Fightback members gathered in Akaroa over the weekend of the 23rd-25th of January, to discuss the future direction of the organisation. Although turnout was certainly modest, participants made a number of resolutions which we hope will provide a firm strategic basis for Fightback’s work in the coming period.
The conference resolved that Fightback is based on a political programme, which is not only a set of goals for social change but a plan of action to bring them around. Fightback seeks alliances with other progressive forces and organisations of the oppressed and working class, to develop and enact this programme. The purpose of Fightback is putting our programme into action in political activism, amending that programme in line with experience, and training its membership in Marxist theory and practice.
As a basis for this work, members passed the following 10 Point Programme:
- Constitutional transformation based on Tino Rangatiratanga, Mana Motuhake and workers power. Tangata whenua and community co-ops to operate as kaitiaki over public resources.
- Secure jobs for all who are ready to work, with a living wage and a shorter working week.
- The benefit system to be replaced with a universal basic income.
- Full rights for migrant workers.
- Opposition to all imperialist intervention and alliances, including New Zealand state’s participation in military occupations and the Five Eyes agreement.
- No revolution without women’s liberation. Full funding for sexual violence prevention and survivor support, free access to all reproductive technologies. For socialist-feminist solutions to the marginalisation of all gender minorities, within the movement and in society.
- For an ecosocialist solution to climate change. End fossil fuel extraction, expand green technology and public transport.
- For freedom of technology and information. Expansion of affordable broadband internet to the whole country. An end to Government spying on our own citizens and on others. End corporate copyright policies in favour of creative commons centred on producers and users.
- Abolish prisons, replace with restorative justice and rehabilitation.
- Free health-care and education at every level, run by those directly affected. In healthcare; remove inequities in accident compensation, move towards health system based on informed consent, opposition to “top-down” efforts to change working people’s behaviour. In education; full public funding for all forms of education and research, enshrining education in te tiriti and te reo.
Recent years have seen an offensive struggle against casualization in previously unorganised sectors such as hospitality, alongside a defensive struggle against casualization in ‘traditional’ union sectors. This accompanies a decline in participation in mass organisations, in a period of neoliberal entrenchment. Fightback passed a basic Union/Workplace Policy as a guideline for members in various sectors of the workforce and union movement.
Comrades agreed to initiate a series of broad monthly forums with groups including the ISO, Hobgoblin, MANA, the ‘Left Thinktank’, and other individuals and groups.
Additionally, comrades resolved to initiate a process of debate and discussion with the ISO to test strategic possibilities for organisational unity.
Fightback also recommitted to participating in the MANA movement, as a vehicle for linking the struggles for Maori Sovereignty and socialism. As members of this movement, Fightback committed to developing a Mana Wahine policy and wahine caucuses. Finally, in line with the aim of supporting Maori sovereignty, Fightback committed to sending members to the 175th anniversary of Te Tiriti at Waitangi.
Fightback aims to be a socialist-feminist organisation. In line with this, the conference passed a Safer Spaces policy, as part of an attempt to challenge sexism within the movement. Comrades also resolved to investigate possibilities for a nationwide campaign for consent education in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
Finally, Fightback endorsed Sue Bradford’s proposal for a left-wing think-tank, and committed to a small monthly financial contribution to this project.
Online forums offer opportunities for participation aside from weekly branch meetings. Participants amended the membership policy from a requirement to “attend branch meetings” to “work in collaboration with Fightback structures,” alongside agreement with the 10 Point Programme, and minimum dues of a $10 monthly sustaining subscription to the magazine.
Fightback continues to publish a printed magazine, but the bulk of readers engage through the website and social media. Participants resolved to use our social media platforms for more rapid tactical responses, while using the magazine for longer-term analysis. Fightback therefore endorsed a less regular magazine publication schedule, with themed issues including a crowd-funded issue dedicated to women’s writing.