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GPJA #264: Cuba Film Friday

GLOBAL PEACE AND JUSTICE AUCKLAND
NEWSLETTER #264 December 11, 2008

Website: http://www.gpja.org.nz/


FILM: 7PM, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, CASA LATINA, 37 SELWYN ST, ONEHUNGA.
Why are five Cubans in US jails for trying to prevent terrorist attacks on Cuba? You are invited to attend a fund-raising screening, the first in New Zealand, of the documentary

“Mission Against Terror”
~ an Irish-Cuban co-production featuring the case of five Cuban patriots imprisoned unjustly now for ten years in United States jails. Leonard Weinglass, the renowned civil rights attorney and international spokesperson for their cause, is scheduled to tour Australia and New Zealand early next year and funds are needed for the New Zealand leg of the tour. 7pm ~ snacks, nibbles and open bar 7.30 to 8.20 ~ Screening of Mission Against Terror. $10 entry, for snacks and movie. Sponsored by the Auckland Cuba Friendship Society and kindly hosted by Casa Latina, Auckland’s social support and cultural centre for the Latin American community


ANNOUNCEMENTS

OPEN PROTEST LETTER AGAINST STRIP SEARCH
Dear Friends, On November 17, Annalucia Vermunt was detained by officials at Auckland International Airport for over four hours on her return from a visit to Sydney. While being held, she was subjected to a strip search and questioned about her political involvement in the World Federation of Democratic Youth. The Communist League is initiating an open letter to the Ministers of Immigration and Customs to protest this political harassment. We are inviting people to add their names to this letter. If you want to have your name added to this letter, please email Annalucia Vermunt at avdefence@gmail.com with your name and designation or organisation (for identification purposes only). Or post these details to the address above. The deadline for having your name added is Tuesday, December 16. We plan to post the letter and signatories to the Ministers and release it to the media on December 17.
The letter is below. Please feel free to circulate it for others to sign. Yours sincerely, Janet Roth

3/19 Panorama Road, Mt Wellington, Auckland 1060
December 17, 2008

The Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Immigration
The Hon Maurice Williamson
Minister of Customs
Parliament Buildings, Wellington

Dear Ministers
We, the undersigned, are writing to protest against the political harassment of Annalucia Vermunt by officials at Auckland and Christchurch international airports. The latest incident occurred on November 17, 2008, at Auckland International Airport.
Annalucia Vermunt represents the Young Socialists at the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), and travels abroad regularly to attend the Federation's meetings. She was the Communist League candidate for the Manukau East electorate in the just-concluded parliamentary elections.
On November 17, Vermunt landed at Auckland International Airport on an Emirates flight from Sydney. Vermunt was detained by customs officials for questioning and advised that she was to be searched for illegal drugs. This included conducting a degrading strip search without her consent. No evidence of illegal drugs was found. Vermunt was then interrogated about her political involvement in the World Federation of Democratic Youth. She voiced objections to being questioned. Vermunt was detained for over four hours.
Vermunt has been previously interrogated about her political views and activities by officials at Christchurch airport in 2005 and 2006.
Vermunt has participated in WFDY since 2001. She was the organiser of delegations from New Zealand to two WFDY-initiated World Festivals of Youth and Students, in Algeria in 2001, and Venezuela in 2005. Vermunt, who is Maori, also organised the indigenous peoples workshop at the World Festival in Algeria. Following that festival, Vermunt has helped initiate speaking tours of New Zealand by representatives of Polisario, the organisation leading the fight for self-determination for the peoples of Western Sahara.

Vermunt has been a candidate for the Communist League in both parliamentary and mayoral elections. As a candidate in this year's elections, she visited Ruatoki to take part in activities to commemorate the October 15, 2007 "anti-terror" raids and to extend support to those facing charges following the raids. Vermunt is a meat worker and an active union member on the job.
The questioning of Vermunt about her political activities on all three occasions make it clear that this harassment has a political motivation. This is a violation of her rights as a citizen.
We request that the Ministers give an undertaking that officers of their departments will not carry out such political harassment against Vermunt in future.
Signed, Name Designation or organisation (for identification purposes only)
Annalucia Vermunt, Communist League,

DEFEND OUR COMMUNITY LAB SERVICES
8th December 2008. We are sending this to recruit your support.This is important. Auckland Regions District Health Boards (DHBs) areintent on drastically cutting our community laboratoryservices (presently Diagnostic Medlab).They want to close at least 50% of collection rooms and drastically reduce the workforce.
There is still time to stop this.A community-initiated campaign has already begun (see below).

