There'll be no Xmas for many New Zealanders this year, thanks to the government's brutal austerity policies. But we have also been betrayed by the do-nothing and reactionary leadership of the Council of Trade Unions.
The corporate media, driven by the imperatives of the advertising dollar , will continue to paint a false picture of Christmas 2012 . You know the one - everyone has plenty of food and presents, its all above love and sharing and we're dreaming of a white Xmas while Snoopy fights the Red Baron.
But this plastic picture of sickly sentimentality and grubby consumerism never quite rings true. In the end Santa is just the PR guy for Coca Cola.
Perhaps this year it will be the pictures of the long queue of people lining up outside the Auckland City Mission that we might remember. In the same week that the plump politicians gave themselves another pay rise, mass poverty was on display for everyone to see.
Missioner Diane Robertson told the NZ Herald that the mission's clients were struggling with unemployment and entitlement cuts.
"I keep saying every year it's unprecedented ... but I'm almost beyond words when I look out there. This is nothing to celebrate."
Debt, unemployment, poorly paid jobs, the lack of working hours. That's the reality of life for working people in New Zealand today, sapping away people's strength and reducing them to a life of anxiety and fear.
And the government's only response is to tell people to find a job at a time when unemployment is at a thirteen year high and with nothing likely to change next year.
But the people standing in that queue on Thursday - and many more like them - have also been failed by the leadership of the Council of Trade Unions.
Time and time again they have cravenly capitulated to the government's austerity policies. When a real fightback has been demanded, the snivelling cowards of the CTU have retreated back into their offices and closed the door. None of them will be going without this Xmas.
Instead of giving us a massive campaign of fightback and resistance to the government's policies the CTU has given us YouTube videos, Facebook pages, leaflets, and CTU chief Helen Kelly waving the white flag of surrender while, at the same time, telling us that she's on 'our side'.
A programme of rolling demonstrations and strikes building up to a general strike could have reversed the cuts. But none of this has happened and so the 'race to the bottom' has gathered speed.
The austerity policies have been made possible because our trade union leaders think they can have some kind of 'social partnership' with employers and the government. All this has done is give the green light to the government to step up its attacks on workers and beneficiaries and that is exactly what they have done.
So it'll be an empty Xmas for thousands of New Zealanders this year. They are the casualties of not only the Government's austerity policies but also of a trade union leadership that refuses to fight and which shamefully thinks that the 'solution' is to get another right wing Labour-led government elected.
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