“Blood doping is a logical outcome of a sport where people push themselves to death for the enjoyment of fans and benefit of sponsors. Of the seventy top ten finishers in Armstrong’s seven Tour De France victories, forty-one have tested positive for PEDS. [Preformance Enhancing Drugs]”
Within any discussion of modern day sport, the question of drugs comes up repeatedly. It is difficult to really get beyond the initial discussion: for, against, or on-the-fence, in regards to either the problem or the solution.
The reality is that since ancient times, strategies and theories have been developed in order to get an edge. While using magic mushrooms or whisky as performance enhancing aids might seem comical to the modern reader, they form part of a process that has led to academic Tony Schirato to describe as “…replacing this [pre-modern sport with] a level of professionalism, specialization, bureaucratization, and secularism never before seen in sport”.Like every other part of human existence, capitalism has fundamentally changed the way we see organised sport. Continue reading “Drugs in Organised Sport”
A large section of the world wide web went dark earlier this year. Websites including Wikipedia (4th most visted site in the world) removed access to content for 24 hours in protest of two bills on their way though the US congress- the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). The laws would have given the old entertainment industries, represented by organisations like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) greater control over the internet. Foreign websites accused of copyright infringement could be made inaccessible to American internet users.
The online protest, which prompted a massive amount of lobbying from American citizens (and overseas), was a success, SOPA and PIPA are dead in the water- at least for the time being. Within 24 hours however it seemed as if those two laws had passed and were being enforced- New Zealand Police, colaborating with the American FBI arrested Kim Dotcom, the founder of the website MegaUpload in his mansion north of Auckland. Several other men involved with the site were also arrested. Continue reading “Mega Conspiracy: Kim Dotcom, SOPA and capitalism”
The emergence of the Mana Movement has given an urgency to our drive to renew our perspective on Māori liberation. Furthermore, the departure of the Redline group has given us cause to re-examine our past positions on a number of matters, including indigenous issues. In order for us to begin that work, I have tried to reconstruct those former positions. This was far from easy, since most of the early WP material is no longer available on line, and my personal involvement with the Party was fairly marginal when the Foreshore & Seabed controversy broke. The latter, along with the WP position on the Treaty of Waitangi and Tino Rangatiritanga (TR) form the three topics of this discussion document, since those were the major issues of contention between ourselves, the rest of the left, and the Māori Sovereignty movement.
I want to begin by acknowledging the specificity of Aotearoa, in that it is unique amongst imperialist countries in having a sizeable indigenous population possessing a significant social weight. This fact is important to Cultural Nationalists as well as Marxists: “Unlike any other indigenous colonized people, the Maori live within white culture. Not on reserves. Not in rural areas. […] This is the Maori radicalizing potential.”[Awatere] Continue reading “The Treaty, The Foreshore & Seabed and Tino Rangatiratanga”
Tens of thousands of members and supporters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine gathered on December 11, 2010, in Gaza City’s Palestine Stadium, marking the forty-third anniversary of the PFLP’s founding in a mass rally.
Palestinians from all sectors – men and women, elderly and children, workers and farmers, attended the rally from all sectors of Gaza City, and traveling in groups from throughout the Gaza Strip, waving red flags that filled the stadium. Continue reading “43rd anniversary of the PFLP's founding”
Don Franks The Spark September 2010
Last month saw two New Zealand soldiers wounded in Afghanistan and the
first New Zealand soldier killed.
Led by Prime minister John Key, who ordered an unprecedented lowering
of national flags across the country, politicians and news media
launched a lengthy storm of militaristic propaganda. Continue reading “Deaths in the class war”
New Zealand’s involvement in the occupation of Afghanistan has been commonly perceived as a humanitarian role. John Edmundson demolishes that myth and looks at what the occupation is really about. The Situation so far
On 10 August 2009, Prime Minister John Key announced that the SAS (Special Air Service) would return to Afghanistan. This announcement had been predicted for some time so came as no surprise. The troops are being deployed in three rotations over 18 months and the full deployment involves 70 soldiers over that time period. At the same time, over that 18 months the NZ Army’s Provincial Reconstruction Team – NZ’s major commitment to the war – are being gradually reduced and eventually withdrawn, their work to be replaced by civilian work on agriculture, health and education. But the SAS deployment may in fact last much longer. The war in Afghanistan is going badly for the US -led coalition and few military people or civilian analysts are prepared to go public with an estimate of how much longer it could go on. A time frame as short as 18 months seems unlikely and if the war continues for years, there will be further requests for extensions to the troop commitment. With the Obama administration massively expanding the war effort, not just through increased troop numbers in Afghanistan, but an increasing involvement in Pakistan also, the war could well drag on for years. read more
Well done the three antiwar activists from the Ploughshares group, and the jury who found them not guilty of burglary and intentional damage in the Wellington District Court. The not guilty verdict relates to charges laid when the men deflated one of the domes at the Waihopai spy base near Blenheim two years ago. Continue reading “WAIHOPAI AND THE GHOST OF DAVID LANGE”
Activists gathered in Auckland today outside the US consulate to protest the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Marking the anniversary of the Iraq invasion 7 years ago the protesters demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all foreign troops, including and especially the NZ SAS and other military in Afghanistan.
The Workers Party had a PFLP banner, as part of a solidarity campaign with the Palestinian liberation movement
The protested ended on a fitting note, with old shoes being hurled at the Consulate.
The recent devastating earthquake in Haiti has put a rarely noticed country back in the headlines. Suddenly, it is the focus of everyone’s attention, from world leaders to celebrities. And that is hardly surprising – with a body count of over 150,000 in Port au Prince, the nation’s capital alone, the death toll in this one tiny and desperately poor country may come close to exceeding that of the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. The capital was almost completely destroyed and the poor infrastructure meant that it was difficult to get aid to the survivors, or to organise the relief operation. The Haitian government was almost completely unable to act and threw itself on the mercy of the United States and other First World countries. Images of the disaster have been touching and, in the main, sensitive, but underlying the coverage of the quake has been the same lack of curiosity about the cause of the tragedy that typifies media stories about the Third World. Continue reading “Haiti’s Tragedy was Man-Made”
The SPARK interviews long serving anti-imperialist activist and Workers Party secretary Daphna Whitmore
Spark: It’s been 8 years since New Zealand troops were sent to Afghanistan – why did the Labour-Alliance government send them in the first place?
It needs to be understood in the context of New Zealand’s involvement with US and British imperialism. New Zealand is a partner in this bloc, and Labour enthusiastically signed up to the so-called War on Terror. When it comes to involvement in military adventures Labour governments have been just as warmongering as National.
The Alliance Party split over the issue of support for the invasion of Afghanistan, with the majority of its members rejecting the war. It highlighted the problem of being in government with an outright capitalist party like Labour.
Spark: New Zealand companies aren’t trying to make major sales in Afghanistan – why all the risk and expense over such a long period of time?