children at home and whether she is pregnant.

Auckland District Health Board family violence co-ordinator Kathy Lowe said nurses were required to ask the first three questions of every woman aged 16 to 65 and every caregiver of children, regardless of what ailment brought them to hospital.

"That's one of the hard things. If someone comes in with an ingrown toenail it's just as relevant to ask them those questions," she said.

"They are not going to tell you unless you show them you are not scared of them [family violence issues]. We need to bring them out into the open."

The questions had already picked up several cases of child abuse since they were introduced in National Women's and community child health last year.

Nurses at Starship are now being trained to ask the same questions.

Anyone who is found to be at risk after answering the full set of questions is either referred to health board social workers or given contact details for the support agency Preventing Violence in the Home.

Advocate Jill Proudfoot said the agency had noticed a surge in self-referrals since the trial started.

Hat Tip Kiwi Blog

Monday, July 30, 2007

Iraq, ACT and I

Anonymous asked this question;

Why was the ACT Party the most pro-the invasion of Iraq? Why does it seem that the party feels the need to bend over backward to try and please the Americans? So many people said it was going to be a disaster, and the ACT Party ignored all that and instead championed the idea of invading Iraq. What's up with that?

My reply;

ACT is generally pro-American because the US is a great country based on the values of limited government and individual liberty.

In some ways this is a sentimental attachment as even many American patriots would acknowledge that their country has drifted from these values, under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

While ACT was "officially" pro the Iraq War, this was not universally supported and we lost some members over it.

I was not a supporter of the Iraq adventure and acknowledge the influence of libertarian, Jim Peron in shaping my views.

I thought the Afghanistan campaign was legitimate because the Taliban were sheltering forces who had attacked the US.

Iraq, I thought was far more doubtful-even though I believed that Saddam Hussein was well plugged in to the terror network and probably did possess WMDs.

I thought then it it might turn into a quagmire and I thought the US had more pressing threats in Cuba and Venezuela.

I also believed that Iraq was a client state of Russia and China. I saw it as foolish and hypocritical for the US to pretend that Russia and China were friends, while trying to take out their puppet.

I suspect that many ACT members have turned away from the Iraq War, as have many Americans, but I do know that some are still supportive, at least in principle.

Strangely, I personally have actually become slightly more pro the war.

I am torn, because I believe that US should not try to police the world, while acknowledging that only the US has any chance of stopping Russia, China and their Muslim radical puppets.

I am also well aware of the complete communist domination of the anti Iraq War "peace" movement.

So I am still "divided".

I hope that the "surge" works and that the US can bring the Iraq War to satisfactory conclusion. I hope the US can finish the job, get out and stay out.

There is no real ACT "position" on Iraq these days. ACT's focus is mainly domestic and is concentrated, understandably on increasing our representation in 2008.

To sum up anon, there never was unanimity in ACT over Iraq and there certainly isn't now.

Perhaps some other ACT supporters would like to contribute their views?

I am only one member of the party and do not want to misrepresent other supporters views.

Martha Coleman-Changing "The System" From Within

For many years now the left have worked through the legal system.

A few smart socialist lawyers can change our society more effectively than thousands of street protestors.

A while back I profiled a feminist ex-Marxist lawyer working in the government's legal department, the Crown Law Office.

Today I look at another, Martha Coleman.

Active in the Maoist set that long dominated Victoria University student politics, Martha Coleman worked on "Salient" in the late '70s.

She was concurrently involved with the Working Women's Alliance, a front for the Wellington Marxist-Leninist Organisation.

In 1980, WMLO morphed into the Workers Communist League and it is believed that Coleman was an early member.

In 1981, the WCL formed Citizen's Opposed to the Springbok Tour. Coleman was a marshall (of "pink section" in COST and was named by the late WCL activist, Ron Smith as a WCL member in his 1995 autobiography, "Working Class Son".

Coleman was active in the Wellington Clerical Workers Union in the '80s-a hot bed of WCL linked activists including Therese O'Connell, Marian Cadman and Christine Gillespie.

The union was a spearhead of the the radical feminist movement of that time. In 1986 several union officials, including Martha Coleman founded the Coalition for
Equal Value Equal Pay

Martha Coleman was a leading spokesman for CEVEP and vigorously promoted the organisation's agenda through union seminars, feminist organisations and the like.

CEVEP's agenda was not "equal pay for equal work"-that had been achieved long before by the Communist Party and its allies.

CEVEP started the game of comparing professions to set wages and conditions. For example, nurses (according to CEVEP) do work of similar value to policemen, so therefore their salaries scales should be similar.

Sound a little like socialism? Not surprising as the Workers Communist League was the backbone of CEVEP.

In 1987, as Clerical Union assistant secretary, Coleman was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to study "equal pay", in 1988 in England, Ireland and Canada.

In 1990,the WCL morphed into "Left Currents" and then slowly disintegrated.

Many WCL fronts carried on however, including CEVEP.

In 1990/91 Coleman and her old "Salient" comrade, Janice Burns researched and designed, "Equity at Work, an Approach to Gender Neutral Job Evaluation" which was published by the State Service Commission and the Labour Department.

Through the '90s Coleman was active in another old WCL front, the Wellington Working Womens Resource Centre.

In May 1996 Coleman gave a talk at a WWWRC seminar;

from an international conference on pay equity, and will present a seminar on Pay Equity in a Deregulated Labour Market.

The seminar was organised by former WCL member, WWWRC activist, Glenda McCallum.

In June 1996 Coleman, by now with the law faculty at Victoria University, presented a paper to to the Gender Research Centre Conference on Equal Pay in a Deregulated Labour Market, at Middlesex University, London.

In 1999, while working at prestigious law firm, Chapman Tripp in Wellington, Coleman was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, to study at Yale Law School at Hartford Connecticutt.

One of the things I loved about the place was the level of student activism. Just the whole of the walls of the corridor of the law school were just amazing - there were things all over it. They paid for students to go to protests at Seattle. They had this conference every year that about 600 students came to, called Rebellious Lawyering. One of my great sort of things I have is a t-shirt that has emblazoned on the back "Rebellious Lawyering in the New Millennium" which I loved. And basically the students organised it but the Law School paid for it, and to me coming from an educational institution in New Zealand, that sort of thing is just a completely utterly, utterly different experience.

In 2002, Coleman, by now with the Human Rights Group of the Crown Law Office became an "expert advisor" to the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women.

NACEW had huge input into the Paid Parental Leave laws which were passed into law in 2002 by the Labour government and was riddled with ex and current socialists.

Apart from Coleman these included, Ministerial Appointee to the council Marilyn Kohlhase and Cheryl Cadman, a close associate of the "mainstream communist" Socialist Party of Aotearoa who is a trade union representative.

CEVEP also lobbied hard for PPL;

CEVEP prepared a written submission on the Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Paid Parental Leave) Amendment Bill. Our submission supported the Bill. We noted that the proposed legislation was a first step towards fulfilling New Zealand's international obligations concerning paid parental leave. We considered that the philosophy behind the proposed legislation was sound but we made some comments on practical details within the bill.

