Capitalism: Not Our Future conference report

heleyni annette fightback conference 2014

More than 100 people packed into the activist space at 19 Tory Street in Wellington. to discuss struggle, solidarity and socialism Queen’s Birthday weekend. The occasion was the Capitalism: Not Our Future conference, hosted by Fightback.

The conference came on the back of the growing development of the electoral alliance between the MANA Movement (of which Fightback is a part) and the Internet Party (IP), and the announcement of former Alliance cabinet minister Laila Harré as the IP’s leader. Given this theme, the choice of the opening night presentation – “Elections and Community Struggle” – was a pressing one for all socialists.

For this and many other reasons, contributions from MANA leader Hone Harawira and Annette Sykes were highlights of the weekend. The conference was also honoured by overseas guest Sue Bolton, local councillor in Moreland (Melbourne) and Socialist Alliance activist.

Other important guest panelists were Gayaal Iddamalgoda from the International Socialist Organisation; poet and lecturer Teresia Teaiwa, who discussed gender and decolonisation; climate scientist Simon Fullick; and Mike Treen, general secretary of the UNITE union, who gave a presentation on the Marxist theory of crisis.

For Fightback members, Grant Brookes discussed “Tino Rangitaratanga – What’s it got to do with Pākehā”; Heleyni Pratley discussed her experience visiting New York for a global fast-food workers’ organising convention; and Wei Sun talked about her experience as a migrant worker.

The conference was a huge success, both in terms of attendence and political content. Attendees enjoyed a spirit of open and frank debate, in which contributions from the floor were relevant and comradely and real discussion was possible with the visiting speakers. Generous donations from attendees raised $1300, more than enough to cover costs.

At a members-only meeting after the conclusion of the conference, Fightback made the following decisions:

  • to reaffirm its commitment to the MANA movement;
  • to affirm its commitment to socialist feminism, and to create a Socialist-Feminist caucus within Fightback.
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