#310: Bolivarian Solidarity Conferences 2010

GLOBALPEACE AND JUSTICE AUCKLAND
NEWSLETTER No.310, December 10, 2009

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Bolivarian Solidarity Conference Auckland,NZ, September 2010 – Caracas International socialist conference, April 2010

This week we had an initial meeting of the “Conference OrganisingCommittee” to plan for two important conferences next year.

The first is an international conference called for Caracas in April 2010“as a space for socialist-oriented parties, movements and currents inwhich we can harmonize a common strategy for the struggle against imperialism,the overthrow of capitalism by socialism and solidarity based economicintegration of a new type.” See Caracas Commitment

Addressing delegates at the International Encounter of 55 left groups from31 countries held in Caracas, November 19-21, Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavezsaid that with the capitalist crisis and threat of war risking the future ofhumanity, “the people are clamouring” for greater unity of thosewilling to fight for socialism. He called for a new international socialistorganisation to unite left groups and social movements to be formed at aconference convened in Caracas in April next year. A main document, called theCaracas Commitment, was also approved. The document said that, faced with“structural crisis of capital, which combines the economic crisis, withan ecological crisis, a food crisis, and an energy crisis, and which togetherrepresents a mortal threat to humanity and mother earth”, the onlyalternative possible is “socialism of the 21st century”.

The second is a proposal to hold a solidarity conference in New Zealand inSeptember 2010 around the theme of: "The Bolivarian Alternative: People’s Power& Indigenous Rights in Latin America". A dozen people attended the firstmeeting in Auckland but everyone agreed that there needs to an open andinclusive approach to both tasks we have set ourselves.

An email list for the conference committee was established. Furtheractivists will be invited to join the committee. We will be approaching tradeunions and Maori organisations to come on board and also to sponsorinternational speakers. A collective decision on the conference venue, and thusthe exact date of the conference, should (hopefully) be made within the nextfortnight.

An important part of the conference will be to have direct representativesof the people in struggle in Latin America to the conference – includingparties, social movements, indigenous organisations, women and leaders of theworkers and peasant movement.

As a first step we are asking any individuals and groups interested insupporting these plans to become part of an email loop for further discussionsover the next few months. Please email me to add your name to the network. mike@unite.org.nz

The next meeting in Auckland will be held in conjunction with a visit fromthe Venezuelan ambassador Nelson Davila, Venezuela’s Canberra-based seniordiplomat for the Pacific region. It will held at 8pm on Sunday, 7 February2010, at 24 Church Rd, Mangere Bridge, Auckland.

Please forward this message to anyone you think may be interested.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
-Caracas Commitment – Declaration from World Meeting of Left Parties,November 19-21 Caracas, Venezuela http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4950
-Venezuela’s Chavez Calls for International Organisation of LeftParties http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/4946
-Chavez’s Historic Call for a Fifth Socialist International http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4965

WHAT’S ON INAUCKLAND

Friday, December 11, 9-10pm, 1 Queen Street, CBD,Auckland
Candle-lit Vigil for Climate Justice – Join Greens on Campus and people allover the world in this international vigil for climate change survivalcoinciding with the Copenhagen climate negotiations. The vigil is to raiseawareness of all those whose survival is threatened by the floods, droughts,storms and sea-level rise caused by climate change. Many of these people livein the world’s poorest countries in places like Africa and the Pacific. Therewill be brief speeches by representatives from different organizations fightingfor climate justice and then a silent vigil.

Friday, December 11, 12 noon, ASB Bank, cnr Queen St and WellesleySt, Auckland Central.
Invitation to Bad Banks Exposure of ASB – You will have noticed that the BigFour Aussie-owned banks have been trying to suck up to us lately. BNZ closedtheir doors for a day so staff could do community work. And ASB, well, they’retrying to convince us that they’re a "Kiwi bank". But as John Minto saidin his article for the Christchurch Press: "What a brazen lie – like hellit’s a kiwi bank". Because ASB is 100% owned by the Commonwealth Bank ofAustralia, one of the world’s biggest banks. (SeeJohn Minto’s full article ). Why are the banks trying to cuddle up tous? Because ANZ National, BNZ, Westpac and ASB Bank know there’s a bad moodrising against them. And it’s well deserved, here’s a few reasons why peoplehate the banks: • Despite the recession they’re continuing to makemega-profits by interest gouging grassroots Kiwis. • They’reinflicting high fees and penalties on low and middle income people. •They’re forcing mortgagee sales in increasing numbers. •They’re hiring teams of lawyers to try and get out of paying $2.25billion of unpaid tax. • And in the case of ASB, they’ve usedanti-union practices to drive Finsec, the bank workers union, out of ASBbranches.

