MUST READ: Marching To Class War

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AROUND THIS TIME last week, I was thoroughly enjoying myself, writing a parody of “Onward Christian Soldiers” for Christopher Luxon. My take on the old hymn’s refrain had “Luxon’s soldiers” marching to “class war”. Some readers thought that was an inflammatory characterisation. Class war was soooo Twentieth Century, they insisted. Apparently, my paleo-socialist slip was showing.

Well, maybe not. Today we learn that Business New Zealand has refused to partner with the State and the NZ Council of Trade Unions (CTU) in the roll-out of Labour’s long-awaited – and well-mandated – Fair Pay Agreements.

This decision can only be interpreted as a deliberate attempt by New Zealand’s employers to sabotage the tripartite structure of the FPA model. What the bosses are saying, in effect, is: “We are having none of this. We will not participate in the creation of a minimum set of employment conditions across New Zealand’s industries. If you want Fair Pay Agreements, then you will have to impose them upon the employing class without its consent.”

I don’t know about you, but that sure sounds like a declaration of class war to me.

How have “Luxon’s soldiers” responded to Business New Zealand’s decision. Well, Luxon’s Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson, the dry-as-dust neoliberal, Paul Goldsmith, doesn’t really do “unbounded joy”, but, in a media statement released earlier today he certainly comes across as a Happy Chappy.

“The Government should ditch its Fair Pay Agreement policy following Business New Zealand’s refusal to be the Government’s preferred partner,” crows Goldsmith. “The agreements would remove the flexibility and autonomy modern workplaces need to grow and flourish.”

Oh boy, it’s been a while since we heard that kind of language. It takes me back thirty years to 1991, the year when the Employment Contracts Act came into force.

Goldsmith would have been 20 years old in 1991. For someone of his ideological inclinations, the ECA must have represented the capstone of the Neoliberal Revolution unleashed by Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson. This crowning achievement, the one big “reform” that Labour dared not undertake, would have struck the young Goldsmith as absolutely sacrosanct. The effective destruction of the trade union movement across the private sector was the critical “reform” that made all the other “reforms” work. Confronted with a unified and confident working-class, Neoliberalism cannot succeed.

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Hardly surprising, then, that Goldsmith’s statement included this little gem:

“Business New Zealand’s withdrawal lays bare the fact that the national industry awards would have to be imposed by force – denying workers and businesses the right to sort out pay and conditions for themselves.”

As if the ECA involved nothing at all in the way of imposition. As if the Act did not, with one ruthless stroke of the legislator’s pen, wipe out rights which New Zealand workers had fought for and won, and which had remained entrenched in the country’s laws for close to a century. As if the people controlling the means of production, distribution and exchange; and those with nothing to sell but their labour – economic and social equals that they so obviously are! – were both clamouring for the right to arrive at mutually advantageous agreements without the pesky intervention of a trade union. As if the 500,000 New Zealanders who marched, rallied and struck against the ECA in March-April 1991 had only done so for a lark – because they had nothing better to do.

“Flexible labour markets have been an essential element in New Zealand’s progress in the past 30 years”, Goldsmith continued. “They have enabled consistent economic growth and job creation, which is the only sustainable way to increase living standards in the long-term.”

Umm, no, Paul, that’s not what flexible labour markets brought to New Zealand. The ECA was nothing more, nor less, than an open invitation for New Zealand employers to extract their profits from their workers’ sweat: making them work harder, and longer, for less.

In sophisticated capitalist countries, the state understands the value of an organised labour movement powerful enough to keep workers’ wages high. It is a powerful adjunct to the process of “creative destruction” that allows capitalism to rejuvenate itself. High wages encourage employers to replace workers with machines, or more efficient work practices, thereby lifting productivity – and profits – while building up an increasingly skilled workforce. Win – Win.

