Welcome to the summer 2016 issue of Fightback magazine. This year we have moved from a bi-monthly schedule to a quarterly schedule, focusing on planning themed issues rather than churning content out. We have grown our modest subscriber base to just over 100. If you would like to subscribe, please click here.
We are proud to say that two out of this year’s four issues; the Youth Issue (coordinated by Kassie Hartendorp) and the Pasifika Issue (coordinated by Leilani Viseisio); were contributor-led, with paid contributors from the wider community.
In contrast, this final issue for 2016 is mainly written by volunteer Fightback members, focused on Electoral Politics and Socialist Strategy. Many of the articles in the following pages may seem bleak. We argue that since the collapse of the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring, mainstream political discourse internationally has polarised between neoliberalism and a renewed xenophobic, right-wing populism.
This xenophobic current has finally found electoral expression in 2016. Keeping only to the Anglosphere; Brexit in the UK, Trump in the US, and One Nation in Australia all offer racism as a kind of security in uncertain conditions. Meanwhile in India, the ‘world’s largest democracy’, President Narendra’s anti-Muslim “communalist” movement thrives.
Conversely, left-reformist campaigns have also emerged internationally – Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the USA, Jeremy Corbyn’s successful leadership bid in the UK.
However, these popular left campaigns currently have no equivalent in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Instead, NZ’s Labour and Greens have both given expression to the international xenophobic trend, making it harder than ever to sustain a case for ‘lesser evil’ politics.
In principle, electoral tactics can be a legitimate part of left strategy. However, in Aotearoa/New Zealand today, there is little left of the left in this sphere.
We support independent initiatives by leftists, particularly in local body elections, where there appears to be some room to maneuvre: on an optimistic note, Bronwen Beechey covers successful campaigns by socialists in Australian local body politics. These campaigns are anti-racist, pro-worker and actively empower communities. These principles must come before the ‘quick fix’ of lowest-common-denominator politics, which increasingly panders to racism.
Ian Anderson, Coordinating Editor