Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Make Your Own Tea!

I hadn't read this before, but I would recommend it to anyone (if they haven't already). Make Your Own Tea by Alice Nutter in the last issue of Class War, is a great text on radical feminism, anarchism and class struggle.

"This piece is written for all revolutionaries. This is not the token 'women's bit' that's stuck in for the sake of appearances. This is an attempt to look at how and why the Left, and Class War in particular, has not just failed to attract women, but alienated, patronised and looked upon them as a minority group. How can half the working class be treated as a minority? We're not claiming that we have solutions for the gender imbalance but we are saying that it's time to stop ignoring the problem. Any revolutionary movement which doesn't address why there are so few women in its ranks isn't a true revolutionary movement, just a complacent reflection of the status quo."

I liked these points in particular:

"The new right wants us in the traditional wifey mode, but it also wants our wage labour. The post-feminist line is that the modern women can have freedom through work, and still have the 'fulfilment' of running a home. Capitalism needs women to work. The far right's shift to economic 'rationalism' and the expansion of the low-paid service industries mean that cheap labour is always in demand. And as far as capital is concerned, nothing comes cheaper than women. Capitalism's motto is: if you want to shell out less money and make more profits, employ women - they're worth less.

Nine out of ten single parents are women, and even in two parent households many women are the main bread-winner; yet capitalism still pretends that women's wages are 'pin money.' Women don't need a living wage, because we don't actually have to live off it. Despite a wealth of evidence to the contrary, men are still seen as the main 'providers'. Our wages pay for the little extras: food, shelter and warmth. And as we get older, in a society which judges women on appearance, we become worthless."


"In 81 per cent of (two adult) homes where a woman works full-time, she's still responsible for the washing and ironing and the bulk of the domestic jobs. Maybe 'we've made it' means the beds. We're still acting as unpaid domestic servants; the only real change is that many men think they do more. There's a million excuses for why not, but men rarely take an equal share of cooking and household chores. Revolutionary groups seldom address the day-to-day inequalities in their own kitchens. Issues around housework are seen as trivial. Twenty years ago the expression for it was 'women's work'. Lefty 'man' may claim to be fighting for the freedom of mankind, but that doesn't mean he wants his girlfriend to stop doing his washing.

Part of the problem is that housework has been tagged 'personal politics'. 'Personal' like 'middle class' is just another way of saying irrelevant to the overall struggle. Class War has always understood that 'politics' is about improving the day-to-day realities of our lives. Unfortunately, that understanding doesn't seem to extend to women. Too often issues are prioritised on the grounds of whether or not they make men feel heroic. Rioting does; shopping doesn't. Washing up just doesn't get the adrenalin going: ask any woman."

final paragraphs:

"There's not much incentive for women to join revolutionary groups when the general ethos is: you can fight our battles but we're not interested in yours.

Women join revolutionary organisations because they want to change the whole of society not just the sexist bit. But to survive within them we end up having to 'put up and shut up'. Just because we've prioritised class and capitalism as major oppressions doesn't mean that we don't give a shit about gender.

The old chestnut about 'single issues' distracting the focus of the struggle has been dragged out too many times when women's struggles come up. The anti-JSA campaign or prisoner support are 'single issues'; race, class and gender aren't. We can't pick up and put down our class, our skin colour or our sex. Whatever comes after Class War needs to take a less one-dimensional approach. We don't know what will make a unified movement, but we do know what won't: ignorance.

No one is 'just' working class, 'just' a woman, 'just' black. Our politics are a mesh of different experiences, and half the time there's no cosy alliance between our different oppressions. A women's experiences under patriarchy help shape her perceptions of class. We've been guilty of pretending that working class men and women would all live happily ever after once we've banished capitalism. Not if we still have one half serving the other half. Life isn't simple. Those who are our comrades in one area may well turn out to be against us in another. When conflict comes up we're forced to say what matters most; sometimes it's our class and sometimes it isn't. We have to acknowledge difficulties before we can start to deal with them. We don't know if we can resolve these dilemmas but we're certainly willing to try."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Black Tuesday and the 1912 Waihi Strike

On 'Black Tuesday' November 12, 1914, Frederick George Evans became the first worker killed in an industrial dispute in New Zealand. This short film shows the strike and the struggle which lead up to his death, in a hope to share more of New Zealand's militant labour history.