The background so far

Over 20 people took part in acommunity-basedprotest in Pt Chevalier on 14th November, to let the Auckland Region DHBs know how angry ordinary people still are, about the planned slashing of our community laboratory services.It was the last day of the DHBs' sham consultation process.
Members of the community, Service and Food WorkersUnionand other unions and local peoplejoined the lively protest which was enthusiastically supported by passingmotorists(see photo). In addition, elderly women, from nearbySelwynVillage, cameto register their support for the protest.
Our leaflets and placards alerted many to the recent bad news, that the first court decision for retention of the existing Diagnostic (DML) services had now been reversed, and instead the contract was re-awarded to newcomers Lab Tests Auckland. Whether DML can appeal this judgement in the Supreme Court may not be known until early January.If DML's appealis allowed to proceed, it could be many monthsbefore the legal process unfolds.

What is happening now?
Its past time for Auckland, Counties-Manukau and Waitemata District Health Boards to recognise the community's total rejection of their $multi-million cost-cutting oflab services, and to reverse their unacceptable decision, so that the current excellent community laboratory service in the region remains in place.
Instead, the DHBs are pretending that a 'nine-month transition period' to Lab Tests Auckland takeover is already underway, in which they want to slash lab workers' jobs andclose up to 50% of current labs.This would be a huge detriment to publicaccess andthe availability of testing, and cause a deterioration in wages and employment conditions for remaining staff.The 'savings' envisaged would actually mean the public instead paying directly for a much-downgradedessential service.Like all user-pays charging for essential services, this would impact most heavily on those least able to pay the poor and the infirm.
Notably, among many others, the Royal College of GPs and pathologists working at DML earlierexpressed grave concernand criticism at what is happening and their fear for the future ofAuckland's health care.
Community campaign needed
Whatever the outcome in the courts, only the renewed strength of community pressure in solidarity with the lab workers stands a chance of turning the DHBsaround.We say, NO, to closing of labs and job cuts, and YES, to maintaining excellent standards of public health care,includingno cuts in pay and conditions for Diagnostic Medlab workerswhose efforts underpin this vital service.We are ordinary people who, like everyone, intermittently rely on access to a safeand skilled lab tests service, and value highly what the DHBs want to destroy.We intend to develop a community campaign to renew organised opposition to these plans by the DHBs.Private profit through contracting-out has no place in public health.

Please respond
We urge you and/or your organisation toreply to this with your suggestions, and/or endorsement for a campaign on the basis outlined above, and to consider how you could contribute, whether with ideas, participation, and/or a generous donation.We urge you to keep in touch and to stay alert to developments and the need to defend our community lab services in the Auckland region, as the continuing threat unfolds over the year to come.We look forward to hearing from you.
Sigrid Shayer (spokesperson), sigrid@pl.net 09 828 3727

AUSTRALIANS FOR PALESTINE -- WOMEN FOR PALESTINE MELBOURNE – AUSTRALIA
Dear Friends, If you are sending out Christmas cards this year, then there is only one card to consider. Attached is an order form for a brilliantly designed Christmas card that says it all.

