Category Archives: Workers rights
We head towards a general election here in New Zealand in September. The capitalist National Party has been in power for three terms (ie since 2008; we have three-year terms here) and look headed for a fourth. The capitalist Labour Party is wallowing in the polls – 27% to National’s 47%.
Labour and National are basically the two cheeks of the one arse. Or, as a veteran leftist here put it back in the early 1990s, National are the front-stabbers and Labour are the back-stabbers.
I’m involved in a NZ-based blog called Redline and got interviewed on Hamilton local community radio – Hamilton is NZ’s fourth bggest city – to put the case for not voting:
Sylvia Pankhurst was a leader of the struggle for women’s right to vote in Britain. Primarily involved in organising working class women in the East End of London, she was increasingly attracted to Marxism. Her support for workers’ struggles led to her being expelled from the bourgeois-feminist Women’s Social and Political Union, led by her mother Emmeline and sister Christabel. While the feminist family members turned into warmongers in the First World War, Sylvia organised against the war on a working class and anti-imperialist basis. She was one of the small handful of major figures on the British left who supported the national liberation struggle in Ireland, including the 1916 Rising. This article was originally published in the Women’s Dreadnought of May 13, 1916, the day after the last of the executions of leaders of the Rising. The paper soon after changed its name to Workers Dreadnought. The text below is taken from the Marxist Internet Archive.
by Sylvia Pankhurst
Justice can make but one reply to the Irish rebellion, and that is to demand that Ireland shall be allowed to, govern herself.
Differences of opinion in England, Scotland, or Wales as to what measure of self-government Ireland is to have ought not to affect the matter – by the “freedom of small nations” which the British Government has so bombastically sworn to defend, this is essentially a question for Ireland herself to decide. Let a popular vote be taken in Ireland as to whether, she shall be an independent, self-governing republic, or an autonomous part of the British Empire, like Australia and New Zealand. That is the only method by which the Irish difficulty can be solved and Ireland learn content.
The “firm and vigorous administration” which The Times demands for Ireland, which we suspect is but another term for coercion, and such suggestions as that of the professing Liberal, Professor Longford, that conscription shall be applied to Ireland, and that the Irish Rebels shall be set free on condition that they join the Army, will only lead to Read the rest of this entry
The following is taken from Socialist Democracy’s site, where it appeared on May 22 (last Monday), here.
Let’s not beat about the bush! The demobilisation of the Bus Eireann strike is an attack on the interests of the working class facilitated by the bureaucratic leadership of our trade unions. It is a betrayal pure and simple!
The methods that could deliver victory were presented before the watching world by the sudden eruption of flying pickets and sympathy strikes which were promptly and hypocritically disowned by the Union leaders but which had the capacity to impose the will of the strikers on the struggle.
From just one day of enthusiastically supported action we get a view of what class struggle tactics would look like and how effective they would be. We now also get a plain view that complying with the full-time leaderships’ rules of engagement, agreed with the employers and the state, leads to defeat.
Leaders attempt at ‘containment’
The Labour Court deal was clearly supported by the trade union bureaucrats from the beginning as their way out of a conflict they had tried desperately to avoid. They had Read the rest of this entry
Socialist Democracy Statement, 4 April 2017
The action that can guarantee victory in the Bus Eireann struggle is the unofficial action taken by the drivers on Friday 31st March. The strike must be broadened. If it sits still, it risks being strangled.
Flying pickets should bring out Iarnrod Eireann, Dublin Bus and private bus services. Everyone’s wages and conditions will suffer if the strike is broken. Transport across the country must be brought to a halt now without a long delay for further votes.
But that’s a big ask. It’s a big ask for other workers to lose pay and take the risk of striking without the protection of an official dispute. It’s a big ask for travellers who may lose pay and suffer a great deal of inconvenience.
The strike demands must put forward the needs of everyone: A decent wage for workers that is not pared to the bone in the interests of speculators. A national public transport system designed around the needs of the people that excludes privatisation. A broader call against the sell-off of resources and services in the interests of vulture capitalism.
The top union officials are a major obstacle to success. Effective wildcat action is organised by the drivers while the officials wash Read the rest of this entry