Dougal McNeill is a member of the International Socialist Organisation Aotearoa based in Wellington, New Zealand.
The destruction of the natural environment in the Stalinist regimes through the twentieth-century made it understandable that, for many, Red and Green seemed incompatible. Fast forward thirty years to our own era and the common sense has changed.
“If you want to remember you better write down the names”, runs a line from “Murder Most Foul”, Bob Dylan’s incantatory, delirious, visionary riffing from the Kennedy assassination to the nightmare of the United States, and the rest of the song conjures its world, through a running loop of borrowed, stolen and reworked phrases taken from across the American songbook. Sinatra rubs up against Stan Getz, Howlin’ Wolf against Patsy Cline, Black freedom traditions against white Tin Pan Alley jingles.
This was a win on an historic scale. You have to go back almost 80 years, to the First Labour government’s victories in 1938 and 1946, to find suitable comparisons for Labour shares of the popular vote so commanding, and so clear. This was New Zealand Labour’s best result since the mixed-member proportional (MMP) system was introduced in 1996, and the Greens’ third best, trumped only by their vote in 2011 and 2014, which both occurred in the context of listless and demoralised Labour campaigns.
A review of Rjurik Davidson’s Unwrapped Sky, Tor: 2014, $19.99
The conservative National Party’s 20 September New Zealand (Aotearoa) election victory was a defeat for workers and the left. National won 48 percent of the vote, an increase compared to the last election. In the weeks following the results, National has outlined plans for the coming years: anti-union laws and charter schools.
In June 2013 more than 100 activists gathered in Auckland for a weekend conference of discussions and debates that led to the formation of the Aotearoa Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions network. This was the first national Palestine conference in Aotearoa for more than 20 years. The sense of unity and purpose the call for BDS sent out energised Palestine solidarity campaigners.