The Mana Movement’s MP speaks to Unite Union’s 2013 National Conference
Historian and playwright Dean Parker on the men, women and children behind a revolutionary moment in New Zealand’s history, exactly 100 years after the events.
By Mike Treen
Reprinted from The Daily Blog
Recently there have been signs of few promising red shoots in the generally barren garden that is the anglo-saxon left.
In the UK a “People’s Assembly” to oppose austerity was attended by 4000 delegates in June and it had the enthusiastic support of left leaders of the union movement. It has given a boost to the resistance movement to the Tory governments plan for permanent austerity.
This development has been in part a factor in a deep-going crisis inside the British Socialist Workers Party that is producing a sophisticated discussion on the relationship between reform and revolution that I have real sympathy with.
Unite Union General Secretary Len McCluskey is publicly challenging Labour Leader Ed Milliband to reject “austerity-lite” or “he’ll be defeated and he’ll be cast into the dustbin of history.” With 1.4 million members Unite is Britain’s biggest union and represents one in 5 unionists in the UK. Whilst I don’t hold out much hope for his campaign to “reclaim Labour” for the working class of the UK he seems deadly serious about pursuing it and the consequences will be fascinating to watch.
Help our US brothers and sisters!
From Herald on Sunday, November 10
Matthew Hooton is so far right he sneeringly derides the National Government as communists. But on human rights and social issues we are fellow travellers. We chatted on the morning of our usual Thursday panel with Radio Live hosts Willie Jackson and John Tamihere. Matthew was incensed over what he believed was Willie and JT’s attitude to the predatory behaviour and almost certain rapes of girls by the Roast Buster gang.
I had only listened to one taped interview of a teenager identified as Amy and read a few print reports. None of it was good.
Unlike print and television, talkback radio is live. Hosts never know what a guest will say. On most occasions there is no time for editing or planning an interview. Given the outrage over organised girl rape parties, any questioning of this girl needed careful sensitivity.
In the interview, there was much emphasis on mitigating circumstances for the males and little for the girls. What matters if they snuck out at night or what they wore? You could feel stunned disbelief in radio land when JT asked Amy at what age she lost her virginity.
There is no mitigation for males providing drinks to stupefy 13-year-old girls into sex. It’s called rape. Filming it and public gloating is doubly violating.
The conduct of these young men tells us a lot about where society is. I am keen to be part of a discussion rather than caving in to a lynch mob mentality, however tempting. Locking up a couple of creeps will happen eventually. Then what? Problem solved?
I wanted to discuss how the debate on the show had been handled; the disturbing role of the cops; corporations promoting sexualisation of film, music and youth culture; lolly alcohol aimed at girls; parents; schools; education; peer pressure; plus personal conduct and accountability.
I arrived late just as the show was starting. I wasn’t aware Matthew had tweeted widely before the show that our hosts were in for a drubbing.
Talk about cutting the air with a knife. There was none of the usual banter. Matthew’s opening that the Amy interview was “morally and journalistically cretinous” ended dialogue.
JT’s sneer that Matthew was carrying out a predetermined stunt was quickly followed by Matthew’s swipe at JT’s on-going defence of former top cop Clint Rickards’ sexual behaviour. Pandemonium exploded. Matthew’s stormy exit was so fast I didn’t have time to react.
Thursday’s show was great theatrics, maybe even good radio. But it wasn’t part of a discussion we need.
Next Thursday we need to continue the debate with Matthew’s intellect and energy. Otherwise last week was our last panel. And that’s a shame.
(Matt McCarten is National Secretary of Unite Union. His weekly Herald on Sunday column are a commentary on social and political issues in New Zealand. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unite Union.)
Please make sure you have signed and encourage everyone to get us up to 25,000 – we are almost at 24,000 now
|Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.
Taylor M. is a seventeen year old west Auckland McDonald’s worker, Unite Union delegate and Socialist Aotearoa member. This is her account of the McStrike campaign from the Socialist Aotearoa website.
On April 29th, negotiations between Unite Union and McDonald’s broke down over the renewal of our existing collective agreement. A collective agreement is the agreement workers are moved onto after joining the union, which takes them off their individual contracts. Unlike the original contract you’re given when you start working at McDonalds, this agreement allows for negotiation and improvements in future as the union takes into account worker’s requests and complaints when redrafting the agreement for the following year and adding their voices in.