Friday, December 11, 10am-1pm, Room 604, Level 6, Human SciencesBuilding, 10 Symonds Street
Gender & Psychology Symposium – Sexualisation and Pornography: Research,analysis, change? Pornography is perennially controversial. Some defend it as adomain for free sexual expression and enjoyment for all; others point to themisogyny displayed in its portrayals of women. In this age of so-called‘raunch culture’, pornography is no longer just hidden away in thebedrooms of boys and men. Women and girls are invited to share the gaze, andare told that it is empowering to do so. Beyond the consumption of pornography,pornographic images, styles of embodiment, and modes of sexual engagement havebecome ‘mainstreamed’ into advertising, music, and popular culturalfashions. Relatedly, an overtly sexualised style is increasingly promoted toyounger and younger girls in the form of toys, activities, clothing andaccessories. These cultural shifts have already become largely normalized andnaturalized. Do they amount to harmless fun? Or do they contribute to thecultural production of forms of masculinity and femininity that ultimately workagainst girls’ and women’s choices and wellbeing? In thissymposium, which showcases some of the best undergraduate student work inGender and Psychology at the University, young women will present research,critical analysis, and their creative ideas for change. We hope to generatewider discussion and debate, and foster constructive connections between peopleinterested in these issues.
PROGRAMME: 10am Welcome & Introductions Nicola Gavey; 10.15am Sexualisationand Children – Hazel Albertyn, Katie Malone, Courtney Ross, & NataliaSamorow; 11.30am Pornography and Society – Alex Antevska, Danielle Hay, LisaPaz, & Jaimee Robinson; 12.30pm Panel Discussion – Caroline Fergusson,Women’s Rights Officer, AUSA, Denise Ritchie, Stop Demand, MelanieGovender, Psychology Student, University of Auckland. Chair: Virginia Braun.ALL WELCOME – This symposium is free and open to the public. Please rsvp forcatering purposes to Meena Sadera m.sadera@auckland.ac.nz

Friday, December 11, 7pm, 7 Mason Ave, Otahuhu (Off Great South Rd.Upstairs, above Laundromat.)
Militant Labour Forum: Self-determination for Western Sahara! Aminatou Haidar,a prominent campaigner for the independence of the people of Western Sahara,began a hunger strike in November against her expulsion from her homeland byMoroccan officials. Haidar was detained for 24 hours on her arrival in WesternSahara on November 13. After confiscating her passport, officials forced heronto a flight to the Canary Islands, a Spanish possession. Haidar’sprotest has drawn international support. On December 5 she and supporters,accompanied by Spanish government representatives, boarded a Morocco-boundflight. However, Moroccan authorities refused permission to land.Morocco’s regime has occupied Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony,since 1975. The pro-independence Polisario Front fought a war against theregime from 1976 until 1991. In 1991 both sides agreed to a UN-sponsoredreferendum on Sahrawi self-determination, but the Moroccan government hasconsistently blocked a vote. Come to a discussion about these events and theshowing of a documentary on the struggle by the people of Western Sahara.Speaker: Annalucia Vermunt, Communist League. Suggested donation $3. MilitantLabour Forums are held each week. For more information phone 276-8885 or emailmilauck

Saturday, December 12, 12pm-1pm, Country Road Decor, 553 Mt. EdenRoad, Mt Eden.
SAY NO TO KWILA Protest to stop Country Road Decor Selling Kwila Furniture.Where: Map: http://www.countryroad.co.nz/wawcs019477/tn-contact-us.htmlOrganised by Rainforest Action and the Indonesia Human Rights Committee. Overthe last year the BBQ Factory, Harvey Norman, Design Warehouse and Placemakershave all committed to phasing out Kwila furniture due to sustained campaigningand protest action. For more information contact Omar Hamed on 029-455-5789 oromarhamed123@gmail.com | http://www.rainforestaction.blogspot.com

Saturday, December 12, 12.30-3.30pm, Visitors Centre, AmburyFarm
Pasifika Greens Picnic for $15 Minimum Wage – The Pasifika Greens aresupporting Unite’s campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15. This willbe a fun, informal event with a sausage sizzle and games of Frisbee and soccer.Metiria Turei (Green Party co-leader) and a Unite representative will speak. Itis a good chance to get to know the Pasifika Greens, learn more about the $15minimum wage campaign and find out how you can get involved and support the $15minimum wage campaign

Tuesday, December 15, 2-5pm, Owen G. Glenn Building, The Universityof Auckland, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland
ACC Forum Hosted by:The ACC Group, in association with the Retirement Policyand Research Centre. Co-sponsored by: Department of Economics, Business School,The University of Auckland. The ACC debate: how do we pay for ACC? In the late1990s, it was decided that ACC should become fully pre-funded. Is that the bestway of setting the levies? An appropriate financial foundation is crucial forthe ACC so how might that be organised? Speakers will present the case fortheir preferred option: pre-funding, or PAYG. Other speakers will suggestpossible pitfalls in each of the options. Keynote speaker Professor RichardGaskins, Brandeis University Massachusetts, will offer some reflections fromabroad on the ACC’s place in the world, and why it matters to get itright. Professor Gaskins is Director of the Legal Studies Program and theJoseph M. Proskauer Professor of Law and Social Welfare. His research interestsinclude comparative studies in Iceland and New Zealand.