Coleman is still involved in CEVEP, more than 20 years on.

Coleman is a member of the Consulting Board of Editors of Brookers Human Rights Law Journal and is co-author of Butterworths Student Companion Guide to Employment Law.

She is a founder of the Wellington Women Lawyers Association and is a leader of the National Women Lawyers’ Association Steering Group, which is;

"...discussing the desirability of the establishment of a National Women Lawyer’s Association."

This year, Coleman was appointed as a Queen's Counsel by Solicitor-General David Collins.

Clearly Martha Coleman is an influential player in the NZ legal scene.

She has played a significant role in the "paid parental leave" and "equal pay for work of equal value" campaigns".

Martha Coleman has helped to change our society for ever, just an another former Workers Communist League member, Sue Bradford did with her anti smacking legislation.

I'm old fashioned. I call this subversion. What do you call it?

Palestinian President Visits Moscow

Off to see the boss for instructions?

Moscow, Jul 29 (Prensa Latina) The president of the Palestine National Authority, Mahmmud Abbas, began a three-day visit to Russia on Sunday, aimed at discussing the Levant crisis and the situation in the occupied Arab territories.

Abbas gives great importance to his visit to Moscow, whose Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov talked by phone with the leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), Haled Mashall, about the recent riots in Gaza Strip.

Clashes between Palestinian factions Hamas and Al Fatah forced Abbas to postpone his visit to Russia, initially scheduled for early June, Itar-tass news agency reported.

In his telephone conversation with Lavrov, Mashall denied, however, any obstacle that could hinder cooperation between his group and Al Fatah to form a Palestinian State.

HAMAS supports the unity of all the Palestinian people, under the leadership of the president of the Palestine National Authority, emphasized the Islamic Resistance leader.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

China/Russia Military Cooperation

From the People's Daily Online

The first batch of Chinese officers and soldiers have left China for Russia to attend a joint anti-terrorism drill held by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Officers and soldiers left from Korla railway station for Russia at 2:52 p.m. on Thursday, along with armaments needed for the drill.
The six member countries of SCO -- China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- will stage a joint anti-terrorism drill from Aug. 9 to 17.

The drill, dubbed "Peace Mission 2007", will be carried out in Chelyabinsk in Russia's Ural Mountainous region and in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

"They (the soldiers) will travel a total distance of 10,300 kilometers," said Qiu Yanhan, deputy commander of the Chinese troops taking part in the drill.

"This is the first time the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has sent so many soldiers and armaments to such a far away place,"
Qiu said.

The exercise will help deepen relations between the militaries of SCO members and enhance cooperation on defense security, according to Guo.

A total of 1,600 soldiers from China's army and air force -- including airborne and logistic units -- will take part in the drill, according to the Ministry of Defense.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

100,000 Hits

Thanks for your support, comments, criticisms and information.

Socialist Worker's Evil Friends

Socialist Worker NZ is the sister party of the British Socialist Workers Party.

Since 2002, the SWP have been key participants in a series of annual conferences held in Cairo.

From Wikipedia

The Cairo Conference against U.S. hegemony and war on Iraq and in solidarity with Palestine generally known simply as Cairo Anti-war Conference, is an anti-war and anti-neo-liberalism conference held regularly since 2002 in Cairo, Egypt.

The Cairo Conference set up the International Campaign Against Aggression on Iraq,
Held on the 17th-19th December, 2002, 400 attended, at the Conrad Hotel on the banks of the Nile...

One out come of the conference was the production of the 'Cairo Declaration', which took a stance against the then looming Iraq war...

The ICAAI co-ordinated the February 15th global day of action against the Iraq war which became the largest day of demonstrations in history involving up to 25 million people in 150 countries.

The President of ICAAI is Ahmed Ben Bella, former pro Soviet president of Algeria while Vice-President is British Socialist Workers Party leader John Rees.

The UK Stop the War Coalition, in particular John Rees of the SWP, initiated the signing of the declaration by European lefties, including: Jeremy Corbyn MP, George Galloway MP, Tony Benn, Susan George (Left-wing activist based in France), Bob Crow, Mick Rix (general secretary, train drivers' Aslef union), Julie Christie, George Monbiot, Harold Pinter, Dr Siddiqui (leader, Muslim Parliament of Great Britain), Tommy Sheridan, Dr Ghada Karmi (research fellow, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter), Tariq Ali.

The conference was followed by a 1,000-strong anti-war demonstration that was surrounded by riot police and armoured cars.

Note presence of George Galloway and well known British Trotskyists, Tommy Sheridan and Tariq Ali.

Second Conference

Held 13th and 14th December, 2003, at the Egyptian Journalists' Union headquarters. This had 800 attendees. Conference final declaration available here. Anti-war MP George Galloway, Tony Benn, Salma Yaqoob, and former US attorney-general Ramsey Clark were among the international speakers. Prominent Egyptian campaigners taking part included Nasserist MP Hamdeen Sabahy, Galal Aref, head of the Egyptian Journalists' Union, and Ma'mun al-Hodeiby, leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian novelist Sonallah Ibrahim and human rights activist Aida Seif-al-Dawla were among the conference organisers.

The presence of Muslim Brotherhood leader Ma'mun al-Hodeiby brought a large number of Islamist activists into the conference. The Muslim Brotherhood, although officially banned, is by far Egypt's largest opposition organisation. However, some delegates were critical of the Muslim Brotherhood's cooperation with the government in a series of stage-managed anti-war rallies held before the invasion of Iraq.

Note that the Muslim Brotherhood has long been regarded as strongly Marxist in orientation.

Third Conference

24-27 March 2005. Political groups, independent activists, and organisations in Egypt were invited to take part in the conference and also to propose their own activities to take place at the same time as the conference.

Egyptian organisations supported the third conference....20th of March Movement for Change, Egyptian Communist Party, Karama Party, Muslim Brotherhood, Organization of Revolutionary Socialists, Socialist People's Party, Wasat Party.

Fourth Conference

The fourth conference, under the rubric "International Campaign against US and Zionist Occupation", was held 23-26 March, 2006, on a platform expressed through the slogans "With the Resistance in Palestine and Iraq" and "Against Globalization, Imperialism and Zionism".

The conference discussed means of supporting the resistance in Palestine and Iraq, challenged U.S. and Israeli plans to expand their aggression against the region to Syria and/or Iran as well as their plans to liquidate Palestinian and Lebanese resistance organisations, dealt with the issue of supporting the struggle of the peoples of the Arab world for democracy against regimes of the region who collude with aggressors, and called for expanding and developing social struggles against globalisation policies in the Arab region.

The Fifth Conference was held between March 29 and April 1 2007.

It is easy to see NZ's tiny Socialist Worker as a bit of a joke.

However Socialist Worker is part of an international network that links Trotskyists, mainstream communists and some of the most fanatical Islamic radicals on the planet.

They may be fools, but they are dangerous fools.

Hat Tip Zionist Anti Communist

Trotskyists Support Islamic Radicalism

New Zealand's leading Trotskyist group, Socialist Worker is the main supporter of Islamic radicalism in this country.

