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New Zealand
Victory over zero-contract hours

24/05/2015: ‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

  New Zealand

Iraq/Syria
ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra

23/05/2015: United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

  Iraq, Syria

Britain
Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

22/05/2015: The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

  Britain

Ireland North
Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo

21/05/2015: Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

  Ireland Republic

Spain
Is Podemos in crisis?

20/05/2015: Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

  Spain

Britain
Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery

20/05/2015: For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

  Britain

Ireland South
Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!

19/05/2015: Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?

18/05/2015: The choices before the Greek working class

  Greece

North Cyprus
‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket

16/05/2015: Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

  Cyprus

Chile
Huge demonstrations call for free education

15/05/2015: New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

  Chile

Australia
East-West toll road dispute concluded

15/05/2015: Local community direct action secures victory

  Australia

Ireland
Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”

14/05/2015: Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

  Ireland Republic

Britain
Organising against Tory austerity starts now

14/05/2015: Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

  Britain

 Video
Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet

13/05/2015: "When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

  Ireland Republic, Video

Sudan
Mass apathy towards elections

12/05/2015: Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

  Sudan

USA
Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires

12/05/2015: Campaign needs to build independent political power

  US

Britain
Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule

12/05/2015: Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

  Britain

China
“In a hard landing now”

11/05/2015: Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

  China

Scotland
Labour annihilated

11/05/2015: SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

  Scotland

Britain
With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts

11/05/2015: Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

  Britain

Poland
65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies

07/05/2015: Plan of action for a general strike needed

  Poland

Ireland North
Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks

06/05/2015: How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

  Ireland North

Britain
Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour

06/05/2015: Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

  Britain

May Day 2015
International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies

05/05/2015: Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

  May Day

Iceland
Fighting for better wages

05/05/2015: General strike called for 26 May

  Iceland

May Day 2015
Socialist plan or capitalist chaos

01/05/2015: What sort of new society are we struggling for?

  May Day

Nepal
Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism

30/04/2015: Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

  Nepal

US
Rage in Baltimore

29/04/2015: The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

  US

Book review
’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’

29/04/2015: What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

  Review, US

 May Day 2015
Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression

28/04/2015: 125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

  CWI, May Day

Italy
Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts

27/04/2015: From Mare Nostrum to Triton

  Italy

Latin America
A new turn?

25/04/2015: Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

  Latin America

New Zealand

Racism and recession in New Zealand

www.socialistworld.net, 15/05/2013
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Working class unity needed to defend rights and living standards

Jared Phillips, CWI New Zealand

Several recent events have elevated the issue of racism in New Zealand. In one case a nationalist MP belonging to the Danish People’s Party made headlines when she made racist comments about a traditional Maori welcome.

Also Susan Devoy, who is unsympathetic to Maori political issues, was appointed as the new Race Relations Commissioner. At the same time National Party Prime Minister John Key has tried to stoke fears about South Asian refugee boats coming to New Zealand. This is despite no boats arriving so far.

To top things off a bunch of neo-Nazis staged a so-called ‘white pride’ march in Christchurch. These events vary in significance but taken together they have created increased controversy and more discussion in society about ethnicity and issues of racism.

New race relations appointment

The appointment of former champion squash player, Susan Devoy, to the position of Race Relations Commissioner is seen by many as a right-wing provocation. Prior to her appointment Devoy had become an outspoken conservative. In particular she had criticised the wearing of burqas and had chastised Maori for raising political issues on Waitangi Day.

Waitangi Day is a national holiday which marks the anniversary of a Treaty of Waitangi signing ceremony in 1840. For decades the Waitangi day anniversary has been used by Maori as an occasion for forums and symbolic peaceful protests to address Maori issues.

In reality the treaty was a tool of annexation but it contained important promises to Maori, including self-governance through chieftainship. With such promises not being adhered to the Treaty is seen as a rallying point of Maori resistance. Maori call for such aspects of the treaty to be honoured.

Criticism quickly followed Devoy’s appointment especially because she is completely unqualified. She responded by saying that she is a “quick learner” with “a good moral compass”.

Devoy’s view is that Waitangi day should not be used by Maori for political “shenanigans”. The truth is that it’s precisely that type of outlook – a refusal to recognise deep historical injustices – that qualified Devoy for the position in the eyes of the government.

