Revolutionary Spain, Revolutionary Syria, and the Bastards We Vote For.

Written By: - Date published: 3:36 pm, February 11th, 2015 - 63 comments
Categories: culture, democracy under attack, democratic participation, education, feminism, history, International, Left, political alternatives, political education, racism, Revolution, social democracy, Syria, vision, war - Tags: , , , , , ,

Imagine this – a society where women and men are afforded equal rights and decisions are the result of deeply participatory and grassroots democratic procedures. Believe it or not, that’s the case in Syria today within the autonomous cantons of Efrin, Kobane and Cizire where some 4 million people live

Until last week, when a link to a Wallace Chapman RNZ interview arrived in my inbox, I had heard nothing about any such thing happening in Syria. The interview really ought to be listened to.

Some internet searching has turned up, not what I’d call a ‘huge trawl’ of further information from major media outlets. There was, among precious little else, an opinion piece in the Guardian by David Graeber entitled ‘Why is the world ignoring the revolutionary Kurds in Syria?’ It should be read.

Given that our government, in concert with other western governments, bang on about democracy and women’s rights in the Middle East, some might then wonder why they don’t promote and embrace the Rojava Revolution (as the people of the region have named it), call for an end to sanctions affecting the autonomous Cantons and provide whatever aid and help is required.

The Constitution of the Rojava Cantons states in the pre-amble

Under the Charter, we, the people of the Autonomous Regions, unite in the spirit of reconciliation, pluralism and democratic participation so that all may express themselves freely in public life. In building a society free from authoritarianism, militarism, centralism and the intervention of religious authority in public affairs, the Charter recognizes Syria’s territorial integrity and aspires to maintain domestic and international peace. (my emphasis)

Again.

Read the David Graeber article linked to above – hell! Read this one too – if you are wondering why our governments would rather such sentiments (and others besides) weren’t expressed in relation to democratic governance. Liberal governments, as history teaches us, despise democracy and would rather embrace fascism than defend or promote it.

Case in point? As of Dec 4th, any Australian going to Syria to aid the Rojavans in any way shape or form will face ten years in jail. The Al-Raqqi Province the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs has decreed as ‘off limits’ runs between the autonomous Cantons of Cizire and Kobane.

Meanwhile, any financial, medical or other assistance anyone may be tempted to send the way of the peoples of Rojava will instantly fall foul of the blanket western definition of the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

Any attempt to sign the facebook petition calling for the lifting of that definition will find a deleted facebook account.

Thank god then for people like Australia’s Northern Territories Labor Party President Matthew Gardiner. (His face book account has been stripped of all content btw)

63 comments on “Revolutionary Spain, Revolutionary Syria, and the Bastards We Vote For. ”

  1. Chooky 1

    thanks…interesting

  2. Ad 2

    Spanish Civil War, Guatemalan left, Angolan Marxist militants, South African Marxist militants; there are plenty of old leftie analogies to buttress moral urges to get in there.

    There have also been plenty of posts on TS saying how complex the Middle East is, with a strong subtext inferring that intervention by nation-states has been wrong all along and further intervention would be even more wrong. Looks like quietism, caution, cynicism, and the standard retreat to the right wing doing the international heavy lifting because they have historically had fewer qualms about using the military, taking the glory, fudging mistakes, and picking up their gun.

    This wasn’t the left’s pattern in the first half of the twentieth century.

    The Prime Minister only yesterday signaled he will now frame the left hard as cowards. The media will boil this down very hard, very fast. They will both conflate WW1 into it, however fairly or not.

    We have two hard questions ahead, which the left must answer:

    1. Which kind of state-sanctioned professional military intervention do we assent to as citizens?

    2. When does the left pick up a gun?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      When does the left pick up a gun?

      We did that a long time ago – despite calls to decommission the Army, Navy, Air Force and GCSB, the Left is armed as much as any other party in Parliament.

      Whom do we target, and what are the rules of engagement?

      • Ad 2.1.1

        That’s the interesting this about citing the Spanish civil war, because it was a civil war – there were very few rules of engagement. The invitation from Bill is to get into a war with no rules of engagement. Very seductive; it’s the precise analogue of ISIS inviting its own fighters to join them.

    • Bill 2.2

      Ad, until last week, any and all western interventions were based on what pack of bastards to back. I’ll stick to my guns (not picking them up) on that one and maintain that all such intervention is wrong.

      Here’s a thing though. Current western intervention is bolstering the embargo on those autonomous regions and more or less delivering heavy weapons to fcking ISIS.