In Australia that honour belongs to the Democratic Socialist Perspective and its front group, Socialist Alliance.

Both organisations work closely with NZ Socialist Worker. Both are also close to the British Socialist Workers Party, which runs a pro radical Islam front, Respect, whose single MP is the appalling George Galloway-currently visiting NZ as a guest of Socialist Worker.

Small world innit?

Paul Benedek, a spokesperson for the Socialist Alliance and organiser of the protest in support of civil rights at yesterday's bail hearing for Dr Haneef

Lately, Socialist Alliance have been protesting against the detention of Indian born, Gold Coast based Dr Mohamed Haneef.

While the case against Haneef has collapsed, it is interesting to note just who his supporters are.

Franks on Labour's Anti Free Speech Proposals

Labour wants to stifle free speech in election years (they'll get the rest later).

Fprmer ACT MP, Steven Franks, exposes their corruption.

There is no more important time for free speech than during elections. That is when people must be free to try to persuade others on who should represent them. That is when the people must be free to challenge, to remind each other about, to praise and to castigate the deeds, misdeeds, attitudes and attributes of candidates and parties. The election is the peoples’ only chance to control those who will thereafter be their masters.

The new Bill turns that on its head. It says that the election is a sport reserved for the masters, for the politicians and their incumbent parties. Henceforth the election is the politicians’ arena. The people will be permitted to play there only as a patronising curtain raiser.

Effective communication costs money. So spending limits will ensure the outsiders’ voice can not be effective. $60,000 would not pay for the first day of the brand launch of a dog sausage.

The politicians responsible for this are suppressing challenges by pesky independent groups. Groups like Sensible Sentencing, Greenpeace, Federated Farmers, Forest and Bird, Manufacturers Federation, the teacher unions, doctor organisations, the RSA must be stopped from developing policy and urging parties to endorse it, then urging voters to support or oppose parties accordingly. Under the corrupt gang now drafting our law all those groups will be gagged at election time.

“But they are still free to speak” say the censors. ” It is only unauthorised leafletting and paid advertising they can’t do. They can be reported by the media”. And so we get to the nub of it. The media, so quick to trumpet their committment to freedom to report as they like from the House, have been suspiciously quiet on election spending.

Because when the people are not allowed to communicate in their own words, directly to their fellow citizens, they can only communicate through the media filter. And so the journalists decide what the election is fought on. They control how things are reported. The news editors of TV 1 and TV3 decide whether the election issues will be smacking, or GM corn, or Iraq or politicisation of the public service.

The current left wing thinks it will not matter that its allies are nominally muzzled. They are confident that the conscious or subconscious bias of their politically correct media ”co-religionists” will control the agenda anyway.

They could be making a big mistake. Ceding control of our election agendas to the media could backfire on the left. While the current generation of journalists will safely downplay isues like political corruption, and the concerns of ‘nasty christians’ and rednecks, that may not last.

The next generation of journalists may share the view that the dumb punters and the “moneyed interests” should not ‘interfere’ in the tournament restricted to the media and the professional politicians.

Though the media may choose different subjects, the people

Friday, July 27, 2007

S.A.P. 16 Chamsy el-Ojeili

My latest Socialist Academic Profile looks at Dr Chamsy el-Ojeili, a lecturer in sociology at Victoria University, Wellington.

El-Ojeili is the Sociology Department's postgraduate coordinator.

His research specialties include;

Classical and contemporary sociological theory; political sociology; the sociology of development and globalisation; cultural studies.

His current research focuses on;

Post-Marxism and intellectuals; the work of Cornelius Castoriadis and Jacques Camatte; globalisation and politics.

El-Ojeili is the author of several riveting works including;

2005 "Critical Theories of Globalization."

2003 "From Left Communism to Post-Modernism: Reconsidering Emancipatory Discourse."

El-Ojeili is co- editor of the New Zealand Sociology Journal and is a contributing editor to the Alliance Party/Global Peace and Justice Auckland linked journal, Red and Green.

Do I hear Cameron feverishly typing up his transfer papers for a move from Auckland to Vic?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Will US Communists Continue To Back Barack?

The Communist Party USA, with its influence in the union and peace movements and its allies and supporters in the Democratic Party, may well be king makers in the US presidential elections.

There is no doubt that the CPUSA will back whoever the Democrats choose to take on the Republicans, just as they backed Kerry in 2004.

The question is which of the three main contendors, Edwards, Clinton or Obama, will they back in the primaries for the Democratic nomination.

The party insists it will endorse no particular candidate for the nomination, but I have my doubts.

There is considerable evidence that the CPUSA is leaning towards Barack Obama.

In a July report by CPUSA chairman Sam Webb, The Right's Last Dance-2008 Elections , the party leader wrote;

As for the presidential candidates, we aren’t going to endorse one either now or later; although we should note that unlike in previous campaigns extending back nearly 30 years, the front-runners are cleaving in a progressive direction, including Clinton.

Of the front-runners, Edwards offers the most programmatically, but at the same time, neither is he light years ahead of Obama or Clinton.

We have to acknowledge the historic nature of Obama, Clinton and Richardson’s campaigns. A victory by any one of them – and I believe every one of them could win –would be historic. Furthermore, I believe that the country is ready to elect an African American or a woman or Mexican American to the Presidency.

I don’t accept (and I don’t think that we should accept) the conventional wisdom or grapevine talk that a Black American is unelectable, that the American people are not ready for it. What is the basis for such a claim? We do know that Massachusetts elected an African American governor in 2006, that Illinois a U.S. Senator in 2004, and Tennessee nearly an African American Senator in 2006.

The Illinois senator in 2004, that Webb refers to was of course Barack Obama.

According to a November 2004 article in the CPUSA's Peoples Weekly World

Obama won without much visible support from Chicago’s Democratic political machines. He campaigned with an army of volunteers that had multiplied since his primary victory in February. His landslide victory then was propelled by widespread support in the African American and Latino communities, a section of labor, peace activists, and progressive independent political clubs.

This is communistspeak, for "we helped Obama get elected"

The CPUSA was open about campaigning for Obama in the primary;

(Communist Party)activists from Illinois were immersed in the campaign to elect Barak Obama to the U.S. Senate. Obama won a landslide victory in the March 16 Democratic primary.

“This was a historic victory. It was a victory for political independence and grassroots, coalition, and issue oriented politics over the machine and money,” said John Bachtell, Illinois Communist Party district organizer.

The CPUSA's youth wing the Young Communist League claims also backed Barack;

In Chicago we helped to form a youth vote operation to elect Barak Obama.

Barack Obama has been the subject of several articles in the CPUSA press, while Edwards and Clinton have enjoyed only minor coverage.

Now Obama has made the Marxist equivalent of appearing on the "cover of Rolling Stone"

The cover of the CPUSA's theoretical journal Political Affairs no less. Is that an honour or what!

The cover story Who's Afraid of Barack Obama?, by Political Affairs editor Joe Sims, does not openly endorse Obama, but it does make it clear that he is regarded by the CPUSA as a serious contendor.

