Fightback 2017 summer conference report

Over the 14th and 15th of January, Fightback members converged in Wellington to plan our activities for 2017.

On the first day, Fightback and members of the wider community met to form a migrant and refugee rights coalition, aiming to intervene in the 2017 General Election in opposition to migrant-bashing. Watch this space for more information, and please email fightback.aotearoa@gmail.com if you would like to keep in the loop.

Over Day Two, Fightback held an internal meeting, and made the following commitments:

Electoral politics: Although Fightback remains open to the possibility of electoral alternatives, none of the current options are convincing. While Labour and the Greens each have a leadership captured by the right, MANA lost a lot of ground and credibility with 2014’s Internet Mana campaign.

Fightback disaffiliates from MANA, and does not collectively endorse any party in the 2017 New Zealand General Elections. Individual members may support parties on their own volition.

As previously mentioned, Fightback is initiating a broad coalition to challenge parties on migrant and refugee-bashing.

Syria: Fightback endorses the Syrian revolution, against the Assad regime and imperialist intervention, and for self-determination for the Syrian people, including the Kurdish struggle.  Fightback will investigate ways we can support Syrian solidarity in New Zealand, particularly through the magazine and website..

Programmatic unity: Fightback acknowledges the encroachment of right-wing populism since the Global Financial Crisis, and emphasises the following points of unity:

i) internationalism, in the sense of solidarity with ALL the oppressed (including all indigenous struggles) as opposed to picking sides in disputes between various oppressive capitalist states or trying to piggyback nationalist/xenophobic movements;

ii) pro-urban, pro-technology ecosocialism;

iii) egalitarian skepticism; authoritarianism and what used to be called “obscurantism” go hand in hand. Conspiracy theory is essentially elitist in that it appeals to a hidden secret truth known only by the In Crowd. Converely, respect for rights of ethnic/religious minorities, and for spiritual views where they don’t infringe on the rights of any group

iv) pro-queer, pro-trans, pro-sex worker, pro-sexual expression feminism.

Magazine: Fightback reached our goal of 100 subscribers in 2016. We will continue with quarterly schedule, publishing these issues in 2017:

Autumn magazine – Urban revolution and the right to the city – Daphne Lawless (coordinating ed)

Autumn pamphlet: What is Fightback? (coordinated by Ian Anderson)

Winter magazine – International issue – Ian Anderson (coordinating ed)

Winter pamphlet: Syria and the left (coordinated by Daphne Lawless)

Spring magazine – Tangata whenua issue – Kassie Hartendorp (coordinating ed)

Spring pamphlet: Migrant and refugee rights (coordinated by Ian Anderson)

Summer magazine – Electoral politics in 2017 – Ian Anderson (coordinating ed)

Summer pamphlet – What is Conservative Leftism? (coordinated by Daphne Lawless and Ian Anderson)

To subscribe and receive these publications for $20 annually, please click here.

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Fightback changes structure to prioritise media work

On January the 16th-17th 2016, Fightback members convened at Tapu te Ranga marae in Wellington, to discuss the future of the organisation.

This was a crucial conference for Fightback. Recognising how thin we are on the ground, Fightback members opted for a constitutional restructuring, dissolving the national representative committee and branches, in favour of a media project with a socialist programme.

This decision was not taken lightly. Fightback members continue to seek the formation of a broader socialist organisation. However, we have decided to prioritise necessary areas of work. Our crowdfunded Women and Gender Minorities issue in 2015 was a success we aim to build on.

This does not mean an end to political activities. As individuals we are involved in trade unions, feminist organising, anti-war action, and various forms of work. As a collective, Fightback develops propaganda that seeks to link this wider work with a socialist programme.

