Only he [sic] who can keep his heart strong and his will as sharp as a sword when the general disillusionment is at its worst can be regarded as a fighter for the working class or called a revolutionary.
Gramsci, Avanti, Piedmont edition, 24 September 1920
At the last Retreat, I raised the concept of the fighting (or “combat”) propaganda group as an appropriate model for the WP in current conditions. Whilst the idea seemed to meet with general approval, I haven’t had the chance to expand on it until now.
The WP now, and for the foreseeable future, needs to be a “fighting propaganda group”: an organisation whose chief concern is propaganda, but which conducts its propaganda while always immersing itself in and responding to the class struggle, and while always seizing every real opening for genuine agitation. Continue reading “The Fighting Propaganda Group”
This is part of an ongoing discussion among Workers Party comrades and doesn’t necessarily reflect an agreed position.
“Of course, even among the workers who had at one time risen to the first ranks, there are not a few tired and disillusioned ones. They will remain, at least for the next period as bystanders. When a program or an organisation wears out, the generation which carried it on its shoulders wears out with it. The movement is revitalised by the youth who are free of responsibility for the past.”
-Trotsky, The Transitional Program
The resignation of four senior WP comrades on the eve of our January 2011 Retreat probably came as a shock to most of the Party. Those comrades announced that they would abandon any claim to the Party in favour of setting up a theoretical and international solidarity focused blog. Ian Anderson’s discussion bulletin “On the Party Question” did a good job of analysing their collective statement of resignation. In this bulletin, I intend to further probe the reasons behind the split. Continue reading “Demoralisation or disorientation? Causes of the Split in the WP”
This article was first written for internal circulation. We publish it now in light of public discussions among Socialist Worker comrades, partly regarding the party question (Goodbye Lenin? and Towards Ecosocialism.)
On February the 4th 2011, in the lead-up to our partys’ first internal conference of the year, a cross-section of leading comrades posted a statement resigning from the Workers Party. This statement argued that communist ‘party-building’ is impossible in the present conditions. As this statement raises important questions of political line that confront many communist and radical groups, it is necessary to engage with it; ultimately, to justify the very existence of communist organisations.
As the statement asserts that our comrades’ resignations are driven by “bigger and deeper” problems, we will not go into the sordid details of the lead-up to this development. Rather, we will engage directly with the content of their statement, available here.
In short, our comrades assert that given the lack of a mass workers’ movement in New Zealand today, communist party-building is futile. In particular, this affects recruitment: “Those conditions meant that recruiting workers and progressives into the organisation has been very difficult.” Continue reading “On the party question”
Marika Pratley, Wellington branch of Workers Party
Workers Power 2011, the national conference of Workers Party was held over Queen’s Birthday weekend (June 3-6) at Hamilton’s Trade Union Centre. Over 45 people registered for what was the first socialist conference to be held in Hamilton for some decades. The conference featured a wide range of presentations delivered by speakers belonging to the Workers Party, by members of other left organizations, and by others who have participated in substantial struggles against the state and the injustices of capitalism.
The opening night featured a debate between Jared Phillips (WP) and Sue Moroney (Labour Party MP). Phillips’ case defined Labour as no longer even claiming the centre-left, quoting EPMU and leading LP figure Andrew Little’s reference to Labour and National “managing the centre”. He listed examples of active attacks that Labour has carried out against the working class and progressive forces including Operation 8 and restricting the right to strike. He outlined reasons as to why ‘lesser evilism’ was not a justifiable reason to support Labour. Moroney embraced the term ‘lesser evilism’ and said she would rather have ‘small pragmatic changes’ than a ‘glorious defeat’ by National. In reality, the speakers were clearly talking at cross-purposes.