A Black president in 2008? Just months ago, many if not most would have scoffed at the prospect. Yet as summer blossoms, so too is the candidacy of Illinois Senator Barack Obama. A recent spike in June polls, the second in three months, shows him in a statistical dead heat with the formidable Hillary Clinton of New York, with the remaining Democratic hopefuls trailing far behind.

More importantly, Sims sees Obama as the Democrat most likely to beat the Republicans;

Even more interestingly, another poll taken in the spring, surveying how candidates would compare in the general election, show Obama as the strongest Democratic candidate, coming within striking distance of defeating Giuliani, the strongest Republican in the survey. As reported by the respected Quinnipiac University poll, “Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has a slight 44 – 41 percent lead over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in a possible 2008 presidential faceoff … Giuliani leads former Vice President Al Gore 48 – 41 percent and tops New York Sen. Hillary Clinton 49 – 40 percent.”

My guess is that the CPUSA will throw its considerable resources behind Barack Obama's bid for the democratic nomination.

If he wins, they will be backing Barack for the US presidency in 2008.

Nothing surer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Back this Bill!!!

From ACT leader, Rodney Hide's Blog

The Regulatory Responsibility Bill is the most important Bill to come before Parliament since the Fiscal Responsibility Act. It serves to make lawmaking more transparent. Governments have to spell out the impact their proposed laws will have on kiwi’s property rights, freedom to contract, and ability to choose. It forces regular reviews on all existing laws and regulations.

Here’s your chance to tell Parliament the impact red tape is having on you and the country. Make a submission to the Commerce Committee—but be quick; submissions close 10 August.

Our webpage details how.

Now’s your chance. We need this Bill passed into law.

This Is Not Healthy!

Russia has long sought an alliance with Germany, in order to dominate Europe.

Under a plan to expand contacts beteen the Russian and German Armed forces, a platoon of the German Bundeswehr 26th Brigade has arrived for training at Pskov, Northwestern Russia.

Iran to Join Russia/China Led Alliance?

Apologies to Rick Giles.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is a military alliance. It is bigger and far better armed than the old Warsaw Pact.

Russia, China and Iran, India and Pakistan all allied against the US?

Time to wake up, West.

From Novosti

TEHRAN, July 24 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's president will take part in the August 16 summit of a security cooperation grouping dominated by China and Russia, to be held in Kyrgyzstan, a senior Iranian diplomat said Tuesday.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia and China - was set up to collaborate on security-related issues, but increasingly focuses on economics and transportation. The SCO runs a joint anti-terrorism center in Shanghai and has India, Pakistan, and Iran as observers.

Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister Mahdi Safari said: "According to our information, the heads of SCO member states, the Mongolian president, and the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan will participate in the session in [Kyrgyz capital] Bishkek."

"As Iran was represented by our president [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] at the last summit in Shanghai, we will try to participate in the Bishkek session to as great an extent as possible," Safari said.

Safari said he had submitted in April an application to the president of Kyrgyzstan, which currently chairs the SCO, for full-fledged participation in the organization.

"We are waiting for a decision from the SCO member countries with whose representatives we have already held serious consultations," he said.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Melbourne Maoists Go International

Maoism is not confined to the jungles of India and the Philippines, or the mountains regions of Peru and Nepal.

Maoism has a long history in Australia, particularly in Melbourne, where the ultra secretive Communist Party of Australia-Marxist-Leninist, maintains its headquarters.

Long past its heyday, Australian Maoism and the CPA-ML may be about to experience something of a revival.

In June, an international Maoist umbrella organisation established an Australian branch, to be led by well known Melbourne unionist and one time Telstra Board contender, Len Cooper.

The International League of Peoples Struggles is based in Utrecht, Holland and is led by long time leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Jose Maria Sison.

The IPLS links well over 200 Maoist organisations from the US, Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Philippines, New Zealand and now Australia.

Message to the Organizations
Forming the ILPS-Australia Chapter

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
June 9, 2007

We, in the International Coordinating Committee, express to all of you warmest greetings of solidarity. We acknowledge the original custodians of your land, the Australian Aboriginal People. We are elated to know that various organizations are forming the Australian national chapter of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS). We congratulate the Initiating Committee led by Len Cooper, member of the ILPS International Coordinating Committee, Migrante-Australia, Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union of Australia [CEPU] - Telecommunications Branch (Victoria), Migrante-Melbourne, Spirit of Eureka Committee, Bolivarian Circle and others for successfully preparing and convening this assembly.

The formation of the ILPS-Australia is highly important. You are committed to carry out an anti-imperialist and democratic struggle on as many as 18 concerns, as stipulated in the ILPS charter. You have your own national chapter constitution and you are building an alliance of organizations in order to be able to achieve far more than you could if you remained separate organizations.

We hope that the formation of ILPS-Australia will contribute to the advance of the anti-imperialist and democratic struggle in Australia, Oceania, Asia-Pacific region and in the entire world. So long as we fight for a just cause and rely on the people, we can hope and look forward to a bright future of national and social liberation, development, social justice and world peace.

Long live the ILPS-Australia national chapter!
Onward with the anti-imperialist and democratic struggle in Australia!
Long live the International League of Peoples" Struggle

Len Cooper has a long history of leftist activity. Some family members were active China supporters in the old Communist Party of Australia. Many of Cooper's associates have been linked to the CPA-ML, a pro Chinese breakaway from the CPA.

Certainly, the CPA-ML's newspaper Vanguard has given Cooper's new organisation favourable coverage.

On the weekend of June 9-10 a national conference of various progressive organisations and individuals established the Australian section of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS)

The twenty or so participating organisations represented only a fraction of the active people’s organisations, community groups, trade unions and other issue groups currently engaged in multiple struggles to defend people’s rights, to secure decent jobs, wages and conditions, to protect and repair the natural environment, to oppose imperialist war and exploitation, and many other campaigns.

Nevertheless, there was great confidence that ILPS Australia would be able to play an important role in promoting, supporting and assisting on-going struggles, as well as providing expression for anti-imperialist ideas and analysis. In this way the organisation could extend its influence and win wider respect and support over time.

The first activity of ILPS Australia will be a public forum in Melbourne on 31 August and 1 September, to counter an APEC meeting planned for Sydney later that month.

New Zeal Takes Stock

I've been blogging for 18 months and have written nearly 1500 posts.

This week I'll tick over 100,000 hits.

Time to take stock.

This blog is reasonably well read, both in NZ and overseas. Is it it achieving its purpose? Is it counter productive? Is it helping or hindering the cause of freedom?

Do you think New Zeal is informative? Credible? Dangerous? Boring?

Should New Zeal continue?

That's enough questions for now. I'll ask more on future posts.

Any feedback-positive, negative or mixed is welcome.

Have your say readers.

Russia and China Firm Friends Again

Ex KGB insider, Anatoly Golitsyn claimed that the Soviet/China split of the early '60s, was a disinformation exercise, designed to fool the West into backing China (against Russia)

Golitsyn claimed that China and Russia would one day heal the "split" and ally against the West.

Russia and China are now very, very friendly.