Even some of the conservative press think that her appointment is a step too far with one editorial commenting that: “She is politically and perhaps culturally naive… which does not fit well with someone who will be expected to mediate in complex matters involving racial discrimination and human rights.”

Devoy has ignored requests for interviews. This led to the farcical incident where her associate told a TV crew that she was asleep in her house and couldn’t be interviewed. Soon after the TV crew then captured footage of her driving past!

Even when asked, Devoy didn’t feel that the ‘white pride’ march in Christchurch warranted her comment. When the nationalist Danish People’s Party MP said about the Maori welcome: “To me it looked grotesque, it looked very strange with a man who is half naked and in a grass skirt and who poked his tongue out and was shouting” Devoy didn’t think that warranted her comment either.

It was also exposed in The Listener magazine that Devoy’s 1993 autobiography contained passages where she complained about not being able to enter lucrative sports contracts in apartheid South Africa. She wrote up a list of pros and cons when deciding whether she would tour there. Far from considering human rights of black South Africans, the list merely weighed up the financial benefits of touring.

Devoy’s appointment has triggered a heightened discussion about racism. So much so that the prime time current affairs show ‘Campbell Live’ ran a segment on the everyday racism experienced by Maori. An experiment was conducted whereby a Caucasian male and a Maori male with the same appearance (same clothes, same car, etc) visited a range of petrol stations asking to fill up before paying.

The Caucasian male was allowed to fill-up before paying at the outlets of five different petrol brands. The Maori male was required to pre-pay for the petrol at the outlets of four of the five brands. This was despite his overly-polite approaches at the counters. The exercise gave an insight into everyday discrimination experienced by Maori and the failures of institutions like the Human rights Commission to do anything to undermine racism in New Zealand.

Human rights institutions

The Race Relations Commissioner in New Zealand is a functionary of the Human Rights Commission. The Commission is supposed to advocate for human rights, consult with groups concerned with protecting human rights, inquire into matters which infringe on human rights, develop a national plan to promote and protect human rights and take part in court proceedings relating to human rights. It reports to the Prime Minister.

Despite the presence of human rights bodies in most advanced countries human rights are routinely abused both at home and abroad. In the main this is because adhering to human rights often runs counter to the needs of capitalism – a system based on production for private profit rather than the general needs of all people.

Under capitalism human rights are seen as subordinate to the rights of capitalists to make profits. Because of this racism is a by-product of the profit system. As Malcolm X once said “you can’t have capitalism without racism”. This explains why when capitalist governments set up human rights institutions they are generally toothless tigers.

While socialists have no confidence in these institutions we are open to using their existence, in conjunction with mass movements and campaigns, to assist in winning reforms for oppressed people. For example an appeal to human rights bodies can be useful when someone is facing discrimination in the workplace and there is not sufficient strength to defeat the employer by industrial means.

Human rights, like all rights, are not just granted to people by the capitalist class. Historically rights have been fought for, and won, through struggle. When society slides into crisis we often see that the capitalists try and wind democratic freedoms and rights back. This is seen in many pieces of anti-democratic legislation put forward in recent years. As the economic crisis gets worse we will increasingly need to defend both our living standards and our rights.

The need for class unity

Against the backdrop of recession, and a deepening world economic crisis, the ruling class will increasingly try to divide the working class in order to weaken it. From their point of view it is much easier to make ordinary people pay for the economic crisis via cuts and austerity measures if people are divided along racial and ethnic lines.

What the ruling class fears the most is the entire working class uniting and acting together to oppose their attacks on our living standards. We must not let the likes of Susan Devoy or John Key use the public discourse to drive wedges between groups of people who are all under attack.

Working people, the unemployed, students and all those in society who are oppressed have an interest in working together to ensure we are not made to pay for an economic crisis that was created by the capitalists. We have more in common with each other than we do with those who exploit us. Through our trade unions, community groups and parties like Mana we need to fight for jobs, homes and services for all.

By campaigning together around class issues, secondary differences like race can be pushed into the background. Our living standards can be both defended and extended thereby laying the basis for a new type of society which is based on human need and not profit. This type of society would use the wealth created to provide for all and make discrimination and oppression a thing of the past. Genuine human rights would be a top priority. This is the type of world that socialists fight for.