Thursday, December 17, 6pm, St Columba Centre, 40 Vermont St,Ponsonby, Auckland.
The Annual General Meeting of the Human Rights Foundation of Aotearoa NewZealand. Speaker: Deborah Manning “My Year in Geneva”. Former HRFCommittee Member and Counsel for Ahmed Zaoui, Deborah Manning will talk on herexperiences since leaving New Zealand to take up a position as Senior LegalOfficer with Al Karama for Human Rights, an international NGO working topromote and protect human rights, especially in the Arab World. All welcome.Drinks and nibbles from 5:30pm. You can join the Human Rights Foundation onlineat www.humanrights.co.nz

ANNOUNCEMENTS

CLIMATE CAMP AOTEAROA 16th – 21st DECEMBER, WELLINGTON

Aotearoa’s first ever Climate Camp seeks to address the real causes ofclimate change and build a people’s movement that can and will stop disastrousclimate change. Get involved, get active, get to climate camp – because thefuture is not what is used to be. Climate Camp Site Announced!!! Drum rollplease!! The location of Aotearoa’s first Climate Camp is now known! It will beat…. Moonshine Park, Trentham, Upper Hutt. It is an absolutely beautiful bigpark right by the Hutt River on the corner of Moonshine Road and HoldsworthAve. For more information please visit the website and have a look at theNewsletter. See you at the Camp, climatecampnz@riseup.net

BOSSES SHOULD SHARE THEIR OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNES!

Thousands more people signed the petition for a Living Wage this week, andnow we’re getting ready for the Festival season! Over a thousand peoplesigned up at the Greenpeace Planet A march and concert in Auckland on Dec 5th,as the Living Wage campaign flew the union flag on the protests to stop climatechange. Outrageous Fortune star Robin Malcolm who plays Westie battler CherylWest signed up with Kadin. http://www.outrageousfortune.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/cheryl1.jpg

The next day saw another Outrageous fortune star Siobhan Marshall, who playsPascale West, sign up at the UPfm Solar Series party at Point Chev. http://www.outrageousfortune.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/pascalle420.jpg

The petition goes down really well with festival crowds, so we’reappealing to any supporters who are going to parties and concerts over thefestival season to get in touch with us for DIY campaign kits. Bring thepetition and stickers with you wherever you go over the holiday, and get signups on the beach and at the gigs. It’s a great way to meet new peopletoo.

Win tickets to the Big Day Out
We have two tickets for the Big Day Out, which is headlined by proworker bands like Muse

If you’d like to enter the draw for the BDO tickets, Download a copyof the petition and get it filled in with 10 names – one sheet = one entry(multiple entries allowed!), and write your name, address and mobile number onthe back. We’ll be pulling the names out of the hat on Jan 10th, so ifyou want to go, get them in soon!

Stalls this week
AUCKLAND: This week, we’re asking for a Living Wage forChristmas at the Park on saturday from 5-30pm at the Domain Gates, next toAuckland Hospital. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/event.php?eid=197134281980&index=1
OTARA MARKETS- Saturdays from 9am Contact Omar- 029 4555 789 omar@unite.org.nz
AVONDALE MARKETS Sundays from 9am Contact Malcolm – 021 256 4676 france.malcolm@gmail.com

WELLINGTON: On the 16th of December there is Carols by Candlelight atWaitangi park. The Wellington crew operate their own e loop 15dollarwgtn@googlegroups.comand regular stalls in different areas and events. Contact Joel- 027 600 9282 joel.cosgrove@gmail.com