From Novosti

MOSCOW, July 23 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian foreign ministry official said Monday, during a meeting with the Chinese ambassador, that Russia recognized only one China and stood against Taiwanese independence.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko and Liu Guchang discussed important issues concerning bilateral strategic relations, including cooperation in the United Nations. Considering Taiwan's drive for international recognition of its independence and its right to join the UN, the Russian diplomat reiterated Moscow's position in principle fixed in the 2001 Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation

"It was confirmed during the meeting that Russia is against any possible form of Taiwan's independence, recognizing only one China, and the government of the Chinese People's Republic as the only legitimate government representing China," the Foreign Ministry commented on the meeting.

Chavez-El Presidente For Life!

Gee, this is a huge surprise!!!!

Venezuela's Marxist-Leninist president Hugo Chavez wants to be leader for life.

From Novosti

BUENOS AIRES, July 23 (RIA Novosti) - Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has said he will soon submit to parliament a bill allowing the president to be re-elected an unlimited number of times.

"If people don't vote for me, I will leave. I'm not trying to hold onto this place, as I have always said. I won't cry if I am rejected," Chavez told the Hello President TV show Sunday.

"If the Venezuelan people say go, I will go," he said.

Venezuela's leader is elected by a simple majority by a direct national vote and is the head of state and government for six years, and can be re-elected once.

Chavez first pledged to change the number of allowable presidential terms after he won the presidential election in December 2006.

"I think the country's Constitution should be changed. This first of all concerns presidential terms. We have no right to deprive people of the possibility of electing a leader they like for a fourth, fifth or sixth term," he said.

Earlier, Venezuela's parliament gave Chavez wide legislative powers. The new bill makes it possible for Chavez to issue decrees aimed at full nationalization of the country's economy, including the power sector and telecommunications, for 18 months.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Was the Afghanistan War a Soviet Scam?

Few Westerner's understand the way Eastener's think-particularly Marxist-Leninist Easteners.

Anatoly Golitsyn argues that the Soviets/Russians think strategically over decades. Their policy does not shift every election cycle. Their planning is long term.

Leaders in Russia are chosen to fit policies. Gorbachev played his chosen role, as did Yeltsin and now Putin.

I was shown an example of this long term Soviet thinking when I interviewed a former member of the pro-Soviet NZ Socialist Unity Party some years ago.

This man, (I'll call him" Jim"), trained, like most senior SUP members at Lenin's Institute for Higher Learning in Moscow.

Jim trained in the early '80s for approximately 12 weeks.

Afghanistan was a still new war then and though progress was slow, the Soviets were doing OK.

Jim and his comrades were taught by their Soviet tutors that the Soviet Union was going to lose the Afghan War. Even more shocking-the Soviets went into Afghanistan, expressly to lose.

Why in Lenin's name would they do that?

Jim's tutors patiently explained that the Afghan Invasion was part of a larger strategy. The West needed to be convinced of Soviet military weakness and political division.

Jim's tutors explained that while the Soviets had the might to pacify Afghanistan in a very short time, that was not the desired outcome.

"You see Jim" they explained-"America has had Vietnam, we must have a Vietnam. We must show that we are weak and divided too."

Afghanistan was designed show the US that the Soviet Union was not invincible, that she was not to be feared.

Cynics would say "well they would say that wouldn't they-they're simply making a virtue of a necessity".

I simply point out that this was being taught in 1983. Well before the Soviets were starting to make noises about tossing the towel.

Secondly Jim had no inkling of Golitsyn's theories. He was simply a good communist absorbing what he was taught.

So if Jim was right, the Soviet Union was prepared to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of roubles for what amounted to a disinformation exercise.

What did the Soviets gain by this?

I believe Afghanistan was a step on the way to what we have now.

The Afghanistan disaster paved the way for the staged "liberalisation" of Eastern Europe and the strategic retreat of communism in the Soviet Union.

This in turn led to a neutralist Europe, a wind down of the US arms race and massive Western economic aid for Russia.

Now Europe is neutral and NATO is thoroughly infiltrated by the former Eastern bloc. Russia and China are allies again and doing well economically. Russia and China are allied with many of the Islamic nations. Communism is coming back in Latin America, India, South Africa and much of the third world.

The US is increasingly isolated and the Eastern Bloc is on the rise.

Was this all planned as Golitsyn contends, or is it all an accident of history?

Golitsyn's Predictions

Anatoly Golitsyn is the author of two major books detailing his theories and analysis of Soviet/Russian/Chinese long range strategies.

From Wikipedia

New Lies for Old

In 1984, Golitsyn published the book New Lies For Old, wherein he predicted the collapse of the communist bloc orchestrated from above. He warned about a long-term deception strategy designed to to lull the West into a false sense of security, and finally economically cripple and diplomatically isolate the United States. Among other things, Golitsyn stated:

"The 'liberalization' [in the Soviet Union] would be spectacular and impressive. Formal pronouncements might be made about a reduction in the communist party's role; its monopoly would be apparently curtailed."

"If [liberalization] should be extended to East Germany, demolition of the Berlin Wall might even be contemplated."

"The European Parliament might become an all-European socialist parliament with representation from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. 'Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals' would turn out to be a neutral, socialist Europe."

Author Mark Riebling stated that of 194 predictions made in New Lies For Old, 139 had been fulfilled by 1993, 9 seemed 'clearly wrong', and the other 46 were 'not soon falsifiable'

The Perestroika Deception

In 1995 Golitsyn published another book The Perestroika Deception where he claimed:

"The [Soviet] strategists are concealing the secret coordination that exists and will continue between Moscow and the 'nationalist' leaders of [the] 'independent' republics."

"The power of the KGB remains as great as ever... Talk of cosmetic changes in the KGB and its supervision is deliberately publicized to support the myth of 'democratization' of the Soviet political system."

"Scratch these new, instant Soviet 'democrats,' 'anti-Communists,' and 'nationalists' who have sprouted out of nowhere, and underneath will be found secret Party members or KGB agents."

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Who Is Anatoly Golitsyn?

Anatoly Golitsyn was the most important Soviet intelligence officer ever to defect to the West.

Anatoliy Mikhaylovich Golitsyn was born in Piryatin, Ukraine, on 25 August 1926.

"...While a cadet in military school, he was awarded a Soviet medal 'For the defence of Moscow in the Great Patriotic War" for digging anti-tank trenches near Moscow. At the age of fifteen, he joined the Komsomol (League of Communist Youth) and, at ninteen, he became a member of the Communist Party.

"In the same year, he joined the KGB, in which he studied and served until 1961. He graduated from the Moscow School of Military Counter-espionage, the counterintelligence faculty of the High Intelligence School, and the University of Marxism-Leninism and completed a correspondence course with the High Diplomatic School. In 1952 and early 1953 he was involved with a friend in drawing up a proposal to the Central Committee on the reorganisation of Soviet intelligence.

"In connection with this proposal he attended a meeting of the secretariat chaired by Stalin and a meeting of the Presidium chaired by Malenkov and attended by Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Bulganin. In 1952-53 he worked briefly as head of a section responsible for counter-espionage against the United States. In 1959 he graduated with a law degree from a four-year course at the KGB Institute (now the KGB Academy) in Moscow.