      Current reports from major news outlets consistently fudge and ignore the context of people of Rojava dying fighting ISIS – I mean, the fcking Guardian wanked on about martyrs (dead women combatants) in one article while ignoring the framework or context that led to them taking up arms. (Graeber mentions it in the second link I provided and I’m sure you could find the Guardian article with minimal searching)

      Others laud the US and NATO air strikes ( eg – Yazidis stuck on Mount Sinjar) while ignoring the fact that it was men and women from the Autonomous Regions that facilitated the descent of tens of thousands of men, women and children down the mountain and along the corridor they maintained following those air strikes…

      In the end, unless we prevent it, our governments will sit back and allow the peoples in the Autonomous Cantons to be wiped out by who-ever when their interests no longer coincide with their own…Spain redux.

      And there is nothing ‘lesser’ about anyone on the left providing medical aid or expertise…being a driver…being a builder or a plumber or whatever. BUT. Our own governments have decided that any and all persons traveling to Syria for whatever reason – even the most philanthropic reason – are fcking terrorists.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        Well, the government of Kurdistan has formally recognised the Cantons, and are going to be part of any ongoing solution, especially now Turkey seems more amenable to a Kurdistan existing at all…

        • Bill 2.2.1.1

          But if you just take the time to read some of the links, you’ll understand that the Rojava Revolution is predicated on rejecting any notion of a Kurdish state.

          So, Turkey being amenable to a ‘Kurdistan’ is just irrelevant nonsense. And I’m deeply suspicious of your other statement… if you have a link to the Kurdish state government formally recognising the Cantons and, by extension, the Rojava revolution, I’d really appreciate you posting it.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1.1.1

            I was about to, and then I found a reference to it in your links.

            It’s the Duhok agreement, I think.

            • Bill 2.2.1.1.1.1

              If I’m reading the info in that link correctly, there was a positive vote within parliament, and yet no formal recognition by the government.

              The language used in reports of other links (google search for Duhok agreement) is, at best, confusing. It would appear to me that the agreement is between two hierarchical organisations and amounts to an attempt at sidelining the people of the cantons and effectively hi-jacking the Rojava Revolution via ‘recognised’ (liberal)vehicles of authority.

              I could be wrong. It’s just my reading of contradictory and confusing language.

              But how else to explain shit like “The groups agreed to…” where ‘the groups’ are two discreet Political Parties and not, it seems, subject to the democratic mechanisms being developed and honed within the Cantons?

              http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/221020141

              I’ll say it again. The Rojava Revolution isn’t just about Kurds and it certainly isn’t about any ambition to form a Kurdistan or any state bound form of representative parliamentary democracy.

              EDIT: Just read the third comment below the linked article and it reflects (confirms?) my own suspicions. -“The main problem in KRG is being divided beetween parties. And know you want to create that problem in Rojava? For your own intrests. There is unity in Rojava. You just want power.”

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                The Kurdistani government in Iraq espouses similar values: independent media, free elections, democracy, so it isn’t just about Kurds either.

                That said, they’ve spent the last two and a half decades defending their borders against everybody. The desire to expand them cannot be their top priority, especially in the face of Wahhabist (is that what ISIS are?) aggression, not to mention the “war” on “terror”.

                I see the Rojava as an extension of Kurdish democratic revolution, and still the KRG has to respect Realpolitik as much as the House of Saud or the Tea Party.

                The cantons want the KRG to fully open the border. Not exactly what you demand of enemies, eh.

                • Bill

                  OAB. I don’t know whether you’re doing what I’d term ‘a TRP’ and willfully refusing to understand, in this instance, the very unique situation within the Cantons (who the peoples are and what they hope to achieve – a form of libertarian municipalism as espoused by Murray Bookchin…which is why his photo is on the front of the post), or whether you genuinely can’t get your head around the gulf in mentality that exists between ‘recognised’ Kurdish liberal authorities of the region and the peoples of the Autonomous Regions.

                  But I have to dash anyway.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    I get the link.

                    I’m struggling to see the difference between what the KRG has achieved in their existing territory and what the inhabitants of the Cantons have achieved in theirs, other than that the KRG has had ‘relative stability’ for decades rather than years.

                    Probably I’m not paying sufficient attention.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                PS: who says that “being divided” is a problem? The Borg?

                Division is a feature of every bloody democracy I’ve had the misfortune to support, I’m willing to bet that the inhabitants of the cantons are similarly diverse, and that the various parties of the KRG will reach out to those factions with shared values.

                • Bill

                  More straw men. Can’t see a reference to “being divided”. But that as it may, you do understand the difference between diversity and division, yes?