My account of this part of our history doesn't pretend to be objective or unbiased — as they say, you can't be neutral on a moving train. Watch at full screen size to get a better view of the subtitles.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Beyond Resistance: a new collective of class struggle anarchists

After a few local events and discussions, a new anarchist group has formed in Otautahi.

Beyond Resistance is a collective of revolutionary class struggle anarchists in Otautahi/Christchurch, Aotearoa, who have come together in the hope of creating a coherent and organised anarchist presence in our area. Our name reflects our intended approach to struggle — a visible and constructive anarchism that goes beyond mere reaction, both in the workplace and the community.

We are a new collective which hopes to grow and develop over time — through good group process, regular events such as our monthly film nights and forums, our own paper, and most importantly, clear strategy and vision for constructive struggle. Feel free to check out our aims & principles for where we stand, or visit our (very new) website: Beyond Resistance.

Our group strategy will be coming soon (after our first strategy hui), but we recognse that an anarchist position should be that in order to have improvements, it is necessary to struggle. So if we are a fighting organisation, then strategy and tactics must be applied to advance our anarchist positions and in order to build dual power — to take concrete tactical steps which bring us closer to a position of breaking with and destroying the prevailing order. Without a program, we have nothing to offer those wanting to empower themselves through class struggle, and the potential of anarchist input in this struggle, as a result, becomes near to naught.

This is the task in front of us as a small collective wanting to punch above it’s weight. We look forward to this struggle, and hope to build strong relationships with other groups around Aotearoa with similar positions.

If you’re in Otautahi and would like to get involved then please get in touch, or to be informed of local upcoming events (such as the film screening of Lucio this Thursday at the WEA), sign on to the Otautahi anarchist announcement list. We meet every second Thursday at the WEA from 6.30pm, but if you can't make regular meetings and are keen to help out, then you can become a support member with the option of paying dues and being involved in other ways. Again, feel free to get in touch to find out more.

In solidarity!
Beyond Resistance

Email: otautahianarchists (at)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Emroy Douglas in New Zealand

The former Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party will deliver a public lecture and mount a solo exhibition when he visits New Zealand as the Elam International Artist in Residence at The University of Auckland.

Emory Douglas created the striking graphic images that came to represent the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, '70s and early '80s. The group was founded in 1966 in Oakland, California, and was one of the first organisations in US history to militantly struggle for ethnic minority and working class emancipation.

Symbolising the civil unrest of the times, Emory Douglas’ images were used to illustrate the Black Panther, the party’s weekly newspaper. Over the years, the Black Panther’s “Revolutionary Artist” made countless artworks, illustrations, and cartoons, which were reproduced in the paper and distributed as prints, posters, cards and sculptures.

Thanks in large part to Emory Douglas’ powerful visuals the Black Panther Party delivered a forceful message to a community ravaged by poverty, police brutality, and poor living conditions. The organisation was discontinued in the early 1980s.

While in Auckland, Emory Douglas will deliver a public lecture, “Emory Douglas and the Art of Revolution”, about the graphic art he created while Minister of Culture for the Black Panthers. He will also give lectures in New Plymouth, Dunedin and Wellington, where he is being hosted as part of his visit to New Zealand.

He is also the subject of a solo exhibition, “Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party”. The show, on display at the Gus Fisher Gallery, will include newspapers, posters, memorabilia and a busy schedule of public programmes.

Emory will also accept a number of community and iwi-based invitations. He will travel to the Ureweras, Taranaki and parts of wider Auckland. As part of their welcome to Emory Douglas, the Polynesian Panthers will host a public concert in his honour. The event will comprise talks, music and other activities.

“What makes this artist residency so significant is the historical ties between the New Zealand Polynesian Panther Party and the American Black Panther Party. Their battles for civil and human rights reflect the fight that Māori today continue their struggle to achieve,” says Emory Douglas, who is making his first visit to New Zealand.

“Emory Douglas is a highly respected artist whose work reflects the power, politics and passion of the causes in which he believes. More than just a glimpse at past political conflicts, Emory Douglas’ art is compelling precisely because of its relevance today. We are delighted to host such a prestigious figure of yesterday’s radical politics and today’s art world,” says Professor Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, Head of Elam School of Fine Arts.

“Emory Douglas and the Art of Revolution” will be delivered at 6.30pm on Monday 24 August in room 1.439, “Glass Box”, Engineering Building, (20 Symonds Street). The lecture and Power Point presentation is free and open to the public.

“Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party” will be mounted at the Gus Fisher Gallery (74 Shortland Street) from 21 August – 3 October. For details visit

Telco workers strike against Telecom

From More than a hundred telecommunications engineers in Auckland's North Shore have started lightning strike action to protest moves by Telecom to force them into becoming dependent contractors - a situation that would dramatically decrease their incomes.

The workers are responsible for the North Shore's phone, internet and eftpos provision and say they will strike until Telecom fronts up to them.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says the strike action is part of an ongoing national campaign and Telecom can expect more over the next few weeks.

"Our members have had a gutsful of Telecom and its contractors attacking their terms and conditions and are determined to fight back with sporadic strike action around the country over the next few weeks.

"For members in Auckland and Northland the fight is particularly urgent because they've been told they'll be redundant by Telecom contractors Transfield and Downer EDI and picked up as dependent contractors by another Telecom contractor, Visionstream.

"The dependent contracting model represents a serious threat to our members' incomes and their income security and they are determined to refuse to transfer to Visionstream until they have a proper employment offer.

"It's time for Telecom to front up and work with union members to develop long-term and stable employment to ensure a stable future for the telco industry and the New Zealand network.

"We understand that this campaign may result in disruption for members of the public but we have committed to working with Telecom's contractors to ensure emergency services are not affected."

Wednesday's action follows a two-day strike by Downer EDI telco workers in Northland on Monday and Tuesday and national strike action by Transfield workers a week and a half ago.

Type rest of the post here

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Quote of the Week

"So off we went to Atlanta. There was a curious object stuck by means of a suction cup to the glove compartment in front of me, I remember. Coming out of the cup and aimed at my breastbone was what looked like about a foot of green garden hose. At the end of the shaft was a white plastic wheel the size of a dinner plate. Once we got going, the wheel began to hypnotize me, bobbing up and down when we went over bumps, swaying this way and then that way as we went around curves.
So I asked about it. It was a toy steering wheel, it turned out. Lawes had a seven-year-old son he sometimes took with him on trips. The little boy could pretend to be driving the limousine with the plastic wheel. There had been no such toy when my own son was little. Then again, he wouldn't have enjoyed it much. Even at seven, young Walter hated to go anywhere with his mother and me.
I said it was a clever toy.
Lawes said it could be an exciting one too, especially of the person with the real steering wheel was drunk and having close shaves with oncoming trucks and sideswiping parked cars and so on. He said that the President of the United States ought to be given a wheel like that at his inauguration, to remind him and everybody else that all he could do was pretend to steer."

From Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Free hardcore punk anyone?

Although the actual artifact of rare vinyl can never be replicated, thanks to the internet we can a least enjoy the music of those hard-to-find bands. And enjoying them I am! Stumbling upon Nation of Fire last week was simply the tip of the iceberg — there's more free download sites out there than I thought, and that's only in the realm of hardcore punk!

There's too many for me to list, but I thought I'd post links to the sites I found most fruitful:

Nation on Fire: mainly british anarch-punk and UK82 hardcore, with a good links page to other similar sites. Use the search bar top left to save time, or scroll through the recent posts section to find a band.

Punk As Fuck: a Polish blog with both British and international hardcore, punk, thrash and crust, which can be translated using google. Best thing about this site is all the bands are listed alphabetically down the right hand side! Here I found Crucifix, a band I've been looking for for ages, as well as a lot of other bands that I had heard but never had full EP's of. Check out Boston band Seige... fast and mean! The only downside of this site is the .rar host program only allows one download per 15 minutes unless you pay, so it's time consuming, but well worth the wait.

Budda Khan: haven't downloaded a lot here but the links page is huge, which means there's bound to be a lot more downloads via this site.

Bloodjunkies: this is a real gem. This morning I downloaded about 10 US hardcore bands that are quite hard to find on vinyl, including the classic 'This Is Boston Not LA' compilation and bands like MDC, Circle One, Jerry's Kids, Gang Green, Hated Youth, Necros and YDI. Mainly american bands, they're all listed in regions — but use the search bar to find what you're after. Also, the 'next page' button is in another language but often there's more than one page, so check that out too.

A lot of the downloads don't come as MP3's, so you'll need to convert them if you want to listen to them on itunes or your stereo (however if you have VLC Player or other programs you can listen to them on the computer). On Mac I use Switch, which converts .rar files to MP3, and it's free to download. There's a lot more out there though, so just google them.

I think it may be time to start another band while I'm inspired!