The ECA’s “flexible labour markets” – i.e. the destruction of the trade unions – excused the New Zealand capitalist class from doing business better and smarter. It condemned the New Zealand economy to appallingly low and seemingly unimprovable levels of productivity. That made us a low-wage country and sent our best and our brightest across the Tasman to Australia – where the equivalent of FPAs had kept wages high and boosted the productivity of Australian industry.

Though dry-as-dust Neoliberals like Goldsmith are too ideologically blinkered to see it, the ECA – far from being “an essential element in New Zealand’s progress in the past 30 years”, fundamentally weakened both its economy and its society. It drove our best and our brightest offshore, denying the taxpayers who had contributed so much to the making of these highly-skilled workers any hope of ever seeing a return on their investment.

There is, accordingly, considerable irony in Goldsmith’s claim that:

“There should be a relentless focus on improving our productivity and lifting incomes.”

If he was serious about either of those objectives, Goldsmith would be castigating Business New Zealand for undermining what is quite clearly the best hope of improving this country’s appalling productivity, while materially improving the wages of its workforce. Instead, “Luxon’s soldier” offers us this:

“Unions now only represent 16 per cent of the private sector workforce – this is all about strengthening the role of unions.”

He hasn’t even grasped the fact that union density in New Zealand’s private sector workforce long ago fell below 10 percent. In that brutal statistic is contained not only the tragic story of the National Party’s cold-blooded elimination of trade unionism as a mass movement wielding significant political power on behalf of the New Zealand working class; but also the shameful failure of the CTU to either fight for that class when they still possessed the power to bring the state to the negotiating table, or to do what was necessary to rebuild mass unionism when the political climate changed. (The reasons for the CTU’s failure must be left for a future posting.)

What Goldsmith needs no tutoring in, however, is the fundamental elements of class conflict – which achieved their clearest expression in the “flexible labour markets” made possible by the Employment Contracts Act:

“Fair Pay Agreements will take us back to the failed policies of the past and should be scrapped”, says Goldsmith.

With Business New Zealand drawing up their forces alongside the National Party and Act, it is pretty clear that the employers and their political lackeys have already declared the opening of class hostilities.

The real question now, of course, is whether Labour and the CTU have the guts to declare class war right back at them.

52 COMMENTS

  1. Tripartism spurned by National and the Employers–first NZCTU leader Ken Douglas will not like that! (presumably) being a prime advocate of the three way process. Douglas was spotted at a function last year when fellow arch class collaborator Rex Jones of Engineers/EPMU/High Performance Work fame was awarded Life Membership of the NZ Labour Party.

    Mr Wagstaff and others at the CTU had a hard enough time getting Fair Pay Agreements actioned to this stage, Labour were not in any hurry at all to do so.

    Leave it for another post Chris, but the formation of the NZCTU, and ending of the NZFOL, was surely the biggest class error of the late 20th century in my view. The CTU issues a lot of press releases welcoming this or that and precious little in the way of calls to arms or a class left analysis.

    Fair Pay Agreements are likely to increase union density somewhat and possibly create organising opportunities so need to supported. With precarious work so common unions are quite likely on the way out unless there is a left turn at the CTU or something like a lifetime portable membership is arranged so people can stay connected through unemployment, part time or contract work.

  2. “The ECA’s “flexible labour markets” – i.e. the destruction of the trade unions – excused the New Zealand capitalist class from doing business better and smarter. It condemned the New Zealand economy to appallingly low and seemingly unimprovable levels of productivity. That made us a low-wage country and sent our best and our brightest across the Tasman to Australia – where the equivalent of FPAs had kept wages high and boosted the productivity of Australian industry.”

    Uncomfortable, hard-hitting truth in this paragraph. Smug prog acquaintances talk about how “right-wing” Australia is, apparently unaware that Australian conservatives (the so-called Liberal Party) are further left economically than New Zealand’s pseudo-left LINO party.