While social media platforms are useful for rapid and wide communication, we continue to publish a magazine in order to develop a socialist constituency and local analysis. In 2016, Fightback is moving to a quarterly magazine schedule, with the following issues planned:

  • Neoliberalism and the Left (March issue), edited by Daphne Lawless
  • Youth Issue (June issue), edited by Kassie Hartendorp
  • Pasifika Issue (September issue), edited by Leilani Viseisio
  • Capitalist Elections and Socialist Strategy (December issue), edited by Ian Anderson

We will also launch original pamphlets, concerning Socialism and Māori Sovereignty, Mental Health and Capitalism, and finally Queers and the Capitalist Media. We will hold launches for these publications in Wellington and Auckland, and establish a Patreon for ongoing crowdfunding. Please get in touch or subscribe if you want to support this work.

AKL Event: Fightback Climate Crisis Magazine Launch

2015-11-29 16.01.34

None of New Zealand’s current political parties are willing to do what it takes to put us on the path to climate safety and justice. All of them –including the Green Party – are wedded to capitalism, prioritising profit over people and planet.

“Market forces” are what got us into this climate mess and market-based mechanisms like “emissions trading” are only making it worse. The ETS just means rich countries “exporting” their polluting industries to low-wage countries such as China and India. But it has no impact on the consumer economy which drives polluting technologies.

We need green, liveable, sustainable cities, agriculture and natural areas. We need a sustainable future and “green jobs” for all people who want them. We need an end to motorway madness and fossil-fuel addiction. We need our water and power taken back into public hands. And we need partnership between Māori, Pākehā and immigrant communities to make this happen.

Fightback is a nationwide socialist group seeking to build a nationwide Ecosocialist Network, to discuss and promote a post-capitalist, sustainable future for Aotearoa/New Zealand.

7pm, Monday December 7th
Grey Lynn Community Centre, Auckland
[Facebook event]

ecosocialist network march

CHCH Fightback Reading Group #6: The Limits of Utopia

limits of utopia

This week our reading is a piece by fantasy author and marxian socialist China Miéville – “The Limits of Utopia.”

If you prefer listening to reading, the piece is based on this speech.

The piece discusses on the one hand, the need for utopian thinking in an era of ecological devastation – but also the dangers of environmentalism that can empower those who profit from the exploitation of the planet’s resources. Miéville’s language is a bit verbose, but in a creative rather than technical way so hopefully people will enjoy some of the more bombastic passages.

“The stench and blare of poisoned cities, lugubrious underground bunkers, ash landscapes… Worseness is the bad conscience of betterness, dystopias rebukes integral to the utopian tradition. We hanker and warn, our best dreams and our worst standing together against our waking.

Fuck this up, and it’s a desiccated, flooded, cold, hot, dead Earth. Get it right? There are lifetimes-worth of pre-dreams of New Edens, from le Guin and Piercy and innumerable others, going right back, visions of what, nearly two millennia ago, the Church Father Lactantius, in The Divine Institutes, called the ‘Renewed World’.”

We thought this reading would be beneficial in as it’s a couple days before the People’s Climate Parade in Christchurch which Fightback is supporting. The need for anti-capitalist analysis of the climate crisis is essential, especially while the vast majority of Enviro orgs rush to court the middle ground – and are unwilling to challenge the structural causes of ecological degradation.

-Koha appreciated
-Food provided
-All welcome
-Reading beforehand encouraged but not required

6:30pm, Thursday 26th November
59 Gloucester Street, Workers Educational Association, Christchurch
[Facebook event]

Christchurch Fightback Branch Launch + Potluck + AGM

fightback banner

Fightback in Christchurch has been operating smoothly in an ad hoc way for a while now but it’s time to formalise a branch in order to have processes to keep our organising, activities, and upcoming events going smoothly.

We’re opening this event up to non-members and close contacts who are interested in coming along, having some discussion and sharing some food. We’ll have information about what Fightback is and does available, as well as copies of our magazine.

Agenda:
1) Election of branch positions
-Branch organiser
-Secretary
-Treasurer

2) People’s Climate March discussion.

3) Discussion of Internal Conference to be held in Wellington, 16/17 of January.

4) Discussion + brainstorming of Educational Conference to be held in Christchurch 15/16/17 July, 2016.

5) General discussion of activity to pursue in Christchurch

We’re also including a potluck element so bring food to share if you are able – but don’t worry if not, plenty will be provided by the (soon to be) branch.