                  And this “every bloody democracy (you’ve) had the misfortune to support” have always been liberal democracies and not in any way, shape or form like the democracy being forged in the Syrian Autonomous Regions where diverse peoples don’t support what’s going on so much as partake and participate.

                  And liberal democracies are always inimical to genuine democracy. 1930’s Spain is your historical pointer if you need one. Post WW2 Northern Italy affords another historical example if needed.

                  And now I am gone for the evening.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    The main problem in KRG is being divided between parties.

                    The very comment you quoted as the foundation of your argument, Bill. Don’t forget to breathe.

                    PS: you think the KRG was founded and exists because of a Liberal uprising? Seriously?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Bill’s point I believe is that party politics is toxic to any true democracy.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      CR then so is brain physiology/chemistry/neurobiology, at which point “true democracy” fails the reality check, no?

                    • weka

                      “CR then so is brain physiology/chemistry/neurobiology”

                      How so?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Weka, because they create a spectrum of opinion, aka “divisions”, aka “party politics”.

                      In wartime, people tend to unify. In peacetime, not so much.

                    • weka

                      What makes you think biology is the cause of that rather than it being an indicator of some other effect?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      OAB, not sure why you are trying to liken organisational and institutional impediments to democracy (political party structures) with innate physiological ones.

                      Pretty silly of you.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      CR, Weka, I guess you can argue that biology has no influence on worldview, and that worldview has no influence on politics if you like.

                      Organisational impediments to “true democracy” exist because people organise, even revolutionary people:

                      …the political and moral fabric of a democratic society in order to function with mutual understanding and coexistence within diversity and respect for the principle of self-determination and self-defense

                      The Charter of Social Contract (foundation of the Cantons). My bold.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    PS: I’m not making light of this, or misinterpreting you deliberately. Just trying to make some sense of it.

                    Am I harbouring illusions about the KRG? Most probably.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1.1.2

            PS: seriously, you think the Turks are going to take on the Peshmerga in Iraq after how long?

            • Bill 2.2.1.1.2.1

              I’m not referring to the Peshmerga. They’re the military arm of the Iraqi Kurdish government not the Kurds and others who are fighting ISIS and defending themselves in Syria.

              Do I have that wrong?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                The troops defending Kobani were reinforced in part by Peshmerga after Turkey agreed to allow them (the Peshmerga) free passage through their territory – again, not the actions of enemies.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  NATO and the USA arm twisted Turkey for over a year to allow that to happen.

                  In the mean time, Turkey ran military raids on various groupings of Kurds that they call “terrorists.”

                  Not exactly the actions of friends.

      • Ad 2.2.2

        That’s a really deep moral morass you are inviting us to make sense of.

        I also fully respect that the left needs to find a way to react with the same moral certainty that Key has when he accuses Little of backing away when people are getting their throats cut live on television. Identifying virtuous cantons is a way of reaching for that moral certainty. Finally, someone with modern values worth rescuing.

        I also totally take your point that there are more kinds of intervention than picking up a gun. One could be kinder and ask “When do we go over and join in with the resistance effort?”

        My reaction is the opposite of yours. To me, the more complex the Syrian/Iraq war becomes, the more we (individually and as a nation) should be guided only by nation-states acting to UN mandates.

        • Colonial Rawshark 2.2.2.1

          I also fully respect that the left needs to find a way to react with the same moral certainty that Key has when he accuses Little of backing away when people are getting their throats cut live on television

          The Labour Party needs to respond with actual moral certainty, not this faux Crosby Textor BS that Key puts on.

          Can Labour do that? Can Little do that?

          The lines and strategy to push back are easy. The political team I am part of can put together the package in 30 minutes flat. Can Wellington?

      • greywarshark 2.2.3

        Ad likes to play devil’s advocate.

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.3

      2. When does the left pick up a gun?

      When there is a realistic and plausible plan for victory, and when the strategy for the aftermath isn’t going to make things even worse than they are; not when the fucking chicken hawks all start deciding to act and talk all tough.

      Do you see a plan for victory on the table?

      Key is a coward. He sends other people to die in a lose-lose scenarios while he drinks cognac and smokes cigars.

      If the Left can’t pull their PR together to cover off both him and “oh I guess sometimes shit happens” Tony Abbott, then we deserve to be slammed into the media wall.

  3. tracey 3

    IF the parties seeking to swoop in on IS gave a shit about women or democracy they wouldn’t be so cosily allied with Saudi Arabia.

    • Bill 3.1

      indeed

    • Chooky 3.2

      Tracey +100…if the Kurds are to be protected the causes of ISIS and the funding of ISIS need to be dried up…(Saudi Arabia and its friends … the opponents of Iran and Assad/Syria…those who have destabilised the Middle East and given the fuel to ISIS)

      ……in the end the solution has to be political and through UN.