    NZ unions were of course emasculated 30-odd years ago. Emasculated in more than one sense, as they’re now run mostly by radical feminists and woke males. My union’s top concerns appear to be sexual harassment and the evils of colonization – one author in a recent newsletter went as far as to link the two, claiming that sexual harassment is “linked” to colonization.

    • Pope P 11. Many things are being “ linked” to colonisation, and even if much of it is by fools who may believe it, or by losers looking for excuses, it’s still pernicious and dangerous. At an individual level it’s not particularly difficult to counter, but it’s hard in group situations. It would be interesting to know how many govt dept workplaces have abolished floor meetings like the MSD has.

  3. The simplest thing is to make the ERA able to hear all workers stories on labour, not just have to prove ’employment’.

    The ERA having a criteria of employment, is driving NZ businesses to mostly employ on contracts and gig work and create an insecure work force by their toxic NZ rules. There are clear advantages to employers not to employ people in NZ.

    Workers vote with their feet by leaving NZ.

    Even if workers return to NZ they struggle to be able to cope with the toxic work environments here led by managers who seem to have little to zero skills and qualifications apart from self advancement and self promotion or ability to make money exploiting others. These businesses are increasingly owed by super rich individuals spending large amounts of time outside NZ or on their hobbies or other business interests, with little to zero interest in their workers and businesses in NZ who are treated as replaceable widgets.

    Conditioned by 30 years of Rogernomics NZ business, seem to think that it’s the governments jobs to ensure they can replace their workers at their every whim and over the years have made the NZ taxpayers subsidies their wages and accomodation in our major sectors such as supermarket/hospitality/toursism/ construction.

    They are also increasingly going after any credits that the government is giving.

    This means that legitimate small businesses have a lot of difficulty starting in NZ as they are quickly over whelmed with big players trying to exploit, buy or put them out of business. At the same time, many small businesses and charities are being used to launder drug and illegal money or labour scams, such as cleaning businesses.

    NZ is full of ‘pretend’ workers and ‘pretend’ companies making life harder for everyone else.

    This has led the brain drain away from NZ, while encouraging more and more poor and low skilled into NZ.

    This is not sustainable and NZ is at a brink where nothing works anymore.

    Businesses are so full of nonsensical policy and appalling management that are unable to hire or retain real skills even if they want to.

    It is a slide to the bottom and NZ is already there.

    Look forward to the few remaining skilled, experts, deciding to reduce their hours. Why bother trying to navigate the current situation as it’s untenable now in many industries.

    Makes it even worse when criminals are always getting free money and exemptions and white collar tax criminals like Eric Watson are idolised by the media, who are now paid for promoters.

  4. Bravo @ CT. A great piece.
    However:
    “Neoliberals like Goldsmith are too ideologically blinkered ” goldsmith’s not ‘ideologically blinkered’. He’s just a sociopathic and egomaniacal crook. He’s simply a budget priced minion to ‘Business New Zealand’ who’re a coven of old witches who’ve long ago figured out how to reach into agriculture’s pockets and scoop out all that free cash. BTW. Comparing Australia with NZ in terms of ‘industry’ is like comparing a frog with an eagle when it comes to discussing which might be the most efficient predator.
    And dirty little piggy aye? Jesus! I couldn’t watch that clip because I’ve just bought a new Mac so I couldn’t risk throwing it across the room then jumping up and down on it.
    ‘Business New Zealand’ is absolutely NOTHING more than a cadre of money launderers who embedded themselves into our society thanks to WW2 when AO/NZ could no longer openly trade with our markets in Europe and the UK. Once B-NZ manipulated agriculture to do their bidding? We were done for.
    We AO/NZ’ers desperately need a royal commission of inquiry into the enduring relationships between Big Business and our politicians spanning more than 70 years.
    Aye boys?

    • Go CB–never smash a Mac I say! have some vintage ones, G3, G4, orig iMac, mini, in a back cupboard. Been an apple fan since 1991. Taught myself when the car industry started to implode–thanks Roger. When I was a fledgling publisher and pre presser the Mac colour fidelity often saved the day.

