Sunday, 31 August 2008
Friday, 29 August 2008
RAM - Residents Action Movement Media release 26 August 2008 Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today claimed that her party had won "substantial changes" to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) following talks with Labour cabinet ministers. How accurate is this claim by Ms Fitzsimons? Going into the talks with Labour, the most loudly voiced concerns of the Green Party caucus were that the agriculture and transport sectors were not coming into the ETS early enough. Ms Fitzsimons today said that now "a target for agricultural emissions reduction before 2015 will be gazetted". But is this really a "substantial change" to the ETS? Not according to Grant Morgan, chair of the Residents Action Movement, better known as RAM, a broad left people's movement. "One very important word has been left out of the new agreement on the ETS," Mr Morgan observed. "That word is 'mandatory'. So long as a closer target for agricultural emissions reduction is not made mandatory, it's just a lot of hot air. It's government spin because agriculture does not have to meet the voluntary target. Sadly, the Greens are recycling Labour's spin and thus misleading public opinion." Nor will there be any hastening of the transport sector's entry into the ETS under the new deal struck between Labour and the Greens. "The transport sector will remain able to pollute with impunity until 2015," noted Roger Fowler, RAM's transport spokesperson. "As well, the Green caucus has consistently refused to support RAM's campaign over the last four years for free and frequent public transport as a boldly realistic way of slashing carbon emissions. We need to shift motorway funds into fare-free trains and buses, but the Greens won't agree because they know Labour strongly disapproves. They are putting their political pact with Labour ahead of our environment." Going on the evidence, neither of the two most loudly voiced Green concerns have been met by Labour's recent tweakings of the ETS. This is at variance with Green claims of "substantial changes", which appear to be mostly aimed at winning votes. "RAM calls on the Green Party leadership to reject the Emissions Trading Scheme as a whole," said Michelle Ducat, RAM's ecology co-spokesperson. "The solution to climate change does not lie in creating a market for pollution, where corporations trade their greenhouse gas credits and debits on a new stock exchange. This is merely placing the market in charge of the problem that they created in the first place." Ms Ducat's comments seem to be vindicated by the experiences of Europe. In many Western European countries, emissions trading schemes have been in place for years, yet official statistics reveal that greenhouse gas pollution has been increasing, not decreasing. Late last week, Green leaders called for responses on whether their party should support or reject the ETS. Yesterday a Green Party spokesperson revealed that the 2,000 email responses were split 50:50. Since most of these responses were likely to be from Green members, it seems their rank-and-file are split down the middle over the issue. "It is very worrying that the Green Party caucus refuse to call the Emissions Trading Scheme by its real name - a pollution market," said RAM chair Grant Morgan. "Big corporations around the world are raking in grotesque profits from trading in greenhouse gases which could kill off all life on our planet. Their pollution market is both immoral and scary." "RAM has put up a positive, robust alternative to the Green Party MP's who are giving away ecology as they cuddle up to Labour," said Mr Morgan. "In our RAM Plan, we put humans and our habitat before the profits and power of the big corporations who think they can dictate to everyone else on the planet." Backgrounders:
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Saturday, 23 August 2008
Friday, 22 August 2008
- Paul G. Buchanan A Word From Afar: Much ado about Russians
Thursday, 21 August 2008
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
Sunday, 17 August 2008
Saturday, 16 August 2008
Friday, 15 August 2008
UNITYblog is going to begin asking regular questions on important political, social and ideological issues. We will be posting the answers we receive up on UNITYblog. The goal is to generate some lively and intelligent debate that will help us understand the world today and what we need to do to make the transition away from the market towards a human centred society. The first UNITYblog question is:
Do we need a new constitution for Aotearoa?
If so, what might a new constitution look like? And how do we go about achieving a new constitution? Your answers can be any length, short or long. Send to email@example.com They can be anonymous, or provide a name and how you wish to be identified. All contributions must comply with UNITYblog policy of not posting sectarian, silly or personal content. I look forward to your responses. In solidarity, Vaughan Gunson UNITYblog editor email: firstname.lastname@example.org ph/txt: 021-0415 082 See also
Monday, 11 August 2008
Sunday, 10 August 2008
by Vaughan Gunson from UNITY journal July 2008 Last year the United Nations produced a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People which had been 24 years in the drafting. It was finally presented to the UN General Assembly to be ratified. The vote: 143 for and only 4 against. The countries that opposed this reasonable, but far from radical, declaration were the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Maori in this country were outraged. Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Party co-leader, said it was “shameful to the extreme, that New Zealand voted against the outlawing of discrimination against Indigenous People; voted against justice, dignity and fundamental freedoms for all.” The reason Helen Clark’s Labour government gave for voting against the declaration was that the definitions of self-determination extended to the exclusive control of territorial resources. This, they said, threatened the sovereignty of the nation state. Echoing claims made by former National Party leader Don Brash in his infamous “race speech” of 2004, the government claimed that the UN declaration was “discriminatory” and could see “separatist minorities breaking up countries”.