      • Bill 3.2.1

        The starving of funds and arms for ISIS and the mis-named ‘Syrian Free Army’ and a host of others is probably do-able via the UN and various policy changes by certain Nation States, including NZ.

        But…and it’s a big ‘but’…the UN and all its members are of the liberal tradition and will not tolerate any genuine expression of democratic agency by any of ‘the great unwashed’. That was the parallel between Spain and Syria that Graeber was at pains to point out…

        Any UN or other liberal ‘solution’ would include the rolling back and stomping down of the Rojava Revolution.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1.1

          That very much depends on the military situation at the beginning of the inevitable ceasefire.

          As such, the KRG is the Rojava revolution’s only credible (less compromised than the other ones) ally. The Peshmerga have already helped defend it with their lives. I’m picking natural alliances have an even chance of success.

          Edit: I’d far rather our forces were placed at the disposal of the Peshmerga than the USA, that’s for sure, especially if the UN are persona non grata.

    • Chooky 3.3

      This was posted by SaveNZ on Open Mike yesterday …the solution to ISIS has to be through the UN

      Noam Chompsky Solution to ISIS…..

      And to solve the mess, the US again decided to act against the international law, building an anti-ISIS coalition that is “meaningless, apart from being illegal.”

      “A law-abiding state would go to the Security Council, ask for a declaration by the Security Council of a threat to peace, and request the Security Council to organize direct response to it. And that could be done. The US could then participate in it, but so could Iran,” which is a major military force and would probably wipe out ISIS in no time, if it was allowed to join the fight on the ground, Chomsky believes.

      http://rt.com/news/203055-us-russia-war-chomsky/

      • Tracey 3.3.1

        and, stop selling weapons to non nation states… and then group together and attack the black market of arms dealing …

        to say this is not a solution is wrong. some nations simply will not choose this solution, which is not the same as “there is nothing else we can do”

        • Colonial Rawshark 3.3.1.1

          Actually the total market of arms dealing has to be hauled dramatically backwards, not just the black market.

  4. Descendant Of Sssmith 4

    So those on the right wish the left to take up arms.

    Are they inferring therefore that if the US is overthrowing and fighting leftist governments as they have done historically the left should take up arms against the US. Are they inferring that the right would support such moves because the principle of fighting for “your side” makes it a fair and just war. Can’t have the left not having the courage of their convictions

    As the left watches this government, and previous ones including Labour, dismantle one after another the socialist systems that existed / still exist in this country they should take up arms and wrest control back off the right wing bastards that have done this?

    Equally should the right respond with the same take up of arms when their is leftist intervention in right wing governments.

    What is it with this desire to intervene, to fight, to kill, to hurt that drives people like you ad.

    It’s quite clear that the battles various right leaning governments choose to part-take in have very little to do with the atrocities happening in any particular country (otherwise I’d be looking forward to our invasion of China, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Israel et al) and much more to do with strategic and political relationships that they wish to influence (positively or negatively) and foster.

    Probably a good time to reconsider War Is A Racket as well. There’s some people making some good money out of this war-mongering as they have always.

    http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

    And besides the Prime Minister framing the left as cowards doesn’t make them cowards. You know he’s taking a political cheap shot but this government is good at insulting it’s own citizens – it has no respect at all for the very people it’s supposed to govern on behalf of.

    I take no responsibility at all for any label he wishes to put on me and nor should anyone else.

  5. Colonial Rawshark 5

    If only the fucking Left had the guts to back their own people to the hilt, the bottom 50% of NZers, as bravely as they want to pick up guns, approve mass surveillance and be part of capitalist empire extracting labour and resources from the third world (which they created).

    Nauseating.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Someone help Colonial Rawshark out to the carpark to throw up so that we don’t end up with bile all over the debate.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 5.2

      In a democracy they’re only “their” people if they vote for them.

      Clearly either the politicians are not left or and/or the voters aren’t.

  6. The parallel between Spain and Syria goes so far but no further.
    In Spain a bourgeois democratic republic was attacked by a fascist army.
    Correctly volunteers from the Western left of all shades joined the ranks of the republican army to defend it against the fascists.
    Some mistakenly joined the bourgeois Spanish regimes in Madrid and Barcelona rather than forming a militia independent of these regimes.
    The Stalinists did so because they feared an independent working class at a time when they were in alliances with the Western democracies against fascism.
    In Barcelona the anarchist leaders betrayed their rank and file by joining the bourgeois regime also.
    The civil war was lost because the fascists were armed by Italy and Germany while the republic was not armed by the ‘democracies’. In fact they did all in their power to prevent the arming of the republic.
    The only way that this war could have been won, was the formation of a popular councils and militias independent of the bourgeoisie and the Stalinists, backed by massive workers brigades from around Europe, that would have begun a revolutionary war to smash fascism right across Europe.

    In Syria we have a fascist dictator, Assad, opposed by a popular democratic revolution.
    Some in the leadership of that revolution, the FSA for example, want to form a bourgeois republic as an alternative to Assad.
    But many revolutionary fighters reject these bourgeois leaders as aligned to one or other imperialist powers.
    There are numerous militias that are locally organised and loosely coordinated so effectively that they have resisted Assad despite being starved of arms by the ‘democracies’, so that without SAMs Assad’s planes dominate.
    Moreover, because most of the Western left has defended Assad and parroted his line that he is being attacked by foreign terrorists (an irony since he has mercenaries from many countries including the Iranian Republican Guards) funded by the Saudis, Turkey, the CIA, you name it. He also released from his jails many who went on to form the ISIS in Syria.
    Because of this reactionary campaign in the West the revolution and its democratic objectives has been largely ignored, and unlike Spain there has been no massive flood of left wing volunteers to join the militias.
    Yet these popular militias that organised Local Coordination Committees that are run on a democratic basis have been able to survive for four years against Assad, and in the last 2 years against the jihadists armed by the West and its local allies.
    Unlike the PYG that has fought to defend Rojava from the ISIS with the benefit of US etc air support, the Syrian revolutionaries have been starved of military support by the West and by the Western left, except for a few notable exceptions.
    One is the Leon Sedov Brigade made up of Trotskyists that still exists as an example how to organise independently of the FSA bourgeoisie, the imperialist powers and their local stooges, and fight on three fronts to link the Syrian revolution to the Palestinian revolution and the wider Arab Revolution.
    Check out the articles on the ongoing popular Syrian revolution here.
    https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/
    In particular this recent overview
    https://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/revolution-reaction-%E2%80%A8and-intervention-in-syria/

    • “The US continues to argue that there is no question of normalising relations with Mr Assad, nor of considering him as an ally against Isis. Yet the underlying impression is that the whole Assad question has been put on the back burner, as if that would enable a swifter victory against Isis. That narrative casts the military effort against Isis in Syria and Iraq as a fight against extremism. Yet extremism was deliberately fed by Mr Assad from the start, when he released jihadi prisoners from his jails and then avoided targeting Isis in places such as Raqqa, its stronghold on Syrian territory. Mr Assad can happily bathe in the ambiguities of claiming that the US-led coalition, through third parties, regularly informs his forces of air strikes.”
      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/feb/10/guardian-view-bashar-al-assad-bbc-interview-lies-tyrant

      The Guardian underscores that the US is now in an informal alliance with Assad to deal with IS. So sending NZ troops to fight IS and jailing (like Aussie) those who want to fight Assad, is siding with the worst enemies of human rights; the US, its convenient ally Assad, its military ally Israel, against the target, IS, that originated in the US funding the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in the 80s and 90’s.

      Against this coalition of the evil, perpetrators of terror, is the coalition of the masses, popular militias armed and supported by the international working class to defend and extend democracy and socialism.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    Of course Key will want to form a government of national unity, as NZ does when committing to a serious war…

  8. Andrew Welsh 8

    The argument that the ‘allied’ coalition fighting IS ‘do not give a shit’ because they turn a blind eye to what goes on in Saudi Arabia is no different to the Allies working with the USSR during WW2 to overthrow Hitler. Those on the left may not like it but Stalin was no angel…. A means to an end (working with the USSR), perhaps and the end result (east verses west) was not ideal but after 6 years of war 25 million dead there had to be an end to the madness. IS is no different to the SS, they have to be stopped.
    I also agree with the writer regarding the Kurds, I have followed the PKK since the mid 80’s. I am right in my politics but support the principal of self determination.

    • vto 8.1

      Where do you get your information from?

      Truth is the first casualty in war.

      I don’t believe anything that comes from mainstream media or western government. They are conflicted all to hell.

    • adam 8.2

      Andrew, many on the left know that the problems embedded by Lenin, gave rise to an individual like Stalin.

      Here is a couple of books from leftists from the 1920’s who outline out how the revolution had been captured.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Disillusionment_in_Russia

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bolshevik_Myth

      Both have further links to full versions of the texts.

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.3

      The argument that the ‘allied’ coalition fighting IS ‘do not give a shit’ because they turn a blind eye to what goes on in Saudi Arabia is no different to the Allies working with the USSR during WW2 to overthrow Hitler.