WHANGEREI: Contact Vaughan – 021 041 5082 svpl@xtra.co.nz

ROTORUA: Contact Bernie – bernieh@clear.net.nz 07 345 9853

CHRISTCHURCH: Contact Joe – 029 201 3859 joe@unite.org.nz

DUNEDIN: Contact Chris – 027 781 0371 mr_matahaere@hotmail.com

HAMILTON – FRANKTON MARKETS: Contact Jared – 029 494 9863 jared@unite.org.nz

2009 ROGER AWARD FINALISTS NAMED
The nine finalists for the 2009 Roger Award for the Worst TransnationalCorporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand are (in alphabetical order): ANZ,BNZ, Infratil, Newmont, Rio Tinto Aluminium NZ, Rymans, Telecom, Transpacificand Westpac. There are two finalists for the Accomplice Award – theBusiness Round Table, and the Auckland City Council and its officials (as partof the nomination of Transpacific Industries).
Telecom, the winner of the 2007 Roger Award, is the only transnationalcorporation (TNC) to have been a finalist every year since the Roger Awardstarted a dozen years ago (although it has only actually won it twice). In 2009it was nominated primarily for its shabby treatment of its phone technicians,whom it is forcing into becoming self-employed contractors who will have tocarry the costs and risks previously borne by their employer when they werewage workers. Transpacific is the only one not to have featured before, atleast not under that name. In recent years it bought out Waste Managementwhich, under its previous owners, was a finalist one year. All the rest havepreviously been finalists (and BNZ and Westpac were joint winners in 2005).This tells you something about these corporate recidivists. In fact this issuch a strong field that the defending champion, BAT (British American TobaccoNZ), which won the 2008 Roger, couldn’t even make the finalists.
ANZ was nominated very specifically for its role in the ING frozen fundsscandal, which is a continuation from 2008, when it was also a finalist for thesame reason. BNZ and Westpac are there for a variety of sins but first andforemost because they have been found guilty of massive tax avoidance in a casethat Inland Revenue has brought against all four Australian-owned banks (ANZand ASB are yet to have their day in court). The total amount of tax avoided ismore than $2 billion. Infratil is there again, as it was in 2008, because ofunion bashing (specifically for locking out Auckland bus drivers by its NZ Bussubsidiary. Last year it was for NZ Bus locking out its Wellington workers. Doyou detect a pattern emerging here?). Newmont Mining, which was last a finalistin 2003, is there for the same reason – the appalling impact of its goldmine which has left Waihi with a huge hole in the middle of town. Rio TintoAluminium (which is still better known by its former name, Comalco), the 2008runner up, was nominated for a range of reasons, but primarily for being thebiggest corporate bludger in NZ vis a vis its power price; and for the hugeamount that the public will have to pay for every job at the Tiwai Pointsmelter because the Government is making taxpayers carry the burden ofNZ’s carbon emissions, and pay for the biggest carbon emitter in thecountry. Rymans, which people mistakenly think of as being New Zealand-owned(the same mistake is made about Infratil), has been a finalist once before andfor the same reason – it is a prime example of the for profit retirementhome industry and it treats both workers and residents poorly. Transpacific wasnominated for its takeover, aided and abetted by the Auckland City Council andits officials, of the excellent locally owned and run rubbish and recyclingoperation on Waiheke Island.
The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational (a corporationwhich is 25% or more foreign-owned) that has the most negative impact in eachor all of the following categories:
○Economic Dominance – Monopoly, profiteering, tax dodging, culturalimperialism
○People – Unemployment, impact on tangata whenua, impact on women,impact on children, abuse of workers/conditions, health and safety of workersand the public
○Environment – Environmental damage, abuse of animals
○Political interference – Interference in democratic processes,running an ideological crusade
The point needs to be made that the likes of Fonterra are not eligible fornomination (we always receive nominations for it and this year got more thanusual). We have no doubt that there is a place for an award for the worst NewZealand owned transnational (of which Fonterra is the prime example) and evenfor the worst company in NZ (Fonterra would probably be a prime contender forthat too). But the Roger Award is not the place for either of those. Nor is itthe place to judge the worst transnational corporation in the world, althoughsome nominators would have it so. It is for judging the worst TNC operating inNZ (and NZ alone) in the year in question. Some might criticise that as anarrow focus but it is a formula that has worked extremely well for the nowvery well established and credible Roger Award.
The judges are: Paul Corliss, from Christchurch, a life member of the Rail andMaritime Transport Union; Christine Dann, from Banks Peninsula, a writer andresearcher; Bryan Gould, from Bay of Plenty, a former Waikato UniversityVice-Chancellor; Joce Jesson, a Senior Lecturer in Critical Studies inEducation, University of Auckland and an activist in various communityorganisations; and Wayne Hope, Associate Professor, Communications Studies,Auckland University of Technology. The winner(s) will be announced at aWellington event in March. The Roger Award is organised by theChristchurch-based groups, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA)and GATT Watchdog. Bad luck to all the finalists and may the worst man win!
– Murray Horton, Secretary/Organiser, CAFCA (Campaign Against Foreign Controlof Aotearoa) Box 2258, Christchurch, New Zealand. cafca@chch.planet.org.nzwww.cafca.org.nz

CAFCA – PLEASE WRITE TO MPS OPPOSING A FREE TRADE DEAL WITH THE US
In November President Obama announced that the US wishes to open negotiations(in 2010), to join the existing trade and investment agreement, the grandlynamed Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership – often known as theP4. The US wishes to use this as a platform for a broad Asia/Pacific free tradebloc, and several other regional countries have indicated that they want tojoin the current P4 members – New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and Brunei .There are already moves afoot to extend the P4 into investment and financialservices. This becomes the means to open negotiations for a US/NZ Free TradeAgreement, which will (among other things): •Remove any remaining“restrictions” on foreign investment, as the US regards NZ’s(purely token) oversight regime as “discriminating” against UStransnational corporations; •push up the price of medicines by potentiallyhundreds of millions of dollars a year by attacking Pharmac; •make accessto digital recordings more expensive, and copying more restricted; •attackour GE controls and food labelling, •weaken our controls on food importswhere they might carry diseases.

