- 1 Background
- 2 Philippine Solidarity
- 3 Radical Society
- 4 APEC Monitoring Group
- 5 Union activism
- 6 ARENA
- 7 World Social Forum
- 8 Workers Charter
- 9 "Exposure tour" to the Philippines
- 10 Socialist Aotearoa May Day letter to Helen Kelly
- 11 US Embassy letter/Cuban 5
- 12 Contact for Philippines communist tour
- 13 Greeting Filipino delegation
- 14 References
Luke Coxon is an advocate for the Resident Doctor's Association. He has more than 15 years’ experience as a union advocate, starting as a delegate in the hotel sector and then working as an organiser/advocate for three different unions representing employees in a number of different sectors (paramedics, finance, oil refinery, retail, food transport and logistics). He has specialised in greenfields union organising – the establishment of union organisation and membership in sites/companies where no union existed. He also has experience in the international trade union movement, working with the Centre for Trade Union and Human Rights and as a consultant for the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). He has Masters degree in Development Studies from the University of Auckland, and before joining RDA he took a break from the union movement and was a volunteer with humanitarian/development organisations in the Philippines.
Dennis Maga February 13, 2016 ·
A U C K L A N D - P H I L I P P I N E - S O L I D A R I T Y — with Mars McGlosky, Daphna Whitmore, Luke Coxon, Joe Hendren, Cameron Walker, Cynthia Sy, Donna Dacuno, Amie Dural-Maga and Gabriella Brayne.
1999 - still Radical Society, Auckland University.
APEC Monitoring Group
2000 SFWU organiser, Tauranga.
2000 one of leftists and unionists signing an Socialist Workers Organisation petition, Freedom to Strike. Organiser SFWU.
2003 - contact for KMU trade unionist Dapulang tour, Auckland.
2003 - TRADE UNIONS OPPOSE WAR The Council of Trade Unions, representing 300,000 union members, has resolved to actively oppose war on Iraq. The CTU has called on unions to support and participate in any rallies and community activities against the war. We need our union members to actively oppose this immoral war. If you would like to be kept informed about union antiwar activities contact Luke Coxon, Finsec.
2006 - Luke Coxon has been appointed to the Finsec growth unit. DCoxon was organising bank staff.
2004 - ARENA Advisory Board members, David Small, Helen Te Hira and Luke Coxon have all been involved in the campaign to have Ahmed Zaoui released from prison, cleared of being a‘security risk’ and granted refuge in New Zealand.
World Social Forum
Monday, June 14, 2004, 7.30pm, Trades Hall, 147 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn GPJA FORUM: Luke Coxon speaks on THE 2004 WORLD SOCIAL FORUM IN INDIA.
2005 Friday, August 5, 6pm, Unite Office, 6a Western Springs Rd, Morningside WORKERS CHARTER FORUM: Weekly to forums to discuss issues of concern to working people Report back on Asian Workers Solidarity conference in Malaysia with unionists Luke Coxon, Carol Bridgens and Mike Treen.
On July 2, 2005, a Steering Committee of 20 - emerged from a Workers Charter meeting. Held in Auckland, those in attendance were (in alphabetical order) :
- Rachel Asher
- Paul Carrucan
- Cathy Casey
- Luke Coxon
- Stuart Fancy
- Cecil Fowler
- Roger Fowler
- Jennifer Francis
- Chrissy Holland
- Robyn Hughes
- Maria Humphries
- Daphne Lawless
- Matt McCarten
- Grant Morgan
- Pat O'Dea
- Sam Quayle
- Melody Shinnock
- Mike Treen
- Elaine West
2005, 22nd October, a Workers Charter conference was held at Trades Hall, 147 Great North Road, Grey Lynn from 10am to 5pm. The media are warmly welcomed to attend. There will be a Media Conference at 12.30 on the day (lunchtime at the conference) which will be hosted by Luke Coxon and Daphne Lawless (co-chairs of the Conference) and John Minto and Matt McCarten (spokespeople for the Conference Working Group).
2005 Friday, August 26, 6pm, Unite Office, 6a Western Springs Rd, Morningside, TONGA WORKERS STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY. Speakers from the Tongan Community and Luke Coxon, union organiser for Finsec. This is one of the regular Workers Charter Forums, held weekly. All welcome. For more info contact Joe Carolan.
"Exposure tour" to the Philippines
AN EXPOSURE WITH THE KMU:Lessons In Genuine Trade Unionism
- It had been 11 years since my last visit to the Philippines. At that time I was a student activist and was hosted by the League of Filipino Students. I attended the Peoples Conference against Imperialist Globalisation and rallies against the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and then spent a month in the Cordillera with indigenous communities and mine workers organising against the rapacious activities of transnational mining corporations. It was a life changing experience for me.
