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A politics of hope

A guest post by Bex Silver.

We are entering a dark period in the short history of our nation. There have been dark times before, and we have got through them. We will get through this too.

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Truth matters

I try to tell social work students that they need be aware of the relationship between the big picture of politics and power (the policy settings that influence the way that opportunites and resources are distributed) and the small picture of individual circumstances. We are slow to learn from our history; patterns repeat in slightly altered form and in Aotearoa New Zealand we are on a regressive course politically, with tax cuts and benefit sanctions designed to redistribute wealth upwards to the already wealthy and privileged. In this post I would like to explore some wider questions about the socio-political construction of ‘truth’.

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Unpicking the appeal of the populist right

It does not take a miracle of intellectual analysis to realise that we live in challenging times, locally and globally. Geopolitical tensions are running high in the face of war in Europe, the brutal and unconscionable Israeli assault on the people of Palestine, and the gob-smacking possibilty of a second Trump presidency. This list is not exhaustive and the escalating threat of climate catastrophe looms over us all.

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Fronting up to the Abolitionist Critique

Change is needed in child welfare and in social work more broadly if we are to begin to realise a social justice mandate. It has become blindingly obvious that there are fundamental disjunctions between the way that the profession of social work likes to see itself and the reality of policy and practice. In this post I want to examine some key narrative threads and pose some questions.

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A New Day

Social workers, if we know anything, understand how systems – causes and consequences – are connected.  At times of increased economic and social pressure it is those with the least who suffer the most in our system. Anecdotally I hear of rising demand for refuge from intimate partner violence and of increasingly strained resources. The shortage and unaffordability of decent housing continues to be a major problem in Auckland. The demand for emergency housing has been further stressed by the needs of families displaced by the floods and land-slips experienced over the bizarre Summer. Practitioners tell me about problems that they have little capacity to address. This is the rub, is it not?