      Royal Commission into Rogernomics will be like the coppers investigating themselves. How do you right that immense wrong apart from a change in class power? As an older commenter I hold out the hope that the new gens will make a good analysis and start to kick arse.

  5. Just more distraction from both sides (LINO and the Nats) as the entire industrial system progressively unravels due to energy depletion no one in power dares to mention and the build-up of pollutants in the environment, plus the dire consequences of the build-up of those pollutants -that again no on in power dares to mention.

    What is also REALLY interesting is the accelerating unravelling of the globalised financial system as a consequence of outrageous levels of money-printing -again an aspect that no one in power dares to mention.

    If you are looking for truth about our dire predicament don’t look in the direction of politicians or business leaders: it’s their job to lie, all the time.

    Sure, there’s a class war being waged on the financial lower levels of NZ society by the fascistic LINO government and their co-conspirators. But there are much bigger wars being waged, on truth and on the very life-support systems -the ones that make our continued existence possible. And those wars, again, are never get a mention in ‘polite’ society.

    All Ponzi schemes have a limited life, and the fascists who inhabit the corridors at the moment happen to be the ones who will be party to the unravelling of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

  6. Due to a lack of imported workers who are easily exploited, business NZ must be concerned about the upward pressure this will have on wages.Here on Waiheke which depends on a seasonal flow of overseas workers which is not available due to Covid,itis interesting to observe on fb Waiheke work page the pushback to businesses offering only the minimum wage.I thought the ECA treated labour as a commodity and the price paid for it is determined by supply and demand.The supply chain has dried up therefore to address the problem wages should/shall increase until the demand is met.However now the shoe is on the other foot ,business NZ is now crying unfair.

  7. Absolutely agree Chris – a fundamental principle well presented. It is the height of absurdity that in a so-called first world society we can still have people like Goldsmith defending a system that denies the majority the right to bargain collectively, or however they choose, for their labour. But in damning Goldsmith and his ilk, we should not overlook the part played in this charade by other malign influences prevalent in our society that make workers themselves actually believe they are somehow less worthy

  8. I worked, mostly as a manager/company director, with unionised workplaces & staff for 40 years. Unions are always quite happy for bad workers to be paid the same as good ones, in fact they insist on it. The good ones are then dragged down to the lowest common denominator wondering why they bothered. However the dirty little secret is that it also suits large employers to have unionisation much more than smaller ones because their usually significant labour costs are then mostly fixed & predetermined for budgets.

    • Too true.
      I’d like my team to be unionised but they won’t do it, they know they would be the losers.
      Sadly the never been there, never done that, never even experienced it, Government thinks it knows better and looks to be about to fuck them over.

      • So you would rather them be stuck on the same wage, same conditions for all their working lives. Just like so many people in this country have for the past 30 years.

        • I see your comprehension skills are a little lacking. Read it again slowly where is says if the team unionised they would be the losers. Why do you think that would be the case? Could it be they currently enjoy pay rises, conditions and flexibility beyond what the Unions could get them?

          Unions are needed in the odd spot but in all? If they were why aren’t they now? The law is clear, they can walk in and talk whenever they like so is it they are just shit at selling themselves, could they lack benefits workers want, could they just be lazy fucks, could they be seen as just old whingers but some of the younger of today, could they be seen by many as greedy or maybe they are hanging onto a model that is just a thing of the past not fit for todays purpose?

          • You just want to hold wages down, plain and simple, for 30 years, wages have been held down, while rents and power prices have been allowed to skyrocket,.

          • Peter Barry many workplaces have the policy “if you don’t like it, there’s the gate”. No negotiation whatsoever. Unions stop this sort of nonsense and can at least negotiate on your behalf, however unfruitful it may turn out.
            I’ll admit some employers are increasing wages to keep staff from leaving, which has to be due to border shutdown and the massive reduction of cheap immigrant labour. And about time too.