Prime Minister John Key has already confirmed that NZ “must beprepared to make concessions”, saying that the US will have its own“shopping list… You can’t rule out Pharmac – it’sbeen on the list before. You can’t rule out issues of intellectualproperty and investment. All of those things will inevitably be part of thenegotiations” (Press, 17/11/09; “Concessions needed for US deal,Key”). Both National and Labour myopically see a US FTA as being the HolyGrail of their adherence to the cargo cult of “free trade”. NewZealanders who kid themselves that “we” stand to gain from a FreeTrade Agreement with the US would be wise to reflect on the rueful words of SirChristopher Meyer, Britain’s Ambassador to the US in the runup to theUS/UK invasion of Iraq. Speaking to the current public Inquiry intoBritain’s part in that invasion and war: “Meyer expressedfrustration that Britain was unable to gain much diplomatic leverage from itsposition as the US’ chief ally. Britain failed to persuade the US toliberalise trans-Atlantic air travel and, almost on the day when Britishcommandoes joined the fighting in Afghanistan, the US imposed tariffs onimports of specialised British steel” (Press, 28/11/09). If this is theway that the US treats its “chief ally” when it comes to protectingits own trade and economic interests, how do you think little old NZ will geton?

CAFCA is calling on other groups and individuals to join us in the campaignagainst this very dangerous proposal. As a first step we’ve set up theNew Zealand Not For Sale Website http://www.nznotforsale.org There you will find awealth of information about just why this proposed Free Trade Agreement is sucha bad thing. We particularly recommend that you read Bill Rosenberg’sexcellent article “Who Wins If We Get A Free Trade Deal With TheUS?” http://nznotforsale.wordpress.com/who-wins-if-we-get-a-free-trade-with-the-us/That Website also has a list of New Zealanders who have publicly expressedtheir opposition to a US/NZ Free Trade Agreement. You can view the list at http://www.nznotforsale.org/2009/05/13/signatories-to-statement-opposing-p4-free-trade-agreement/If you would like to add your name (and any organisational office held, ifapplicable) to that list, just reply to this e-mail with your name and/orposition. Title your e-mail “I Oppose US/NZ FTA, Add Me To TheList”. And we’re asking all of you to write to MPs saying that youoppose this proposed deal and why. A template letter is downloadable from theWebsite.

Murray Horton, Secretary/Organiser, CAFCA, Campaign Against Foreign Controlof Aotearoa, Box 2258, Christchurch, New Zealand. cafca@chch.planet.org.nz

WAIHOPAI SPYBASE PROTEST JANUARY 22-24, 2010
The Waihopai spybase was dragged into the public spotlight in April 2008 whenthree Ploughshares peace activists penetrated its high security and deflatedone of the two domes concealing its satellite dishes from the NZ public. TheAnti-Bases Campaign was happy to support this non-violent direct actionanti-war activity (which is yet to come to trial). The public face of NewZealand’s role as an American ally is the NZ military presence inAfghanistan. But New Zealand’s most significant contribution to that, andother American wars, including the one in Iraq, is the Waihopai electronicintelligence gathering base, located in the Waihopai Valley, near Blenheim. Itis controlled by the US, with New Zealand (including Parliament and the PrimeMinister) having little or no idea what goes on there, let alone any control.Join us for the weekend of anti-war protest at this spybase. Come prepared forroughing it and camping out. We provide the food (we cater for vegetarians butvegans will have to bring their own). Bring sleeping bag, groundsheet, a tent,torch, water bottle, eating utensils, clothing for all weather, and $40 (or $20unwaged) to cover costs. No open fires. How to find our camp at Whites Bay:turn off SH1 at Tuamarina (9km north of Blenheim or 20 km south of Picton) anddrive to Rarangi on the coast. Follow the steep Port Underwood Road over thehilltop before descending to the Whites Bay turnoff. There is a DoC public campat the bay with basic facilities. ABC has to pay a fixed charge per head.
This will be the first Waihopai spybase protest since the Domebusters’courageous 2008 citizens’ deflation action. Waihopai does not operate inthe interests of New Zealanders or our neighbours. Basically it is a foreignspybase on NZ soil and directly involves us in America’s wars. Waihopaimust be closed. Register to take part in the protest ($40 waged / $20 unwaged).Writre to: CLOSE THE WAIHOPAI SPYBASE NOW! Organised by the Anti-BasesCampaign, P.O. Box 2258, Christchurch. E-mail cafca@chch.planet.org.nz http://www.converge.org.nz/abcMake all cheques to ABC

