Monday, 27 April 2009
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
UNITYblog EDITORIAL: The question for NZ unionists: stick with Labour or start building a political alternative?
- History will judge the left on how we rose to the crisis
- Protecting the people from the market crisis
- Why New Zealand Labour is no longer social democratic
by Bob Crow from Spectrezine 24 March 2009 Last week saw the launch of the “No2EU - Yes to Democracy” electoral front, which is critical of the European Union and opposed to the Lisbon Treaty. The alliance is an initiative of Bob Crow, head of Britains’s biggest transport union, the RMT. Below, Crow explains why activists have taken the decision to challenge British Labour Party complaceny on this viciously anti-working class treaty. It's not every day I agree to head up a new left-wing EU-critical electoral alliance to stand in the European elections, but it wasn't a decision taken lightly. My union has been following developments in the European Union for many years and has debated the impact of EU treaties and various directives each year at its annual general meetings. Many RMT members have suffered as the result of EU diktats such as the one which led to the privatisation of our rail network. The EU drive to push market mechanisms into our public services has now appeared with the part-privatisation of postal services. The EU mania for imposing increasingly discredited neoliberal economics on more than 500 million Europeans is also enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, the renamed EU constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. The treaty forces governments to hand public services over to private corporations. That means handing fat cats control of railways, schools, postal services, energy and even social services across Europe. According to the EU constitution, "A European framework law shall establish measures to achieve the liberalisation of a specific service." That provision remains in the Lisbon Treaty. The current economic crisis was created by this right-wing economic dogma, yet, under the Lisbon Treaty, these policies become constitutional goals. EU rules demanding the "free movement of capital, goods, services and labour" within the EU have also encouraged widespread social dumping where vulnerable exploited workers from across the EU are being used to drive down wages in member states. Successive EU directives and European Court of Justice decisions have similarly been used to attack trade union collective bargaining, the right to strike and workers' pay and conditions. As a result, working people are feeling increasingly betrayed by a political elite that seems more interested in implementing neoliberal EU rules than representing those who elected them. This crisis of working-class representation, along with the growing economic crisis, has led to a deep disillusionment, cynicism and general mistrust of politicians. That is one of the reasons why Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty in June last year - because they too did not want an EU constitution that took away their hard-won democracy and effectively turned the EU into an undemocratic superstate. Yet the resounding "No'' by Irish voters was ignored by politicians across Europe who are clearly more wedded to EU institutions than their own electorates. That is why Gordon Brown's government reneged on Labour's 2005 manifesto promise to hold a referendum and instead forced the treaty through parliament with Liberal Democrats' and Tories' help. The Irish electorate has been told that it must vote for a second time on the Lisbon Treaty by October 2009, having voted to reject it in 2008. Why? Because EU and Irish politicians have decided that voters in Ireland must be overruled. To counter this assault on democracy, No2EU - Yes to Democracy is fielding candidates on June 4, 2009, to give a voice to voters who feel betrayed by the main parties. This crisis of democracy and the very serious economic situation is leading to a rise in support for far-right, fascist parties such as the British National Party. Yet the BNP has no answers. It peddles hate and seeks to undermine organisations that working people rely on to protect them such as trade unions. No2EU - Yes to Democracy is an electoral platform and not a party. Our candidates will not sit in the European Parliament in the event of winning any seats. Our candidates would nominally hold the title MEP but would not board the notorious EU gravy train. This is because the European Parliament is, in fact, not a parliament but a very expensive talking shop with no law-making powers. Those powers lie with the unelected European Commission. A recent report showed that MEPs can make over 1 million from a single five-year term by claiming various allowances and even for assistants for whom no record exists. British MEPs' pay will even rise by almost 50 per cent after June's election to over 120,000. While in the real world banks go under and hundreds of thousands of workers are losing their jobs, EU elites continue to enrich themselves at the taxpayers' expense. Lend us your vote on June 4 and we will continue to campaign against the EU privatisation drive and the widespread corruption that goes with it. It's clear that millions of people would reject the Lisbon Treaty if they were given the chance to and demand the repatriation of democratic powers to the member states.
Visit www.no2eu.com for more information about the platform.
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Friday, 10 April 2009
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
Sunday, 5 April 2009
- An extended period of economic depression likely to last anywhere from three to 12 years which will go through distinct stages.
- A tidal wave of job losses and wage cuts as bosses make workers pay for capitalism's crisis.
- A tsunami of house evictions and other social miseries which engulf sections of the middle class as well as the working class.
- Growing trends towards trade wars and shooting wars, intersecting with a climate crisis that threatens life on Earth.
- Epic upheavals in economics, ecology, governments, institutions and ideologies which will mean that nothing remains the same.
- Experiment with different approaches to the grassroots.
- Learn from the mistakes of ourselves and others.
- Leaflets which combine education with concrete proposals.
- Conduct a two-way dialogue with the grassroots.
- Transmit a genuine sense of excitement.
- A representative governance body dealing with strategy and other big picture issues.
- A compact management body dealing with tactics and other day-to-day issues.
- A 17-person slate proposed by Grant Morgan.
- An 11-person slate proposed by Daphne Lawless, Oliver Woods and Elliott Blade.
- A 15-person slate proposed by Bronwen Beechey.
RAM COUNCIL MEETING Conference was followed by a meeting of the RAM Council. After discussion among the RAM Council about other leadership roles, Grant Morgan proposed: RAM chair to be Grant Brookes. RAM vice-chair to be Elliott Blade. RAM Secretariat to comprise these four people (in alphabetical order): Elliott Blade Grant Brookes Daphne Lawless Oliver Woods Grant M's motion was passed unanimously by the RAM Council. The Council also elected RAM activists to fill these roles: Kaumatua Publicity Committee Union Committee Community liaison Ecology liaison Treasurer Finance officer RAM trustees
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
From Edinburgh to Paris to Kiev, Europe is revolting by Paola Totaro from Sydney Morning Herald 28 March 2009 The signs are everywhere, from smashed windows in the mansion of a British banker to the thousands who took to the streets of Kiev to decry pay cuts: Europe is rebelling. As world leaders strut the stages of Washington, New York and soon, London, in a bid to forge a united response to the global financial crisis, the rising cost of living, mortgages heading skywards, job losses and a tide of home repossessions have sparked a chilling fear of the future and propelled the citizens of Europe into open uprising.
- Laila Harre, National Secretary of the National Distribution Union
- Dennis Maga, Migrante Aotearoa
- John Minto, Organiser, Unite Union
- Mike Treen, Global Peace and Justice Auckland (Chair)
For more information contact Dennis Maga, 021 971 070, firstname.lastname@example.org