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Global Peace And Justice Auckland Newsletter #110

Global Peace And Justice Auckland Newsletter #110, October 5, 2005

Website http://www.gpja.pl.net/ Contact details: Forums - John Minto, (09) 846 3173, jbminto@xtra.co.nz; Newsletter Editor - Mike Treen 027 525 47440 / 09 845 4027 mike@unite.org.nz; Web page - bobo@enzyme.org.nz. Donations can be sent to GPJA, 6a Western Springs Rd, Morningside, Auckland. All communication regarding the GPJA mailing list (email or snail) should be addressed to gpja@xtra.co.nz

To subscribe to this newsletter send an email to news-subscribe@gpja.org.nz or to unsubscribe send an email to news-unsubscribe@gpja.org.nz

Dear friends,

It is with great sadness that we must report that David Wakim, a much-loved Auckland activist and a tireless champion of the rights of the Palestinian people, has died suddenly whilst traveling in Namibia at age 60. David was an inspirational man who devoted much of his life to the struggle for peace and social justice.

By day, he was a pharmacist in Dominion Road in Auckland. Late into the night he was an active member of Pax Christi, the Palestinian Human Rights Committee and a founder of the Council for Christians and Muslims in NZ.

David put his political principles into practice in his personal life, caring deeply about the everyday struggles of the people around him. He was a wonderfully kind mentor and friend and an unassuming man.

Sympathies and condolences to his family - his wife Janfried and their children - who like him, believe strongly in social and justice issues.

Plans are being arranged for a memorial service.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK "People who advocate freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are people who want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without the awful roar of the thunder and lightning. Without struggle, there is no progress. This struggle might be a moral one. It might be a physical one. It might be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. People may not get all that they pay for in this world, but they certainly pay for all that they get." - Frederick Douglas (1817-1896)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

ACTION ALERT!!! - NZ PART OF HUGE GATS OFFENSIVE IN GENEVA In the past month, eight of the world’s richest countries have launched a major offensive to breathe life into talks to extend the GATS – a global agreement in the World Trade Organisation that extends transnational corporate control over a country’s services. Those countries are Australia, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, the US - and New Zealand. This is a last ditch effort to rescue the negotiations, after four years of inertia and virtual paralysis. The process had centred on countries making requests of each other, and each country deciding how to respond. Few governments, especially from the global South, showed any enthusiasm. The new scheme would require all countries, rich and poor, to lock open a minimum number of their services to foreign firms. In a ‘non-paper’ tabled at a special session of the services negotiations on 20 September, our own government suggested a formula for calculating each country’s commitments. This makes nonsense of repeated claims by our government and other GATS cheerleaders that every country, including New Zealand, is free to decide what (if any) of our services it commits to these ‘free trade’ rules. Other proposals suggest groups of like-minded (richer) countries should reach more far-reaching deals on priority sectors, which others (mainly developing and least developed countries) are “invited” to join. In practice, these invitations will be backed by direct or indirect threats of loss of trade or aid for those who don’t accept. More outrageous still, the rich countries want ‘credit’ in these calculations for commitments that governments made in the first Uruguay round of negotiations that were signed off in 1995. In a mockery of the Doha ‘development’ agenda these ‘benchmarks’ and formulae would give the rich developed countries a ‘round for free’ while requiring further concessions from poor countries who are the supposed beneficiaries. These proposals are expected to dominate discussions at the next meeting on the services negotiations in Geneva over the next month. The new offensive has an air of urgency because the sixth ministerial conference of the WTO in Hong Kong is just three months away. The European Union has said that it won’t make any concessions on agriculture (which are likely to be cosmetic anyway) unless it gets major new commercial opportunities for its services firms in areas like water, maritime transport, banking, telecommunications and more. New Zealand’s role appears to have little to do with services and everything to do with their fear that the Hong Kong ministerial will collapse, like Seattle and Cancun before it, if the European Commission can’t secure a high enough price for its minimal moves on agriculture. We urge you to join with us in demanding immediate accountability from our government for its hypocrisy and challenge its complicity in a process that reflects shamefully on us all by - issuing press releases, sending letters to the editor and ringing talkback - faxing the Prime Minister’s office (04) 473 3579, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton (04) 495 8447); the WTO Ambassador in Geneva (41) 22 929 0374 email: mission.nz@itu.ch and your MP Please send us a copy so we can keep track of what the government is hearing. Action, Research and Education Network of Aotearoa – ARENA (www.arena.org.nz). For more information contact Jane Kelsey j.kelsey@auckland.ac.nz

STOP THE WEAPONS CONFERENCE @ TE PAPA OCTOBER 18 AND 19. Public demostration in Wellington on Tuesday, October 18 meeting at 12:30 at Civic Square. If you are not in Wellington but would like to express you disgust at the National Museum of New Zealand hosting the Defence Industry Association' for the third year in a row, please phone, fax or email the management team. Contact details are all available on the Peace Action Wellington website at http://www.peacewellington.tk/ For more information about actions in Wellington, please contact Peace Action on peacewellington@hotmail.com or phone Valerie on 021-232-7749.

MELBOURNE-BASED RADICAL BOOK PUBLISHER IS SEEKING AN EDITOR Ocean Press is looking for a political activist to join our Melbourne office staff as a fulltime book editor. Ocean Press is undergoing a major expansion and will publish almost 40 new titles in English and Spanish in 2005, with even more new titles planned for 2006. With a particular focus on Cuba, Venezuela and Latin America, we are looking for someone with a strong interest in the politics of the major changes sweeping the continent. Some ability in Spanish would be an asset. Experience as a writer and editor – preferably as a book editor -- would also be helpful, but not necessarily a requisite. Good computer skills are required as the new editor will work with graphic design packages. A dynamic activist/editor will want to be part of shaping the direction of our publishing house as we expand our publishing projects in Latin America. We welcome those who want to participate in the debates and ideas that are instrumental in a changing world. Applications should be sent to Ocean Press at edit@oceanpress.com.au Visit our web site at www.oceanbooks.com.au to get an idea of Ocean’s past and present.

WHAT’S ON IN AUCKLAND

Thursday, October 6, 10.05am, Radio NZ Linda Clark will be interviewing Tim Howard from Whangarei on his recent trip to the Philippines. Tim was one of the delegation of four Kiwis. They were among more than 80 foreigners who spent a week visiting five Philippine hot spots as part of the International Solidarity Mission in August. As soon as the September 11, 2001, terrorist atrocities happened, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo offered the services of the Philippines to the US and George Bush declared the Philippines to be "America's 'second front' in the "War On Terror".

Friday, October 7, 6pm, Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road , Grey Lynn THINK AND DRINK. The Working Women’s Resource Centre cordially invites you to attend a meeting with our guest ROD PROSSER. Documentary film maker and long time Union activist who will be giving us something to think about regarding his recent Philippines trip investigating Electoral Corruption. This will be followed by our normal Friday night sociable couple of hours with nibbles provided. Contact Ros Hiini, Organiser WWRC, Ph 379 7906, email wwrc@ihug.co.nz

Friday, October 7, 6 to 7:30 pm, Debating Chamber of the Auckland, Regional Council, Vodafone House, 21 Pitt St, Auckland The Trustees of the Bruce Jesson Foundation & Penguin Books INVITE YOU TO THE LAUNCH OF BRUCE JESSON’S “TO BUILD A NATION”. This is the first comprehensive collection of the late Bruce Jesson’s writings and is drawn from essays from his own journal “The Republican”, and columns for “Metro” magazine and elsewhere. He turned his brilliant mind and pen to every political figure and crisis, from the election of Robert Muldoon, to the rise and fall of the Lange Labour Government, to the tumultuous 1990s leading up to the introduction of MMP. The selection is edited by Andrew Sharp. REFRESHMENTS SERVED. RSVP a.sharp@auckland.ac.nz.

Friday, October 7 to Sunday October 9, Trades Hall, 147 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn MARXISM 2005: Entry fee: koha. Fri 7pm: BOOK LAUNCH: Labour - a Bosses Party. Authors Philip Ferguson and Daphna Whitmore talk about this new publication. Philip discusses the transformation and degeneration of social democracy internationally, while Daphna examines the history of the Labour Party in New Zealand and why it was never any kind of genuine socialist party. Sat 10am: Philip Ferguson On the ruling rich and where their money comes from. Sat 11am: Rod Prosser - documentary film maker - has just returned from a fact-finding tour of the Philippines. He talks about the revolution and the terrible state repression of the Arroyo regime. Rod's latest film will be shown. Sat 2pm: Tongan strikers show the way - Alani Ataione a leading figure in the democracy movement speaks about the momentous struggles in Tonga; How do revolutionaries relate to and operate in the union movement? Jared Phillips; Speakers on union work - Simon Oosterman, Mark Muller, Byron Clark, Steve Hay; Radical Youth - Meto Fox talks about youth fighting low pay and discrimination Sun 10am-1pm: Fighting Maori oppression - Nick Kelly. Discussion - separatism or working class unity? Why we need open borders

Saturday, October 8, 7.30pm, Classic Comedy Bar, 321 Queen St, City On 9 October 2004, Auckland returned a centre-left council. To celebrate one year in office, we would like to invite you to a fund-raising birthday debate (tickets $20 waged, $10 unwaged). WHAT: A fun debate: "After one year of a City Vision/Labour Council the women are winning!" WHO: MC Chris Trotter; Boys team: Mark Gosche MP (captain), Cr Vern Walsh, Cr John Hinchcliff; Girls team: Hon Judith Tizard MP (captain), Cr Leila Boyle, Cr Cathy Casey. A cash bar and free nibbles will be provided throughout the evening and entertainment until late. If you would like a ticket please advise Cathy soonest on cmcasey@xtra.co.nz or telephone 09 620 1952 or 0274 744231.

Sunday, October 9, 7.30pm, Takapuna Methodist Church, cnr Lake and Tennyson Rds, Takapuna, Visit by Sarath Fernando – (MONLAR) – Sri Lanka. Hear him speak on DEVELOPMENT AND JUSTICE ISSUES IN ASIA. To mark its 60th anniversary, Christian World Service has invited the head of one of its partner groups to visit New Zealand in October, to share his experiences and insights into the struggles and successes of the people in developing countries. Sarath Fernando is the inspirational leader of MONLAR (Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform) in Sri Lanka.For further details contact CWS (Auckland Ph. 571-9150) or visit: www.cws.org.nz

Monday, October 10, Unite Office, 6a Western Springs Rd, Morningside GPJA ORGANISING COMMITTEE – All volunteers welcome.

Saturday, October 22, 10am-5pm, Trades Hall, 147 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn WORKERS CHARTER CONFERENCE. (Social in evening, same venue). Register with Grant Morgan 021 2544 515; workerscharter@actrix.co.nz Go to www.workerscharter.org.nz

Saturday, October 22 – Monday October 24, Ponsonby Community Centre, 20 Ponsonby Terrace, Auckland. NATIONAL PEACE WORKSHOPS. This year's National Peace Workshops, the national gathering for people working for peace and social justice, are hosted by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Tamaki Makaurau), Pax Christi and Global Peace and Justice Auckland, in association with Peace Movement Aotearoa. From 12-30pm on Saturday, 22 October, to 3pm on Monday, 24 October. Full programme available at: http://www.converge.org.nz/pma/npw05.htm

Saturday, October 29, 7.30pm, PumpHouse, Killarney Ave, Takapuna BURMESE REFUGEE FUNDRAISER - The Friends of Refugees Trust is organising a fundraising concert for refugees from Burma. Performers will include Burmese dancers, Burundian drummers, a South African a cappella group called Africapella, the brass quintet Wonderbrass, the Northcote College jazz band, soprano Louise Malloy and pianist Denys Trussell. Proceeds from the event will help volunteers to provide English classes and other support for the 120,000 refugees who have fled from Burma to nine crowded camps along the Thai/Burmese border. Although most of the people desperately want to return to their homes in Burma, the reality is that it may be years before democracy is achieved there. Tickets are $20 for adults or $15 for children and students. Details and tickets are now available online at: http://www.pumphouse.co.nz/post_ph1.php?id=624 To buy tickets, click on the 'buytixonline' logo at the bottom-right of the page - or reply to: simoncollins@clear.net.nz Simon Collins, Tel. 09 846 4699 (home); 09 373 6473 (work); 021 612 423 (cell), 4/28 Don Croot St, Morningside, Auckland 1003.