HAMMER THE POKIES: MORE HAMMERS NEEDED!
Thanks for the positive responses to the appeal for people to join thecampaign. We won’t be calling for action in the short term as we need to buildnumbers much higher. This campaign aims to enlist a minimum of 200 hammers(with people attached!) and take civil disobedience action to drive pokiemachines out of our neighbourhood communities. 80% of the cases of gamblingaddiction relate to pokie machines in the community (aside from casinos) Theseare parasites on poverty and predominate in low-income areas of the country.They have to go. If you are prepared to join a crowd (min 200) and take civildisobedience action against pokie machines then please email John Minto jbminto@xtra.co.nz or Phone 8463173.

INVITATION TO JOIN MARCH ON GAZA, JAN/1/2010. GAZA SHALL NOTDIE
Imagine hundreds of thousands of peaceful international and Palestinianmarchers, led by Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Diana Buttu, Norman Finkelstein,Noami Klein, Arun Gandhi, George Galloway, and other prominent opponents of thesiege. Imagine them, approaching the Erez crossing under the eyes of theinternational media, breaking the siege for once and for all. This is the GazaFreedom March! The Gaza Freedom March Campaign plans to take thousands ofinternational marchers to Gaza on Jan. 1, 2010, and challenge once and for allthe Israeli blockade at the Erez crossing. Go with them, or support someoneelse who’s willing to go. Events to raise money to help enable people to go onthe March in Gaza are planned throughout the Fall. This group has many sistergroups, to enable each group to have a local focus for organizing, and to avoidexceeding Facebook’s limit of 5000 for messaging group members. Please join theappropriate campaign group which is best targeted to your locale. All FB groupswill be updated with the latest information. Please invite all your friends tothis or the appropriate other FaceBook group. This Campaign needs the supportof hundreds of thousands around the world! http://gazafreedommarch.org/article.php?id=5063International Movement to Open Rafah Border intmorb@googlemail.com

27TH SOUTHERN CROSS BRIGADE TO CUBA
"A better world is possible": The Cuban people have proven that thereis another way. ICAP (the Cuban Institute for Friendship between Peoples)provides, through its Brigades, the opportunity for people from all over theworld to experience and participate in the Cuban revolution.
What does the Brigade entail? Join the Southern Crosswork/study tour and support Cuba in the most direct manner by working (pickingfruit or pruning fruit trees, etc) and then visiting schools, hospitals, urbanagriculture projects, etc You will experience at first hand the cultural,political and social conditions in revolutionary Cuba. This year we will behaving a closer look at Cuba’s innovative approaches to the environmentand climate change. Children are welcome on this tour as are olderparticipants. Our Cuban hosts take great care of visitors of all ages. The mainfeatures of the Brigade include: * Talks on various aspects of conditions inCuba given by prominent Cuban speakers; * Working with Cubans; * Visits toplaces of interest (eg schools, hospitals, factories); * Opportunities toexplore Havana independently; * Visits to provincial centres;* Homestays andvisit to Las Tunas Province. Unbeatable value – $1000. (Includes: Allmeals, accommodation, excursions and transportation in Cuba during program).Not included: – Air travel to Cuba – get in early to book your flights! (Checkout Aerolineas for cheap flights. There are now also weekly flights withContinental from Los Angeles to Havana.) – Compulsory travel insurance. – Anyadditional nights stay in Cuba prior to commencement of the Brigade orfollowing the conclusion of the program (prior to the flight home). Inexpensiveaccommodation is available – opportunity for independent tourism.Contacts: NZ Paul Maunder (03) 732 4010 email wkcultur@ihug.co.nz; Ina Lawrence (09)303 1755 email inashinaAustralia Robert Cooper – National Coordinator of the 27th Southern CrossBrigade – 0408 624 629, email robert@conceptis.com.au or write toPO Box 6139 Kingston ACT 2604.