This was followed by a presentation and lengthy discussion led by Marxist academic David Neilson who has been published in Capital and Class and Journal of Radical Economics. In summary, he outlined the need for a deeper appreciation of the shift of emphasis from the reserve army of labour to the relative population that is surplus to the requirements of capitalism. He related this to the burgeoning slum-dwelling class in under-developed countries as well as to the second tier of peripheral workers which is ever-increasing in proportion to core workers in advanced capitalist countries. In summary, he argued that this led to the current ‘workers of the world compete’ scenario rather than a ‘workers of the world unite’ scenario, and that the left had to take this into account in attempts to redefine a strategy. Continue reading “Workers Power 2011: Conference Report”
The office of Labour MP Sue Moroney has confirmed that she will be joining a debate on the moot ‘Should working people support Labour this election year?’ Jared Phillips of the Workers Party will be arguing ‘against’ from a far-left perspective and Sue will be arguing in favour.
The structure of the debate will be that each speaker will have 10 minutes to present, followed by 5 minutes each to respond to one another, followed by questions and contributions from the audience.
Sue Moroney is the 10th-ranked candidate on Labour’s party list for the upcoming election.
The Workers Party requested the debate which will be the opening item of its annual national conference from June 3-5 in Hamilton. The full schedule is viewable at http://fightback.zoob.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/full-shedule-leaflet-image1.png
The national conference of Resistance was held May 6th – 8th at Redfern Community Centre, Sydney. Heleyni Pratley, a member of the Wellington Branch of the Workers Party, attended on behalf of Unite Union. Her following report will be published in the June issue of The Spark.
Resistance is the youth wing of the Socialist Alliance (Australia). Topics covered during the conference included Palestine, uprisings in the Middle East, refugee detention in Australia, and the environment. The conference began with an acknowledgment that we were on stolen Aboriginal land. Around 100 people attended this conference from all over Australia. Guests included Matthew Cassel from Chicago, former assistant editor of Electronic Intifada; Antony Loewenstein, a Sydney-based independent freelance journalist and author of the book My Israel Question; and Ravindran, a youth leader from the Socialist Party of Malaysia. Overall there was a positive welcoming environment, which is important for young people to be able to debate and ask questions freely. The workshops over the weekend echoed this sentiment. Continue reading “Report from Take the power back! , national conference of Resistance”
The Workers Party’s ongoing solidarity campaign with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) is a concrete campaign through which progressive New Zealanders can support the people of Palestine and participate in the struggle against imperialism. Imperialist countries continue to seek to dominate resources in the developing world, extracting super profits at the expense of people. Continue reading “PFLP campaign update”
Workers Resistance conference was held over Queens Birthday Weekend in Wellington. Over 65 people attended the public conference which, for the most part, was held at the Wellington City Library. Themes included both local and international workers’ struggles.
The three-day conference started off on the Friday evening with debate between Workers Party National Secretary Daphna Whitmore and Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway.
Saturday’s schedule started off with Don Franks presenting on the Unite-led campaign for a $15 minimum wage. The Workers Party then launched its campaign of solidarity with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Workers Party member Paul Hopkinson presented the background to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and Mike Walker, also from the Christchurch branch, spoke of more recent developments before outlining the political and stategic position of the PFLP . Continue reading “Conference report: Workers Resistance 2009”
Victoria university members of the Workers Party are facing charges of serious misconduct after burning the New Zealand flag. This leaflet explains the political background to the act.
Why burn the New Zealand flag?
The New Zealand flag is a symbol of imperialism. This is most obvious in its design, a tribute to the British Empire. This design was adopted after the Second Boer War, which devastated South Africa but resulted in a surge of Kiwi patriotism.
A simple re-design, while reflecting our emergence from the shadow of the British Empire, would not change the imperialist nature of the flag. It’s a tool of the ruling class, inseparably linked with militarism. From the Boer War through WWI and II, right through to armed involvement in Vietnam and Afghanistan, the flag has marked New Zealand’s presence. Flags mark military conquest, the subjugation of nations.
Flags and borders divide the working majority. ANZAC soldiers had more in common with their Turkish counterparts than with the bureaucrats who sent them to Gallipoli. The working majority has interests in common worldwide, including an end to imperial war. Ruling class nationalism is a barrier to recognising this.