WP argues the case for revolutionary regroupment

May 5, 2008

The decision by the ostensibly revolutionary marxist group Socialist Worker to dissolve itself into the avowedly non-socialist Residents Action Movement - which is now being launched as a nationwide political party - has provoked opposition among some of Socialist Worker’s leading union activists, who have recently resigned their membership of SW and are now in the process of establishing a new group Socialist Aotearoa.

We in the Workers Party believe that this break with Socialist Worker’s popular front tactics by the Socialist Aotearoa comrades is a positive development that we hope will strengthen the prospects for building a united party of revolutionary socialists in New Zealand, something which the Workers Party has consistently argued is a much more viable strategy than building fake coalitions with phantom reformists.

To this end we have written an Open Letter to the Socialist Aotearoa comrades which we are also making available here in the interests of promoting genuine and constructive debate on the vital issue of revolutionary regroupment.


Abolish GST

May 4, 2008

The Workers Party for many years has said GST has to go. Below is an article originally published in The Spark in July 2005, in which Philip Ferguson explains why the rich favour this tax and why we oppose it:

In recent months the National Party has been pushing for income tax cuts. Although they present this in a populist way, as if it would benefit workers, they vigorously oppose measures such as raising the minimum wage, serious across-the-board wage rises like those sought by Auckland bus drivers and the abolition of GST.

During the upcoming election campaign, one of the minimum platform points of the Anti-Capitalist Alliance [now called the Workers Party] will be demanding the abolition of GST, something that would be done by any government with even a token desire to make life a little easier for workers, especially the poorest workers.

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Workers Party candidate calls for abolition of GST at Mayday protest

May 3, 2008

The following speech was given by Workers Party candidate for Wellington Central Don Franks at a protest organised by the Newtown Residents’ Coalition against the rising cost of living on May 2:

Folks, we’re here tonight to commemorate Mayday, International Workers Day.

This day has been marked internationally since May 1st 1886, when there were strikes and protests in Chicago in pursuit of an 8 hour working day.

The US state attacked the strikers and broke up their demonstrations. Subsequently the authorities made many arrests and 4 anarchist union organisers were hanged.

Today, here we are in Wellington many years on, continuing to mark Mayday.

This Mayday finds increasing numbers of working people feeling the pinch. Transport food and fuel prices go up, while our jobs disappear. We don’t need to go on and on about how bad things are getting, we know all that already. We can feel how bad things are getting for low paid workers.

What we want to know is what we can do about it.

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Marxism 2008 Programme

May 2, 2008

FRIDAY evening 30 May

7pm Bullets and ballots: Babu Maharjan from Nepal gives a first-hand account of the mass movement for change.

8pm Vote socialist 2008: The Workers Party launches its election campaign with a view to being on ballot papers in every home.

SATURDAY 31 May

10am Revolution and Resistance: panel discussion
Dennis Maga (from the radical trade union the KMU) on the mass movement in the Philippines; John Minto (social justice activist) on the betrayal of the liberation movement in South Africa; Don Carson (a long-time campaigner for Palestine) on the relentless struggle for liberation; Mike Treen (unionist and social justice activist) on Cuba surviving encirclement; and John Edmundson (Workers Party) on Afghanistan’s long-running resistance.

11.45am New government, old problems? Anthony Main from the Socialist Party of Australia talks about the current situation

12.30pm Lunch

1.15 -3pm: 1968: The Year that Rocked the World - Mike Kay (Workers Party) on the tumultuous events of forty years ago.

John Moore (Workers Party) speaks with former Polynesian Panther Party member Tigi Ness about radicalism in Polynesian Ponsonby.

Short break

3pm- 4pm Building a Fighting Force -Matt McCarten (Unite Union) and Don Franks (Workers Party) on how to fight redundancies and build mass resistance

Short break

4-15pm - 5pm What is socialism? - Jared Phillips (Workers Party) gives an historical view.

Parallel session: Dialectics of nature vs nurture - Daphna Whitmore (Workers Party) looks at the dichotomy debate.

SUNDAY 1 June

12.30pm Sex and Socialism - Bryce Edwards ((Politics lecturer) brings two of the most interesting words in the English language together in a libertarian-socialist talk where discussion will range from pornography to prostitution, lesbianism to childcare, ‘raunch culture’ to abortion.

1.15pm Debate: That open borders bring freedom - Tim Bowron (Workers Party) argues the affirmative; Brian Van Dam (social justice activist) argues the negative.

2.30pm break

2.45pm The vital role of a revolutionary paper Don Franks (Workers Party, editor of The Spark)

3.30pm Who needs a revolutionary party? Philip Ferguson (Workers Party) argues essential need for a revolutionary organisation.


France 1968 – on the brink of revolution

May 1, 2008

- Mike Kay

On May 1st 1968, Paris erupted. There had been a few big strikes in the years leading up to it, but by and large the upsurge took all by surprise.

It was the tenth anniversary of the day General De Gaulle had seized presidential power in France by an unresisted military coup. The parliament, feeling helpless to deal with the escalating war in Algeria, had voted over its powers to De Gaulle. The Fifth Republic that he established included wide-ranging presidential powers, reducing parliament to little more than a rubber stamp. During the Algerian war, protests were suppressed with lethal force.

The 1968 protests started with the students at Nanterre on the outskirts of the city. They had begun a campaign to visit each others’ rooms in halls of residence after 11pm, in defiance of their administration’s curfew.

Their campaign drew in students from all over France, who added their own grievances and demands. The immediate issues were the dereliction and overcrowding of universities, which were bursting at the seams due to the trebling of the number of students in less than a decade, and the government’s plans to impose exams in order to reduce the numbers of first-year students.

Violent state repression only served to spread the movement. The daily demonstrations and occupations soon inspired workers to strike in industries from car production to banking. The workers’ demands were at first minimal - for wage concessions and greater social security. However, as a mass strike wave developed and continued throughout May, many long-germinating working-class aspirations came to the fore and began to lead to much more revolutionary demands.

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Workers Party supports peace activists, calls for Waihopai Spy Base to be scrapped

May 1, 2008

Press Release

“Claims by Prime Minister Helen Clark that yesterday’s action by peace activists at the Waihopai Spy Base near Blenheim was nothing more than ‘a senseless act of vandalism’ show how totally out of touch the Labour government is with reality,” according to Workers Party national organiser Daphna Whitmore.

“Instead of complaining about the damage caused by the peace activists, Helen Clark and the Labour Party should be more concerned about the suffering being inflicted on the people of Afghanistan and other parts of the world as a result of the so-called ‘War on Terror’. Spy bases such as the one maintained at Waihopai play an integral part of that war.”

“Currently millions of dollars are spent each year on maintaining an intelligence network one of whose central aims is to aid in the repression of political activists and movements which threatened the interests of Western imperialism,” Ms Whitmore said.

“The Workers Party, which intends to contest the party vote for the first time in the upcoming 2008 general election, calls for the immediate withdrawal of New Zealand from all Western military alliances and the dismantling of repressive agencies such as the GCSB and SIS. As such we fully support the actions carried out yesterday by the three members of Anzac Ploughshares at Waihopai and call on all workers and progressive people to do likewise,” she added.


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