BEST ON THE WEB

NZ Weapons System Exporter Picketed http://indymedia.org.nz/

USA MURDERED BY THE FBI FBI sharpshooters killed a leader of the Puerto Rican independence movement September 23 in an operation that bears all the hallmarks of a political assassination. http://www.socialistworker.org/2005-2/559/559_12_Assassination.shtml Gitmo's Hunger Strikers http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051017/smith

IRAQ ROBERT FISK: What we were actually doing in Basra was to turn a blind eye on abuse, murder and anarchy A familiar bleat is rising from the sheep pen. "Outside powers" are interfering in southern Iraq. Thirty-five years ago, it was the Irish Republic that was assisting Britain's IRA enemies. Now it is Iran that is supposedly urging the Shia of Basra to revolt. In other words, it's not our fault--yet again, it's the bloody foreigners what's to blame. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10384.htm ROBERT FISK: Shock and awe: the night Baghdad burned: In an exclusive extract from his powerful new book about the Middle East, Robert Fisk watches in the Iraqi capital as the US air offensive begins in March 2003 http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article316530.ece ROBERT FISK: When I tasted fear http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article316943.ece Abuse of Iraqi prisoners 'was sport': Soldiers in the Army's elite 82nd Airborne Division vented their frustration by systematically torturing Iraqi detainees from 2003 into 2004, hitting them with baseball bats and dousing them with chemicals, a U.S. rights group alleges in a new report. http://www.suntimes.com/output/iraq/cst-nws-abuse25s1.html JOHN PILGER: Sinister Events in a Cynical War - John Pilger questions the British version of sinister events in Basra, Iraq, on 19 September, and fills in the gaps in news that has become 'like watching a satire' of the war - more evidence, he suggests, of 'a monumental act of terrorism'. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10425.htm

VIETNAM AGENT ORANGE HORROR - Millions of victims of US imperialism's chemical warfare are still suffering, and still being denied justice. But they are fighting back, and they appeal for your help. Details are in the Agent Orange international solidarity campaign HAVE been added to the Green Left Weekly website. So far it contains a range of articles from recent and past issues of GLW, some photos, and a call to sign the online petition. The campaign is to mobilise maximum pressure from around the world in support of the Vietnamese victims of Agent orange in their crucial court case next March against the 37 US chemical companies. Do what you can before March 2006! http://www.greenleft.org.au/agent_orange.htm

UK GEORGE MONBIOT: Protest is criminalised and the huffers and puffers say nothing http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1584140,00.html Over 600 held under terror act at Labour conference: Anti-Iraq war protesters, anti-Blairite OAPs and conference delegates were all detained by police under legislation that was designed to combat violent fanatics and bombers - even though none of them was suspected of terrorist links http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=2028602005

ASIAN LABOUR SOLIDARITY Nestle Union Leader Assassinated - Justice for Nestle Workers NOW! http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/nestle?rk=spLOqf91-ut8W Hundreds of supporters of the struggle for trade unions at the Pearl Continental Karachi hotel took to the streets on September 30 to take part in the Insaf (Justice) Walk organized by the Pearl Continental Hotel (PC) Workers' Solidarity Committee. Hotel workers and representatives of a broad spectrum of trade union, political, social and professional organizations showed their solidarity by walking some five kilometers down Chundrigar Road, Karachi's busy commercial artery, on a route which ended in a public meeting at the Karachi Press Club. More than 50 women from the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum were among those taking part in the walk, which was the most visible trade union mobilization in Karachi in recent years. http://www.iuf.org/den2356

-- Mike Treen

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