"From 1959 to 1960, at a time when Soviet long-range strategy was being formulated and the KGB was being reorganised to play its part in it, he served as a senior analyst in the NATO section of the Information Department of the Soviet intelligence service. He served in Vienna and Helsinki on counterintelligence assignments from 1953 to 1955 and from 1960 to 1961, respectively.

"He defected to the United States in December 1961. Subsequently, his contribution to the national security of leading Western countries was recognised by the award of the United States Government Medal for Distinguished Service.

"He was made an Honorary Commander of the British Empire (CBE). A promise of membership of the Legion d'Honneur made when President Pompidou was in power was not fulfilled owing to the change of government.

"Since 1962, the Author has spent much of his time on the study of Communist and international affairs, reading both the Communist and the Western press. In 1980 he completed, and in 1984 he published, 'New Lies for Old', a study of the Soviet long-range strategy of deception and disinformation.

"For over thirty years, the Author has submitted Memoranda to the Central Intelligence Agency, in which he has provided the Agency with timely and largely accurate forecasts of Soviet Bloc developments and on the evolution of Soviet / Russian / Communist strategy. By applying the dialectical methodology which drives the strategy, the Author has been able to score innumerable 'bulls-eyes'. This unparalleled track record reflects the Author's personal experience of four years in the KGB's strategy 'think tank', together with his deep understanding of the dialectical nature of the strategy and the Leninist mentality of its originators and implementers.

"The Author is a citizen of the United States."

Anatoliy Golitsyn, The Perestroika Deception: (London & New York: Edward Harle Limited, 1995), VI.

CPUSA's Plan To Bury the "Right" in 2008

As the world's most powerful nation, the fate of the USA has a huge impact on us all.

Currently the US is likely to fall to the Democrats in 2008. While no great fan of President Bush and his "big government Republicans", I am even less a fan of the Democrats and their leftist allies.

The most dangerous of the Democrat's friends is the Communist Party USA.

While only thousands strong, its domination of the US peace movement and many labor unions, gives the CPUSA disproportionate influence.

Its links with many leading Democratic Congressmen and Senators and its outright infiltration of the Democrats, gives the CPUSA huge influence over Democratic Party policy and direction.

History is not made by mass movements. It is made by small committed groups, using "leverage" to influence, guide and control much larger organisations.

The CPUSA is such a group.

By using its leverage, the CPUSA will be able to significantly influence the 2008 US elections and the policies of the Democrats, if victorious.

This means that CPUSA will be able to influence the fate of us all.

Below are excerpts from a recent report by CPUSA chairman, Sam Webb.

The Right’s Last Dance: 2008 Elections

Report to the CPUSA National Committee, July 7, 2007

2008 Elections

More and more the elections are taking up most of the oxygen in the room. By early next year they will become the center of political gravity and nearly everything else will revolve around them.

Why do I say this? Because the elections are the main arena where a fundamental and necessary realignment in the balance of forces can be effected. Other struggles can weaken the Bush administration and the extreme right, but none of them, even taken together, have the same potential to inflict a deadly body blow to the far-right and shift the balance of power in a qualitative way in a progressive direction.

The aim of the labor-led movement is to elect a Democratic President and larger Democratic majorities in the Congress. Not since the landslide victory in the 1964 election has the broader movement had the opportunity to make such sweeping changes in the political landscape.

I have heard some people say that the main task in 2008 is to elect a majority of progressive Democrats to Congress. At first glance, it sounds good, but I think that we have to question this a bit more before we uncritically embrace it.

First of all, I am for electing as many progressives as is possible. The expansion of the Progressive Caucus in 2008 would make a major difference in the legislative battles in 2009. But realistically speaking, a larger Democratic majority in Congress will inevitably include Democrats of varied political stripes. There will be progressives to be sure, and hopefully many more of them, but it will also include centrists and moderates, in fact they will likely be the majority. Thus the tactical approach of the broader movement has go beyond simply electing progressives to include the election of other Congressional Democratic candidates as well.

Moreover, the struggle to increase the number of progressives in Congress will take place in the primaries as much as in the general elections. The primaries will decide which candidates the Democratic Party fields in the general elections. Too often in the past, the labor-led people’s movement wasn’t integrally enough involved in this important phase of the election process. The selection of candidates was the property of the Democratic Party’s leadership, but this is changing.

But once the primaries are done, the movement, while continuing to press Democratic candidates on the issues, will fight to elect a larger Democratic majority to Congress. That may entail working for progressive candidates, but it may also entail assisting centrist Democrats in a traditionally Republican districts.

The other reason why I question making the election of a majority of progressive Democrats the singular task is that it doesn’t attach proper weight to the strategic importance of a Democrat winning the White House. That’s a big mistake. After all, winning the Presidency is crucial to shifting the political balance of power and terrain of struggle. No significant turnaround of the political direction of the country is conceivable without capturing the Presidency.

Or to say it differently, a landslide Democratic victory – taking the Presidency and the Congress by substantial margins – will create the best conditions for progressive change. It will reframe every question. It will strengthen the hands of progressive Congress people, while nudging the slow moving and cautious to take better positions. And it will constitute a political turnaround after almost three decades of right-wing Republican rule.

As for the presidential candidates, we aren’t going to endorse one either now or later; although we should note that unlike in previous campaigns extending back nearly 30 years, the front-runners are cleaving in a progressive direction, including Clinton.

Of the front-runners, Edwards offers the most programmatically, but at the same time, neither is he light years ahead of Obama or Clinton.

We have to acknowledge the historic nature of Obama, Clinton and Richardson’s campaigns. A victory by any one of them – and I believe every one of them could win – would be historic. Furthermore, I believe that the country is ready to elect an African American or a woman or Mexican American to the Presidency.

I don’t accept (and I don’t think that we should accept) the conventional wisdom or grapevine talk that a Black American is unelectable, that the American people are not ready for it. What is the basis for such a claim? We do know that Massachusetts elected an African American governor in 2006, that Illinois a U.S. Senator in 2004, and Tennessee nearly an African American Senator in 2006.

Finally, we should have a positive attitude toward the candidacy of Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Despite the efforts of the media to sideline him, Kucinich is emerging as a leading voice of the broad people’s coalition. He brings consistent anti-right, anti-corporate, pro-peace positions to the presidential primaries and debates. None of the other candidates can make the same claim. The more he speaks to audiences of the core forces, the better positioned the movement will be to win in 2008 and to fight the good fight in 2009.

As we edge closer to 2008, our role is to be a part of and help to unite a movement that has its sights set on the 2008 elections. Our role is to bring the most burning issues facing our nation into the 2008 elections. Our role is to expose the Republican Party’s candidates, while pressuring, cajoling, nudging, and, if need be, taking strong issue with the candidates of the Democratic Party.

Our strategic goal hasn’t changed yet. And it won’t until a major victory is won in November 2008. If that happens, then we will take a fresh look at our strategic and tactical policies. But for now the defeat of the right will take the broad unity of an array of forces, some reliable and permanent, others inconsistent and temporary. Into the latter category I would include many Democrats and even a few Republicans.