      Bit of a dumb analogy. The “allies” no where their energy and financial interests lie. That’s what they go to war for. Saudi Arabia is a friend in this regard, ISIS is not.

  9. Philip Ferguson 9

    Some good background articles on Syria: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/on-syria/

  10. Philip Ferguson 10

    One of the weaknesses of the rise of the radical left in Greece is that its electoral support isn’t matched by working class action such as factory takeovers, let alone the emergence of bodies of dual or alternative power to the capitalist system.

    In factory occupations we can at least see the germ of an alternative way of organising society, so an occupation like the Vio.me one in Thessaloniki has pointed the way:

    Greek lessons: workers occupy factory, continue production: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/02/12/greek-lessons-workers-occupy-factory-continue-production/:

    Video on the Vio.me struggle: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/4506/

    Greek factory: “the machines of self-management have been turned on”: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/greek-factory-the-machines-of-self-management-have-been-turned-on/

    Workers’ self-management only solution – interview with spokesperson for the Vio.me occupation: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/workers-self-management-only-solution-interview-with-spokesperson-for-vio-me-occupation/

    For a report on Syriza meetings in Ireland to build solidarity see the piece below on the eirigi site: http://eirigi.org/2015/02/08/lessons-from-greece-internationalism-in-action/

  11. greywarshark 11

    Comment on Morning Report this morning Radionz relating to Australian think tank advocating on war issues and making comment on NZ deployment in Middle East.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/20166933
    How handy to have an authority like The Australian Strategic Policy Institute to call on that backs up what the government is planning on doing, yet is against the citizens’ interests.

    And in Oz they are talking about 20 new frigates and submarines, how many, do we need them. Healthy discussion!
    http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/
    Also a bit extra on them (I can’t get this to load)
    The Strategist | The Australian Strategic Policy Institute

    Also – Federal police want to use military drones to spy on Australians from the sky
    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/federal-police-want-to-use-military-drones-to-spy-on-australians-from-the-sky-20150211-13bvbs.html
    edited

  12. adam 12

    I know I harp on about this guy. But, the world would be a sadder place if he had not fought for the Republic.

    http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/people/douglas-jolly

    This sick and twisted approach to the middle east is just FUBAR. The liberal democracies are at sixes and sevens, and once again working people are the ones who get it in the neck.

    So in effect – thanks Bill – great piece.

  13. Wayne 13

    greywarshark,

    Interesting comment on the role of ASPI. I have written on the subject of the arms buildup in the Asia Pacific for CSIS in Washington and S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. They can be accessed on their sites.

    Basically there is a widespread consensus in Australia to have a powerful military. They have quite a different view of their place in the world than does NZ. The Aussies, including the general public consider they must be a serious military player in the Asia Pacific. And indeed they are. I would put them about no 5, after the US, China, Japan and India (maybe also after South Korea)

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.1

      More money for the military industrial intelligence complex. Meanwhile Australia continues to impose cut backs on areas of community, science and technology unrelated to the war machine.

      Same as we can see happening in the USA.

      • greywarshark 13.1.1

        CR
        Good comment. It is good that someone does the scan with the light bed of the rationality machine when discussing political moves of all kinds.

      • The Murphey 13.1.2

        Q. Does the ‘average aussie’ who is ‘pro military’ understand that by ‘protecting’ their ‘way of life’ they are ensuring it will in reality continue to be taken away ?

        Q. At what point might a realisation occur ?

  14. finbar 14

    Greece,will be the testing palate.Socialist capitalist governance,defiant on its stand and hard fast too.Capitulation is inevitable,outside aid from China and Russia.They may like to hang the upcoming the other financial collapse on them, that is coming for those not closed to see.

