Constitution of Fightback (Aotearoa/NZ)

Adopted April 2018.

  1. About Fightback (Aotearoa/Australasia)

Fightback is a trans-Tasman socialist media project with a magazine, a website, and other platforms. We believe that a structural analysis is vital in the task of winning a world of equality and plenty for all. Capitalism, our current socio-economic system, is not only exploiting people and planet – but is designed to operate this way. Therefore we advocate a total break with the current system to be replaced by one designed and run collectively based on principles of freedom, mutual aid, and social need.

Fightback is a trans-Tasman organization, operating in Aotearoa and Australia. In the modern era of free movement across the Tasman, “Australasia” is becoming a reality in a way it has not been since the 19th century. So many New Zealanders (tauiwi as well as tangata whenua) now live and work in Australia – and decisions made in one country increasingly impact the other, as the inter-governmental controversy surrounding the Manus Island detention camp shows.

We wish to engage socialists from both sides of the Tasman – in particular, socialists from Aotearoa living and working in Australia – to continue the lines of analysis and directions of organisation which we have being pursuing. Beyond the dogmas of “sect Marxism”; beyond national boundaries; towards a genuinely decolonised, democratic, feminist and queer-friendly anti-capitalism.

We recognise that capitalism was imposed in Aotearoa and Australia through colonisation. While we draw substantially on European whakapapa and intellectual traditions, we seek to break the unity of the European colonial project, in favour of collective self-determination and partnership between tangata whenua and tau iwi. We recognise that this must be a learning process.

While we draw inspiration and lessons from history, theoretical agreement on past revolutions is not the basis for our unity. Rather, we unify around a common programme for transformation here and now.

  1. 10-Point Programme

Fightback stands for the following core programme, and for building institutions of grassroots power in the working class and oppressed groups to bring them about:

  1. Constitutional transformationbased on indigenous self-determination and workers power. Indigenous and worker co-ops to operate as guardians over public resources.
  2. Secure, appropriate and meaningful workfor those who want it, with a shorter working week. The benefit system to be supplemented with a Universal Basic Income, removal of punitive sanctions.
  3. International working-class solidarity.Close the Detention Centres. Open borders to Australia and Aotearoa, full rights for migrant workers. Recognise Pasefika rights to self-determination, Australia and Aotearoa to contribute to a ‘no-strings’ development fund for Pacific nations. Opposition to all imperialist ventures and alliances; neither Washington nor Moscow.
  4. No revolution without women’s liberation. Full funding for appropriate, community-driven abuse prevention and survivor support, free access to all reproductive technologies, public responsibility for childcare and other reproductive work. The right to full, safe expression of sexuality and gender identity.
  5. An ecosocialist solutionto climate change. End fossil fuel extraction, expand green technology and public transport, and radically restructure industrial food production.
  6. Freedom of information.End corporate copyright policies in favour of creative commons. Public support for all media technologies, expansion of affordable broadband internet to the whole country. An end to government spying.
  7. Abolish prisons, replace with restorative justice and rehabilitation.
  8. Universal right to housing.Expansion of high-density, high-quality public housing, strict price controls on privately owned houses. Targeted support to end involuntary homelessness.
  9. Fully-funded healthcareat every level. Move towards health system based on informed consent, remove inequities in accident compensation, opposition to “top-down” efforts to change working people’s behaviour.
  10. Fully-funded educationat every level, run by staff and students. Funding for all forms of education and research, enshrining indigenous knowledge as a core part of the curriculum.
  11. Interpretation

“publicly express” means to communicate either verbally in a forum such as a public meeting, in writing or via a form of electronic media such as a blog, website or public email list

“member” means someone who has fulfilled the requirements of section (4)(i) in the constitution

“majority” means any number greater than 50%

“aims and principles” means the ideas outlined in About Fightback (section 1) and the 10 point program (section 2).

  1. Membership

(I) There are three basic responsibilities for an active member of Fightback:

  • Agreement with the aims and principles
  • Sustaining subscription to the magazine (as a minimum financial commitment)
  • Active involvement with the magazine

The benefits of membership are:

  • The right to participate in collective decisions about Fightback’s work
  • Collective support for members’ political work

(ii) Full membership may lapse when a member either:

  1. a)    Fails to pay pledges for 3 months or longer and makes no clear arrangement to catch up.
  2. b)    Fails to engage in any organisation activities for a period of 3 months. In this situation it is expected that a delegate of the Editorial Board would make a reasonable attempt to make contact with the member.
  3. c)    Advises the organisation in writing that they wish to cancel their membership (through the email list or an email to fightback.australasia@gmail.com).
  4. d)    Has their membership terminated following the procedure outlined in section 5.
  5. Disciplinary Procedures

(i) Disagreements and debate are part of a normal, healthy political culture and all members are guaranteed freedom of expression so long as they do not:

  1. publicly express a political view in direct opposition to the aims and principles of the organisation
  2. engage in conduct bringing the organisation into disrepute in the eyes of the working class and oppressed

(ii) Where a member is found to have breached either section (5)(i)(a) or (5)(i)(b) they may be expelled by a majority vote of the Editorial Board.

Where a member is expelled, the member shall still have the right to appeal their expulsion at the next conference. However their expulsion shall still remain in effect in the intervening period before the next annual conference, unless the Editorial Board reverses its decision (which it shall have the right to do at any time).

  1. Organisational Structure

(I) The core decision-making structure of the organisation in the Editorial Board.

(ii) The core communication structure of the organisation is the email list, which all members may participate in.

(iii) The highest decision making bodies of the organisation are the annual conferences, the timing and venue for which are to be determined by the Editorial Board.

(iv) All members shall be notified of the date and venue of conferences no later than 2 months in advance, and have the right to attend and vote on all resolutions, nominations and remits.

  1. Election of Editorial Board

(i) At the annual conference the following positions shall be elected

  1. A Coordinating Editor who is responsible for co-ordinating with the Editorial Board the production of the organisation’s newspaper and the content of the organisation’s website.
  2. A Treasurer who is responsible for collecting money owing from sale of publications as well as donations and providing an annual financial report at annual conference.
  3. An Editorial Board, with as many members as conference participants see fit.
  4. Powers to Amend the Constitution

(i) Amendments to this constitution may be proposed by any member via remits to the organisation’s annual conference.

(ii) All constitutional remits must be sent to the email list no later than 1 month in advance of the annual conference.

(iii) Amendments to the constitution require only the support of a majority of votes at annual conference.

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