You can also use PayPal on our website –
http://www.australiansforpalestine.com
Your support is greatly appreciated.
Regards, Moammar Mashni, Australians for Palestine, Melbourne – Australia, PO BOX 2099, Hawthorn Vic. 3122, +61 3 9818 5080; +61 3 9818 5009; +61 419 999 773)
nfo@australiansforpalestine.com : http://www.australiansforpalestine.com


BACK TO BASICS – CLASSES ON CAPITAL

I am proposing to start some classes around reading Marx’s Capital. There are a couple of useful study guides and video lectures on the web which can be used. In the context of the current economic crisis I think it is important to go back to basics of socialist economic theory. The group that does the course can also share material that is most useful in terms of analysis of the current crisis alongside the main study effort. Check out the following websites for an example.
http://www.marxisteconomics.com/index.php?id=160
http://davidharvey.org/
My suggestion is we start with a weekly schedule – say on a Monday evening starting at 6pm at the Unite office (with a possible break for the GPJA forums). Email mike@unite.org.nz if you are interested in the project.

ART EXHIBITION EXPLORES ASPECTS OF HUMAN RIGHTS
An art exhibition, called Article 27, exploring aspects of human rights will open at Northart Gallery, Northcote from 10 December, 2008. The day is significant as it marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. Around the world and in New Zealand the day is known as Human Rights Day. To acknowledge the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration the Human Rights Commission has sponsored a contemporary art exhibition entitled Article 27, developed by independent curator Richard Dale on behalf of the Commission. The exhibition features seven Auckland-based young artists: Xin Cheng, Kah Bee Chow, Majlinda Hoxha, Tui Kerehoma, Jasmine Lockhart, Christina Read and Daniel Webby. This is a show of some of Auckland’s emerging art talent. The participating artists usually exhibit in alternative art spaces and three of them graduate from Elam this year. Chief Human Rights Commissioner Rosslyn Noonan said, “It’s one of the roles
NEW ANARCHIST GROUP FORMING
AWSM! sent a message using the contact form at http://gpja.org.nz/contact Please distribute thanks! A new organisation has been formed with the aim of building a revolutionary anarchist communist movement in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) is an organisation working towards a classless, stateless society: anarchist-communism. As class struggle anarchists our priority is active involvement inworkplace struggles and industrial action as well as community based campaigns in our neighbourhoods. We aim to publish a monthly newspaper starting in 2009, and a less frequent but more in-depth theoretical magazine as well. If you think this is your kind of group and you agree with our aims and principles then please get in touch with us.
www.awsm.org.nz info@awsm.org.nz