          • ‘beyond what the unions could get them’, well until they’re unionised no one knows ‘what the union can get them’ do they

            /

  9. Another case of deja vu all over again!
    Well done Chris.
    The sad fact is that Labour and the CTU haven’t got any guts at all.
    The dancing cossacks ad has always made me want to puke.

  10. There seems to be a common theme when the NZ working class gets shafted.
    The NZ Labour party and the sell outs. Ken Douglas and Roger Douglas.

    And we have never recovered.

    • I wonder whether the “working class” would be able to travel 200m in a hired black Mercedes?
      You see it’s not ONLY Labour Denny but keep up the good fight for socialism.

  11. It’s like being transported back in time, to 1917 St Petersburg, before socialism became unspeakable…

    “Working class”? Who are these people? Our coal miners? They were closed. Our fruit pickers? They were foreign. Anyway, according to Kommissar Trotsky, these people, whoever they are, deserve more…

    Back in the day, socialism would lead the way here. Russia had heroes of the Soviet Union, such as Alexey Stakhanov. His records set an example throughout the country and gave birth to the Stakhanovite movement.

    Alas, becoming a “Stakhanovite” sounds like desperately hard work. Much easier, I suspect, to become a “Trotskovite”.

    The genius of the “Trotskovite” central plan is that it tells us the “working class” characters should earn much, much more. How does Kommissar Trotsky determine this? Its in the central plan devised by Kommissar Trotsky and his comrades on the Politburo! Who is on the Politburo, you ask? Actually, no Politburo exists. In reality, there is just Kommissar Trotsky, alone, shouting at passing cars…

    Anyway, this central plan is golden. Everybody would be better off if people were paid more. A lot more. Even the people doing the paying. They can also pay themselves more.

    The result is that everyone will be rich, if everyone simply pays themselves twice is much. This is the “Trotskovite” five-year plan. Or is it initially two years? Doesn’t matter! The harvest will be bountiful! Trust me.

    If not, the Politburo may come up with plan b. For example, collectivise all the farms. If you still don’t believe in the project, we can take you to the beautiful village of Potemkin. Or we could just shoot everyone.

    Vive la révolution!!!

    • I think you’ll find Trotsky and by extension ‘trotsyites’ were generally more in favour of so-called ‘work armies’ ie-military style conscription and direction of labour to where it was needed…
      Soviet workers often had excess savings/income as a side effect of living in a ‘deficit economy’ ie–decent wages meets shortage of goods, though as a side effect this surplus could be invested back into the economy by the state

      so yeah-no on your thesis PSM

      • The soviet workers who had excess savings were only miners who had special shops with goods that normal citizens did not have access to. The members of the politburo had also their special shops. Mind you, there were no extra special goods in these shops, just those that we did not have or had only after hours spent queueing like oranges, bananas, mandarins, meat, sometimes butter, sometimes washing powder or toilet paper, there was always something we had to queue for. Otherwise the income was pretty much the same for all and we all had problems to make ends meet regardless of the quality of our work. All the wages were centrally planed. And we all were members of Trade Unions which were only puppets of the poliburo. Plus we all were wearing the same clothes, the same shoes, had the same radios, TVs, cars that you had to save for about ten years to be able to buy one.
        You could buy a pair of jeans only if you changed western currency for special bonuses and you could pay with them only in special shops. They cost 50 bonuses, one bonus was worth 5 crowns and the average income was about 1200 crowns a month.
        That all was a direct or indirect result of the centralisation of power and central planned economy, the five years plans that were never delivered.
        There was a black market, widespread corruption, bribery on every level of society. If you wanted anything from anyone, you had to go there with a full envelope. People were frustrated as they saw that those who only simulated work earned the same and that only top communists and those who were stealing, accepting bribes, making incredible frauds etc. were living carelessly.

