New Zealand is clearly entering into recession with its economy shrinking in the first quarter of this year. "Statistics New Zealand" (SNZ) has provided the figures that confirm what most of us have known for sometime that indeed we are at the beginning of a recession.

Bourgeois historians portray New Zealand as a place where class conflict has never really existed. Such statements bear no relation to reality, as the history of New Zealand is a history of class struggle with the building of the trade union movement in the late 19th century, the fight against the arbitration system and for militant trade unionism in the early 20th century culminating in the great strike of 1913. Today that tradition is once more coming to the fore with a rising level of working class militancy.

We are proud to announce a new website linked to Marxist.com, Socialist Appeal New Zealand, the website of the Marxist tendency in New Zealand. Its aim is to defend the ideas of Marxism within the New Zealand labour movement and create a tendency embedded in the mass organisations of the New Zealand working class.

The Australian Labor Party won a landslide victory in the recent elections. At the centre of the election campaign was Howard’s hated anti-trade union legislation. The workers of Australia voted massively against this. But as the new Labor leader, Rudd, is no different from Blair, what are the tasks facing genuine socialists in Australia?

Earlier this month there was a very militant 48-hour strike of the New Zealand dockworkers over pay and conditions. As usual, the bosses, while getting fat salaries themselves, claim the dockworkers are already well paid!

Piero Barrachi was a pioneering Australian Communist, who threw himself into the struggle for a revolutionary party in Australia after the Russian revolution. Initially he did not understand the Stalinist degeneration but eventually he saw through it and joined the Trotskyists. Simon Williams reviews a book about his life.

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