WHAT’S ON IN AUCKLAND

Thursday, December 11, 7pm, Trades Hall, 147 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn
“We Wont Pay for your Crisis Meeting - Buillding the Resistance". Host: Socialist Aotearoa -New Zealand is heading for recession. Our jobs, wages, homes, pensions, benifits and public services are all under threat. We did not cause this. It was the financial elite of wealthy bankers, investors and speculators who have put us in this situation, yet they expect us to pay for their crisis. Already we have seen job losses, cuts in services and price rises. We can not rely on the New Government to protect us. National and Act are the parties of big business, so they will be sure to secure the bosses profits ahead of our jobs, wages and conditions. We can fight back. Through our unions, our political and community organisations and our ability to protest, we represent a force that can stop these attacks. To do this it is vital we put aside our differences and concentrate on what we agree about, the need to get resistance organised. Socialist Aotearoa has invi
Friday, December 12, 7pm, Casa Latina, Latin American Community House, 37 Selwn St, Onehunga
Why are five Cubans in US jails for trying to prevent terrorist attacks on Cuba? Film: ‘Mission Against Terror’ – the imprisonment of the “The Cuban 5” for fighting terrorism in the USA. 7pm - snacks nibbles and open bar; 7.30 to 8.20 - Screening of Mission Against Terror. ~ an Irish-Cuban co-production featuring the case of five Cuban patriots imprisoned unjustly now for ten years in United States jails. Leonard Weinglass, the renowned civil rights attorney and international spokesperson for their cause, is scheduled to tour Australia and New Zealand early next year and funds are needed for the New Zealand leg of the tour. $10 entry, for snacks and movie.
Saturday, December 13, 6.30PM, 8 Mt Eden Rd
Vegetarian Christmas Dinner to fundraise for a community space in central Auckland. Followed by a screening of Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping in "What Would Jesus Buy". Vegan and Gluten Free options available $10 Waged $8 unwaged. akfreespace@gmail.com 0212536438
Saturday, December 13, 4-8pm, Fickling Centre(Hillsborough Room – Main Hall), Three Kings, Mt. Roskill
THIS IS A SPECIAL INVITATIOON TO YOU. December 10 marks the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the UN and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are organizing a workshop on – UN AND UN DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS – 60 YRS. FAILURES AND RESTRUCTURING – NEED FOR MEDIA ACTIVISM. There can be no two words that failure to understand the HR Declaration in the clear perspective has led to the failure over the years. The declaration hinges on the preamble that “if the people are not to REVOLT against the State, the provisions have to be implemented in full.”
The ill-conceived Bush doctrine of “war on terror” has, as correctly pointed out by senior British diplomat, David Gladstone given “legitimacy to criminal groups whose strategy is to terrorize civilians.” The long list of failures includes Kurds (in Turkey), Basques (in Spain), Dafur (in Sudan), Congo, Myanmar, Rwanda, Brundi, Eelam (in Sri Lanka)and West Papua (in Indonesia) among others. There are a number of cases in the African Continent. Most of these festered due to accepting post-colonization arbitrary revenue-oriented territorial boundaries as sacrosanct without restoring territorial status ante as at imperial subjugation. These revolts turned wars has had a huge toll of human lives and human suffering where the UN Human Rights Charter was just trampled with impunity - destroyed without remorse.
Ministers, MPs, academics and Human rights activists and organizations are earnestly invited to partake in the workshop and make their submissions in ten minutes. Please hand over At the workshop please give the text of your speech in a CD with your name written so that the proceedings can be published as a book with the title “UN and UN Human Rights – New Zealand Declaration 2008 “ True we are a small country. But we do not lack in expertise. We believe you will give due thought to the seriousness of the purpose and make your valuable contribution. Each affected group like Dafur, West Papua Myanmar,Kurds etc. will be given a table and 2 chairs to exhibit any photographs and/or publications. A representative of these groups can also speak. We look forward to participation of media personnel because Media is the fourth engine of democracy and their activism is vital to the maintenance of a healthy democracy in a world plagued by hatred and conflict. You are advise
Monday, December 15, 6pm, Stone Lecture Theatre, 3rd Floor, Law School Building 801, 9 Eden Crescent, Auckland CBD
The University Of Auckland – Faculty Of Law And International Law Association (New Zealand Branch) Evening Seminar. TOPIC: VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE. Violence against women constitutes a violation of their human rights. It seems obvious that this is the case, but it was not until the early 1990s that it was generally accepted that human rights had a role to play in combating violence against women in the public and in the private sphere. In order to ensure that women equally enjoy all human rights, it is necessary to take into account that violations of human rights encountered by women may be different from the violations that men encounter. In her talk, Ineke Boerefijn will discuss how the existing human rights framework can be used in combating violence against women. SPEAKER: Associate Professor INEKE BOEREFIJN. Ineke Boerefijn is an associate professor at the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM), School of
Tuesday, December 16, Youthline, 6-8.30pm, 13 Maidstone St, Ponsonby
We would like to take this opportunity to invite you and the people you support to VIBE4s Christmas BBQ night! VIBE is a group for young adults who've experienced mental illnessrun by young adults, and for young adults aged between 18 and 30. It's a safe environment - non-clinical, non-judgmental where you can be yourself and hang out with people who've shared your journey.But it's not just for talking - VIBE is also about taking action. We want to work together to create a community that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness for all.We would love to see you there, so please RSVP by December 12 (for catering purposes) to Ivan Yeo, either by e-mail ivan@mentalhealth.org.nz or phone 300 7017. www.mentalhealth.org.nz

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“The great only appear great because we are on our knees. Let us rise.” : James Larkin - Source: Statue on O'Connell Street, Dublin, Ireland.