        • ah, our regular anti commo–“dick’n’over” chimes in. Would consumerism really have renovated the USSR…dunno really that ultimately was for them to determine. If the USSR had produced skinny jeans and the first Mac computer rather than SS20s, US Imperialism would have flattened them.

          • Hi, Tiger, the USSR were beyond repair even with their SS20s. All people are consumers, like it or not. Do you remember the fight over toilet paper at the beginning of Covid? Imagine living in a state with constant shortage of basic goods for decades, how would you feel? Would it be any comfort for you that you are living in a socialist country with allegedly strong Trade Unions? Centrally planned economy just does not work and whats more important, always leads to some kind of totalitarianism.

            • There was no homelessness in the USSR, nor were there unemployment, or low wages. Workers got treated better than in the West. No one died because they couldn’t afford health insurance.

              There was also no racism, police brutality or lynching.

              Plus evolution was taught in Soviet schools.

                • The fact is that the USSR cannot manage making SS20s and jeans because of the low productivity of work. Why on Earth Gorbachov started Perestrojka if they had been so good?
                  As I have replied before but was evidently cancelled, there were about 15,000,000 victims of political persecution and famine in the USSR, a lot of them were workers. I visited the USSR and saw beggars and homeless people and tourists were regularly stopped by bypassers who asked them to give them something or to sell them e.g. the bras.

                  I lived in Czechoslovakia, where the communism took over by coup in 1948. 248 persons were executed for political crimes, 4500 died in prisons, 205,000 were sent to working camps, 20,000 to military working camps, 282 died trying to cross the border.
                  As for the healthcare:My friend’s twin brother aged 2 years fell from the table in a hospital, with bleeding to his brain as a result. The doctors let the students try to suck the blood out which caused irreversible damage to his brain by needles and up to this day he is terribly disabled. His father was a worker and when he complained he was told to be silent otherwise he and his wife would be sent to working camps. And they did not allow him to seek medical help in the West Germany that he wanted.
                  My other friend who worked with foreign students had a visit from the secret police. The man tried to persuade her to cooperate with them and he told her that if she refused, her father, a worker with diabetes, would not get his insuline.
                  Mind you, the politburo had their own hospitals and treatments and medicines that the others could only dream about.

                  Yes, there wasn’t unemployment, we all had to work and when you were caught without stamp from your employer in your ID, you could be sent to prisom as a parasite. Most parasites in prison were Gypsies. The productivity of work was so low that the communist tried hard various programmes to improve it but in vain. People just didn’t have any will to perform better when they saw that their wages were the same regardless of their effort.
                  As for evolution at schools. My collegue’s father was a Greek Orthodox priest, the church that during the WWII hid the Jews in Slovakia. The family was forced to move every year from one appointed place, usually a small village, to another hundreds of kms distant. The children from suspicious families could not study. My colleage whose son died of cancer and he had him burried with Catholic rites was immediately sacked. We were not sure who from our neighbours was a secret police colaborator, so we all lived like in schizophrenia.
                  As for the rasism there are heaps of evidence about ethnic cleansing in the USSR, it is estimated that it affected about 6,000,000 people. If there were not for ethnically based hostilities why would Ukraninians welcome German soldiers as their liberators?
                  In the communist countries the terror was so strong that people did not dare to claim their national, ethnic, religious identities but after the communism fell, the long suppressed tensions burst as in former Yugoslavia.

                • The fact is that the USSR cannot manage making SS20s and jeans because of the low productivity of work. Why on Earth Gorbachov started Perestrojka if they had been so good?
                  As I have replied before but was evidently cancelled, there were about 15,000,000 victims of political persecution and famine in the USSR, a lot of them were workers. I visited the USSR and saw beggars and homeless people and tourists were regularly stopped by bypassers who asked them to give them something or to sell them e.g. the bras.