Friday, 8 August 2008
Thursday, 7 August 2008
Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Call issued by the organising committee for the July 5 Climate Emergency rally in Melbourne
Climate change is already occurring, much faster than the world’s scientists have predicted. Recent data including the very real possibility of the arctic sea-ice melting by September this year demonstrate that this is a climate emergency.
We are concerned that the Australian government’s proposed Emissions Trading Scheme will be full of loopholes and by the government’s own admission will allow emissions to continue rising for some years. We believe such incremental measures are unacceptable: We need greenhouse emissions to start to fall immediately and sharply.
To begin to solve the problem we need action on many fronts including:
- No new coal;
- Massive public spending on renewable energy;
- More public transport not new freeways;
- End logging of old growth forests.
We call for a national week of protests across Australia at the Spring Equinox, in the week beginning September 21. This week of action can highlight the summer melt of the Arctic ice and other worrying signs that demand urgent measures to de-carbonize the economy from state and Federal governments.
We ask climate change campaign groups and networks and all environmentally concerned organizations across Australia to work together for a coordinated and effective week of public protest around these themes.
5 August 2008
Within 10 years, homeowners could power their homes in daylight with solar photovoltaic cells, while using excess solar energy to produce hydrogen and oxygen from water to power a household fuel cell. If the new process developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds acceptance in the marketplace, electricity-by-wire from a central source could be a thing of the past.
5 Editorial: More than “kia ora”
DAPHNE LAWLESS, editor of UNITY
10 Marx, Engels and Lenin on the national question
NORM DIXON, Democratic Socialist Perspective (Australia)
27 Thirty years since Bastion Point
ROGER FOWLER, RAM co-organiser
34 Culture matters
PAUL MAUNDER, playwright
44 The Maori Party in their own words
51 Why Socialist Worker supports the Maori Party
GRANT BROOKES, Socialist Worker (New Zealand)
59 RAM endorses the Maori Party
OLIVER WOODS, RAM candidate for Auckland Central
61 RAM’s Indigenous Charter (draft)
65 Tuhoe: a long history of resistance
Dr RAWINIA HIGGINS, Victoria University of Wellington
80 Back in the mists of fear
MOANA JACKSON, author
83 October 15th: the colonial context
85 Venezuela: from indigenous resistance to solidarity and liberation
LISA MacDONALD and LARA PULLIN, Australian Venezuela Solidarity Network
95 A people’s constitution for Aotearoa?
VAUGHAN GUNSON, Socialist Worker (NZ)
116 Australian government forces Aborigines off their land
JAY FLETCHER & PETER ROBSON, Green Left Weekly (Australia)
119 Feedback: contributions from Ondine Green, Vaughan Gunson, and Peter de Waal
To purchase a copy for $5 contact Len, email email@example.com or phone (09) 634 3984
There are four issues of UNITY journal published a year. Postal subscription inside NZ $25 for one year. Offshore fastpost $NZ40. Make cheque out to 'UNITY'. Send to Socialist Worker, Box 13-685, Auckland, New Zealand.
Saturday, 2 August 2008
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little. His lips are sealed on NZ workers being denied their most basic right: the right to strike.
by Auckland union activist
The EPMU have released their work rights list. This list, which the EPMU describe as a basic checklist, omits the most basic of all work rights. I have read this list carefully, and missing even from the footnotes and small print, is the right to strike.
This is amazing, as the EPMU has been recently hammered because of the restrictions of the right to strike in defence of their members at Air New Zealand and Fisher & Paykel.
I wonder why on earth this basic right of workers, which is enshrined in the UN charter of workers rights, has been glaringly omitted from the EPMU’s Work Rights.
This omission raises some serious questions of the EPMU leadership.
Did the EPMU leadership leave out this most basic of work rights from their list because the EPMU leadership think that the right to strike is not an important work right? Do they really think workers and unions can make any gains, or even defend themselves, without the right to strike?
Is the EPMU leadership comfortable with the ban on strikes in the ERA?
Or is this omission because they don't want to embarrass the Labour Party, who have refused to repeal the restrictions on the right to strike which were at the heart of the ECA, and have instead increased the restrictions on the right to strike?
At some level I think the EPMU leadership probably believes in each one of these reasons for not championing the right to strike. But the most important one is the last.
See EPMU’s Work Rights Checklist
Friday, 1 August 2008
Solar cells getting better and cheaper fast as oil prices soar, soon it will cost as much to get electricity from the sun as from the grid, and distributed small scale generation is the way ahead.
ISIS - Institute of Science in Society
31 July 2008
Solar tops the world’s new renewable energies
As oil prices soar, solar power has been undergoing a boom, along with other renewable energies, which attracted more than US$100 billion investment last year in new power and heating capacity, manufacturing plants, research and development. Investment in solar power capacity and manufacture amounted to US$31.3 billion, while US$33. 4 billion was invested in wind.