Even when we reach a point in the struggle that calls for a strategic shift, we will have to do it carefully. A Democratic victory, for example, doesn’t mean from either a strategic or tactical point of view that we will then relentlessly attack the Democrats with “all guns a-blazing.”

The Party

At every opportunity we should be a part of the struggles and the organizational forms of the labor-led people’s movement – both old ones and new ones, battling the extreme right and corporate globalization. Such has been our strategic policy and political emphasis since 2000.

We said then that we wanted to get into the mix, and we have on many levels and in many ways. We are a larger factor in existing struggles and organizational forms of the core forces of the all-people’s coalition against the right. We eagerly joined the antiwar movement, lending our energy and leadership on a local and national level. In 2006, we jumped feet first into the 2006 elections and can take pride in our role.

And now with opportunities to widen and deepen our participation in current struggles and in the 2008 elections, it is imperative that every member and club find the practical ways to engage with this movement and its struggles. The doors are open, and no one is going to keep us out but ourselves.

To this movement we bring our energy, our appreciation of unity, our strategic and tactical insights, our understanding of capitalism, our vision of socialism, and our sense of partisanship.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Arabs and Iran Unifying Against Israel?

There has been speculation on the blogosphere that an offensive against Israel could be iminent. Many view Syria as a likely aggressor. Syria would certainly like to reclaim her former territories in the highly strategic Golan Heights.

Certainly Iran and Syria appear to working on unifying Israel's many enemies in the region.

From the Iranian Republic News Agency

Iran and Syria in a joint communique issued here on Thursday evening invited the nations of Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon to unity.

In the document, announced during the current visit of Iranian president to Syria, both sides expressed their satisfaction over bilateral excellent political relations and called for further broadening of relations in various fields notably in economic and technical affairs.

The communique condemns the continued aggressive and oppressive acts of the Zionist regime. Iran underscored the rights of the Syrian people to restore occupied Golan hights up to the June 1967 borderline.

Iran and Syria in their joint statement invited the Palestinian groups to dialogue and keeping national unity and supported the rights of the Palestinian nation for the return of the refugees to their motherland and establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Ghods city designated as its capital.

The statement also condemned the continued sacrilegious and disrespectful behavior of the Zionists towards the historical sites aimed at obliterating their Arabic and Islamic identities and called for serious action by international circles to prevent such blatant acts of agression.

On Iraq, both states expressed their support for the Iraqi government, its national unity, integrity and independence so as to bring about withdrawal of the occupying foreign forces and also preservation of its Islamic and Arabic identity.

The statement also supports the efforts of the Iraqi government to realize national conciliation, and to foil seditious acts through national unity.

On the situation of Lebanon, Iran and Syria underlined the need for strengthening national dialogue within the country and supported any agreement among the Lebanese which would guarantee its security, independence and prosperity.

They also underlined their support for the rightful resistance of the Lebanese people against the Zionst agressions and restoring their occupied lands. They invited the related international bodies to take necessary measures in order to prevent daily incursions of the Zionists against the Lebanon's sovereignity.

Iran and Syria in their joint communique invited the leader of the Muslim world to stand up and make joint efforts against the seditious actions against the Muslims.

The Iranian president heading a ranking delegation arrived here Thursday evening for an official one-day visit and was welcomed by his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad in the "Al-Shaab" Palace.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Trade Deficit? So What?

There is a lot of "bollocks" written about trade deficits. We're supposed to worry about importing more than we export. I think its good to get a lot for a little. Isn't that successful business?

This column from the Australian Centre for Independent Studies, puts it in perspective.

Trade deficit's poor image

Alex Robson

It's not the trade deficit that matters, writes Alex Robson

ON Wednesday the Australian Bureau of Statistics released its monthly figures for Australia's merchandise trade in goods and services with the rest of the world for the month of May.

The data reveals that in seasonally adjusted terms the value of Australia's exports was $18.7 billion and the value of our imports was $19.5 billion, giving a deficit of just over $800 million.

What does this mean? Some economists had expected the deficit to be higher than this. The low figure was supposedly good news.

These commentators would have us believe that when it comes to trade deficits, smaller is better. In fact, according to some of them we'd all be better off if the trade deficit simply disappeared altogether, or if the deficit turned into a surplus.

But are those propositions really true? To see why they aren't, we need to explore exactly what the trade statistics measure.

Let's take a simple example: suppose the ABS goes out and measures merchandise trade between you and your local Bunnings store for July.

Suppose you really need a barbecue. If you go to Bunnings and buy one for $99 in July, then the data will show that you "imported" a barbecue from Bunnings but exported nothing to them, giving you a monthly trade deficit of $99 with the hardware store.

Cash isn't regarded as a good or a service, so the $99 you pay Bunnings isn't counted as an export. Instead, the ABS regards it as a transfer of assets.

On the other hand, suppose that you aim for perfectly "balanced" trade.

Since it is unlikely that Bunnings will ever buy anything from you, the only way this can happen is if you don't buy the barbecue – even though you really want it.

The ABS would then report that you imported and exported nothing from Bunnings, giving you a perfectly balanced merchandise trade account.

It doesn't take a university economics degree to work out that the first outcome is better – even though the data will show you running a trade deficit. You will be better off because you will end up with a barbecue which you believe is worth at least $99.

If, as all those economics commentators tell us, Australia's trade deficit with the rest of the world is really all that bad, then surely all of the trade deficits between Bunnings and its customers must be just as unpleasant.

The peculiar thing about the "smaller trade deficits are better" mantra is that nobody really believes it.

You can bet that the majority of economists have magnificent barbecues in their backyards, because at some point they happily ran a trade deficit with Bunnings or one of the dozens of other outdoor stores.

We're also frequently told that "cheap imports" are bad. But if Bunnings raises the price of a barbecue to $199, how would I be better off?

Since there is no way that I could ever produce a barbecue myself, my living standards depend on the willingness of others to supply me with "cheap imports".

The key lesson in all of this is that the trade deficit figures are worse than useless for measuring what really matters: how the ability of individuals to trade freely with one another improves everyone's living standards.

Rich Tyrant/Poor Tyrant-China and Zimbabwe

HARARE, July 19 -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Thursday China had become Zimbabwe's top priority cooperation partner.

China has been a true friend of Zimbabwe, said the president at the State House when meeting with a Chinese official delegation led by Wang Dongming, deputy head of the Organization Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

"We shall continue to build our relationship and work together on how we can transform our socio-economic systems for the benefit of both sides," Mugabe said.

Wang said that the Chinese government and the Communist Party of China attach great importance to the friendship between the two countries and peoples, hoping that Zimbabwe would score greater achievements in the country's development.

South African Communists Moving in for Kill

Joe Sims, editor of the Communist Party USA's theoretical journal, Political Affairs attended the South African communist Party's recent conference.

Here are excerpts from his report.

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — A sea of red surrounded the almost 2,000-strong opening session of the South African Communist Party’s 12th Congress held here July 12. The delegates received greetings from Kgalema Motlanthe, secretary-general of the governing African National Congress, and from the Communist Party of China. SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande presented the main political report.