                  I lived in Czechoslovakia, where the communism took over by coup in 1948. 248 persons were executed for political crimes, 4500 died in prisons, 205,000 were sent to working camps, 20,000 to military working camps, 282 died trying to cross the border.
                  As for the healthcare:My friend’s twin brother aged 2 years fell from the table in a hospital, with bleeding to his brain as a result. The doctors let the students try to suck the blood out which caused irreversible damage to his brain by needles and up to this day he is terribly disabled. His father was a worker and when he complained he was told to be silent otherwise he and his wife would be sent to working camps. And they did not allow him to seek medical help in the West Germany that he wanted.
                  My other friend who worked with foreign students had a visit from the secret police. The man tried to persuade her to cooperate with them and he told her that if she refused, her father, a worker with diabetes, would not get his insuline.
                  Mind you, the politburo had their own hospitals and treatments and medicines that the others could only dream about.

                  Yes, there wasn’t unemployment, we all had to work and when you were caught without stamp from your employer in your ID, you could be sent to prisom as a parasite. Most parasites in prison were Gypsies. The productivity of work was so low that the communist tried hard various programmes to improve it but in vain. People just didn’t have any will to perform better when they saw that their wages were the same regardless of their effort.
                  As for evolution at schools. My collegue’s father was a Greek Orthodox priest, the church that during the WWII hid the Jews in Slovakia. The family was forced to move every year from one appointed place, usually a small village, to another hundreds of kms distant. The children from suspicious families could not study. My colleage whose son died of cancer and he had him burried with Catholic rites was immediately sacked. We were not sure who from our neighbours was a secret police colaborator, so we all lived like in schizophrenia.
                  As for the rasism there are heaps of evidence about ethnic cleansing in the USSR, it is estimated that it affected about 6,000,000 people. If there were not for ethnically based hostilities why would Ukraninians welcome German soldiers as their liberators?
                  In the communist countries the terror was so strong that people did not dare to claim their national, ethnic, religious identities but after the communism fell, the long suppressed tensions burst as in former Yugoslavia.

                  • You never addressed my question about evolution in school directly, all you did was complain about a reactionary preist being percecuted because he couldnt impose his religion on other anymore.
                    Might also want to let you know that thanks to the banning of religion, women had way more freedoms, and access to birth control. Something that they cannot get because people like your grandad call the shots now.

                    • no but at least in the soviet army people from the southern republics tended to get the shitty end of the Dedovshchina (bullying) stick

                  • Once again, I ask you. Are you opposed to evolution being taught in schools.
                    And do you accept that women had more freedom in the USSR than in the west, given that Biblical christianity, which teaches that women should always be subordinate to men, was banned.

                    • Hi, millsy, Firstly, I am not a special lover of the USA. I did not reply to your hint about evolution being taught at schools because it is far away from the theme. Evolution is a hypothesis as well as creationism is a hypothesis, so they both should be taught. You cannot prove either 100% so we can talk and talk endlessly what I want to avoid. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights include: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. And this right was horribly violated in communist countries. That was my point. Look, my uncle was a doctor and a Catholic and he was not allowed to practice medicine in the field where he could meet people, so he worked as a pathologist in a hospital. He did his research especially about cancer but could not publish the results under his name so he did it under the names of his colleagues. And so his colleagues were promoted and he stayed at the lowest position possible. Is it right in your eyes?
                      By the way, Stalin persecuted the church but during the WWII he allowed Church services even went to a church.
                      When communism fell in the USSR, many people and also women returned openly to Christianity there are 67,720,000 Christians in Russia today. If they had such a good time during the USSR why did they return to Christianity?
                      As for the freedom of women in the USSR, have in mind that they had first of all the “freedom” to work hard in men’s jobs as especially after the Revolution and again after the WWII there was a terrible shortage of men. The women’ s freedom after the Revolution and the civil war lead to the generation of Bezprizorniki, children living in the streets.
                      As for the black people in the USSR they were mainly students and you cannot compare their situation with those living in the USA. I am all against any form of racism and segregation and if you want to know I am pro life.