JOIN ANTI-BASES CAMPAIGN IN SOLIDARITY WITH WAIHOPAI DOMEBUSTERSTRIAL STARTS MONDAY MARCH 8, WELLINGTON DISTRICT COURT
Monday March 8, 2010 has been set as the opening day for theWellington District Court jury trial of the Waihopai Domebusters – SamLand, Adrian Leason and Peter Murnane, the Ploughshares activists who deflatedone of the domes at the Waihopai spybase in April 2008. The trial has been setdown for a week (and may last several days longer). Anti-Bases Campaign urgesall our members and supporters, and everyone who believes that the Waihopaispybase should be closed, to come to Wellington to show active solidarity withthe Domebusters. It was a Ploughshares action, not an ABC one and we were assurprised by it as the rest of the country, but it was an action that we fullyendorse, the perfect example of non-violent direct action. At this stage wehaven’t worked out the details of what we are going to do in Wellington,but we want to get the word out now, and we will release details as they cometo hand. Activities will, hopefully, include:
•Being spectators at the actual trial, being there in court to support thethree of them
•Holding a picket outside the Wellington District Court for at least partof the trial
•Holding a protest action at the nearby HQ of the NZ GovernmentCommunications Security Bureau (GCSB), the top secret agency which runsWaihopai
•Holding a public meeting in central Wellington one night of the trial todiscuss Waihopai and related issues
These are just some of the ideas that we already have. There are others –we would like to have our excellent Waihopai spybase display in Wellingtonduring the trial, if a venue can be arranged. And there are other worthytargets for pickets, such as the US Embassy. We need help from Wellingtonians.ABC is a Christchurch group and it is difficult to organise a range ofactivities like this from long distance. There are a number of things that canbest be done by locals. And we urge people from all around the country to joinus in Wellington from Monday March 8 to show active solidarity with theDomebusters. What these brave guys did had not only national, butinternational, significance. This trial could, quite literally, be a once in alifetime event. You will have to arrange and finance your own travel andaccommodation. Bring appropriate placards and banners. The trial is, of course,on weekdays and during work hours. And it’s worth noting that courthearings can be subject to delays at short notice. But we are proceeding on thebasis that the trial has been set to start on Monday March 8.
SEE YOU IN WELLINGTON MARCH 8, Murray Horton, Anti-Bases Campaign, Box 2258,Christchurch, New Zealand. cafca@chch.planet.org.nz http://www.converge.org.nz/abc

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is myreligion": Thomas Paine

"Thousands of years ago the question was asked; ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’That question has never yet been answered in a way that is satisfactory tocivilized society. Yes, I am my brother’s keeper. I am under a moral obligationto him that is inspired, not by any maudlin sentimentality but by the higherduty I owe myself. What would you think me if I were capable of seating myselfat a table and gorging myself with food and saw about me the children of myfellow beings starving to death": Eugene V. Debs: 1908speech

BEST ONTHE WEB

NEW ZEALAND

Matt McCarten: Brash’s taskforce recommendations pure baloney http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10613672

For your info, a selection of photos and links to media coverage of lastweek’s rallies are now up on the Fairness at Work website – http://fairness.org.nz/home – follow thelow pay links from the front page.

2025 – An Alternative Vision by Omar Hamed http://socialistaotearoa.blogspot.com/2009/12/2025-aotearoa-alternative-vision.html

MSD social report 2009: Inequality increased in Labour’s last year inoffice

NZ should insist Indo backs justice for Balibo 5 http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0912/S00108.htm

WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS

To Save the Capitalist System – Reflections on Orin Kramer’s understandingof Barack Obama’s duty to America http://www.zcommunications.org/zmag/viewArticle/23263

Light in Darkness: Mondragon and the Global Economic Meltdown – This week’spost is unusual as it is an expansive essay (approx 5000 words) – treating thedevelopment of the Mondragon co-operative in Spain in great detail. Whilethere’s a lot of reading here, Mathews demonstrates that a different kind ofworld is possible – with Mondragon as a case in point. We won’t be publishingas expansive material as this often – but for those interested in economicdemocracy this makes compelling reading… http://leftfocus.blogspot.com/2009/12/light-in-darkness-mondragon-and-global.html

The Myth of Mondragon http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/the-myth-of-mondragon/

Recovery or Bubble? by C.P. Chandrasekhar http://www.monthlyreview.org/mrzine/chandrasekhar061209.html

Battered by the Storm: How the Safety Net Is Failing Americans and How toFix It – Eleven of the nation’s leading experts on poverty have proposeda $400 billion emergency relief plan to create and save jobs for millions ofAmericans while also offering adequate resources to vital safety net programs.http://www.ips-dc.org/getfile.php?id=473

FOOD, FARMING AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Copenhagen: words versus deeds http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/821/42177

John Bellamy Foster: `We can’t shop our way out of the ecological crisis’ http://links.org.au/node/1390

Debate: A Green New Deal — dead end or pathway beyond capitalism? http://links.org.au/node/1392

Lesson learned from World Food Security Summit http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/12/06/lesson-learned-world-food-security-summit-2009.html

A lesson from Seattle for Copenhagen: Vigorous activism can defeat the denialists http://links.org.au/node/1381

Why We Left Our Farms To Come To Copenhagen By La Via Campesina http://www.countercurrents.org/campesina081209.htm