Attendees are under no obligation to join – the AGM is a necessary process of the organisation but we thought it’d be a good opportunity to open up some discussions about what we can be doing in Christchurch.

Hope to see you there!

TONIGHT (Thursday October 29th), 6:30pm
59 Gloucester St, WEA, Christchurch
[Facebook event]

Christchurch: Fightback study group

revolutionary fist

Fightback Christchurch would like to welcome all those interested to be involved with our recently formed, regular, radical study group. Fightback is acting as facilitator for the study and discussion of radical theory – both leading and presenting discussions, and inviting participants to recommend and lead study of ideas they have found useful or profound.

We meet fortnightly at the WEA Canterbury Workers Educational Association (59 Gloucester Street) starting from September 24th at 6.30pm [Facebook event]

All are welcome to attend, and reading ahead of time is not required to be involved as we will cover key elements of the reading in our sessions. As many of us lead busy lives and attending meetings like this can be difficult, we are also providing food to make attendance easier. We also aim to make our events child friendly and welcome any advice to make for a more accessible and nourishing environment.

Koha is greatly appreciated to help with the cost of room hire. We will also have our magazine ‘Fightback’ available at all meetings for purchase.

If you would like to be involved, included on emails about events in Christchurch, or want to know more about the events contact: fightback.chch@gmail.com or 021 155 3896

Theory is a tool for our collective liberation, and if you are interested in learning and discussion please join us!

Audio: Where To For The Left (AKL event)

Panel discussion with Sue Bradford (Left Think Tank), Michael Treen (UNITE Union), Daphne Lawless (Fightback) and Jonathan King (Auckland Action Against Poverty)

Sue Bradford:

Mike Treen:

Daphne Lawless:

Discussion:

WGTN action tomorrow: No NZ support for war in Iraq or Syria

lest we remember

Join Peace Action Wellington on Thursday the 26th at 5pm next to the Cenotaph to show our opposition to New Zealand’s support for war in Iraq and Syria.

This is part of Peace Action Wellington’s Lest We Remember campaign opposing the hijacking of ANZAC day to promote yet another war in the Middle East.

As the country gets ready to commemorate the loss of thousands of New Zealand lives 100 years ago at Gallipoli, the government is preparing to commit us to another brutal intervention in Iraq – a war that the American government expects “could last years.”

Today’s government is now discussing a joint ANZAC military force, despite publicly committing itself to no more than a “training team” compared with Australia’s promise to the United States of fighter bombers and a 200-strong elite SAS fighting force.

The NZ Defence Force is training its soldiers for the Middle East combat “just in case.”

Gallipoli was a bloodbath. 131,000 young men were killed.

The US invasion of Iraw in 2003 was a bloodbath, 171,000 were killed, and 30,000 have been killed since America’s withdrawal.

Both wars were avoidable. Both were wrong.

Oppose New Zealand involvement in the current conflict.

[Facebook event]

WGTN action tomorrow: Let Greece Breathe!

let greece breathe londonGermany and the European Union are seeking to throttle Greek democracy, and the movement against austerity.
The recently elected Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) reached a stalemate in negotiations, but all is not lost.
Oppose EU terms everywhere!
Let Greece Breathe!

Monday, 23rd February, 12pm
Greek Embassy (38-42 Waring Taylor St), Wellington
[Facebook event]

Fightback plans for 2015 and beyond

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.

Programme

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:

  1. Constitutional transformation based on Tino Rangatiratanga, Mana Motuhake and workers power. Tangata whenua and community co-ops to operate as kaitiaki over public resources.
  2. Secure jobs for all who are ready to work, with a living wage and a shorter working week.
  3. The benefit system to be replaced with a universal basic income.
  4. Full rights for migrant workers.
  5. Opposition to all imperialist intervention and alliances, including New Zealand state’s participation in military occupations and the Five Eyes agreement.
  6. 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.
  7. For an ecosocialist solution to climate change. End fossil fuel extraction, expand green technology and public transport.
  8. 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.
  9. Abolish prisons, replace with restorative justice and rehabilitation.
  10. 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.

Alliances

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.

Organisation

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.