The best type of government?

The Workers Party recently received an enquiry from a high school student trying to get in touch with the New Zealand Communist Party. The year 9 student wanted to ask a few questions “concerning a project on whether democracy is the best type of government.”

Philip Ferguson replied:

We’re actually the Workers Party, not the Communist Party. The CP no longer exists and we are not descended from it. Our organisation contains a variety of views on historical questions – some people are pro-Mao, some are pro-Trotsky and some have no particular historical identifications.

Does your party support independence from Britain, and if so, how could this benefit New Zealand?

New Zealand is independent from Britain and has been for quite a long time. The British monarch may be the formal head of state, but that is a mere formality. For instance, the governor-general, in whose person the monarch’s (limited) power is vested, is appointed by the New Zealand government. In fact, New Zealand gained representative institutions back in the 1850s and the major decisions about what happens politically in New Zealand have been made by the New Zealand state, government and ruling class ever since then.

[Read more...]

Secret donations: the real concern

Winston Peters, leader of the xenophobic New Zealand First party – and, ironically, the Foreign Minister as well – has been caught accepting secret donations from various rich businessmen, in particular Owen Glenn, a New Zealand millionaire based in the tax haven microstate, Monaco.

Peters has been slithering around the issue, first denying it, then saying he “only just found out about it”, then claiming there is a “big difference” between NZ First getting secret donations and other parties getting secret donations.

In typical capitalist parliamentarian fashion, both Helen Clark and John Key have pulled their punches when it comes to denouncing Winston Peters, in the hope they’ll get his support in the next coalition government.

It is interesting to note that at the same time as they were backing the anti-democratic Electoral Finance Act, which stipulates that all donations and campaigning costs must be accounted for, they were accepting secret donations themselves!

[Read more...]

Supporting migrant workers

- Nick Kelly

In February 2007, management at Go Wellington introduced a new shift structure designed to reduce all bus drivers to 8-hour working days, to limit drivers’ access to overtime. At the same time, a document described by drivers as a “scab flat-rate contract” was introduced to weaken the Tramways Union at the Wellington Kilbirnie depot.

As a result of these changes, a number of drivers quit and the company faced a shortage of labour. To fill the gap they began recruiting migrant workers from Fiji. The company also recruited some drivers from agents in Fiji, who would tell applicants to avoid joining the Tramways Union if they came and worked in New Zealand. They were encouraged to join the scab contract with inferior conditions instead.

However, the migrant workers got wise to what was going on and the majority signed up to the Tramways Union.

[Read more...]

40 years on: The 1968 Mexican student rebellion

- Tim Bowron

Orginally published at Socialist Democracy.

The situation in most of Latin America in 1968 was vastly different to that in Europe, the United States and South East Asia. Throughout most of the continent the revolutionary dynamic seemed to be running in reverse – since the 1959 Cuban Revolution the left seemed to be everywhere on the retreat, with right-wing military dictators ruthlessly crushing any opposition.

It was not as though the left suffered from any shortage of militancy – in Venezuela and Colombia communist cadre inspired by the example of Ernesto “Che” Guevara fought heroically to overthrow capitalism by setting up guerrilla foco in the countryside. However unlike their Cuban comrades they failed in the vital task of building a parallel mass underground movement among the urban working class, and consequently were left isolated.

An attempt by Guevara himself to lead a guerrilla insurgency in Bolivia in similar conditions led to his capture and execution at the hands of local military and US intelligence officers in 1967.

In Peru the peasant leader Hugo Blanco had led a relatively successful guerrilla campaign in the early 1960s which had mass support among the indigenous population of the Cuzco region, but by the mid 60s Blanco was in jail and the insurgency crushed.

In 1968 a left-wing army officer named General Juan Velasco Alvarado took power in Peru in a coup d´état, however despite implementing land reform and some other progressive measures the workers and peasants continued to be marginalised under his regime.

In Argentina too a military regime was in power throughout the period and the left driven largely underground for most of the decade. Only in 1969 would the class struggle briefly reassert itself with the urban uprising known as the Cordobazo.

However, in the continent of Latin America there was one key flashpoint in 1968 – Mexico.

[Read more...]

Iranian socialist: “Capitalism is causing these wars”

Torab Saleth, a leading activist in the Iranian Workers Left Unity current and a prominent figure in the British-based Hands Off the People of Iran (HOPI) campaign, was recently interviewed by Philip Ferguson of the Workers Party.

Philip Ferguson: Could you tell us a bit about Workers Left Unity – how it came into existence and what work it does?

Torab Saleth: Workers Left Unity was formed in exile in the early 1990s, as one of the earliest responses to the crisis of the Iranian left (following its decimation in the early 80s at the hands of the counter-revolutionary theocratic regime). WLU is an independent organisation based on individual membership and an agreed minimum uniting all radical socialist currents cooperating towards a new regroupment of the socialist left. We come from many different traditions, principally from backgrounds in the Fedayeen minority and in Iranian Maoism and Trotskyism.

[Read more...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,081 other followers