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    7 hours ago
  • Middle East, Africa deployments extended
    The Government has approved two-year extensions for four New Zealand Defence Force deployments to the Middle East and Africa, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “These deployments are long-standing New Zealand commitments, which reflect our ongoing interest in promoting peace and stability, and making active ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Climate Change Commission Chair to retire
    The Climate Change Commission Chair, Dr Rod Carr, has confirmed his plans to retire at the end of his term later this year, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “Prior to the election, Dr Carr advised me he would be retiring when his term concluded. Dr Rod Carr has led ...
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    1 day ago
  • Inaugural Board of Integrity Sport & Recreation Commission announced
    Nine highly respected experts have been appointed to the inaugural board of the new Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission, Sport & Recreation Minister Chris Bishop says. “The Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission is a new independent Crown entity which was established under the Integrity Sport and Recreation Act last year, ...
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    1 day ago
  • A balanced Foreign Affairs budget
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters confirmed today that Vote Foreign Affairs in Budget 2024 will balance two crucial priorities of the Coalition Government.    While Budget 2024 reflects the constrained fiscal environment, the Government also recognises the critical role MFAT plays in keeping New Zealanders safe and prosperous.    “Consistent with ...
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    1 day ago
  • New social housing places to support families into homes
    New social housing funding in Budget 2024 will ensure the Government can continue supporting more families into warm, dry homes from July 2025, Housing Ministers Chris Bishop and Tama Potaka say. “Earlier this week I was proud to announce that Budget 2024 allocates $140 million to fund 1,500 new social ...
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    1 day ago
  • New Zealand’s minerals future
    Introduction Today, we are sharing a red-letter occasion. A Blackball event on hallowed ground. Today  we underscore the importance of our mineral estate. A reminder that our natural resource sector has much to offer.  Such a contribution will not come to pass without investment.  However, more than money is needed. ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government sets out vision for minerals future
    Increasing national and regional prosperity, providing the minerals needed for new technology and the clean energy transition, and doubling the value of minerals exports are the bold aims of the Government’s vision for the minerals sector. Resources Minister Shane Jones today launched a draft strategy for the minerals sector in ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government progresses Māori wards legislation
    The coalition Government’s legislation to restore the rights of communities to determine whether to introduce Māori wards has passed its first reading in Parliament, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Divisive changes introduced by the previous government denied local communities the ability to determine whether to establish Māori wards.” The ...
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    2 days ago
  • First RMA amendment Bill introduced to Parliament
    The coalition Government has today introduced legislation to slash the tangle of red and green tape throttling some of New Zealand’s key sectors, including farming, mining and other primary industries. RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop says the Government is committed to  unlocking development and investment while ensuring the environment is ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government welcomes EPA decision
    The decision by Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to approve the continued use of hydrogen cyanamide, known as Hi-Cane, has been welcomed by Environment Minister Penny Simmonds and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay.  “The EPA decision introduces appropriate environmental safeguards which will allow kiwifruit and other growers to use Hi-Cane responsibly,” Ms ...
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    2 days ago
  • Speech to Employers and Manufacturers Association: Relief for today, hope for tomorrow
    Kia ora, Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou kātoa Tāmaki Herenga Waka, Tāmaki Herenga tangata Ngā mihi ki ngā mana whenua o tēnei rohe Ngāti Whātua ō Ōrākei me nga iwi kātoa kua tae mai. Mauriora. Greetings everyone. Thank you to the EMA for hosting this event. Let me acknowledge ...
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    2 days ago
  • Government invests in 1,500 more social homes
    The coalition Government is investing in social housing for New Zealanders who are most in need of a warm dry home, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. Budget 2024 will allocate $140 million in new funding for 1,500 new social housing places to be provided by Community Housing Providers (CHPs), not ...
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    3 days ago
  • $24 million boost for Gumboot Friday
    Thousands more young New Zealanders will have better access to mental health services as the Government delivers on its commitment to fund the Gumboot Friday initiative, says Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Budget 2024 will provide $24 million over four years to contract the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill passes first reading
    The Coalition Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, which will improve tenancy laws and help increase the supply of rental properties, has passed its first reading in Parliament says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The Bill proposes much-needed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 that will remove barriers to increasing private ...
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    4 days ago
  • Montecassino Commemorative Address, Cassino War Cemetery
    Standing here in Cassino War Cemetery, among the graves looking up at the beautiful Abbey of Montecassino, it is hard to imagine the utter devastation left behind by the battles which ended here in May 1944. Hundreds of thousands of shells and bombs of every description left nothing but piled ...
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    4 days ago
  • First Reading – Repeal of Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
    I present a legislative statement on the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill Mr. Speaker, I move that the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill be now read a first time. I nominate the Social Services and Community Committee to consider the Bill. Thank you, Mr. ...
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    4 days ago
  • First reading of 7AA’s repeal: progress for children
    The Bill to repeal Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has had its first reading in Parliament today. The Bill reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the care and safety of children in care, says Minister for Children Karen Chhour.  “When I became the Minister for Children, I made ...
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    4 days ago
  • China Business Summit 2024
    Kia ora koutou, good morning, and zao shang hao. Thank you Fran for the opportunity to speak at the 2024 China Business Summit – it’s great to be here today. I’d also like to acknowledge: Simon Bridges - CEO of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. His Excellency Ambassador - Wang ...
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    4 days ago