The Climate Denial Industry Is Out To Dupe The Public. And It’s Working By George Monbiot http://www.countercurrents.org/monbiot081209.htm

FEATURES

From Marx to Morales: Indigenous Socialism and the Latin Americanization of Marxism http://bermudaradical.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/from-marx-to-morales-indigenous-socialism-and-the-latin-americanization-of-marxism/

From Conquistadores, Dictators and Multinationals to the Bolivarian Revolution http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/4979

REVIEWS

How messy it all is by David Runciman – The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, Allen Lane, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v31/n20/david-runciman/how-messy-it-all-is

Arundhati Roy’s early warning: behind India’s ‘miracle’ http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/821/42193

Arundhati Roy Disturbs Democratic Daydreaming By Trond verland http://www.countercurrents.org/overland051209.htm

AFGHANISTAN

Peace Laureate Obama expands Afghan War http://mwcnews.net/content/view/34834/42/

How Many Private Contractors Are There In Afghanistan? Military Gives Us A Number – 104,000! http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/12/so_how_many_private_contractors_are_there_in_afgha.php?ref=fpblg

AUSTRALIA

Human rights shame: Aboriginal people fighting back http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/821/42179

BOLIVIA

With Victory, Morales and Social Movements Confront New Challenges in Bolivia https://nacla.org/node/6306

In Bolivia, a Force for Change Endures http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/world/americas/06bolivia.html

Bolivia under Evo Morales: The Pace and Depth of Social and Political Change – Bolivian Ambassador to Canada, Edgar Trrez Mosqueira, Interviewed by Jeffery R. Webber http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/torrez071209.html

Bolivian president to deepen social revolution: President Evo Morales seems set to push ahead with the implementation of a new constitution to place indigenous peoples at the heart of Bolivia’s government and society after his victory in Sunday’s presidential election. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8400639.stm

CANADA

Quebec left debates independence strategy http://www.socialistvoice.ca/?p=810

CUBA

Is There any Margin for Hypocrisy and Deceit? By Fidel Castro – To accuse Hugo Chvez, the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, of inciting a war against the people of Colombia and unleash an arms race, to portray him as the mastermind and promoter of drug trafficking, and accuse him of repressing the freedom of expression, violating human rights and other similar misdeeds is a repugnant and cynical action http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24143.htm

FIJI

Fiji’s Budget 2010: The Great Cover-up http://pacific.scoop.co.nz/2009/12/fijis-budget-2010-the-great-cover-up/

PALESTINE

The West Bank Wall: Living By The Gate From Hell By Ellen Cantarow http://www.countercurrents.org/cantarow091209.htm

Jews Against Zionism By Stephen Lendman http://www.countercurrents.org/lendman071209.htm

PHILIPPINES

Martial Law is Not a Substitute for Competent Police Work: Statement on the Reported Proclamation of Martial Law in Maguindanao http://philippinecommentary.blogspot.com/2009/12/martial-law-is-not-substitute-for.html

Arroyo Regime In The Philippines Crowns Its Rule Of State Terror With Barbaric Show By E. San Juan, Jr. http://www.countercurrents.org/sanjuan031209.htm

SOUTH AFRICA

Rebellion, concessions and repression http://www.cetri.be/spip.php?article1426&lang=en

UK

Normalising the Crime of the Century By John Pilger http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article24148.htm

Britain: Massive climate protest demands real deal at Copenhagen http://www.greenleft.org.au/2009/821/42226

USA

10 Signs the Failed Drug War Is Finally Ending http://www.alternet.org/story/144391/10_signs_the_failed_drug_war_is_finally_ending

Apology To The Native American Indians by Dr. Mary Hamer, M.D http://www.countercurrents.org/hamer081209.htm

VENEZUELA

Venezuelan Bank Fraud Case: Three Executives Flee, Government Intervenes in Related Companies http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/4993

Venezuela’s National Union of Workers Holds Extraordinary Congress http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/4989

WEST SAHARA

Western Sahara: Joy turns to anger – Supporters still hopeful hunger striker will fly “soon” – Last night as flight VAD652 was preparing for take-off news came through that the Moroccan authorities had refused the plane permission to land. On board were four Spanish government officials, a doctor and the Nobel Peace Prize nominee Aminatou Haidar who has been on hunger strike in Lanzarote airport since being deported there from her home in Western Sahara on 14th November. It had been assumed that the 22 minute flight to Laayoune had been agreed to by the Moroccan government but today it emerged that no such agreement had existed. http://en.afrik.com/article16596.html

The Other Occupation: Western Sahara and the Case of Aminatou Haidar http://www.alternet.org/story/144334/the_other_occupation%3A_western_sahara_and_the_case_of_aminatou_haidar


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