Motlanthe pointed to the SACP’s goal of seeking and struggling for a socialist path in South Africa. Motlanthe referred to President Thabo Mbeki’s speech at a recent ANC conference, in which Mbeki said the ANC, which he also heads, respected the SACP’s singular role in leading the fight for a socialist transformation of South Africa, adding that this was not the ANC’s purpose.

Nzimande also used Mbeki’s remarks as one of the points of departure for his remarks. Nzimande said that the press had distorted the president’s meaning when it claimed he was rebuking the SACP.

The SACP leader went on to point out a number of key struggles that the party had taken initiative on.

A most important political development, in Nzimande’s view, was that the ANC had in the recent period adjusted its policies and now favored the concept of a developmental state and a new industrial policy.

The goal of the party, he argued, is a working-class-led national democratic revolution. The SACP has recruited over 30,000 members since its last congress.

Nzimande’s address was followed by remarks from delegates, many of whom expressed frustration at the slow pace of change. The relationship between the party and the ruling ANC was a theme that ran through almost all the presentations.

The SACP congress takes place in a crucial pre-election year and is the second of three important policymaking forums of the “tripartite alliance,” which includes the ANC, the SACP, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). Cosatu’s congress took place last fall, and the ANC’s conference will take place in December. The ANC has an electoral mandate from 70 percent of South Africa’s population. The next national election takes place in 2009.

New Zeal note the presence of China. Also interesting is an apparent move from a fairly "free market" approach by the ANC to an "the concept of a developmental state and a new industrial policy." ie more state control of the economy.

Recruiting an extra 30,000 members in 5 years is also impressive. Clearly the SACP is intent on governing South Africa.

All signals point to major grief ahead for South Africa.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

South African Communist's Plans to Wreck Country

The South African Communist Party has just held its 12th National Conference in Port Elisabeth.

Below are some extracts from the Party's Draft Political Program, with some comment from me.

Since the democratic breakthrough of 1994 the SACP has a been a “party of governance” – but not a governing party as such. Tens of thousands of South African communists have taken up the challenges of governance, as cabinet ministers, members of legislatures, provincial executives, mayors and councillors, as officials and workers throughout the public service, including the armed forces and in the safety and security institutions. The SACP expects all of its members to conduct themselves as exemplary communists in these many deployments in the state apparatus, whether as ministers, senior civil servants or public sector workers.

In the first three rounds of national democratic elections in South Africa (in 1994, 1999 and 2004), and in local government elections, the SACP chose to campaign on the basis of single ANC electoral lists. The SACP was always active in seeking to shape the ANC election manifestos, and the SACP always endeavoured to assert an independent profile in the course of these electoral campaigns. However, priority was given to securing overwhelming ANC election victories.

In the course of these elections, thousands of SACP members, endorsed by ANC-led branch-up nominations processes, have been elected into the National Assembly, the National Council of Provinces, provincial legislatures and municipal councils. Again, the SACP expects all of its members who are ANC public representatives to be exemplary communists, respecting the integrity, unity and discipline of our leading alliance partner, the ANC, without losing their own communist identity, principles and morality.

The extent to which these objectives are working satisfactorily in practice needs to be subject to ongoing SACP assessment and review. The modalities of the SACP’s participation in elections are not a matter of timeless principle. As an independent political party, the SACP has every right to contest elections in its own right - should it so choose. Whether the Party does this and how it does it are entirely subject to conjunctural realities and indeed to engagement with our strategic allies. There are, however, three fundamental principles that will continue to guide us in this matter:

The SACP is not, and will never become, a narrowly electoralist formation;
Our approach to elections will be guided in this phase of the struggle by our overall strategic commitment to advancing, deepening and defending the national democratic revolution – the South African road to socialism; and
Our strategic objective in regard to state power is to secure not party political but working class hegemony over the state.

New Zeal This makes it pretty clear that the SACP is aiming for the radical transformation of South Africa. Guided by Marxism-Leninism, the SACP has a socialist South Africa in its sights.

It also makes it very clear that the SACP's 50,000 plus members (membership has doubled since the last conference) treat the ANC has nothing more than a vehicle for the SACP.

The SACP dominates the ANC at every level and now controls the armed forces, the security services, education etc.

A socialism of the 21st century will need to think and act differently. Already the Cuban revolution, faced with the sudden crisis of the collapse of the Soviet bloc and with the abrupt loss of the majority of its oil supplies in the context of an ongoing US economic blockade, has pioneered a wide range of measures that focus on shortening logistics lines, moving to small farming plots, using organic fertilisers and pesticides, and combining the most modern scientific and technological interventions with non-motorised transport, like bicycles and even ox-drawn ploughs.

These should not be seen only as emergency measures in a particular situation. Nor should they be seen as a step back into the past, they are, in many respects, a step forward into the only sustainable future. A socialism of the 21st century will place a premium on ensuring food security for its people, on sustainable livelihoods, sustainable households and communities and the sustainable use of natural resource

New Zeal Here's the SACP making a virtue of necessity. The SACP knows it cannot bring prosperity, therefore it idolises Cuban style peasant socialism.

The SACP’s own campaigns, especially the land and agrarian transformation campaign, provide a key platform to achieve our key strategic objectives in the transformation of our countryside, including the following key goals:

The need for an overarching rural development strategy to bridge the divide between the ‘white’ countryside and the former Bantustans, grounded in accelerating land and agrarian transformation

The basis of such an industrial strategy for the countryside should be accelerated access to productive land for household based subsistence in both, and cutting across, the dualistic rural economic enclaves.

Crucial in all this is the mobilisation of the social motive forces for transformation, principally farm-workers, the poor and agricultural co-operatives and other forms of small-scale farming. On our side we will ensure that we mobilise our communities – building people’s land committees to drive land and agrarian transformation, Driving the implementation of the resolutions of the Land Summit.

New Zeal Translation, Zimbabwe style land confiscation.

Hendo's Movie-World Premiere


From Rodney Hide's Blog



WE'RE HERE TO HELP, the latest film from South Pacific Pictures, is due to be released on Thursday November 8, following a red carpet world premiere in Christchurch on November 7.

WE'RE HERE TO HELP is a Kafkaesque comedy about one man's David-and-Goliath battle with the bureaucratic machine. He wins, they lose!

The film is based on the real-life story of Christchurch businessman Dave Henderson whose battle with the Inland Revenue Department started after a minor altercation with an IRD staffer.

Producer John Barnett says: "This is a classic story about man against the machine. "We've all had our frustrations with bureaucracies and this film captures those struggles -and the delight of winning."

Ex-pat Kiwi Erik Thomson (The Black Balloon, Somersault and Australian TV series The Alice, MDA and All Saints) stars in the lead role of Dave Henderson, Miriama Smith (Spooked, Mercy Peak, Last Man Standing, Shortland Street) stars as his partner, Kath and Michael Hurst (Hercules, The Tattooist) plays Rodney Hide.

WE'RE HERE TO HELP was written by Jonathan Cullinane who also makes his feature film directorial debut with the picture.

Update I've just read the cast list and seen that my wife Tracey (Dave's PA during much of the drama) is played by Emma Aubin-does anyone have a photo of her they could send me?