                    • One more thought about the subordination of women. The Christianity was and is the only religion that promote the true equality of all people: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”(Galatinas 3, 28) This was truly a revolutionary principle in the ancient times and is still today.
                      The command for wives to submit to their husbands is accompanied by the command to the husbands which is usually omitted:”Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave his life for her.” (Ephesians 5, 25). Which wife would not happily submit to the husband like that? If all the married couples follow these instructions there would be less depression, suicides, less abuse, less abandoned children, less addiction, less crimes.

        • your points are all valid but let’s be honest obtaining goods via blat is a traditional russian and soviet practice…and let’s face it not unknown in NZ ie-mates rates.

          ARE our union leaders any less lapdogs/

  12. I agree with the ‘must read’ label on your article, Chris. Business New Zealand certainly have an interesting website. I have to say, though, “Class war” kind of conjures visions of the 1930s or something; I call it “the war on the natural world”, as our oligarchs, plutocrats and technocrats rip up the planet, cover it in plastic and suck out all the goodness.
    There are no binding international laws even skimming the scummy surface of techno-capitalism.
    We now have pundits arguing for two seperate internets, sort of east v. west, which would be incredibly stupid (unless one plans to actually crack the planet open) Our space is full of junk and satellites will command us via the type of brain-computer interface that Elon Musk intends to deploy. (been tested on a pig, yeah right)
    5G is interfering with aeroplanes’ flight computers btw so that wasn’t tested very much either. Neither were the electric cars which self combust at a moment’s notice.
    “and what had technocracy to do with class war?” you may ask, well pretty much everything, I’d say.

  13. It will be hard for the many working class NZers to overcome mediocracy and become inspirational as stated by Luxon with Pull the tool Goldsmiths views on fair pay.

  14. Class war as described by TDB’s esteemed Mr Trotter is more class contradiction until there is an actual substantial fight back on an organised direct action class basis.

    • well put tiger

      if the employer class won’t agree then impose it upon them, yes there will be the usual fat piggy screamks of we’ll shut our businesses, but like the threatened demise of the landlord due to regulation, they won’t shut up shop …..

      oh shit my bad…LINO, what was I thinking….duhhhh

  15. Personally, the highest rated of taxes I’ve paid during my twelve years of employment have been under Labour governments, and this includes full time, part time, and casual work; but the best conditions I’ve faced in the context of employment have also been under Labour governments. This tells me something. Along with the fact that Labour governments traditionally employ more public servants than National governments, it speaks of a party who puts working conditions as a priority and one which does not.

    In terms of Labour’s long awaited Fair Pay Agreements, it is not so much as New Zealand employers declaring a class war as it is an expression of frustration amidst current global and national events.

  16. I love how neoliberalism keeps turning out true ideological dinosaurs. Goldsmith and Luxton are relics, hell bent on ramping up the destruction of the country that Key so aptly ran with.

  17. Chris says: Well, maybe not. Today we learn that Business New Zealand has refused to partner with the State and the NZ Council of Trade Unions (CTU) in the roll-out of Labour’s long-awaited – and well-mandated – Fair Pay Agreements.
    This decision can only be interpreted as a deliberate attempt by New Zealand’s employers to sabotage the tripartite structure of the FPA model. What the bosses are saying, in effect, is: “We are having none of this. We will not participate in the creation of a minimum set of employment conditions across New Zealand’s industries. If you want Fair Pay Agreements, then you will have to impose them upon the employing class without its consent.”

    I add: We are supposed to be in the role of consumers. If we don’t get enough in our pay to live on, where does the discretionary money, even basics spending come? Out of thin air? We are shooting ourselves in the foot again. Ease the pay up from poverty level and the money flow increases and everyone is better off. Allow for a base inflation rate of 2.2% before dong anything, only depression and stagnant economies have low or no inflation.

    Seems a bit Hope-less.
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/127229316/businessnz-turns-down-key-role-in-fair-pay-agreements-system

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