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Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement, 18/05/2015

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NEWS

New Zealand: Victory over zero-contract hours
24/05/2015, Joe Kelly, CWI NZ/Aotearoa:
‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

Britain: Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business
22/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

Britain: Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery
20/05/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

Ireland South: Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!
19/05/2015, From the Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) website:
Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

Greece: Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?
18/05/2015, Editorial from Xekinima (no. 410, 6-20 May 2015), fortnightly newspaper of CWI Greece:
The choices before the Greek working class

Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement
18/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Video of May Day Rally and concert in Lahore

North Cyprus: ‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket
16/05/2015, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

Chile: Huge demonstrations call for free education
15/05/2015, Patricio Guzman, Socialismo Revolcuionario (CWI in Chile):
New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

Australia: East-West toll road dispute concluded
15/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) Reporters:
Local community direct action secures victory

Ireland: Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”
14/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

Britain: Organising against Tory austerity starts now
14/05/2015, John McInally, Public and Commercial Services Union national Vice-President (personal capacity), from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website:
Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

Video: Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet
13/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
"When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

Sudan: Mass apathy towards elections
12/05/2015, Sudanese CWI supporter:
Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

Scotland: Labour annihilated
11/05/2015, :
SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

Britain: With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts
11/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

Poland: 65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies
07/05/2015, Alternatywa Socjalistyczna (CWI Poland) Reporters:
Plan of action for a general strike needed

Britain: Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour
06/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

May Day 2015: International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies
05/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

Iceland: Fighting for better wages
05/05/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
General strike called for 26 May

US: Rage in Baltimore
29/04/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative, New York:
The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

Book review: ’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’
29/04/2015, Reviewed by Tony Saunois, CWI:
What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

Kazakhstan: Presidential ‘election’ - Nazarbayev’s overwhelming victory no surprise
28/04/2015, Elizabeth Clarke, CWI:
Workers need to build mass opposition

Ireland North: Health Minister forced to resign after making homophobic remarks
27/04/2015, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
LGBT and women’s rights campaigners boosted

Italy: Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts
27/04/2015, From web-site of ControCorrente (CWI in Italy):
From Mare Nostrum to Triton

Finland: Worst ever election result for traditional Left
24/04/2015, Jonas Brännberg and Juha Tapio for CWI in Finland:
Finns Party second biggest in parliament

Scotland: Labour face annihilation as millions seek an answer to austerity
23/04/2015, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
The SNP, according to the polls, will win 53 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster MPs

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Iraq/Syria: ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra
23/05/2015, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

Ireland North: Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo
21/05/2015, Daniel Waldron and Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

Spain: Is Podemos in crisis?
20/05/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

USA: Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires
12/05/2015, Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative, Seattle:
Campaign needs to build independent political power

Britain: Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule
12/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party )CWI England & Wales) General Secretary:
Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

China: “In a hard landing now”
11/05/2015, Dikang, chinaworker.info:
Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

Ireland North: Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks
06/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) Statement:
How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

May Day 2015: Socialist plan or capitalist chaos
01/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party General Secretary, (CWI England & Wales):
What sort of new society are we struggling for?

Nepal: Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism
30/04/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

May Day 2015: Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression
28/04/2015, CWI:
125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

Latin America: A new turn?
25/04/2015, Tony Saunois, article from May issue of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

Iran: Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East
24/04/2015, Robert Bechert, CWI:
In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

Tunisia: After the Bardo terrorist attack
18/04/2015, Serge Jordan:
New class battles loom

Yemen: Brutal onslaught on country’s poor
15/04/2015, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the CWI England & Wales):
For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

Economy: What low oil prices cost the world economy
03/04/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

Israel: Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election
25/03/2015, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement, Israel-Palestine:
New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

Italy: The instability of domestic capitalism
24/03/2015, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

Greece: Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer
23/03/2015, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

Belgium: No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity
20/03/2015, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
New action plan against right wing government takes off

Ukraine: Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement
18/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

Greece: Syriza’s first months in power
07/03/2015, Andreas Payiatsos, from Xekinima (newspaper of the CWI Greece):
The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

Quebec: Towards a hot spring
02/03/2015, Deirdre and Bruno, Socialist Alternative (CWI Quebec):
Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

Greece showdown
26/02/2015, Article to be published in the March issue of Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI in England and Wales):
Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

Libya: War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities
25/02/2015, Serge Jordan (CWI):
Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

Europe: Eurozone time-bomb
25/02/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party of England and Wales):
Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation