The elections in France and Greece represent a fundamental change in the situation. The crisis of European capitalism has entered a new and turbulent stage. A mood of anger is sweeping across Europe. Of course, we understand that election results do not reflect the psychology of the masses with complete accuracy. They are like a snapshot of the mood at a given moment. But it is necessary to analyse election results carefully, since they do show certain trends in society.
The dramatic events that have been witnessed on the world stage; whether it be the marvellous beginnings of the Arab revolution, the upswing in the class struggle in Europe due to the euro crisis or the re-awakening of the class struggle in the United States have been seen by most New Zealanders, until recently, as being very distant affairs.
The New Zealand Bourgeoisie and their apologists have been painting a picture that New Zealand escaped lightly from 2008 economic recession. Throughout 2011 the National-led government has been promising spectacular growth and an export led recovery. As in previous years this has not materialised. One thing is absolutely clear on the basis of New Zealand capitalism this is not going to materialise!
"For a revolution to take place it is not enough for the exploited and oppressed masses to realise the impossibility of living in the old way, and demand changes; for a revolution to take place it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way. It is only when the ’lower classes’ do not want to live in the old way and the ’upper classes’ cannot carry on in the old way that the revolution can triumph” (Lenin, ‘Left-Wing’ Communism, an Infantile Disorder).
Another variation on the demand to “tax the rich” is the call for a tax on financial transactions, otherwise known as a “Financial Transactions Tax” (FTT), “Tobin Tax” (after the Nobel economics laureate, James Tobin, who first proposed the idea in 1972), or “Robin Hood Tax” (i.e. taking from the rich and giving to the poor).
The Ports of Auckland announced on March 7th, 2012, that it was making the 300 striking workers at the Ports of Auckland redundant and contracting out their jobs to scabs (contract workers). In justifying this decision the Ports Chairman Richard Pearson claimed this would lead to increased productivity improvements resisted by the Maritime Union. Mr Pearson claims the port will be fully operating in about ten weeks’ time when the contractors from Drake and AWF (formerly Allied Work Force) Group are brought up to standard.
The present economic crisis has been described in various ways by mainstream commentators. All manner of “solutions” have been posed, both by the bourgeois politicians and economists, and by the reformist leaderships of the working class. What these commentators and representatives cannot admit is that this crisis will not be solved by this or that reform. Society is living through a crisis of capitalism and the choice facing mankind is simple: socialism or barbarism.
CEO 18.2% Pay Rise Council Workers 1.2% Pay Rise
On February 7th, 2012, about 300 protesters marched to the Kapiti Coast emergency management building after it was revealed last week that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Kapiti Coast District Council Patrick Doherty was given a $44,000 increase in his salary. This generated a great deal of outrage in a local authority where approximately a third of its residents are NZ Superannuation recipients who earn around $20,235 a year .
The start to 2012 has not been a dull affair as far as the class struggle is concerned. The bosses are going on the offensive to drive down wages and conditions in order to boost their profits (the unpaid labour of the working class).