- When I went to the Philippines I already considered myself a Marxist but my Marxism was something abstract that I had learnt from books. I had no concept of how Marxism could actually be applied in practice. This changed during my integration with workers, students, indigenous peoples and peasants organized in powerful social movements that were challenging the power of the State and corporations. I learnt that Marxism when applied to the concrete conditions of one’s own society could be an effective tool for organising the oppressed to bring about transformative social change. I came to understand what Engels meant when he said Marxism “wasn’t a dogma, but a guide to action”; it was a means to understand the world we live in, so as to be in a position, to be able to change it.
- In 2008 I was very excited to be able to return to the Philippines after so long and this time was accompanied by two of my comrades from the National Distribution Union, Simon Oosterman and Ingrid Beckers. We would be hosted by the militant trade union federation Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) or May First Movement and immersed in struggling communities for three weeks. I also had the opportunity to join an international fact finding mission to investigate violations of human rights and trade union rights.
- We arrived in the early hours of March 8, 2008, it was International Women’s Day and Manila was steaming with protests.
- There had been widespread calls for Arroyo’s resignation and mobilisations were happening on a daily basis. People had the feeling that this could be the tipping point. But the Catholic Church hierarchy was not yet openly calling for Arroyo’s resignation and this was holding back a full scale revolt. The day before we arrived, a rally of workers from Southern Tagalog, an industrial area a few hours drive from Manila that was a stronghold of the KMU, had been violently dispersed outside the Department of Labor and the KMU headquarters had quite a few battered and bruised activists around. The International Women’s Day rally had been organized by the militant women’s group GABRIELA to protest against the corrupt, fascist, anti-people and anti-women Arroyo regime. The rally started at 9a.m. and went on until the early evening. This was a new experience for Simon and Ingrid, who were accustomed to our own rallies lasting only a few hours... The rally ended with the ceremonial burning of the US flag and an effigy of Arroyo.
- The next day we had a briefing on the situation of the union movement by Ka Wilson Baldonaza the KMU General Secretary, who has died in 2009. Ka Wilson explained both the history of the KMU and the present situation of the trade union movement. The KMU is an anti-imperialist trade union federation and sees its role not only to struggle for the bread and butter issues of its members but also to participate in the wider struggle for social change.
- The next day myself and Ingrid went on our prearranged exposure to visit factories in the Manila region, while Simon went with the Centre on Trade Union and Human Rights to investigate the killing of Gerry Cristobal and join the indignation rally against his murder.
- The next day we were honoured to be paid a visit from that giant of the Filipino Left, Congressman Crispin Beltran. Ka Bel had wanted to meet and thank us for organising the protests against Arroyo when she visited our shores, in 2007. He said he was extremely happy when he was watching TV and the leading story was Dennis Maga in a cage outside Parliament. He told us that as a young man he probably would have done the same for a comrade.
- The next few days we spent in the Southern Tagalog region, with a KMU expansion union organising team.
- We met Amie Dural, the wife of Dennis Maga (who is now an NDU organiser in Auckland), and she arranged for us to go to Cavite Jail to meet political prisoner Pastor Berlin Guerrero. When Arroyo had visited Aotearoa in 2007 it was to attend an Inter-Faith Conference promoting dialogue between the different religions. The day she arrived in New Zealand, Pastor Berlin had been abducted by the military. Simon was surfing the Net and came across a story of his abduction and put out a press release highlighting Arroyo’s hypocrisy in coming here to promote interfaith dialogue while the regime had abducted Pastor Berlin and killed other church workers. In Helen Clark’s meeting with Arroyo we had heard that concern regarding his abduction was also raised and later Arroyo was grilled by the press over it. Arroyo was pressured to call Manila right there and then to order Police authorities to do something on Pastor Berlin’s case. That day Pastor Berlin was “surfaced”. We were told if we hadn’t done what we had Berlin would definitely be dead or still disappeared.
- We next headed to Lepanto in the Cordillera Mountains to spend time with the mineworkers’ union.
- After visiting the Lepanto workers Simon and Ingrid proceeded to Sagada in Mountain Province for a bit of rest and recreation, while I returned to Manila to participate in the Union Network International Fact Finding Mission...Its main focus was on interviewing the victims of human and trade union rights violations in Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon.
- In Central Luzon we visited the workers of the Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. During their strike in November 2004 the military had opened fire on the picket line and 14 were killed. .