BEST ON THE WEB


NEW ZEALAND

Gordon Campbell on the 90 day ‘fire at will’ legislation, and on the faster broadband plan.
Gordon Campbell talks to Britain’s foremost legal authority about human rights in the post 9/11 world, and the war in Iraq.
Business NZ policy is "anti freedom"
MEDIA REVOLUTION NEWS: Public Private Partnerships 101 With Jane Kelsey
Auckland call centre workers strike
'Sweatshop' style call centre uncovered in Auckland
Business leaders, unions at odds over 90-day plan
Hager: UDHR needed In NZ Too - On the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Nicky Hager writes that it is needed in New Zealand as much as in faraway troubled places...


WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS

We all go together when we go: The first great financial crisis of the 21st century has begun. Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explains how it happened, and how it can be cured
The Global Economic Crisis: Bad And Worsening In a new article, economics professor Richard Wolff explains the current crisis in Marxian terms. It "emerged from the workings of the capitalist class structure. Capitalism's history displays repeated boom-bust cycles punctuated by bubbles. They range unpredictably from local, shallow and short to global, deep and long." Clearly we're now in one of the latter and potentially the worst ever.
Woody Guthrie: A Little Recession Music, Please By Mickey Z. Woody Guthrie laid the foundation for generations of American singer-songwriters to use their music and lyrics to challenge the prevailing platitudes of popular music…and to provide a Greek chorus of protest and outrage to keep us all more honest and aware
Paul Krugman's depression economics On his way to Stockholm, the Nobel Prize winner and New York Times columnist takes time to explain the "awful" economy that looms ahead of us.


INDIA

As The Fires Die: The Terror Of The Aftermath By Biju Mathew: As the smoke lifts from Mumbai, skepticism must prevail over those conjectures which support the official state narrative. It is crucial to increase the pressure for transparency and accountability at this moment to ensure that India doesn't slide into the same state as post-9/11 USA


LAOS

Drawing the Future From the Past: For nearly three decades, the U.S. secret war in Laos and the impact of the most massive bombing campaign in the world was nearly forgotten. For those who remembered, the events seemed surreal. They witnessed the reckless destruction of a people and their land, and careful efforts by the U.S. government to conceal it.


LATIN AMERICA

ALBA and the imperial protection racket


NAMIBIA

Namibian High Court Upholds Ban on Labour Hire Agencies: Namibia's High Court on December 1 upheld the ban on labour hire agencies set out in the new Labour Act, rejecting a challenge by the country's biggest labour hire agency Africa Personnnel Services (APS). "Under Namibian law," stated the judge, "there is no room for a third party in the relationship between an employer and employee. "It is my view that this third-party interposition creates an unacceptable situation that has no legal basis in our law on contract of employment. In my opinion, (labour hire) is the letting or hiring of persons as if they were chattels."


PALESTINE

Switzerland is refusing to toe the West's line on sanctions against Iran – and Israel is up in arms In an attack which shocked Tel Aviv by the harshness of its tone, Switzerland has accused Israel of wantonly destroying Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem and near Ramallah in violation of the Geneva Convention's rules on military occupation.


SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka: Human Rights Situation Deteriorating in the East [HRW, Nov 24] The Sri Lankan government should take immediate steps to address the deteriorating human rights situation in the country’s Eastern Province, where there has been an increase in killings and abductions in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch said today. Many abuses in the Eastern Province appear to have been carried out by armed elements of the Tamil Makkal Vidulthalai Pulikal. It enjoys the strong backing of the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse.
Sri Lanka: The Conquest Of Bread:Those who escape the terror of aerial bombs and land-mines, one commentator writes from the ground, mothers and children in particular, gets bitten by poisonous snakes. Many have sadly died. It is heart-wrenching to note that many of these IDPs (Internally Displaced People) have already gone through the tsunami!


USA

Chicago factory occupied: Lee Sustar reports from Chicago on an occupation by workers who want what's theirs from management and the Bank of America


VENEZUELA

Chavez changes role of Venezuelan forces - Leader creating armed militias under his control


WESTERN SAHARA

A brief history of the Western Saharan people’s struggle for freedom


ZIMBABWE

Riot Police Attack, Arrest Trade Unionists - Zimbabwe has been dominating LabourStart's front page today with reports of riot police attacking protesting trade unions and union activists being arrested. Our full coverage is here:


ENDS

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