Don Franks’ address to election meeting at St Anne’s Northland-Wilton Anglican Parish 21/10 /08

Good evening and thanks for inviting the Workers Party to speak at this parish.

The parish I originate from myself is St Albans in Eastbourne. That was quite a long time ago and for the last 40 years I’ve been resident and working in Wellington.

Every election we hear some politicians claiming to uphold and defend Christian values.

The party I belong to, the Workers Party, makes no such claim, and we see religion as a private affair. However, as a former Sunday school pupil from St Alban’s parish, I’m sometimes drawn to wonder how the carpenter of Nazareth might have related to Workers Party policies.

Surely, as an uncompromising champion of the poor, he would have agreed with our demand of jobs for all at a living income. And I suspect too, that Jesus Christ would have been at peace with the most controversial policy of the Workers Party; open borders. Far more scholarly folks than myself have argued that, with reference to Mark 10:14, Jesus’s intention was utterly inclusive. He didn’t say suffer the rich white heterosexual children to come to me, he just said suffer the children, full stop. Well of course, I’m just speculating there, because I’m not theologian, but I’m sure that, whether it’s compatible with Christian values or not, open borders is the only civilised immigration policy for this planet. Immigration controls are in place to control workers, while capital ­ and capitalists ­ roam the earth freely.

The Workers Party is a party whose policies could perhaps be summed up in five words: freedom for those denied it. Our party not only stands for open borders, we stand for workers’ absolute freedom to strike ­ a right denied us by both National and Labour. We stand for the right of gay and transgender people to marry if they wish, a right denied by National and Labour. We stand for an end to imperialist adventures in the Third world, again, an outcome denied by National and Labour. Finally, we stand for workers’ freedom from exploitation by capitalism. The capitalist system of production for profit means profit comes before every social consideration; job security, decent incomes, environmental concerns and human dignity. In New Zealand, under capitalism, after 9 years of a so called worker friendly government, we have one child in five living in poverty. The system has to change.

Last night after the election meeting someone said to me, well, that all sounds lovely Don, but how do we get there? The Workers Party strategy and mission is to help build up the strength of the organised working class. That means, for example, a rise from the present low level of a 20 percent unionised workforce. It means having some MPs who are totally on the side of the working class in every situation. If you elect me as MP for Wellington Central I’ll use all the resources of my position to help support, and initiate workers’ struggles for wages, jobs and freedom. It’s high time there was a militant socialist factory cleaner representing Wellington central. Vote for me and you’ll get one.

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