- The fact finding mission concluded with a press conference that I addressed. In our findings we concluded: “A dirty war is being waged in the Philippines. Some factories and whole communities are being militarised, in a counterinsurgency campaign aimed at destroying the Communist insurgency by 2010.
- I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the fact finding mission and like my previous trip 11 years ago it had also changed me. Despite the repression and hardship that those in the movement face they persevere in the struggle to build a truly democratic and just Philippines. You can’t help but be inspired by the determination, courage and commitment of those with whom you spend time. On my return I approached other NDU organisers to see if they would be willing to recognise this commitment and assist the KMU. We all now contribute a weekly amount to pay for the allowances of five organisers. I have also decided to return to the Philippines in September 2009 and spend a year as a volunteer with the CTUHR and KMU.
- Luke Coxon is an organiser with the National Distribution Union, in Auckland and a Philippine Solidarity Network of Aotearoa member.
Socialist Aotearoa May Day letter to Helen Kelly
A 2008 letter to CTU President Helen Kelly;
- We would like to extend our solidarity to our hard working junior doctors, whose organisation, the New Zealand Resident Doctors' Association, finds itself attacked by the representative of the Council of Trade Unions for giving "unions a bad name" in the media.
- It is our belief that the job of unions is to represent their members, and not the ruling political party of the day. In that, the NZRDA is to be congratulated for standing up for its workers rights, and it is the CTU leadership that needs a lesson in giving the union movement a good name by supporting rather that attacking those who are in struggle.
- John Minto, Editor of Workers Charter, Unite Workers Union
- Simon Oosterman, Union Organiser, Social Justice activist
- Elliot Blade, University of Auckland Greens on Campus
- Joe Carolan, Socialist Aotearoa
- Meredydd Barrar, Citizens Against Privatisation
- Kathryn Tucker, Unite Union Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Socialist Aotearoa
- Tom Buckley, Union Organiser, Socialist Aotearoa
- Luke Coxon, Union Organiser
- Oisin O Connell, Worker, Socialist Aotearoa
- Danielle Cullen, Worker, FINSEC member
- Richie Steward, Personal Capacity
- Nico Woodward, Nurse, Socialist Aotearoa
- Gary Cranston, Worker
- Heather Lyall, Mother 
US Embassy letter/Cuban 5
On 6 April 2009 US Embassy in Wellington refused to accept a hand delivered letter from MPs, City Councillors, trade unionists, church leaders,academics and other New Zealanders calling on the US Government not to oppose the petition to the US Supreme Court for the release of the Cuban 5.
An attempt to deliver the letter was made by Wellington City Councillor, Ray Ahipene-Mercer and Secretary of the Weliington Cuba Friendship Society Gillian Magee but US Embassy Guards said they would not accept a hand delivered letter.
- Dear Attorney General Holder
- We, the undersigned New Zealanders are writing this letter to you on the eve of the US Government submitting a brief in response to the 30 January 09 petition to the Supreme Court and the twelve separate amicus curiae briefs that were filed in the US Supreme Court on 6 March 2009 regarding the unjust incarceration of five Cuban citizens - Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, René González Sehweret, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort - known as the Cuban 5.
- We urge the United States Government to acknowledge that a complete miscarriage of justice has taken place regarding the Cuban 5 and to support, rather than oppose, a review of the conviction by the Supreme Court. We urge you to immediately release the Cuban 5.
Signatories included Luke Coxon, National Distribution Union organiser.
Contact for Philippines communist tour
Luis Jalandoni is the International Representative of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, a coalition of several underground groups, led by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its terrorist New People’s Army.
On a 2010 tour of New Zealand Luis Jalandoni was accompanied by his wife Coni Ledesma, International Spokesperson of MAKIBAKA, a revolutionary women’s group which belongs to the NDF.
- Luis and Coni are both veteran leading figures in the Philippine revolutionary Left.
- When Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, both went underground. They were both arrested and spent time as political prisoners.
Contact for their November 12 2010 – Auckland Solidarity Dinner for Justice and Peace in the Philippines, was Luke Coxon.
Greeting Filipino delegation
Auckland Philippines Solidarity March 21, 2018; ·
- RS Newsletter No 2, April 96
- (told TL) at Auck uni Clubs Day
- Chaff No 14
- Arena pamphlet on IN
- Socialist Aotearoa blog April 27 08
- SCOOP, US Embassy Refuses Letter From MPs. Crs. Unionists Tuesday, 7 April 2009, 9:36 am Press Release: NZ Committee to Free the Cuban Five
- Fightback, Filipino progressive leaders to tour NZ Oct/Nov OCTOBER 13, 2010