Editorial: Fightback ‘Internationalism’ Issue Out Now

2015-10-05 17.22.27

For our fourth magazine issue of 2015, Fightback is publishing an international-themed issue. This includes a number of reprints from international sources, aswell as original content. As we go to print, images of dead Syrian refugees have prompted international outcry, with some concessions won already – the New Zealand government recently announced plans to let 100 more refugees in. Fightback supports international working-class solidarity, including open borders and full rights for migrant workers.

What do we mean when we say ‘international’? Is it the same thing as global, or worldwide? Internationalism implies the existence of ‘nations.’ Nation-states, borders, in the sense we know them have only existed for a relatively short period of human history. Contemporary nation-states are a product of the emergence, and global expansion, of capitalism. Expansion, of course, meant bloody colonisation – although the same violent alienation of land that would later be inflicted on indigenous peoples was first inflicted on European peasants.

With the colonisation of the US in particular, the ‘colour line’ was drawn between white and black workers, a conscious attempt to undermine working-class unity. White workers received a “psychological wage,” in African-American theorist W.E.B. Dubois’ words; limited privileges in exchange for supporting the regime that exploited them.

Modern racism is therefore deeply connected to the global expansion of capitalism. Unfortunately, this has also run through ‘left’ and social-democratic politics; the NZ Labour Party supported the White New Zealand policy in the early 20th Century.

When we speak of internationalism, or international workers’ solidarity, it’s a struggle on multiple fronts. It’s a struggle against imperialism, an international military, economic and political system; a struggle against ‘free trade’ agreeements like the TPPA and military occupations; for the self-determination of communities. It’s a struggle against the global hierarchy, with a minority of mainly white billionaires on one pole, and the global majority on the opposite pole.

Many are somewhere in the middle, particularly in a nation like Aotearoa / New Zealand, a nation-state that tends to stand with the imperialist ‘Anglosphere’ – Britain, the US, Australia. 85% of this country identifies as ‘middle-class.’ Those of us in the middle must pick a side.

The forces stacked against us are immense, as Greece’s Syriza has demonstrated (see Greek Crisis, 3. P10-11). The fight will not be easy or quick. It will have to come from many places, many worldviews, but it will also require strategy – we can’t underestimate our enemies. Fightback hopes that this magazine issue will provide solace and assistance for our side.

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