  • Assisted depatures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.    “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing ...
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    4 days ago
  • Assisted departures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.  “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing them ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government to rollout roadside drug testing
    The Coalition Government will introduce legislation this year that will enable roadside drug testing as part of our commitment to improve road safety and restore law and order, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Alcohol and drugs are the number one contributing factor in fatal road crashes in New Zealand. In ...
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    5 days ago
  • Minister responds to review of Kāinga Ora
    The Government has announced a series of immediate actions in response to the independent review of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “Kāinga Ora is a large and important Crown entity, with assets of $45 billion and over $2.5 billion of expenditure each year. It ...
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    5 days ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour is pleased that Pseudoephedrine can now be purchased by the general public to protect them from winter illness, after the coalition government worked swiftly to change the law and oversaw a fast approval process by Medsafe. “Pharmacies are now putting the medicines back on their ...
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    5 days ago
  • New Zealand-China Business Summit
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Da jia hao.  Good morning everyone.   Prime Minister Luxon, your excellency, a great friend of New Zealand and my friend Ambassador Wang, Mayor of what he tells me is the best city in New Zealand, Wayne Brown, the highly respected Fran O’Sullivan, Champion of the Auckland business ...
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    5 days ago
  • New measures to protect powerlines from trees
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has announced that the Government will make it easier for lines firms to take action to remove vegetation from obstructing local powerlines. The change will ensure greater security of electricity supply in local communities, particularly during severe weather events.  “Trees or parts of trees falling on ...
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    1 week ago
  • Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani win top Māori dairy farming award
    Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani were the top winners at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards recognising the best in Māori dairy farming. Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka announced the winners and congratulated runners-up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, at an awards celebration also attended by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister ...
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    1 week ago
  • DJ Fred Again – Assurance report received
    "On the 27th of March, I sought assurances from the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs, that the Department’s correct processes and policies had been followed in regards to a passport application which received media attention,” says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “I raised my concerns after being ...
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    1 week ago
  • District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired. Peter James Davey of Auckland has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based at Whangarei. Mr Davey initially started work as a law clerk/solicitor with ...
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    1 week ago
  • Unions should put learning ahead of ideology
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning, in reaction to the union holding paid teacher meetings across New Zealand about charter schools.     “The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Craig Stobo appointed as chair of FMA
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Mr Stobo takes over from Mark Todd, whose term expired at the end of April. Mr Stobo’s appointment is for a five-year term. “The FMA plays ...
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    1 week ago
  • Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard
    Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey say. “Heading to the beach for ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Tuvalu reaffirm close relationship
    New Zealand and Tuvalu have reaffirmed their close relationship, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.  “New Zealand is committed to working with Tuvalu on a shared vision of resilience, prosperity and security, in close concert with Australia,” says Mr Peters, who last visited Tuvalu in 2019.  “It is my pleasure ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand calls for calm, constructive dialogue in New Caledonia
    New Zealand is gravely concerned about the situation in New Caledonia, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.  “The escalating situation and violent protests in Nouméa are of serious concern across the Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.  “The immediate priority must be for all sides to take steps to de-escalate the ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand welcomes Samoa Head of State
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met today with Samoa’s O le Ao o le Malo, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, who is making a State Visit to New Zealand. “His Highness and I reflected on our two countries’ extensive community links, with Samoan–New Zealanders contributing to all areas of our national ...
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    1 week ago
  • Island Direct eligible for SuperGold Card funding
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has announced that he has approved Waiheke Island ferry operator Island Direct to be eligible for SuperGold Card funding, paving the way for a commercial agreement to bring the operator into the scheme. “Island Direct started operating in November 2023, offering an additional option for people ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further sanctions against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further sanctions on 28 individuals and 14 entities providing military and strategic support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  “Russia is directly supported by its military-industrial complex in its illegal aggression against Ukraine, attacking its sovereignty and territorial integrity. New Zealand condemns all entities and ...
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    1 week ago
  • One year on from Loafers Lodge
    A year on from the tragedy at Loafers Lodge, the Government is working hard to improve building fire safety, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “I want to share my sincere condolences with the families and friends of the victims on the anniversary of the tragic fire at Loafers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-Budget speech to Auckland Business Chamber
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora and good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for having me here in the lead up to my Government’s first Budget. Before I get started can I acknowledge: Simon Bridges – Auckland Business Chamber CEO. Steve Jurkovich – Kiwibank CEO. Kids born ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Vanuatu to deepen collaboration
    New Zealand and Vanuatu will enhance collaboration on issues of mutual interest, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “It is important to return to Port Vila this week with a broad, high-level political delegation which demonstrates our deep commitment to New Zealand’s relationship with Vanuatu,” Mr Peters says.    “This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

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